How to host a Halloween party on a budget

A Halloween party is tons of spooky fun for everyone – unless, of course, you’re the host, who has to plan a full night of Halloween hijinks and party ideas on a budget. But now’s not the time to get scared! Consider thortful your Halloween HQ – we’re here to help, with our selection of hauntingly good Halloween party ideas, from cheap DIY Halloween decorations to daft-but-great-for-a-laugh party game ideas that won’t cost you tons, and even some budget friendly Halloween food ideas. For more Halloween inspiration, make sure you check out our Halloween cards!

Cheap Halloween party ideas and games

The main point of any Halloween party is to get together and have a good time – and honestly, that’s all anyone will remember. You could spend tons of money on jaw-dropping Halloween animatronics or lifelike props for a chamber of horrors, but people will remember having a great time long after the memory of the Halloween decorations have faded. So, pick one of these fun Halloween party game ideas and get everyone giggling!

Toilet paper mummy race

Suitable for kids and adults, recreate the classic horror icon of a mummy in record time using toilet roll. All you need for this Halloween party game is a pack of budget toilet paper – and yes, this beloved British childhood game is intended for kids, but adults who remember doing this as a kid will split their sides while wrapping their mates up in toilet paper. It might suck for whoever gets wrapped, but they do then get to rip through a load of bandages like they’re in a schlocky Hammer Horror movie.

How to play:

  1. Divide into teams of 2 or 3
  2. Give each team their supply of toilet roll
  3. Choose how you’ll judge the winner – is it whichever team finishes their roll first, or the team that has their ‘mummy’ covered head to toe?
  4. Start the music and a timer and get wrapping!

Halloween movie trivia game

The spooky season boasts tons of appropriately scary movies – so put party goers to the test with a game of Halloween movie trivia. Make it extra fun and interactive by introducing a ‘trick or treat’ element – players or teams who get a question right can pick a treat like a sweet or chocolate, while anyone who gets it wrong might have to perform a dare or re-enact a movie scene as a ‘trick’!

Cheap Halloween party food ideas

Hosting a Halloween party on a budget might seem daunting, especially if you’re providing food and drink! But that’s why we’re here to help – here are a few tips for cheap Halloween party ideas for hungry guests. Hopefully just normal hungry, not zombie hungry. And if you’re looking for a centrepiece, check out our guide to the best Halloween cakes you can bake as a showstopper for your Halloween party!

Spiderweb biscuits

Choose your favourite simple biscuit recipe and make spiderweb biscuits. You don’t need to buy fancy Halloween cookie cutters – you can use a jam jar or packet lid to cut out circles.

  1. Make your favourite biscuit recipe – we like the recipe for basic iced biscuits from BBC Good Food.
  2. Once baked, let the biscuits thoroughly cool on a baking rack.
  3. Mix icing sugar with water according to the packet instructions. Make sure it’s runny enough to spread easily without dripping everywhere!
  4. Divide icing into two bowls – add a few drops of black food colouring to one bowl
  5. Spread the white icing on the biscuits in a circle
  6. Pour the black icing into a freezer bag and cut off the very tip of one corner to make an icing bag
  7. Pipe a spiral or several thin concentric circles on top of the white icing
  8. Use a cocktail stick to drag a line from the centre of the biscuit out to the edge, and repeat until you have a spiderweb effect.

Make your own Halloween pizzas

You can easily jazz up some basic pizzas with added extras – half the fun is letting your guests create their own designs. Give prizes for the best effort!

Halloween pizza ideas:

  • Cut slices of cheddar cheese into spooky shapes like ghosts, bats or spiders
  • Slice black olives in half to serve as little spider bodies. Then again, slice more olives in half and chop lengthways to make legs
  • Provide olives for eyes and strips of mozzarella or cheese as ‘bandages’ and make a mummy pizza
  • Cut slices of salami into triangles for eyes and make curved mouths out of slices of ham – let people assemble their very own pumpkin pizzas

Creative cheap Halloween decorations

Fully decking your house out like the Haunted Mansion might not be possible if you’re doing Halloween on a budget, but you’d be surprised just how many DIY Halloween decorations you can make without splashing the cash. Here are a couple of cute and spooky cheap Halloween decorations you can make without needing to head to the shops to spend tons of money.

