10. Prepare for next year after this year’s festivities.
Are you trying to buy enough skeletons to build a full cemetery in your yard? That’s a respectable goal. Stock up on the necessary reusable decorations by shopping ahead. As soon as the stores open on November 1st, hit the Halloween clearance rack for next year’s festivities and stuff your closets with so many skeletons that people will think you have issues.
9. Forego the costume in favor of face paint.
Or if you’re very skilled with the makeup brush, opt for that instead. You can build a costume around pieces you already have in your closet, and then finish up the look by painting your face. Looking for ideas? Throw on a striped shirt, black pants, and paint your face like a mime. Find a flannel and jeans, then draw on a scarecrow face. Put on any outfit and transform into a zombie with grey face paint.
8. Deck the halls with haunted portraits.
Make black and white copies of your family portraits and replace the original prints with the new copies. Before you swap them out, cut out the eyes with a hole punch and tape red construction paper behind the photos. Instant possession.
7. Serve a spiked punch instead of buying liquor.
Everybody gets a little wild on Halloween, and when your trick-or-treating days are long behind you, the night can be spent much differently. Instead of buying a spread of hard liquor, conjure up a potent witches brew instead. Peel grapes and freeze them to make an eyeball alternative to ice cubes, or leave an icy severed hand in the punch bowl. Just fill a plastic glove with water and freeze it to make a chilling solid hand.
6. Add subtle, spooky touches to your own haunted home.
There is middle ground between going all-out and simply setting a pumpkin by your door. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to decorate your house, but you can put your two hands to work. Paint your hands blood-red and leave streaky handprints on your windows. Add some yellow crime scene tape for an additional touch.
5. DIY Your Costume
Why would you pay upwards of $40 for a flimsy, retail costume that will disintegrate before next year’s Halloween party? You can find plenty of DIY costume ideas online—and many of them don’t require any sewing expertise. Make (or thrift) your own quality costume for a fraction of the retail price.
4. Vintage is scary cool.
A lot of Halloween décor tries to imitate the centuries-old haunted house aesthetic. Why pay full-price for unauthentic, cheap pieces when you can go through the attic for the real thing? And if you can’t find anything in your home, hit the thrift stores. If you need to spruce up a dessert table, stack some secondhand Poe books, drape some gauzy web over the books and top it with a fake raven. If you have some plastic little spiders, tangle them into the web.
3. The Dollar Store is your friend.
2. Purchase plastic pumpkins.
You can still go to the pumpkin patch and enjoy a haunted hayride, but you should spend your money on some long-lasting gourds. Let’s be real—pumpkin carving is goopy, smelly, and the finished product has an expiration date. Buy plastic pumpkins that can be reused for future Halloweens and throw a pumpkin painting party instead of the carving date.
1. Reuse other pieces of decoration.
Do you have a lot of mason jars sitting around from a summer shin-dig or a spring wedding? Put them to good use! DIY some spooky ghost votives: paint the jars with a translucent white paint or cover them with gauze, then add a couple of eyes and a round mouth. Drop in a super cheap tea candle and voila! You have a glowing ghost of your very own.
(image via salmonwright)