Scary Cheap DIY Decor And Freaky Food For Halloween

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Lime Jello Brain

You use you-know-what and make some twisted, inexpensive edible decorations for gelatin.

Halloween is arguably the best holiday on the calendar. It’s fun at every age to dress up, transform your apartment into a haunted house, and use it as an excuse to eat loads of junk food. It’s no wonder most people stretch it out and celebrate for an entire week (or even the whole month of October!)

Fortunately, it’s also easy to impress your Halloween party guests without breaking the bank. On a low budget, you can produce a spectacular array of DIY decor and freaky foods. Here are a few tips.


Get Jiggly

Jell-O is a very versatile, affordable Halloween snack food, and it’s especially cheap when you buy the value brand. You can buy dollar-store gelatin molds in the shape of spooky things like spiders and skulls. For those who are 21+, you can make a huge variety of Halloween-y Jell-O drinks. Plus, pudding is perfect for worms-n-dirt cups.

DIY Papier-mâché Piñata

Last year, my roommies and I made a vampire bat piñata. We used a big oval balloon to shape the body and attached it to a small round one for the head. We used a simple flour and water mixture with newspaper strips for the papier-mâché.

After it dried, we painted the bat body black and made a funny face with drawn on fangs. You can try adding dollar-store vampire teeth for a scarier effect. We fashioned the bat wings from a cut-up black garbage bag and chop sticks.

For our project, we just winged it (heh, sorry for the bat pun(s)…) but if you need instruction, try following this Martha Stewart tutorial.

Upcycle Glass Jars

You can make homemade Halloween candle holders with salvaged jars from spaghetti sauce, salsa, and jam. Using various paints, paper, glue, and other crafty materials, you can make your jars look like jack-o-lanterns, mummies, candy corns, and more.

The best part about making jar jack-o-lanterns is that you can re-use them (i.e., save money next year)—unlike real carved pumpkins, which often quickly rot or get smashed by tricksters.

Consider The Timing Of Your Celebration

Last Halloween, my roommates and I lucked out because we scored loads of free decorations on the side of the road. We got them because we had our party the weekend after Halloween, since the holiday was on a Wednesday.

Someone who had their party earlier left out a great pile of loot on the sidewalk, including wooden headstones, mannequin limbs, and creepy dolls. Another bonus when timing your party late: you’ll get sales on candy and store-bought decoration.

Make Or Borrow Your Costume

Don’t forget: DIY costumes are usually the best costumes. Try to dress as something you barely need to buy anything for. Store-bought costumes will make your wallet suffer.

My favorite homemade costume I ever made was “a bag of jelly beans.” I filled a clear trash bag with multicolored balloons (and avoided sitting down).

The Internet is loaded with creative ideas. If you’re not feeling inspired or you don’t have time, borrow a friend’s costume from last year!

How do you save on Halloween? Share your tips in the comments.

(Photo: hurleygurley)

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