Ooooh…can you hear that howling in the distance? How about that scratch, scratch, scratch down your door? That’s not Freddy Krueger coming at long last to get you – that’s the very holiday of Halloween itself, sneaking up on you from just around the corner. And if you’re not careful, those trick-or-treaters will stick up their noses at your lackluster decorations. Gasp! What a spooky fate.
But not to worry – there’s hope for you yet. With a good hunt around your closet and that languishing basement, there are plenty of zippy ways to DIY your Halloween decorations without taking too many trips to the store.
Here are our top five ideas for last-minute spooky decorations in this DIY Guide for Halloween Decorating:
1. Create a Slasher Bathroom
Whether you saw the movie Psycho at a formative age or you’re just a little paranoid, who hasn’t stepped into the shower and thought, “What if someone was out there?” Traumatize your Halloween party guests for years to come with a slasher bathroom. Complete with bloody handprints and threatening messages, there’s no way they’ll walk away anything but spooked.
You can find most of the items you need for a slasher bathroom and all the ideas that follow in your own cabinets and drawers. The only items you’ll need to purchase are the bathroom accessories, as we’re assuming you don’t want to bloody up your everyday shower essentials! We did a quick pit stop to Macy’s for a shower curtain and bathmat; as we find department stores tend to have affordable, but quality options. Poor quality can sometimes cause the paint not to stick or dry as efficiently, but your local discount store can work, too, just pay attention to materials.
1. White shower curtain. Pro Tip: Go for a cloth curtain rather than anything slick. Dries faster, and allows for clearer hand prints.
2. Fake blood. Buy or make your own
3. Bath mat
5. Latex or vinyl gloves
6. Glass bowl
Production Time: 20 minutes
1. Fill the glass bowl with fake blood.
2. Lay your shower curtain flat on the ground. (We recommend heading outside wearing old clothes).
3. Wearing latex gloves, dip your hands in the bowl of blood. Plant them solidly any place you’d like on the shower curtain. Drag them all around for a more realistic effect. It’s like finger painting for adults!
4. Splatter blood from the spoon.
5. Repeat the same process for the bath mat, dipping your feet into the bowl and then stepping on the mat. Just make sure to have plenty of rags around for cleanup afterward so you don’t track bloody footprints around the house. Orrrrr . . . maybe that’s what you’re going for…
6. Allow for 2-4 hours dry time before putting back in the bathroom (depends on how much paint used).
7. Write spooky messages in lipstick on the wall mirrors. You know, like, “You’re next!” or “Bloody Mary.”
2. Redo the Living Room with a Bloody Lampshade
Slashers sure do get around. Looks like this one found another victim in the living room, or at least he needed a little lighting for a post-attack magazine peruse. This bloody lampshade offers more fun with fake blood, and is just about the quickest decorating idea we’ve ever had. Again, you’ll need to head out and get a lamp shade. We’d prefer garage sales, but last-minute doesn’t really lend itself to the thrill of the hunt! So your local Wal-Mart should do the trick.
1. White lampshade, preferably no texture
2. Fake blood
4. Latex or vinyl gloves
5. Glass bowl
Production Time: 5 minutes
1. Dip gloved hands into blood and plant them firmly on the lamp shade for two nice clear hand prints (we recommend doing this outside as well).
2. Run your fingers all around the lamp shade to make it extra bloody, and splatter blood from high above with a spoon.
3. Press a single finger over the edge of the shade for a clear finger or thumb print.
4. Allow 20 – 60 minutes to dry (depending on how much blood you use).
5. Attach the lampshade to the lamp stand, plug it in, switch it on, and voila! Illuminated gore.
3. Spookify That Wall with Undead Picture Frames
Get the whole family – both dead and alive – in on the Halloween fun with undead picture frames. For this project, Instagram and Photoshop are your new best friends.
