4 College Approved DIY Halloween Decorations

As college students, we don't have the money to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on cute Halloween decorations but also want to be festive for the holiday. I gathered up a few super easy and relatively cheap DIYs for you to try and put on display for all. Now you don't have to break the bank to give your space a spooky and personally crafted touch. 

1. Skull String Art

Materials Needed:

  • White string (Or any color of your choice)
  • 2’x3’ Wood Board (about ½ inch thick)
  • White Nails
  • Black Paint
  • Hammer
  • Sawtooth Picture Hangers


  1. Paint your piece of wood black and let it dry completely.
  2. Print out a photo of a skull.
  3. Make your outline on the wood (either rough sketch or tape the picture directly on it).
  4. Plan where the nails will go (space the nails about 1 inch apart and make sure to put one at any point your outline switches direction).
  5. Use a hammer to nail in your nail outline; be careful not to hammer through to the other side and leave enough space for the string.
  6. Tie your string around one of the nails that outlines the head and follow the nails to make a string outline around the head (go around the head twice). Do the same with the eyes, nose, and mouth. Then, begin to wrap the string in a zig-zag pattern until it looks full switching directions often including going both horizontal and vertical. Repeat for all sections.
  7. Tie your string to whichever nail you land on.
  8. Measure the center of the wood on the back and mark the spot.
  9. Place the sawtooth picture hanger(s) on the back and place on the wall.

Credit: http://abeautifulmess.com/2013/10/make-your-own-skull-string-art.html

2. Flying Bats


  1. Find an inspirational picture of a bat.
  2. Grab one piece of paper and fold it in half evenly.
  3. On one side, trace the outline of half your bat; the crease is the center of the bat.
  4. Cut along your outline.
  5. Open the paper to reveal a whole bat.
  6. Create multiple bats of different sizes and shaped wings and tape along a wall to create a spooky effect.


3. Recycled K-Cup Halloween Lights

Materials Needed:

  • Polystyrene K-Cups (about 20)
  • Scissors
  • Small Knife, or mail opener
  • Sharpie
  • String of lights (yellow or orange)


  1. For each K-cup, remove the foil lid and filter with the small knife and dispose of the coffee grounds.
  2. Wash away with water any remaining coffee grounds.
  3. After they are washed and dried, you can either draw on them with a sharpie or cut out little vinyl jack o’ lantern faces.
  4. Next, to insert the lights, puncture a hole on the top on of the K-cup on the opposite time of the face.
  5. Push the light through the slit however far in as you prefer.
  6. Repeat on the rest of the K-cups and hang where desired for some fun, spooky lighting.

Credit: http://www.thekimsixfix.com/2014/10/k-cup-recycled-garland-ghosts-by-day.html

4. Bloody Handprint Window Clings


  • Elmer’s Craft glue
  • Red food coloring
  • Blue food coloring
  • Plastic saran wrap
  • Wax paper
  • A large cutting board
  • Tape
  • Optional: Latex or non-latex surgical gloves*


  1. Prepare your work area on a washable surface. Wrap the plastic wrap carefully around the cutting board so that the surface is completely smooth and secure it well with tape. (Note: Wear clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting stained).
  2. Pour about an ounce of craft glue into a small bowl or cup and add a single small drop of blue food coloring into it.
  3. Stir the blue food coloring well and in then add red food coloring one drop at a time. Stir thoroughly between drops until the mixtures reach a shade lighter than you want the finished product to be because it will dry much darker.
  4. In a different bowl, pour craft glue in. This will be the base.
  5. Coat your hand in the plain glue (This is where the gloves come in handy if you don’t want messy hands).
  6. Press the coated hand down on the plastic wrap leaving a white craft glue hand-print on it.
  7. Repeat the pressing as many times as you can fit your hand-prints on the plastic wrap.
  8. Fill in the shape of the hand in each print with more craft glue to a thickness of about an eighth of an inch.
  9. Set aside to dry.
  10. (This is where the gloves will come in handy again) While holding your hand over the plastic wrap, use the back of a spoon to paint a thick layer of the dyed glue mixture onto your hand about an eighth of an inch thick everywhere but the center of your palm.
  11. Then, flip your hand over and press it onto the dried plain craft glue print and pick your hand back up.
  12. Keep painting your hand with the ‘bloody’ mixture and pressing it into the bases until you have as many hand prints as you’d like.
  13. Now, after washing your hands, use a spoon to carefully pour and spread more fake blood onto the hand-prints to ensure they are all about an eighth of an inch thick.
  14. Allow the glue to dry until it becomes translucent before you carefully peel the plastic wrap off of the blood drops and bloody hand-print cling films and store them between sheets of wax paper.
  15. There will likely be drops of blood glue on the plastic wrap just from what you spill or drip accidentally. If you prefer more, just drop more colored glue in shapes you’d like into an eighth of an inch thick on the plastic wrap to go along with the hand-prints.

Credit: https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/do-it-yourself-bloody-handprint-window-clings

College is hard, but decorating for it doesn't have to be. Have a safe and spooky Halloween!