Replace your regular magazines and books on coffee tables or
shelves with classic and new horror books and magazines.
Good luck getting them from your local library at this time of
year. Maybe scan a few covers earlier in the year?
There is so much available on the net and in clip art books that
it is easy to make up your own book covers. Dover is just one
source that I use. Just download and add some text, print it out
and cover any old book. Make up your own titles.
a magazine, it could be Ghoul Housekeeping. Or Better Haunts and
Crypt keeping. (send me your ideas)
Who says those little birdhouses at the craft
store have to be cute. Or for cute little birds? Ravens and
crows need a place to live, too, don't they? If they are nailed
together, pry a few loose and re-nail crookedly. If it's a kit,
glue it together with some boards crooked or missing. Paint a
very deep grey. Let dry and sand some of the paint off. Add a
dab of white to the grey paint and dry brush sparingly. Paint
"Nevermore" over the door.
make them cute. Paint orange, green or yellow and add
checkerboards and swirls.
them on sticks and plant them around the yard. Or stick them in
Use old family portraits
or download someone else's relatives from the internet. This is
best with a black background. Print them up on your computer or
take to your office copy machine. Lighter copies that look faded
out are more "sprit-like." Tape these to the outside of your
window with them looking in.
If you laminate these, you
can reuse them every year.
Lay a drop cloth on the floor under a rug.
Scatter pretzel sticks, cereal and croutons over it and
cover it with your rug. Place a couple of fake bones under
one edge of the rug. When guests walk across the rug, it
will feel and sound like they're walking on more bones.
cemeteries have fences
around them? People are dying to get in.
Plastic bugs and spiders cling well to
knitted or crocheted scarves. Hang some on your hall tree or
drape them on the back of a chair.
MONSTER ON A
Pick up those Styrofoam
display heads for use as tabletop monster heads. Just paint,
add wigs and makeup. Places on a serving platter with
lettuce around the bottom as a garnish.
a couple of giant sponges. Find the biggest pair of shoes that
will fit on your sponges and draw an outline with a permanent
marker. Draw in big ole ugly toes and cut out. Mix up a tray of
washable black (or GITD) paint. Dip the "left foot" in the paint
and wring a little out. Make a test print on some newspaper to
be sure you're getting a good imprint. Dip the sponge again and
lay it down on the left side of the sidewalk leading up to your
door. Dip again and put another one in front of it. Guess how
big the steps would be if the monster was as big as his/her
feet. Finish the trail with the left foot as far as you like,
then repeat with the right. Trail can meander or be straight as
an arrow. For added effect, make some red splats on a couple of
Plastic fake teeth make a simple, creepy
Glue Hallo beads onto small
the tin man turn into a ghost? Because he couldn't
rust in peace.
Get some hefty palm-sized rocks and paint
them Halloween colors. Paint sayings on them such as
"Beware!" "Boo!". Make several that string a short sentence
and line them up. They could say "Turn back now!" "House of
Horrors" are a couple.
Go through dad's drawers for old
clothes or buy from yard sales and thrift shops. Print out
pictures of friends from previous years for the faces. Fill
trash bags with wads of newspapers or leaves from the yard to stuff the body. Safety
pin the clothes together. Gardening gloves make good hands.
Put an empty soda or beer can in one of the hands.
Craft for kids-Let the kids stuff the "body
parts" and have the old clothes handy. Let the kids dress
the scarecrow. Use a plastic Jack for the head. You may want
to do the safety pinning, depending on the age of the kids.
(sometimes the adults, too) They can proudly point to their
handiwork every time they pass your house.
(you ARE going to leave
it on the front porch, right?)
SKELETON IN THE CLOSET
Hang a skeleton in your closet on any old
hanger. Listen for shrieks as guests put away their coats. A
bit of wire around the neck, then around the neck of the
hanger will work. If this looks lame, just wire him up to
other hanger parts. If it still doesn't look right, attach a
plastic ball and chain to his ankle so he hangs more
straight. Weight the ball if necessary. If you have a light
in the closet, you could hang him from that, too. Be careful
if it's plastic, as the bulb may melt it.
