Boo-ti-ful Halloween Projects

Why limit your holiday decor to carved pumpkins? Arm yourself with clever turns of phrase, a few supplies, and your trusty glue gun to turn the great outdoors into a Halloween masterpiece.


A natural twig wreath and a gazing ball transform an ordinary birdbath into a crystal ball on a stand. But to get a glimpse into the future, guests first have to look past simple construction-paper bats perched on twisted strands of black and orange chenille stems.

Supplies
  • Computer and printer
  • Three 8-1/2-x-11-inch sheets of orange paper
  • Double-stick tape
  • 10-inch-diameter white gazing ball
  • 5 sheets of clear laminating paper
  • Pinking shears
  • Tracing paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Chenille stems: 2 each of black and orange
  • Glue gun and hotmelt adhesive
  • Natural wreath sized to fit the birdbath and gazing ball
  • Spray adhesive
  • White glitter
  • Birdbath

Bat Pattern

Instructions
  1. Type a poem or phrase in a font of your choice on a computer, adjusting the font size so the words are about 1 inch tall. Format the text so each line of the poem or phrase is centered on a page; adjust the print orientation to landscape. Print each line onto a sheet of orange paper.
  2. From the printed sheets, cut three 1-3/4-x-11-inch strips with a line of the poem or phrase centered on each strip, and, from the scraps, cut 8 additional 1-3/4-x-11-inch blank orange strips. Make one long strip with the blank strips, using double-stick tape to slightly overlap the short ends. Wrap the long strip three times around the gazing ball.
  3. Plan the positions of the poem or phrase lines and mark the locations on the wrapped strip. Remove the strip from the gazing ball and secure the lines to the long strip with double-stick tape.
  4. Laminate the entire strip, following the manufacturer's instructions. Trim the long edges with a pinking shears. Reposition the laminated strip on the gazing ball and secure with double-stick tape.
  5. Trace the bat pattern onto tracing paper; cut out the pattern. Draw around the pattern three times on black construction paper; cut out. Laminate the bats and cut out the laminated shapes. Twist together the orange and black chenille stems in pairs. Hot-glue one end of a twisted chenille stem pair to the center back of each bat, allowing most of the stem to extend below the bat.
  6. Spray the top side of the wreath with adhesive. Immediately sprinkle glitter over the adhesive; let dry. Place the wreath in the birdbath, top side up, and center the gazing ball on the wreath.
  7. Stick the chenille stems with attached bats into the wreath. Tape a third bat to the top of the ball.

Guests will feel right at home with this friendly invitation -- until they realize they've been bewitched! Use a spooky Halloween font like Chiller or Jokerman to create the words on wood-pattern paper. For stability, paste the printed paper onto balsa and tack the pieces to the wooden steps. To decorate concrete steps, affix the phrase with double-stick removable poster tape.

Supplies:
  • Computer and printer
  • 8-1/2-x-11-inch sheets of wood-pattern scrapbook paper
  • Three 4-x-36-inch pieces of balsa wood
  • Spray adhesive
  • 12 decorative tacks
Instructions
  1. Type the message (we used "Come in and Sit a Spell") in the font of your choice on a computer, adjusting the font size so the words are no more than 3 1/2 inches tall. Format the text so each individual word will be centered on a page. If necessary, adjust the print orientation to landscape so the text runs in the same direction as the wood grain on the paper.
  2. Print each word onto a sheet of wood-pattern paper. Cut the printed sheets into 4-x-11-inch strips, centering each word on a strip.
  3. Position the words on the balsa pieces.
  4. Cut additional 4-inch-wide strips of wood-pattern paper with the grain running the length of the strips to completely cover the balsa. Spray adhesive onto the back of the strips and smooth into place on the balsa.
  5. Use decorative tacks to mount the signs on the stair risers.
  6. NOTE: If wet weather is a concern, laminate the paper before assembling the project.

No self-respecting witch goes anywhere without her broom. Let trick-or-treaters know she's home with a sign made from a precut wood plaque and a gold glitter paint pen. Create a ghoulish broom by adding green raffia or dried grasses to one end of a weathered stick. Cinch an old leather belt around the end and this witch's broom is ready to take flight.

Supplies
  • 5-foot length of 6-inch-diameter tree branch
  • 2- to 3-feet-tall and 10-inch-diameter bunch of purchased dried grass
  • Glue gun and hotmelt adhesive
  • Rubber bands (optional)
  • Packaging tape
  • 2-inch-wide strip of black leather or an old leather belt
  • Two 30-inch-long leather shoelaces
  • 5-x-16-inch wooden plaque with hanger
  • Gold glitter paint pen
Instructions
  1. Remove most of the smaller branches from the large tree branch, leaving a few at the top. Shorten the remaining branches; one shortened branch will serve as a hook for the plaque.
  2. Hot-glue dried grass several inches from the bottom end of the branch. Secure the grass with rubber bands or packaging tape 2-3 inches below the top edge of the grass. Wrap the leather strip or belt around the broom to cover the rubber bands or tape; cut the leather so the ends overlap by 1-2 inches, and tape. Wrap leather shoelaces around the leather strip to crisscross on the front side; tack in place on the back with hot glue. Hot-glue the overlapped area together to fit snugly on the broom.
  3. Use the gold glitter paint pen to write the message on the wood plaque; let the paint dry. To hang the plaque, loop the plaque's hanger over one of the shortened branches.

