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Many of us are living on a shoestring budget this year and the idea of decorating for Halloween seemed to be out of reach. I love decorating for this particular holiday so I had to find a way to do it with very little money. My research led me to an unlikely website, the Dollar Store Crafts blog (www.dollarstorecrafts.com). I got a few ideas and headed to the Dollar Tree.

I found most of my Halloween decorations at the Dollar Tree. I know you are probably picturing some of the tacky and cheap items that can often be found at dollars stores. You need to keep an open mind when shopping for decorations at the dollar stores. Some of the most hideous items can be turned into tasteful pieces with scissors, paint, glue, glitter or ribbon.

For example, you can purchase simple glass cylinder candles for a dollar each and decorate them by tying ribbon, twine, wire or anything else you can think of at the top. Hang beads, letters, skeleton hands, skulls, and bones from the twine or wire. Decorate the outside of the candle with stickers, painted letters or stenciled pictures. River rock can be used in centerpieces on plates with the candles and other fun pieces.

For my Halloween centerpiece, I used three glass cylinder candles with orange and black ribbon tied around the top of the glass container. I placed them on a white serving dish (already owned), poured black river rock around the candles on the dish and placed small skulls and skeleton hands around the rock.

I then hung skeleton garland around the light fixture above for a fun, simple and extremely cheap decoration.

Try looking at dollar store items in a different way. I could have used the skeleton garland by separating them and tying them to the front of the candles. The skeletons could have hung on a Halloween tree (this was new to me too). Take fake birds used for crafting and spray paint them black. Place them in Halloween displays on a table or in a wreath.

I use a lot of pumpkins in my Halloween/Autumn decor. I use them in baskets and on trays or plates. They can also be placed on display on candle holders. Try painting them. You can paint a design or paint them all one color. Don’t be limited by your budget. Use your imagination and keep the spirit of the holidays alive and well during these tight times.