I like to think of Halloween as the anti-Christmas.
Now, I don’t hate the holidays. For me, they are indeed “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the song goes. However, All Hallows’ Eve can very well give it a run for its money. While Christmas draws up visions of winter wonderlands, red-nosed reindeer, and fat, chubby old men in red suits drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows by the fire, Halloween is all about grinning skeletons, hypnotic vampires, sheet-white ghosts, and all other manner of things that go bump in the night.
Both occasions, however, call for sprucing up the house in the spirit of the season. Since Halloween is right around the corner, here are some cheap and easy DIY’s that’ll have your home looking spectacularly spooky in no time:
1. Flying Ghosts.
Inflate some cheap, white balloons and tie thin, black strings tightly around their openings to prevent the air from escaping. Make sure there’s enough string left with which to hang the balloon from the branches of a tree.
Turn the balloons upside down (with the tied-up openings facing upwards) and draw ghostly faces on them with a thick black marker. (You can also use glow-in-the-dark paint for extra oomph.) Cut up squares of white gauze or cheesecloth big enough to drape over the balloons by about five inches on all sides.
Carefully thread the string holding the balloon’s opening shut through one sheet of the prepared gauze. Arrange the fabric so it drapes over the entire balloon smoothly, making a ghostly shape. Repeat with the remaining balloons and string.
Tie prepared balloons to tree branches. These look especially cool when they billow in the wind and appear to float among the leaves once the sky goes dark.
2. Jack-o-Lantern Jars.
Clean a few empty jars you might have lying around the house. (Big ones like those used to store mayo or peanut butter are great for this.) Take some orange tissue or crepe paper and wrap around the jars.
Draw jack-o-lantern features (eyes, nose, and mouth) on some black construction paper and then carefully cut them out. Apply to the paper-wrapped jars with some glue.
Pop a tea candle into the jar, light it up, and watch your easy-peasy jack-o-lantern come to life.
3. Egg Carton Bats.
Cut up an egg carton into quarters, with each piece having three egg receptacles. Paint them black, let dry, and then add googly eyes.
Use these as table centerpieces or attach pieces of orange ribbon to each one and hang them from your lighting fixtures in the house.
4. Bloody Footprints.
Step into some washable red paint, and then carefully walk across your front door to make footprints. Let dry. (Be sure to have a clean towel ready at the end of your walk for easy clean-up. You can also bring extra paint with you in case you need to re-do your steps.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do a spot test with the paint on your porch before you do this. Stain a tiny part of of the surface with the paint, allow to dry, and then scrub with soap and water. If it comes off easily, you can proceed. If not, lay some construction paper on your porch first and make the footprints there instead. You wouldn’t want your porch looking like a murder scene for the rest of the year.
5. Candy Corn Vases.
Clean and dry some empty soda or condiment glass bottles, and then spray paint the bottom third of each one with a bright yellow color. Repeat with the next third, except use bright orange spray paint this time. Leave to dry. Finally, spray paint the upper third of each bottle with an opaque white color.
Once the painted bottles are dry, you can stick flowers or red and black licorice wands into them. Set them on tables, window sills, or mantles as a cheeky nod to the occasion’s most iconic candy.
So, there we have it. A total of five Halloween decorations worthy of Jack Skellington himself, and none of them involve masterfully carving up a pumpkin. (Thank goodness.)
Happy Trick or Treating!