I’m still finding Halloween items at some of my favorite stores. It’s not all grade-A material, but if you’re looking to satisfy your Halloween fix – you know, just to tide you over – then let me suggest checking out the following stores:
I’m not sure if your Kohl’s is the same as mine, but my local store has a whole section of clearance merchandise tucked away in a random home decor and bedding aisle. If you’re up for some spelunking, you should be able to find something to your liking. Maybe a placemat or two.
Barnes & Noble
Being the sales guru I am, I know that Barnes & Noble stores do a seasonal clearance at least twice a year, usually at the very beginning of the year after the holidays are over and then again somewhere in the middle. I went to scope out the sitch a few days ago and was quite pleasantly surprised to find a few fun goodies.
They also had this cool book that let you create your own zombie out of their flip pages:
Check out this cool one I made:
Those two stores are the best I’ve found for having old items still hanging around, but you should also check out clearance sections anywhere including Michael’s, Tuesday Morning, and many more.
Of course, if none of that does it for you, just make your own post-season Halloween crafts and feel good knowing that Halloween is only a short 284 days away…
It’s no secret that I love Dollar Tree, and one of the reasons I love it so, so much for my Halloween shopping is that you can make so many of their items look more expensive with only a little bit of work.
Of all the Halloween items they carry, their skulls are my favorite. I always pick up a few each year. This year, just to help you out, I bought a few more than usual to play around with. But with them being just a dollar, it was totally worth it.
5 Ways to Use a Dollar Tree Skull
1. Use metallic spray paint to make your skulls look at home in any chic Halloween setup.
2. Who doesn’t love a sugar skull? Spray paint a skull white and go to town with multicolored sharpies, paint pens, stickers, and jewels. It’ll look great at any Day of the Dead celebration.
3. Transform a skull into a mini jack-o-lantern by carving it with a craft knife. Insert a flameless tea light and – voila! – glowing skull! You can even spray paint it orange for a faux skull pumpkin or other colors to match your decor.
4. Make your skull look gross and creepy – and much more like a high-end prop – by using the corpsing technique I outlined here.
5. Grab a few items you probably already have on hand and make this cool hanging ghost. Read the tutorial here.
SO. MUCH. FUN. I hope you try out a few of these projects because you’ll be missing out if you don’t. Let me know how your projects work out in the comments. Happy Haunting!
Nothing dresses up a yard at Halloween time more than a floating ghost. Stores carry these guys plus floating zombies, monsters, and clowns, but they can get pretty pricey for some reason. Luckily for you, these are crazy easy to make. Please follow along, class.
First, as with all projects, you need to gather your materials.
For your floating ghost, you will need the following:
A plastic skull
A wire hanger
Foam pipe cover
Box cutter (not pictured)
Duct tape (not pictured)
You can buy a skull and creepy cloth from Dollar Tree, so this project is not only easy; it’s insanely cheap. The foam pipe cover is pretty inexpensive, too. You can get a package at any hardware store for a couple of bucks. They actually sell white foam cover, too, but for this project I went with the dark gray.
After you’ve gathered your items, you need to make holes in the top and bottom of your skull. Cut a small hole in the top and one that’s a little larger in the bottom. You won’t be able to see them when you’re finished, so don’t worry about being exactly even.
Next up, it’s time to make the shoulders (yes, your ghost will have shoulders) and attach it to the head. My wire hanger was one with the cardboard middles, so I’d recommend using the same kind. If you only have a full wire hanger, you’ll need to untwist the hanger and shape it so you have a hook in the middle.
Straighten out the sides of your hanger to make the shoulders of your ghost.
Add the foam pipe to the shoulders on each side and secure in the middle with duct tape. Use outdoor duct tape for the best results. That stuff works miracles.
Tie your string together to make a circle, and thread it through the bottom of your head up through the top hole or vice versa. Take the hook of the hanger and thread it through the string from the bottom hole.
After you hook the string, pull it through to secure your ghost. Add a few small pieces of duct tape to the top hole to keep the string from dropping through. When you’re finished, it will look like this:
Your last step is adding the creepy cloth. Just drape it over the ghost’s shoulders and head, threading the string through a hole in the cloth to secure it. You can add as much or as little as you want depending on how transparent you want your ghost to be.
Tada!!! Your ghost is finished!
