If the thought of making your children’s costume is scarier than facing down an evil demon, relax. Do-it-yourself Halloween projects can be as involved or as simple as your skill, time and patience will allow.
We’ve collected no-fuss party and costume ideas to unleash your wicked inner spirit. Look around your home and in your closets for ghoulish inspiration. That way, the build-up to Halloween can be just as spook-tacular as the holiday itself.
Creepy treats: haunted pizza
Yield: 16 to 20 servings
1 (16.5-ounce) roll refrigerated sugar-cookie dough
4 (3.5-ounce) containers vanilla pudding
2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs or 20 chocolate sandwich cookies finely crushed
Assorted whole vanilla wafers and graham crackers
Black decorator gel icing
Assorted candies, such as jelly worms and candy corn
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-inch pizza pan. With lightly floured hands, pat the sugar-cookie dough into pizza pan.
2. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
3. Spread vanilla pudding over baked cookie. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Cover and chill.
4. Meanwhile, decorate wafers and graham crackers with decorator gel icing.
5. Press wafers and graham crackers into pudding and arrange candy and jelly worms on top of cookie crumbs.
Note: Adapted from: From Better Homes and Gardens posted on Recipe.com
These creepy treats are so versatile. You could set out a plate of them on your Halloween table or you could place them all over your Halloween table to decorate it. Or you could hand them out to trick-or-treaters.
To make each one you’ll need:
4 black pipe cleaners
1. Holding all four pipe cleaners (99 cents for a pack of 20 at Michael’s), center them at the base of the pop and wrap them around the stick once so there are four legs on each side. Bend the legs.
2. Glue on googly eyes (99 cents for a pack of 35 at Michael’s).
Note: Adapted from familyfun.com
Inside decor: Creepy couch
Have you ever wondered how to decorate your home for a scary Halloween party? It can be relatively easy and cheap, too. Turn your sofa into a creepy masterpiece.
1. Start with ripped cheesecloth ($2.29 a pack for 2 square yards) (we used two packs) at Michael’s.
2. We added one orange throw pillow ($14.99) at Bed, Bath and Beyond and one black throw pillow decorated with a skeleton head ($12.99) at Target.
3. Complete your scary look with a large black spider ($7.99) and rats ($4.99 to $7.99) all from World Market.
We asked face-painting expert Jessica Dana to help us come up with an easy way to make a big impact with Halloween face paint. Here’s how she achieved the purple monster:
1. Start by brushing purple face paint all over the face, including the neck and ears. (Grease face paint available for $1.99 a color at Johnnie Brock’s stores.)
2. Next, take a coral color paint and outline a lopsided mouth, starting at one end of your natural mouth and extending a couple inches to the other side. Using white paint, draw in crooked teeth. Fill in the surrounding area of the mouth with coral paint and then outline all the teeth and the mouth with black paint.
3. For the scar, start by drawing a “wound” with red and black paint. Next, using regular household thread, tie five or six knots around a pencil. Cut the string. Slide each “stitch” off the pencil and then cut the loop. Then, using an adhesive such as Spirit Gum ($5.99 with remover at Spirit Halloween Superstores), attach the stitches to the wound.
4. For the eyebrows, draw lines with a small brush using black and white face paint.
5. Add a basic pair of false eyelashes ($4.99 at Spirit Halloween Superstores).
6. The hair was transformed using weave pieces and plastic spiders pinned in place with bobby pins.
For more information about Jessica Dana’s work, go to jessicadana.com
Costumes: Witchy witch
Black electrical tape
Skein of gray yarn
2 yards of black fabric, depending on the size of your child
1/8 yard green fabric
Glue gun, hot glue sticks
Black and green thread
Child-size witch’s hat ($1 at Target)
Witch’s broom ($9.99, Jo-Ann Fabric )
Green-and-black striped socks ($2.56, on sale, Jo-Ann Fabric and craft stores)
1. For the hair: Cut a slew of 20-inch strands of yarn. Cut a strip of electrical tape and press a bunch of the yarn strands onto it. Tape another strip of electrical tape over it to secure the hair in place. You can do this in small sections and tape the yarn bunches to the rim of the hat. But we opted to make one long strip of yarn hair, and sew a piece of elastic connecting the two ends for a wig that would sit under the hat. Make sure to leave a section free of yarn for the front of the child’s face.
2. For the robe: Fold the fabric in half so the short ends meet, then cut an approximately 7-inch hole for her head. Have your child slip on the robe; then cut a fringy edge on the bottom. We sewed along the sides to create a body and sleeves. You can belt the robe with a black ribbon, but we found green fabric to fashion into a basic belt. We used a safety pin to hold the belt together and glued a black button over the spot where the pin would show.
3. For the spooky accessories: Our witch is wearing striped socks and a stuffed snake necklace.
Old white sheet
2 yards white tulle
1/4 yard batting
1/2 yard black ribbon
White, stretchy sweatband ($1, Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft store).
