Category Archives: DIY Decorations

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

15 LAST-MINUTE Halloween Finds – Each for UNDER $15!

Halloween may be a multi-million dollar industry in the U.S., but this year, you don’t have to break the bank – or rush around in stores. Our sinister scouts dug up these 15 fantastic Amazon finds for under $15 each…just for you.

Please note: we are not the supplier of these items. Always do your research on any item you buy online. Prices do not include shipping costs. If you are an Amazon Prime member, the item may include free shipping.

Click the pics for more information…and stay scary!

1. Zombie Hand Wall Decals * $11.99

Creep party guests and trick-or-treaters out with these reaching hands. Includes 5 haunting pieces that peel off the wall without damaging paint or wallpaper.

2. Pretty Kitty Ears Headband (Pack of 2; Black/White) * $6.99

Be one cool cat and turn heads with these lacy, sexy cat ears. They sit on a comfy headband. Comes in a pack of two (Black; White).

3. Skeleton Gloves * $11.69

Warm up – you look chilled to the bone! You’ll want to wear these unisex skelly gloves even when it isn’t Halloween…’cause they’re just that cool. One size fits most.

4. Vampire Bat Wall Stickers * $9.99

Decorate your home-sweet-cave with these 28 cool pieces. Bats are made of PVC (vinyl) for easy-stick, easy-removal (no damage to walls or glass).

5. FX Bullet Wound Kit * $6.80

Okay, we’re not going to lie: that looks bad. But it’s supposed to! Realistic wounds apply with adhesive, come off with enclosed solvent. LATEX ALLERGY WARNING: Contains latex.

6. Mini Poseable Skeletons (Pack of 2) * $12.99

These 16″ skellies are two (see what we did there?) cute! Pose them in a variety of scenes to spook up your decor.

7. Bloody Handprints/Footprints * $7.99

Point party guests in the direction of the freakish fun with these spooky prints. 40 pieces with handprints, footprints and faux blood splashes.

8. Vampire Fangs * $10.79

That Halloween party doesn’t have to bite. But it’ll be a lot more fun if it does. Choose from three sizes.

9. Glitter Skull Tattoo Kit * $13.03

Have your Halloween with a side of gorgeous with this uber-glittery kit. Includes stencil, makeup and application brush. LATEX ALLERGY WARNING: Contains latex.

10. Cosplay Elf Ears * $5.98

Play up your Medieval side with these elf ears. Two sizes (M and L); simply clip over ears and you’re ready for some fantasy Halloween fun. LATEX ALLERGY WARNING: Contains latex.

11. Skeleton Restroom Door Cover * $5.50

Would it be crossing a line to say his meal REALLY went through him? Probably – but we’ll say it anyway. Hangs on the door to tell party guests where to park their bones after too much party punch.

12. Body Parts Necklace * $7.96

Have a heart! Or in this case, have a finger and a couple ears. This zombie is proud of his job and shows it with a trophy necklace. LATEX ALLERGY WARNING: Contains latex.

13. Bloody Treat Bags * $11.49

Thirsty? Fill these 12 bags with juice, soda, liquid candy or whatever your grim little heart desires. Note: bags do NOT come pre-filled. Your order includes 12 fillable party bags.

14. Creepy Baby Mask * $12.99

We just can’t look at this…thing without crab-walking backward. That’s why we knew we HAD to include it. Make party guests cry like toddlers with this creepy mask that pairs with any outfit for a hairless scare.

15. Bat Kitty Costume * $10.99

Why should humans have all the fun? Humiliate your favorite cat or small dog with these devilish little wings. Comfortable (at least, we haven’t heard any wearers officially complain).

 

Make a Creepy “Skinned” Face

 

When you said you wanted to get tanned, we’ll bet this wasn’t what you meant! We saw this eerie image floating all over Pinterest but were unable to locate the original artist. So we decided to try it out for ourselves – and it’s surprisingly easy.

Here’s how to craft a super-creepy “skinned” (cut away from the skull)-face Halloween prop just like the one shown. Happy haunting – and don’t go into the woods alone.

You Will Need:

  • A creepy latex face mask. Searching for masks under “old man,” “zombie” or “baby” (an example is shown at right) on Amazon or ebay will give you great ideas.*
  • An Exacto knife.
  • Acrylic paints. We suggest deep red, black, and white.
  • Twine.
  • A weathered photo frame large enough to stretch your mask across.
  • Sandpaper, if you want to distress/weather a standard wooden frame.
  • A kitchen or sea sponge and a small paintbrush.
  • A heavy-duty hole punch.
  • Short nails (to go into the sides of the frame).
  • A hammer.

*If you are allergic to latex, look for a realistic non-latex mask. It may not be as stretchy, but you can get a similar effect by distressing the mask as described in the steps below.

Step One: Start Cutting

Credit: juneauempire.com
  1. Cut the face of your mask so it’s easy to stretch somewhat flat. Don’t worry about getting too exact with this. You want it to look cut somewhat haphazardly.
  2. If the eye holes aren’t very large, cut them a bit wider. The idea is that the skin has been cut away from the skull. (We know – eew!)
  3. If the mouth is not open, cut a slit between the lips and make sure it gapes when stretched.
  4. Punch holes near the edges of the face (as shown) using the hole punch. If your hole punch isn’t quite sturdy enough to do the trick, cut holes or slits with your Exacto knife.

Step Two: Add Paint

  1. For depth, dip your dry sponge into some black acrylic paint. Dab lightly on the insides of the eye and mouth holes. Again, don’t be too exact. (TIP: If you already have plenty of depth in the mask, you can skip this and the next step.)
  2. Using a different area of your sponge, add a few dabs of gray inside the eye and mouth holes for more depth. Now extend dabs of sickly gray-black across the face if you wish. Allow to dry.

Step Three: Stretch the Face

  1. If you want to distress your frame, rough it up with your sandpaper and smear streaks using your sponge and the gray paint; allow to dry.
  2. Hammer nails into the outsides of the frame where you want the twine to extend outward. These can be slightly off-kilter; again, messier and more haphazard is better.
  3. Cut pieces of twine for each of the holes you have punched into the mask. Tie one twine piece through each hole.
  4. Pull each piece of twine taut to stretch the mask and make it look extra-creepy. (Be careful not to pull TOO hard or you may tear the mask. Just have it look stretched out, with the eyes and mouth gaping.)
  5. Secure each piece of twine around its corresponding nail and tie tightly.

Step Four: Finishing Touches

Credit: craftsy.com

To give your stretched face gory realism, dab/smear dribbles of red paint onto the mask, the twine, and the photo frame. Remember: messier is better!

You can also mix red with a bit of black to get deeper, “older”/dried-blood colors. Dab with your sponge or toss onto the face with a paintbrush for extra splatter.

Allow your creepy creation to dry completely before hanging. Enjoy!

10 HILARIOUS Sayings For Your Tombstone Prop

 

You’ve created the perfect tombstone prop. It looks creepy, decayed and, well…you dig it. But what about that finishing touch?

That’s right: every awesome Halloween tombstone needs a GREAT epitaph.* Fresh out of killer ideas? These 10 sayings will knock ’em dead! Here are our freaky faves.

* An inscription commemorating one who has passed on, particularly as inscribed on a tombstone.

Don’t worry. Where you’re going, you don’t actually need much space.

 

 

 

We’re all for romance…but if she’d read this first, he’d have been the first one to go.

 

 

 

 

He’s undead eight times and counting.