Whether perched on a porch or parked on the steps, this wise trio of birds stands guard against the season's ghouls and goblins. Gleaming crescent moons add sparkle; for a spookier atmosphere, paint the moons and owls in glow-in-the-dark paint, or sprinkle the figures in opalescent glitter.

Supplies
  • Graph paper (optional)
  • Three 12-x-18-inch sheets of stiff black felt
  • 12-x-18-inch sheet of white craft foam
  • 8-1/2-x-11-inch sheet of white felt
  • Spray adhesive
  • White glitter
  • Glue gun and hotmelt adhesive
  • Three 18-inch lengths of 3/4-inch diameter wooden dowel
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Computer and printer
  • 8-1/2-x-11-inch sheets of white computer paper
  • 8-1/2-x-11-inch sheets of lime green card stock

Owl/Moon patterns

Instructions
  1. Enlarge the owl/moon pattern using graph paper or a photocopier; cut out the pattern. Use the pattern to cut three owls/moons from stiff black felt. Cut along the edges of the owl pattern to make separate patterns for the two moon sections; also cut out the two eye patterns.
  2. Cut three of each moon section from white craft foam and cut three pairs of eyes from white felt. Spray one side of each white-foam moon section with adhesive, reversing the side of one set so it is in the opposite direction. Immediately sprinkle white glitter onto the adhesive; let dry.
  3. Hot-glue the glittered moon sections onto the corresponding sections of the black felt owl. Hot-glue the eyes on the owl faces. Paint the dowels black; let dry. Hot-glue the top 6 inches of a dowel to the back side of each owl so about 12 inches extend below the figure.
  4. Use a computer to make the three wording tags. Print a test sample on white typing paper. When satisfied, print the tags on lime green card stock. Cut out the tags and hot-glue one to each owl. Insert the bottom end of the dowels into the ground.
  5. NOTE: If wet weather is a concern, laminate the paper and felt before assembling the project.

This witch's hat, crafted in black with accents of bright orange and purple, is a jaunty holiday signal to passersby. Use ribbons to tie it to your front gate or to hang it from your door.

Supplies
  • Graph paper (optional)
  • 20-x-30-inch piece of black foam-core board
  • 12-x-12-inch sheets of card stock: 2 orange and 1 black
  • Craft knife
  • Sandpaper block
  • Permanent black marker
  • Spray adhesive
  • 12-x-12-inch sheets of scrapbook paper: 2 each of stripes and dots
  • Ribbon: 1/3 yard of 3/4-inch-wide orange and 2 yards each of 1-inch-wide black grosgrain, 1-inch-wide black picot-edge, and 1-inch-wide orange satin
  • Glue gun and hotmelt adhesive
  • 1/4-inch hole punch
  • Pop dots

Witch hat pattern

Instructions
  1. Enlarge the hat pattern onto graph paper or use a photocopier; cut out the pattern. Draw around the hat pattern on foam-core board and cut out with a craft knife. Type the words "Enter If You Dare" in the font of your choice on a computer, adjusting the font size so the words are no more than 3 1/2 inches tall. Print out the letters on orange card stock; cut out.
  2. Sand the cut edges of the foam-core hat smooth with the sandpaper block. Color the cut edges with the permanent black marker.
  3. Spray the front side of the hat with adhesive. Smooth sheets of dotted paper onto the brim and striped paper onto the upper hat. Turn the hat over and trim away the paper along the edges of the hat. Center the 3/4-inch-wide orange ribbon over the line where the striped and dotted papers meet; hot-glue in place, securing the ends on the back of the hat.
  4. Spray the back of the letters for the word "Enter" with adhesive and mount onto the sheet of black card stock, leaving about 1/2 inch between each of the letters as you adhere the orange letters to the black card stock. Create a shadow behind these letters, cutting the black card stock even with the edges of the orange letters in some areas and varying the width of the shadow from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch in other areas. Arrange the letters for "Enter" on the top portion of the hat as shown.
  5. Use striped paper scraps to decorate the remaining letters for the words "If You Dare," cutting stripes for the letters of "You Dare" and using the hole punch to make dots for the letters of "If."
  6. Mount the stripes and dots on the letters with spray adhesive. Arrange the letters on the front of the sign and adhere with pop dots.
  7. Cut the remaining ribbons into 1-yard lengths. You will have six lengths of ribbon (two each of orange, black picot-edge, and black grosgrain). Hot-glue one of each ribbon to the back side of the hat, in line with the top edge of the brim. Tie a knot 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches from the opposite end of each ribbon length. Use the ribbons to tie the sign in place.
  8. NOTE: If wet weather is a concern, laminate the paper and foam core before assembling the project.

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