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How to Build Up Your Halloween Decor Stash

halloween decor

Halloween is a tricky holiday to decorate for. There’s so many nooks and crannies to fill with decor that is really only applicable one time a year. Add to it that the cool stuff like fog machines and animatronics are not necessarily cheap, and getting your house Halloween ready is a sticky situation for your budget.

To mitigate the costs, we recommend building up your stash of Halloween decor incrementally every year whether you shop at Walmart or more holiday specific stores like Halloween Express. Then store your spooky wares in a closet or basement just like you do with your Christmas decor.

Wondering how to get started? Here’s a step-by-step guide to building up your Halloween Decor stash following the stages of life.

Halloween Decor for the Dorm Room

Do you need to go out and drop money on the best smoke machine on a student budget? Not likely. Since dorm rooms are so small, decorating them doesn’t take much for a big effect. Start your collection with door covers, window clings, and one or two tchotchkes to sit on your desk. You can even get spider webs, which are pretty cheap, and can be used for a few years before you actually have to go out and buy new ones.

Moving on Up to a Small Apartment

After you graduate, your financial situation improves a little bit, but you’re likely not moving into a suburban household just yet. A small apartment will require more than you needed in your dorm days, but because you’ve held onto those door covers, window clings, and tchotchkes you won’t be starting from scratch. Now you can work in things like holiday themed candles, wall murals, poseable skeletons, and table cloths. For just a little more buck, you’ll get a lot more bang, making your place look fully decorated without ruining your Christmas budget.

Last House on the Left…With a Yard

Whether you’re married, cohabitating, have kids, or just wanted a house of your own, the pressure to compete in unofficial suburban decorating contests can be huge. You already have a lot of the basics down as you’ve saved everything from your dorm and apartment days. Now you may need a few more items to take the interior decor to the next level, but your big focus is exterior. These items, whether they’re blow-ups or animatronics, cost a little bit more money, but the quality for both looks and longevity are generally worth spending a little money on. Build your collection up slowly, buying one to two new items per year until your place is the creepiest on the block.

Inviting the Neighborhood

Whether you have kids or not, Halloween parties are all the rage. Throwing one can be incredibly fun, too. Now that you have built up a big collection over enough years, your house always looks great inside and out. All you need is the party gear. Pick up punch bowls, cups, plates, and other partyware that is not disposable. This way you’ll be able to use it year after year. Black lights can be had for relatively cheap; you can even buy individual bulbs to put in your existing light fixtures. They’ll last for years if you take care of them since you only use them for a limited time. If you don’t have the funds left over this year to get a proper smoke machine, save it until next year and get some dry ice at the grocery store instead. It’s a lot cheaper; just be sure to practice proper safety!


Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same can be said for a proper Halloween stash. Buy things that you can use year after year, take care of them, store them properly, and you won’t have to bust the budget every October.