The Hippo


Apr 19, 2019








Courtesy of Michelle Harding.

Simply spooky decor
Get festive with do-it-yourself Halloween decorations

By Angie Sykeny

You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money to make your home festive for Halloween. 

Ghastly gourds 
Manchester blogger Michelle Harding ( has come up with some creative ways to decorate pumpkins that are kid-friendly and don’t require carving with a knife. Get some foam stickers at the craft store or dollar store to make cute or creepy faces on the pumpkins.
“We hit up the dollar store for a lot,” Harding said. “It’s probably $2 or $3 for a whole bag of pre-cut shapes with a sticker back. They have other kinds of stickers too like flowers and trucks and stuff that kids would have fun with just sticking on the pumpkin.” 
Or you can use simple paint to do any kind of face or pattern you want. It doesn’t get any easier than turning a pumpkin into a ghost; just throw some scraps of white fabric over it and draw a ghost face on it with marker. 
You can use a green gourd to make a spooky witch. Harding did it using some scrap fabric for a dress (you could also use a doll dress), which she filled with raffia to give it a more distinct body. Paint on a face and use googly eyes if you like, then glue some strands of raffia on the top for the hair. You can make a hat by cutting a circle out of cardboard and cutting a hole in the center of it so it fits over the top of the gourd. Then, glue some fabric into a cone shape and glue it to the cardboard brim. 
Creepy cardboard 
Holly Rousseau, an art instructor at the Currier Art Center in Manchester, has some ideas about how to recycle cardboard waste to make Halloween decorations. For example, you can cut different shaped eye holes into one side of a paper towel or toilet paper roll and put a glow stick inside for spooky glowing eyes. You can set these on a surface or tape the glowstick inside and hang them. You can also do this with an orange plastic disposable cup: turn it upside down, make a jack-o’-lantern face and put a glow stick or electric tea light inside to make it glow. 
“This same idea could be used to make ghosts on white cups or Frankenstein monsters on green cups,” Rousseau said. 
Create hanging bats by cutting a cardboard egg carton into sections of three, then paint them black, stick on some googly eyes and string them up. 
Frightening fabrics 
Tracey Boucher of Mom & I Crafts in Candia said she’s used old cotton curtains, sheets, felt and flannel to create Halloween decorations. For a witch hat, cut fabric into a cone shape and glue it with craft or hot glue to hold it in place. Stuff it with cotton batting (don’t stuff the top if you want the hat to droop down), then cut a larger circle of fabric and glue it to the bottom of the cone for the brim. If you want the hat to stay stiff, paint it with a watered down glue solution. 
“Once dry, decorate the hat,” Boucher said. “You can use dried flowers or some spiderwebbing around the brim to make a great centerpiece or decoration.” 
To make a ghost, get a large styrofoam ball (or any round object) and cover it with fabric. Using a rope or ribbon, tie the fabric around the ball to keep it in place and define the neck of the ghost. Then cut some holes in the fabric in the back of the ghost so you can hang it. 
“You can paint eyes on the ghost if you wish, or even attach a stick or metal coat hanger under the head to look like arms,” Boucher said.
Some tricksy tips 
Jennifer Coletti of Jelly Bean Art Studios in Bedford said that keeping DIY decorations cheap and easy is key.
“Don’t do too much and go over the top with your decorating,” she said. “The simpler you keep it, the better, especially with kids.” 
Some easy projects, she said, are luminaries made from decorated Mason jars with electric tea lights inside, and banners made with shapes cut out from poster board and strung together with fishing line. You can fold a black trash bag and cut into it like you would a paper snowflake to make a giant spider, or just drape some fabric over inflated balloons to make floating ghosts. 
“Just with cheap poster board, googly eyes, paint and some battery-operated candles, you can do a million different things,” she said. “Stick googly eyes on anything, paint on some angry eyebrows and you’ve got a monster.”  

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