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Popular in Halloween

Scared Silly

With tricks and treats in equal proportions, your costumed visitors will revel in eerie entertainment.

Host a party with a carnival atmosphere

  • Pose for pics with a friendly fiend
  • Craft a photo frame
  • Make a bull's-eye in a round of ball toss
  • Reach into hidden bowls of icky, sticky stuff

The tableware and sweets carry on the lively mood

  • A two-faced cake watches from the table center
  • Treat bags beckon from a cobwebbed corner

The trick to these treat bags is the funky faces that make them too cute to toss. Sure, the treats inside may be what the kids crave, but with kooky faces the bags are a party favor instead of a party frightener.

What You Need

  • Two 1-x-1/2-inch-diameter silver-rimmed tags
  • Markers: hot pink and black
  • Buttons: two 3/4-inch-diameter green-and-white and one 1/2-inch-diameter blue heart
  • Crafts glue
  • Glue stick
  • Double-stick tape
  • Scrap of pink plaid fabric
  • Scissors: pinking shears and scallop-edge
  • Scrap of pink wool felt
  • Papers: fuchsia card stock, pink polka-dot, and orange tissue
  • 8-x-10-1/2-inch lime-green gift bag
  • Green chenille stem
  • Two 1/2-inch hot pink pom-poms


1. For the eyes, use the hot pink marker to color one side of each silver-rimmed tag. Glue a green-and-white button on each tag.

2. Cut a large triangle-shape nose from pink plaid fabric. Cut a small heart from the pink felt for the mouth. Glue the heart button on the felt heart.

3. From fuchsia card stock, cut a 5-inch tall triangle for a hat, an 8-inch long wedge for the hat brim, and a 1/2-x-9-inch strip for the dress trim, using pinking shears on the curved edge of the brim and both long edges of the dress trim.

4. Cut two pink polka-dot triangles for the bottom corners of the bag; curve the inside edge of each triangle with a scallop-edge scissors. Cut a 2-1/4-x-12-inch piece of orange tissue paper for the dress.

5. Lay the bag flat on a work surface with the front side up. Referring to the photograph as a guide, arrange the eyes, nose, and mouth on the bag. Position the hat on the bag, overlapping the bottom edge of the hat with the hat brim.

6. Align the polka-dot triangle with the bottom and side edges of the bag. Pinch gathers in one long edge of the orange tissue paper dress to fit the width of the bag. Secure in place with crafts glue, a glue stick, or double-stick tape.

7. Adhere only the gathered edge of the dress to the bag; adhere the fuchsia dress trim over the top edge of the dress.

8. Cut the chenille stem into a long and a short piece; make a large bow and a small bow with the pieces. Adhere the large bow to the hat and the small bow to the dress trim.

9. Glue pom-pom nostrils on the nose.

10. Use the hot pink marker to make cheeks and the black marker to draw eyelashes.

What You Need

  • Black extra-thick crafts foam
  • Card stock: light gray, dark gray, and red
  • Crafts glue
  • Glue stick
  • Double-stick tape
  • Buttons: 1/2- and 7/8-inch-diameter gray
  • 3-x-10-inch piece of bright red wool felt
  • Chenille stems: 2 black and 1 red
  • 8-x-10-1/2-inch white glossy gift bag
  • 1/3 yard of red beaded fringe
  • 1/3 yard of silver trim
  • Black marker


1. For the eyes, cut two 2-inch-wide irregular round shapes from black crafts foam. Cut two smaller, different-size circles from light gray card stock. Glue a light gray circle on each black shape and glue a button on each light gray circle.

2. Cut a long nose shape from dark gray card stock and a lip shape from red card stock.

3. For the hair, make 2-1/2-inch-long cuts spaced 1/4 inch apart along one long edge of the red felt. Cut the black chenille stems in half; bend the stems to make them wavy.

4. Lay the bag flat on a work surface with the front side up. Referring to the photograph as a guide, arrange the eyes, nose, and lips on the bag. Position the black chenille stems, red felt hair, and beaded fringe along the top edge of the bag.

5. Drape the silver trim across the bottom. Cut pieces of red chenille stem to outline the lips, curling the ends for the corners. Adhere in place with crafts glue, a glue stick, or double-stick tape.

