Just like when watching a horror movie has you glued to the edge of your seat waiting for the next scream-worthy moment, the anticipation of a happily haunted evening is a big part of the Halloween fun. If you really want to stir up the holiday spirit, get crafty and try your hand at some easy DIY to decorate your home, outside and in. (The projects we suggest are both kid- and eco-friendly, to boot.) These Halloween crafts all use commonly available materials that you may well already have around your haunted house.
When pumpkins are dressed up in no-carve styles, you can repurpose their guts once Halloween is done. (Keep your jack-o-lanterns inside during the day if you live in Florida where it’s still hot; otherwise they will deteriorate in the Miami heat.) The seeds are great oven roasted and the flesh makes a tasty soup to warm the soul on November nights. Or upcycle old plastic pumpkins with fresh new disguises.
Dig up exciting embellishments out of your craft supply cupboard to turn your pumpkin ghoulish or glamorous. Think felt facial features and fake hair, sinister masks, odds and ends of leftover paint, buttons, glitter, or fake flowers – you name it. You can even raid the medicine chest for inspiration. Why not wrap your gourd in gauze bandages for a mummified effect?
If you dread facing Halloween without carving a pumpkin, choose a small size for less waste. Then chop up the remains and toss on your compost heap after the big night.
Place somber black tea lights inside a batch of mason jars to spookify the décor at your Halloween monster mash. Make sure they are safely out of the way of rowdy revelers.
Alternatively, use mason jars as containers for party treats, either seasonal (traditional candy corn, for example) or spooky (like gummy worms or green Jell-O “slime”). Stick on scary removable labels describing the contents in gruesome terms, and be sure to save the jars for repurposing next year.
You might just want to add a Halloween-y trick or two like miniature plastic skulls or pompom spiders to a regular green wreath. But why not go the whole six feet – er, nine yards – by making the entire circlet out of spooky stuff? Personally we would prefer to replace the greenery with a salvaged bundle of bare black branches, garnished vampire bats, fashioned from old newspaper.
Make cheap and easy outdoor decorations using rocks. This one’s simple enough for even a preschooler to handle, but can be eerily artistic in the hands of an older child. Collect good-sized stones in your garden and paint frightening faces (or just devilish-looking eyes) on them. Glow-in-the-dark paint will give a boo-tiful special effect when you go outside for a midnight stroll … if you dare, that is.
Fabric is wonderful for transforming homey into horrible – spreading it in suitable spots around the house takes just minutes and it can simply be refolded and replaced in your sewing stash after use. White or gray gauze gives a ghostly feel when it swathes furniture and large house plants … or just hangs in a doorway, blowing in the breeze. For more drama, drape windows with dark fabric to block out exterior illumination, after hooking up a haunted flicker light adapter.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.