Category Archives: DIY Decorations

Dark decor to haunt your halls and turn your yard downright ghoulish.

Halloween Clock – Repurposed Home Decor

The following spooky tutorial was submitted by artist Cindy Tevis. Enjoy!

What a better way to create Halloween décor than by digging something up and reviving it? (Dr. Frankenstein would be proud!) Take some of your old discarded items and bring them “back to life” with the following tutorial.

Making Your Vintage “Haunted” Clock

This old plastic barometer is about to become a vintage-syle Halloween clock. Find an old timepiece of your own at a garage sale or thrift shop (or look online for a starter piece):

Old plastic barometer

After finding your treasure, you must disassemble the piece. I took the back off, and pulled all of the “barometer” coils, and such out. I found that I needed to replace the plexiglass, since it had a hole in it to allow the dial to stick out. This only cost a couple of dollars at the hardware store.

Disassembling the barometer

Choose Your Colors

Next I painted the entire surface orange. I usually do not use primers. Priming first makes the item appear
new, and I am going for an “old as the hills” look. Another option is “distress paint,” which gives a weathered, slightly haunted look.

For this project, I found a simple color scheme worked best for me. I chose three colors – orange, black and off-white.

Apply several coats of base color, and sand between each coat. If you are as impatient as I am (guilty as charged), you may use a hairdryer between coats to speed the drying time.

orange Halloween clock frame   Halloween clock, with painted decor

Make sure you allow the paint to cool before sanding, because warm paint will pull from the surface.

Sand the last coat rather roughly around the edges to remove paint in select spots, to age the piece. After achieving the desired result, you can begin to decorate your creation.

I was lucky to have the designs already raised on the surface of this clock. That made it much easier to decide how to detail it. If this is the case with your timepiece, take advantage of this in the following or a similar way:

I painted the raised areas in either black or white (as shown). I also painted in some bat silhouettes. You can create your own stencil by cutting out the shape of a bat you had traced, then placing the paper (not the cutout) on the clock. Then, simply paint! Easy, even for the novice painter.

Then I added the Halloween phrase “There is always time for Halloween.”

Finishing the Transformation

This clock face was painted on balsa wood, and a hole drilled in the center. You can use a printed image for the face, if you like.

Attach it with glue dots. Do not try to glue it completely down on the surface, or it WILL bubble. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a warped, distressed look, this effect along with your distress paint can be an eerily cool effect.

I myself ran into a slight problem when assembling this finished clock. Being a barometer in its first life, this clock had very little space between the face and the glass. There just wasn’t enough room for clock hands.

But I turned lemon into gristly demon blood…er, I turned lemon into lemonade in the following way (you too may run into glitches; use them to make your clock even cooler!):

I epoxy-glued square wood pieces on the edges of the surface that the face was going to lie over. This brought the face back enough to allow the hands to turn freely. I then reattached the original back
and voila! A very nice Halloween décor item for less than ten dollars

TIP: It is sometimes difficult for novice crafters to find designs to paint. Look up vintage Halloween images, or novelties online. You will find many ideas that way. You can trace around most images, and use them as silhouettes. A lot of royalty free vintage Halloween designs are available.

Do not be afraid to mess up, and do not try to paint too perfectly. Flaws are a charming addition to a primitive
style fold art painting. Start with simple designs, black cats, bats, and spiders are good.

Finished Halloween clock - Looks like a vintage antique!

My creature … I mean creation! It lives!

About the Author: My name is Cindy Tevis. I am a Halloween artist. I re-paint vintage décor in a style that I call “ShabbyHag”
You can find my art on ebay, under the ID “halloweenspirit01”

I also have a showcase blog here: http://www.shabbyhagdecor.blogspot.com

I also create Halloween poetry at http://www.idreamofhalloween.blogspot.com

 

Thank you, Cindy, for your excellent submission!

How to Grow Your Own Pumpkin Patch

 

 

 

Ah, the orange, glowing, delightful jack-o-lantern: it’s perhaps the most immediately recognizable icon of Halloween.

Each autumn, thousands of families across the U.S. flock to farms, vegetable stands and even supermarkets to buy a pumpkin or two (or more!). But a few in-the-know growers avoid the rush by cultivating their very own decorative pumpkins.

How do these home growers do it? Pumpkin growing isn’t as difficult as you may think. All it takes is a little patience, a lot of yard space and a few tips on how to grow the best pumpkins in the neighborhood.

Read on for a tutorial on growing your very own pumpkin patch.

Selecting Your Seeds

Your first consideration is how much land space you have for your pumpkin patch. This will partly determine what variety you’ll be growing (hence, which seeds to choose).

Be aware that pumpkins require a lot of space—often ten feet or more per vine, depending upon the variety —so be sure you have a sufficient area available.

If space in your garden or yard is limited, try one of the two following options:

  • Semi-bush hybrids. The most popular variety among these is the Spirit Bush Hybrid. It requires a mere 4-5 feet of space per vine and yields 10-12 lb. fruits, suitable for carving.
  • Miniature decorative pumpkins. Jack B. Little, Wee B. Little and Baby Boo all fall under this category. Although the vines on these minis can still get quite long, the light weight of the fruits makes them ideal for a space-saving hanging garden. Simply fill a large size hanging basket with nutrient-rich soil, plant one to two seeds and allow the vine to dangle (it may reach the ground by the time its growth cycle is over). Be sure to keep the soil well watered and fertilized.

The most common commercially grown pumpkin in the U.S. is the Connecticut Field (Jack O’Lantern); you will find seeds for this variety in any plant nursery or store gardening section. Other popular carving-size choices include Howdens, Autumn Golds and Happy Jacks. Each has its pluses and minuses, so choose the variety that is best for you.

Preparing the Soil

Begin preparing your pumpkin bed after all danger of frost is over. Be absolutely sure of this timing – pumpkins are a warm-weather plant and new seedlings will not survive a frost. Depending upon what area of the country you live in, Final Frost will occur anywhere from mid-March to early May.

Choose an area that receives a lot of direct sunlight in the spring and summer; pumpkins prefer at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Pumpkins do well in nutrient-rich soil; consider starting a compost heap or purchasing a fertilizer that contains manure. Otherwise, try turning shavings of your food and lawn leftovers into the soil. (Fruit parings and fallen leaves are popular choices among growers.) Do this well ahead of your planting date so your additives have time to decompose into the soil.

Dig an area approximately 4’X5’ and about 2’ deep and fill with your compost and soil. Remember that your plants will grow beyond this area; the bed is for the initial seedlings and the first root shoots.

