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11 Halloween Decorating Ideas You Can Find at Dollar Stores

Scary skulls, creepy crafts, ghoulish lighting, plus other seasonal items make for a spooky holiday

spinner image three photos of seasonal decor for halloween fall and dia de los muertos
Michelle Madison / Dollar Tree

Halloween isn’t just for kids. Many adults want to make Halloween spook-tacular by going all out when it comes to decorating this year.

At dollar stores, “there are so many inexpensive items to decorate a home for the holidays,” says Karen Michela Parziale, an interior designer in Hoboken, New Jersey. “People can be a little crafty and clever.”

Consumer spending on Halloween decorations has increased steadily, especially for decorations and candy, to more than $30 on each category, according to data from the National Retail Federation.

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Whether you want to create a haunted house or just add Halloween colors to your decor, you’ll find plenty of budget-friendly home trimmings at dollar stores like 99 Cents Only Stores, Dollar General and Dollar Tree.

“For the bargains you’re getting, you can’t go wrong,” says lifestyle specialist and event planner Michelle Madison of Miami. She suggests using dollar store items as a starting point to create your own Halloween style. “The more out of the box, the better.”

Keep in mind that some items cost more than $1 at dollar stores, especially on their websites, where you may have to buy in bulk to get a lower price. And items at Dollar Tree now typically cost $1.25 or more.

Here are 11 ideas to create Halloween fun using products found at dollar stores:

1. Creepy entrance

Welcome guests with a spooky Halloween wreath or spider web spread across the front door. It can make your entrance stand out if you live in an apartment or residential building, says Madison, who in the past has decorated her front door with candy bags strung across a plastic background of gray bricks.

2. Day of the Dead theme

spinner image a tabletop decorated for dia de los muertos with skeletons and food offerings
Day of the Dead is a popular decorating and party theme for Halloween.
99 Cents Only Stores

Decorations for the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, are extremely popular, says Jane Rolfe, vice president of party and seasonal goods for 99 Cents Only Stores. You’ll find sugar skulls, tall candles, serving plates and even socks in black or white with colorful calavera, or decorated skull, designs.

spinner image an assortment of colorful pumpkins in a basket and on the stairs
You can't go wrong with a pile of pumpkins, which come in a variety of styles and sizes.
Dollar Tree

3. Outdoor decorations

People like to decorate their front yard because that’s what visitors see first. Decorate the trees with garland, ornaments and string lights. Go crazy with pumpkins — unadorned or carved into scary silhouettes. Pumpkin carving also is something you can do with friends or grandchildren.

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4. Indoor Halloween tree

Yes, trimming an indoor Halloween tree just like a Christmas tree is a thing. You’ll find everything from garland to glittery Halloween ornaments at some dollar stores.

5. Skulls and skeletons

spinner image a mantle decorated for halloween with skeletons and eyes and flowers
Dollar stores are a treasure trove of kitschy Halloween items like skeletons and eyeballs.
99 Cents Only Stores

You’ll find skeletons in all shapes and sizes — from small frogs to an 18-inch hanging skeleton.

Madison likes to take skulls, spray-paint them white and add faux gems to create a glam skull. To see how she does it, check out her DIY glam-skull video on Pinterest. “Some people go for the gore, but others love the tongue-in-cheek, like ... skeleton flamingos here in Florida,” Madison says.

spinner image a mantle decorated for halloween with a trick or treat banner and candles and skeletons
Dollar stores offer many home decor products from pedestal candy dishes to candle holders.
Dollar Tree

6. Spider webs 

Nothing says spooky like spiders and spider webs. Spray goofy string or hang fake webs across doorways or hallways. Hand out plastic spider rings (a bagful for $1.25 at Dollar Tree) to children or wear one while doling out candy. Scatter plastic spiders for a truly frightful sight.

7. Mood lighting 

Halloween-themed lights — indoors or outdoors — will be everywhere this year, says Rolfe of 99 Cents Only Stores. In addition to string lights and LED tea lights that come in various designs and colors, you’ll also see mini chandeliers and scary snow globes that light up. For a DIY candle project, Parziale suggests scooping out the inside of mini-pumpkins and inserting tea candles to decorate indoors or illuminate outdoor walkways.

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spinner image a tabletop decorated for halloween with pumpkins and candy and spiders and cats
Halloween-themed table decor will brighten up dinner or a party.
99 Cents Only Stores

8. Terrifying tables

Whether it’s a cozy dinner for two or a small party, go all out with Halloween-themed tableware or Halloween colors, such as black plates and orange napkins. Dollar stores sell ceramic, plastic and paper plates, bowls, cutlery and wine glasses. Use colored silk ribbons as napkin rings, Parziale recommends.

Julie Schuna of St. Paul, Minnesota, usually goes to a nearby Dollar Tree store to buy Halloween decorations for DIY projects like a table centerpiece and boxes to fill with goodies for her grandchildren and teachers.

“I like good deals,” the 57-year-old says. “I try not to pay full price.”

9. Chilling centerpieces

Top off your dining or coffee table with a Halloween centerpiece made with a black-lace table runner or velvet pumpkins for $1. “One of my favorite things to do for Halloween is to put candy corn on the bottom of a glass bowl and add a white candle, then tie a nice gauzy ribbon around the outside of the bowl,” Parziale says.

10. Scary roses

Roses are likely to figure prominently in Halloween this year. You’ll see black single-stem fake roses and foam roses for DIY projects, plus red roses in Day of the Dead products or on black wall art.

11. Cackling-good crafts

Some dollar store websites even provide Halloween decorating ideas. Dollar Tree offers free printable bats for DIYers and craft ideas like how to make Halloween gnomes or door wreaths. Family Dollar’s Halloween party decor tips include choosing a color theme and how to use cobwebs.

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