Here at Sweet Valley Acres, during spooky season we enjoy transforming our usually light and bright home into something a little more ominous with a haunted house vibe for Halloween.  You won’t find any witches or devils here though as that isn’t our thing.  Oversized spiders, bats, black cats and crows are as scary as we get.  Let me show you how you can transform your home quickly, easily and inexpensively with these ideas for Halloween DIY decorations.

Living room decked out in purple lights and lots of Halloween decor

Create a haunted house with your own decor

The thing I love the most about this, is that I shop my entire house first and try to see things in a new light.  As you walk through your home, try to see your decor as if they have been left in an abandoned house for many years.  Would it fit in?  Is this something you could imagine seeing on the set of a haunted house movie?  Just google “haunted house” and see what images come up.  Saving money and repurposing things you already have is the best part of this exercise! Who doesn’t want to save money, right?

Here are things I would suggest you keep an eye out as you tour your home:

Candlesticks

Candlesticks that hold tapered candles and look older are perfect.  Candleholders that hold pillar candles can be used too, but if you really want the “haunted old mansion” feel, look for your old silver candlesticks.  Tarnished silver is even better for keeping in the Halloween spirit! 

Prior to your party, make sure to light the candles and let the wax drip down them.  This will create such an old world eerie atmosphere that you may not even need to light the candles!  

If you are all about safety and don’t want any mess to clean up later, make sure to use battery operated candles, like the ones shown below.  

I want to give whoever created battery-operated candles a huge hug.  They make life so much easier.

Silver candlesticks on mirrored tray with black sparkly pumpkin

China and silver pieces

Old tea cups showing wear are fantastic.

Old silver goblets or a silver set will really set the mood.

If you don’t have any, check out a thrift shop.  You can find them for very cheap, especially when they are very worn.

As shown below, I have used the chrome martini set my mom gave me (far right), coupled it with some vintage champagne bottles and other liquor bottles for a haunted house bar!

The matte black champagne flutes are from Homesense and I love their elegant style.

For the backdrop to this bar, I wanted something big. This old mirror with all the metal detail was perfect. It was white, but I quickly painted it black and it is just what this bar needed.

Halloween home bar with black ornate frame, liquor bottles, black champagne flutes, chrome drink set and silver candlesticks

Books

When creating a haunted house you will want to look for hard covered books.  That is more appropriate for an old house feel.  

Once you come up with a collection of hard-covered books, take off the jackets if they have them.  You are going to love what you find underneath because usually they are in a neutral tone, very simple with no photos or design and have the title embossed onto the spine usually in a gold metallic color.  Perfection!!!

If the books aren’t simple, then cover them with brown paper and give them a scary title on the spine such as “100 ways to kill your lover” or even names of real books like “My sister, the serial killer” or “The Night Stalker.”

Once you have your books, you can place them between bookends, or stack them to create height and variations.  If they have old world looking interiors, then open them up to a particular page and leave them on a side table or on a sofa as if someone had just been reading the book.  Create a story and a life for the inhabitants of your haunted house.

Black antique bookend with books with scary titles and a black crow

Architectural pieces

Architectural pieces can create the best old world feel.  The book end that you see in the photo above is actually a corbel from a really large mantel at one of our previous homes.  

Old finials, stair posts, doors, windows, wood trim, etc., can be used in a variety of ways such as a paper weight, picture frame, a fake window, or just as a piece of decor on a shelf.

Vintage decor

Vintage decor is a must have for a haunted house. Collect all your pieces and then think of unique ways to use them. For example, this scale is weighing a skull – perfectly normal for Halloween 🙂

Antique scale with faux skull on it

I inherited this wooden box from an uncle and it opens into a writing tablet.  It has secret compartments and the faded, yellowed covering conquers up a mysterious mood, perfect for a haunted house.

