House & Home

Last-Minute Halloween Ideas

Posted November 1, 2013

Boo! Halloween is right around the corner, and if you're having second thoughts about your decision not to decorate or wondering if your house isn't quite scary enough, it's okay! There's still time to get your spook on, manage your costume, lay in extra candy supplies, and sweep the porch before trick-or-treaters begin arriving. Today, I've rounded up some quick Halloween decor ideas from our friends at Hometalk for those of us who leave things to the last minute.

I kept an eye out for fast, inexpensive, fun crafts projects -- like things you can do after work tonight, or with your kids tomorrow afternoon! Many integrate recycled items from around the house, and they can be saved for next year or adapted to use for a different holiday, in keeping with our love of reusing, recycling, and decorating with the environment in mind.

Linda in Chicago appears to have a bit of a pest problem! She has a tutorial for this bats across the door project, but you can also use it to inspire your own take on the design. If you're lucky, you'll make it so realistic that the neighbors will be calling a Chicago exterminator.

Blogger Art is Beauty whipped up these spooky little things with old bottles and fresh labels! All you need is some graphic design panache or a quick internet search for vintage labels and you can make your own arsenic, poison, and other labels for empty old bottles. Print them on label paper so you can peel and stick, or simply glue regular paper down to the bottle. For added eek factor, fill your bottles with mysterious colored fluids...

Another take on the concept, this time from Laura! These jars include lights inside for added eek factor -- battery-powered votives are perfect for this. In addition to using them for decor, you can also hand them out as party favors at your Halloween party. Try filling them with a dry baking mix, jam, or something else frightfully delightful. The best part is that you can make these with recycled jars from around the house; the variation in shapes, sizes, and styles will add to the rustic and slightly creepy look.

Have some old lumber around, like Gail? Stop letting it clutter up the yard and turn it into something useful. You can turn 4x4s, 2x4s, and other scrap wood into decorations with some paint, recycled vinyl, and anything else you have lying around; try wrapping wood in tulle to make a mummy, or painting it bright orange with black features as seen here to make a pumpkin-inspired decoration! Best part: when the holiday is over, you can paint all over again for your next holiday decor project.

Have a mouse problem, like Tammy Brenner? This is a $1 craft store pumpkin (although you could use a real one) with a few mice from the same location (you might also want to check the pet store to see if they have low-cost play mice...or, if you're like me, root under the furniture for abandoned cat toys). She drilled some holes in it and now she's got a pest-infested table decoration. Gross!

Decorating Ideas Made Easy is living up to her name here with this super-basic ghost. All you need is tulle, cheesecloth, or another lightweight fabric (check discount stores) along with a tomato frame (for body) or even a broomstick! In just a few minutes, you'll have a classic Halloween ghost to warn strangers away from your yard. For added authenticity, consider whipping up a few fake headstones with that scrap lumber you have lying around.

Have some glass blocks sitting around, or some of those weird ice-cube lights? (Come on, you know you do.) Alderberry Hill has a great design idea for you that can be as tricky or as easy as you want it to be, depending on what you stick to the outside and how you light it. These quickie Halloween decorations double as mood lighting, hooray!

Remember: As you're setting up your amazing Halloween display this year, make sure to be careful with your lighting. It's important to observe basic electrical safety by making sure there are no exposed wires, taping down cables so people don't trip, and keeping lights out of puddles and other areas of moisture. Don't overload any of your outlets, and it you notice wavering lights, sparking, smoke, or anything else amiss, cut power immediately and call an emergency electrician.

Katie Marks writes for

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