One thing some folks may not know about me is that I’m a huge DIY-er when it comes to the holidays, and that’s especially true for Halloween. Sometimes store-manufactured props and decorations can come with a hefty price tag attached, so for those of you who like to keep things simple and cheap, here are ten relatively quick and inexpensive outdoor decorating ideas that you can use this Halloween.

And don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a crafty person, either. Most of these are so easy, even kids can get involved, which means you should do just fine if you follow the directions and remember to have fun with it, too. Happy haunting!

Floating Witch Hat Luminaries

What I really liked about these Floating Witch Hat Luminaries (via Polka Dot Chair) is that even if you don’t have a yard (like this writer), these are still something you can use on your porch or anywhere around your house, really. The materials don’t cost a lot, and you can create a supernatural atmosphere in just mere moments.


  • Witch Hats (They can be found at Jo-Ann stores or on Amazon)
  • Fishing Line
  • Long Needle
  • LED Light Sticks or Battery-Powered Tea Lights
  • Safety Pins
  • Outdoor Command Hooks for Lights

Directions (via Polka Dot Chair):

  • After you’ve figured out where you’d like to hang your witch hats, attach one command hook to the ceiling in each spot. Let the hook set up for about 10-15 minutes before hanging your hats.
  • String about 2-3 feet of fishing line onto the needle. Feed the needle through the point of the witch hat on the outside of the hat. Bring the fishing line through to the interior of the hat. DO NOT pull all the fishing line through the hat, leave it on the outside of the hat.
  • Remove the needle and tie the fishing line around a safety pin.
  • Use the safety pin to attach a light stick inside your hat, and any type will do—just make sure it’s lightweight. If you decide to use a tea light, use the fishing line to tie around the flame part of the tea light.
  • And finally, tie a loop in the end of the fishing line on top of the hat and hang it on the command hook. Then you’re ready for Halloween!

Garage Door Victim

When I came across this Garage Door Victim (via Little Things) on Pinterest, I immediately thought of poor Tatum from Scream, and thought this would be a really fun and quick addition to anyone’s ghoulishly decked-out yard this October. All you need to do is stuff some clothes you have lying around your house with newspaper or straw (which you can pick up at any craft store this time of year), attach some old shoes to the legs of your stuffed pants, and tuck the top half of the body under your garage door.

Finish off your victim by splattering your door with some ketchup (you can thicken it up with some flour), and then you’re ready to freak out the neighborhood. Just a tip: when you first apply the ketchup, make sure to do it on a day with low humidity (it allows it to set better).

Tomato Cage Ghost

This Tomato Cage Ghost (from Lisa from Bulan, KY via Thrifty Fun) is a bit more involved than most of these decoration ideas, but if you have a little patience and are good with directions, this guy should make for an excellent addition to your outdoor Halloween decor (especially if you have a front porch and want someone to be a greeter for all those trick-or-treaters on October 31st).


  • Large Tomato Cage
  • Rope Light - Your Choice of Color
  • Twin-Size Flat White Sheet
  • Large Round Styrofoam Ball
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Zip Ties
  • 3 Yards Orange Ribbon
  • Black Sharpie
  • Witch's Hat or Any Additional Decorations You Want to Use


  • Take your large tomato cage and wrap it with the light rope around the entire area, and secure the rope to the cage with zip ties.
  • Next, take the large round Styrofoam ball, and affix it to the top of the tomato cage for the head, using the hot glue gun.
  • Once the glue sets and the Styrofoam ball is secured, cover everything with the twin-size flat white sheet.
  • To give your ghost some definition, tie the orange ribbon around the neck,
  • Next, draw the eyes and mouth of your ghost using the black Sharpie, and top off your newly created ghost friend with a witch's hat, or any other fun Halloween-themed trinkets (spiders also make for a fun addition). Use your hot glue gun to affix any decorations.

Planted Zombie Hands

Better Homes & Gardens actually pointed me in the direction of these Planted Zombie Hands (via Sew Woodsy) last year, and they’re something I’m going to be testing out on my own porch in just a few weeks. These ghastly grabbers are super easy to assemble, and you can find the detached hands at any local craft store this October, or even some dollar store chains seem to carry them as well.

