Despite looking like I have it all together, I have two small kids so I’m a *snow* show, even in the fall. So today, I’m talking quick, easy, affordable Halloween decor that is low-maintenance and not too visually chaotic because, frankly, that’s all I can handle. I veer more ‘Martha Stewart’ than a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ so I’m more ‘spooky’, than ‘scary’ and definitely ‘spiders’, not ‘psychos’. So these are my last minute tips that can help you make your house feel like Halloween without spending too much time or money or putting your children into therapy.
Some of these are ideas from last year that we didn’t feel like we needed to reshoot (because they would be exactly the same) but we set up some new ideas to help supplement the post and make it more about “ideas” and less about a reveal (which is why you’ll see the decor change in some of the photos).
Black Candles with Black Candlesticks
Rocket science, I know. But this is one of the easiest things we did to up the spook factor. It’s beautiful, editorial and VERY budget friendly. We got these tapers at a local shop for about a dollar each and I already had these awesome new matte black Target Threshold candlestick holders. With this look, more is more. Few people functionally need four candles on one cabinet but having that many gives it the spooky haunted mansion vibe I wanted. If you don’t want to buy new candlesticks, you could also easily head to the thrift store and buy some and spray paint them all black and throw some candles in it. With this idea, you will also want to vary the heights of the candlestick holders for visual interest. It will make the look more collected and put together.
I didn’t come up with the name, but I am into the look. This year, we decided to mix up the type of gauze on the living room furniture and went for this “spooky fabric.” It’s super affordable and comes in a few different colors from Target. The fabric looks somewhat like fishnet so to make it look extra “spooky” we played with it by pulling sections apart. It gave us that perfect old-timey, haunted house look. And because the kids love the plastic spiders and bugs, we added in a few of them to the set up to look like they were crawling all over the cabinet. It’s one of those accents that is “creepy, not freaky,” which is exactly our kind of Halloween decor over at the Hendersons.
Another awesome and kid-friendly decor idea that we all loved are these bat decals. I can’t take credit for them as Martha (Stewart) used them a few years back. But their impact and affordability are too good not to mention. They are also SO inexpensive but have big visual impact. When you are laying them out, you really can do whatever you want but we found it best to start with the largest ones every few feet and then add in the smaller ones around them. This helps with making sure you are spacing them out in a balanced way that adds depth and perspective. The ones that we used come with an adhesive already on them but that adhesive did leave a little residue on the wall, so if we were to do it again, we would recommend using a more wall-friendly tape. We had our bats just hang out in this little vignette but you could use them on your front door, on the ceiling or it could be fun to put them near a window so that it looks like they are all flying in from outside.
Last year, I somehow missed the memo on black spider webbing. I used white previously, and as we were coming up with the ideas for this post, Brady recommended the black as it would pop off of the walls, lampshades and art, so we gave it a try. Yes, it isn’t as realistic as the white webbing but we love the way that it contrasts with everything. If you have mainly light colors in your home, USE THIS. It adds the perfect amount of spooky drama and is so easy and affordable.
Black Painted Branches
Ready for some more rocket science? Take something, paint it black and instantly it is spooky. These painted branches make the room look so editorial (which I love) and spooky (which Brian and the kids love). The day before the shoot, we (and by we I mean Brady and our styling assistant, Emily Bowser) collected some fallen branches from a local park and spray painted them with matte black spray paint. NO TREES WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS SHOOT. I think most, if not all of you all know how I feel about trees and especially the horror of cutting them. But if your trees are in need of a trim, then you could always repurpose them and take off the remaining leaves to get this look. Our branches were about 3 to 4 feet each but with the use of black zip ties, were able to secure the branches together and also make them taller and more spread out. To cover the zip ties and add more drama (duh), we wrapped the branches with white spider webs. Here, the white makes sense since we wanted the color to contrast the black branches. Then to top it off, we wired some crows onto the branches. Spooky branches always need spooky crows.
