Cheap and Easy Outdoor Halloween Decorations

paper bats and circles in Halloween colors
  • Beginner

Nothing says spooky season like adding a little Halloween spirit to your front porch. A Halloween porch scape is a fun way to get festive and creative this season.

Paper Bats

Paper bats are one of our very favorite Halloween decor motifs because they're super simple and really fun. You can create paper bats with a cutting machine or by hand.

If you have a cutting machine, like a Cricut, you can download a template and use it to cut dozens of paper bats out of black cardstock.

If you don't have a cutting machine, and you still want to throw together a few last-minute paper bats, grab some scissors and black cardstock and turn on your favorite Halloween movie.

If you're cutting out the bats by hand, we recommend referencing a few different templates online. The bats don't have to be perfect and can vary in size and shape, which is why hand-cutting works for this project.

When attaching the bats to the walls, we prefer to use ticky-tack or wall-safe tape. We also like to bend the wings of the bats a little bit to make them appear a little more dynamic.

You can use paper bats to create a story on your porch. You can simply add a few here and there, or you can have a whole host of bats flying out of a door or a window for a fun motif.

If paper bats aren't your thing, you can definitely cut out other Halloween shapes like spiders, witch hats, or even pumpkins. And if you're really clever, you can attempt to cut out skeletons.

Get Ghosted

outdoor ghost decorations

Using chicken wire and mesh, you can create ghosts that look like little floating orbs in the dark.

First, shape your floating apparition with the chicken wire. The less chicken wire you can use to still make the ghost shape, the better.

Then prepare a glue solution similar to what you would use for a paper mache project. We used Mod Podge, flour, water, and Elmer's Glue in our concoction.

Dip your mesh fabric in the glue concoction and drape it over the chicken wire ghost. Drape several pieces of the fabric over the chicken wire ghost.

This is a long process. So if you're planning on throwing this together the night before Halloween, it's not going to work. Your ghosts just need a little time to dry.

After adding a few layers of mesh and letting them dry, see how the ghost looks and if it could benefit from a few additional layers of mesh.

If your ghost is struggling to dry and harden correctly, add more glue to your mixture. It's a trial-and-error process.

Make a handful of ghoulish ghosts and place them around your yard in places that get just a little bit of light. These floating orbs we'll look super spooky when they catch a little light.

On average, this project takes about a week to complete, so give yourself enough time before Halloween to get this project done.

Pumpkin Patch

jackolanterns lit up for Halloween

One of our favorite ways to decorate the porch for Halloween is simply by using a variety of pumpkins. Now, pumpkins aren't the most expensive decorations in the world, but they can add up pretty quickly.

In order to save money on this DIY pumpkin patch, we plan our porch in odd numbers. You can definitely fill your porch with as many pumpkins as you'd like, but planning ahead will help you save money.

As a general rule in decorating, odd numbers are more appealing and pleasing to the eye. That's why we pick a minimum of three pumpkins for our porch scape.

The great thing about having pumpkins on your porch is that it's not simply Halloween-specific.

You can definitely throw them on the porch as a last-minute Halloween decoration, or you can put them up before Halloween and leave them up until Thanksgiving.

Pumpkins are universally accepted as basic fall decor, so this idea requires very little work and lasts a long time.

If your pumpkins are going to be on the porch for a long time, though, it might be a good idea to consider preserving the pumpkins.

You can also keep your pumpkins looking healthy and happy with a simple mixture of a little water and bleach. Spraying your pumpkins with a mixture of water and a few drops of bleach every day will keep them from rotting and wilting.

If you find that your pumpkins are looking a little sad, you can also give them a quick soak in a cool tub of water. This should perk your uncarved pumpkins right up.

DIY Body Bag

If morbid decor is your jam, create your own DIY fake body bags using twine or rope, trash bags, and old garbage. Look at a few examples to get a good idea of how these body bags should look, then start collecting your supplies.

Take your trash, form a head, and stuff it at the bottom of the bag. Then tie it off with string.

Don't tie a double knot at first, that way, you have some flexibility to go back in and adjust the trash to make it look more like a head.

After the head is formed, it’s time to form the midsection, legs, and feet. Make the body wider at the top and narrower at the bottom to imitate the general shape of a body lying down.

Then, use your string to wrap around the trash body several times. This will give the illusion that there is a body in the bag, without you having to have a degree in sculpting.

You can always go back in and readjust the trash to make the body look a little more realistic.

Because you'll be scaring trick-or-treaters at dusk and dark, the DIY fake body doesn't have to look super realistic to be pretty creepy.