6. Use black marker to draw lines over the bottom and sides of the nose.

What You Need

  • Card stock: drab olive, bright olive, rust, and tan
  • Crafts glue
  • Glue stick
  • Double-stick tape
  • 3/4-inch-diameter purple button
  • Black extra-thick crafts foam
  • Wool felt: white and gold
  • 2 gold chenille stems
  • 8-x-10-1/2-inch orange gift bag
  • Markers: black and dark green
  • Embroidery needle
  • Brown embroidery floss
  • 12-1/2-x-12-1/2-inch piece of newspaper


1. Download the free project pattern. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Download the Pirate Kitty Hat diagrams

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. For the eye, tear a 2-inch-wide irregular round shape from drab olive card stock. Tear a smaller oval from bright olive card stock. Glue the bright olive oval on the drab olive shape and glue the button on the oval.

3. Cut an eye patch shape from the black crafts foam.

4. Cut a 2-3/4-inch-long triangular nose from rust card stock and tear two 2-1/2-inch-long narrow oval cheeks from tan card stock.

5. For the teeth, cut six 1- to 1-1/2-inch-long triangles from white felt. Cut the gold chenille stems in half; bend the stems to make the whiskers wavy.

6. Lay the bag flat on a work surface with the front side up. Referring to the photograph as a guide, arrange the eye, eye patch, cheeks, nose, and teeth on the bag. Adhere the pieces with crafts glue, a glue stick, or double-stick tape.

7. Draw four black dots on each cheek with black marker; poke whiskers through two dots on each cheek. Use the black marker to draw a shadow line along the bottom edge of each cheek and to draw lines over the edges of the eye.

8. Use the dark green marker to draw a large X and bow at the center bottom of the bag.

9. Thread the embroidery needle with brown floss and sew along the drawn lines, making a floss bow at the center of the drawn bow.

10. Follow the downloaded diagrams to make a hat with the 12-1/2-inch-square of newspaper.

11. Cut two 3-inch-tall triangle ears of gold felt. Glue an ear at each end of the front hat brim. Glue the hat along the top edge of the bag.

What You Need

  • Bendable straw
  • Chenille stem
  • 2 tiny wiggle eyes
  • Crafts glue


1. Bend back one end of the chenille stem to form a 3/4- to 1-inch-long teardrop shape for the head.

2. Fold over 1/4 inch at the opposite end and pinch tightly to hide the sharp end.

3. Beginning 4 inches from the head, wrap the stem four times around the straw.

4. Shape the head and tail ends as desired around the straw.

5. Glue eyes on the head.

What You Need

  • Assorted sheets of card stock and patterned papers
  • Assorted decorations such as stickers, wiggle eyes, small black pom-poms, and markers
  • Crafts glue
  • Polaroid pictures
  • Large-eye needle
  • Colored brads


1. For each frame, cut two 5-inch squares from card stock or patterned paper. Cut a 2-1/2-inch square from the center of one of the squares to frame the photo.

2. Let each guest decorate the front of the frame piece, referring to the picture for ideas, or let the children's imaginations and the provided supplies dictate the designs.

3. Place the picture between the frame and the backing card stock or paper.

4. To secure the frame to the backing, use the large-eye needle to make a hole through the layered papers in each corner of the frame just beyond the edges of the picture.

5. Attach a brad at each hole.

Napkin Rings

What You Need

  • Chenille stems
  • Colored rubber bands
  • Plastic tableware
  • Purple dinner-size napkins


1. Download the free project pattern. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Download Napkin Ring patterns

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Refer to the downloaded patterns to make a cat, bat, or ghost napkin ring.

3. Fold a chenille stem over a rubber band at what becomes the top loop of the figure, and bend back into shape as shown.

4. Stack the knife, fork, and spoon, and wrap a napkin around the tableware.

5. Wrap the rubber band around the tableware and napkin near the center of the handles.

Note: After the party meal, the napkin rings become fun bracelets for the guests to wear.

