Throw an Easy Halloween Party on a Scary Small Budget

Inside: Host an amazing Halloween party with these easy to execute Halloween party ideas that won’t kill your wallet. ➡

Don’t you agree that a Halloween party brings out the fun side in people?

Something about this holiday just makes everyone more fun, more creative, and a lot less serious.

So what’s better than hanging out together on Halloween and being our best fun selves (with candy thrown in)?

Whether you’re an adult, child, or somewhere ‘tween, you shouldn’t miss these memories because you think it costs too much to host your own Halloween bash.

Because I’ve learned plenty of tips for throwing a Halloween party that won’t scare your bank account.😱

I got many of these ideas from years in my favorite volunteer position as a PTO Hospitality Chair (people will praise you when you feed them).

And one of the most fun and challenging parts was how creative we had to be on a tight budget. Almost all of the money donated to the teacher luncheons went toward feeding 100+ people with very little left for decorating and prizes.

So let’s get this spooky season party started and I’ll show you lots of ways to host a Halloween get together on the cheap!

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Keep it close and casual.

  • Your budget can bleed out quickly for a large party. So keep the guest list small.

If that’s not possible and you need to invite a whole class or group, make it a potluck. Having everyone bring a dish hugely slashes the cost of hosting.

  • And for an adult Halloween party, make a small batch of signature drinks, but have everyone pick their poison and BYOB.
  • Instead of mailing old school party invitations, use one of the fun free Halloween templates for digital invitations on Evite or Paperless Post.

Halloween party decoration ideas on a budget.

Hocus Focus.

There’s no need to decorate the whole house with a life size zombie apocalypse unless your home is going to be on “The Great Halloween Fright Fight” show.

Concentrate instead on decorating on a couple of focal points, like the table, mantel, kitchen island, or buffet table.

Halloween buffet table decor

Scare up discount decorations.

  • Shop the stores. Decorating for a Halloween party doesn’t need to cost a fortune. You can always find loads of cute, cheap Halloween decorations for not a lot of money. There are lots of good places to look – Party City and the craft stores all carry lots of affordable decor. And look for great deals the day after Halloween to be ready for next year’s party.
  • The dollar store. Hit up Dollar Tree as soon as they put the Halloween stuff out because it sells fast. It’s a great place to get a lot of decorations for just a little money.
  • Thrifting and garage sales. Look at the thrift store and tag sales for not only people’s cast off Halloween decor, but things that can be made “Halloweeney” with a little black paint, like an old candelabra.
  • Beg, borrow (but don’t steal). Borrowing Halloween decor is always a good idea. For this teacher luncheon, it’s the only way we were able to fill this huge space with decorations.

Here are a few extremely budget friendly Halloween decorations to make your decor dollars go further:

  • Spider webs. Spreadable spider webs and creepy cloth are cheap. Dollar Tree is also a great source to score these for a buck!
Halloween spider webs stretched over chair with furry spider and chalkboard tombstone
  • Caution tape. A real attention getter for little money.
  • Draw a chalk outline on the floor.
  • Paper plates and napkins. You’ve got to have these anyway, so let them bring the Hallow-theme.
  • Set the mood with candles. Pull out your candle stash and light candles everywhere. If having fire all around is too scary, invest in some flameless taper candles and flameless pillar candles. I promise you’ll use them again and again.
  • Replace a lamp bulb with a black light bulb or red bulb.
  • Plastic Eyeballs. Float a few of these in the punch bowl or drink dispenser.
  • Creepy Crawlies. Have a few uninvited guests lurking around the tables – plastic spiders, mice, and even roaches (these look a little too realistic for me).
  • Require costumes. When all the party guests are dressed up, they’re the focus and it takes the pressure off of decorating. You can even make it easier for them and narrow choices down with a theme.

Be creative with signs.

This is one of my favorite fun party decorating items!

Halloween signs on food buffet table

You can buy Halloween signs for dirt cheap.

You can also find free printables online. Print and pop them into a frames you already have.

Or make your own. It’s so much fun to be creative with these using plays on words (I love a good pun)!

For this lunch party, we had tombstone chalkboards that we customized with “Welcome to Fright Feast” and “Killer Cuisine”.

Halloween party entry table with raffle

And we made special food place cards for the buffet and renamed the offerings. I printed them on gray parchment cardstock and used two creepy fonts, Twilight and Black Adder.