 

 

 

 

Well now, isn’t somebody going to be surprised…

 

 

 

I mean…you unicycle blindfolded across the freeway in rush hour traffic just ONE time and this is what happens. Sigh.

 

 

 

We’ll never forget Frank. I mean Hal. No. Wait.

 

 

 

 

Oh, mann.

 

 

 

…and on…and on.

 

 

 

 

No kid of the 80s could possibly not have this tombstone in his or her haunt.

 

 

 

 

And of course…

We hope so! What’s Halloween without an unexpected visit or two? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

 

7 Awesome (and Easy!) Dollar Store Pumpkin Projects

 

We just can’t seem to stay away from Pinterest this year. If you’re Pin-addicted like we are, we know you’re going to LOVE these amazing (and cheap!) pumpkin projects.

Grab a bunch of dollar gourds, a few crafting supplies and it’s ready, set -get your spook on!

#1: Spooky Porch Light

As shown, simply cut out the back of a plastic pumpkin (be careful; cut plastic edges can be sharp) and place over an orange LED lightbulb. Done!  Spooky mood lighting AND cool decor, all in one.

#2: Glow-in-the-Dark Eyeballs

We absolutely LOVE these. Paint using glow-in-the-dark white and green paint. The irises can be cut from either felt or a paper plate. Paint the irises black. Paint or use markers to create the bloodshot-effect capillaries.

Place in your bushes or anywhere you want a freaky effect.

#3: Stacked Planter

Poke holes in the bottom of the top pumpkin for drainage before beginning this craft if you plan on filling with a live plant. Underneath, Krazy Glue a bunched piece of aluminum foil forming a slight pouch under the holes and bottom to catch the drained water.

Once this is done, spray paint each pumpkin. Using a stencil and medium art brush, paint lettering and numbers. Krazy Glue the pumpkins together for stability, allow to dry complexly and place your plants in the top.

#4: Concrete Pumpkin Mold

Concrete is heavy, but the small size makes this semi-perm decor perfect for areas that receive rough autumn weather, including high winds.

This project is simple: mix concrete and pour into a plastic pumpkin; when dry, cut the pumpkin away. Decorate however you’d like. Please note that what is shown here is a dirt mixture; you can create any mixture you’d like – permanent (such as concrete) or semi-permanent.

#5: Bandanna Pumpkins

These are great because you can find bandannas or other fabric scraps at dollar stores, sometimes in multi-packs.

For the stem, use twigs from your yard. Also pick up some crafting glue. Apply glue all over the pumpkin and apply the fabric, pressing firmly. Insert pins to hold in ribs and at the location of the stem. Break off part of a twig for the stem and glue in place.

6. Spider Pumpkin

For this craft you’ll need a foam faux pumpkin rather than the plastic version. Pick up plastic bugs (spiders, roaches) or other creepie-crawlies. Push into or glue onto pumpkin to cover the surface. Done – and spooky!

7. Looking Glass Pumpkins

Buy some Looking Glass spray paint (Krylon is one brand). Spray the entire surface of your pumpkin.

For a really fun effect, create these out of varying sizes and shapes of faux pumpkin and use more than one Looking Glass color.

How to Make a Cat-o-Lantern

 

Adorbs! Make your own fun, spooky and frisky cat-o-lantern with this easy tutorial. Ready to get “familiar” with the technique?  Let’s get started!

Supplies

  • Two pumpkins:  a large one for the head and smaller one for the bodycat o lantern supplies 2
  • Two mini-pumpkins (Jack Be Littles or Baby Boos) – pick a size that will be suitable as paws for your cat-o-lantern
  • A zucchini or cucumber for the tail
  • Black spray paint (flat, satin or gloss, per your preference)
  • A large knife
  • A fine cutting tool
  • One tea light candle
  • Black cardboard or posterboard
  • Pins
  • Paper
  • Scissors

spraying pumpkin

Step One: Paint

  1. In a well ventilated area (outdoors is best), with your mouth and nose covered with a mask, spray paint all four pumpkins/gourds and the zucchini (or cucumber).
  2. Allow to dry and then turn each vegetable over and spray the bottom to make sure it is completely covered. Allow again to dry.

Step Two: Carve

scooping out the head

  1. Cut out the TOP of the smaller pumpkin as you would to carve any pumpkin. This will be the BOTTOM of the cat’s head. Scoop out insides and scrape.
  2. Draw an eye shape onto your blank paper and cut it out to make a pattern.
  3. Using pins, create pin marks all around the eye shape as shown. This will be your cutting guide. Flip the eye shape cutout and do eye patternthe same for the second eye.
  4. Cut the eyes out using the pin marks as your guide. Re-scrape the inside if any pumpkin bits are hanging into the eyes and visible.

Step Three: Add Ears

  1. Touch up the outside of the head with spray paint if necessary. Allow to dry.
  2. Cut an ear shape out of your black posterboard, leaving a small square tab at the bottom. Use this cutout as a pattern to cut the other ear. Fold down the tab at the bottom of each ear and pin to the head.

Step Four: Arrange Body Parts and Display

finished cat o lantern

  1. Arrange the body, paw (mini pumpkins) and tail (zucchini) pieces the way you wish them to look.
  2. Place the tea light on top of the body. Light the wick.
  3. Arrange the head on top of the body, over the light, so that the eyes are glowing. (We placed the head off-center here so that Kitty is looking over her shoulder.)

TIPS:

  • To get a faux glow in the daytime, place an orange or yellow piece of paper behind the eyes. At nighttime, remove the paper and light the candle.
  • For a squatter, rounder cat, choose a round pumpkin body; for a leaner cat, choose a taller pumpkin body.
  • Touch-ups are easy to do; just squirt a quick spray of spray-paint.
  • Use gloss paint if preferred. The tutorial shown here was created using flat black spray paint.
  • Larger eyes are spookier. Experiment with ideas on a piece of paper before creating your patterns and carving.
  • Two or more cats make a great look. Use different pumpkin shapes for the bodies in order to get a varied and interesting look.
  • To avoid candle wax dripping onto the body, place the candle in a small, flat dish that fits under the head.
  • If the head won’t stay on top of the body or is wobbly, carefully break some wooden chop sticks or use thick toothpicks. Push the picks into the bottom of the head and push the head down onto the body. An alternative is to arrange your cat so its head rests against an outdoor wall, or use clay to attach the head to the body.

catolantern

The Monster Reborn Doll Trend is So Big, It’s Scary

 

Q: What’s scarier than a doll? You know, like…any old doll.

A: How about a sweet-cheeked vinyl kit that’s been taken apart, painted and all dolled up into a vampire, zombie or even a werewolf?

If you  haven’t heard of reborn dolls, you’re late to the game: refurbishing factory-made dolls is a 15-year-old phenomenon (and counting).

Today, there are kits specifically designed for reborn artists – hobbyists with mad skillz and a heavy dash of creativity – to craft their own realistic babies and toddlers.

While reborn dolls have been hot nearly since their inception, in recent years an entirely new subcategory arrived on the reborn doll scene: horror  and fantasy reborns.

These creepy kiddies mimic the Halloween monster icons we know and (yes, we’re weird) love.

Hush little baby…and please don’t eat me. Get a similar freaky little darling at amazon.com; click for info.

And guess what: they’re not necessarily just for decor. Reborn “adoptivemoms” adore their little monsters and dress, pose and even “feed” them from specialty made blood bottles, zombie juice and more.

With a growing interest across the globe in all things haunted and creepy, reborn monster dolls seem to fit the bill for offbeat and unique collectors.

