21 of Our Best Indoor Halloween Decorations
You've probably spent weeks planning your family's Halloween costumes for an upcoming celebration—either in person, following social distancing guidelines, or virtually in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—but have you thought of how you're going to dress up your own home? Believe it or not, you don't need to make a mad dash for the stores in order to get your space ready for the spookiest holiday of the year. In the days and weeks leading up to Halloween, roll up your sleeves and get crafty and create unique décor that gives your guests a delightful sense of foreboding as they nosh on delicious treats all night long.
These craft tricks aren't too spooky. In fact, most are tame enough for younger ghouls and goblins who would enjoy them throughout a Halloween event. From floral elements to furniture that you can temporarily modify, there are many how-tos to get you in the spooky spirit. Using crafty essentials like hot glue and shears, you can create essentials like cobwebs and other visual effects for tabletops, bookcases, lighting fixtures, and even staircases, which can be transformed into a trick-of-the-eye rodent landscape with a pair of scissors and craft paper in all the right places. If you want to up the scream factor, try making a a modified mirror, which can become hauntingly eerie with just a few additions. While twinkling candlelight casting mysterious shadows is a mainstay on front porches for trick or treaters, you can bring these elements inside too with handmade lanterns that can be made a few days in advance.
There's a project for every room in the house on this list—whether you plan to keep guests in the dining room, or wish to turn the entire space into a haunted house, these projects will help you get the job done.
Pick Your Poison
October is the time for summoning spirits, including the boo-zy kind. To give your home bar a macabre makeover, decant liquor into dark-as-night infinity jars, the classic apothecary vessels made from black ultraviolet glass. (They won't give their contents eternal life, but will help them last longer.) Download our labels, print them on sticker paper, and get affixing and mixing.
Styling by Kendra Smoot.
Sometimes, there's safety in numbers. But this Halloween, there's fear—and fabulousness—in a flock. To summon a swarm of nocturnal nomads, use our downloadable template to cut out your own—stick on removable adhesive dots, bend the wings for extra eeriness, and let 'em loose. To spook-ify your nearby windows, mirrors, or your fridge, use vinyl clings instead of paper cutouts.
Martha Stewart Vinyl Bat Clings, $13 for 9, amazon.com.
Our print-and-adhere template conjures up a ghostly vision. Entwine a pair of wall sconces with hissing snakes, arrange black calla lilies in vessels dark as tombstones, and unleash the ghost who's been trapped behind the glass. One glimpse at it, and people will never forget the night they reached for your candy bowl.
Floral Skull and Skeleton Hands Centerpiece
Gather your guests 'round the table with this departed decorator as the centerpiece. A grinning skull is brimming with seasonal blooms while two bony hands clutch at taper candles.
Go larger than life. This "Flintstones"-size femur and the heap of humeri posing as logs in the fireplace are made from newspaper wrapped in plaster cloth.
Decoupage Halloween Lanterns
Halloween isn't all orange and black—it's a burst of bright colors and fun motifs. Bedeck a pair of paper lanterns with découpaged clip-art: owls, flowers, and star bursts.
Tattered Tablecloth and Spider Webs
Hair-raising party decorations don't need to be costly or fussy. You can make these frightening flourishes with some inexpensive craft supplies in just a few minutes.
Cast a sinister glow over any setting with a cluster of white tapers dripping with "blood" (actually red candle wax). Fill a cup or a small pail with sand, and plant white candles inside so they stand upright. Light a red candle and tip it over the white candles so the wax drips down the tops and sides, being careful not to burn yourself. Let wax cool completely before removing candles from sand.
Decorative Skeleton Bone Table
Frankenstein saw inspiration in the most grotesque of scavenging—here, we took a note from his book and constructed a bare-bones table decoration. The table legs are legs indeed—store-bought faux bones. To make it, trim the thigh bones: Use saw to cut the legs to 1 inch less than the desired table height (to account for tabletop). Next, stabilize the knees: Take each leg apart at the knee; unscrew the hardware, and remove the kneecap. Connect shin bone to thighbone with one double-threaded screw (3/16-by-3 inches). Lastly, stabilize the ankles: Position one foot so it rests flat on the floor, and generously squeeze epoxy into the hinge that makes the ankle flex. Repeat with the remaining legs. Let it dry and cure overnight at least before moving onto the next step. Attach the legs to the table: Decide where you want the legs, and drill pilot holes through tabletop. Place each leg underneath the pilot hole, then screw to attach. Put putty over the screws, and let it dry. Sand until smooth. Paint the tabletop a skeletal white.
Spooky Halloween Paper Garland
Jaunty jack-o'-lanterns, foreboding bats—these are Halloween-appropriate versions of the classic paper-doll chain. To make it, print our template onto card stock, fold the paper to its width, trace, and cut it out. Then, use scissors for the outline, and a craft knife or hole punch for facial features and smaller details. Intersperse with fringed garlands to add color.