Antique writing tablet with dried white roses on it and a silver goblet

Take a look around, maybe you have an old jewellery box, a crate, luggage, globe, vase, mannequin or bust, trunk, etc.  Simply place them on a shelf and let everyone’s imagination run wild of who inhabited this house.

Linens

Doilies, table runners, old table cloths, napkins could all be used.  If you don’t have any, be sure to check local thrift stores because they always have a great collection. Place them under a candleholder or a tea cup just like the lady of home would have done so long ago.

A crocheted tablecloth would be great to hang over a chandelier or lamp.  

We hung the black creepy material over our large chandelier and it really brought the whole room to the next level of ghoulish.

Black spooky chandelier with creepy fabric hanging from it and lights tinted purple

Dried flowers 

Remember to keep those roses and other flower bouquets that you receive on Valentine’s or your birthday.  Hang them upside down and let them dry.  They are perfect for Halloween haunted house decor.

Hats

Hats like this brown velvet hat with chiffon bow definitely says old world.  

Brown old fashioned hat on a stand with dried white roses next to it on old books

A tattered old hat would be wonderful too!

Historical Photos

If you have some really old, historical photos of long lost relatives, now is the time to bring them out.  

If you don’t have any, print something off.  I found this very strange looking family on the internet and thought they would make for a strange but very funny family portrait.

Creepy family portrait with dried white roses

Paintings and mirrors in ornate frames

Old oil paintings and mirrors are the absolute best for making a big statement in a haunted house.  

Old clocks

Make sure to look through your discarded old clocks that you have always planned on trying to get to work again one day and see if there is something that would be haunted house appropriate like a cuckoo clock, or an old metal clock.  Once again, damaged, scratched or even broken glass will provide for even more ambiance.

Old clock with a black crow

Brown bottles

I found these old bottles that were once filled with something terrible at a thrift store.  I have no idea what was in them but they make for a very dreadful look in front of an ornate goldy bronze framed mirror.

Brown old bottles in front of a mirror

Outdoor items

​​When you have finished searching your home, don’t forget to head outside and check out your garden, storage shed, and garage.

Any garden art, especially if metal or concrete, with lots of wear and age would add interest to your haunted home, such as an obelisk, wire planters, shovel, pitch fork, etc.

In the photo below, the black wire urn is actually a moss planter form.  

Creepy bookshelf with old books, spiders and crows

In the photo below, my old metal obelisk on the top shelf with it’s pointy arrow definitely gives off a scary feel.

Creepy bookshelf with old books, candleholders, old bottles, skeleton art and dried roses

Branches are perfect for placing in big vases.  You can leave them natural or paint them with black spray paint.

Dried sunflowers, cornstalks and other flowers would be great on your porch attached to pillars or in large planters.

All of these items could be used inside or as outdoor Halloween decorations.

Dollar Store

When you have thoroughly searched your home but are still needing a few pieces, be sure to check out your local dollar stores early in the season.  They are a great place to find inexpensive Halloween decor such as creepy fabrics, crows, spiders, signs, skulls, etc.

Blender filled with eyeballs, bones and other scary Halloween goodies

They also are a great source for spider webs and the creepy material that I hung over mirrors, chandeliers, railings, mantels, china cabinets, etc.  

If you are lucky, you may even find a crystal ball!

Spooky dining room cabinet with crows, bats old clock and crystal ball

DIY Halloween Decorations

Once you have everything, consider a few of these Halloween diy’s to complete the look.

Set the mood

First, cover light bulbs or recessed lighting with tissue paper to create a really spooky space.  Do a test first on the lights and see how warm they get.  Our lights are all LED and put off no heat so they were safe to cover with paper. You could also use cellophane. We used purple and red tissue paper for our color scheme.   Purple tissue covering the lights in the living room created a spooky haunted mansion aura.  Red tissue covering the lights in the kitchen created a really scary butcher scene.  It was so simple but such a fun way to set the tone for the room.

