Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Decorating for Halloween with Dollar Tree!

If you're anything like me, you already have most - if not all - your Halloween decorations ready for the biggest candy day of the year. With spooktastic shows and frightful themes all around town, it's hard not to get into the festive mood. Frankly I just love jazzing up my place with silly decorations for all the holidays. 

I'm more of a Christmas person, but my son absolutely loves Halloween, just not the scary version. For me, I've grown up with my dad buying a new scary decoration to add to the terrifying haunted house, that he displays every year. From a full on graveyard with coffins and smoke, to a "Saw" table with spooky music, he's always the scariest house on the block. I never got disappointed though, because 7 out of 10 times, people were too frightened to go up to the door, which meant lots of left overs for me! After a while though, I began to give out heap fulls towards the end, because I was making myself sick off of the stuff. Now that I have my own padawan however, we tend to decorate at our house with "friendly" Halloween decor. 

Being that we are avid festive decorators, I don't like spending a heap on displays and plastic doo-dads that will inevitably wind up in the storage closet for 11 out of the 12 months. Since I love thrifting, budgeting, and dollar stores so much, I thought I'd simply do my shopping there. 

My collection started a few years ago when my son was young, but I've realized that the same decorations are often repeated at the Dollar Tree, making this post a perfect "go-to" for those who haven't decorated yet or are looking to add on to their collection! 

I will say that 90% of this stuff is purchased at Dollar Tree, with a few sporadic things purchased somewhere else for no more than $3. No worries though, I will be telling you where I purchased them as well. 

So without further ado, here are a few ways to decorate your humble abode this Halloween season, without breaking the bank!

The bookcase(s)
I don't know about you guys - especially those who are avid book collectors - but I only have one (technically two, but they are put together to create one long bookcase set up) bookcase in my living room. I absolutely love creating a nice festive focal point for the room, using my bookcase. 

To achieve a very spooky bookcase, all you're going to need is some faux spider web(s), a few light up (or regular) plastic pumpkins, a medium sized flexible spider, and perhaps a sign or two. Everything can be purchased at Dollar Tree, with the exception of the white light up pumpkin (found at Target for $3) and the "All Hallows Eve" wall stickers (also purchased at Target for $3). 

Simply spread out the spider web across the front of your bookcase and place a king (or queen) spider with flexible legs, to give it the illusion that it really is holding onto the shelves. Place a few pumpkins around on different shelves, to make an almost "spooky pumpkin patch". It's hard to see in my pic, but I have a total of 5 pumpkins placed about. Getting different colors and sizes will look even better!!! You can even get tiny spider rings and place them all throughout the spider web, which can be purchased at Dollar Tree as well. 

Hallway/Large Open Wall

 This is by far one of my favorite decoration ideas that I've come up with to date. It's extremely simple and literally cost me $6 to fully complete (+ tax of course). 

In our apartment, we have a medium sized hallway, that looks really plain every non-festive filled day. I rather like it that way, because it does give a "clean" look, but during the holiday months, it's the perfect place to spread the spookiness (or joyfulness). 

To achieve this really cool idea, all you need are 3 plastic Halloween masks and 3 plastic frames of your choice. I went for the "fake bronzed" look, because they seemed to match the Halloween idea best. Everything was found at Dollar Tree (look in the kids section for the masks sometimes) and was extremely simple to create. Simply remove the glass and backing from the frames and cut off the stretchy bands that are on the back of the masks. Then thumbtack the masks either on the sides or on the top and bottom, from the INSIDE. This will hide the thumbtacks and give a 3-D look. Place the frames around the mask, letting the masks "pop out" a little. To find a perfect fit, just grab your masks and place them over the frames at Dollar Tree, to see what look you like best! Easy right?! My son loves these as well! Best part is you can use whichever masks you like (perhaps old ones the kids don't even wear anymore) and even create a theme for a Halloween party!

Entertainment Center
No one likes a whole bunch of decorations near their TV, if there isn't a whole bunch of space to put them without blocking the screen. For me, we use an old dresser, which gives us just enough room for a lamp and a 2 photos. Of course we want to decorate it though, but we don't want the hassle of having to "rearrange" stuff when watching a show. So with this we keep things simple. 