Planting the Seeds

Credit: countryliving.com

If you live in a northern area which experiences very short, cool summers, you can get a jump-start on your pumpkin growing by planting seeds in peat pots about 4-6 weeks before final frost. Otherwise, sow your pumpkin seeds directly into the soil. Poke a hole in the earth 1-2” deep with your finger and drop in two seeds; cover loosely with soil and water well. Space your seed mounds several feet apart (refer to your seed packet for the exact distance your variety requires).

Credit: gardeningandplanting.com

In four to six days, you will be rewarded with a view of your first seedlings. As the plants grow, keep them well watered, but try not to let the leaves get wet; this can promote diseases, including the powdery mildew that is common to pumpkin plants.

Pollination, Maturation and Harvest

When your seedlings are approximately 2-3” high, cut the weaker of the two plants in each pair. You want the soil nutrients to go toward your most viable plants. Now sit back and watch your vines grow! Pumpkin plants grow at an amazing rate.

Credit: beeaware.org

About 40 days after planting, you will begin to see flowers on your pumpkin vines.

Pumpkins produce male and female flowers; generally, the males appear first, with the females following a week or two later. Female pumpkin flowers have a tiny “node” below the base of the bloom. If pollinated, this node will begin to grow into a pumpkin.

(l-r) Male and female pumpkin flowers. Credit: http://www.leafrootfruit.com.au

Insects will probably do the pollinating for you, but if you’re unsure, take the pollen from a male flower with a small paint brush or Q-tip and transfer it to the inside of each female flower.

Depending upon the variety, your pumpkins will be mature and ready to pick 95-120 days after planting. Be sure to leave a few inches of stem on the pumpkin when you cut it; an accidental slice into the fruit will dramatically shorten its shelf life. Store your pumpkins in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to carve them.

Pumpkin growing is a delightful activity for adults and children alike. Get your kids in on the growing action by involving them in every step of the growing process. You’ll leave them with an experience they’ll always remember. Just be sure to save some seeds for next year’s growing season!

Decorations at a Moment’s Notice (or D.A.M.N.)

 

Halloween  mail  Postcard
Halloween mail Postcard

Some people in this world can make a gorgeous Halloween decoration for any occasion out of a bowl of grits and twist tie. Well, ok, not grits, but you get the point. Me? Nope, I’m not one of them. Notice the title of this section? I have to think about what I want to do and plan well in advance . . . unlessssssss I decide to throw together a last minute gig!

I hope to make a few suggestions about how you can plan decorations and what to grab if you need to throw something together at the last minute. That is where D.A.M.N. comes in! How to come up with decorations at a moment’s notice (D.A.M.N.)

Getting Your Halloween Party Set Up . . . Quickly!

Decide if you are going to use a porch, family room, or a basement and then do two things:

1. Decide how you’re going to make the area dark
Just tape black table cloths over the windows in only a few minutes. I can’t tell you how many Halloween parties I’ve gone to where the hosts keep the lights on! Nay! This is a party filled with make up, mystery, and costumes.

2.Turn off the lights and do some eerie lighting
Take all the lamps you normally have in the room out and put either low wattage or colored bulbs in them. Place them on the floor in each of the corners of the room.

You’d be surprised how just doing those two things will change the atmosphere of your room for little or nothing. And let me tell you, having all your lights pointing up is a great eerie effect and will make great shadows for your party. Oh, and for the guest that keeps saying, “Oh it’s too dark in here.” Send him or her to the store for more chips. DO NOT TURN ON THE LIGHTS!

Now What?

Oh, many other D.A.M.N. decorations exist that you can pull out what you might not even have thought about. For instance, look up. The ceiling is a perfectly blank canvas for your decorating skills because it’s the perfect showcase for a huge decoration. What, you say? Yes, get one of your large and light yard ghouls that’s just a head and arms and with a long gown or cape and get ready to wow your guests.

Get four 3M temporary hooks and some fishing line that will blend in with the color of your ceiling. Put your ghoul in the center of the room where everyone has to walk under it. Securely tie the arms and body to the hooks.

Add a fifth hook over in a hidden corner and run a separate line from the head of the dummy back to that corner. The head should be bent so it looks like it is peering down at your guests. If it looks too saggy, very slightly raise it. Finally, tie the end of the fishing line off on a table leg or some other heavy item so it can’t fall.

Now to play a trick on your guests. Stand in the corner of the room during the party and wait until everyone is used to seeing the ghoul there. When no one is looking, suddenly pull the string, raising it’s head (or hands if you so desire) and giving your guests quite a scare!

A Murder of Crows

Don’t you just love that group name? Well, it works for this occasion because if you need fast, effective and relatively inexpensive decorations, get a bunch of crows. Put white sheets all over your party room and attach those little birds in groups of three to five everywhere. You can’t go wrong with black and white, no matter what you do, and it’s easy to add to your collection at the end of the season. I’ve purchased them at four for a dollar, so every year I add to my birds. Now I can do a whole house in the style of the movie The Birds if I want.

Collections of Webs and Spiders

Another D.A.M.N. fast decoration is cheep webs and tons of plastic spiders! I bet you have loads of them in your Halloween items already or can make a trip down to your local dollar store to stock up on the little buggers and packages of webs. Get white or green webs because it really doesn’t matter about color, especially if you have a nice sized black light to add to the room.

Pull the webs into really thin, long sections and stretch them as far as you can so that they look real. Then put the spiders, hundreds of them, all over your party room, kitchen, and bathroom so that it looks like your house is working alive with the little devils. Add a black light and watch the webs glow like crazy, and your room will look spookily inviting to any guest in a short amount of time

Sophisticated Party Room

Not every Halloween party room has to be scary, because some really like the more sophisticated look like that of a Martha Stewart display. Great! Get enough inexpensive black material to replace your current drapes and add two or three crows to the ends of your curtain rods for a touch of whimsy. Cover lamp shades in scrap booking paper and tape in place for a temporary Halloween lampshade and use Halloween material to make fast runners for your tables. Add baskets of pumpkins, fall corn, and gourds around the room with branches of multi-colored fall leaves. Place your good Halloween collectables on your book shelves and on many of the surfaces around the room.

But be sure to leave room for drinks and hors ‘d vours your guests will need to set down during your soiree. Add any textile decorations where your normal art goes on the walls and lay past and present Halloween issues of your favorite magazines around your room. Go to you local Farmers’ Market and buy some carved apple dolls or walnut-headed dolls that are commonly made around this time of the year. Those dolls will add a homespun air to add to your room.

