These repurposing Halloween hacks are the most creative ways to make your home festive without dealing with a crowded party store (perhaps the scariest thing of all).

By Yolanda Wikiel and Brandi Broxson
Updated October 01, 2019
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Boo! That's the sound of Halloween decor season sneaking up on you again. If your idea of a nightmare is stepping foot into a crowded Halloween shop or party store to find festive goodies, we have good news: You don't need to brave Party City to set the mood at home, and we've got the best Halloween decor ideas to prove it. Check out these impressively spooky details you can easily make at home with minimal DIY effort and (ideally) zero shopping involved—because each brilliant idea can be made using everyday things you already have around the house.

Corey Olsen

Old Straws + Jell-O = Worm Dessert Toppers

Trying find a good job for all those straws you're trying not to use anymore? Prepare a packet of gelatin and a packet of gelatin dessert (like Jell-O) with three cups of boiling water. Let cool. Pour the mixture over a handful of upright straws in a jar; let set. Use a rolling pin to push worms from the straws. Top cupcakes with your perfectly creepy treat.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Black Stockings + Glass Hurricanes = Creepy Candle Holders

Raise those snagged sheer pantyhose and fishnets from the dead. Cut a section of one leg, pull it over a glass candle holder, and then trim around the top edge, leaving enough excess to hug the lip. Rough up the hosiery even more with scissors. Once lit, place the candles close to a wall to cast spooky shadows.

Corey Olsen

Plastic Vampire Teeth = Freaky Napkin Rings

Talk about low-effort table décor. Add subtle bite to every place setting by slipping inexpensive vampire teeth around cloth napkins.

Danny Kim

Plastic Ornament + Black Ribbon = Sweet-and-Spooky Favor

This party treat doubles as décor. Place a fake bug in one half of a plastic ornament, then fill with colored candy. Fill the other half, close, and secure with clear tape. Add a sprig of black ribbon and display in a bowl so goblins can grab and go.

Corey Olsen

Cheesecloth = Perfect Spider Webs

Rip pieces of cheesecloth and drape them over a mirror or doorway (or somewhere outside) for giant cobwebs so realistic you might just spook yourself.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Plastic Fork + Cardstock = Fangs Place Card

Invite friends to sit for a bite. Cut a 2-inch-long slit into black note cards, about 1½ inches from the top and side edges. Break off the handle of a white plastic fork and clip the tines into the slit—the two outer tines on the front of the card, the two inner tines on the back. Using gel pens, draw “drops of blood” in red and write the guest’s name in white.

Danny Kim

Flameless Votive + Latex Glove = Hand of Horror

Drop a flameless votive in a short jam jar and fit a latex glove over the opening. Then lift the edge of the glove and blow air inside to inflate the hand. Splatter red acrylic paint onto the fingers and brush around the wrist for a severed effect. Let stand on a saucer to dry before displaying.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Coffee K-cups + Holiday Lights = Ghostly Garland

Bust out the decorative lights early this year, but make them Fright-Night-appropriate by putting those (non-recyclable!) coffee pods to use. First, remove the filters of used K-cups, rinse them out and then poke a hole in the bottom center with scissors. Next, enlist your kids to help you draw ghost faces on them using permanent marker. Slide each cup over every other light bulb or so to create a boo-tiful ambiance.

Danny Kim

Wite-Out + Vinyl Tablecloth = Witch’s Web Tablecloth

Spin up a sinister surface with a Wite-Out pen and a round vinyl tablecloth. (The fleece-backed variety works best.) Start by drawing a large X at the center of the cloth, taking the lines all the way to the edges. Add four to six rays from the center point. Then, starting at the center, connect each line with an inverted arc, until you reach the table’s edge.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Hanger + Felt + Ping-Pong Ball = Flying Bat Door Decor

Let it vamp for visitors. Bend both arms of a wire hanger upwards 45 degrees—these will form the bat wings. Cut black felt into a 25-inch square. Fold the square diagonally, snip a small hole in the middle, and slip over the hook of the hanger. Open felt, and place a ping-pong ball in the center, underneath the hanger hook. Bunch felt over ball and secure with a rubber band (color it with a black marker). Next, glue the open sides of the felt together along the edges so they won’t shift as you cut out the scalloped shape of the bat wings (use the template at realsimple.com/batwings). To create the creature features, glue on felt triangles for ears and triangles cut out of white paper for fangs, and add two dabs of red nail polish for eyes.

Danny Kim

Bow-Tie Pasta + Black Food Coloring = Bats for the Belfry

Soak 2 cups bow-tie pasta in a freezer bag with 1 cup rubbing alcohol, then add about 20 drops of black food coloring. Close the bag and shake gently. Wear gloves to remove the “bats” and dry for a few hours. Cut a length of yarn and hot-glue two bats together with the string in between; repeat.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Glass Vases + Black Tape + Orange Snacks = Jack-O’-Lantern Bowls

Serving dishes with a smile, courtesy of black tape. (You can pick up black duct tape or double-wide electrical tape at hardware stores). To make cutting out the eyes, nose and mouth easier, adhere a strip of tape to a piece of wax paper, and then trace out the shapes on the opposite side of the paper and follow the guide as you cut. Simply affix to glass vessels and fill with your favorite “pumpkin”-colored treats—gummies, cheese puffs, Goldfish, or punch. The next day, you can remove any sticky residue left behind by rubbing with a dishtowel and mayonnaise.

Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Balloon + Gauze Bandages = Spider Nest

A skin-crawling addition to any dark corner. Use a funnel to fill a white balloon with a handful of rice, then inflate until three-quarters full and tie closed. Affix the end of a gauze roll near the knot with a double-sided adhesive and unravel irregularly around the balloon until completely covered (it may take 2 to 3 rolls). With the adhesive, secure each gauze end and attach a few plastic spiders. Tie twine around the knot and hang.

Corey Olsen

Pumpkin Guts = Plant Food

This idea isn't so much décor inspiration as it is a brilliant hack to help use up every last bit of those pumpkins (waste not, want not!). After carving your pumpkins, don't toss the gooey innards. Remove the seeds, then add a bit of the flesh to soil to provide nutrients to household plants.