Halloween balloon arch

Need to fill a large space or really want to make a statement without spending lots on Halloween decorations and props? A spooky balloon arch is your new best friend, because this cheap Halloween decoration is super effective and super affordable. Buy packs of orange and black balloons – you can get cheap balloons from pound shops or stores like Wilkos – and use double-sided tape to stick them together. Arch the balloons across a doorway or around one wall to create an effective and spooky Halloween balloon arch.

You could even create a budget Halloween photobooth – just arrange the balloons around a central point, cut some basic props out of card (black witch’s hat, vampire fangs, gravestone silhouettes) and set up a spot where people can take a spooky snap in their Halloween costumes!

Halloween paper chains

This really couldn’t be simpler – most of us have constructed a Christmas paper chain at some point or another, and this is just a spooky twist on an old classic. But if you need to decorate a large space quickly and cheaply, you can’t go wrong with strings of paper chains! If you stick to classic orange and black, you might be surprised just how effective these cheap Halloween decorations can look.

You’ll need:

  • Card or paper in black, orange, or other suitably spooky colours
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape


  1. Cut your card into strips about 2 inches wide and 8 inches long – you don’t have to be exact, but all of the strips should be about the same size.
  2. Use glue or tape to attach one end of a strip to the other end to make a ring
  3. Loop another strip through that ring, and glue/tape the ends together.
  4. Repeat until you have a chain!

Bat branch Halloween decoration

DIY Halloween decorations don’t get much simpler than this – but it’s also spookily effective. When you gather the branches (from the back garden or on an autumnal walk) make sure they’re completely dry, then decorate with some fluttering bats and arrange in a vase. This makes a great cheap Halloween decoration for mantelpieces or as a Halloween table centrepiece.

You’ll need

  • Tall twigs or branches
  • Black card
  • A pencil
  • A vase
  • Double sided tape


  1. Draw bats in varying shapes and sizes with pencil on the black card and cut them out
  2. Use double sided tape to attach the bats to the branches
  3. Arrange the branches in the vase – reposition bats as required
  4. For added effect, if you’re displaying the vase against a wall, stick more bats on the wall to create the effect that the bats are flying out of the vase!

Image source: The Sweetest Occasion

Create a Halloween pumpkin display

For the ultimate Halloween on a budget display, you can’t go wrong with pumpkins as DIY Halloween decorations. Carving skills a little rusty? Check out our complete guide on how to carve a pumpkin like a pro.

Carved pumpkin Halloween decorations

Forget the traditional carving of three triangles and a jagged smile for a face – get creative and do something a bit more unusual.

Pumpkin carving ideas:

  • Use a drill to carve lots of little holes for a fairy light effect
  • Carve leaves or trailing ivy for a rustic look
  • Map out your favourite constellations, or your family’s star signs, using a drill or cocktail stick to make the stars and drawing the connections between them
  • Carve flames into a collection of pumpkins and arrange into a stack to create a fire effect

Painted pumpkin decorations

Not feeling up to busting out the knives and carving tools? Then stick to a perfectly painted pumpkin. Painting a pumpkin is also easier on little hands, so if you want to make some DIY Halloween decorations as a fun craft for the whole family, this is a great option.

Pumpkin painting ideas:

  • Paint your pumpkins in pastel colours and use stencils to add words like ‘Boo’ or ‘Happy Halloween!’ for cute and cheap Halloween decorations. Or flex your creative muscles – try your hand at calligraphy for an artistic look and write a word on each pumpkin – maybe ‘trick’ on one and ‘treat’ on another? Check out our guide on calligraphy for beginners for more tips and tricks.
  • Try repeating patterns using sponges or stencils – paint your pumpkin black and paint a spooky scene of ghosts, or go for a white pumpkin and paint a repeating pattern of bats.
  • Paint the faces of your favourite movie characters, from spooky classics like Nightmare Before Christmas to modern favourites. You could create Gru and the Minions or paint Disney characters – whatever you fancy.
  • Get creative and paint portraits of your family members on appropriately sized pumpkins! Head to a pumpkin patch and pick bigger pumpkins for the grownups, and some teeny tiny baby pumpkins to represent kids and pets.

Hopefully, the fear of throwing a Halloween party on a budget has vanished, and you feel braver than the final girl in the last minutes of a slasher movie. But if you need more Halloween inspiration, make sure you check out our Halloween cards, or get inspired with our guide to the best Halloween kid’s costume ideas. And don’t forget – for fun seasonal inspiration all year round, the thortful blog is always here to help.