Friendly Ghost Shades
These easy, inexpensive window treatments are a spooky addition to windows for Halloween. Trim a paper window shade from a home store to fit your window, then print our templates before cutting them out and tracing them onto thin white paper (such as white kraft paper). Cut these out, and then stretch and tape your window shade flat onto a safe work surface. Spray the back of the ghost cut out with adhesive, then press it onto the shade.
Redi Shade Paper Black Out Window Shades, from $6 each, homedepot.com.
Hanging Snake and Frog Vellum Lanterns
Create giant gothic lanterns using nothing more than our instructions, clip-art designs, and simple supplies. First, print out all of the following templates: this snake lantern, another spooky snake option, and the frog lantern as well. To begin, cut out one of the lantern templates, and trace it four times, side by side, on black paper. Use a bone folder to crease the areas where the sides meet before cutting it out. Print four copies of your chosen design onto vellum using a laser printer, and then cut each piece just larger than the frame's windows. Tape the vellum into a frame, and form into a lamp shape before taping the edges. To finish, cut a 26-inch length of wire and twist a loop in the middle of it; poke the wire ends through the paper to make two holes at the edge of the lantern. Use pliers to roll ends of wire to secure; and then use monofilament to hang two battery-operated votive candles, taped end to end, inside the lantern. Finally, use twine and a removable advise hanger to suspend the lantern in your chosen space.
Vellum Halloween Table Lanterns
When the sun goes down, set a spooky scene with these dramatic lanterns made from simple supplies and our exclusive clip-art designs. Start by choosing one of the following templates—this creepy cat, this spooked feline, or a crescent moon—and cutting out the lantern template on the second page. Trace the template four times, side by side, on 24-by-36-inch heavy black paper. Using a bone folder, crease the sides of the template where they meet, and then cut it out. Print four copies of your chosen illustration out on onto vellum paper using a laser printer. Cut these pieces just larger than the frame "windows," and then tape the vellum into the frame.
Inviting these spooky floating guests inside will keep other ghouls on their toes. Making these foreboding decorations is actually very easy—styrofoam mannequin heads are sold at wig shops, and while they can stand on their necks, suspending them lets the cloth flow freely.
Giant Tissue-Paper Spider
A giant spider that dangles overhead requires very little legwork. To begin, use wire cutters to cut eight 26-inches pieces of wire, and then cover the length of one wire with a piece of double-sided tape. Unroll your streamers onto tape and cut them to the proper length; turn the wire over and repeat the process on the other side. Then, create a half-inch fringe on the sides of the streamers using fringe scissors—repeat the process on the other legs as well. Finally, open up a flutter ball and poke your top end of each leg into the ball, securing with tape. Suspend the ball from the ceiling using filament wire.
The plates, glasses, and pitcher here are adorned with our clip-art eyeballs—and they capture the fear that everyone in extreme close-up.
Bone Frame With Sea-Life Skeleton
Create this arm-bone frame to display our clip-art sea-life print or another suitably spooky work of art. To make your own, download an illustration of urchins and coral. Take the file to a copy center to have it printed full-size (24 by 36 inches). You can choose a print of your own in a similar size instead. Using spray adhesive, adhere the print to foam board. Since you will not need the shoulder blades, unscrew them from the arms. Determine placement of arm bones: Place them on foam board, so their elbows are at the corners and hands reach along the sides. Anchor one arm at a time to foam board: Using a tapestry needle threaded with monofilament, and starting on the back side, sew through the foam board, loop monofilament over a bone, then push the needle back through; knot. Repeat a few times in the same spot. Then repeat this stitching in several other spots along the arm.
Beautiful butterflies seem to float off the pages of a dusty old tome, growing as they flit around this library. You can make these creatures in different sizes for your display. You can print the butterflies using our three templates: One for an orange butterfly, another for red specimens, and the last for smaller varieties overall. Print them on heavyweight paper. Trim butterflies roughly, then use some spray adhesive to adhere them to black paper. Carefully cut out each butterfly.
Candy Artifact Display
Tempt your Halloween party guests with an array of candies masquerading as botanical or nautical artifacts. To begin, fill large glass jars with sweets, and then mark each jar with a label that sounds convincing—here, the meringues are "jellyfish skeletons"—while being completely made up. If you don't have a cabinet, you can create your own by arranging the jars in wooden cubbies or crates; we painted these a deep slate gray.
Drilled "Galactic" Pumpkins
Make a big bang with a tumble of pumpkins studded like the starry bands of the Milky Way. Pick a few to be part of the inter- stellar arc, then hollow them out from below and punch holes in them using a drill and two different-size bits. Have fun with the placement of your planets and stars—random patterns have universal appeal. Arrange them with a few uncarved gourds, tuck battery-powered candles inside, and imagine a galaxy far, far away.