Momma Told Me: Halloween (+ Dia De Los Muertos) Ideas For Every Style, On A Budget

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Halloween (+ Dia De Los Muertos) Ideas For Every Style, On A Budget

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Simple Halloween + Dia De Los Muertos Ideas On A Budget #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD

When I was growing up the holidays were kind of a big deal in my family.

Though it was just myself, Momma and Pop, the creative aspect of seasonal events never ceased to bring out the enthusiasm through over-the-top decorations. Back before Pinterest existed Momma was the one who all the other mothers would try to copy. She had the coolest crafts, the most frugal decorations, and a batty (pun intended) sense of humor- especially when it came to Halloween. For my father's sake, and sanity, I often think it was a good thing we didn't move out of our tiny condo and into a home until I was nearing high school. Had we had the garage access, and lawn space, we did in the later years of my childhood back then Momma probably would have had him fabricating props for a Haunted House come Halloween.

Of course Momma also had a frugal side which drove many of her ghoulish creations- If she could make a decoration she'd seen in the store for half the price, she would. And, when we finally did move into a house of our own, she would always drag me out of bed at 3am the day AFTER a holiday to go rummage through the 50% off seasonal clearance.

Now that I'm living in a home of my own, with no more pesky HOA or shared walls, I'm especially excited to kick off this year's Fall and Winter holidays. Of course it will come as no surprise that budget friendly is the key term around here, as we quickly learn that the joys of  living in a home mean the costs of maintaining it!
Just because we don't have any human children in the house does not mean I intend to skimp on Halloween. This is a holiday I fully intend on celebrating inside and outside my home so that everyone who passes by it, or comes into it, can experience a little bit of season fun.

At the same time we are just beginning to build a collection of seasonal decor- while I'd love to go out and buy 10' inflatables, anamatronic characters, and elaborate yard decorations I don't expect to get it all done this year. Or at least that's what I told Jay before I walked into our local 99 Cents Only Store way back in August and was greeted by 2 sprawling aisles full of macabre-amazingness. I won't lie, I started planning and stocking up 2 months back- you simply can't let an amazing find go at the 99, you never know if it will be there when you go back! Over the past several months I've actually been making trips several times a week just to see what's hit the shelves.
If the 99 has had their Halloween stock for sale since August one might be inclined to think there's not much left but several long barren shelves, wrong! In fact my local store keeps decorating the aisle as new inventory comes in; last week there was a giant skeleton swooping down as I entered the store.

While the dollar buys are high quality and a steal in themselves you'll also find some larger signature pieces to build your display around. These large-scale decorations are priced above a dollar but still 75%+ cheaper than you'll find anywhere else. But you have to visit soon, and often, because these amazing buys don't stick around too long!
Simple Halloween + Dia De Los Muertos Ideas On A Budget #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
One of the things I was especially excited to find at my 99 this year was a large dedicated section for Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of The Dead- a traditionally Hispanic holiday celebrated between October 21st and November 2nd. Aside from the fact this traditional holiday celebrates the lives of those no longer walking on land, and the fact that this particular celebration lasts over a week, Dia De Los Muertos is a particularly colorful event known for it's painted sugar skulls.

99 Cents Only Stores not only have you covered when it comes to all the baked goods necessary to put together a traditional DDLM alter, but a plethora of vibrant decorations from wine glasses and candle holders to beautiful floral crowns and face paint guides. They also have all the supplies you need to make an inspired Sugar Skull planter all of your guests are sure to love.
 For this simple Dia De Los Muertos craft project you'll need:

