A Grande, Ghostly Affair

Learn how to create a gothic, gore-free Halloween setting with cheap, DIY Halloween props. Learn how to make a laser vortex, peppers ghost illusion, crank ghost, how to safely use dry ice, and other more quick decorating tips. Have the most remarkable Halloween party yet when you follow these Halloween party prop ideas!

A Menacing Beginning

Shroud your entryway

Visit Martha Stewart Living for simple instructions on how to make this witch’s curtain out of old garbage bags. Cheap, simple and creepy. Take it even further than just an entryway and use it as a room divider within your home for your Halloween party!

Shrunken Heads

Nestled amongst your buffett or strung on a garland!

Apples are a typical harvest decor item. These come across a little different though. They’re also apparently permanent: feel free to store them to use again Halloween after Halloween. Get the full details on how to make these Dried Apple Shrunken Heads out of apples, cloves, lemon juice and rice at Fabulousliving.com. Oh, and be sure to allow yourself at least a couple of days to dry your apples out!

Threadbare Tricks

Whispy phantoms..

Martha Stewart Living again gives us simple instructions for how to make our own Cheesecloth ghosts. Add a little eery lighting to these and I think they’d make a fantastic centerpiece!

A Special Use For Your LCD Photo Frame On Halloween

A Monstrously Morphing Portrait

halloween props and decorationsThis idea comes from Dave Lowe’s Design Blogspot. Simply have two similar images uploaded to your LCD photo frame. Appropriate pictures can easily be created in Photoshop from whatever images your heart desires. Have the two images blend together in a slide show and voila, you’ve got a morphing portrait worthy of any haunted mansion!

creepy ghost portrait prop
by DaveLoweDesign | video info
4 ratings | 6,014 views
curated content from YouTube

Edible Props

Make the food part of your whole experience

I’ve put together a lens on creepy Halloween-themed party foods. Be sure to check it out and incorporate every single element of your get-together in to your creepy theme.

Halloween Lighting

Create the right mood with spooky lights

Spooky Halloween lighting Although darkness is creepy, you need some light to make your Halloween display frightfully dramatic. Strobe lighting can be used to add a panicky stop-motion feel and is particularly effective in areas where there is a lot of movement. Everyone knows the old trick of using blacklights to create a ghastly glow. If you use blacklighting, this should be on its own in a very dark area, or in combination with strobe lighting. Many “Halloween” light strings are now also being sold in purple and orange colors or with things like eyeballs, pumpkins, ghosts, tombstones or other halloween icons.

If you want to go a little out of the ordinary, consider using LED floodlights in colors like red or green or maybe even blue if you’re going for a ghostly effect or spooky cemetary. Laser pointers can also be used to great effect to create “vortexes” or other paranormal phenomenons. Lasers and floodlights are particularly chilling when combined with fog.

You can find some more tips on creating spooky lighting for Halloween at this blog from Outdoor Lights Blog.


Create drama when you leave your lights low and illuminate things from the bottom up. Spooky shadows and suspense!

Halloween Lights

Eery lighting makes all the difference

How To Make A Laser Vortex

From a $10 laser

The video goes a little quick: you may need to watch it several times to see exactly what is going on. It very clearly shows though how you can make a laser vortex at home with no specialist tools from a simple $10 red laser.

Use this in a fog machine to make a cylandrical or conical light vortex!
Laser Vortex Made Easy
by dim3m | video info
363 ratings | 352,808 views
curated content from YouTube

Instructions For the Laser Vortex

A Step-by-Step How To Guide

The video for how to do this moves a little quickly, so I've taken the liberty to write out a numbered list of how to put this thing together. It would look fantastic in a fog machine!

discounted halloween props
  1. Tape the bottom of your laser to one end of the adjustable screw driver neck and tape the portable fan to the other end of the neck. The top of the fan and the laser should be facing each other (the bottom of the laser is next to one end of the neck and the bottom of the fan is next to the other end of the neck).
  2. Remove the fan blade from your portable fan.
  3. Cut one end of a glue stick at a 45 degree angle and glue a small mirror to this angled end of the glue stick. Push this glue stick on to the fan's motor shaft (where you just removed the fan blades from).
  4. Form a loop around the laser's power switch with your zip tie and tighten the loop. This will keep the laser button pushed in and the power turned on.
  5. Adjust the laser beam so it is directed to the center of the mirror and turn the fan on.
  6. Cut the mirror off the end of the glue stick. Cut a small glue stick so that it has both ends flat and glue the mirror to one end of this new glue stick. Place this stick back on the fan's motor. - (I'm not sure the point of this step, maybe its to show you that you can change the effect of your vortex by using different size mirrors at different angles).
  7. Again, focus the laser to point at the mirror's center.