All you need to do is zombify your severed hands by painting them gray, then paint the fingernail areas black and spatter with the red paint after the other colors have dried. After the blood layer dries, cover them with acrylic sealant and then let them set for an hour.

Once your hands are ready to go, insert the skewers in the wrist parts, fill your pots with dirt, and set your zombie appendages inside the filled pots. Then let the scares commence (or at the very least, someone might jump)!


  • Pots
  • Soil
  • Severed Hand Props
  • Gray Paint
  • Black Paint
  • Red Paint
  • Clear Acrylic Top Coat
  • Wooden Cooking Skewers
  • Paint Brushes

Beastly Eyes Front Door

I’ve been a big fan of transforming my front door for years now (in 2015, we did Frankenstein’s Monster and last year, we mummified our door), so when I saw a design for this Beastly Eyes Door, (via I fell in love. The fur is relatively cheap if you go to Jo-Ann stores (they always have coupons available), and while does offer a template for the eyes, I thought they’d be something easy enough for anyone to do (and they’d make for a great way to get the little ghouls involved with Halloween decorating, too).


  • 10 Sheets Plain White Paper
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • 4 to 6 yards Black Fake Fur, Depending on Door Size
  • Transparent Tape
  • Markers or Crayons
  • 10 Sheets 8½" x 11" Paper in Neon Colors
  • Duct Tape
  • 1 or 2 Sheets Black Construction Paper
  • Double-Sided Tape
  • 8 Command Strips (Double-Sided)

Directions (via

  • Cut out your temporary monster eyes from the white paper.
  • Measure door; cut fur to size.
  • Place fabric, fur side down, on flat surface. Position your temporary eyes on back of fabric (leaving room to accommodate door handle), and temporarily tape in place.
  • Outline each eye on back of fabric with marker; remove templates and discard. Use scissors to cut out eyes. Discard any fur that sheds.
  • Cover back of each eye opening with neon paper; secure with duct tape. Turn fabric over, fur side up. Cut out smaller-sized circles for pupils from the black paper, varying size and shape for each eye. Use double-sided tape to secure a pupil to each neon eye.
  • Trim edges of fur to make ragged. Use fingers to fluff fur.
  • Turn over your fur so that the non-furry side faces up. Apply two strips of duct tape along top edge near each corner; repeat along bottom edge. Apply two strips of duct tape along each side edge.
  • Then, apply 3M Command strips on top of each strip of duct tape. Holding top edge of fur, position over door. Press to securely adhere.
  • Once set, cut a hole in fabric to accommodate door handle.

Witch Legs

For those of you looking for an idea that might be more friendly to folks of all ages, these Wizard of Oz-inspired Witch Legs (via would make for a fun addition to your outdoor decor, and they are simple to make. And if you don’t fancy yourself an Oz fan, you can buy tights and shoes of any color and make these appendages look however you’d like them to.

All you need are a pair of tights, a pair of women’s shoes, and newspaper to stuff into each leg of the tights. Cut the tights in half, separating the legs, and then cut them 2/3 of the way up from the toe. Stuff each separated leg with newspapers to get them as full-looking as desired (if you have a pool noodle lying around, cutting one in half and using each half for each leg can also work—just make sure to stuff the feet with newspaper).

Once your witch legs are ready to kick it this Halloween, place them along the edge of your house, putting the shoes on once you get them settled wherever you want them.

Black and White Pumpkin Topiary

One of my favorite things every October is when Target gets their pre-lit pumpkins in stock (and thankfully, a lot more stores are now carrying them as well, like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart), and I have about 18 that I stage around my house each year. If you’re looking to consolidate your pumpkins at all, this Black and White Pumpkin Topiary (via Tatertots and Jello) would be a great way to do just that, and also have a stunning decoration you can put out every Halloween.

This project is a bit more involved, especially because you need some power tools, but overall, it should take you less than an hour to construct (especially if you buy pumpkins that are already black and white, or maybe you just want to create an orange pumpkin topiary).