My son found a squeaky rat (you can take the squeaker out) at Target for $1 to put in front of the TV. I think it's really cool, because it almost blends in with the TV and makes people laugh when they notice the red eyes on the dresser next to my dish of pumpkins. For the mini pumpkins display, I bought a bowl at the Dollar Tree for - you guessed it - $1 and a bag of these Styrofoam pumpkins (yes, for $1). I love this, because "Apothecary Jars" are a huge hit right now and it almost "classes up" something that normally might look gaudy. (P.S. I also do this with mini Christmas bulbs during Christmas time). 

The Kitchen
I do realize that you saw the "Pumpkin Heads Deadly Diner Menu" above the bookcase, but that's because my padawan decided he wanted it to go there. Normally it sits in our kitchen, hence why it's in this category.

Dollar Tree has a hilarious sense of humor - in my opinion - with their "kitchen themed" decorations. They have all sorts of "menu signs" for you to put up for a goolish decoration when eating and adorable little potion ingredients to disperse around.

We have a small-ish kitchen, so we don't often decorate it with a bunch of stuff, but a few things here and there are always fun. I put the potions near my spice rack above the stove (ours is electric) and the menu normally hangs near the fridge and pantry. These can also be great inspirations for Halloween parties, if you need an idea on what to serve and name them. Obviously don't actually serve "Maggot Stew" (gross), but perhaps spaghetti or pasta of some sort. 


If you're anything like us, you have bunch of random empty spots, additional furniture (DVD case, side table, coffee table, window sills, etc) and a few hanging areas that could use a little Halloween sprucing up as well. That's where "fillers" - as I like to call them - come in! 

Dollar Tree is amazing at supplying random decorations you didn't know you needed, to fill in any random gaps you may have, really anywhere in your house. 

One of my favorite types of fillers, are statues. Dollar Tree is FILLED with all sorts of different statues - skull heads, skeletons, headstones, and more. I chose a small, hand sized headstone for my kitchen windowsill. I thought it wasn't necessarily "scary" but almost a cute little addition to a random spot. The cat - although you can't see it - has a sweet innocent smile on it. Lord knows I didn't need a black cat to decorate with, since two of my neighbors have black cats that roam our apartment building daily, but this one doesn't meow or come with fleas so...

Touching back on Dollar Tree's signs, they not only have food styled ones, but simple ones as well, like the "Happy Halloween" one pictured above. I use this for the hallway opening (there is actually a small hook on the other side of the wall, but it wasn't photographing well so I hung it on the fire alarm for the sake of the pic) and I absolutely adore it. My hallway is very apparent when you first walk in the door, so to have a little add-on hanging over the hallway, gives off an extra inviting decoration piece that I enjoy. Padawan agrees as well. 

Last but not least, creatures! Now I know I already showed you guys one spider on the bookcase display and a rubber rat near the TV, but I wanted to show you guys another flexible spider we have that I use near our plant display. Personally I think using creatures - spiders, zombies, rats, etc.) really can add a friendly - or really scary - atmosphere in - or out - your home. We are FAKE spider friendly, especially when you can alter their legs to make them do funny poses around all sorts of objects! Our spiders are from Dollar Tree (as previously mentioned) and come in a few colors. We've only noticed purple, silver, black, and black/silver combo, but a friend of mine recently told me they had more colors this year at her local Dollar Tree, so colors (along with everything really) may vary. 

Generally you can find all, if not most, of this stuff at Dollar Tree - or Dollar General - this year. Target is also an excellent place to check out, especially in their dollar section. If you don't mind storing your decorations for next years use, you can always check out stores a few days AFTER Halloween for huge discounts. If you go to Halloween specialty stores (like Halloween Spirit store) afterwards, you will find amazing discounts. That lifelike zombie display that costs $150? Yeah, it's on sale for $50 afterwards. Trust me, it's how my dad accumulated a lot of his decorations. We used to make it a ritual where we'd check out the specialty stores right after the holidays and score big time! 

Well there you have it guys, a way to celebrate without a crying bank account. Hopefully these tips and tricks have inspired you to get into the spooky spirit and decorate with some extra creativity! Love you Jedis and Padawans and may the force be with you all. 

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