Tag Archives: home crafts

Make a Dollar Store Halloween Wreath

At my house with small children, we appreciate the whimsical as much as the creepy. It’s always a challenge to find Halloween decorations that fit both these criteria.

Here’s one we came up with that was so simple – and so cheap! Using only dollar store items, you can make this project, too. Let’s go shopping and get crafting!

You will need:

  • a grapevine or willow wreath or a metal or plastic wreath form (or you can use a few faux vines, twisted together)
  • dried moss (flower décor) if you’re using a metal or plastic wreath form – buy two bags
  • orange ribbon
  • black ribbon
  • twine, or any dark-colored thin yarn, frayed
  • embellishments (spiders, cobwebs, etc.)
  • one “highlight” embellishment (a miniature witch, a skeleton, etc.)
  • a hot glue gun and a stick of hot glue

(For reference, I got all of my materials at the dollar store, including the glue gun. This item won’t be the best quality if you find it at your local dollar store, but even if you only get a few uses out if it, it will have paid itself off.)

Here’s the process:

  1. If you’re using an empty wreath form, stuff the form with the moss. Pack densely.

    Just one reason of many that I love Dollar Tree: cheap wreaths.
  2. If using a wreath form and moss, begin wrapping the twine all around the filled form, spacing evenly. Use the hot glue gun in various spots to hold the twine in place.
  3. If using a grapevine wreath, start with the ribbons instead. Wrap the wreath with the orange ribbon in the style shown. Now wrap with black ribbon. Use the hot glue gun in various spots to hold the ribbon in place.
  4. If using the wreath form, continue by wrapping the black and orange ribbon as shown (over the twine). If using a rattan wreath, wrap with twine. Hot glue into place.
  5. Now hot glue your embellishments on at intervals all along your wreath. For the wreath form, you’re probably better off gluing and pressing down over part of the form rather than simply gluing items into the moss, unless your items are very light weight. I used spiders.
  6. Tie a piece of twine to the back of your wreath (through the grapevine branches or around the wreath form) so it is hanging down. Tie or glue your highlight embellishment to the end. I used a witch, as shown.
  7. You can easily make this wreath a whole lot scarier. Gore it up or use more graphic imagery. You can also add cobwebs to the finished item for a haunted effect.
Mini skeletons from 99 Cents Only Stores.

You probably don’t need a hanger on the back of the wreath; there should be plenty of spaces between the twigs/along the form to hang the wreath on a hook. You can go ahead and hot glue a hanger if you wish, though. This too can be purchased at most dollar stores.

Voila! A great Halloween wreath on the cheap. For this low cost, you can make several and decorate all your windows. Or have a wreath-making party for friends. You’ll be surprised by how both adults and kids get into this.

CAUTION: Do not allow children to operate the hot glue gun. Have them place their items onto the wreath where they want them and then have an adult hot glue them into place. Be safe and have fun with this easy, inexpensive Halloween craft.

 

 

How to Make a Haunted Doll Halloween Prop

 

Above: This not so innocent little prop is a real scream.

dollcreepyDolls. They’re just…creepy. Dolls have been used in movies and literature to send a chill down the spine. And they’re uber-popular a Halloween costumes – especially the “broken doll” variety.

But why? Aren’t dolls supposed to be lovable…huggable…cute?

There’s something about a doll that’s almost – but not quite – human. Perhaps it’s what’s termed the uncanny valley effect: they’re real-looking (sort of), yet they’re frozen, staring eternally at something we ourselves can’t quite see. 

This year, go spine-chilling with your decor and creep up a doll as a Halloween prop. Here’s how to create a skin-crawling Halloween doll on the cheap.

Finding a Victim … Er, Doll as Your Prop Base

Doll, Before Being Creeped Out
The author’s starting product: cute!

If you don’t have an old doll around, hunt for one at the Goodwill, Salvation Army, a local yard sale or thrift shop. Ebay can offer steals, too.

Remember: the worse condition the doll is in, the better. Missing limbs or off-kilter eyes really amp the creep factor, but any wear and tear will add to the eeriness of your prop.

Want MORE Realism? Click HERE to Craft a Haunted Reborn Doll

Clothing and Hair Tips

  • Come on – really get your claws into this one! Ruffle your doll’s hair. For curly doll hair, a hairbrush is perfect for creating huge, awful-looking frizz.
  • Get his/her clothes a little messy. For instance, a cute boy’s doll vest that’s off one arm and hanging is a great “haunted doll” look. A girl doll in a sweet sundress that’s tattered and a bit dirty is definitely high on the creepiness scale. One item missing can be the perfect touch, i.e. one missing patent leather shoe or one pants leg torn off.
  • In my example, the doll arrived without clothes (an ebay bargain). I felt the contrast between the stuffed and sewn body and the plastic limbs gave the doll an older feel, adding to the haunted effect, so I left her undressed.
  • If your doll’s hair is dyed into the plastic or painted on, paint over it in dramatic black. Use a flat rather than a glossy paint. After the paint has dried, chip it here and there with a fingernail.
  • Remove some of the hair if it’s sewn in. Take a chunk out of one side or rip the hairline back a quarter inch. This effect is extremely spooky. Or go the opposite route and make the hair super-cute – the weird contrast amps up the horror factor. In my example, I put my doll’s frizzy locks into two little-girl ponytails.
  • If you’ll be removing any limbs from your doll, do so now, before painting and altering the rest of the doll. Keep the body part as you can use it later if you wish.

Head and Face Tips

  • Roll the eyes back in the head if you can. (Not all eyes will roll without force and some are painted on.) Or poke one out. Eew! …and awesome.

    "Suturing" of the mouth using shadowing. Photo: craftastrophe.net
    “Suturing” of the mouth using shadowing. Photo: craftastrophe.net
  • Another option is the “possessed eye”: using acrylics, paint the entire iris and conjunctiva in white or very light gray.
  • It’s all about the paleness. Using acrylics, paint your doll’s body light gray or white get a ghastly effect. For a mottled appearance, dot the paint lightly onto your doll’s face and limbs with a dry sponge. (In my example, I mixed very light blue with orange to get a sickly medium gray, “old porcelain”/undead pallor.) I found the paint dried very quickly, allowing me to do the front of the doll and then flip her over to paint the back without my mixed paint drying out. Don’t worry about a few streaks; they give a cracked porcelain, antiqued appearance.
  • Blood red lips and/or black eyebrows will contrast with unnaturally pale skin, so keep the lips unpainted when you’re paling up the rest of your doll. Draw eyebrows on with magic marker or very thin streaks of paint, or paint just one eyebrow on.

Final Touches

  • Altered dolls are scary without any blood at all, but you’re free to add a bit of gore if you’re so inclined. Use faux blood, paint, ketchup (which dries very dark and blood-like on fabric) or red gel icing that dries. Go ahead and smear it around a bit. Smearing in the form of four fingers, as if someone bloody had grabbed the doll, is perfect.
  • If you’ll be “bloodying up” a plastic body part, make sure you’re using paint that will dry completely on plastic.
  • Add accessories if you’d like. A mini knife or similar object in the hand of a mauled baby doll is very scary (expect trick-or-treaters to back slllllllowly out of your driveway). Or have her hold an old, tarnished object, such as a broken costume necklace, in one undead hand.
  • Add touches that go with the theme of your doll or your display. For instance, make Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein’s baby by drawing hatched stitch marks across your doll’s forehead. Glue small wooden painted pieces on either side of his neck. Or scrawl “help me, Mama” on a torn piece of paper and place it in her clutching fists. Paint notches across her lips to give the impression that her lips have been stitched closed by some unholy hand. (I added blue bride-of-Frankenstein streaks on both sides of my doll’s hair and added one creepy streak to each ponytail.) Your creativity is what will really make this prop special.

Enjoy making your prop – and sweet dreams. 

Possessed creeped out doll
What a cute little, uh, possessed thing you have there, sir. The author’s own creepy creation.

Home-made Costume Idea: Harley Quinn

A few years back for Halloween, I wanted to make my own costume that was both original and cost effective. By cost effective, I mean cheap. I was a little low on cash, yet bent on creating the most unique Harley Quinn costume imaginable (a super villainess from Batman).

Mind you, I am not a seamstress. In fact, if I have to sew anything at all, I either pay a tailor or beg my boyfriend to sew the item for me as he is much better at it than me. He also has much more patience. With that in mind, how did I end up creating my Harley Quinn costume?

Look for Old Clothes that can Resemble your Halloween character

Looking through my closet, I found a pair of old black spandex pants and a spaghetti top that could fit the style of Harley Quinn in the comic, as well as the hybrid Harley Quinn ideas I had swirling around in my head. Since these clothing items were already available to me, I decided to merely paint over them to get the color scheme I wanted for my costume and then only pay for or make my accessories.

Keep in mind that painting a costume over clothes you already own can be time consuming, so I would start early. This means you need to start painting 2-3 weeks ahead of time, depending on the paint needed to create the costume effects on the clothing items.

Designing Your Costume with Fabric Paint

The fabric paint I used was Jacquard fabric paint in the colors of Red, Black, Silver and White. If you are planning on creating a horror type costume, I recommend you mix water into the paint to get that bloody, messy look. I used it on my costume to get a look that didn’t seem deliberate for character purposes and it came out quite well.

If you plan on mixing water to the paint, you definitely need to use a sealant as the paint will bleed even more after water is added to it. The consistency becomes very watery. Remember NOT to add water if you want a solid color look.

Although I used pretty basic solid colors, Jacquard also offers shimmer, glossy and glittery fabric colors for those who want a more ethereal or otherworldly look.

Jacquard Fabric Paint

Also, make sure they are clothes you won’t miss once you have changed them because although fabric dye can sometimes bleed, it is quite permanent for the most part.

Crafty Chica Glossy Gloss VarnishTo prevent fabric paint bleed, you may want to invest in a fabric paint sealant. I used Crafty Crafty Chica Glossy Gloss Varnish, which I found online at Amazon. You can easily find this sealant online at Amazon, Ebay, and online craft stores. It may be difficult to find in store so I recommend online.

Another Option: Second Hand Clothing Stores or Modify an Old Costume

If you prefer not to alter any clothing you own already, a good option is to get secondhand clothing or re-use and alter an old costume you may have from previous years. This is simple enough if you decide to take a costume from previous years and simply create an evil or twisted version of that costume, which can be fun.

If not, secondhand clothing is the way to go. The clothing prices vary, but you should be able to find your entire costume for under $20.

For accessories, you can find wands, weapons, etc. at your local costume store and if you are going for a comic book character, you may be able to get away with purchasing a cheap kid version of the item.

Also, if something is for decoration and it is possible to make it, it is almost always cheaper to do so.

Here is a picture of me on Halloween with friends in my Harley Quinn costume:

Harley Quinn home made costume
Harley Quinn costume (middle)

Harley Quinn Face MakeupAs you can see, the pants and shirt were both painted ½ red, ½ black and the colors were alternated to create a checkered look when the costume is worn.

I created my own accessories by cutting white felt into the shape of a jester’s choker, but exaggerated the size and length of it. I also made my own bracelets and anklets out of elastic band and attached small little sleigh bells. I wore ankle boots with the outfit, which I also would have painted, but I did not have time. It turns out even painting your clothing takes time!

On the left is another photo of just my make-up for the costume the day after, which I had altered for a different Halloween party to get a more twisted look, whereas the look above is more classic and true to the comic.

Good luck, and remember, have fun and be creative; it will definitely pay off when that yearly Halloween party comes around!

Pop Out this Imaginative Halloween Costume!

 

Thanks to Halloween Alliance guest contributor Kate Baldwin for this cute and imaginative tutorial!

momtastic.com
momtastic.com

Looking for that perfect Halloween costume? Feeling crafty? Then have I got a tutorial for you!

The secret to the perfect child’s costume is to create an outfit that is engaging, somewhat humorous, and stands out from the usual fare.

Creating this cute popcorn costume ensures you will proudly strut your stuff on All Hallow’s Eve, earning compliments and rave reviews from just about every reveler you might meet. My daughter won a large costume contest in this getup and so can you! Here’s how to make your own.

The Popcorn Costume: Materials and Directions

The Popcorn Costume is suitable for a child or adult and can be made quite easily in a single afternoon. Allow extra time for the paint and glue to dry. No sewing is needed and the cost is minimal. What could be more perfect?

The project is also fun for parents to complete with a child, provided everyone saves enough popcorn for the costume!

In terms of materials needed, the list is short. You’ll need:

  • a large cardboard box (for example, a moving box)
  • red and white tempera paint
  • a glue gun
  • a headband or cap you don’t mind donating to the costume cause
  • lots of popcorn!

Here’s how I made my award-winning Popcorn Box costume:

  1. Cut out the bottom (or top, depending on your perspective!) of a cardboard box. This becomes the place where your legs will emerge.
  2.  On the opposite side, cut out a large-enough hole to accommodate your head. Be sure to leave room to allow for easy entry and removal.
  3. With the box on the wearer, mark the places on the box from which the arms would comfortable emerge. Cut out circular holes there. Try on the box, of course, to make sure it fits comfortably.
  4. Now comes the fun part! The box is going to be vertically striped red and white, like an old-fashioned box of popcorn. I measured it off using a ruler, allowing 2” for each stripe, and I marked the lines lightly in pencil directly on the box. Paint the stripes on, alternating red and white. Allow the paint to dry.
  5. While the box is drying, using the bottom you cut out of the box, cut out two cloud-shaped ovals. Mine were 18” x 9” but you can alter the size depending on the size of the wearer and your own taste. Paint these signs totally red.
  6. When dry, paint “Fresh POPCORN” on each oval using white paint (one is for the front of the costume and the other for the back so you look as good going as you did coming). I did the word “fresh” in cursive writing and the word “popcorn” in a fun, topsy-turvy looking print. Allow to dry. So far, so good, right? The best is yet to come…
  7. The final step is the most fun. Using a glue gun, glue the “Fresh POPCORN” signs to the front and back of the box. Next, continuing with the glue, attach real popcorn to the top of the box around the hole for the head, cascading down the box as you envision an enticing, overflowing box of popcorn would look.

Inevitably, some popcorn will break off when handling the costume, so be generous with your popcorn. I piled it on thickly, gluing popcorn on top of popcorn for a textured look. Of course, if some of the popcorn happens to “land” in your mouth, all the better!

Finally, glue popcorn all over the top of the cap or headband, and you’re all set, ready for festivities of the ghoulish kind!

popcorn-costume