Doesn’t he look cool? It was so easy that I plan on making a few more.
So there you go. You just made a cool decoration for your yard. And the beauty of this little project is that you can change it up quite easily. You can do all sorts of variations to make different kinds of ghosts or other types of monsters. Paint the head with glow paint. Use a foam head with a mask. Add lights. Use cheesecloth instead of creepy cloth. Add hands. Use longer, stronger wire to make a gigantic creature. There are so many possibilities. Not to go self-help on you, but the only thing limiting yourself is you.
I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a message through the contact page. Happy Haunting!
I just discovered my favorite Halloween DIY project today: corpsing a skeleton. I’d been hesitant to try it before because I’d only seen tutorials that used sticky adhesive or latex, and I’m cheap enough to not want to “mess up” one of my skeletons. But after finding a tutorial online that only involved plastic sheeting, a heat gun, and some stain and realizing that I can pick up a new skeleton any time I need, I decided to try it out.
It’s way simpler than I thought it would be, and I love the results. If you have a skull or skeleton or even just a bone lying around, you should seriously think about giving corpsing a try.
First off, let’s talk supplies.
To corpse a skeleton or skeleton part, you need the following:
Plastic drop cloth
Spray adhesive (optional)
Varnish (assorted colors)
Speaking of heat guns, just look at this beauty I picked up this weekend, care of a well-timed gift card to Lowe’s from my husband. He’s a good man.
I’m going to go through this step-by-step as if you’re doing a full skeleton, but you can use the technique for whatever part your corpsing.
If you opt to use spray adhesive (and I highly recommend that you do), lightly spray the torso of your skeleton. Cut a section of drop cloth to the length of the torso, and start wrapping. You can wrap the full plastic around the torso at one time, or you can wrap in sections.
After you’ve wrapped the torso of your skeleton, it’s time to break out the heat gun. Focus the heat gun on the plastic, making sure not to stay in one area too long (you don’t want to melt your skeleton). You should also focus the heat on different sections of your plastic to melt holes strategically around your skeleton. Corpses don’t rot neatly (I should know), and you don’t want your nasty guy looking too Martha Stewart perfect. Play around with it. If you don’t like what you see, add more plastic, and melt it again.
Repeat on each section of the skeleton. I recommend going in the following order:
Pelvis (overlapping the legs)
Shoulders (overlapping the torso and arms)
This is what your skeleton should look like after torso and arms wrapped and shrunk.
For the hands and feet, you need to use your box cutter or scissors to cut the plastic around the fingers and toes. Then, shrink the cut plastic around the smaller bones.
When adding plastic to your skull, it’s much harder to wrap like the other areas, so this is where the spray adhesive really comes in handy. Take smaller squares of the plastic and spray lightly with the adhesive. Smash the sprayed plastic on the skull without keeping it straight. It looks best when it isn’t perfectly flat. Add heat, and when it looks right to you, you’re finished.
Next is my favorite part of any project: making it pretty!
Using a foam brush, dab whatever color of stain you’re using to the plastic on your skeleton. You can use any combo of colors you want. I went with a red and dark brown combo because I wanted my corpse to have that human-jerky look.
After dabbing color on a section, use a paper towel to smear and spread the stain around to hide any brush marks and blend your colors. When you’re finished and the stain is dry, dry-brush the full skeleton to highlight the sinewy effect of the melted plastic. I used a moss green here, and I really liked the result.
These are some other color combos you can use:
Bloody corpse: red stain with a little black stain added; bright red dry-brushing
Toxic corpse: green, gray, and black stains; lime green dry-brushing
Buried corpse: light tan and brown stains; black dry-brushing
Burnt corpse: dark brown and black stains with red highlights; orange dry-brushing
Moldy corpse: green, brown, and tan stains; light green/blue dry-brushing
Play around with it. There are so many different kinds of paints and stains out there that you can get any look you want.
And here’s a close-up of my guy. The pic really doesn’t do him justice. He’s much better in person, and I’ve already gotten quite a few compliments.
I really hope my newfound corpsing enthusiasm takes some of the trepidation out of corpsing your own props. I also had a little fun corpsing a Dollar Tree skull, but I’m saving that for another post. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or just send me a pic of your project!
