Well, I took the empty water jugs (free), put radiation symbols on them (printed from printer) and then put neon green paint inside the mouth of them (had in my paint collection) and let it drip. Those will float bobbing on the pool surface and the pool light will have a neon green lens (made from the green plastic cover of a spiral notebook) to make it positively toxic. I'm going to try dry ice and see if it'll fog, even though the water is like 70. I also will put more neon green plastic lenses on the malibu lights that line the wall around the pool. The wall is covered in spider webs (already had from last year) and will have gigantic radiation-induced spiders crawling on it (made from styrofoam I cut into balls and painted black and stuck black pipe cleaners for legs and metal tacks for eyes). I think the effect will be awesome and the really cool with the post-apocalyptic graveyard theme. The only cost for the pool display will be the cost of dry ice--if it works. Total pool cost zero.
The dolls in the doll area were found at an abandoned site, a few I had collected for Halloween displays before, and I bought about 4 at Saver's for $10. I painted and crackles and used Elmer's glue for fake skin on them, so no cost there. I already own a projector and the creepy doll movie we're playing there and I had an old sheet I hung on the shed to show the movie off of, so total cost for doll area $10.
I used chairs we had outside and inside and folding tables for seating. Total cost of seating zero.
For the reaper, I used an old black sheet and beat it up and tattered it, and a huge tree limb for the body and made a paper mache mask for the face from newspaper and Elmer's and water. The saw he's holding came from the abandoned site. Reaper total cost zero.
In the sand area that was once my zen garden, I placed some crows I already had and bought a bag of bones at Spirit Halloween for $14.99. Total cost for desert skeleton area $14.99.
Ghosts x2: I already had two white masks from prior Halloweens and old white sheer curtains and fishing line--total cost zero.
The side yard has white crosses all over the ground made from old white lattices I wasn't using and the Modi Mannequin was made from rolled towels, clothing we had, and a tall candleabra we had, a gas mask and viking helmet we had. Total cost of side yard entry zero.
On the patio, I took yards of muslin fabric I had and tore it up and made fluttering curtains and used old tattered blankets for the tablecloths and hanging lanterns I already own and folding tables I own. The drink holder will be a huge under-the-bed clear plastic bin filled with ice, a crystal skull, green glow sticks, and the drinks. The glow sticks were $8. Total cost of patio/food/drink area $8.
Over the years, because I'm so spooky, people have given me lots of candles and candleholders I'll use around the place. I'm reusing Xmas lights over top of the picnic table area where the glow-in-the-dark Ouija set will be set up. Ouija table area cost zero.
For the bathroom, I'm using tacks to tack up printouts (my printer) of celebrity autopsy reports and death certificates around the mirror in a serial killer halfhazard way with bloody fingerprints on them and a bloody scalpel and gloves near the sink. Simple message, great chill effect. Only had to buy fake blood for $2. Total bathroom cost $2.
For the graveyard, I had some already made stones from other years and because I used to have a medieval-themed house, I had the angel and cherubs statues. I took styrofoam from packing boxes and cut it into new stones and painted them. I had old fake chain from prior Halloween's to line the area with and bouquet of black roses from prior Halloweens. Total cemetery cost zero.
I don't consider myself an activist eco-weenie, but I do have a strong conscience when it comes to $ and the environment, so I was determined to not add to the madness by buying a lot and use my creative mind to puzzle over how to make things. I'm so pleased with the effect. I can't wait to film it on party night and share it with ya'all.
So, only counting decorations (not food or drinks), the party has cost so far...