1 Package of Assorted Color (Paint Tip Is Best) Permanent Markers
1 Package of 3 Chunky Black Permanent Markers
1 Bottle of Permanent White Paint
1 Medium Sized Terracotta Pot
1 Plant, Cactus, or Succulent of Choice
Rocks/Soil As Needed For The Above
Drop Cloth (Such As A Party Tablecloth or Shower Curtain)
I was able to find all of these things at my local 99; you'll find markers and paint in the school/office supply aisle, plants/pots/soil are typically located on rolling carts towards the front of the store (if in season near you), and drop cloths are easy to come bay as table-covers in the party aisle. Keep in mind the brands, sizes, colors, and items available will vary by location but you can typically get creative to find what you're looking for at the 99. For example a mason jar would also work well for this project!
This incredibly easy, adorable, sugar skull planter simply requires 2 coats of white paint, properly allowed to dry. Next, using your black permanent markers, make sure to draw a rough outline of your skull's facial features. You may use my skull for reference, or the 99 has many fun styles of sugar skulls on party supplies and decor you can refer to when drawing. I chose to keep it simplistic so my pot would be instantly readable as a sugar skull. Once you have your face on as you'd like it transfer your chosen plant (the 99 had these creepy Venus-Fly Trap looking plants I thought were perfect) and proudly display your work of art for all to admire in jealousy.
D.I.Y Sugar Skull Planter Under $5- Great for Dia De Los Muertos or Succulents #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
One of the great things about Dia De Los Muertos, and this pot, is the handmade detail which lends itself to authenticity. Being imperfect is perfectly perfect. Yes, I just said that. Don't stress jagged lines, or cracks in the paint- it fits the mood and vibes of this spooky celebration just right! How cute would it be to have a little family of these sugar skull pots on your front porch?
Simple Halloween + Dia De Los Muertos Ideas On A Budget #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
For those who feel their holiday celebrations should be celebrated throughout the entire house, the 99 has you covered. You'll find an impressive collection of home decor for your entire home, including the bathroom and kitchen. I almost walked out of the store with 5 new rubber duckies but Jay made me narrow it down to just 1. And how amazing is this vibrant and funky sugar skull bath mat I brought home for just $1.99?! I swear some things just call to me from across the store and fly into my cart before I can even realize what's happening. Do you have that problem too? Oh yes, that's precisely how I wound up with a complete oven mitt and dish towel sugar skull couple set for the kitchen, too...
One of the most exciting things, for me, about living in this house during the holidays is the presence of a mantel. Don't get me wrong, we had a mantel before, it was just at such a strong angle even the cat couldn't balance on it for long.

I honestly had no visions for the mantel going into this season, but the local 99 hit me hard with 'black is the new orange'- and all the gold accent statement pieces lining their shelves. Some of the finds, whew- fan yourself, so much gold, glitter, and flocking. We're talking materials and designs you'd pay big dollars for in a fancy dedicated home decor store. Tell me again why I can't have an entire collection of fleur-de-lis life size skulls? Mmmmmmhhhhmmmm.
Simple Halloween + Dia De Los Muertos Ideas On A Budget #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
Once I decided I wanted a sleek black motif for our mantel I knew I wanted to bring in some pops of color. The 99's pumpkin patch is on fleek, y'all. And, just past those pumpkins I found the party supplies where a brilliant reflective silver-tones spider platter screamed 'candy dish'. Toss in a spiderweb lace table runner, mock 'potions' bottle, birdcage tealight holder, and 2 creepy flocked shimmer twisty trees and you have an instant focal point.
You may recall a little (big) wall art installation we did above our fireplace earlier this year- well, I wasn't about to take it down so I brought the holiday spirit to it. A few flocked clip on spiders scurrying in various directions helped bring life and movement to my vision for an especially creepy touch that cost less than $1.
Simple Halloween + Dia De Los Muertos Ideas On A Budget- Use plastic fangs as napkin holders. #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
For those who love to entertain you can truly save hundreds of dollars on seasonal soirees when you shop the 99. Not only will you find pretty much all the ingredients you need to make your favorite sweets and treats, but you'll find name brand snacks and beverages to keep your guests chomping on something other than brains.

