Are you fondly remembering the days when nobody in Australia gave Halloween a second thought? Now, however, there are two things working against you. The first is that the kids are asking what they’re going to be dressed as this Halloween and the second is that a clear but undiscussed competition has opened up on your street between the neighbours who are battling it out for the best-decorated home. But like any normal person, you don’t want Halloween expenses to threaten how much seafood you can afford at Christmas, which is why these cheap DIY Halloween decorations are your ticket for winning some neighbourhood cred.
Start off simple and go buy some black thread or wool. That and some good quality tape (and some artistic ability) will produce one of the finest examples of cheap DIY Halloween decorations out there. Of course, if you live in far north Queensland or the NT, you may just be able to go out into the backyard and find yourself a spider the size of a dinner plate to take up temporary residence in the hallway.
This seems so obvious it isn’t funny. Forget spending an entire day hacking at half a dozen pumpkins, only to be disappointed by your ability to make them look anything like what you intended. Just buy a bag of mandarines and use a permanent marker to draw faces. In 30 minutes you can get 50 done, which you can spread throughout the garden. Or maybe you can give them out in place of candy as a healthy snack and really be popular with the neighbourhood kids…
Another replacement for the pumpkin, all this requires is that you still have functioning lungs, the ability to tie a balloon (don’t laugh, some people find it a challenge) and again, the ability to draw a decent triangle with a black marker. As far as cheap DIY Halloween decorations go, you will relish seeing the face of other parents as they realise they could have saved both an afternoon and their money and gotten the same effect as their mutilated pumpkins.
Now this is where Halloween decorations get fun for the adults. It will require some foresight and planning (or if not, just get your friends around for dinner the night before), but what is usually a decoration seen in most inner-city sharehouses, often accompanied with a comment like, “Ohh I love your wine bottle candle holders! They look so…vintage!” can now give you a reason to raid the cellar guilt free while also giving your Halloween decorations a bit of that ‘bespoke’ Instagrammable touch.
There is only one thing that people hate more than spiders and that is a line of spiders. Why? It suggests that the nest of 10,000 other spiders is elsewhere, unseen, and possibly in their own home. Use these to guide your visitors through your garden or towards treats, just make sure you keep track of how many you buy, as you don’t want your mum visiting for Christmas to suddenly find one in her bed.
This is more about the ‘aesthetic’ of your Halloween decorations, but let’s face it, it is all about the competition. Why not make your entire house a Halloween pumpkin through the use of some fairy lights? Try to find those which are dark yellow or orange, and frame your windows with them to get the street really in the mood.
This is a cheap DIY Halloween decoration that even the dog can do. Just go to the park and forage for some branches. Take a minimalist approach like the above, or go to town and really pile on some bundles of sticks around the place. Nothing says haunted like a wintery garden that looks like it hasn’t seen a gardener in 50 years.
You may never get the chance to do this, unless you get around to that veggie patch in the backyard. Build a scarecrow. It is a simple and cheap way to scar(e) the kids, so get creative with how you dress it. This may be the occasion where you do actually go buy a pumpkin for the head.
If you do have a bit more time to spend on your Halloween decorations, consider buying some cheap chicken wire and with a second person, moulding it over you or them into the shape of a person. Get as much shape and definition into it as possible. The best way is to simply fold it around yourself and then being careful as you take the mould off before tying the two ends together. Either leave it as it is or dress it up/cover it with toilet paper or fake cobwebs. But simple is always best and there is nothing scarier than placing this just out of the line of sight of your visitors with a garden light to highlight it just slightly. You want that double take on Halloween night.
This picture suggests using rice bubbles for brains, and that is all well and good. Brains are a fantastic option for Halloween and you can make them sweet, sticky and delicious treats for young guests to the home, but let’s just say what everyone is thinking here. Why not go out and buy real brains! Get really popular with your neighbours and dole out some perfectly sauteed lamb’s brains, perhaps with a delicious bearnaise sauce and a side of broccolini and shaved parmesan. The kids will forever be afraid of you (great!) and the neighbours just slightly worried about the house at the end of the street.