24 Clever and Fun Last-Minute Halloween Party Ideas

Oct 16, 2020 | DIY, Holidays, Party

Can you feel it?? Taste it? Smell it?? It’s FALL, y’all! You know what that means. Halloween is almost here!! Now…raise your hand if you love to throw a great party, but you also tend to wait until the last minute to plan and prep. Gulp. Oops. The good news? You just hit the motherlode of last-minute Halloween party ideas to save the day!

Last-minute Halloween party porch decorations of pumpkins, from Fun Cheap or Free

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of the year. It’s so festive with all the creepy, crawly decorations, and the challenge of creating a killer costume. We are all about hosting an annual Halloween bash, but we also know that things are busy. #reallife

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Ideally, you have time to plan a party a month or two in advance. But, if that’s not possible, don’t crumble into a zombie and give up. Here are quick, easy, cheap party ideas that are scary cool!


Graveyard Halloween yard decorations, from Fun Cheap or Free

If you’ve ever read a really great spooky book or watched a scary movie, then you know that setting the scene is crucial. Create some seriously creepy curb appeal to get your party guests and neighbors “in the mood”. Try out one (or all!) of these clever ideas for decorating outside for your last-minute Halloween party:

  • Create A DIY Graveyard – Hit the dollar store or Target dollar spot for fun gravestones and set up a “temporary” residence for the dearly departed. 
  • Fog Machines – You can rent fog machines from party supply shops, borrow from willing neighbors, or buy one if you really get into Halloween. Voila!!! Instant atmosphere.
  • Mood Lighting on Your Walkway – Line the walkway up to your entrance with mood lighting such as paper luminaries, lanterns, LED candles, or glow sticks. Cut ghost eyes and a mouth from white bags, or pumpkin eyes and mouths from orange bags. So cool, right?!
  • The Woman in the Window – Give guests the heebie-jeebies by using vinyl or black butcher paper to create these Makezine creepy silhouettes in the windows. 
  • Light Bulb Swap – Switch out your regular light bulbs for colored ones. You can do this both outside and inside if you’d like. If you have LED light strips, then slap them on, and there you go. How easy is that? 

We’re not saying that you will have the scariest house on the street, but you just might with just a bit of time and effort! Put some personal flair into it and tailor your decorating to fit the party vibe that you are looking to create. If it’s creepy enough, you’ll have the added bonus of saving on trick-or-treat candy — since no one will want to come to YOUR door. He he he. 


Porch and door decorated for Halloween, from Fun Cheap or Free

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then your porch is the portal leading your Halloween party guests to another world. You will definitely want to use some simple, last-minute ways to give your porch some pizazz, and here are a few ideas for doing it quickly and on the cheap. 

  • Condemn Your House – You can create your own aged “condemned” notice to put on your front door, along with caution tape. It can’t get any simpler than pressing print on this creepy notice from Brooklyn Limestone. Print one — or hundreds — and wallpaper your home with these bad boys. 
  • Those Witches Need A Place to Park – Create a cute or creepy parking place like broom parking station by Pet Scribbles for your witchy friends. Add a few of your own brooms to complete the look. 
  • Dress Up Your Door – Give your door a costume that will really set the scene. Use the printable by Green Kid Crafts, simple butcher paper, streamers, cardboard, and colorful cut-outs and put your kids to work decorating your door. 
  • Go A Little Batty – The dollar store is just crawling with all sorts of rubber creepy critters that you can buy in bulk. If one is scary, then more is terrifying! 

Don’t you just shudder even thinking of your porch festooned with a few of these simple last-minute party decorations? We just can’t even imagine the creepiness of walking up through a murder of crows. Chilling. 


Decorated Halloween wall with picture frames, from Fun Cheap or Free

Once guests enter your home, don’t let the decorating fun end there! There are gobs of last-minute Halloween party ideas for decorating the interior of your home, so your guests can really make an entrance. 