Halloween Plate

What You Need

  • 2 clear deep-dish plastic plates
  • Card stock: purple, yellow, white, and black
  • Haunted house die cut
  • Paper punches: 1-3/4-inch-diameter circle and bat
  • Double-stick tape and glue stick


1. Cut a circle of purple card stock to fit inside the front of a plastic plate. Referring to the photo as a guide, punch out windows of the haunted house die cut and slightly trim the top and right edges of the door.

2. Cut pieces of card stock to back the punched-out areas, using white behind the ghost and yellow for the remaining windows and door; tape in place.

3. Use the punches and card stock to make one yellow moon and three black bats.

4. Tape or glue the die cut and the card stock pieces on the purple circle.

5. Tape the assembled Halloween scene to the front of the plate.

6. Place the second plate on top of the scene.

What You Need

  • Graph paper
  • Graphite or transfer paper
  • 1/4-x-7-x-15-inch piece of Baltic birch plywood
  • 1/2-x-8-x-15-inch piece of pine
  • Scroll saw
  • Wood glue
  • Hammer and nails
  • Dremel tool with sander attachments
  • Medium- and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Sponge brush
  • 2 to 3 packages of mosaic mirror pieces
  • Tile glue
  • Charcoal grout
  • Sponge
  • Wooden bead
  • Craft cord: black and silver-and-black
  • Florist's wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Thumbtacks
  • Sawtooth hanger


1. Download the free project pattern. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Download Good-Witch Mirror diagram

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Enlarge the head, hat, and hat brim patterns onto graph paper. Use graphite paper to transfer the head pattern onto 1/4-inch plywood and the hat and hat brim onto 1/2-inch pine. Cut out the shapes with a scroll saw.

3. Glue the hat onto the head with wood glue; let dry. Glue and nail the hat brim to the head, positioning the brim against the bottom edge of the hat.

4. Use the Dremel tool to sand and shape the edges of the hat and brim and to add nicks and dents to the hat. Sand all surfaces of the pieces with medium- and then fine-grit sandpaper. Remove the sanding dust with a tack cloth.

5. Paint all surfaces except the face black, applying as many coats as needed for complete coverage. Let the paint dry.

6. Glue mosaic mirror pieces to the witch's face with tile glue, leaving a spot for the wooden bead. Grout, following the manufacturer's instructions, and then clean the mirror pieces with a damp sponge. When the grout is dry, use black to paint the wooden bead and the sides of the face.

7. Insert florist's wire into center of craft cord for the hair. Cut the hair to desired length with wire cutters and attach to the back of the witch with thumbtacks.

8. Shape the wired cord to make the hair wavy. To make a hairy mole, glue a short piece of wired cord in the bead; glue the bead to the face.

9. Attach the sawtooth hanger to the center back of the mirror about 2-1/2 inches from the top.

What You Need

  • Black foam-core board: 31-x-54-inch piece and two 5-x-18-inch pieces (for stand pieces)
  • Chalk
  • Plush fur: purple and green
  • Crafts foam: orange, black, green, and red
  • Assorted acrylic paints
  • 1/2- and 1-inch flat brushes
  • Spray adhesive and crafts glue
  • Crafts knife


1. Download the free project pattern. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Download the Monster Toss Game Board pattern

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Enlarge and transfer the background pattern onto foam-core board with chalk. Make paper patterns for the monster and pumpkin pieces.

3. Use the patterns to cut one monster body and one monster head from purple fur and the monster's spots from the green plush fur.

4. From the crafts foam, cut one orange pumpkin, one black handle, two green eyes, and 11 red nails.

5. Referring to the photograph and the pattern, paint the sky, tree, ground, moon, and owl on the foam-core background. Let the paint dry.

6. Use spray adhesive to mount the monster's body, head, and spots to the foam-core background. Glue the eyes on the pumpkin.

7. Paint the section lines and mouth on the pumpkin. Mount the foam pieces on the board with spray adhesive.

8. Use the crafts knife to carefully cut out the face and ball openings as indicated on the pattern; these pieces need to be able to pop out of the board and then go back in.

