Outdoor Halloween Decor On a Budget | Witches, Ghosts, Skeletons and More


Vampires and werewolves and ghouls, oh my!

That’s right, friends. It’s that special time of year once again. The witching season has rolled around, and we’re once more looking forward to crisp leaves, clear moonlit nights and pumpkin spice everything.

There’s no better way to celebrate this spooky season than by dressing up your yard and home. Not only does it lend some creep factor to your neighborhood all October long, but it also makes trick-or-treating that much more exciting for the little ones. And spooking little ones is what we’re all here for, right?

The good news is, whether you go in for the classic Halloween witch outdoor decorations or the more sedate Gothic graveyard themes (thorny branches for the win!), you can do it on a budget by shopping at your local Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona store!

Don’t believe us? Keep reading.

Why Decor on a Budget?

First and foremost, why consider the budget route?

Because let’s not lie, Halloween only comes once a year. And while that does mean we should go all out to enjoy it while it’s here, it does not mean spending your life savings on designer decorations is necessarily a good idea. Why not save money on decorations and buy that much more Halloween candy? Or save up to get that special addition to your costume you’ve been eyeing for a few years? (Linen pirate wench dress, anyone?)

The most compelling reason to thrift your Halloween decor, however, is that it’s simply so much better than buying them new. This is true for several reasons:

  • Plenty of people get new decorations every year or donate them when they move, so secondhand shops always have lots of them on hand.
  • Thrifted items are older and tend to be of higher quality than those made today.
  • They also have a timeless quality. Even the high-quality ones, such as those you’d get at an expensive boutique, go out of style quickly.
  • You get so much more variety when you get decorations secondhand. That means your yard won’t look like everyone else’s.
  • Old decorations tend to end up in the landfill when people don’t want them anymore, unless they make their way to a thrift store first. By thrifting them, you can help break this trend and be good to Mother Earth.

So that’s the why. Now for the how.

How to Decorate for Halloween on a Budget

You’re convinced. You love the savings and the environmental kudos. You can’t wait to see your front yard all glammed up for the big night. It’s budget decor time. Here’s a quick step-by-step crash course on getting the job done cheaply.

1. Seek Inspiration

Into designer stuff? Treat yourself to an hour of wandering around any high-end shop you like. If you see something you love and it really won’t break the bank, go ahead and treat yourself to that too.

Pro Tip: These stores often mark down their products by 50 percent or more after the season ends, so you might want to mark your calendar to make another visit in early November.

If you’re like most of us, though, the main point of your expedition should be inspiration. What do you love? Is it the old butter churns with branches sticking out of them? The thorny black wreaths with fall leaves? The tin jack-o-lanterns? Write it down on a piece of paper or make a note in your phone of what you like, and take plenty of pictures to go along with it. That’s just good documentation.

2. Do a Tour of Your Own Home

Before you head to a thrift store, do a quick spin around your own yard, living room, or whatever other part of the house you’d like to decorate. Think through questions like:

  • Do you have large spaces to fill? For instance, a corner of the garden where you might hang a skeleton or place a witch’s cauldron?
  • Are there large trees that could support hanging items, such as a flying witch decoration? What else could you put there? (Ghosts? Bats?  Smaller hanging skeletons?)
  • Do you want to put up fairy lights? What about larger paper or metal lanterns that hang from trees or sit on walkways? Orange, purple and white are common Halloween colors.
  • What kinds of DIY lawn decorations do you like? Cardboard headstones? Bits of skeleton sticking out of the ground? Old fences strung with cobwebs?
  • Will you place objects in your windows to add to the overall aesthetic? What will they be? Fairy lights? Candelabras? More bats or spiderwebs?

Once you’ve done your tour, make a list of which items you’d like to place where. Even if you can’t find your ideals at a thrift shop, you’ll have a much better idea of the spaces you want to fill. It’s much easier to replace a hanging skeleton with a hanging ghost than it is to visualize your home from afar when you don’t have a list to fall back on.

Pro Tip: While you’re doing your walking tour, get input from kids if you have any around. They’ve got surprisingly creative ideas sometimes!

Now that you’ve got some ideas from your aspirational shops and your own home, it’s time to go find some designer dupes at your local thrift store!

3. Hit the Thrift Shops

Time to do your shopping. Be systematic about it. A good sample route would be:

  • The garden department for fences, pots that look like cauldrons, or old wheelbarrows you can fill with skeletons
  • The furniture section for old tables or chairs in which you can prop witches or the odd Nazgûl
  • Home decor for fake branches and fall leaves, candelabras or wooden crates
  • The Halloween section … duh! This is where you’ll find all the best items that are true to the spooky season

Pro Tip: Try to go at a time when children are in school. Busy parents often have to wait for their kids to get out and take them along, but if you don’t have to, you’ll have a much chiller shopping experience.

4. Hit The Thrift Shops Again

Oh, you thought you’d only go once? Well, you can still get some good deals that way, and not everyone has time to go more than once. But a more thorough approach is to start early and go a few times because inventory moves so quickly at secondhand shops. This is a great activity to do with a partner, some girlfriends, or a kiddo you want to treat.

Pro Tip: Since you’re there anyway, why not check out the costumes? There’s no reason to pay full price when thrift stores like Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona have so many costumes, wigs and accessories to offer for less.

Excited to decorate for Halloween? Don’t wait any longer to put your plan in place – hit up a Goodwill today, and get ready for the best Halloween yet.

Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkins on a porch stairs

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.


*Daily deals valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.