Get those cheap skull notions at
the party store and attach them around your
chandelier. Be sure your bulbs don't get hot enough to melt
them! Assuming this isn't to be permanent, poke holes in
the backs of the skulls and use wire to attach. If this is
to be permanent, be careful with the hot melt glue or you
will have melted skulls. Hmmm..that may be an idea. Worms
hanging from mouths adds charm(?!).
do you call spiders who just got married?
Collect twigs right off the
ground. Spray paint black and stick in vases and candleholders
just as you would flowers.
Or, for a fancier look, paint them
orange, black and purple, coat with glue and roll in glitter.
Drape Mardi Gras beads from them.
SPOOKY FRAMED PORTRAITS
Any old frame will
work. In fact, the scruffier, the better. Find old portraits
that fit your frames or vice versa. Get some GITD paint or black
light reactive paint. Lay the frame glass directly on the
portrait. With a thin liner brush, go over the main features of
the faces and clothing using very thin lines. Let dry and reassemble the framed
portrait, with the painted side out. Be sure to have a black
light nearby if you used that paint. If you used GITD, a strobe
nearby will refresh the image.
Put glow sticks behind your
Hang plastic spiders from leaves. Big plastic cockroaches may or
may not be a good idea.
Use cloves stuck in
oranges to make faces. Cheap, easy, looks great, smells
do vampires eay lunch? At the
Love those cool little
multi-colored gourds or pumpkins you see in the stores but don't know what you'd do
with them? They're pretty small to carve, but you can still
make tiny Jacks out of them. Glue on googly eyes, paint on
faces or make faces with permanent markers.
Cut a hole in the top to add a
candlestick. Make sure the bottom is basically flat so it
won't tip over. A rotary tool with a small hole saw is good
Where does Dracula go when he vacations in New York?
The Vampire State Building
Thrift store vases can look like a
million bucks with some paint. (and glitter)
Shrink down patterns for Jacks to
use as stencils or any Halloween-y image you like. Lots of
free patterns all over the internet to use. Tape pattern to
inside and paint with black acrylic paint. When dry,
paint the outside all over with clear, colored glass paint.
Add words like BOO!
Trick or Treat! Drop a glow stick inside for an eerie
Put glow sticks in frosty glass
or plastic vases.
Get some etching cream
and some appropriate patterns. Tape the patterns to the
inside of the vase and etch the outside. You can then paint
with class paint or leave clear. If the vase is wide enough,
you can put a candle inside.
Crumple colored paper
and put inside with a glow stick in the middle of the paper.
Drop plastic spiders or cockroaches in between the glass and
Next time those nifty
branchy things are on sale at the craft store, grab a
handful. Spray paint them and add glitter. Stick in vase for
instant Halloween glam.
Put costumes on stuffed
animals and set them on the floor around the party room. See
who tries to pet them and who tries to act nonchalant while
checking to see if you stuffed Fluffy. Any guests who are
seen having conversations with your "pets" should be sent
straight home to sleep it off.
One of my favorite places for picking up inexpensive
decorations and party supplies is
Oriental Trading Company
Pets get very excited at
parties. They can also get overfed and sick. Consider taking
them to a friend's house during the party.
Have you considered a
block party? Get together with
neighbors who also like to party. Kids can travel safely
between houses and there is always someone to watch over
them. If it's all-adult, you're not stuck next to the
monster with bad breath all night.
Spooky is great, but if
you have steps, be sure they are easy to see and navigate in
1 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp yellow food coloring
Now just mix it all together and you have one cup of fine
Yes, there are games that are fun for
CANDY RIBBON RACE
Looking at a retro candy site
and saw those papers with the little candy dots on them
called Candy Ribbons. What if we sat everyone at a table
with their arms behind their backs and they hadda eat the
dots off the paper using no hands? As in Bobbing for Apples,
it's your choice on neighbor's usage of body parts.