Materials Needed To Make The Laser Vortex

Buy them online at Amazon.com

Viper Green Laser Pointer

Spectral Lighting with Hollywood Pizzazz

This could be straight out of a haunted house film like Poltergeist! The Viper Green Laser Pointer is available for purchase online at www.dragonlasers.com for $199.99, but there are less powerful models available starting at $99.99. The video says the effect is accomplished by melting plastic with the laser, although I’m still not quite sure how they accomplish it.

Laser Pointer Light Show - Hack Your Laser Pointer
by dragonlasersfanman | video info
1,217 ratings | 1,275,532 views
curated content from YouTube

Cheap Fog Machine

Create rolling fog that stays on the ground and out of your field of vision!

Dr. Kreepy gives you the low down about fog machines and the scientific principles that guide them. He also gives you quick and easy instruction on how to revamp your fogger so the fog hugs the ground and stays out of everyone’s field of vision – creating a safer atmosphere!

Needed materials:

  • A fog machine

  • Fog Fluid

  • A Styrofoam Cooler

  • Aluminum Dryer Vent Hose
  • Ice

  • A Marker

  • A Utility Knife

Dr Kreepys Cheap fog chiller
by drkreepy1 | video info
111 ratings | 40,994 views
curated content from YouTube

Make Your Own Holographic Image - Cheap!

Floating Heads

Check out this video tutorial on how to make your own holographic floating head. The company that put this out of course advertises their own DVDs of creepy heads (pumpkins, skeletons, pirates, zombies, etc..) but has arranged this so you can do it without the assistance of their DVD.

This trick is known as the Pepper Ghost Illusion.
ghostly floating head illusion virtual Hologram
by bigscreamtv | video info
999 ratings | 730,033 views
curated content from YouTube

Create Holographic Displays of Anything

You don't need to use a television

halloween decorations online

View this video example of how to perform the Peppers Ghost Illusion with any old object on a black backdrop. No television required, but the principle is still the same.
Peppers Ghost Illusion Tutorial
by beefcakejim | video info
123 ratings | 110,869 views
curated content from YouTube

A Spectacular Peppers Ghost

Visible through your home's window

This is an excellent example of the Peppers Ghost Illusion at work!
Ghost in the Window
by 5qu1d | video info
340 ratings | 170,031 views
curated content from YouTube

Make a Flying Crank Ghost

Out of wire hangers, cheese cloth and a wig head

View part 1 of Dr. Kreepy’s video tutorial on how to make a flying crank ghost. In this episode, you’ll see how to actually create the marionette ‘ghost’. At this point, your creation can remain unmechanized and serve as a stand alone prop.

Dr, Kreepy recommends pre-treating your cheese cloth in RIT whitener or any detergent with a whitening agent: this will make it really flouresce under a black light!
Flying Crank Ghost Tutorial Part 1
by drkreepy1 | video info
136 ratings | 61,956 views
curated content from YouTube

Bring Your Flying Crank Ghost To Life!!

The technical part.

You may want to have a handy man help you out with this part, or someone who has a few tools: some saws and drills with a variety of bits. Watch how to bring your Flying Crank Ghost to life. Create a truly amazing prop for just pennies – who said Halloween props need to be expensive?

The ghost in this example is pretty creepy. Feel free to soften the image for little kids using just white sheets and a less scary face.
Flying Crank Ghost Tutorial Part 2
by drkreepy1 | video info
100 ratings | 36,714 views
curated content from YouTube

Flying Crank Ghost

You can make this for under $50

Looks impressive right? Find out how to do this below with Dr. Kreepy’s tutorials.
Flying Crank Ghost
by GUnderTheC | video info
11 ratings | 25,176 views
curated content from YouTube

A Pepper's Ghost Illusion AND A Flying Crank Ghost

Double trouble.

Check out an impressive use of two of the illustrated ghostly illusions: a Pepper’s Ghost and a Flying Crank Ghost!
Window haunt 2007 flying crank ghost
by cklinevideo | video info
68 ratings | 45,940 views
curated content from YouTube

Flood Lighting Coordinated to Creepy Music

Extra Effective Halloween Lighting Display

I’m not so much a fan of the string lights for Halloween exteriors, but the flood lighting coordinated to this music IS creepy. I’ve also seen a very effective use of a strobe light coordinated with thunder booms. Create your own thunderstorm. The creator of this particular light display discusses how he put this extravaganza together in this online forum posting. He’s written his own software for use with Insteon products. Insteon manufactures light-controlling equipment that is managed through your computer. It is available for sale at Home Depot, Amazon.com and Buy.com.

A little technical, but maybe this is your thing!
INSTEON run haunted house lighting
by sanzibar | video info
3 ratings | 3,735 views
curated content from YouTube

Insteon Home Lighting Controls

For Halloween Light Shows and more

You can purchase Insteon products online at Amazon.com. Before you make a purchase though, you should consult someone who knows about what you'll actually need.

Safety Considerations For Dry Ice and Creepy Lighting

Its all fun and games until someone gets hurt!

Quick reality check for you: remember to avoid skin contact with dry ice and not go too crazy with creepy lighting (creating risks for falling and tripping).
How to Plan a Halloween Party : How to Use Dry Ice & Lights for Halloween Decorations
by expertvillage | video info
56 ratings | 38,068 views
curated content from YouTube

A few ready-made Halloween Party Props can save you time

Even the most industrious DIY'er can't do it all!

Of course, after getting all these Halloween party props together, you might want to just order a snack food gift basket or two to get things pulled together for your holiday Halloween party. I’ve got some other resources to help save time when getting ready for Halloween as well.

Save yourself some time and pick up a few Halloween decorations and props online. Even the most forward-thinking entertaining can’t do it all from scratch! Enjoy your party and save your sanity when you allow yourself to just purchase a few ready-made Halloween decor items and props: you can shop from my hand-picked selection of Halloween decor online at Centsible.

Get your whole neighborhood decked out with cool Halloween Props

Share these Halloween decorating ideas

If you really enjoyed this lens you should nominate it for a Lens of the Day award. If it wins, this lens will be prominently displayed on Squidoo for a day. And just think how many people might be inspired to really do up their haunted house this year for Halloween. Let’s face it, the more places that have some special effects for Halloween, the merrier So go on and get everyone thinking about how they’ll decorate their house this year on Halloween – share this lens!

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Did I scare you?

What do you think?

Barnes and Noble Coupon Valentines Day GiftsHere’s the place where you can have your say. Are you a Halloween fanatic who does up their home to the nines every year? Do you have any suggestions? What did you think of these props? Let me know! Leave a quick note below to sign this page’s guestbook for everyone to see.

Contact Laura Schofield

*If you would like to suggest any links or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, laura-schofield.com. If you enjoy the work I’ve done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.
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  • Atreyusmommy Aug 03, 2012 @ 2:34 am
    Very cool ideas. I absolutely love Halloween. I even did my own lens on Halloween costume ideas. Thanks for sharing this. Great job!
  • vancehira Nov 09, 2011 @ 5:21 am
    Halloween party props are the most important accessories for Halloween decor. Probably no one can imagine a Halloween party without the usual monsters, skeletons and Jack - o- lantern pumpkin heads. All of these have entered Halloween folklore and if you want some of the best such Halloween props for your October 31 party, there are a few online stores that can help you. These websites have the advantage of offering a range of products on the same theme, so you can have a unitary concept behind your party.
    Fog Machine
  • ClassyGals Oct 04, 2011 @ 2:38 pm
    I do enjoy your work, Laura. I love all the party prop ideas for Halloween you have featured here.
    Blessed by a Squid Angel**
  • Sep 18, 2011 @ 1:29 pm
    Excellent Halloween decor ideas.
  • travelbroad Sep 12, 2011 @ 2:18 am
    Love the cheese cloth ghosts! They are so cute!

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