Dress Your House Up for Halloween Without Breaking the Bank

Decoration and Design
Decks and Porches
Small Projects and Repairs
By Dikran Seferian October 04, 2021

With Halloween fast approaching, children will be rushing to pick out their best costume yet, horror movie aficionados will be snuggled in their sofas watching their favorites, and some will look out for the best Halloween decor. People celebrate this macabre yet fun holiday in many ways but perhaps everyone’s favorite part of Halloween s the endless array of thematic decorations you can deck your house with. With so many new ideas popping up every year, it’s not always intuitive to figure out what your house is going to dress up as this Hallow’s Eve. But it is possible to be creative, provide the fun, and stay on budget too. With proper supplies, tools, and a knack for crafts, you will be impressing trick-or-treaters and passersby alike.

Spider Takeover

What better way to welcome Halloween than by unleashing some creepy critters all over your porch? You can start out by surrounding your front door with cobwebs made out of polyester fiberfill ($20 per five-pound packs at Walmart). As for the fake spiders, many dollar stores will be selling them by the dozen. Disperse your arachnids on the webs, the porch railing, the door, and the exterior walls, and guarantee spookiness for the season.

Making Cobwebs Out of Polyester Fiberfill

Making Cobwebs Out of Polyester Fiberfill

Spooky Ghost Town

Turn your front yard into a haunted ghost town by conjuring up some spooky specters. Making a ghost can't get any simpler – and more budget-friendly – than this. All you need are white sheets and perhaps a white balloon for the shape of the head. As a final touch, grab a black marker, draw creepy faces on the heads and your ghosts will be ready to haunt your front yard.

Balloons and Sheets Are All You Need for Yard Ghosts

Balloons and Sheets Are All You Need for Yard Ghosts

Pets from the Dark

Let the “zombie” dogs out with this Pet Cemetery-inspired Halloween decor. You can easily make a zombie mutt with white bandage wrap, styrofoam for the body, and a small, red Christmas tree ornament cut in half for the glowing eyes. Trick-or-treaters better beware, because this dog doesn’t play nice — well, it doesn’t play at all.

Use the bandage wrap for the outer layer of your zombie pet. Whatever you have at home will do, otherwise just head to the nearest pharmacy where you'll find a roll for less than five dollars. Look for styrofoam at craft’s stores, where it's available for as little as $15 per half a dozen.

Trendy Halloween Decor Includes Mummified Animals

Trendy Halloween Decor Includes Mummified Animals

Rise of the Zombies

Bring the cemetery over to your front yard this Halloween, and make it thematic with a couple of zombies rising from their graves. For the gravestones, styrofoam boards and spray paint would be your go-to materials. As for the undead, you can go the styrofoam route as mentioned above or invest in theatrics with an animatronic zombie ($50 at Home Depot). Consider setting an eerie tone around your faux graves with blue or red lights (also available at Home Depot for $10 to $20 each, depending on variety) among the shrubbery and graves. 

Realistic Decorations Are Staples of Halloween Decor

Realistic Decorations Are Staples of Halloween Decor

Horror Movie Fever

If you’re a fan of classic horror movies, or horror movies in general, you can bring some of your favorite unworldly characters to your front yard. You might be familiar with The Ring — the movie with the creepy girl that crawls out of the TV. Why not celebrate Halloween by having her guard your porch? A few other spooky characters can accompany her, such as the Grim Reaper. You can make your creepy character with an old mannequin, a long wig, and a white garment. As clothing retailers often throw away damaged mannequins, you can probably have one offered to you for free by the stores, or even find some dumped next to the store. Otherwise, Craigslist can be a good source with fair prices; you'll probably find a creepy wig there, too.