Perhaps one of the largest draws is the extreme realism of a reborn doll when combined with the creepiness factor.

Image: marcjacobs-handbags.com
Image: marcjacobs-handbags.com

Reborn dolls are, after all, meant to be as realistic as possible.

Putting together the idea of a cuddly, adorbs zombie or werewolf infant with dimensionally-painted skin  and high-quality glass eyes, tiny fangs, and sometimes, carefully rooted hair, gives these monster kids authenticity.

But beware: the scariest thing about these creepy kids may be the price. Reborn dolls can run anywhere from $100-700 or even as much as $1000 or more for the biggest artist names in the business. With their unique (and expensive) additions, monster reborns are often given higher price tags than standard, realistic baby dolls.

But it’s worth it to the collectors who adore their monster creations, and feel the haunted baby dolls earn their price tag for the creepy cuddle factor.

“Holding these dolls is so calming and relaxing,” says horror doll artist Marilyn Mansfield of Krypt Kiddies, UK. “The experience is very absorbing.”

Click Page 2 For More Horror Reborn Dolls:

5-Minute “Bleeding” Candle Tutorial

bleedingcandles3

Looking to add some gore to your decor, but you don’t have a lot of time (and don’t want to invest a wad of cash)?

Here’s your EASIEST way to creep up any Halloween table!

And the best part? We used items found at our local dollar store and saved a bundle on a truly creepy, authentic-looking prop. Read on to find out how to transform ordinary candles into lighting with a creep factor in just 5 minutes (really!).

Step One: Gather Your Supplies

You will need:bleedingcandles5

  • one or more white candles; either burning wick or flameless/battery-operated
  • a red candle with a tapered end
  • decor items to surround your bleeding candles, if desired
  • a surface that’s easy to clean up; put down newspaper or a disposable sheet

Step Two: Safety FIRST

Although this tutorial is super-simple, please remember that you’re utilizing flame. Keep flammable items away from the area you’re working on. Do not allow children to do this craft on their own.

If you’re using plastic battery-operated (flameless) candles, remember that plastic can be very toxic if melted. DO NOT touch the flame of the melting candle to the plastic of your battery-operated candle. Hold the flame at least 1″ away and drip downward.

bleedingcandles6Step Three: Melt the Red Candle Over the White Candle(s)

Take the red taper candle and light the end. Now, holding it at an angle so you don’t accidentally light the wick on the white candle, drip red wax down onto the white candle. Try to have this look somewhat random, as if “blood” were flowing down the candle.

 

Step Four: Allow to Cool Completely

The wax should cool quickly, but some may puddle up near the wick. Allow the candle to cool upright.

Step Five: Add Decorbleeding candles

Now that you have some creepy candles made, you can simply place your bloody candles on a table or around your Halloween party area, or if you’d like, arrange them to look spooky.

Get creative. Add pumpkins, spiders, moss, leaves, cobwebs, or whatever strikes your fancy. (Just make sure to keep flammable items away from the candle flame.) Here, we used Spanish moss and a scrolled candle-holder.

Enjoy – this one simple prop will add awesome ambiance to your decor!

7 Best FREE Halloween Apps for Your iPhone

The noise is coming from inside the phone…Heads up! Apple is haunting your iPhone with a host (or is that ghost?) of ghoulish apps, including new versions of your favorite prickly picks. And don’t be too scared, at least of the price: every one of these chilling apps is free.

Many of these apps are available on Android, so check the Google Play store to see if your phone supports any of these chilling choices. Click on the images for more info. Enjoy!

1. Corpse Cam Photo EditorCorpse Cam

Freaky! Convert selfies into something a little more horrifying. Version 1.5, with 13 new “masks” to virtually try on.

Version: 1.5

 

2. Ghost Radar: Legacyghost radar legacy

Ghostbust your house (and your friends) with this paranormal activity detector. Translates detections into words and numbers to give “real-time” communication with the energies around you.

Version: 3.3.3

 

3. Halloween Wallpaper & Backgroundwallpaper

More than 100 new wallpapers have been added to this much-loved scaring season app. Share wallpaper to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.

Version: 5.0

 

4. Halloween Sounds ProHalloween Sounds

Freak out your co-worker in the next cubicle and even send a second set of sounds remotely via Bluetooth with this creepy audio collection. 15 spooky sounds and a terrifying soundtrack.

Version: 1.4

 

5. Gun Zombie: Halloweengun zombie halloween

This app is free for a limited time only, so grab it now! Mow down monsters with your choice of 38 weapons and receive rewards for ridding the world of evil.

Version: 1.4

 

6. Ghostbusters Paranormal Blastghostbusters

Blast and trap ghouls in high-res 3D. Includes the much-loved Slimer, haunted librarian and Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Version: 1.1.5

 

7. Halloween Pumpkin Smashhalloween pumpkin smash

Smashing! Annihilate gourds when you’re bored and challenge yourself to either arcade or survival mode. Click on matching pumpkins and shake to “explode” them. Oh so satisfying.

Version: 1.0

 

 

 

 

 

Dia de los Muertos: Get Your Dead On!

Can’t get enough Halloween? Then celebrate it twice! Here’s the 411 on a famous Spanish-community holiday…and how you can get in on the action, including song, dance, flowers, history, and of course…candy!

What is Dia de los Muertos?

Dia de los Muertos (“day of the dead” or “day of the dead ones”) is actually three days: Oct. 31, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. However, many celebrants combine the traditions into one day.

Dating back hundreds of years as an official celebration and possibly linked to ancient Aztec culture, Dia de los Muertos honors those who have passed through the veil that separates the world of the living from the world of the dead.

Various Spanish-origin cultures celebrate Dia de los Muertos, but in the United States it is most popular among the Mexican population. Parades are held in major Mexican-populations across the U.S., most famously Los Angeles, San Diego and Tuscon.

Behind the Partying: Why It’s Celebrated

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Dia de Los Muertos has a religoius element. Image: Senor Codo

You may not hold to the following beliefs, but taking a bit from tradition can add a fascinating element of honoring one’s past.

  • Oct. 31: All Hallow’s Eve. On this night, altars are erected in the home to honor loved ones who have passed on. Some families officially invite the spirits of their loved ones to the three-day celebration. Children may erect their own mini-altars, inviting the angelitos (dead children) to the household. Grim? Perhaps – but it’s a fascinating and very respectful way to remember one’s own heritage.
  • Nov. 1: All Saint’s Day. On this day, the adult “passed spirits” are believed to enter the celebration.
  • Nov. 2: All Souls’ Day. Families visit the graves of deceased loved ones. They clean the area and decorate it, usually with colorful bouquets of flowers, as well as rosaries, photos and little gifts for the deceased.

These are all Christian calendar dates, but there’s a very pagan element to Dia de los Muertos, and it is believed that some aspects of the three-day celebration tie in to pre-Columbian Central and South America.