These styles of decorations just goes to show you that you don’t have to spend much money or look beyond your own stash for great Decorations At a Moment’s Notice. All you ever need to do is to look at what you have or have access to, and you can make your party and party space something special in just a few short hours. Enjoy your party!

One-of-a-Kind Halloween Pumpkins – Exciting Themes to Carve Your Pumpkin

You’ve picked the biggest, roundest, most orange pumpkin in the patch. The table is covered with protective newspaper. Armed with an array of cutting implements, you stand over your victim, prepared to create . . .yet another snaggletoothed face.

Isn’t there another way?

Traditionally decorated pumpkins – usually consisting of two round or triangular eyes, a nose and a mouth with just a few teeth – are a fun and familiar pick. But there’s more than one way to dress a naked pumpkin. Try something brand-new this year for a look that’ll make your house the best Halloween pick in the neighborhood!

For the Birds

You Will Need:

  • One small or medium-size pumpkin
  • Decorative black-feathered birds
  • Decorative pumpkin tendrils
  • Black spray paint
  • Glue gun (with one stick glue) or instant-bond glue
  • Cutting or digging tool
  • Paint or glitter if desired

This idea is eerie, yet deceptively simple. You will need a small- to medium-size pumpkin (pie pumpkins work great!) A pumpkin with a slightly flattish bottom is ideal; the fruit should be able to stand upright without being propped up. Purchase decorative blackbirds, ravens or crows and decorative pumpkin tendrils (curled strips) from your local crafts store or flower shop. Buy a small can of black spray paint from any retail store.

Spray paint the tendrils black; allow to dry. Glue the crows to the outside of the pumpkin, arranging them so that a few are “pecking” at the pumpkin’s skin. Attach the tendrils to the stem of the pumpkin with glue. Decorate the rest of your pumpkin in paint or glitter with a catchy saying if desired.

Slithering Snakes

You Will Need:

  • One medium or large pumpkin
  • Novelty rubber or plastic snakes
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Battery-powered pumpkin light

Turn your pumpkin over and carve a circle into its bottom, slightly smaller than the circumference; remove. (Alternatively, you can cut a top out of your pumpkin; however, cutting the bottom creates a seamless look and prevents the pumpkin top from falling in as it shrinks over time.)

Scoop out seeds and pulp and scrape carefully.

Turn the pumpkin right-side up and carve eyes, nose and a gaping mouth. Try for a frightened or disgusted expression on your pumpkin’s “face”. Place your light source securely in the pumpkin’s bottom. Because any added materials can pose a potential fire hazard, we recommend a battery-powered or electric plug-in light rather than a burnable wick candle.

Place the carved top over the cut bottom, then situate the novelty snakes so that they are slithering out of the eye sockets, nose and mouth. Sit back and enjoy the reactions!

Eerie Black-and-Orange Pumpkin

You Will Need:

  • One pumpkin (any size)
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Black spray paint
  • Halloween stencil, if desired

Spray paint your pumpkin black; allow to dry completely. Carve the pumpkin, using tips shown above (see “Slithering Snakes”). Be careful not to nick the spray-painted skin; if you do, just cut a bit farther outward, or touch-up carefully with more paint or a black magic marker.

Your best look for this ghoulish gourd is a traditionally scary carving; try a frightened black cat, sinister tombstone or a witch flying past a crescent moon. Carve freehand, or use a Halloween stencil. When lit, the black will contrast spookily with the pumpkin’s orange insides.

Black Widow Web

pumpkin-spiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Will Need:

  • One pumpkin (any size)
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Black paint or black permanent magic marker
  • Novelty toy spider
  • Crafts glue

Because you won’t be carving or cutting into this pumpkin, it should last quite a while if kept outdoors in cool to cold weather. Draw or paint a spider’s web on the outside of the pumpkin; using the stem as your point of reference, paint lines out, down and back up again at intervals from the stem center. Now paint lines vertically at intervals, connecting the web.

Use your crafts glue to attach the spider to the web. You’ll be sure to startle (and delight!) any trick-or-treaters that come to your door.

How to Make “Shrunken Heads” with Apples

Image credit: marthastewart.com

Shrunken heads are the stuff of myth, legend and Hollywood voodoo movies. This Halloween, bring an eerie tradition to life by creating apple “shrunken heads” for your diabolical display.

Be as simple or as detailed as you’d like; they may look like they take a lot of effort, but making a creepy shrunken head prop is so easy, it’s almost scary.

You will need:

  • 1 (or more) large-size, fairly round apple(s)
  • Bowl of water
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Small knife for carving
  • Whole cloves if desired
  • Dried rice grains if desired

Step One: Prepare Your Ingredients

Prepare your water about 5-10 minutes before you’re ready to dip your apple in (see Step Three, below). Start by filling a bowl with about four cups of cool water. Pour in the salt, then squeeze juice from the lemon wedges directly over the bowl. Mix for several seconds so that the salt will begin to dissolve into the water and the lemon juice will blend.

Step Two: Peel and Carve the Apple

Select an apple that is fairly round and as large as possible. Apples shrink significantly in size as they dry, so the bigger the apple you start with, the better. Peel the apple with your vegetable peeler; leave the stem on if desired (it will not affect the drying process).

Coring your apple isn’t necessary for drying, but if you wish, you can create a longer, more drawn “face” by coring. (Non-cored apples will end up more round or square in shape.)

Now begin carving a face into the apple. You will be carving inward around the most prominent facial feature—the nose. The eyes should be sunken into the apple. Don’t worry about details at this point; just exaggerate whatever features you’d like to stand out on your finished project. For deeply-set eyes, make sure the eyebrow ridge stands out fairly far, and place a clove in the center of each to make a dent once the head is dry.

Step Three: Soak and Hang the Head

Now you’re ready to soak your apple in the prepared water. Allow the apple to sit in the water for a minimum of 10 minutes (for dry, warm areas) or up to one hour (if you live in an area that experiences high humidity). “Spin” the apple a few times in the water during the soaking time. The salt will draw moisture from the apple once it’s out of the water, making the apple dry more quickly and helping to keep it from becoming moldy, and the lemon will help keep the color of the shrunken head light and uniform.

The best way to dry your apple is to hang it from a string. Try not to hang it directly in front of a window that receives a lot of sunshine; the warmth and brightness can encourage rot. You also want to avoid very moist areas, such as the kitchen sink or near the washing machine in the laundry room.