Impress Your Neighbors With Movie-Themed Halloween Props

Impress Your Neighbors With Movie-Themed Halloween Props

Pirate Ship

Invite Captain Blackbeard and his folks over to your front yard by building a haunted ship. You can be the envy of the neighborhood with some basic materials for this extravagant Halloween project. All you would need is a few black sheets for the sails, wooden beams for the masts, ropes, and styrofoam for the other parts of the pirate ship. You can use spray paint to add rusty, authentic color. For the creepy crew members, Home Depot may have a Halloween collection available, or you can simply get creative with skeletons, ghosts, and more mannequin characters. This project would take more time than others, so an extra pair of hands might get the job done faster. 

Life-Size Pirate Ships Are Not Easy to Build, but Worth the Effort

Life-Size Pirate Ships Are Not Easy to Build, but Worth the Effort

Good Old Skeletons 

Halloween doesn’t always have to ride the theme of the grotesque. You can add a twist of humor to an otherwise spine-chilling holiday by having a couple of friendly skeletons vacationing on your front porch. Since a skeleton may not be very easy to build, you can buy one or two from Home Depot for less than $30 each. Consider dressing your boney vacationers in swimwear and colorful leis to create a humorously exotic vibe.

Getting Creative With Your Yard Skeletons Would Add a Pinch of Spooky Humor

Getting Creative With Your Yard Skeletons Would Add a Pinch of Spooky Humor

Pumpkin Mania

What’s Halloween without pumpkins? A simple yet formidable way to decorate your porch for the spooky day is with a bunch of jack-o-lanterns. For variety, consider going for different shapes, sizes, and colors. You could lay them out on both sides of the porch stairs and the front door. You can buy pumpkins from any supermarket for about five dollars a head.

Tip: As you're carving the pumpkins, you might want to wear protective gloves to avoid any potential cuts.

A Traditional Way to Celebrate Halloween Includes the Famous Jack-O-Lanterns

A Traditional Way to Celebrate Halloween Includes the Famous Jack-O-Lanterns

The Crime Scene

If you enjoy crime shows like CSI, NCIS, and the like, you may be tickled by the idea of decorating your front porch as a crime scene setting this Halloween. This small diversion from the more traditional Halloween designs is surely one to turn heads. A roll of caution tape that reads “Keep Out” or “Do Not Enter” and a fake body bag is all you would need to set up your crime scene. You can find caution tape at any department store for as little as seven dollars a roll. As for the body bag, simply wrap a few pillows or a duvet in a white bed sheet or black garbage bag so that it looks like there’s a corpse inside it. For an added effect, add a bloody murder weapon out next to it.

Arouse Suspicion With a Crime Scene Design on Your Front Yard this Halloween

Arouse Suspicion With a Crime Scene Design on Your Front Yard this Halloween

Preparing Your Porch for the Decorations

Before you get started with decorating your front porch for Halloween, you may want to run quick maintenance; it has probably been a while since the previous one. Since it will be the center of attention for about a week, you’ll want your porch to not only look scary but also in good condition — a buildup of dirt is not a Halloween design element. Taking a few simple but effective measures will ensure that your porch is ready to get its spook on.

Give Your Porch the Attention It Needs Before Halloween

Give Your Porch the Attention It Needs Before Halloween

Tip: Consider removing a couple of furniture items from the porch to open space for bigger Halloween decor.

Sweep Your Porch

With the autumn season comes a lot of dead leaves. You'll see them everywhere: the deck, the front yard, and even the porch. Fall breezes will also bring about a good deal of dirt. All that debris might ruin the scene of your Halloween decor. A quick sweeping would leave your porch looking nice and fresh.

Check the Railing

Test your porch railing's sturdiness by giving it a wiggle. You wouldn’t want it to fall apart as you're decorating it for Halloween. If you find that the railing is wobbly, consider refastening it. Alternatively, you could hire a carpenter to handle the issue. 

Check for Damage

Carry out a visual inspection for protruding nails and splintered wood, conducting repairs where needed. Structural issues like damaged or rotten boards might require a professional.

Wash Your Porch

Pressure wash your front porch using a low setting to avoid damaging the wood. Once the porch is squeaky clean, allow it to dry for a day before introducing the Halloween props.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian