Decorating tips for a last-minute Halloween party

Halloween is usually a big deal in my house. It is one of my favorite holidays and I have thrown a Halloween party every year for the last five years. In the past I've spent the entire month planning, decorating and cooking for the big event. But this year I just didn't have the time. I put it off the decorating until just recently and only gave myself a day to get things done. Surprisingly, it turned out pretty well. Here are a few great decorations I threw together in no time at all.

Mad scientist buffet table

Every year I do a buffet style dinner for my Halloween party. In the past I've either bought or made huge spooky looking centerpieces. This year, I wanted to do something different that was easier so I made a "lab" out of an old folding table. First I took an old white sheet and dripped red food coloring across it to look like blood. That became the tablecloth. Then I found some old glass bottles and filled them with water and different food dyes. I arranged those in the center of the table to look like science experiments.

Eerie lighting

The bright CFL lights are hardly the eerie look I'm going for during my party, and I'm not willing to risk candles. I thought the lighting was a lost cause, but to my surprise I found colored lights at a hardware store for about $1 each. I bought several red tinted light bulbs and popped them in my overhead lights. It took less than 20 minutes and my house definitely looks eerie now.

Homemade spider webs

Since I waited until so close to the big day, my local stores were out of those premade spider webs that are so popular around Halloween, so I made my own. I found a bag of cotton pillow stuffing at an arts and crafts store. I gently pulled the stuffing apart until it was in small strands, then I hung the strands around my mantels, staircase and furniture.

Haunted entryway

With a few boxes and some paint, I turned my entryway into a graveyard. First I cut the boxes into headstone shapes. Next I painted them a dark grey and allowed the paint to dry. Then I went over the gray with a black paint and wrote phrases or names and dates across each one. Finally, I attached a stick (I just used some that had fallen in my yard, but anything heavy will do,) to the back of each to help them stay up. The night of my party, I'll place them along the walkway so guests walk up to a decorated house.

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