Please note that your shrunken head will take up to two weeks to dry. If you need a finished product sooner, try a vegetable dehydrator, or turn your oven to its lowest setting (200 degrees or less is ideal) and heat the apple for 3-6 hours, until dry and shriveled.

Finishing Touches

Once your apple is fully dried and shrunken, you can display it as is, or you may add details if you wish. Glue some faux hair onto the stem if you’ve left it on, or directly onto the top of the head if the stem has fallen off. The cloves you inserted for placement may have softened during the drying time; replace them for very beady, dark eyes. (Leave them out for a sunken-eyed look.)

Take your rice grains and glue them into the mouth area for teeth. For this detail, the more jagged, the better; place them at angles, or glue one or two into the top lip and just one on the bottom.

However you choose to display your proud creations, you’re sure to get comments from impressed friends, including “How did you make those?” Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with us!

Big Halloween Displays in Small Spaces

I love Department 56 and Spooky Town collectables, but I don’t have room for all the different houses and building in the collections. So over the years I’ve bought several pieces that I couldn’t live without, but I couldn’t display them either because of no room and to protect them from my two cats. You know what I mean – small collectables make great cat toys!

The first thing I thought of was to get a display case made for goodies – it would have cost the same as a second mortgage, so that idea was out. Then I went out and priced already made display cabinets, and realized that I couldn’t make my kids go without braces. However, I was determined to find a way to display them so the cats couldn’t get at them and so that me and my guests could see them without breaking the bank.

The Solution – The Craft Store

I ran off to Michaels and found the perfect fix for very little money! They had several different sizes but I chose one that was 7 ½ ” tall x 4 ¾ ” wide. I was shocked to find an unfinished display box with glass for under $5.00! I bought two – one to use for a tall display and the other for a horizontal display.

What To Put Into Your Display

Gather any item you think will fit in the display case and set them in. I’m sure you have lots of little collectables you’ve picked up over the years or you can always add doll house miniatures to your display. Of if you have one larger Halloween statue or collectable – use just that. Arrange and rearrange your items until they fit like you want. They may not fit at all! I was surprised when I got home that some of the Halloween collectables I thought would be perfect for my display case didn’t come close to fitting. Others looked dwarfed in the case and didn‘t look good at all. You just won’t know what will look best until you try them all!

The Gory (and Fantastical) Details

Once you’ve decided what to put in your display – start playing around with what details will make it better than just the item. Do you want to go with true scale of one inch equals a foot? Not bother with scale at all? Perhaps you would like to try for realism or fantasy in your display. All these things are good to consider since they will add lots of interest to you collection. If you decide to showcase you’re best mini tombstones for a mini cemetery add greenery, trees, fences and plants or vines to add to the creepy feel of fantasy cemetery in your head. What about adding a wisp of cotton batting to look like low laying ground fog between the tombstones? No matter what you’re planning to exhibit there are always great details you can add that will set it apart from humdrum to eye popping – perfect for Halloween!

Supplies For a Mini-Fantasy Display

  • Unfinished display box
  • Access to a color printer and the internet
  • Scissors
  • Double stick tape
  • Several different colors of paper or felt for the flooring
  • Ruler
  • Collectables
  • Paint (optional) I’ve decided to leave mine the natural color of the pine for now but you can paint yours anyway you want.

Getting Started

Gather all your supplies so you won’t have to stop later and look for something – it ruins your creative juju if you have to go cussing around the house scaring small children and pets just to find scissors. See, I know you guys – wait. That’s what I usually do!

Anyway, set up in an area with lots of light and space to work so you can spread your supplies out. Carefully measure the area where you want to put your background and write it down so you won‘t forget. As you can see with mine, (insert pic here) I decided to use a background only on the very back. but there are many ways to install your background. For instance, you may want to not only put it on the back of the case but also around the sides of the display. Just make sure that you can still see the items clearly or you may have people picking it up to see what’s inside – that’s bad for breakable collectables!

The Haunted Background

Once you’ve measured, go online or to your favorite graphics program and select a few different backgrounds to print that will add to the feel of what you‘re displaying. Use the rulers in any program you use to make them the exact size of your display so you won‘t have to trim them later or lose part of your background trying to cut it down to make it fit. Select the best background from all the ones you’ve printed and cut it out. Do the same with either felt, colored paper or a design you’ve printed for the floor of the display.

(Of course, if you’re an artist, draw and paint your scene!)

You have to make a decision at this point if you’re going to want to change the display later or if you want it to be permanent. Me? I’m way too fickle to make the display permanent so I used double stick tape to attach my background and flooring. But if you are good at making decisions – get a glue bottle and a Q-Tip. Careful not to get glue on your print since most pictures done on an ink jet will run or smear if it gets any dampness on it – I suggest that you take the background or flooring out and on a covered surface. Then put a thin layer of glue directly on the wood and smooth the glue all over the surface. Carefully lay the background paper in and watch for glue blobs that’ll bubble up around the edges. Take a Q-Tip and gently wipe it off making sure to not rub it over the picture. Let dry completely before doing anything else.

Populating Your Scene

“Time to make the doughnuts” as an old ad used to say when it was time for the good stuff. You’re now ready to start filling your display! Since you’ve installed your background and flooring you’re ready to put your collectables in the display. Try all kinds of combinations before closing the door and being done. You can always hang a bat from the ceiling, add a last minute skeleton or any other thing that will make your items scream with realism or show great flights of fantasy in your showcase. Enjoy!

Scaring Up Supplies on the Cheap

13 tips to take some of the bite out of the cost of home haunting from the lurking lunatics at ScreamingScarecrowStudios

garage sale halloweenYou know you are in danger of being labeled a Halloween fiend when you find yourself daydreaming about spending any lottery winnings on a Hollywood-grade, year round haunted attraction! But if you’re just poor working stiffs like us, who haven’t yet won the lottery, you know there is never enough cash in the coffin to fund the annual dark obsession. For this reason we thought we’d share how we get some of the materials used in our home haunt and Halloween props.

Halloween – not just for October 31st

Tip #1 – Post-Halloween Sales

We hate to state the obvious, but the best way to be able to scare up cheap haunting supplies is to be thinking about Halloween all year round – starting with November 1st. If you don’t already know, most stores put what is left of their Halloween stock on sale the day after Halloween, sometimes up to 75% or more off! We often take the day off and go to our favorite Halloween store early before it opens so we’re first in line for all the glorious mad grabbing of discounted horror.

Tip #2 – Costume Remainders

As much fun as it is to make haunt props from monster mud, for your next creature consider scooping up a Halloween costume while you’re taking advantage of the November 1st sales. When you buy a costume for a mere pittance of what it was a week earlier you don’t feel bad about using it on a monster prop. Costumes often give your creatures of the night a more authentic look and feel. Also not using monster mud allows you to disassemble a store the prop more easily.

Tip #3 – Stock Up on Fake Spider Webs

Never pay full price for fake spider webs. This is one item that is almost always deeply discounted. One year we paid only 25cents a bag, so for a cool 10 bucks we had ourselves 40 bags of webbing! As an added bonus. when taking down the used webs at the end of the season, don’t throw them out – just ball it all up into a good head-sized mass because it actually makes great stuffing material for a Halloween mask.

Tip #4 – Costume Makeup Sales

Never pay full price for costume makeup. This is another item that is almost always deeply discounted. You’ll always need Halloween face makeup for some costume or another but you could even use the makeup as greasy pastel crayons to draw horror scenes on cardboard backdrops in the haunt. Also it is face makeup – the kids can use it all year round for face painting!

Wood – it doesn’t just grow on trees in the haunted forest

Tip #5 – Lumber Sales

Thinking about your haunt plans and projects during the year allows you to watch and wait for basic building materials such as lumber and plywood to come on sale at the local lumber yards. For bigger projects, wait to get the full size wood on sale, but for smaller projects it’s good to know somebody in the construction industry. You can ask them to bring you left over job scraps. We have one guy who brings us all sorts of useable scrap wood.

Tip #6 – Pallet Manufacturers

Another place we get wood is the local pallet manufacturers and businesses that receive items shipped in crates. Often they have this pallet wood or crate wood piled up in designated areas waiting for people to come and haul it away for them.

Tip #7 – Old, Reclaimed Wood

Then there’s old weathered wood, which is perfect for coffins and crosses. We help friends & family when they are tearing down a garage or shed. Especially if the building is old and the wood is weathered and beat up. Nothing makes more authentic cemetery crosses and coffins then old wood – sure there are lots of techniques for distressing and aging wood but they don’t come close to the real thing.

Black is our favorite color, until they come out with something darker

Tips #8 – Grey is the New Black

Although we love black, one of the most common colors in our haunt is grey. If everything was black too much light would be needed to properly light up our haunted scenes. So it’s a good thing that most paints mix together to make a blah looking icky color to which we add some black paint to make various greys. Paint is expensive, so like the wood it’s good if you know someone in the painting business that can bring you left over paint from jobsites. Another place to get free or cheap paint is garage sales. Most people have old paint in their basement or garage but don’t think to put it out, so we just ask if they have any old paint they’d like to get rid of?

Tip #9 – Discounted Paint

Another way to get cheap paint is the local hardware store. Sometimes you can buy discounted paint when people return paint because of the wrong color. Once again it does not matter what color the paint is because it usually all gets mixed together into grey.

Tip #10 – Packaging Tarp

On the subject of black – we construct our Halloween haunt in our driveway and side yard using 2 X 4 wood framing. Once the framework is setup, we skin it with tarps that we get from the local lumber yards. These are the tarps that wood manufactures cover and ship their lumber with. Often these tarps have a black side making them perfect for Halloween. Plus the lumber yards just puts them in the garbage anyway. We’re actually keeping the landfills cleaner!

Garage sales Goblins and Thrift store Trolls

Tip #11 – Garage Sales

Of course you already know that lots of great things can be found at garage sales and thrift stores but whenever we go throughout the year we always keep an eye out for a few things that we like to use in our haunt. One of those things is bolts of cheap fabric – of course anything black or grey but we also look hard for blood red satin sheets because they make perfect liners for coffins. We also snap up any cheaply priced white sheer curtains because they are perfect for flying crank ghosts and static ghost alike.

Tip #12 – Pool Noodles

Something we haven’t found that often at either garage sales or thrift stores is water noodles. New, they are not super expensive but they also are not cheap either. So we snap them up when we find them and ask anybody we know with a pool to let us have them when they are done with them. Why water noodles? Because we’ve found they are great for giving form and shape to a creature’s arm or leg. If you just stuff an arm or leg with stuffing it often looks too stuffed and unrealistic – a water noodle that has been shaped into a limb often lets the clothes hang correctly giving more realistic appearance.

Tip #13 – Mannequins, Old Paintings, Storage Trunks

Being number 13 we thought we’d squeeze in 3 more things we love to find while out second hand shopping. First, for obvious reasons, mannequins! When we come across a reasonably priced used mannequin we definitely grab it. Put on those discounted costumes and makeup the face anyway you like because you’ve got plenty of discounted face makeup and you have an instant character! Second is old portrait paintings. These can be turned into creepy eyes-following-you-around-the-room or blood-leaking-from-the-neck props. Thirdly, a find we never past up, is the old dusty beat-up storage trunk. In low light, these old trunks just naturally add more creep factor to most haunted houses. Plus they can be used to make Monster-in-a-box props or a variation of the Trash-Can-Trauma props. Both are classic scare tactics in the home haunter’s bag of tricks and treats!

Hopefully, somewhere in these 13 tips, you’ve found something to help you scare up supplies for your Halloween home haunt. Thanks for reading and Happy Haunting!

You probably have a Halloween-dozen of your own favorite tips. If you’d like to share some of them, please add your comments.

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Need A Hand? Creating Awesome Monster Hands for Your Halloween Prop

 

The following super-fun tutorial was contributed by the illustrious (and very crafty) Screaming Scarecrow of Screaming Scarecrow Studios. Enjoy!

NOTE: We are including our professional haunt armature instructions, but you do NOT need to use tools or pipe for this prop. See below for two easy versions.

*

One thing all home haunters can use, as the Halloween Season draws near, is a few extra pairs of hands.

And we mean that in more ways than one!

Luckily, you can craft creepy monster hands for much less than finished full props you’ll find in Halloween novelty locales.

Here’s how to make your own alternative store bought prop hands (though these will certainly do in a pinch – buy inexpensive ones and creep them up yourself using our cool painting method below).

 

You Will Need:

  • Witch Fingers (see below)
  • Kitchen gloves: non-Latex if you are Latex-sensitive (see below)
  • Expanding foam (see below for link)
  • Sturdy wire (to bend and pose the hands when finished)
  • Craft/utility knife or scissors
  • Black magic marker
  • Spray paint or airbrush kit and paints appropriate for latex or vinyl

FOR THE PROFESSIONAL HAUNT VERSION You Will Also Need:

  • 1.5-inch white PVC pipe
  • drill
  • safety goggles

Latex Gloves and Witch Fingers

Here’s how we create a cool variety of monster hands to amp the scare factor of our seasonal haunt.

We start with a few pairs of cheap latex gloves – the regular kind used for common household chores. (NOTE: If you suspect a latex allergy, choose latex-free gloves. This is critical…latex allergy is no joke and can land you in the hospital. Please be aware!)

The next must have item for this Halloween project are cheap plastic “witch’s fingers,” which are readily available every autumn and come in different colors and styles.

The first thing we do is turn the glove inside-out.

This makes it look less like a household chore glove and more like a hand. It is also the better side for painting later.

Next we carefully cut a small piece off the tip of each glove finger. We find that a sharp craft/utility knife works better than scissors.

Do not cut the holes too big or the plastic witch’s fingers will just fall out the ends when sliding them into the fingers of the glove. It is better if the witch’s fingers are stretching the holes in the gloves as they are pushed though.

The Wrist Bone’s Connected to the Monster-Arm Bone…

NOTE: For the non-armature version, skip to Fleshing Things Out, below.

Now we are going to use some ½ inch white PVC pipe to make an arm bone and then use some wire hold the hand to the bone.

The arm bone doesn’t need to be very long, usually around 10 to 12 inches. It should begin in the middle of the hand and only stick out of the wrist opening of the glove a few inches. This is how the finished hands can be connected to the monster.

Once the arm bone is cut to size we carefully drill a hole through both ends of the pipe about an inch in from the end.

One side will be used now, with the wire, to attach the hand to the bone, while the other side will be used later to hang the hand during the finishing process.

Always using protective eye and hand wear, we cut a piece of wire. When put through the hole in the pipe bone, it can be bent on either side so as to go into the thumb and any other finger of the hand. These will connect to the plastic witch’s fingers. This is what will keep the hand attached to the bone while it is later filled with foam.

NOTE: Once the foam sets, it’s the foam that holds everything together.

Attaching the plastic witch’s fingers to the wire is a bit tricky; we simply drill or poke a hole in the finger and slide the wire through. Then we bend the wire into a hook and then slide the finger back up into the hook of the bent wire.   

Fleshing Things Out

Once we’ve prepared a few sets of hands like this we are ready to hang the hands up and fill them with foam. We like to run a long wire through the holes in the arm bones that we drilled early and hang the hands side by side when we fill them with foam.

We use expanding foam (the kind used for insulation and to fill cracks) to fill the hands out and give them their form. IMPORTANT: Perform this part of the project outside, as the fumes can be an issue.

Just some extra words of caution here: ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURE’S DIRECTIONS when using these products. We always wear protective gear when using this stuff, especially eye safety goggles. We DO NOT want you to get this in your eyes.

It is also a good idea to wear old clothes and gloves.

We start by placing the nozzle of the foam can down into the fingertips and squeeze a bit of foam into each finger – let that expand for a bit while moving on to the fingers of the next pair of hands.

Next we fill then hand cavity of each hand with foam and then after that too has had a chance to expand a bit we then fill in the wrist and arm portion.

Try not to over-fill the gloves; if you will, you’ll wind up with “puffy” hands. This is a bit of a learning curve; you’ll get a feel for it. If you see things growing a bit out of control, cut the glove on one side to relieve some of the expanding foam.

This is all messy and the fumes are terrible, we won’t lie. It’s a good idea to always work with foam outside.

Because the expanding foam is inside a latex glove, which isn’t porous, it takes quite awhile to cure. Allow your “hand” to sit two to three days for the foam to cure properly.

After the foam has cured, we take our pile of hands and paint them.

Painting Your Hands (and We Don’t Mean Nailpolish!)

Painting is the truly creative part of this project. Here’s our method:

First we draw some detail lines on the hands with a black marker (or any color that is going to work with the finished prop). 

Then we spray paint them the color(s) we need. We may use an alternate color for shadowing, or add red drips or splotches. Get creative!

As you can see, we are not artists by any stretch. Just remember our mantra at Screaming Scarecrow Studios: “Everything looks good in low light!“ You’ll be absolutely amazed at how creepy and frightening these little babies look on Halloween night.

Variations

There are lots of variations you can do with this technique to come up with different types of hands.

For instance, we sometimes rub a little of the expanding foam on the outside of the hands before painting, because when it expands and cures the texture looks like warts, veins and wrinkles.

Another variation which can kick these hands up a notch is using wire on all the fingers, which allow us to pose them before they are filled up with foam. The following photos below show an example of this kind of hand. We also pushed the plastic witch’s fingers a little farther so the prop hand would have longer fingers.

One interesting thing we noticed while creating these kind of hands for our halloween props, is that as the expanding foam inside the glove cures the foam sometimes shrinks into itself. This can result in wrinkles or deformation – there is no way that we know to control this phenomenon. Sometime it works in your favor and sometimes it may not. For this set of hands they wrinkled perfectly!

Even though you may not always have enough pair of hands helping you put together (and especially tearing down) your home haunt, we hope you’ll nevermore be short handed when it comes to monster hands for your Halloween props. Thanks for reading, and happy haunting!

  

 

Halloween Shadow boxes

A Fun Way For Your Jewelry to Make New Shadows this Halloween Season, or Year Round

Every Halloween I can’t wait to get out my massive Halloween jewelery pile and sit on the bed to marvel at some of my better pieces. Each piece is a work of art in my eyes, and I can’t help thinking how neat it would be to have a way of showing it off when I’m not wearing it.

I got a great idea when I cruised through Hobby Lobby and saw some great, single shadowboxes without slots. They were perfect for a few of my favorite necklaces, bracelets and rings. This is a great way to create a one-of-a-kind Halloween artwork and have a way to protect as well as display your best Halloween jewellery. It’s easy, cheap and so made for creative people like us who want to put our own spin on our holidays and decorating. Before we get to a list of supplies to make your own, here’s a bit o’ history.

History of Shadowboxes . . . Pretty cool!

Most of us grew up with shadowboxes our moms and grandmas proudly displayed on walls or in hallways. Some were filled with antique buttons, mementos from important events in their lives or just filled with life’s little treasures. But do you know where shadowboxes came from and why they’re called a shadowbox? Me neither until I looked it up!

No, they didn’t get the name shadowbox because the objects hung in shadowy hallways or in the shadow of real art. These modern-day, trinket-filled boxes got their name from our seafaring past and, like all good things, the name came from a superstition.

It’s said that it was bad luck for the shadow of a retiring sailor to leave the ship before his shadow did. So the rest of the crew would build a finely crafted box filled with honored items of the retiring man’s glories at sea that symbolically created a shadow of the man. Thus, the shadowbox would remain on board until the sailor was ashore and his safety was assured. Then his crewmates would host an elaborate ceremony where the man and his career would be honored. His captain or shipmates would present the honored shadow of the man box to him with much pomp and circumstance.

The sailor himself would invest in a quality shadowbox so he could see his many small trinkets that reminded him of his past exploits to distant shores during the course of his career at sea. Those souvenirs were traditionally small since sailors had very small places to call home on the ship. Let‘s face it – they didn‘t usually become rich men at the end of their careers, so usually one box would hold a lifetime of memories. Hard to believe in our consumer-driven days we live in, isn’t it?

List of Supplies for Your Shadow Box

  • Paint brushes (several sizes)
  • Acrylic paints in Halloween colors
  • Sandpaper (100 grit)
  • Pencil to mark out your design
  • Paper, paint, vintage postcards, artwork, pictures or felt for inside backing
  • Small hangers for the back of the shadowbox
  • Masking tape

If you plan on displaying jewelry, you will need a padded back for the box without slots. You’ll need the following to create one:

  • Double-sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Wood glue
  • Cotton batting (thin layer)
  • Thin but sturdy cardboard
  • Felt
  • Tacks
  • Objects to be displayed

Where To Get Your Shadowbox

Go to your local hobby store and select several inexpensive glass-fronted shadowboxes without slotted spaces to decorate and place your treasures in. The boxes come in many different sizes that will allow you to do more than one for an impressive grouping for not much money. I’m talking $2.99 or higher if you catch them on sale! I got mine for $1.49 each on sale.

What To Show Off

You probably have plenty of jewelry or other items to display around your house, so flea markets be damned! Gather a pile of jewelry, mini Halloween ornaments, antique cake picks or anything that you’d like to show off that will fit in your boxes.

Getting Started

This project is so easy and can be completed in one or two afternoons depending on how elaborate you paint your shadowboxes and what kind of paint you use. Your choices of colors or amount of painting are all up to you and is only limited by you!

Directions:

  1. Sand your shadowbox with fine sandpaper (100 grit) and wipe off all dust from the wood with a dry cloth so your paint will have a good place to stick to.
  2. Select acrylic paint colors of your choice, and you may need several different sizes of paint brushes depending on the design you choose.
  3. Let each session dry until you’re done with the painting.***A note of caution*** Do Not paint the tracks where the glass slides in or in the narrow strip of wood that locks the glass in place. The paint will stick, or you might not be able to close it or open it after the paint dries the next time you want to change the display. If you do find some paint has gotten in the track, take a graphite pencil and rub it gently on the sides of the glass panel and into the channel to aid in sliding over the tacky paint.
  4. If you want to display jewelry in the shadowbox, you’ll have to make the padded back so you can attach the jewelry before you glue it in place. Get your material, cotton batting, cardboard and either tacks, double stick tape or glue.
  5. Lay the back of the shadowbox on the wrong side of your fabric and carefully trace a light line onto the back of the material and then the cardboard. Cut on the line on the cardboard and around the cardboard on the cotton batting so that they are the same. This will allow room for the thickness of your material for your next step.
  6. Carefully cut the material with about a fourth of an inch outside the line you traced by laying the batting and cardboard on top. Snip the corners like in the example so you can make a good square corner as you fold and attach the material. This will allow room for the material to cover the batting and leave material to tuck behind the cardboard when you’re ready to attach all three together. Then you’re ready to install it in the shadowbox once you‘ve decided if you want to make it permanent or temporary.
  7. Either install the newly padded back of your shadowbox with permanent glue or, if your display objects are light enough, use double-stick tape or tacks if you need the extra hold if the backing is temporary. This will allow you to change the back easily at a later date.

I hope you’ve gotten inspired to make a new display for your jewelry or other treasures this year. A tight budget never gets in the way of good Halloweeners and their decorations!

shadow-boxes

How to Craft a Witch’s Kitchen

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the craftiest of them all? You are—with a few simple tips on creating a simply ghoulish witch’s kitchen!

What’s the Idea?

crafthubs.com
Credit: crafthubs.com

The Witch’s Kitchen is a concept that has grown in popularity since it was first spotted as a trend a few years back. The concept is simple: fill jars and bottles with gristly-looking concoctions, label them, and add a few props to complete the look.

Options run from simple (and often humorous) to more elaborately-staged presentations. Luckily, you can put together a basic Witch’s Kitchen with just a few supplies, many of which you may already have on hand.

Getting Started

Credit: amazon.com

The first thing you’ll want to do is to start collecting bottles and jars for your Witch’s Kitchen items. These needn’t be in perfect condition; in fact, slightly imperfect containers will add a “weathered” and very authentic effect to your completed project.

Some die-hard Halloween fans purchase old or unique containers for this purpose. Search online auctions or the back of your very own kitchen cabinets to find interesting (and spooky!) bottles and jars.

Thoroughly wash the inside of each jar (wider-mouthed containers, such as honey or pickle jars, tend to be your best bet). Be sure to save and wash the lids, too. Now soak your jars in hot water for an hour or two, until the labels loosen. Remove the labels once the glue is soft enough. If a bit of paper or paste remains, don’t worry; you can cover the area with the label you will eventually be making.

Prepping Your Jar Lids

Credit: Pinterest, Dollhouse of Horrors

Corked bottles have an authentic apothecary look. These are perfect, and there’s no prep (see image at left).

However, if you’re using jars with meatl lids: for a scary look, spray paint each jar lid black. If your jar or bottle comes with a cork, so much the better; this can either be spray painted or left natural.

Do this step outside—spray paint fumes can be harmful, and an open window might not provide enough ventilation for your safety. Place the lids on old newspaper before spraying if you’d like to protect the area you’re working on. Allow all lids and corks to dry thoroughly before handling.

The black lids can be used as they are, or wound with twine (the “scruffier” the better) after they’re placed on your jars.

Frightening Fillers

Now comes the fun part: inventing gristly, ghostly or just plain gross fillers for your jars. Try the following easy-to-find items for your jar contents:

  • Werewolf Claws: Cashew nuts, split in half.