  • 5 Halloween pre-lit pumpkins (if you buy the black and white pumpkins, you do not need the spray paint or primer)
  • 1-Inch Circumference Wood Dowel (you can find this at any hardware store for a few bucks and they are generally about 4 feet tall)
  • A Large Pot
  • Soil and Flowers to Decorate in the Pot
  • Spray Paint (if you are painting your pumpkins)
  • Primer (if you are painting your pumpkins)
  • Black Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush


  • If you’re going to spray paint your pumpkins, first prep them with primer, and then after that dries, go ahead and spray paint them your desired colors (be sure to do this in an area that is well-ventilated).
  • Paint the dowel black with the acrylic paint, and allow that time to dry.
  • Next, drill 1″ holes in the bottom and through the tops of your pumpkins. To give them a charming tilt, you can alternat the exit and entrance points.
  • Then, you can plant soil and flowers in the pot around the edges, and place the dowel in the middle.
  • Then, place your pumpkins on the dowel in whatever design you desire. I think the original directions were for pumpkins that are not pre-lit, so if you go that route, you can thread a string of lights through the various holes in the back of the pumpkins to give them some illumination. I’m trying this out using the pre-lit variety just because I feel like that is a much easier route to go.
  • If you feel like your pumpkins need some extra security, feel free to use a hot glue gun to affix everything into place.

Body Bag Corpse

Another super easy idea that you can create using mostly items you have lying around the house is this Body Bag Corpse (via InventorSpot), which you can either leave around the yard, or string up in a tree for a truly frightening effect. All you need to do is stuff old clothes with newspapers or hay (which you can find at most craft stores this time of year), making the body shape. Then, cover your body with several white garbage bags (they show up the best), and at various points of the body, use duct tape to wrap around the body, keeping the shape of the corpse intact. And that’s it!

Oh, if you do decide to hang your body bag corpse, you can use a nylon rope (found at any hardware store) and tie it around the neck of your victim, almost like a noose. Also, adding some stage blood to the body is another way to add a little extra goriness to this decoration (and who doesn’t love a little blood on Halloween?).

Monster-Eyed Bushes

If you’re going to give your front door a monstrous overhaul, why not do the same for your bushes, too? These Monster-Eyed Bushes (via A Girl and a Glue Gun) are easy to make, and to really give them a spooky feel, you can use glow-in-the-dark paint to cover them, which will make them even more fun in the dark.

Materials (via A Girl and a Glue Gun)

  • FloraCraft® Make-It-Fun Foam Discs
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • White and black knit fabric
  • Scissors


  • Take each foam disc and cover them with the white fabric, attaching it with hot glue on the back of each disc.
  • Next, cut your pupils out of the black fabric, and then attach them to the center of each foam disc using the hot glue.
  • Once completely set, you can nestle a pair of eyeballs into your outdoor bushes, and for those looking to go the extra mile, don’t forget the glow-in-the-dark paint! 

Severed Finger Doorbell

This Severed Finger Doorbell (via Pretty Prudent) is probably the easiest and most inexpensive decoration you’ll find on this list, making it one that pretty much everyone can pull off. When I saw it on Pinterest, it gave me quite a chuckle, and all you need to pull this one off (get it??), is a severed finger and some low-temperature hot glue, which can then be easily pulled off on November 1st (or whenever you feel emotionally ready to move on from Halloween).

[Photo credits: All photos are from the respective links for each DIY project. Top photo is from Sew Woodsy.]


In case you missed it, check here to read our other special features that celebrate the Halloween season, and stay tuned to Daily Dead for more articles in the coming weeks!

Heather Wixson
About the Author - Heather Wixson

After falling in love with the horror genre at a very early age, Heather Wixson has spent the last decade carving out a name for herself in the genre world as a both a journalist and as a proponent of independent horror cinema. Wixson is currently the Managing Editor for, and was previously a featured writer at and where her online career began; she’s also been a contributor at FEARnet as well as a panelist for several of their online programs.

Wixson recently finished her first book, Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema's Most Memorable Creatures, and is currently working on her second upcoming book project on special effects artists as well.

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