The pandemic has given some of us a little more time for things like baking bread, organizing our bookshelves, and creating and organizing elaborate Halloween decorations outdoors. But when it comes to holiday extravaganzas, you don't need to do a lot to show your excitement for Halloween. Watching a scary movie is just as good as trick-or-treating or dressing up your babies in fun costumes.

Related: Baby’s first Halloween: 40 of the sweetest costume ideas 🎃

Of course, if this fall season is anything like the time a 12-foot skeleton sold out before October even arrived, then the thing people are preparing for ahead of time is their spooky decor!

But if you're feeling budget-conscious (or a little frightened of the 12-foot skeleton), here are 15 ideas for outside Halloween decorations—from DIYs to clever purchases —that can come together to make your house look positively haunted. Plus, we've added some favorites, including Halloween inflatables, you can purchase right now!

From Halloween inflatables to DIY decor, let your spooky side loose with these Halloween decorations outdoors

1. Decorating pumpkins—without carving them

Yes, carved pumpkins are a tried and true staple of Halloween (with surprising origins). But instead of the sticky, hours-long process of gutting and meticulously carving a pumpkin, you can involve your kids more by decorating the outside of ol' Jack with stencils, hand paints, googly eyes, and more.

2. DIY(ish) silhouettes set in your windows

A lot can be accomplished with just a pair of scissors, some black construction paper and a really steady hand. Instead of buying silhouettes to stick on the inside of your windows that will stand out when the lights are on at night, you can create your own spooky decorations. Etsy is a great resource for stencils if you don't trust you or your kids to do it without one.

3. Halloween lights

Christmas season doesn't own the market on holiday lighting. For anyone with a house, Halloween lights can set a spooky, evening mood without any DIY energy—just good, old-fashioned electricity. Make it subtle with just some orange lights in the bushes or create a light show that will have your neighbors tightly closing their blinds.

4. DIY spooky wreaths

Although this one might include a lot of hot glue gun usage, you and your kids can plan a couple of spooky wreaths to hang outside. Small skulls, spiders and dark, lacy fabrics can be pulled together to make something seasonally-appropriate. Don't have Halloween decorations at your local craft store? Black spray paint can take even the most happy of roses and turn it goth.

5. Spider-stained glass window hangings

Halloween decorations outdoors wouldn't be complete without fun art like these Venus Glass Art window hangings. They are a great way to decorate both your indoor and outdoor space. If they're too understated for your tastes, the spiders can also be paired with delicate spiderweb netting that will still let the light in.

6. Graveyards

If you want to go for the haunted house look, creating a graveyard can be as easy or as involved as you want, ranging from a few, plastic pieces to a whole yard full of bones and ghouls. As your summer plants begin to die off, you can fence off small areas to put tombstonesskeleton hands and ghosts. Some people create personalized tombstones for celebrities or lost pets, which is a more involved project, but one that Lowe's has a beginner's guide to.

7. Recycled jar Jack O' Lantern DIYs

With just a few simple art supplies and some old spaghetti jars, you can repurpose your empties before setting them out for recycling. By cleaning them thoroughly and using tissue and construction paper, you can create little pumpkins for your windowsill. Check out this tutorial on Instructables Living or a similar one on Fireflies + Mudpies for instructions.

8. Personalized spiderweb name

Spiderweb wood cut-outs can be hung indoors or outdoors in a variety of colors—so the kids can know exactly which family gives the best treats. Of course, these can be taken down at the end of the season, but for some of us, the outside Halloween decorations are not just limited to the month of October.

9. Ghost garland DIYs

Variations of ghost garlands can be found all over the internet, from this easy Jenna Kate At Home idea that uses tissue paper to other, more lasting ideas like this one from This Mama Loves that uses yarn. However you decide to make your little ghosties, they're a DIY that you can involve your kids in and hang in windows around the house.

10. Creep your neighbors out with birds and pests

Some of the greatest Halloween decorations come with subtlety—the types of decorations that make you do a double take and ask, "Is that real ?" If you have a yard with trees, you can purchase a handful of fake ravens to put in the branches, or you can line a railing or a space by your door with an abundance of fake spiders. It's the little things that really make your house look haunted.

11. Mouse infested stairway

Using black paper, print out mouse cutouts then cut with scissors. If you have stairs, tape them onto your staircase or even stick them onto your front door.

12. Candy corn candle holders

You can use glass cylinders or hurricanes for this one. Fit a tall candle inside then drop in the candy corn about a third of the way in (or however much you prefer) around the edges. You don't even have to light the candle! But in case you do, just remember to not leave a burning candle unattended. Place on your window sill or on your front steps for a chic touch to your outside Halloween decorations.

Related: What’s the deal with the teal pumpkins? How you can support kids with allergies on Halloween

13. Wine bottle candlesticks

Paint wine bottles with matte-black spray paint. After they're dried, place a taper candle (orange or any other color) into the opening. Put them on your front stoop for a spooky welcome.

14. Pumpkin punch bowl

Hollow out a pumpkin then pour in your drink of choice and you've got an organic punch bowl! This makes a great on-brand refreshment while you're sitting outside waiting to hand out treats. Or, you can also use it to put your treats inside.

15. Witch hat walkway

Spray paint traffic cones black and let dry. To create the buckles, cut out self-adhesive gold glitter sticker paper and stick on. Then line them on your walkway for a witchy entrance.

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A version of this post was published September 14, 2021. It has been updated.