Tips For Creating Last-Minute Halloween Decorations That Will Make It Look Like You Tried

October 25, 2019

Every year, Halloween manages to creep up on us like a zombie in a horror movie. One minute we’re grilling burgers by the pool and the next we’re carving pumpkins to the tune of Hocus Pocus. And while the eeriness of Halloween holds a special place in everyone’s hearts, doing all the festive things can feel overwhelming. All of a sudden, you are looking for a last-minute costume – and last-minute Halloween decorations.

Thankfully, it’s possible to make last-minute Halloween decorations that actually look good. The secret? Use basic, easy-to-find supplies in a creative and fun way. It also means utilizing materials you already own, like toilet paper and trash bags. Trust us on this one.

By making last-minute Halloween decorations, you soak up the spookiness without investing a ton of time. Besides, there’s so much to do during the fall season, from apple picking and hay rides to trick-or-treating and hiking. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year.

So, whether you’re planning a party or simply sprucing up your home, check out these tips for making last-minute Halloween decor. All of these ideas can be adapted for houses, apartments, and dorms — so don’t hesitate to customize them based on your needs.

As for our Halloween costumes? Yeah, about that…

1. Decorate with paper bats

Paper bats are all over Instagram and Pinterest, and it’s easy to see why. They’re inexpensive, easy to hang, and ideal for making a statement.

It’s especially popular to display the bats across the front of a house.

(Imma Mmolina/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

To take the DIY route, simply print a bat paper template and use it to cut out bats from black paper. Alternatively, you can buy a batch of pre-made paper or vinyl bats.

Use glue dots or painter’s tape to attach the paper bats.

While you can stick them in random locations, many people like to create a swarm of bats by placing them in a curved line. This creates the illusion of a bat cave.

2. Turn a white tablecloth into a ghost

Yes, we all know the whole white-sheet-ghost-costume song and dance. But why not use white tablecloths for… well, actual tables? With a few simple additions, they can be turned into tablecloth ghosts.

First, drape a white tablecloth or bedsheet on a table.

Cut out two oval eyes from black felt or paper. Next, cut out a smaller oval for the mouth. Attach them to the cloth with tape or a hot glue gun.

This idea is awesome for decorating tables at a party.

You can also use it on a stool and place a bowl of candy on top. How’s that for cheap and easy Halloween décor?

3. Hang up a giant (fake) spider

(Sumeet Jain/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Fake spiders are perfect for adding those scary Halloween vibes. But if you’d like to create the most visual impact, look for the biggest fake spider possible.

All it takes is one large spider prop to “creepify” your home.

Display the spider on your wall or door, depending on your home’s setup. And if you’re feeling extra spooky? Grab multiple fake spiders.

Add the oversized creepy crawlies to your porch, ceiling, or stairwell.


Better yet, hide ‘em into unexpected locations like the bathroom and behind the garbage can. Mwhahaha.

4. Use toilet paper to “mummify” your door

If you’re on a tight budget, or if you simply just can’t with Halloween shopping, turn your furniture into a mummy. This last-minute Halloween decoration calls for nothing more than toilet paper or white crepe paper streamers.

You’ll also need a pair of big googly eyes, or black plastic plates.

Next, wrap your door with paper. Secure the ends with painter’s tape and stick on the googly eyes. You can also use this idea on furniture like cabinets.

Another option is to make spooky eyes with yellow paper.

Simply cut out a pair of large circles. Add a smaller black circle to each one, then adhere the eyes to the door.

5. Make a puking pumpkin

Yes, you read that right. A puking pumpkin is a clever — and easy — way to decorate for Halloween. Not only does it give your table spread a creative touch, but it will make everyone laugh, too.

Most people use puking pumpkins with guacamole, which provides the ideal green “puke” color.

You can use a variety of foods, though. Salsa, pasta salad, and mac and cheese work well. Heck, even candy works just fine.

This is an excellent method for combining food and décor in one shot.

(Måns Sandström/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Thanks to the comedic impact of this idea, it will also look like you put in the extra effort. Oh, and if you’d rather keep your puking pumpkin away from the food, you can also make it “puke” pumpkin seeds and pulp.

6. Add rat silhouettes to your stairwell

Holiday decorating isn’t limited to windows and doors, y’all. The stairs offer the perfect canvas for last-minute Halloween decorations. Use it to display paper rat silhouettes with painter’s tape.

Like paper bats, you can them out from black paper with a rat silhouette template.

Another option is to buy pre-made rat shapes. Either way, don’t forget to add a few door-shaped pieces to represent the rats’ homes.

This simple idea also works well with silhouettes of spiders or creepy human hands.

You don’t even need to add this decoration to every single step. Sticking them to just one or two steps will get the point across.

7. Use letter balloons to spell out a Halloween phrase

If you’re hosting a Halloween party, use letter balloons to display a festive phrase. “Happy Halloween” is the obvious choice, but if you’d like to save some cash, choose a short word like “spooky” or “beware.”

