We don’t want to sound like the Scrooge of Halloween, but we’ve gotta say it: when did Halloween become about plastic decorations and motion-sensor-activated props. These store-bought, throw-away decorations take all the trick out of trick-or-treating.
This year, we’re keeping the budget low and the creativity high when decorating our front yards. We’re still going all out, but we’re investing our time (and that of our kids, too) rather than our money.
Click through to the links for full instructions on how to pull off these creepy DIY Halloween decorations.
Outdoor Halloween DIYs that are super simple yet surprisingly scary
That old maskThe creatives at Goodwill Central Texas know what to do with last year's rubber mask: turn it into this year's decoration! Who knew that stretching it out made it even scarier? It's going right on the front door.Goodwill Central Texas
Radioactive DrivewayWhen it gets dark, light up your driveway like the site of a radioactive spill with these mason jars full of glow in the dark liquid. Crack open a couple of glow-in-the-dark sticks and drain them in. Or leave them intact and stuff some cotton balls in the jar with them.Wikihow
Wheelbarrow o'bonesGrab the wheelbarrow that's been sitting in your garage, fill it with some sand and haphazardly place some spooky skeleton bones inside. The result? A gravedigger who's been up to no good.Nifty Thrifty and Thriving
I don't like ghostsNot all last-minute ghosts are creepy—some just look like sheets—but these apparitions assembling around a bonfire definitely have the creep factor. Plastic cloths, paper, dowel (a.k.a. sticks), leaves, tape, outdoor lights and an extension cord are all you need to pull it off. Deets below.The Pink Pixie Forest
Spider omeletteWhat's worse than spiders? Spiders guarding a nest of spider eggs, that's what. Use your old white tights, a baseball (or any other round object), a hot glue gun and some mini black spiders to set up this dangling bit of terror. Hellopapermoon
Bloody trailYour kids will happily help out with this one. Get them to take their shoes and socks off, step in a tray of washable red paint, and traipse up the driveway or front steps. Getting them to help clean up after Halloween, however, may be a different story.Via DIYNetwork
Fenced inMake a spooky statement in your front yard with a deconstructed wood pallet. Take it apart, make a few strategic cuts and reassemble it into a fence around the most haunted house in the neighbourhood. That's right, we like it real creepy.Sew Woodsy
Barbie zombieGreat, now our pediophobia (fear of dolls) includes Barbie, too. Oh well, these creepy DIY Walking Dead dolls will just have to stay in the closet for the rest of the year. Stick them in your garden, in the candy bowl or on your steps.Crafts by Amanda
Pickle itSpeaking of your fear of dolls, turns out they're extra creepy sealed in a jar of green liquid. Also super off-putting when pickled: baby toys, fake snakes, eye balls and pretty much everything that isn't a vegetable.Pa-Blam!
Death this wayThe recipe here is simple enough: one part sign and one part post. The scariness comes from what you write on it. Advertise your hotel for the dead, barbers/meat pie shop or whatever else will scare the Trump toupees off the neighbourhood kids. Yup, we're calling for an excess of Trumps this Halloween.Dave Lowe Design
Where's my mummy?This creepy, but simple decoration requires a whole bunch of plastic wrap. Using a willing adult, wrap the plastic around and around the person's body (avoid the head for obvious reasons) until there's a thick layer of plastic, then cut them free, cover in fake cobwebs and hang.Instructables
Glowing crazyAll you need for this easy, breezy hanging decoration is some paper mache, small balloons, glow sticks and some string. Blow the balloons up a bit, cover them in paper mache, and then pop and paint before adding a glow stick and string.DIYNetwork
Deady bearThis is one way to “reclaim" those old plushes in the basement: kill them and then bring them back to life after death as adorable/terrifying zombie critters. Then set them up along your walkway and have them greet your guests. Who wants a cuddle?Surpriseaholic
A murder of birdsThere's something unsettling about a group of birds just sitting there... staring, judging, plotting your death. Finally trim back that tree in your garden and use the branches as the setup for the scene. Then, hunt down some fake birds in your local thrift store.Create.Craft.Love
Searching the sewerImpress the neighbourhood kids (and, let's be honest, adults, too) with a giant sewer monster that swims in and out of the ground. All it takes are a whole bunch of garbage bags and foam piping from the monster's suction spots.Instructables