Halloween Decorating: Use Items You Already Own to Make Every Room Fun

PHOTO Country Living magazine shares tips on smart and spooky decorations for your home this Halloween.Courtesy Philip Friedman,Studio D and Dane Holwager
Country Living magazine shares tips on smart and spooky decorations for your home this Halloween.

Throwing a Halloween party can be a lot of fun, and it doesn't have to be expensive.

Sarah Gray Miller, editor-in-chief of Country Living magazine, said throwing a theme party in time for the holiday can be done on a small budget.

"The great news if you've waited until now to buy," Miller said, is that many items are marked down.

VIDEO: Animals at the Ridgefield Zoo eat pumpkins.Play

Miller suggested the following tips:

1. Make decorations using photos that you already have at home.

What you will need: Color photographs; black-and-white copied images; solution with brush and bowl; X-Acto knife; mini-lights.

What to do: Make a photocopy of a cheerful snapshot, then "age" the copy by brushing it it with a sponge that's been dipped in black craft paint and water. Allow the snapshot to dry. Mount the photo on card stock, then cut out the eye-holes and pop in red holiday lights. Dress the photo with cobwebs and plastic bugs. You can even add fangs for an extra bite, and voila!

VIDEO: Sarah Gray Miller explains how to give the perfect Halloween party.Play

2. Add spooky lighting to any party with homemade candle holders.

What you will need: Clip art book; white vellum paper; scissors; double-sided tape; candle-holder and candles.

What to do: Download photos from a clip art book and print them on vellum paper. Cut the paper to the correct size, wrap it around the candle-holder and secure it with double-sided tape. Drop in the candle.

3. Make haunting terrariums for your buffet table using household items.

What you will need: Glue gun, moss, twig sticks, glass jars, plastic bugs or other terrarium items.

What to do: Gather the household materials and clean jars of varying sizes. Use the glue gun to glue a twig and floral moss to the inner lid of a jar. Screw the lid onto the jar.

"They look like creepy Victorian bell jars," Miller said. "They look great in a group."

4. Make sophisticated jack-o'-lanterns without the mess of carving.

What you will need: Pumpkins, lantern templates, craft paint, votive candles.

What to do: Download a decorative stencil from Country Living. Paint the design onto the pumpkin.

5. For parties that are coming together at the last minute, there are some great products that can help, including skull barware from Z Gallerie.

6. For some general decorating around the house, you can:

Spend a few dollars on cheesecloth and drape it over furniture to add an instant creepy factor. ($3.49 per three by six food sheet; fashionfabricsclub.com)

Switch the taper candles on your dining room table with those that "bleed" when they burn. (available at Design Ideas: $8 for two 800-426-6394)

You can also put fake eyeballs, crows, cats and mice on the table, or a cobweb-dusted skeleton on the chair.

Decorate every room of the house -- including the bathroom. Faux fingerbone soaps. (available at Design Ideas: $8 for seven bones 800-426-6394)

Download spooky sounds on your iPod for free and play them in the house as background sound.

Purchase "fumpkins" -- fake pumpkins -- at any craft store.

Transform wine bottles into scary potions (Wine labels: $5.99 for six at marthastewartcrafts.com)

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