Waking the Dead: How to Celebrate

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Mmm! Sugar skulls, or “calaveras,” are (almost) too pretty to eat. Image: Danielle

Wow – get ready for a wild ride! Dia de los Muertos is generally a community affair with colorful décor, music and dancing. Here are a few ways that celebrants honor the three-day festival:

  • A parade. The three-day festival often begins with a procession, complete with music. Individuals carry photos of deceased family members, colorful bouquets of flowers and dress up to the nines for what is basically an opening ceremony to the holiday. Start a tradition by having a parade in your neighborhood or by hosting a Dia de los Muertos party.
  • Las calaveras. Literally “the skulls,” these delicious sugar treats – or “sugar skulls” – are too beautiful to eat. Months may go into crafting these sweet creations, but if you’d like to try a sugar skull yourself, there are online vendors who offer them. (In areas that have a large Mexican population, you may be able to purchase them at markets.)
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Paint yourself calacas-style. Image: Cody Garcia
  • Decorate with flowers. Orange marigolds are the most popular flower for Dia de los Muertos, but there really are no rules – for this holiday it’s flowers, flowers everywhere! Buy flowers or consider making paper flowers yourself.
  • Bake pan de muerto (literally “bread of the dead”). Share it with family and friends, or take loaves to the cemetery to leave as ofrendas (offerings).
  • Decorate with calacas. Calacas are skeletons painted fancifully, often as a spoof: for example, dancing or singing skeletons, or calacas playing musical instruments.
  • Paint your own face calacas-style! Paint your face white with theater paint, then add flowers, patterns and anything beautiful you can dream up.
MexicanSugarSkullDotCom
Image: mexicansugarskull.com

Whatever you decide to do, make sure there’s plenty of great music – traditional Mexican music is a great pick – and lots of food (and drink, if you’d like).

Though its point seems morbid (and is, in its most literal definition), Dia de los Muertos is actually a celebration of life carrying on, while letting the dead know they’re not forgotten. So get your Spanish on and get partying!

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The spooktacular celebration of death (and life) often starts with a no-holds-barred parade. Image: Larry Lamsa

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.

 

 

Decorate Your Car for Halloween

Thought you’d run out of things to creep up on Halloween? Wrong-o, my spooky friend! Have you ever considered decorating your car?

I have. And I’ve used most of the methods described below. If I haven’t, I’ve referenced the appropriate image. Come along on a terrifying little ride with me!

Car Decor Idea #1: Ghost Rider

Every year, come the first day of fall of thereabouts, our fam

"Skellie," our family's very own ghost rider
“Skellie,” our family’s very own ghost rider

ily friend Skellie takes up residence in my car. I drive, and Skellie drives shotgun. We even put a seat belt on him (see pic).

This little trick is hysterical and is obviously very easy to do. Strap in any close to life-size poseable skeleton, zombie, ghost, witch or ghoul so passersby get an eyeful.

Don’t go too gory or too realistic, as trying to figure out what that “thing” is in the front seat could potentially cause a rubbernecking accident.

Car Decor Idea #2: Hunk in the Trunk

This idea is an oldie but continues to be a goodie. Hang an arm or other body part out the trunk. (The old-fashioned way calls for a tie and an “Ex-Husband in Trunk” sign.)

Don’t allow parts to dangle below the level of the top of your license plate. They could get caught on your tires, drag under the car or cause other hazards.

Car Decor Idea #3: Window Clings

Not the artistic type? Use Halloween Window Clings on your car windows. Put them on the inside of the window so nobody can take them! Trust me, these are tempting.

Car Decor Idea #4: Fangtastic

Cut two large crescents out of thick paper and hang on the car grille as “fangs” (the lights are the eyes). Make sure these are very well attached, but do not use any glue or tape adhesive that could damage your paint or grille.

Car Decor Idea #5: Autumn Touches

You can use inexpensive touches like this one year after year.

For the picture of the pumpkin with sunflowers and leaves, I spent a grand total of $2. Each item came from Dollar Tree. Fall touches abound at this time of year, always look good and can be had at a steal.

Also check out your Goodwill, thrift or consignment shops for fall finds.

Car Decor Idea #6: Paint it Up

Use specially formulated car markers or paint on your car windows. Careful: DON’T obstruct your vision. Keep to the perimeters of your windows and dot on pumpkins, witches or a ghoul trying to escape out the side window.

A warning: do not use acrylic paints for this. They’re hard to get off anything, even glass, and you may scratch your windows trying.

Car Decor Idea #7: A Tangled Web

Creepy! And crawly. Photo: Squidoo.com

This idea is so simple and incredibly economical. Pick up a few bags of synthetic webbing — the kind you pull apart to make it look real. Now pull the webbing all over your car.

Be sure to leave the windows clear enough so you still have a good view of traffic on all sides.

I’ve seen bags of cobwebbing let go for less than half a dollar in post-season sales, so if you plan on doing this next year, go shopping in early November and check the clearance racks.

Car Decor Idea #8: Ghost Antenna Topper

This is another easy and very inexpensive project. Take a foam ball and a small square of white fabric. Place the fabric over the ball and pin in with very small, headless pins. Draw eyes and a mouth on your ghost in magic marker.

You can alternatively make a pumpkin antenna topper. Use orange fabric. Gather the fabric around the styrofoam ball from the bottom; tie at the top for the stem. Draw eyes, nose and a mouth using magic marker.

Car Decor Idea #9: All Up in Your GrilleHalloween Car Skulls

If your grille has space (and if you won’t be impeding the flow of air), add cool Halloween decor.

You won’t be wanting to use glue, but you WILL want a tight fit so that your decor items won’t wind up all over the highway, so choose pieces that fit exactly or can be cut to fit exactly, without  moving around.

A Word About Safety

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? We’ll say it anyway. Objects that obstruct your vision, objects that dangle/wave in the wind, that aren’t fixed securely or that look too realistic can be real driving hazards. Don’t cause an accident. Be smart about your Halloween car decor choices.

Have fun being the creepiest speed demon in your neighborhood this year.

The skeleton in our closet ... urr, car
The skeleton in our closet … urr, car

Great Gourds! Pumpkin Varieties and How to Use Them

If you’ve wandered your local farmer’s market or pumpkin patch this fall, you probably discovered that there’s so much more to choosing your desire type than “give me big and orange.”

Today’s decorative pumpkins have gone far afield (see what we did there?) from the traditional Howden’s Field or fun, kid-size mini.

Get in on the “pick your perfect pumpkin” craze – you’ve got your pick: traditional; fun; even a bit, well…freaky. This autumn’s pumpkins are ready-grown and ripe for the choosing. Grab a gourd and eat, decorate and be merry! Below are some of our favorite varieties.

Howden’s Field

The gold (or would that be orange?) standard for the American Jack-o-lantern, Howdens are just the right size, shape, color and ribbing to use as decor. You probably carved Howdens as a child — and so might have your parents, and theirs.

However, we don’t recommend Howdens for pie baking. They tend to be stringy and have less pumpkin flavor than some sweeter varieties.

Pick up at least one Howden for your jack-o-lantern carving this year. Scoop well, scrape and cut a spooky shape into your gourd. Try Pumpkin Masters for a really cool look, or Google pumpkin carving templates to find the perfect freebie.

Lumina

Confession time: as loyal as I am to the good old-fashioned orange Curcurbita, I have a secret love for Luminas. This variety is a gorgeous solid white on the outside but plump and very orange on the interior.

Play up the contrast of white and orange by using your Lumina for your Halloween decor. Add a battery tea light and watch the spooky effect.

Don’t throw away those innards just yet: Lumina seeds are delicious baked with butter and salt. If you don’t plan on carving your pumpkin for decor purposes, use it in a pie or soup; Luminas have a fabulous flavor.

Queensland Blue

This unusual-looking gourd originated in Australia as its name implies. It was imported to the U.S. in the 1930s. You may have seen Queensland Blues at farmer’s markets and overlooked them as not being a “real” pumpkin. However, they are definitely Curcurbitas.

Queensland Blues have a lot of flesh to scoop, so you may want to forgo carving. Or try peeling away sections of skin only, without scooping the pumpkin out. Use a potato peeler or a woodcarving tool to put fanciful shapes on your Queensland Blue.

The flavor and texture of the Queensland Blue also makes it ideal for pies.

Jack-Be-Little

Just 3 or 4 inches across, Jack-Be-Littles are adorable and great for decor. Kids love them because they’re so easy to handle and carry. For your decor purposes, they create instant atmosphere for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

They’re tricky to scoop thin enough to carve (if you figure out a way, let us know!), but you can use a potato peeler to etch cool designs in your Jack-Be-Little’s skin. You can also cut off the tops, scoop the pulp and place a tea light in each for a pretty guest table.

They’re edible too. Try this yummy pumpkin recipe, for example. Mmm!

New England Pie

We’re sure you’ve guessed the use this pumpkin is famous for! The New England Pie pumpkin is an heirloom variety that’s perfect for baking fall treats.

New England Pie pumpkins are on the small side, usually no more than 3 to 4 pounds. Their hard skins make them very difficult to carve, so if you’re using this variety as decor, set it up uncarved.

There are many other pie pumpkin types, but the New England is the gold standard. You will definitely want a few for baking and stewing this Thanksgiving or for pumpkin cookies on Halloween.

Kakai

Get ready for the most amazing pumpkin seeds you’ve ever tasted. The seeds of this fun variety are hull-less and easy to eat. They’re among the most tasty pumpkin seeds when roasted. (And of course, this variety is simply gorgeous, with orange stripes and green mottling on the outside and firm orange flesh on the inside.)

Here’s how to make roasted pumpkin seeds from a Kakai: Cut pumpkin open and remove seeds; separate seeds from pulp in a colander under warm water. Set out on a paper towel and dry for at least two hours. Remove to a shallow pan and smother in melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with Mrs. Dash seasoning. Bake in a 300 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes. Cool and eat.

Big Max

Whoah! If you’ve never seen a Big Max, it’s time to acquaint yourself with one. Just don’t try to pick it up: these behemoths can easily grow to 100 lbs. and more.

Not technically a pumpkin but a “squash type,”  Big Maxes are cultivated primarily for show. (Their grainy flesh makes them a poor choice for eating.) Scooping out the flesh would be a thankless chore, but you can carve these giants and reach inside to scrape behind your cuttings.

DO NOT try to lift a Big Max by yourself. They are slippery and often are very asymmetrical, making it hard to keep a grip. Ask a friend for help.

Cinderella

A French heirloom variety, Cinderellas are so nicknamed for their striking resemblance to the famous fairytale coach. (Their real name is Rouche vif D’Etampes.)

The Cinderella has a long history in the U.S., with rumors claiming the gourd was served at the first Thanksgiving dinner in New England. However, most experts agree that the variety wasn’t officially introduced to the U.S. until the 1800s.

But they’re not just tasty. Cinderellas are pretty, with a very deep orange skin. Pick up inexpensive craft wagon wheels and a wooden support (Cinderellas are heavy!) at a craft store and display this fun variety as a fairytale coach.

Happy decorating…and eating!

Seven Unique Ways to Use Skeletons in Your Decor

As an icon of spookiness, skeletons have always had their place on Halloween. If you grew up in the 60s, 70s or early 80s, you may remember the dangling cardboard skeletons that the “good candy house” always had on their door.

Today’s skeleton decor is kicked up a notch – a big notch. Lifesize plastic skellies (poseable or dangling) are showing up in more windows, more yards — even in more cars (more on that later).

Here are seven ways to have fun with a skeleton and give a giggle as well as a scare. Note: click each pic for a source reference. Stealing someone else’s work? Now THAT’S grim.

Just Hangin’ Out

Have your skeletons climb various parts of your house or even hang from one another. You can use wire from Home Depot or Lowe’s to secure your skeletons. Be careful and be sensible. If you’re going to attach your skeletons up high, use a sturdy ladder and have a friend over as a spotter.

Here are three fun ideas for hanging your skeletons (you will need to use poseable jointed skellies):

  • Have the skeletons climb the side of your house. Place one skeleton securely on the ground on its knees. Place top skeleton next and wire in place (be careful of your siding and fixtures). Now you’ll know how to pose the skeleton or two in between. Have them climbing one another’s shoulders or giving each other a boost. Wire securely in place.
  • Hang skeletons from a tree. Using a noose is old school (and can be awesome, don’t get us wrong!). Having the corpses actually grab onto a branch and hang gives the hanging theme a fun twist.
  • Wire one skeleton’s hands to another’s feet and place them in funny poses. Hang from any area outside your house that will securely hold them.

Haunted Hillbillies

Available at Grandin Road

Pose two or more skeletons on a bale of hay. I find hay bales on the cheap in early October at pumpkin patches and local farm stores. If you can’t locate a hay bale, seat them on creaky old chairs.

Dress your skeletons in “hillbilly” gear. If their joints don’t stay in place when you pose them, wire them to the rib cage in hilarious poses. The picture shown here is very Deliverance, with a sense of humor — if that’s possible! (We believe it is, but then again…we’re creepy!)

The Pedaling Dead

For this idea, your skeletons don’t need to walk — they have a sweet ride!

Use any bicycle for this idea. Use the kickstand, if your bicycle has one, to secure the bike upright. If not, set the wheels between large stones. Place your skeleton in riding position on the seat. Wire its hands to the handlebars.

Even more horrifying: dress your skellie as a child and dress up the bike old school, with a huge bicycle horn and ribbons in the wheels. Eek! Use 3″ or 4″ poseable skeletons for a child, 5″ or larger for an adult.

All Creeped Up

Image: Six Flags Magic Mountain

If you have a skeleton or two hanging around and they’re in a state of disrepair, don’t despair. This quick decor idea covers flaws and is very creepy!

To create this creepy creature, drape pieces of old fabric over the head and torso. We suggest cheesecloth or pre-aged Creepy Cloth, available in craft stores or online.

Once you have a draping you like, use a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to various points on your skeleton. Be sure to leave lots of fabric loose, though. When the winds pick up, you’ll get a wonderful waving-in-the-breeze effect.

Bony Scarecrow

This is another very simple idea, and it’s cheap if you already have a skeleton hanging around.

Nail together two boards into a lower case “t.” You can use as tall a vertical board as you’d like, but make sure your skeleton including the head will be at least 4″ off the ground.

Tutorial by rupertoooo

Drive the bottom of your “t” into the ground. If you’ve used a board that has a pointed shape on the bottom, this will be easy. If not, use a mallet and try to find semi-soft earth so your board will go into the ground at least 4-6″ for sturdiness.

Dress up the top portion of a skeleton torso in rags. Have plenty of hanging material so it will blow in the wind. Place a hat on its head with some craft store hay sticking out. Insert creepy twigs into the sleeves of the shirt or jacket you’ve dressed your scarecrow in. Or you can use old gloves.

Now hang the dressed up skeleton onto the boards, using wire or twine. Done!

If you really want to get artistic about it, corpse up your skeleton beforehand by adding plastic wrap around the skull, then using a blow dryer to melt it into creepy skin all around the skull (see our tutorial here).

Haunted House Guest

Available at Shindigz

Set up your poseable skeleton in any chair, on the couch or on your porch. Place it in a relaxed position. Some ideas:

  • Place a drink in its hand.
  • Have a cigar hanging out of its mouth.
  • Put it on an old castoff toilet and glue a newspaper to its hands.
  • Put it in a rocking chair with a mini skeleton in its arms as if it’s rocking a baby.
  • Pose one arm up so it’s waving at cars as they go by.
  • Set it up in bed with a book propped between its hands. Make sure party guests go into your bedroom to put aside coats or bags.
  • Sit the skellie in a chair, holding a bowl of cereal. Put a handful of cereal in the skeleton’s lap as if it’s eating the cereal, and the food is just falling through.

Riding Shotgun

Credit: imgflip.com

This decoration is guaranteed to get a second glance. Be careful, though; don’t go too hard-core as rubbernecking of other drivers could cause an accident.

Place a life size skeleton in the passenger side of your car. Put a seat belt across the skeleton as if it were a normal passenger. You can add any accouterments: a pretty Sunday hat, a cigarette in its fingers as its bony elbow leans on the door, etc.

Bottom line: be creative and have your skeletons do things a live person would do. That’s the irony and the humor — albeit morbid.

Make a Dead Fairy…Plus BONUS Unicorn Skeleton

Brothers Grimm, look out – this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

Have you seen the dead fairies in jars or trophy cases that are popping up all over Pinterest? So cool! They look complex to make, but prepare to be surprised: I made my own dead fairy for our Halloween garden display in a creepy little twinkle. (And they call me butterfingers. Or worse.)

Here’s what I did to turn a pair of wings and a little plastic into something truly (wait for it)…Grimm.

You Will Need:

  • A small plastic novelty skeleton
  • Craft fairy or dragonfly wings (link below)
  • Doll tutu or other fairy-like outfit that will fit your finished prop
  • A small amount of faux hair
  • Hot glue gun and a glue stick
  • Matte brown spray paint and matte tan spray paint to distress your skeleton, if desired
Credit: Pinterest, Syren Song

NOTE: See the bottom of this article for my finished version.

ONE: First I gathered my materials. I already had a set of 5” plastic skeletons on a string. I cut one off the string and laid it aside.

Meanwhile, I had done some bargain shopping on the internet and found a small pair of craft fairy wings.  Make sure you’re buying a size that will fit your skelly!

I also harvested a few pieces of hair from an old wig. And (shhh) I stole a skirt from one of my daughter’s Barbies. I know. For shame.

TWO: My skeleton was already distressed-looking. If you have an all white

You can make a “pet” for your fairy too! Grab a model horse skeleton, diistress it with matte spray paint, etch it with a fingernail to rough it up, and add a plastic horn. Credit: Pinterest, Oddard.

skeleton, make it more realistic by taking black chalk and gently feathering it into the eye sockets, between the ribs, etc.

Another great way to distress “skeletons” is to dab brown or flat bronze spray paint onto a sea sponge. Then transfer the paint onto the skelly in dabs. Allow to dry completely, then dab accents with a slightly lighter color.

THREE: I heated up my trusty glue gun and put a dot on the wings where they joined. I pressed the wings onto the skeleton’s back. Then I placed the skeleton on its front, wings upward. The glue hardened within about three minutes.

FOUR:  I took a few strands of the wig hair, cut them to length and hot glued them to random spots on the fairy’s skull. This wasn’t necessary; I just thought it looked really, really cool.

FIVE: Next, I placed the skirt onto the fairy. I had to tuck the top under due to sizing issues, but the effect was still great. If you have any tulle, lace or other foofy material around, cut a bit and make a skirt out of that. Simply hot glue a seam and hitch it over your skeleton’s legs.

SIX: I placed the dead fairy in what we call The Grotto at our house. This is where we plan to have part of our spooky walk-through on Halloween. The fairy and other creatures will be spot-lit on the big night. You can put your fairy in a jar, pin it down onto a matte board taxidermy-style or prop it up anywhere.

dead fairy prop for Halloween

Tips and Alternatives to the Above  Method

  • Some truly inspired souls use modeling clay to create dripping flesh, pointy ears, etc. If you’re the artistic type, go ahead and try this. However, if you distress your skeleton as in Step 2 above, you don’t necessarily have to add anything to the fairy’s bones.
  • You can also hot glue tiny antennae on the skull (in fact, I may do this with my next dead fairy). Have one antenna bent down. You can use small cuttings of craft wire to create this effect. Ball a tiny bit of clay on the end of each and allow to dry before positioning your antennae and gluing them on.
  • The creepiness of this prop lies in the fact that most of us associate fairies with whimsy and sweetness. To see one lying there rotting in its tutu is a bit of a shocker – and makes for a great Halloween prop. Dress your dead fairy in bits of adorable draped fabric or, like I did, with doll clothes. You can dress your fairy male, female or androgynous.
  • Position the arms and legs so that the fairy looks like it has expired. If your miniature skeleton isn’t poseable, break off the arms and legs carefully and then hot glue into the position you want them.

Remember: you can always buy a creepy creation if you don’t have the time, materials or will to make one. Check out ebay and etsy for artists who will be happy to creep up a sweet memory just for you.

And now … I’m out of here. (waving wand)

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.

How to Make Zombie Gingerbread Ornaments

Inspiration for me comes from the strangest places … this year for Christmas I decided that I would make some lovely felted ornaments, in the shape of gingerbread men. Then I thought how cute it would be if the ornaments had “bite” marks in them; I had seen a set of cookie cutters a year or so ago, in the shape of “half eaten” gingerbread men, and thought they were hilarious.

So on a slow evening I retreated to my sewing room, sat down with a piece of cardboard, some brown felt, and various odds and sods and within two hours I had made my first three “zombie gingerbread” ornaments. (Hmmm … I seemed to have missed a step … OH, did I mention I was watching “The Walking Dead” at the time? No? Well, I was. Great show.) It wasn’t that much of a mental stretch, to be honest … half-eaten gingerbread men … back for revenge … zombie gingerbread.

Supplies needed:

  • Cardboard
  • Fine tip black marker
  • 1-2 yards of brown felt (depending on how many ornaments you decide to make)
  • cotton batting for stuffing
  • sharp scissors
  • sewing machine
  • needle for hand sewing (if desired)
  • (for decorating) rick rack, ribbon, buttons, fabric paint

The first step is to decide how big you want your half-eaten gingerbread ornament to be … I think up to about 5-6 inches long is good, and about 3-4 inches across…this will make the figure large enough to add enough gory detail, but small enough so that they will not instantly be noticed when visitors come to admire your tree. My little guy below is about 6.5 inches long and about 4.5 inches across.

gingerbread-zombie-01
Figure 1

Trace a basic gingerbread figure, with missing appendages, on a piece of cardboard, (Figure 1). This will allow you to use the pattern over and over again without the pattern getting ripped and torn. Along one of the sides of the figure, make two notches to indicate where you will leave the seam open to lightly stuff the figure with some cotton batting.

gingerbread-zombie-02
Figure 2

Place your pattern onto a piece of brown felt, and trace the pattern with a fine tip black marker, (Figure 2). The outline should be just barely visible on the felt; this will help when you go to sew the felt together. Place the traced felt piece on top of another piece of felt, and pin the two segments together, with the outlined piece on top (Figure 3).

gingerbread-zombie-03
Figure 3

Using your sewing machine, sew the two pieces of felt together, following the outline of the gingerbread figure, (Figure 4).

gingerbread-zombie-04
Figure 4

Take special care around the “bite marks” … lift up the presser foot and adjust the material as needed to get the best bite impression. By the time I did the third ornament it was super easy. Also remember to leave a small opening along the side to stuff … (Figure 5)

gingerbread-zombie-05
Figure 5

Once the felt pieces are sewn together, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut around the outline…try to cut as close as possible to the seam. (Figure 6)

gingerbread-zombie-06
Figure 6

You now have a half-eaten gingerbread figure. Now all it needs is a little stuffing, (Figure 7), and a hook for hanging (Figure 8). When you stuff your zombie ornament with batting, you may also want to leave a little hanging out, like entrails. (Remember, not TOO much stuffing…most gingerbread men are fairly flat when they come out of the oven. Use just enough stuffing to give it a bit of a body).