If you’ve got an HOA with a lot to say, this is not the spooky, last-minute Halloween DIY for you.

DIY Spider Web

spider web Halloween decoration on window box

If you don't have many supplies around the house that you can use, an inexpensive way to get a spooky porch is by heading to the dollar store. The dollar store has lots of unexpected supplies.

One of our favorite finds at the dollar store is spiderwebs/cobwebs or netting that you can stretch to make your own spiderwebs or mummy wraps.

Locate an area on your porch where a spiderweb would look super spooky, and begin stretching out the cobweb material around the area. We like the spider webs around door jambs.

The benefit of having a spiderweb near a door is that people have to walk through it, which makes the whole experience a little bit more spooky.

If you want to take your spiderwebs or cobwebs to the next level, add a few fake spiders that you either make with pipe cleaners or purchase at the dollar store.

On Halloween night, if you want to give trick-or-treaters an extra fright, periodically dampen the spiderwebs or cobwebs with a spray bottle so that they're cool and sticky when people walk through.

A Witches Lair

witch hat and broom for Halloween decor

You'd be amazed and how easy it is to make your porch look like a witch's Lair. Chances are you've got supplies lying around the house or the yard that are perfect for this spooky scene.

Start by looking at old brooms, rotting pumpkins, and anything like fake-flame candles or old heirlooms that look a little witchy. Last year we spray-painted some old vases black to match the vibe.

You might not feel like you have a lot to add to this motif, but the more you add, the witchier it will start to feel. Start by adding your biggest items to the porch first, and then layering in some of the smaller items.

Collect dead branches from your yard and add them to the motif where you can. Last year we added some dried flowers to the mix, and they were the perfect spooky touch.

Once you've layered in all of your witchy supplies, move the decor around until you like the look. If you want to take it a step further, add a cauldron full of dry ice on Halloween night.

Set the Mood with Smoke

And speaking of cauldrons full of dry ice, you can use dry ice or smoke machines to totally set the mood on Halloween night, or any October evening, really easily.

If you don't want the hassle of having to DIY something big and fancy, simply use dry ice or a smoke machine to add a little mystique to your front porch.

A well-functioning smoke machine isn't a super cheap purchase, but if you anticipate using it year after year, it's worth the buy.

Dry ice, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive and can be used for small periods of time to create a super smokey effect.

We recommend adding a Bluetooth speaker to the porch playing popular Halloween tunes to add to the effect, and if you're feeling extra festive, adding mysterious lighting of some kind.

We've used faux-flame candles before, and even Christmas lights to add a spooky element to a smokey porch. It's Halloween decor that requires very little effort but is always a hit with the neighbor kids.

How Can I Decorate for Halloween Cheap?

If you want to decorate for Halloween on the cheap, focus on things that you already have around your home. You might be surprised by what you can use to create a Halloween vibe.

Antique frames become spooky portraits when you simply swap out the picture in them for a vintage portrait that you print out free from the internet.

An old broom becomes a witch's broom with a little bit of finessing.

That pack of latex gloves under your bathroom sink becomes a pathway full of creepy hands when filled with water and frozen.

You can also focus on projects that require very few supplies, like a pack of black paper for bats or a few packs of cobwebs from the dollar store.

Your main asset when you're trying to decorate on the cheap is your creativity. We've seen some really amazing Halloween decorations that cost people virtually no money.

It can be done, you might just have to repurpose, rethink, and get creative.

How Can I Decorate My Home for Halloween?

If you're not all that interested in decorating the outside of your home for Halloween, then focus on bringing a little bit of that spooky spirit inside.

The funny thing about decorating for Halloween is that it doesn't have to be traditional. There are really subtle ways that you can incorporate Halloween decor into your home without having to go orange and black all over the place.

You can do something as simple as swapping out one of the throw pillows on your couch for a subtle Halloween throw pillow, or you can pay homage to your favorite Halloween flick.

We've seen dozens of fun Sanderson Sister’s decor items that can be incorporated into the home in ways that match the existing decor scheme perfectly.

One of our personal favorite ways to add a little bit of Halloween to our home is by adding lots of candlesticks to the mix.

We've collected dozens of mismatched candlestick holders over the years, and we use these to fill with partially melted wax candlesticks all around the home. It's a little bit Halloween, but not over the top.

And that really is the great thing about Halloween decor, it doesn't have to be over the top. If you love pink, add a bunch of pastel pumpkins to your house and find a cute pink ghost somewhere.

If you love farmhouse decor, find a sign with a Halloween saying to add to your kitchen in the month of October.

You don't have to go big or crazy, you can keep it really simple and still incorporate a little bit of spooky spirit into your space.