10 Last Minute Halloween Decorating Ideas

Costumes, Cosplay, and Props Craft & Design


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” OK, that’s for another beloved holiday, but for makers, nothing beats the creative potential of Halloween. It’s fun to dream up and make costumes, decorate your house and yard, and throw costume parties.

But as fun as doing decorations is, it can all quickly get out of hand. Here are ten of our favorite projects that we’ve published on Make: that can easily be done within the next few weeks before The Great Pumpkin arises from his pumpkin patch.

Make a Spider Web Balloon


The “web” effect is created by applying the HI-FLOAT and letting it dry at one pressure, and then deflating the balloon, stressing it, and then re-inflating to a higher pressure, causing the film to detach from the walls (which, of course, means it’s not working as a sealant anymore, but whatevs).

Link: How-To: Spider Web Balloons

Decorate with Haunted House Silhouettes


One such challenge came my way a few years ago, when I had an opportunity to decorate an entire house for Halloween. The homeowner had a strict $100 budget and insisted that nothing be attached to the house in a manner that would damage the exterior shingles. The place was newly purchased, and the homeowner had yet to install any window treatments beyond inexpensive paper “contractor blinds” on all of the windows.

Link: How To: Haunted House Silhouettes

Make Packing Tape Ghost Sculptures


There is something about Halloween decorating that brings out the creative energy in people. It’s not quite the same as Thanksgiving and Christmas. At Halloween you get to really let your imagination run wild with all the fantastic and spooky things you can do to creep out the neighborhood kids.

I am loving these packing tape ghost sculptures, especially when lit up! These suckers are even able to withstand the damp October weather– perfect for an outdoor installation.

Link: How-To: Packing Tape Ghost Sculptures

Wrap Up Some Masking Tape Mummy Hands


The etailer Wholesale Halloween Costumes has some simple and fun-looking DIY costume and prop projects on their site. Here’s one that couldn’t be easier and you end up with effectively creepy, glowing mummy hands reaching from the ground. Pile up a little dirt around the wrist for extra rising-from-the-dead authenticity.

Link: Make These Spoooky Masking Tape Mummy Hands

Print Evil Lair Knife Switches


When you need to illuminate the lab (to see what’s on the slab), you need some of these 3D printed knife throws. They replace the regular wall plate and adapt over a conventional wall light switch.

Link: Upgrade Your Evil Lair with 3D printed Frankenstein Knife Switches
Also see 10 Spooky 3D Printed Halloween Props and Decorations

Bodge Up a Hot Glue Web Gun


The traditional web spinner uses a small fan blade, a little tin of goop, and a powerful hand drill to blow filaments of glue onto your scenery. This creates a detailed web, but the device is prone to clogging, and the resulting web is delicate, unlikely to withstand the rigors of weather or the attention of your guests. For a bright, durable, and visible web, we turn instead to the venerable hot glue gun, a staple in every home craft drawer. Using compressed air, you can blow thin filaments of hot glue into delicate tapestries of webbing.

Link: Hot Glue Web Gun

Build a Frightful Giant Spider Webs


Halloween is just around the corner, and if you’re going to be decorating your house, you’ll definitely want a creepy crawly spider web to adorn your walkway. I’m going to make these giant spider webs to decorate the trees around my house, but they could also be used to decorate porches, fences, or they could be erected as freestanding decorations if you have some spare poles. They’re super easy to make, and all you need is a roll of regular plastic shrink wrap.

Link: Spider Web Halloween Decoration

Make a Meat Head


Craving some cranium? You’ve come to the right place. I’ve served a Meat Head at my Halloween parties for at least the last five years. It never fails to impress (and distress!) my guests.

Link: Meat Head

Rock Out with a Pumpkin Disco Ball

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As cool as this “disco ball” is, it’s actually quite simple to make, as seen in the video below. Just get a pumpkin, cut the top off, then take as much goop out as you can like you would when making a normal Jack-O-Lantern. Poke a bunch of holes in the side and the top, and hang it using the existing holes as anchor points for the cords that you use. Finally, insert a flashlight, or other light source, and you’ve got something that glows, or even blinks if your light has a strobe function.

Link: A Pumpkin Disco Ball

Easily Choreograph Your Halloween Props

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I worked out a system that lets you control all your animated Halloween props with a single microcontroller (such as an Arduino). This lets you choreograph exactly how and when each prop will turn on an off. It also lets you use external sensors that you can customize for your exact setup.

Link: Ardunio-Controlled Halloween Props

If you have any quick n’ dirty, big bang for the buck Halloween decorating ideas, please share them in the comments below. And if you decide to make (or have made) any of these projects, we’d love to hear from you.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn


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