Because the 99 has a large party supply and decor section, as well as a generous home decor/linens assortment (often found near the food containers and organization in my store) you can afford to dress up your tables for less. I used a package of plastic 'fangs' as napkin holders and chose a bright yellow color of disposable napkins to bring in a pop of color. I also found some exquisite plastic skeleton arm goblets that can be broken or tossed at the end of the night without fuss. They really tie the table together!
Simple Halloween + Dia De Los Muertos Ideas On A Budget #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
Around the table I scattered some glitter eyeball ornaments, a glass skull bottle, and topped each plate with a flocked spider clip for guests to wear or take home. In the center I spruced up my cake display with a golden Halloween charger plate adorned with a with shadow, and capped this centerpiece off with a plastic 'cage' I'd bought for a dollar. This larger scale piece added sizeable value to my decorating efforts for cheap.
Fun Orange Fruit Pumpkin Bowls- Get all your fresh produce for Halloween celebration at a fraction of the price when you shop 99 Cents Only Stores. #DoingThe99 #99YourHalloween #AD
Of course some of us can't quite indulge in all of the holiday's guilty pleasures, and others just plain prefer to treat smarter. 99 Cents Only stores have a full fresh produce department where I often buy everything from ears of corn and pineapple to kiwi fruit and Bing cherries. Grab some of this fresh fruit at prices up to half off your local grocer and impress your goblins and ghouls with inspired treats such as the orange fruit cup above. Don't worry, I sliced up the pumpkins 'guts' and put them in with the fresh berries. A genuine Albanese brand gummy worm also makes for a tricky treat when crawling out of this characters head.
It'll still be a few weeks before we're full blown decorated for Halloween outdoors- I prefer to savor the decorating process, and the neighborhood kids love to spy something new each week when walking home from school.

For now I've invested in several heavy statue-like decorations that will withstand the Fall weather and stay put in the SoCal gusty winds. The skeleton gnome above also had a female counterpart that was even more ghoulish than he! I just might move him around the yard as the weeks progress and let the passers by wonder where he'll turn up next week!
Accents such as these clay stepping stones are high quality and durable decorations I know we'll pack up and put out next year. I love that they require no set up and can go straight out into the yard or garden to bring a bit of Halloween spook in seconds. I picked them up for $1 a piece, but I saw a similar set of 3 for near $19 at a big box store last week!
You truly can decorate every corner of your home for Halloween on a budget at the 99; the trick is forcing one's self not to buy EVERYTHING they see. Heck, with such affordable prices, why not grab what catches your eye it can always make it out for display next year!

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that you'll also find all of your costume supplies at the 99- even those for pets. Yes, we saw a wide variety of pet costumes and accessories while shopping; though Gidget seems convinced this small cauldron we bought to put our candy in is actually her newest pet bed. She's just keeping the candy 'safe'. So there you have it; my master plan to rock Halloween without breaking the bank. Be sure to follow us on social media to see our newest additions to the decor each week, and follow 99 Cents Only Stores on Facebook and Instagram for exclusive heads up on all the newest finds hitting stores every day! Looking for more genius decorating ideas on a budget? Check out the 99 Halloween Social Hub to see what my fellow bloggers are scaring up in their homes!


  1. I absolutely love Halloween! Not only is it the kickoff to the holiday season, but it's so much fun to embrace the creepy side of this holiday. And then adding in the Dia De Los Muertos themes just takes it to a whole new level. Thanks for sharing all of these ideas and inspiration! #client

  2. So many cool things! My daughter would love all of the Dia de los Muertos things!

  3. Oh I love what you found- and that potted plant looks great!!

  4. That is fully awesome! I LOVE doing it up for the holidays, and 99 Cents Only looks like it makes that easy and super duper affordable!

  5. You went all out! I love it! Halloween is one of the reasons that I love holiday quarter! I still haven't mastered decorating for Halloween yet, but I can make a mean costume. One of these days, I'll be great on both and you're just the inspiration that I need!

  6. Wow... you have a great eye for finding so many fun things. Looks like I know where to go this weekend for Halloween decor.

  7. We've been seeing more and more sugar skulls used in decorating. Used to be more of a Latino thing, our friends in Los Angeles introduced us to them years and years ago!

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