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Decorate for Halloween without buying anything

Hooray for holidays! They’re the perfect excuse to break out our DIY and decorating skills. I love a good festive display.

But, the downside is:
1. You end up buying things that you only use for a few weeks out of the year.
2. When the holiday is over, all of that stuff has to be stored somewhere.

That is, unless you have another use for a giant plastic bucket in the shape of a Jack-o-Lantern.  (Let me know if you do, because I am SO curious!)

Wouldn’t you love to just decorate with things you already have?

Here are five tips for decorating for Halloween without buying anything (except the candy).

1. Shop your house for decor pieces

You know you’ve got trays, bowls, candles, and maybe even a lantern in your house somewhere.  Gather them up.

Group a few pieces together to create displays anywhere you want to add a little Halloween spirit.  I started with the table in my entry way.

Look for smaller items too, to add more interest.  I picked up a little star made out of sticks, and a skeleton key on a chain.  (Yes, I had one of those.)  A few small pieces gathered in a dish instantly becomes interesting.

Small Halloween decorations
Gather small items like a skeleton key in a dish or tray to add interest to your display.

2. Make your own decorations

Surely you remember cutting ghosts with curing tails out of sheets of white paper.  (If not, download our super simple, yet super fun templates here.)

You can also make papier mache pumpkins, or pipe cleaner spiders.  You can even cut letters out of paper and make a banner.

If your looking for something a little more “grown up,” get inspired with this SPOOKY sign you can make yourself.

How to make a DIY Halloween sign
Make your own Halloween decorations

3. Use materials to add color and texture

You’re a DIY’er, which means you have scraps of random things around the house.  Now is your chance to use them, and justify holding onto them!

Layer fabrics underneath other items, or wrap them around things.  I was lucky to find a sheer purple scrap, and a piece of orange burlap.  (Actually, I got them from my mom, who keeps more random scraps of things than I do.)  The different colors and textures add extra visual interest.

Fabric for Halloween decor
A sheer purple fabric, and orange burlap layered under other items adds color and texture to the display.

And think beyond just fabrics.  I curled up a short piece of wired ribbon that had pumpkins on it, and just set it on top of the table.  Inside the lantern is a coil of orange silk ribbon.

I also found a scrap of garden webbing to hang over the mirror, and used a chunk of gauze to create the look of a bandage.  Let your imagination run wild here.

4. Bring the outside in

Halloween may be the only time it wouldn’t be embarrassing to have a vase full of dead flowers sitting out when you have company over.

Walk around outside and look for clippings that have an interesting look.  I cut the final remains of my purple coneflowers and stuck them in a jar.  You could just pick up some sticks.

Chinese lanterns are wonderful for dried bouquets.  (OK, if you want to go out and buy a few of these, I give you permission.  They’ll work in your decor throughout the fall, and they last forever.)

5. Layer items of different heights

When you bring all the pieces together, vary the heights of objects across your display.  This draws the eye, and fills the holes.

DIY Halloween decorations in entry way
Layer items of different heights to draw the eye through your display.

The net draped over the mirror fills the visual gap on the wall below it.  This carries your eye down to the items on the table.  The dead flower bouquet reaches back up toward the mirror.

Layering items makes it a real treat for the eye to wander around, and discover something new in each layer.

Trick Or Treat

Now, when the trick-or-treater’s come to your door this year, you’ll be ready for them without spending a dime on the decorations. The best part is, when the holiday is over, you can just put the things back where they came from. And then you get to redecorate for fall!

Let’s do this again soon.

Halloween Decorations
DIY Halloween Decor

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