26 Cheap and Easy Last-Minute Halloween Party Ideas

Woman's Day

The National Retail Federation recently predicted that Americans will spend nearly $75 per person on Halloween this year. That's one scary statistic for your wallet! Fear not: The following party tips will help you stay on budget while having a spooktacularly fun time.

From Woman's Day

The National Retail Federation recently predicted that Americans will spend nearly $75 per person on Halloween this year. That's one scary statistic for your wallet! Fear not: The following party tips will help you stay on budget while having a spooktacularly fun time.

Pin this image!

Save these cheap and easy last-minute Halloween ideas for later by pinning this image! Follow Woman's Day on Pinterest for more fun Halloween ideas.

Graveyard Cookie Jar

This is one dessert you'll be dying to dig into! Fill a large glass cookie jar with crumbs from your favorite chocolate cake along with white chocolate bones. Layer in tombstone sugar cookies decorated with gray, black, and purple royal icing. Pipe in tufts of grass using green-tinted buttercream. Push in a cemetery sign made from card stock and painted wood skewers for an added touch of Halloween spirit.

What you'll need: Skeleton candy molds ($2;; Tombstone cookie cutter ($2;; Cross cookie cutter ($2;; Card stock ($12 for 50 sheets;; Wood skewers ($4 for 100;

Light Up These Pumpkin Mason Jars

These easy-to-make Halloween crafts double as party centerpieces!

Get the tutorial at Love and Marriage.

What you'll need: Mason jars ($18 for 6;; Orange tissue paper ($8;; Black construction paper ($8;; Mod Podge ($6;; Sponge brush ($6 for 25;

Serve a Halloween Cocoa Bar

Warm up on a chilly night with a cup of hot chocolate topped with ghost-shaped marshmallows and candy corn.

Get the tutorial at Clean & Scentsible.

What you'll need: Thin wooden plaque ($12;; Chalkboard spray paint ($4;; wire basket ($12;; Baker's twine ($11;; Marshmallow peeps ($14 for pack of 3;; Hot chocolate powder ($15;; Candy corn ($8;

Fill This Barrel of Boos with Candy

Your guests will love picking out a piece (or two or three!) of their favorite candy from this ghostly bucket.

Get the tutorial at Sandie Seasongoods.

What you'll need: Black felt ($6;; White spray paint ($4;; Candy bowl ($8;; White fabric ($9;; bucket stand ($20;

Play Pumpkin Bowling

Kiddos will love nothing more than to roll a pumpkin toward toilet paper "pins" in this fun game.

Get the tutorial at I Dig Pinterest.

What you'll need: Toilet paper ($22 for 4 packs;, Black permanent marker ($6 for 12;

Mix Hocus Pocus Punch

Only three ingredients are needed to brew this Halloween potion.

Get the tutorial at Nourished Simply.

What you'll need: V8 Peach Mango ($16;, Izze Peach ($19 for pack of 12;; Mango sorbet ($5;

Use Old Wine Bottles As Decor

Create these ghosts from recycled wine bottles. Use a paint scraper to remove the label from an empty dark-colored glass wine bottle, and remove any glue with Goo Gone. Draw a scary face using a white paint pen.

What you'll need: Empty wine bottles ($6 for 6;; White paint pen ($6;

Make a Ghoulish Punch

This frightfully refreshing concoction is made from lemon-lime seltzer and lime sherbet.

Get the recipe.

Tools you'll need: Plastic punch bowl ($7;

Make Scarecrows for Your Porch

You'll need a pumpkin, old clothes and hats, a hot glue gun, and hay or a cheap material (hello, plastic grocery bags!) for stuffing.

Get the tutorial.

What you'll need: Hay ($12 for set of 8;

Make Monster Munch

Gummy worms add the perfect touch to this crowd-pleasing party mix. It's a perfect combo of salty and sweet that can be ready in 10 minutes flat.

Get the recipe.

What you'll need: Orange plastic cups ($12;; Green plastic cups ($8;

Decorate Using Things From Around the House

Clementine oranges make great table decorations-check out Under Construction and Jutz Putzing for ideas. We're also partial to trash bag spider webs (see the how-to on How About Orange) and paper plate "candy corn" bunting (as seen on Typically Simple).

DIY a Hay Ride

Skip the pricey pumpkin patch outing and throw a few bales of hay in the back of a wagon for a (slow) ride. Cruise down the block to let the kids get a tour of neighbors' seasonal and spooky lawn decor.

Get more inspiration at

Host a Halloween movie night.

Pop some popcorn and cozy up on the couch to watch a Halloween classic (check out the 13 best movies to watch with your kids this Halloween) on Netflix, or to take in a viewing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown which local stations usually air a few weeks before Halloween.

Visit your Local Thrift Store for Costumes and Props

Thrift stores and consignments shops often put costumes and seasonal decor on display or on special racks this time of year, so you can find what you need without digging. Stock up on cheap clothing and accessories that you can alter for last-minute DIY costumes.

Better Yet, Host a Costume Swap

Nobody wants to wear the same costume two years in a row. Get your friends' kids together for a costume swap-you may just end up with an incredible mashup that's completely unique. Some cities even host community-wide swaps on October 10, National Costume Swap Day.

Use Every Part of Your Pumpkin

Don't toss those jack-o'-lantern innards! Toast the pumpkin seeds with cinnamon and sugar for a yummy treat, and puree the stringy parts to use in savory soups and breads.

Bake Halloween Nachos

It's a party classic: nacho bean dip, only with a creepy-crawly twist. Make it up to four hours ahead of time and pull it from the fridge when you're ready to party.

Get the recipe.

Turn Pantry Items Into Props With Free Printables

We're forever grateful for the talented people who design free printables for everyone's enjoyment. Check out Celebrations at Home and The Project Girl for some fun (and free!) apothecary and jar labels for your Halloween party.

Rim Cocktails With Black Sugar

Make your own using granulated sugar and food coloring.

Get the recipe at Mom on Time Out.

Go Bobbing for Apples

There's a reason this Halloween game is a classic. Can you say cheap entertainment? If dunking your face in water isn't enticing, add a few floating candles to the basin for easy and inexpensive backyard mood lighting.

What you'll need: Floating candles ($11;; Round tub ($13;

Banana Mummy Pops

These adorably spooky banana mummies will be the hit of any Halloween party treat table. (Your kids won't even notice they're eating fruit!)

Get the recipe.

Tools you'll need: $4, Wilton Lollipop sticks,

Dress Up Your Porch Light With a Dollar Store Pumpkin Bucket

Heidi of Happiness is Homemade calls this hack the cheapest and easiest Halloween decoration ever. Something so cute that takes just $1 and 3 minutes-how could you not do this?

Get Crafty With Tissue Paper

Johnnie of Saved By Love Creations made this Halloween bouquet out of orange and black tissue paper and old book pages. We've also seen pumpkin-shaped goody bags and pom-pom monsters crafted out of tissue paper.

Make Spooky Specimens

Paired with white, vintage-style medical statuettes, a display of flora and fauna samplings underneath glass cloches creates a mad scientist look.

Create Gloomy Drapes

Inexpensive materials like cheesecloth and burlap make for haunting Halloween drapery and black spiderwebs show up well backlit by daylight from a window. Use thumbtacks and a hammer to attach the material to the inside of your window frame.

What you'll need: Cheesecloth ($10;; Burlap ($14;

Make Spooky Spinach Dip In a Cauldron Bread Bowl

Impress guests with this crafty Halloween appetizer, which cleverly transforms pumpernickel bread, breadsticks and cream cheese into a basket, then fills it with a super-simple creamy spinach dip

Get the recipe.


What to read next