“Boo” is also ideal if you want to keep things short and sweet.

Pick letter balloons that match your party’s color palette. You can also add a single moon, pumpkin, or skull balloon to emphasize the holiday.

The balloons just won’t make a statement, either:

They’ll also offer a stellar photo opportunity for your guests. Seriously, even if you don’t display any other Halloween décor, your adorable letter balloons will make your event.

8. Make space for broom parking

Witches and wizards, this one is for you. Set up a couple brooms on your porch or driveway under a sign that reads “Broom Parking.” Cute, right?

To make a sign, stencil letters on a piece of wood or poster board.

Deck it out with glitter, wooden shapes, or cobwebs. If you’re pressed for time, type out the phrase in a word processor and print it out.

Display the sign in a picture frame and hang it above the brooms.

Already have a broom on hand? Well, you’re already halfway there! Besides, you can use this idea with a single broom, so don’t feel pressured to display more than one.

9. Cut spider webs out of trash bags

With a large garbage bag and a pair of scissors, you create trash bag spider webs. These thrifty decorations are lightweight and waterproof, making them ideal for the front porch.

But hey, don’t let this homemade Halloween project fool you.

The webs are surprisingly easy to make. If you’re fan of making paper snowflakes, you’ll find that these webs require a similar technique.

To connect multiple spider webs, use a strip of clear or black duct tape.

Hang them up with adhesive hooks and you’re all set for the holiday. You can also add a few fake spiders, but the webs look great on their own.

10. Board up your windows with cardboard

When it comes to last-minute Halloween decorations, cardboard is your friend. You can use it to make faux boarded windows on the cheap.

You’ll need an old cardboard box, tape, scissors, and a black marker.

Cut the box into strips, then write “Keep Out” or “Beware” on one of the pieces. Layer the strips on your window or door, like wooden boards on an abandoned building.

To up the creepy factor, splatter red paint on the cardboard or add fake spiders.

Some people like to take it even further and add skeleton hands, which emphasizes the haunted house vibe.

11. Drape fake spider webs everywhere

(Kim Love/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

When in doubt, add fake spider webs. By covering the inside of your home with the fluffy white material, you can instantly mimic the feel of a haunted house.

For the most natural look, separate the webbing to prevent clumping.

As you drape it across furniture, let it cling on to whatever it touches. If there isn’t much for it to hold on to, stick adhesive Velcro dots to the walls.

The fake spider webs will latch right on to the Velcro.

It’s best to avoid using the webbing outside, though (unless it is specifically made for outdoor use.) Insects and birds can get stuck in the web, so limit this particular decoration to the inside of your home.

12. Give a life-sized skeleton a bubble bath

We meant a plastic skeleton, of course. You can find them in the Halloween section of most craft stores. All you need to do is let one hang out in your bathroom for instant party décor.

Specifically, you can prop it up in the bathtub to stage a spooky bubble bath.

Accessorize your special guest with a sleeping mask, hair towel, and of course — a wine glass. Fill up the bathtub with polyster pillow stuffing from the craft store to emulate a bath.

If you have round Christmas ornaments, add them to the bath for “bubbles.”

Silver, white, or pastel ornaments work best for this set-up. Finally, add a few LED candles to set the mood. Your guests will get a kick out of it!

13. Turn your toilet into Freddie Kreuger

If a bathing skeleton isn’t your style, dress up your toilet as Freddie Kreuger. You’ll need a Freddie Kreuger costume, complete with a mask, hat, sweater, and claw.

Believe us, it will scare the actual poop out of your guests.

It also takes just a few minutes to set up, so won’t have to spend long decorating. You can also adorn your toilet and surrounding tiles with bloody window clings.

Just be sure the toilet handle is still easily accessible.

Otherwise, you’ll be left with a truly scary situation on Halloween.

14. Use red lipstick to write scary messages on the mirror

One of the easiest ways to decorate for Halloween to write spooky messages on a mirror. Use red lipstick for that bloody, scratched-in look.

However, you obviously don’t need to use your fave lippie for this project.

You can use inexpensive lipstick from the drugstore or dollar store. This is also the perfect chance to use expired red lipstick from the depths of your stash.

When writing a scary message on a mirror, don’t worry about neatness.

(Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets/Warner Bros.)

In fact, the sloppier it is, the better! And while a lot of folks take inspiration from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, you can write any message your creepy heart desires.

15. Stick googly eyes on everything

If all else fails, use large googly eyes as last-minute Halloween decorations. For example, you can stick ‘em to furniture or doors to give them a charming Halloween touch.

It’s also popular to make “yard monsters” by adding eyes to outdoor plants.

Trees and shrubs are popular candidates, though you can use any type of plants. Plus, since googly eyes are available in different sizes, you can apply this idea to virtually anything.

Don’t feel like buying googly eyes? Make them with scrap cardboard or foam.

All you need to do is cut two large circles and coat them with white paint. Add a smaller black circle to each eye. Done and done.

Have any creative last-minute Halloween decorations we should know about?