Kitchen with all lights tinted red to create a Halloween atmosphere

We also, laid out brown paper on the kitchen island (to represent the type of paper butcher’s wrap meat in).  Then we placed plastic dollar store skeleton pieces in the shape of a human skeleton and used it as the backdrop for our charcuterie board.  A strategically positioned pickle gave all the guests a good laugh.

Skeleton charcuterie board

So many things you can do with mason jars…

such as….

  • – fill a mason jar with some plastic eyeballs and then add water dyed with red food coloring to look like blood.
  • – fill a mason jar with cotton balls that are pulled apart or cob webbing material and then add some plastic spiders to look like they have a zillion babies about to burst out of their egg sacks
  • – fill a mason jar with water and then add a few black sprinkles and one plastic black spider.  The sprinkles will dissolve to a dirty brown water which reminds me of a preservative so it looks like the spider has been preserved.
Eyeballs in jar with red water
Spiders in jar
Spider in black sprinkles water

Frame a creepy photo that is on topic for your theme

Framing this diagram of all the parts of a cow for our butcher kitchen theme was such an easy way to stick with our theme in the kitchen.

Spooky kitchen shelves with framed print of cow parts, bottles filled with creepy stuff and bags of vampire blood

Upcycle your chandelier with ghoulish decor

This Halloween season, we did something fun and added skeleton heads to our chandelier.

Chandelier with skeleton heads and creepy fabric draped on it

Simply cut holes in the base of the plastic skeleton head.  Remove light bulbs from your chandelier and put the skeleton heads on in replacement.  Drape with creepy fabric.  Voila, you have a scary decor piece!

Create skeleton art

This skeleton head and hands bursting out of the frame was so easy to make.  First find an old frame.  Paint the canvas with black acrylic paint.  Hot glue the skeleton head and hands onto the canvas.  Stretch spider webs across the canvas over the head and hands and glue on all edges.  Place back in frame and find the perfect place to display it!  This was such an easy craft, it didn’t take much time but it is definitely a show stopper!

Skull and hands framed
Skull and hands framed
Skull and hands framed

Create a human-sized spider meal

I saved this one for last, because it was our party guests favorite thing at our Halloween party.  If you have stuffed full sized people like I do (it was all the rage back in the 90’s to have these old people made with stuffed nylons and then dress them up in old clothes and put them out on your porch) simply cover them with black garbage bags and tape firmly so that the shape of their bodies is evident.  Then cover it in the lots and lots of cobwebs and then hang from a railing.  Then place a gigantic spider nearby and it looks like a spider has caught a person and wrapped it in it’s web for a yummy meal.  If you don’t have stuffed people, simply create a body form with pillows and blankets and follow the instructions above.

Body wrapped in cobwebs hanging from railing

Video Home Tour!

If you would like a video tour, just click this link and it will take you to the reel I made on Instagram of our haunted house tour!

Enjoy!

Did you ever think it would be this easy to create scary Halloween diy decorations?  When you start to shop your own home, suddenly you will find a treasure trove of spooky elements.  It just takes looking at things from a different perspective.  

I hope you found lots of creative ideas that will delight your guests at Halloween gatherings!

Haunted Mansion, Disneyland

Have you ever been in the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland? My first trip there was when I was 10 years old and I loved it. I have such vivid memories of touring it. If you haven’t ever seen it, just click this link for a video tour of it.

More inspo

Would you like to see how we decorated last year for Halloween? Just click this link.

Halloween Front Entrance

Check out this beautiful white and gold Thanksgiving tablescape by clicking this link.

White and gold Thanksgiving decor on table outside

What do you think?

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3 Comments
  • Bentley
    October 31, 2023

    Lots of great ideas.
    The house looks great 👍

    • Crystal
      October 31, 2023

      Thank you very much!

  • Wendy McMonigle
    November 1, 2023

    Wow! You went all out, looks fantastic. Looks. Love the book titles and the darling but spooky eyeballs in the mixing bowl. I hope you had a great Halloween.