9. Cut a 2-1/2-inch slit in each 5-x-18-inch stand piece 6 inches from a 5-inch edge.

10. Cut two 2-1/2-inch slits 4 inches in from the sides at the bottom of the Monster Board.

11. Slip the stand piece slits into the slits in the board bottom.

How to Play

Remove cutouts to turn the critter into the target for an energetic round of monster ball toss. The first guy or ghoul to get three balls through the holes wins! (We found that dry foam water balls are perfect for this game -- just enough weight to hit the target but soft enough to not break anything!)

What You Need

  • Two 4-x-8-foot pieces of black foam-core board
  • Chalk
  • Crafts knife
  • Crafts foam: red, white, black, yellow
  • Assorted acrylic paints
  • Assorted paintbrushes, including 1/2- and 1-inch flat
  • Paint pens: white and black
  • Crafts glue and spray adhesive
  • 4 chenille stems
  • 12 squares of yellow crafts felt
  • Wide wrapping tape


1. Download the free project pattern. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Download Haunted House Guessing Game pattern

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Referring to the photographs and the pattern, use chalk to draw the door and windows centered on one of the 4-x-8-foot pieces of foam-core board; or enlarge the pattern and transfer it onto the board with chalk.

3. Use the crafts knife to carefully cut out the window and door openings. Score the board along the left and right edges of the house and bend the board back along the scored lines to make the stand.

4. Cut a large triangle from the second piece of foam-core board for the roof; cut notches along the edges to resemble shingles.

5. To layer the stairs, enlarge and transfer first all three stairs, then the bottom two stairs, and finally the bottom stair onto the foam-core board. Cut out the three stair pieces.

6. Make paper patterns for the cat, bat, and mouse pieces. From the crafts foam, use the patterns to cut one white mouse, one bat head, one bat body, one cat head, and one cat body. Cut a 9-inch-diameter circle from yellow crafts foam for the moon and a 1-inch-long oval from red crafts foam for the spider.

7. Referring to the photographs and the pattern, paint the house, roof, and stairs. When the paint is dry, use a white paint pen to draw the spiderweb. Dry-brush black paint over the white mouse. Use a white paint pen to draw the spiderweb.

8. Dry-brush black paint over the whole mouse. Use a white paint pen to add eyes to the cat and the bat. Dot the eyes on the spider with black paint pen.

9. Glue the roof to the front of the house along the top edge; do not glue the roof beyond the scored lines. Use heavy books or other weights to hold the roof in place until the glue sets. Glue the stairs together and then glue them on the house, aligning the bottom edges; weight with books or other heavy items to set.

10. Mount the moon on a scrap of foam-core board with spray adhesive. Cut off the board along the edges of the moon, leaving extra board at the bottom. Glue the moon to the back of the roof at the top left edge. To create dimension, use several small scraps of foam-core boards as backing for the cat pieces; glue to the house.

11. Mount the mouse with spray adhesive. Shape four red chenille stems for the spider legs. Glue the spider's legs to the web, then add the spider.

12. For the curtains, tape one felt square on the back of the house over each window and door opening. Then tape a second square over each opening, overlapping the first square.

How to Play

A Halloween party isn't complete without an ooey, gooey guessing game, with "body parts" and other gross stuff close at hand. Set bowls of squishy gelatin; slimy cooked spaghetti; slick grapes or pearl onions; cooked baby carrots, cauliflower, or rice; and peeled tomatoes behind fabric flaps. The children will await their turns with shivers of anticipation.

What You Need

  • Fresh pumpkin
  • Pumpkin carving tools
  • Tracing paper
  • Straight pins
  • Ripe avocado
  • Tiny jelly beans: red and assorted
  • 8 pieces of black licorice
  • Black permanent marker


1. Download the free project pattern. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Download Spider Pumpkin pattern

Download Adobe Acrobat

2. Prepare the pumpkin by cutting an opening in the bottom and scraping out the insides.

3. Trace the spider pattern onto tracing paper. Position traced pattern on pumpkin with straight pins and cut out shape. Cut off the pumpkin stem.

4. Place the avocado over the stem area of the pumpkin for the spider body, using the stem end of the avocado as the nose.

5. Cut a red jelly bean in half for eyes and attach the halves with straight pins, making a diagonal cut in each leg to bend at the knee.

6. Use straight pins to attach assorted whole jelly beans for the baby spiders. Draw the spiders' legs with a black permanent marker.


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