gingerbread-zombie-07
Figure 7
gingerbread-zombie-08
Figure 8

You now have a blank slate in front of you. It’s time to unleash your inner zombie freak! For my first attempt I stuck with the very simple-to-use 3D paint markers. These are fabric pens that give a great 3D effect, and are SO easy to handle. If you are making zombie gingerbread you will most assuredly need the following colours; red (blood), white, black, green (gangrene), and perhaps a little yellow (gangrene/pus). Just remember to let the paint dry for a day.

gingerbread-zombie-09

If you are more creative, you could also hand-sew scraps of rick rack or ribbon to simulate a zombie gingerbread man’s torn “clothes”, a spare black button for an eye…the possibilities are endless.

gingerbread-zombie-10

One last note…zombies need a victim to chase, so it doesn’t matter how many gingerbread zombies you make…remember to make a terrified looking victim or two!!

gingerbread zombie

Make a Decaying Mummy Skull Prop

I love Halloween, and I love Halloween projects.

And by the way, I’m seriously lazy.

So when a friend of mine told me he had a great, terrifying-looking, gory, easy prop to show me, I was all in! But even I (the corner-cutting queen) was rather delightfully surprised at how easy this really was. Together, my friend and I created three creepy decaying skulls in less than 10 minutes.

And the best part? They were cheap to make…very cheap. Yet they looked incredible. Want in on my friend’s and my little secret? Follow the directions below.

How to Make Your Skull

You will need:

  • A plastic novelty skull
  • Saran Wrap or bargain/store brand cling wrap
  • A heat gun OR a hair dryer with a “high” setting
  • Any medium to dark color wood stain or crafts paint
  • Paint brush, sponge/crafts brush or stippling brush

Directions:

1. Wrap the plastic wrap COMPLETELY around the skull, including the bottom, at least 4-5 times. (The more you layer, the more “decaying skin” you’ll get, but don’t go overboard. We found 4 times was our minimum to produce a really good result.)

2. If your heat gun or hair dryer has settings, start on the lowest unless it is a “cool shot” setting. Wear protective gloves if you wish; otherwise, WATCH OUT, YOUR SKULL WILL GET HOT. Hold the heat source approximately 4” from your skull. The plastic wrap will begin to shrivel in some areas; in others, where the heat is concentrated for more than several seconds, you will achieve holes (see pic, below). Don’t overdo this; melt a little bit at a time, all around the area of your skull.

Skull Holes Halloween decor

3. Do NOT hold the heat source directly against the plastic wrap/the skull. If the wrap is melting too slowly, turn up the heat source in increments and/or hold it closer to the skull, but never closer than 1.5” away.

4. When you have the effect you want, set the skull aside to cool completely.

5. After your project is cool, dip your paint brush into a small circle of paint or dip no more than 1/4” deep into your wood stain. Begin painting your skull. You will want to paint it all over; inconsistencies in color are a good thing and add to the realism, so don’t worry about painting “perfectly.”

6. Allow the project to dry completely, about 10 minutes.

Decaying skull Halloween prop

Where Should Your Skull Rest in Peace?

You can do practically anything with this cool skull. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Have it be a prop in your witch’s kitchen.
  2. Set it up next to a candelabra (I suggest battery-operated flicker candles for safety) with faux cobwebs all over to make an awesome, spooky and very realistic-looking party centerpiece or decoration.
  3. Skull Halloween PropStraighten the curved top of a wire hanger using wire cutters or a bending tool. Stuff the head with cotton balls or cheese cloth; anything to create bulk and resistance. Stick the point of the straightened end at least halfway up into the skull, so it’s on the hanger firmly. Drape cheesecloth from the “shoulders” of the hanger, allowing them to float. Hang so your decaying ghost floats in the autumn breeze.
  4. Using the above idea, hang an old shirt from the hanger’s “shoulders.” Stuff the shirt with any material you have on hand to bulk it up. Place the torso on a chair near the area your trick-or-treaters will be approaching. Now take an old pair of pants and stuff them similarly; place on the chair, bending the knee area and placing the cuffs at ground level. Gather each cuff and stuff it into a shoe. Very scary and very cool!
  5. Stuff the head with cotton balls or pieces of styrofoam. (If using cotton balls, stuff very firmly.) Stick a tall dowel – 5-6 feet – into the cotton or styrofoam. Carry with you as an evil walking stick or wizard’s wand; dress in draping clothing and, if you wish, a scary mask.
  6. Remove the head from a life size (or at least 4′) plastic poseable skeleton. Carefully remove the head that came with the skeleton using the easiest and safest means; some pop right off – if so, you’re in luck. If not, you may have to cut to remove the skull – BE CAREFUL. Stuff your mummified skull with any method mentioned above; stick firmly down onto the now-empty top of the spinal column of your skull, replacing the manufacturer’s skull with your mummified one. Set up your creeped-up skeleton in a faux spider web, leaning against your front steps to scare the ghost out of trick-or-treaters, etc.

Have fun with this prop. It’s versatile and if you pack it away carefully after Halloween, you can reuse it year after year. And it’s so inexpensive, you can create a whole army of ghouls if you wish. Happy haunting (and creeping-up)!

Give a Figurine a Halloween Extreme Makeover!

Looking for some Halloween decor? We always like to look for materials around the house and make our own. For this project, choose a ceramic or resin figurine with for your makeover – the more innocent looking, the better!

If the piece has a glossy finish, you’ll need to coat it with white spray paint or gesso before you begin. If you don’t have a piece to recycle for this project, you can look for one at the dollar store, thrift shop or at a garage sale.

Supplies (to make one figure):

  • 1 freestanding collectible or figurine
  • Acrylic craft paint in Halloween colors
  • Paintbrushes in assorted sizes
  • Fine tipped paint markers
  • Black paper (optional, for a hat)
  • Clear acrylic sealer

Directions:

  1. Prepare the figurine: Wash and dry the figurine to get it ready to accept paint. Dry with a paper towel.
  2. Basecoat the figure: Use a medium sized brush to coat the figure with white paint. Even if the colors you are planning on using are dark, they will show up better if you base coat it first. Let the figurine dry completely.
  3. Paint the clothing: Use a fine paintbrush to add color to the figure’s clothing. Paint each piece a different color. For stripes, paint the clothing a bright color like orange or lime green and let the paint dry. Go over the spot a second time with a fine black paint marker to add stripes if desired.
  4. Paint the skin: Paint the face and hands a flesh tone if desired. You can substitute green for a zombie look or white for a “Day of the Dead” sugar skull look.
  5. Paint the hair: Paint the hair with your preferred color; depending on the finished look you want, you can use a natural brown or blonde shade or go with a wild red or gothic black.
  6. Add the details: Use a fine paint marker to add details to the facial features and clothing. Eyes, buttons and other small details are easier to apply with a fine marker than a brush. Let the piece dry.
  7. Protect the paint: Apply a coat of spray sealer or a brush-on sealer to protect the finish.
  8. Add details: Make a simple hat or other accessories from Halloween printed fabric or paper and attach to the figure with glue.

Scoop up figurines for a bargain after a holiday has passed. You can make an entire display of matching figurines, or make a single, oversized piece to be the center of a Halloween display.

