Halloween is one of those times of year in which we can all revert to being kids. We dress up and enjoy a little extra candy and parties. Planning a Halloween party can be so much fun, and it’s even more fun when you throw a Halloween party on the cheap.
Choose one of these Halloween party ideas and throw a Spooktacular Halloween Bash for close friends and family at home this fall. If you need to, you can take it outside or even invite others to your party virtually.
But beware! It’s easy to get carried away and find yourself spending a small fortune. Save the scares for the party, not opening your bank or credit card statement. Use the following ideas to plan a spooky good party while not getting tricked out of your money.
Cheap Halloween party ideas
First, start with a theme!
Whether you need Halloween party ideas for adults or for kids, it’s a good idea to start with a theme. You can then gear all of your decorating and food around that topic instead of having a mishmash of ideas. It’ll help make your party look more put together (and possibly like you spent more than you did). A few ideas:
Pumpkin carving party: A pumpkin carving party is a cheap one to host, and if the weather is nice you can do it outdooors. You can find free pumpkin carving stencils, pick up some inexpensive carving tools from Amazon, and use real pumpkins for the traditional fall experience. For an even easier (and safer for kids) activity, pick up some foam pumpkin shapes and decorate them with stickers and markers.
Spiders and webs: Think black and white color scheme. Stretch fake cobwebs over your table, chairs, doorways and more. You usually can find bags for around $1 or $2 at craft stores; I found these on Amazon for even less. Here are some tips for how to hang them. Sprinkle small plastic black spiders here and there. You can also hang black spider webs on the walls —here are some inexpensive ideas for making them out of trash bags. You can also put small plastic spiders (washed first) in the bottoms of your cups.
Bats and vampires: Use lots of black and white with some drips of bright red blood here and there. Clear plastic drinking glasses dripping with “blood” are perfect for serving drinks. Decorate doors and walls with bats made of cardstock. Cut small fangs out of white paper and stick them to family pictures around the house.
Ghosts and graveyards: Line your sidewalk with gravestones made of foam. Hang ghosts of different sizes from the ceiling and light fixtures. Label foods on the buffet table with cards resembling gravestones and get creative with your food names such as bat wings (chicken wings), calzombies (calzones), chocolate-covered flies (chocolate covered raisins), and (of course) witches’ brew. If these names are a bit too tame for you, you’ll find many more gruesome names here.
Halloween movie themes: Pick a Halloween movie for kids or adults and base your theme around it. Then choose decorations, snacks, food, and games that work with that movie. We have some great ideas in our Halloween Movie Night article, including suggestions for what to watch!
Friendly monsters: Monsters don’t have to be scary, especially if you’re throwing a Halloween party for kids. From entertainment (Monsters, Inc.) to music (Monster Mash) to costumes (get out the fuzzy blue sweater) to decor (stick a single googly eye on anything, including balloons, lollipops, paper plates, goodie bags, etc.), putting together a monster-themed Halloween party is sure to be a giggle a minute.
Dress the part!
No Halloween party would be complete without guests in costume. You could even offer prizes for the best dressed!
Halloween costumes can be scary expensive though, so be sure to check out our mega list of cheap (and free!) Halloween costumes here.
Turn on the tunes!
A super-cheap way to add that extra something to your Halloween party is with music (or spooky sounds) that will help set the atmosphere.
If your local library doesn’t offer free Halloween music CDs, don’t worry. The digital options are endless.
Amazon Music Unlimited offers three months free so you can make your own Halloween playlist. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you can access dozens of Halloween playlists, including Haunted House Sounds, Kids Halloween, Halloween Party Music and Scary Songs, to name just a few.
Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and iTunes are also good places to check for Halloween party music.
Budget Halloween party decorations
If you’re throwing your Halloween party at home — even if it’s just for members of your own household — remember it’s the decor that makes it a party! These inexpensive decorations can be used at parties for little creepers or big creepers. Here are a few ideas, and you can find even more in our articles linked below.
Easy and Cheap Halloween Decorations Cute Halloween decorations that won’t cost a lot or take a lot of time, but add special touches to your Halloween party decor. Learn how to make a giant spider, mini graveyard, jack-o-lantern t.p. cover and painted wine bottle.
Frugal Halloween Yard Decor: Create a Haunted Wedding Outdoors This is a spooky, elegant display to transform your yard on Halloween night, and it’s easier and cheaper than it first appears!
Milk jug jack-o-lanterns can be made easily and used as decorations at the party as well.
Spiders are scary to some people no matter the time of year. Try making some of these easy spiders from craft balls and pipe cleaners.
Halloween bunting/banner Every party can benefit from bunting! And this is one of the cheapest (but coolest) Halloween party decorations you can make. The concept is simple: string together triangles of paper or cloth in the colors of your party and hang at the mantle, in a doorway or on a wall to bring instant festivity. This is another good way to incorporate your party’s Halloween theme.
Frugal Halloween party food and snacks
Frighteningly good food is essential at Halloween parties. Get our best ideas for Halloween party food on a budget.
Adults may also enjoy food that’s on the more gruesome side while kids often prefer foods and drinks that are more on the fun side. (Or it goes the other way around, with kids loving the yuck and adults preferring the cuter, tastier-looking party treats!)
And of course you need the biggest Halloween staple of all: candy! And not only do you need it for your Halloween party, you’ll probably also be handing it out at the door all night too. Find out some great ways to save money on Halloween candy.
Halloween party games & activities that are free or almost free
Now that you’ve got the Halloween party theme and food worked out, your next challenge is how to make the Halloween party fun. Keeping guests entertained during your budget Halloween party doesn’t have to be hard. Almost all of these Halloween party games and activities are free and the ones that aren’t are very inexpensive. And yet these are all super fun!
Carve a pumpkin. While you’ll probably have a few jack-o-lanterns interspersed with your other Halloween party decor, you may want to save a few for your guests to try their hands. If you’re throwing a party for adults, you can set out carving tools, pumpkins, and some of these free pumpkin carving stencils. If your Halloween party is for kids, lay out some washable black paint or markers instead; they can still use the stencils but won’t have to handle any sharp knives.
Play spooky musical ghosts. Try a round of musical ghosts by laying out sheets or towels (put out one fewer cloth than the number of children). Play music. Stop the music. Each child must grab a sheet or towel and put it on like a ghost. The child without a sheet or towel is out.
Bobbing games. Of course there’s the old-fashioned bobbing for apples. You can also try bobbing for doughnuts. Gently tie plain or powdered donuts with a string. Hang them by strings from a tree branch, clothesline or even a door frame. See who can eat their donut first.
Halloween movies. Kids love movies, so have a few on hand. Movies can fill the gaps and satisfy those who really don’t get into games. Scooby-Doo mysteries, Casper or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown could even serve as a theme for your party. Check out our big roundup of the best movies to watch on Halloween, along with some Halloween movie night party ideas.
Now that you have some great Halloween party ideas, you might also want to read these articles about celebrating Halloween on a budget:
Halloween parties and entertaining
Fall and Halloween decorating
Halloween food & recipes
Other budget-friendly Halloween ideas