  • Haunt Your HomeHang dollar store black tablecloths to a wall and hang spooky frames over top of it! Add more to your collection every year and you'll end up with an amazingly spooky wall.
  • This Place is Lit – If you’ve got candles, then use ‘em. You can put them EVERYWHERE, especially on staircases, mantels, side tables…  Go for the battery-operated candles you can find at the dollar store, and keep real ones out of the hands of little gremlins.
  • Trunk or Treat – You can use your own old clothing or dress and add some fake limbs sticking out of a suitcase or old trunk. Bonus points if you add a funny sign saying something like, “This is what happens when you forget to remove your shoes!” 
  • Life-Sized Terror – If you have a mannequin or life-sized cardboard cutout of a family member, favorite athlete, or band member, then throw some creepy opaque cloth over it, back-light it, and put it somewhere like the top of a staircase. Ooohhh, creepy. 
  • Sheet Chic – Throw some painting drop-cloths or sheets over all your furniture to make it look haunted and abandoned. Bam!!! So creepy, and you didn’t have to dust for the party. Win-win!

Pro Tip: If you want a fun craft that does double duty as a decoration, make bloody candles! Use a red crayon and any old candle you have lying around. Burn the crayon until the wax is dripping and let the wax drip onto the top of your candle to look like runny blood.  


Caramel apple on a stick with chocolate sprinkles, from Fun Cheap or Free

We’re always a fan of letting guests eat dinner at home before heading to the party. Keep the tricky treats for another day, and serve up some simple snacks that look and taste amazing. 

  • DIY Caramel Apple Bar– This one always gets a round of applause. Set up the fixings for making a caramel apple along with a crockpot of melted caramel and let people get creative! Oh, and PS: you’re gonna want to use our famous homemade caramel for this. 
  • Pumpkin Pretzels – Grab a bar of white baker’s chocolate and melt it on medium-low in a saucepan. Add some orange food coloring and dip your pretzels! Add a green M&M for the stem while the chocolate is still wet for a pumpkin-inspired treat.
  • Ghost Berries – Pull out that white baker’s chocolate and use it to create ghostly dipped strawberries like Made It, Ate It, Loved It. Dip the strawberries leaving a little red showing at the top. Then, melt some regular chocolate chips and add two eyes and a gaping mouth for a ghost face. 
  • Use Your Melon – Add some healthy eats for those who’ve hit the candy a little too hard. We know this cute watermelon jack-o-lantern from Hello Fresh isn't Pumpkin Head Harvey, but this carved watermelon is as simple as cutting the fruit to make a ghoulish and delicious display.

Don’t forget! If the party will be held ON Halloween, then the kids will be trick-or-treating. Keep your last-minute Halloween party snacks minimal and let the little ghouls hunt for their own food. 


Girls in costumes playing last-minute Halloween party game, from Fun Cheap or Free

Once your guests have arrived, we think it’s always good to have some aces up your sleeve for fun games to get people interacting. These party games are fun for the whole family — kids, adults, AND teens! Try out these game ideas for super easy ways to use what you have at home for a fun Halloween party. 

  • Minute To Win It Games – Everyone loves quick and fun Halloween party challenges, like these from Fun Squared. They really keep things lively and light. 
  • Create a Mini Escape Room – Do you have a storage closet or shed that has some open space? Turn it into a homemade mini escape room. Designate an older kid to keep the time for guests that go in. 
  • Jam Sessions – Set up space for your musically-inclined guests to play fun video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band
  • Photo Booth – Grab some old costumes and props lying around the house and create a simple backdrop with butcher paper. Let guests go to town taking silly “photo booth” pics with one another. 
  • Our Famous Bowl Game – It’s so simple, yet so fun!!!! You can’t go wrong if you bring out a bowl to play our viral party game. 
  • Costume Catwalk – It’s a Halloween party! Of COURSE, you need to do a costume contest. Take yours to the next level by letting all your contestants walk the runway with some spooky mood music. 

Honestly, everything we’ve suggested is pretty simple and cheap but will make a huge impact for your last-minute Halloween party. We have no doubt you can create a spooktacular party… even with only a few days of prep. So, get to it! You’ve got some cheesecloth to shred.

What's your favorite way to get ready for a last-minute Halloween party? Let us know in the comments!

Image with text that reads "clever and fun lat-minute Halloween party ideas," from Fun Cheap or Free

For even more fun and clever party tips, check out these posts. 

Happy Halloween!


  1. Heather

    You are awesome!! Thank you

  2. Caffeine Clicks

    Thanks for the ideas, we will definitely be using some of these for our home!


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