DIY Halloween Decorations Made From Old Things

These creative repurposing ideas allow you to make your home frightfully festive without having to step foot into a crowded party store. (Because that would really be a nightmare.)


Black Stockings + Glass Hurricanes = Creepy Candle Holders

Photo by Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

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.


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

Photo by Danny Kim

This party treat doubles as decor. 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.


Plastic Fork + Cardstock = Fangs Place Card

Photo by Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

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.


Flameless Votive + Latex Glove = Hand of Horror

Photo by Danny Kim

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.


Coffee K-cups + Holiday Lights = Ghostly Garland

Photo by Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

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.


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

Photo by Danny Kim

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.


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

Flying Bat Door Decor
Photo by Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

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 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.


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

Photo by Danny Kim

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.


Glass Vases + Black Tape + Orange Snacks = Jack-o’-lantern Bowls

Photo by Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

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.


Balloon + Gauze Bandages = Spider Nest

Photo by Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

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 (like Craft Glue Dots Dispenser, $5 for 200, 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.