Halloween decorations done the easy (and cheap) way

Simple bat decorations are easy to make for your home or dorm room with little work and money spent.

Taylor Metcalf

Every year, I find myself wandering through the aisles of stores gazing at all of the wonderful Halloween decorations I can’t have. The fact is sometimes money is tight, and we can’t afford to splurge on cute decorations we’ll only use once a year.

But there are two solid solutions to this problem:

Every year, I use materials I have on-hand to make my own decorations, or I find stores which have them at affordable prices. So here are a few quick and easy decorations to make for your spooky Halloween season and a few places to find cheap ones if you’re in a rush.

1. Pumpkin and bat light decorations:


  • Black and orange construction paper; scissors; pencil; hole puncher (optional); small clothespins (optional)


  1. Trace pumpkin shapes onto the orange paper and bat shapes onto the black paper. Try different sizes and face styles to make each one different.

  2. Cut them out. You can cut out the faces to make them look “jack-o-lantern”-esque, but it will look fine without this step.

  3. There are two ways to hang them up — use small clothespins to attach them to the string lights, or use a hole puncher to create a hole for hanging. If you use the hole puncher, cut a slit from the hole to the outside to allow you to slip it onto the lights.

2. Mason jar jack-o-lantern:


  • Mason jar (of any size, but the smaller ones are easier); paint; paintbrushes; an outline of your design on a piece of paper; electric tea candles (optional)


  1. Clean the Mason jar thoroughly inside and out.

  2. Paint down a base color on the outside of your jar using a bigger brush, and allow the paint to dry.

  3. Once the base has dried, use a smaller brush to paint on your design, using your paper as a guide.

  4. Allow it to dry completely before placing your electric tea candle inside the jar. If you don’t have electric tea candles, fear not — your jack-o-lantern will still look great.

3. Spiders (fake ones, of course):


  • Black pom-poms (the bigger they are,the better); craft pipe cleaners; hot glue or super glue; scissors


  1. Lay out your pom-poms on a flat surface.

  2. For each pom-pom, cut pipe cleaners into six or eight equal-length pieces.

  3. Bend your pieces to look like spider legs, and place them around the pom-pom to see where you want them to be.

  4. Begin carefully gluing the pipe cleaners to the pom-pom, pressing each “leg” firmly for several seconds to make sure it will stay.

  5. Allow the spiders to sit for about 10-15 minutes to make sure they are completely dry. 

  6. Touch up the legs which seem to be looser, and let them sit again.

  7. Place wherever you desire.

4. From the store to your dorm:

  1. Target. Right when you walk into the store, tons of Halloween and autumn decorations are on display. Many of these items are $1-5 and are pretty sturdy, not to mention easy on the eyes.

  2. Hobby Lobby. This is one of the best stores for cheap and crafty items. It has such a wide range of ready-to-go Halloween decorations, it’s almost impossible to choose just one or two.

  3. Dollar General. This one seems like a given, but there are several little treasures you can find this time of year. The items range from plastic pumpkins to Halloween lights to tiny skeletons, and all of them are great and affordable.

Halloween is a time for celebrating, so whether you make your own decorations or buy them from a store — happy decorating!

Features reporter Taylor Metcalf can be reached at [email protected].