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Thrifty Halloween Centerpieces

Unique & budget-less decor for the season

Of course, October 31st lands on a Saturday this year. Halloween enthusiasts and trick-or-treaters alike would usually delight in this rare occasion, allowing everyone to celebrate until late hours of the night. But instead, we are dealt the creative challenge of: Covid-friendly Halloween festivities. While it’s taken a while for me to accept this, I’m warming up to the challenge. You in?

Some of you will decide you’re comfortable with hosting an intimate gathering with family/friends, others will choose to watch horror movies with their housemate. Regardless of what you decide, Halloween decor can easily elevate your experience. Plus, we could all use a change of scenery! Instead of raiding Target’s Halloween decor aisle, I urge you to use your creative spirit and try something new. In this article, I went on a quest for Halloween-esque items in my home + took a trip to the thrift-store to create three very different centerpieces. Budget-less and unique, I hope you’ll be inspired to make one of your own!

Create A Narrative

There’s a reason Martha Stewart’s holiday looks appear authentic and yours do not. And what it boils down to is Martha knows how to work a narrative. Placing jack-o-lantern adorned napkins alongside graveyard paper plates, among plastic bones and spiders will look Halloween-y, but it doesn’t tell a story. Plus, it looks cheap and likely wasn’t! It’s best to decorate with a narrative in mind. Are you hosting a murder mystery dinner? Shoot for haunted mansion inspired decor! If you’re hosting a themed costume party for a small group, let the theme inspire your decorations. Don’t have a theme? My advice is to find one or two captivating objects and let your narrative develop naturally. This will make more sense as I go through my examples!

Hunt For Decor

You’d be surprised what you already have lying around your home that can be transformed into holiday decor, if surrounded by the right accoutrements. We all have obscure tchotchkes in our homes that are dying to be the eccentric focal point of your Halloween centerpiece. You won’t be able to copy my centerpiece examples in their entirety, nor should you! Hunt for items in your home first because $$FREE – then, if you decide to supplement with a run to the thrift-store, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for! Here’s a list of items with Halloween decor potential:

  • Colored glass (vases, bowls, plates etc.) in autumn tones
  • Candles & candlesticks
  • Tableware with gothic design elements
  • Books with minimal text – the bigger, the better
  • Apothecary-like bottles; check out your liquor cabinet!
  • Herbs, withered flowers & plants – garlic keeps vampires away 😉


The Love Witch goes foraging 

Ruins from the garden, a French violet liqueur and ~$10 worth of thrifted goods make this witchy centerpiece. I wanted to give an example of using objects from one trip to a thrift-store to show that you, too, can style a centerpiece on a budget! The violet liqueur and yard odds n’ ends were the only decor elements that I had on hand. A bottle of wine would also work here! Seek out a witchy wine label. Cake stands are perfect to display the catch of the day. 🕷️🕷️


Brunch w/ a Mad Scientist

Beakers as vases + shot glasses and candlelight are the final touches to a plaster, gator skull. These objects are all items that I had on hand. It’s unlikely you’ll find bones, rats and skulls at a thrift-store. If vermin and bores are part of your desired narrative, purchase these centerpiece objects at any store with a Halloween section. Then, accompany with more authentic elements: candles, herbs, & plants. Remember to only make plastic purchases that you intend to use again; single use plastic sucks!


Dinner @ the Addams’

Lastly, we have a Morticia Addams approved centerpiece and table settings. A vase full of dehydrated flowers + weeds and candlelight is necessary to get that haunted mansion look. On my thrift-store run, I purchased a few of these small dessert-size plates to show how using China and glassware will instantly elevate any table setting. Paper plates are convenient, but will make you lose the WOW factor. You’d be surprised how many beautiful dishes are donated and sold for $1-2, plus you can always store it for future table settings. You think Morticia would eat on paper plates? Hell no.

And there you have it, thrifty and authentic Halloween centerpieces! I’m confident you can easily outdo mine, as pumpkins and autumn bouquets become readily available. I hope this article serves you some decor inspiration for one of my favorite holiday seasons. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get funky!