FOR APPLES UPDATED
them to trees! If this sounds boring to you, just see it in
Hands must remain behind backs. Videotape it for revenge, er,
entertainment for next year. It's up to you whether you allow
other people's body parts to be available for use in trapping
Have everyone carve a pumpkin.
Pick judges (who won't participate in the contest) Make up all
the categories you can think of. You can keep them or let them
go home with the carvers. Be sure to get pictures of winners
with their Jacks for your Book of Shadows.
PASS THE PUMPKIN
Divide everyone into teams. Using only their
chins, players pass a small plastic pumpkin to the next person
in line. Whichever team gets the pumpkin to their last player
wins. If anyone uses their hands or drops their pumpkin, they
start over. If you need to kill more time, give each group a
buncha pumpkins. If a pumpkin is dropped, it's out of the game.
Set a bucket at the end of the line for the last person to drop
the pumpkin in. Whomever has the most pumpkins in the bucket at
the end of the game wins. You decide how much time you want to
set. 10 minutes can be a loooong time.
Providing breath mints is optional.
difference between a ghost and peanut butter? A ghost doesn't
stick to the roof of your mouth.
TREASURE HUNT #1
Get some inexpensive Halloween
related goodies and place them around the house, out of plain
sight. Tie the end of a small ball of yard to each one.
Traipse through the house with the yarn, going over and under
furniture , doorways and chandeliers. If you and a buddy (or
buddies) do this together you may have as much fun as the
others will later when they unravel. Feel free to throw ball(s) of yarn across the room. When guests arrive at
door, let them pick an end and let 'em go. Be sure that this
is one of the last things you do before the party because if
you do it right, your house will resemble a colorful, tangled
Hints: Don't include the kitchen in this and make
sure the bathroom door is accessible.
This game works best if you have friends of
all sizes. Tall females and average sized males will
confoozle. For each player, you will need a black dress that is long enough to
cover shoes, and a witch's mask and fake hair for each player in
the circle, and a handful of tokens of some sort. Poker chips
work, or just circles of cardboard with a witchy picture or
stamp on it. Decide ahead of time how many rounds you will play
to determine a winner, or set a timer. The player in the middle
of the circle (did I mention the circle?) is blindfolded while
all the witches gather around him/her. When the blindfold is
removed, the player in the middle must guess which witch is
female. (or vice versa) A fun trick is to have some of them
standing backwards with the masks on the backs of their heads.
NO TOUCHING allowed. If the first guess is wrong, the player is
blindfolded again and the witches trade positions. A winner gets
a chip, then they put on a costume and the one picked goes into
the circle. Repeat until rounds are done or timer goes off.
He/she with the most chips wins. Hecklers allowed and
If you have a cotton candy
machine, here is a reason to haul it out and dust it off.
Drape the candy "webs" over props the size of a doorway. To
win, you have to eat the whole web and step through the
"door". Hands behind your back!
Trying to keep kids occupied
and their minds off of all that candy can be ruff on adults. Thinking
up games can be just one too many things to do.
MAKE A MUMMY
This can be for kids or
adults. A trip to the restroom for the "mummies" prior to the
game is recommended. This is fun and cheap. Divide everyone up
into groups of equal numbers. The leftovers get to be judges.
Have each group pick a sucker, er participant, to be the mummy.
They stand in the middle. Give each group a roll (2 for adults)
of toilet paper and have them wrap the mummy up. First group to
use up all its TP wins. They must show proof of empty rolls and
no pocket- or bra-stuffing allowed
breaks advised before play starts
Get some inexpensive game
paddles from a party store. You know, the wooden paddles with a
ball attached to a rubber band kinda thingy? Put kids in a line or
circle (NOT facing each other) and have rounds where each kid
sees how many times they can hit the ball with the paddle in a
row before they miss. Give 'em a rubber spider or something for
winning. This can go on til their little arms are too tired. Or
set the number of rounds to how many spiders you have on hand.
If you're really ambitious, let them paint the paddles before they
play. Do this at the beginning of the party and let them dry,
then play the game later on. They can take them home as a gift.
What do you
call a haunted chicken? A poultrygheist