If you’re looking to decorate your whole house for Halloween and throw a party from scratch, I beg you to go to Dollar Tree to check out their awesome merchandise. As the name implies, everything is $1, and you would be amazed at how good their Halloween selection is.
Just check out this awesomeness:
They’ve got tombstones, cemetery fences, signs, holographic pictures, candy dishes, party plates, costumes, door hangers, napkins, treats, props, and so much more.
If you’re looking for some fun party favors or treat bags, go here first.
They have some great skeleton and skull merchandise. No, they don’t have a full-size skeleton prop like some of the bigger stores, but they do have skulls, bone hands, and other items. C’mon. It’s all $1.
Also, if you need to get creepy cloth, they have different colors to choose from. It’s usually $3-$5 at most stores, so it’s definitely a deal here.
I was also pretty impressed by their spider, rat, and bat selection this year. Quite lovely.
I’ll end my short review of my favorite cheap store by talking a little bit about the tongs below. I bought a pair of these last year. Target was selling something similar for $15, so these are a damn good deal. Buy them. Buy five.
If you didn’t get it already, I’m kinda in love with Dollar Tree’s Halloween stuff. Another cool thing about this store is that the items can be dressed up or repurposed in Halloween crafts or other props since everything is so cheap. I’ll even be doing a few posts about using Dollar Tree stuff in your Halloween decor.
So if you’re wondering where to go to start your decorating, run to Dollar Tree as fast as your little legs can take you.
Gordman’s has never been a big draw for me for Halloween merchandise because it usually only has the cutesier items just for decoration. If you’re looking for just home decor items, you should check them out because they have a pretty good selection. I was pleasantly surprised that they had an actual prop this year – even if it was a little overpriced.
It seems like there was more of a limited selection this year than for previous Halloweens, but they still had a pretty good mix of items:
They had some pretty cool pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns for general fall decorating. I especially liked the black/white and gold variety two pics below:
A few items were less cute and more scary. Check out these zombie and ghoul stand ups in the pic below. They stood about 2 feet tall each, so they wouldn’t be considered a real prop, but they’re pretty cool.
As always, skeleton and skull items get my attention faster than anything else, so you can imagine that I kinda fell in love with this little guy. I might catch him when I do my post-Halloween discount shopping.
Although I don’t like cute Halloween items as a general rule, I do love me a good countdown clock. This one was pretty cool:
And as I said before, they actually had a full-size prop this year. Check out this bad boy:
I got up close and personal with him to get a good pic of his face. I really like the detail.
With the exception of the prop, everything was reasonably priced. I’d compare the prices to TJ Maxx and Home Goods. The prop itself was priced at a little over $200, which for a prop that only lights up and doesn’t move, is a little too much.
Well, I had the pleasure of going to Home Depot yesterday, and yet again, they have KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE FREAKIN’ PARK.
Last year was the first time I really took notice of Home Depot’s Halloween decorations, and I think that’s because they had just seriously upped their Halloween game. I’d been looking forward to this year’s display, and I wasn’t disappointed.
They have a wide selection of prop items from fake lanterns and jack o’ lanterns to bone animals and animatronics. And everything is priced pretty reasonably, too.
Check out this cool Frankenstein’s monster:
He wasn’t plugged in, but he lights up and says a few phrases.
They, of course, had a great display of animatronics. My favorite was the dragon. She flaps her wings and just looks pretty badass in general.
As you can see in the second picture of the post, there were a lot of smaller prop items. My favorite was this guy just because he’s pretty unique:
That would be a great prank to pull on someone, too. Imagine if you were to go to someone’s house to watch horror movies and secretly placed that outside their window until the perfect moment where you say you heard something outside the window and they go to check, move back the curtain, and promptly piss their pants.
You can tell that I’ve thought about this.
I really liked their hanging items. A few lit up and talked, and they were only $19.98. That’s pretty awesome.
This cool trio of witches wasn’t lit up when I went, but I thought they were fun.
I also liked this guy:
Home Depot also has more light show items this year. If you don’t know what those are, they are light stakes that project creepy shapes or lights on any surface you choose. They’re great to supplement a sparse spot of your yard or house.
So should you go to Home Depot to check out their Halloween stuff? Yes. You should run there.
Pottery Barn is not a place I frequent simply because the prices for most things they sell are too high for me. I just can’t justify spending $35 for a wine glass. BUT I love the stuff they carry. I just have to wait to get it on a very, very big discount.