    Credit: ehow.com
  • Shrunken heads: Try our tutorial here.
  • Frog’s Livers: Raisins or other small, dried fruits.
  • Snake Oil: Small plastic or rubber snakes in oil and food coloring.
  • Shrinking Test Subject: A mini prop skeleton in a jar of water.
  • Heretic Skin: Peels of apple (the fruit—not the apple’s skins), allowed to dry (they will shrivel and take on a “peeled skin” appearance).
  • Seamonster Babies: Grow-in-water novelty toys; try an octopus, manta ray or other sea creature. Stuff into jar so that the actual animal is less identifiable.
  • Garden Gnome Heads: Several shrunken apple heads and a handful of dried moss, obtainable at a floral crafts shop.
  • Eye of Newt: Whole dried cloves.
  • Ghost Droppings: small marshmallows, pushed together.
  • Coffin Nails: Any large-size hardware nails will do; add a sprinkling of dirt.

Making the Labels

Credit: thekolbcorner.com

It’s easy to make labels for your creepy containers. Place a few sheets of computer printer paper in cooled tea or coffee. Remove when the sheets are well stained. While your pages are drying, create a document with names for each of your items. Allow plenty of space between each.

Print the sheet of names onto the stained and dried paper. Now cut or tear off each label. Apply glue to your label backs and place the labels on your jars. If you’re planning on using the jars again next year, apply a thin coat of varnish over each label. (NOTE: Do NOT keep items that might degrade or mold. Empty the jar, wash it and put it away, then re-stuff it next Halloween.)

Displaying Your Handiwork

Credit: Pinterest

If you’re handy, you can refurbish an old piece of shelving to house your devilish delights. You’ll be refurbishing in reverse; try to rough up the look of the shelf as much as possible. Add some dollar-store spider webs for added dramatic effect.

You can also forego the shelving altogether and simply place your bottles and jars on a special area of your kitchen counter. Make sure your placement is easily visible to visitors at that fabulous Halloween bash you’re planning. If necessary, set up your “kitchen” on a small table in a high-traffic area of your home.

Add some props to your display, such as skulls, spooky candles and a prop cauldron. “Severed” body parts or plastic newts, rats and other creatures are great additions, too. A motion-sensor activated prop can add hilarity to your party by surprising (and scaring) passing guests.

Use your creativity and have fun!

Egg Carton Bats

Ever wonder what to do with old egg cartons? Make these adorable bats to decorate your house for Halloween!

Simple and easy to do, you can hang these lightweight bats anywhere. First, gather all of the materials you need:

  • Egg cartons (paper works better than styrofoam)
  • Scissors
  • Black paint and paintbrushes
  • Craft glue or glue gun
  • Googley eyes
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Hole punch and thread or yarn.

Cut one three-egg section from the egg cartons for each bat. As you can see from the picture, I trimmed the excess cardboard from around the top of the bat’s head and wings. Also, trim an upside down “U” out of the bottom of each wing, as the close-up picture illustrates.

Egg Carton Bat Halloween craft

Paint your bats black and wait for them to dry.

When the bats are dry, you can glue on their eyes. I also cut four small pieces of black pipe cleaner per bat, and glued them on as feet and hands – this is optional.

Punch a hole in the top of the middle section – the bat’s head – and string some yarn or thread through. Your bat is ready to hang!

By Beth Taylor

Jeweled Jack-o-Lantern

Most people enjoy setting out jack-o-lanterns during Halloween, but carving a pumpkin takes time, skill and lots of patience. Kids enjoy getting the pumpkins ready, too, but they are rarely able to carve them. Put away those knives and forget about the pumpkin goo with this Halloween craft. Decorate your pumpkin instead and use your imagination. Decorate it in your favorite colors or colors that match the décor of your home. Make several and place them on your dining room table along with some tealight candles for an elegant touch. Kids can easily participate in decorating this kind of pumpkin.

Approximate time to make from start to finish: 30 minutes

For this project you will need:

  • One pumpkin (either a real pumpkin or an artificial crafting pumpkin)
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Half-inch long oval jewels or rhinestones in your choice of color
  • Six-inch black feather boa
  • Cotton ball
  • Glue gun
Jeweled Jack o'lantern

Start by painting the pumpkin. Pour a little paint onto a paint tray or paper plate and dip the cotton ball in the paint and press onto the pumpkin. Place paint dots randomly on your pumpkin. Be careful not to get too much paint in the pumpkin because the paint will run. If you wish, you can sprinkle glitter on the wet paint for an added touch.

Begin embellishing the pumpkin with the jewel. Glue them on the center of the dots and all around the pumpkin. Glue the feather boa into a loop and add it to the top of the pumpkin. Now you have an elegant, yet simple pumpkin.

Jeweled Jack o'lantern

GHOSTS! Easy crafts for Halloween

Something ghostly this way comes. These versatile Halloween ghosts can be made in any size. Even the big ones are so lightweight they will easily stay hung on your walls and ceilings as great decorations all through Halloween night. Boo!

Materials Needed:

  • Old white sheet
  • Scissors
  • Lots of lightweight, white gauze (you can buy by the yard at sewing stores)
  • White, black or red yarn
  • Lots of crumpled newspaper
  • Needle and heavy thread, such as plastic coated thread
  • Markers

Small Halloween Ghosts

For each ghost that you plan to make, crumple up a ball of newspaper the size of the head. For a small ghost, somewhere between the size of a golfball and a baseball is appropriate.

For each ghost, cut a circle of white gauze about 18 inches in diameter.

Cut a circle of white sheet or cloth anywhere from 12-16 inches in diameter.

Place the gauze circle on top of the white sheet circle. Then, place the newspaper ball in the very center. Gather all of the material around the ball and tie with yarn at the neck – red yarn will give a gory effect, white will be more invisible. The gauze should hang underneath and below the white sheet.

At this point, you can use the markers to give your ghost a face. You can choose to leave the gauze and sheet as is, or cut jagged edges on the bottom of your ghost — each choice gives a different and equally interesting effect.

Take needle and thread, and attach and knot the thread through the top of each ghost’s head. Strong tape will keep these ghosts hanging from your ceiling as long as you like!

Big Halloween Ghosts

Now that you have the hang of it, take more newspaper and make a life-size head. Use circles of white fabric and gauze that are large enough to seem like a small dress.

Put your big ghost together the same way you did the little ones. After you get the neck yarn tied, make sure to cut the bottom of the white sheet in a jagged pattern to show off the white gauze underneath. And don’t forget to make a scary face with markers on your ghost!

This big, scary ghosts love to hang out in doorways and at the top of staircases. He has a lot of fun when he is hung close to the front doorway to greet trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. He is lightweight, but he should be anchored well by hanging on a hook or with very strong tape. And even though he might be scary, he is still a lot of fun.

Enjoy your ghosts!

by Beth Taylor

Drawing of ghost