1. Unused picture frame, preferably ornate and Old-World looking
2. Digital camera or smart phone
3. Quality printer
5. Googly eyes (find at a local craft store)
6. OPTIONAL: More fake blood or cobwebs
Production Time: Under 5 minutes for the frame, 20 – 60 minutes for the photos
1. Gather the family for a spooky photo-taking session, making sure everyone puts on their scariest, spookiest, or most zombie-like expressions.
2. Take photos with your trustiest digital camera or smart phone and upload them to Instagram or your computer.
3. Choose a Halloween-y filter, like black and white or sepia.
4. If these photos don’t come out well, just do a Google Image search for famous spooky characters, like Frankenstein.
5. Print your photos or spooky images and cut them to fit the frame.
6. Glue on googly eyes for an extra crazy look.
7. OPTIONAL: Drizzle more of that fake blood or wrap fake cobwebs on the side of the frame.
If you really want to get creative, frame a small mirror and use contact paper to create a ghostlike presence.
4. Light Your Pathway with Eerie Ghosts
You know how the old saying goes: the only thing more dangerous than an unlit pathway is a pathway lit by ghosts. Well, that must be a saying somewhere. We just couldn’t resist these eerie ghosts, which function doubles as spooky outdoor lighting.
1. Pack of white balloons
2. Black sharpies (not too thin, not too thick)
3. White or sheer tulle, pillowcases or t-shirts. Whatever you choose, keep it thin and light.
4. Glow sticks, the thicker the better
5. Wooden or metal stakes
6. Packing tape
7. Rope – a hardware store should have this
Production Time: 30 – 45 minutes for three ghosts
1. Break and shake the glow sticks to get them going. Pro Tip: Wait until the last minute to do these, so the glow sticks won’t die by the time your guests or trick-or-treaters arrive.
2. Slip the balloons into the balloons and inflate them. Don’t overdo it, as you want to be able to draw on the balloons without popping them.
3. Draw two round eyes and a round mouth onto the balloons with the sharpies, filling them in so they’re nice and thick.
4. Attach the balloons to the stakes with the packing tape. Pro Tip: If the balloons aren’t staying upright, tape beyond just the base of the balloon, reaching up to the crown and back to the stake for maximum support.
5. Cut your chosen cloth and drape it over the balloons so they look extra ghostly.
6. Drive the stake into the ground wherever you’d like them to go, or….
7. …Forget the stake altogether and hang the ghosts from trees. Note: If you go this route, make sure to draw the faces upside down, since you’ll need to tie your rope around the base of the balloon.
If you’re having trouble with the drapes or just don’t want the bother, these actually work great inside hanging from walls or taped down onto tables.
5. Dine with a Creepy Crawly Table Arrangement
I’m not sure about you, but nothing gets us more in the mood for a nutritious meal than watching a spider crawl across my dining room table. Well, at least when that spider is plastic and orange. You’re sure to churn a few stomachs with this creepy crawly table arrangement.
1. Fake flowers
2. Quick-dry black spray paint
5. Plastic or rubber creepy crawlies
Production Time: 10 – 15 minutes
1. Lay down newspaper on the grass, or just head into a quiet street or driveway.
2. Spray the flowers with the black spray paint. Pro Tip: While you may be tempted to blanket the flowers in paint, we found that letting just a little bit of color poke through gave the flowers a more decorative flare.
3. After the flowers dry, arrange the creepy crawlies on the flowers and leaves. Use glue if necessary.
4. Arrange the flowers on your table next to a small pumpkin and candles for a complete display. These also look great in a bar area.
There are officially no excuses left now. Last minute DIY decorations are quick, easy and cheap to pull off – we’re proof! We did all of this in one day. So gather your materials, great creating, and have a spooktacular Halloween!
– In collaboration with few-time BMoxie contributor Adria Saracino, this post was composed by the team of Krysten Brown & Leah Kaminsky. Krysten is a designer with a penchant for all things spooky, while Leah is a writer with an Edgar Allan Poe flare. They each lend their creative ears to businesses across the globe, and brush away every day doldrums with a little punch of DIY.
All images via Adria Saracino.