So needless to say, I probably won’t get to purchase any of the Halloween decorations I’m reviewing in this post, but I hope that some of you out there with a larger disposable income might benefit.
They really didn’t have a whole heck of a lot of stuff, but the items they did have were pretty awesome. There was a really cool table layout they had set up. Just look at this creepy, elegant thing:
I just loved everything on it. The center platter held one of my favorite items:
The glass skull decanter was beautiful in person. I loved it. Sadly, it’s priced at $39.50, and without any vodka in it, I just can’t justify spending that much on it. Maybe when it’s half off.
I also really liked the skeleton wine glasses:
There’s also a really cool condiment set. I didn’t get a picture of it while I was there, but you can see it here. It’s fantastic, but again, it’s too pricy for my blood.
They also had a selection of pumpkins ranging from about $24.50 to $39.50. I liked some of the mirrored ones they had, and the larger metallic pumpkins caught my eye as well.
So while I actually love their merchandise, I probably won’t get to enjoy any of their items this year due to the high prices. I could get a few things, but I’m cheap and just can’t spend that much on some of that stuff. But I hope you are able to get something. I’ll just be envious of your purchases.
I’m not that big of a fan of Kirkland’s just because I don’t like looking at the type of decorative items the stores carry, but I thought I’d venture inside one a few weeks ago to see what their Halloween selection looked like.
They are definitely lower on my list for Halloween merchandise providers, but I admit that they had some fun stuff. I’m going to apologize in advance for the picture quality. This store was worse than Bath and Body Works regarding the VERY fragrant aroma in the air as I walked in. I felt like I was slapped in the face hard by 15 different air fresheners. That being said, I was in a hurry to get out of there, and my pictures suffered.
Here’s blurry pic of some cute ghosts and pumpkins along with a cool Day of the Dead platter at the bottom:
Here’s another of the back of the same shelf. Their stuff is definitely more on the cutesy side of the Halloween merchandise spectrum, but I think everyone could find at least one thing they liked out of their selection.
For instance, I really liked this metal guy:
They also had some pretty cool canvas pictures, including this one of trick-or-treaters out on Halloween night and the one below of a cool haunted house.
Right before I fled to save my nostrils and avoid a headache from the overpowering smell, I saw this:
I think the pillows at the bottom were adorable, and I’m always game for anything skull related. The little nutcracker-like dolls on the top shelf were pretty cool, too.
So would I go back to Kirkland’s for their Halloween stuff? Probably not, but I can see where their items would appeal to certain types of Halloween decorators. If you’re looking for scariness or gore, this ain’t it, but if you want cute and accessible, try it out.
I. Love. Michaels. Every year, I look forward to their Halloween merchandise, and I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed this time.
Unfortunately for me, my town doesn’t have a Michaels, so I have to settle on going to the one near my parents. Fortunately for you, I was due for a visit this past weekend, so I was able to go look at all of their wonderful, creepy goodies.
First of all, let’s talk about Spooky Town. I love miniatures, so of course I’m going to love a little town of mini creepy houses and creatures.
They had some really cute new miniatures, including my two favorites:
Ain’t they adorable?
As always, Michaels has a great mixture of creepy props, fun decorations, and craft supplies. They’re definitely my favorite of the craft stores when it comes to Halloween.
This guy right here will be mine at the end of the season. I should have used a banana for scale, but I didn’t think about it at the time, but he’s pretty big. He’d look great next to a witch’s cauldron.
This animated prop was pretty awesome, too. A tad overpriced in my opinion at $69.99, but still cool. Again, I screwed up, this time by not getting a video of the guy in action, but he basically just moves back and forth with his hands while shouting profanity and racial slurs.
Just kidding. I wanted to make sure you were paying attention. He moves around and groans. No offensive language for Michaels.
And I don’t know what it is about these ceramic heads, but I freaking adore them. They have skulls, Frankenstein’s monster, jack o’lanterns, mini skulls, and skeleton hands. You can paint these to fit your decor, or just leave them as is and pair with anything you want.
I would totally recommend going to Michaels if you’re lucky enough to have one in your area. The items aren’t overpriced, and if you’re a cheapo like me, you can always use a coupon or just catch them on sale.