How To Decorate for Halloween From the Dollar Store

happy multiethnic family mother, father and little son have fun and celebrate Halloween at home.
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Halloween is coming up which means … spending scary amounts of money. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are dishing out $10.6 billion on Halloween this year — up from a record-setting $10.1 billion in 2021.

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That’s an awful lot of money to fritter away on candy, parties and, of course, ghoulish decor. One way to take the edge off the spooky spending spree is to shop at the dollar store, where you can find tons of Halloween-themed decorations for cheap. Let’s explore some fun stuff you can buy and how you can use it to create the perfect spine-chilling setting.

Plastic Hanging Skeletons

These come in a variety of sizes, but the 18″ ones make for easy decorations to put nearly anywhere,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com.

“One great idea would be to use them if you’re participating in a trunk-or-treat event; hang them up and decorate your trunk area or alternatively, try to prop them up into funny positions. If you have small clothing items to dress them in, even better. And bonus points if you can figure out a way to make them hold pieces of candy or goody bags to amuse the trunk-or-treaters.”

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Pearlized Ceramic Halloween Skulls 

“These are a departure from the typical plastic skulls you may see, in a sort of ‘Halloween, but make it glam’ way,” Ramhold said. “Put these wherever you want a touch of spooky decor without being cheesy — dining tables, side tables, bookshelves, even next to the bathroom sink would be a good spot. They come in a few different shades, so you can match the one that best fits your own style.”

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Halloween-Themed Door and Window Covers 

“These are mostly kind of cutesy: Ghosts and skeletons that don’t look too scary; that said, you might not want to display these where they can terrify small children,” Ramhold said.

“However, the spookiest one has to be the white background with ‘bloody’ handprints and ‘Help Me’ scrawled on it, also seemingly in blood. This would make an excellent spooky decoration for adults or to put in your bathroom window for instance. If you have a closet or pantry door with a frosted window, this could also make an excellent addition to that as most people probably won’t be expecting it.”

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Polyfoam Tombstone Decorations 

“These are really simple decorations that you can set up along your walkway or even on your front porch for decorations that take no time at all,” Ramhold said.

“However, you can also get inventive, if you like, and try to find interesting or unexpected places to prop these things up. Maybe put one on the top of your toilet tank, or even use them as unofficial signs to block off parts of your home you don’t want guests venturing into.”

Battery-Operated Halloween Paper Lanterns 

These come in orange, purple, and white and they’re kind of a great way to low-key decorate for Halloween,” Ramhold said.

“They’d be great for hanging on front porches, but also an easy way to decorate apartment balconies, or even your backyard if you have the room. All three colors also have different patterns —  the white has spiderwebs, purple has bats and stars, and orange has jack-o-lanterns and black cats, so get a mix to make things colorful and festive.”

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Assorted Vintage Hanging Halloween Decorations 

There are a few different ones to choose from, but my personal favorite is the ‘Pick Your Poison’ one because it’s absolutely perfect for a bar setup,” Ramhold said.

“Even if you aren’t serving alcohol, you can hang this sign over your coffee station for the whole season or use it to decorate your drink table for your spooky party. Honestly you could probably hang it on your refrigerator if you love the sign and can’t think of anywhere else to put it.”

Halloween Hanging Door Signs

These signs are a great way to imbue your home with a spooky vibe without leaning hardcore into typical Halloween items,” Ramhold said.

“One sign says ‘Welcome’ at the top and advertises psychic tarot card readings, while the other advertises crystal ball readings and also says ‘Open’. Either of these would make great signs to hang on your front door, but they’d also be great to hang on doors throughout your home, which is especially good if you don’t trust your neighbors not to steal your decorations.”

Plastic Mermaid Skeletons 

“I love these because they’re so different,” Ramhold said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Halloween decoration that was a mermaid skeleton and I think these would be excellent to decorate bathrooms with, but they’d also look great on a party drink table, especially right next to a spooky punch bowl.”

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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