Speaking of crows, I love to use A LOT of them. The kids think they are great and they feel a little more “sophisticated” Halloween which is great for me…the adult. I get them in different sizes and positions so they look varied throughout the house and more realistic. To add them to the branches (or anything really), we used floral wire and wrapped it around the crow’s legs and branches. They stay completely secure and look awesome.
As the bats wave goodbye let’s dive into some of the super fun younger kid decor we cooked up last year.
It was definitely nice to up the spooky side this year and make the space feel a little more editorial, but I did love the googly eyes on the portraits from last year. It was fast, fun and affordable. If the eyes you buy come with adhesive, I would first check to see how sticky it is to avoid any art damage. Washi tape is a great and safe adhesive alternative.
Overscale Spider Webs
Last-minute decorating is something I am VERY familiar with. So when I go into power decorating mode, I try and think of what will have the biggest impact for the least amount of time, effort and, of course, money. This large-scale spiderweb from Target checked off all of those boxes last year and it’s under $10. WHAT? Don’t worry, it’s available this year, too. It looked awesome and the kids loved it. I think putting a large-scale web over a window is ideal because of the light that comes through and you can see it from the outside. That’s a win-win in my book. We used one in the living room as well as one in the dining room.
One FREE Halloween decor trick we did last year was flip around our books to neutralized the color palette. Not only does it automatically give an old-timey look to the space, but you can easily accent with monochromatic decor without creating too much visual chaos. Black and white pumpkins (and crows, of course) are still festive without feeling too Halloween Central. Plus, I’m not huge on orange. The one downside, of course, is that you can’t show off how smart you are to your friends with all the fancy book titles you have on your shelf (but just give it a few weeks, and flip them right back around).
Gauze Fabric on Furniture
I know I talked earlier about much I love the “Spooky Fabric” from Target (we actually used it for last year’s table runner in the dining room) but a classic gauze is just as great. It feels super haunted mansion-y and is easy to just drape and be done with it. No crafting skills required. Again, it’s high impact decor with a very little amount of time, effort and money needed.
To finish us off, I felt the need to reiterate my support for black crows basically being the perfect Halloween accent decor piece. You saw how great they were on the black branches from this year but below are a couple more examples of where you could style your feathered friends. I used to be the lady that collected vintage bird ladders, now I am the lady that collects black crows. Go figure.
The dining room table and a top/inside cabinets are great places for crows to perch. This isn’t a setup that you would have on your dining table all season long. But it is something that is so easy that could be done last minute for a party this weekend. This gauze table runner we made with Spooky Fabric for our dining table last year instantly feels cooler and spookier with a crow or two on it.
And you know, through a crow on top of a lamp or liquor cabinet here and there. It says “Hey, it’s Halloween and I’m incredibly stylish.” Am I getting my “just put a crow on it”point across?
Well, that’s it folks. All quick and easy Halloween decorating ideas that are very budget and kiddo-friendly. The holidays are full of plenty of stresses so let’s not have decorating your home be one of them. Now we can focus on the important part of Halloween…dressing up our kids in adorable costumes and eating candy. Let us know in the comments if you have done any of these or if you have any more great ideas. Happy Happy Halloween from the Hendos.
1. Bats | 2. Crow | 3. Black Candleholders | 4. Black Tapered Candles | 5. Black Skull Candle | 6. Large Cloche | 7. Spooky Fabric | 8. Spider Web in Black with Spiders | 9. Large White Jack O’ Lantern | 10. Gold Pumpkin | 11. Mini Black Pumpkin | 12. Black and White Plaid Pumpkin (similar) | 13. Critters | 14. Bag of Bones | 15. Small White Jack O’ Lantern | 16. Black Pumpkin | 17. Crow Feet Candy Bowl | 18. Black Candelabra | 19. Set of Crows | 20. Spider Web in White | 21. Googly Eyes | 22. Mini White Pumpkin | 23. Large Black Jack O’ Lantern | 24. Giant Spider Web | 25. Medium White Pumpkin | 26. Gold Pumpkin | 27. Small Black Jack O’ Lantern
***Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD