DIY Thrift Store Ghost Painting Makeover for Halloween

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More Halloween

This viral thrift store ghost painting challenge is an easy way to revamp an old painting into frugal Halloween decor. 

painting ghosts on a thrift store painting for halloween

Here’s a must-try spooky Halloween DIY decor idea!

Consider grabbing a painting at your local thrift store to makeover into a haunted masterpiece. Adding a few ghostly details using acrylic paint to an existing painting will transform it into something special to display for Halloween!

The viral ghost painting trend on TikTok and Instagram has been going strong for a few months and for good reason. Let’s just say I can confirm that it’s as fantastic as it sounds. This topic is the perfect theme to explore here at and am so excited to show you my results!

thrift store wall art section

Head to your local thrift store to scope out possible paintings!

Honestly, deciding on the perfect painting or print is the hardest part of this process. If there is a print you’d like to embellish, just remove it from the glass before painting. Most examples I spotted online were smaller-scale pictures, but I thought this large-scale painting on canvas would be fun to makeover. Plus mine was just $8 at Goodwill!

If you’re hesitant to participate due to a lack of painting skills, don’t be!  I have never really painted on canvas like this before, but managed to add in some simple ghosts, pumpkins, a cat, and bats. I also added some leaves in fall colors.

Don’t feel like going thrifting?

blank frames with painted ghosts

Skip the thrift store and do this!

Our very own Chelsey turned the ghost painting idea into a fun girls’ night and could not find thrift store paintings after a few trips to Goodwill. She and her friend decided to buy these inexpensive Walmart photo frames and paint the stock art that is inside!

viral ghost painting example

What a fun and convenient way to experience this painting trend. Maybe you already have something at home you could makeover too. Chelsey did such a great job adding her little spooky details!

thrift store painting on canvas before ghosts

mixing fall colors to paint on canvas

adding eyes to ghosts on a canvas

painting a pumpkin on a canvas with ghosts

painting pumpkins on a thrift store canvas painting for halloween

painting a black cat on a ghost painting

thrift store ghost painting trend

Thrift Store Ghost Painting Makeover




Procure a thrift store painting or print.


Paint ghost shapes with black eyes. Consider adding pumpkins, bats, black cats, and other spooky shapes.  Add fall leaves to any greenery if desired.


Let dry and admire your masterpiece.

Extra tips to consider for this ghost painting project:

  • For inspiration, I highly suggest searching the term “ghost painting trend” on TikTok before starting to get some ideas. There are some amazing creators who have showcased their thrifty makeovers and it’s so fun to see!
  • I found it easy to use a paint palette and mix the acrylic paint colors I had on hand instead of buying new colors. You can find them at dollar stores or online, along with small paint brushes.
  • Painting a ghost is honesty very easy. Just start with a round head and work your way down. I mixed in a drop of black paint with white to add some gray for a little shading. It looks a bit more polished I think! Don’t forget to add the eyes. I have also seen people add sunglasses instead of eyes and it’s so cute.
  • Pumpkins are easy. Paint orange flattened circles, and then go in with a darker or lighter color to add detail and shading.

woman holding thrift store painting with ghosts

Thrift store ghost painting is a satisfying DIY project!

This was honestly so easy and fun to do. Just put on some good music and let the creativity flow. It looks so great above my mantel and is perfect to hang up for Halloween.

I love the idea of making this a date night or girls’ night as a fun group effort. You can also paint some with the kids! If you do paint one, be sure to email me at so I can see it, or tag us on Instagram.

Check out my 13 tips for saving money at the thrift store! 

About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.

Join The Discussion

Comments 11

  1. T

    Cute! I will have to do this when my kids are older so they can do it.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks T! Yes! Something fun to look forward to. ❤️🎃

  2. Monique

    This is such a cool idea 😍😍😍

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Monique!

  3. jaksmom8

    That turned out great, I love it!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks so much!

  4. Angela

    FYI if you paint on top of the glass you can use windex and it will come clean and you can paint snow on the trees and a few red birds for Christmas too

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Love that idea to make it “reusable” too, Angela! Thanks for sharing this great tip! ❤️

    • Judy

      What a great idea, can’t wait to try it

  5. MrsBK

    Very cool 🎃🖤

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you liked this project.

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