Cute, innocent figurine ... Cute, innocent figurine revamped!

Cute, innocent figurine … revamped!

8 Awesome Smartphone Apps for Halloween

Halloween is such a great event and with the advent of smartphone apps you can enjoy your favorite parts of Halloween everywhere you go.  We tested dozens of apps and compiled a list of the 8 best ones we could find in terms of the most imagination and uniqueness. We hope you enjoy these selections and have a Happy Haunted Halloween!

1.  Halloween Deluxe  ($0.99)

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without scary sounds and this app lets you do that and more.  Opt for the paid version and avoid annoying requests to upgrade from the free one.  This app includes a count down to Halloween, a soundboard, ring tones, music loops, trivia, costumes ideas, and even a option that lets you create your own colored flashlight with the screen.  There are tons of Halloween soundboard apps out there but our recommendation is to ditch the others, this one has it all.

Halloween Deluxe iPhone App

2. imut8r ($0.99)

Our favorite picture altering app, this offering gives you tremendous creative control over altering real photos of you and your friends.  You have dozens of creature choices to model after including demons, zombies, werewolves, vampires.  From there you’ll change skin colors add blood or sores and channel Dr. Frankenstein himself!  When you’re done, save the photos and send them to your friends and family for a spooky good time.

imut8r iPhone app

3. 100+ Horror Stories ($0.99)

You’ll absolutely love this creative application that let’s you tell over 100 of the most popular scary stories in history, but with an added twist.  During your story you can tap the screen when prompted to play an appropriate sound to add extra effect to your story.  Lightning cracks, evil laughs, moans, and more will enhance your terrifying tale and keep your audience on the edge of their seats.

100 Horror Stories app

4. Ghost Radar ($0.99)

For all you watchers of ‘Ghost Hunters’ out there, check out the latest version of Ghost Radar from app developer Spud Pickles.  The creators of this app claim it runs on a proprietary algorithm that interprets QUANTUM fluctuations of intelligent energy.  Some users say the program is just reading simple electromagnetic sources in your immediate environment while others claim they’ve experienced accurate readings of actual objects in the room that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  Either way, you’re bound to get hours of eerie entertainment from this original idea.

ghost-radar

5. Ask the Dead ($0.99)

Get ready to be freaked out with this unique offering from The FORM Group. It’s a digital Ouija board that sneakily uses your phone’s contacts to return answers to your questions. You can totally prank your uninitiated friends or family into thinking you are connecting with the spirit world.  You’ll get a ton of screams from this application, but be careful, you may even scare yourself….

Ask the Dead smartphone app

 6. Pumpkin Xplode (free)

Pumpkin Xplode is one of those annoyingly addictive games like Tetris or Angry Birds (yeah we could have easily added that one here too).  But you just can’t seem to put it down because there’s always the next level to defeat.  Bottom line: if it’s on your phone, you will play it.  It has great graphics and sounds built into the game play.  Thoughtful features include: night mode, saves game on exit or if uninterrupted by a phone call, and for you cheaters out there you have the ability to undo up to 10 moves back.  There is just something so gratifying about busting up pumpkins that makes this our only game of choice for inclusion in this app review.

pumpkin xplode app

7. Halloween Spooky Soundbox (free)

The truth is there are dozens of free Halloween sound boards out there and you’d probably do just fine if you downloaded most any of them.  Why do we recommend this one then?  Two reasons:  Selection and sound quality.  This sound board has 35 sounds to choose from, whereas most other apps you’re lucky to get 20.  Also, the sounds you get don’t sound cheap or “thin”.  In other words, they don’t sound like you made them yourself on an old tape recorder.  You can play the sounds on a loop (which you’ll probably never use) besides that there aren’t really any bells and whistles to this app.  If we could make a recommendation to the developer, it’d be to add a delay feature in a future version.

spooky soundbox app

8.  Footprints (free)

While this is not a Halloween application it certainly the most useful on the list particularly if you are a parent and your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat without you.  You can track your multiple kid’s locations in real time without having to request location status from the people you are tracking.  We’ve seen some apps where users have to “request” location and the person being tracked has to manually approve request on their device.

This app comes with a number of great features built into it.  Two of our favorites are the parental settings which don’t allow kids to disable the tracking feature or delete the application on their devices, and the ability to track way points.  In short it shows you where your kids have been not just where they are at the present moment.  All this is provided by a beautiful interface overlaid on Google Maps.  There is really nothing we don’t like about this app.

footprints app

About the Author:

Chris DuPaul is a huge Halloween buff and the co-owner of the self proclaimed #1 Wonder Woman Costume website on the internet.  He enjoys technology and sneaking up and scaring the crap out of unsuspecting people year round.  For all you ladies out there still looking for costume ideas check out our Sexy Wonder Woman Costume page for outfits that’ll make you the star of the party.

Using Scary Halloween Sounds, Inside And Out

 

Halloween is a scintilatingly spooky time for young and old alike. Whether you go trick or treating, host a costume party or just decorate for friends and neighbors to see, everyone loves to get in on the festivities.

And one way of really amping the holiday atmosphere is with music and with frightening, classic sound effects.

Choosing the right music for your festivities is easy and fun. Here’s how to get that haunting atmosphere – and get those screams!

Children’s Parties

For a child’s costume party, you don’t want it to be too scary. Depending on the ages of the kids, choose music that will make it very definitely Halloween-ish, but still fun.

“The Monster Mash” has always been a big hit with the kids. So are funny tunes like “Purple People Eater” and classics such as “Ghostbusters.”

For sound effects, use soundtracks of different scary noises such as witches cackling or bubbling cauldrons. Even the sound of the wind blowing and creaking doors is enough to make the little ones get goose bumps.

Adult Parties

Halloween Party by RaviN
Halloween Party by RaviN/Flickr

For an adult party you can go for a much bigger “creepy” factor. For instance, if you have an organ in your house or a piano that could use some tuning, put it in a secluded spot and have someone play strange music very loudly.

You can also use recorded CDs. Have them playing throughout the party. How about an adult-scale Halloween music mix? Or truly chilling sound effects?

You can get some friends in on the sound effect action, too. Have people hide throughout the house and occasionally let out a blood curdling scream. They can also be outside the house by a partially opened window, or behind trees to scare people as they approach.

For party music, try a compilation that includes “Dragula,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and other rock classics.

Outside The House


Scary house, by Ali West/Flickr

Perhaps you want to have a haunted walk. It’s easier than you think – it all starts with the perfect setting.

Whether there are lots of trees to walk through, or a deserted path, make sure the sounds are there. An owl hooting, yowling cats, and don’t forget the chainsaw. And of course, nothing makes your hair stand on end like being alone in the dark and hearing a chainsaw start up behind you.

Creepy laughter is always good in this setting as well. Ghosts moaning and the howling of wolves will keep you watching your back.

Set up speakers throughout the yard if you have a walkway where people walk to your house. This can be done for trick or treaters as well. It makes the advance to your door much spookier.

Sometimes the unexpected can be scarier than playing what your guests expect. For instance, a solemn flute player slowly playing a dirge on the flute, or maybe a record that just keeps skipping and skipping. The footsteps of someone running through the woods screaming and out of breath will make anyone move a little faster toward safety.

The options are endless to how you can incorporate the perfect music into your setting. Just look around you and think what would make it super scary to YOU, then have fun with it.

Jonathan McDonald is a choir director and loves to write content for holiday sites. He recommends www.christmassongs.org as a great reference for all Christmas song lyrics, including funny Christmas songs.