1. For the body: Drape sheet over child and find the spot to cut a slit for the head opening. Trim the excess fabric at the bottom, so the child will not trip while walking. Fold tulle in half and cut a slit at the center, large enough to fit your child’s head through. Pull over child’s head, on top of the sheet.
2. For the hat: Cut out four triangular-shape quarters, with rounded edges. Sew or glue the four quarters together, start with two of the triangles. Lay the two triangles exactly on top of the fabric with the “right sides” of the fabric, the sides intended to face outward, together on the inside. Stitch or glue from the point of the triangle down to the edge on one side of the triangle only. Open the two stitched triangles and lay a third triangle on top of the two stitched pieces, again right sides together; stitch on the third piece from the tip of the triangle down to the edge.
3.Open up the fabric to lay down the fourth triangle and stitch it into place, right sides together. You will now have a solid piece of batting that is starting to curl and will no longer lie flat. Fold this entire piece so that the two remaining edges are on top of each other. Rather than adding a band and finishing the ends, we tucked the ends into a white sweatband.
4. Mask: Our ghost is a wearing a store-bought felt mask from Target ($1) that we doctored by cutting out the purple felt backing that showed and making the eyeholes larger.
Note: Adapted from parenting.com
Pumpkin pot-belly witch
Hot glue gun; glue sticks
1. Cut pieces of yarn to desired length for witch’s hair.
2. Hot glue the hair to the top of the gourd.
3. Hot glue googly eyes to top portion of the gourd, which will be the face.
4. Fashion a black hat out of fabric and glue on its head.
5. Drape black fabric over the “body” of the gourd to fashion a witch’s robe.
6. Glue the fabric pieces together, and glue a purple button where the ends meet.
Dangling ghostly ghouls
White spray paint
Twine or wire to hang
1. Clean gourds with a soapy solution to remove dirt. We scrubbed them with a medium-bristled brush. After cleaning, let stand until fully dry.
2. Drill holes along the top of the gourd so you’ll be able to thread twine or wire through for hanging.
3. We had better results spraying the gourds while they were hanging rather than lying on the ground. Use a white spray paint or primer to paint the entire gourd white. It took several coats and two cans of spray paint to get good coverage on five medium-sized gourds.
4. Let the white paint dry.
5. Use black paint pens or paint on the eyes and mouth of the ghost.
6. Hang ghostly ghouls from your front porch.
Shocked pumpkin totem
Three pumpkins, various sizes
Hot glue gun, glue sticks
1. Choose the widest pumpkin as the base. Cut the stem off the top, so the middle one can balance on top.
2. Measure a wooden dowel that fits the height of the finished product.
3. Cut or saw off any extra length of the dowel.
4. Hammer the dowel into the base pumpkin.
5. Push or gently hammer the middle pumpkin through the dowel rod, so it rests securely on top of the base. Trim or cut off the stem, so the last pumpkin can balance on top.
6. Glue googly eyes onto the gourd that will be the head.
7. Cut a round piece of black fabric as a mouth.
8. Glue the mouth on the top gourd.
9. Push the head through the remaining part of the dowel rod.
10. If the tower leans slightly, rest it against a pillar outside your home or find some rocks to support the base.
Three pumpkins, various sizes
Duct tape, various colors
1. Find the best way to line up the pumpkins by stacking one on top of the other.
2. One at a time, place the pumpkins onto the dowel rod, beginning by cutting a small hole as an entry point and an exit point when you’ve pushed the pumpkin most of the way through.
3. To make the scarf: Fold a piece of white duct tape in half and wrap around the upper pumpkin’s neck. Make stripes by tearing 1/2-inch strips of black and orange tape. Fringe the ends.
4. To make the hat: Layer the duct tape so you have a 3-inch square. Cut a circle big enough to fit the pumpkin man’s head. Cut out the center circle, creating a doughnut shape. Make the hat band by laying two layers of tape on top of each other. Create the top of the hat by using the hole you cut from the bottom. Use duct tape to attach all layers.
5. Create the face: Cut out features from the duct tape using an X-Acto knife.
Pumpkin man created by Jennifer Llewelyn, Education Coordinator for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store.
Creepy critter green martini
Makes: 1 drink
3 ounces apple vodka
3 ounces sour apple schnapps
Splash of sweet and sour lemon mixIce
1. Combine the apple vodka, apple schnapps and a splash of sweet and sour lemon mix into a shaker. Add ice and shake.
2. Strain and pour into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with a plastic beetle.
Makes: 1 drink
2 ounces pumpkin liqueur
2 ounces hazelnut liqueur
2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces white chocolate liqueur
1. Combine the pumpkin liqueur, hazelnut liqueur, vodka and white chocolate liqueur into a shaker. Add ice and shake.
2. Strain and pour into a snifter.
3. Garnish with a plastic snake.
Makes: 1 drink
3 ounces green mint-flavored liqueur
3 ounces white creme de cacao
1 ounce half and half
1. Combine the green liqueur, creme de cacao and half and half into a shaker. Add ice and shake.
2. Strain and pour into a martini glass.
3. Garnish with a plastic spider.
Note: All drinks created by Bill Gianino’s in St. Louis.
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