Halloween drink dispensers and signs

To get your creative juices flowing, here was some of our menu of Cajun food at this Halloween luncheon:

  • “Pontchartrain Poultry-geist” – Chicken a la Ponchartrain
  • “Goblin Gumbo” – Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
  • “Voodoo Pasta” – Creamy Chicken Pasta
  • “Petrified Dragon Fingers” – Green Beans (and our school mascot)
  • “The Walking Bread” – Garlic Bread
  • “Nightmare on Bourbon Street” – Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
  • “Beetlejuice” – Punch with green sherbet (freeze water in disposable gloves, tear it away, and float the ice “hands” in your punch)
  • “Swamp Water” – Water with lemon (add some spiders)
  • “Eye-ced Tea” – Iced tea (add some eyeballs)
Halloween drink and dessert buffet setup

Cheap Halloween table centerpiece ideas.

Here’s an easy way to decorate the table for Halloween without spending much money:

  1. Lay down creepy cloth as a table runner.
  2. Add a pop of color with orange, green, or purple tulle bunched in the middle.
  3. Plop witch hats or plastic trick or treat buckets full of candy on top.
  4. Sprinkle plastic spiders and candy around.

And, it’s the perfect excuse to have candy corn!

Let the spooky in.

Similar Grim Reaper Halloween Arch

If you truly want to wow with your decorations, bring inside a Halloween inflatable. If you don’t have your own, friends and family may let you borrow theirs for one day.

Let there be party light.

Dig out your holiday laser light projector and set it on all red.

Food as decor.

There’s always a focus on food at any party so let the Halloween party food do some of the decorating work.

You can pick up a Halloween colored sweet treat at the grocery store, or ask everyone to bring a dessert. It’s sure to inspire some guests to get creative.

We definitely had some parents bring it for this luncheon. Like the vampire cookies with the teeth:

Halloween dessert buffet with vampire teeth cookies

And these graveyard pudding cookie cups:

Graveyard pudding cookie cups

And the adorable bite sized mice and cakeballs!

Halloween dessert buffet

Inexpensive Halloween party favors.

Party favors are an extra expense, but here are some ideas that don’t cost much money:

  • Instead of using disposable solo cups, serve their drinks in a fun Halloween glass they can take home. We found this assortment at Dollar Tree:
Halloween drinking glasses as cheap party favors
  • Send them home with a sweet treat tied up with some cute ribbon. If you have a Nothing Bundt Cakes in your town, use coupons for free bundtlets. Everyone is excited about these – I don’t care who you are.
Halloween dessert party favors
  • Bag up Halloween trail mix the same way. Or pour it into a clear disposable glove (powder free please) to make a severed hand.
Halloween party favor treat bags with snack mix

Halloween party activity ideas.

Have door prizes or a raffle.

Have a costume contest and come up with different awards so that more people can win. You can provide a fun prize or even Halloween trophies.

Halloween party games are a cheap way to bring the fun. Here are a some that don’t cost much:

  • Mummy sack race – wrap players up in toilet paper instead of the traditional sack.
  • Eyeball pong – same as beer pong but with eye balls.
  • Eyeball dig – Plunge plastic eyeballs into a bowl of cooked spaghetti and have blindfolded players dig for them (I can hear the squishing already).

Make a photo opp. People love taking their photos together when they’re in costume.

Have a pumpkin carving contest. Post pictures and have your social media friends vote.

Play classic Halloween movies in the background. This is always great for conversation – everyone has their favorites!

Monster mash music.

A spooky party playlist is a great way to set the mood. Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, and Pandora all have playlists if you search for “Halloween”.

And here’s a good background list on YouTube that would be perfect for Halloween night trick or treaters:

If you’d like even more Halloween decorating inspiration, hop over to see “ Creepin’ it Classy Halloween Decor Ideas” and “ How to Create a Spooky Chic Halloween Tablescape“.

So now you know it is possible to host for Halloween without putting you in the red.

And the best Halloween party is about having fun together, not the most perfect decorations or a tv show-worthy elaborate haunted house.👻

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Scary cheap Halloween party ideas on a budget Pinterest graphic
Kate Rodgers - Southern Home and Hospitality
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 1 comment
  • Maria Maria on Oct 28, 2023

    Great Ideas !!! The Dollar Tree does have the best and inexpensive selection of decorations, BUT go early in the season and buy as many as you need.

    I had purchased 2 black spiderweb lace table runners, when I went back they were all gone, even at the other two Dollar Trees. The runners were a perfect match to my 3 Halloween tablecloths and 2 fireplace scarfs that I had purchased about 10 years ago in a craft store for over $40.00.