Halloween is almost here, and you forgot to decorate. Maybe you didn’t have time or didn’t think anyone would come over, but suddenly plans are in motion and you need to make your house festive. You can upcycle stuff you already have into cheap, easy decor to get it done fast, then recycle it all when you’re done so that you don’t have to put away a big box of junk for next year.
Reuse jars for “potions”
Reusing old jars is a great idea year-round, but for Halloween, your old jam or peanut butter jars can easily become decorations, too. Wash out your jars, olive oil containers, and any other random glass or plasticware you have in your pantry, slap on some labels that say things like “blood” and “mouse livers,” and arrange them on a table covered in stretched-out cotton balls for that spiderweb effect. Bonus points if you paint an old bowl black to make a cauldron centrepiece and add some dry ice to make it steam.
Drape a simple cheesecloth ghost
You might have made free-standing cheesecloth ghosts in elementary school, but if you’ll recall, that took days — you had to apply liquid starch or papier-mâché liquid and let it dry between each layer. You can make an easier version of that classic decoration, according to Brightly, by just draping old cheesecloth over a glass or jar. It won’t be free-standing or rigid, but your guests shouldn’t be manhandling your decorations long enough to figure out how lazy this one really is, anyway. Cut some circles out of black construction paper for eyes, glue them on, and call this one done.
Weave a big spiderweb from an old shirt
All you need to make a kitchy spiderweb is some old fabric or rope, and a few sticks. Tear an old white shirt into fabric strips or grab rope from the garage, cross six or eight sticks in their centres and splay them out like spokes, glue those together where they meet in the middle, and glue your fabric between the sticks in a spiderweb pattern. This can function like a wreath on your door, and it’ll barely take any time to make.
Make old-timey candles from paper towel rolls
With a few electric tea lights, old paper towel rolls (or toilet paper rolls), hot glue, and paint, you can make spooky-looking faux pillar candles to put around your home. Paint your cardboard rolls whatever colour you want, glue a tea light at the top, and use your hot glue gun to make some dripping “wax” down the side. These are a safer, cheaper alternatives to real pillar candles, and with some arts-and-crafts magic, you can make them look spooky pretty fast.
Craft a skeleton out of old plastic bags
You probably have a drawer full of old plastic grocery bags, and you can turn them into a skeleton. Per Instructables, you’ll need about 20 to 30 bags, two wire clothes hangers, and clear tape. Spread your bags out flat and roll them into cylinder shapes to create four arm bones and four leg bones. Tape them an inch or so from the end, the fluff the ends out to resemble the ends of bones. Use tape to make all your shapes, but get creative; this can look however you want. For the hands, you’ll want to lay two bags flat, then manipulate them and tape them until they look like fingers and palms, gathering them at the bottom to make a wrist. That might be too tricky for your feet, so you can just stuff two bags with paper towels or other bags and draw toes on the front. Bend one of your hangers outward to make hips and hang the other upside down for clavicles, then wrap both in bag strips and use more strips to drape ribs. The head is just one large, stuffed bag with a face drawn on, which you can manipulate and tape until it looks how you want it to. Sew or tape it all together and hang it up by its head. Find the full instructions here.
Carve oranges into mini jack-o-lanterns
If you don’t have the time or energy to make real jack-o-lanterns, or you just want to cover your table in something cute and miniature, cut a little bit off the top of an orange, hollow it out, and carve a face into the leftover rind. Put a tea light inside, and behold, you have a little glowing decoration that not only looks nice, but smells nice, too. Compost it when your party is over. Check out a picture tutorial from Rebecca’s DIY.
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