Today Harry and I have been feeling ultra-crafty, as Halloween-fever sweeps our little village.  The challenge with Halloween decorating in our house is that my crafting partner is a still of an age (at 2 and 3/4) where ghosts are a bit scary, spiders are only sometimes interesting and witches are downright terrifying. So, we needed to make some spooky projects designed to make us smile, that are only a little bit scary.  Here’s what we came up with (detailed ‘how-to’ pictures for each of these at the end of the post)….

For the garland, I traced around Harry’s hands lots of times on a large sheet of white card stock, whilst he was half-distracted by a Toy Story DVD, then together we cut around them all.  Harry enjoyed the ‘scissor practice’, though for aesthetic reasons I discreetly omitted his dismembered and fingerless hand cut-outs from our final garland… we glued sequin eyes to the front of each ‘ghost’, then threaded them together using an embroidery needle and silver thread.  Harry chose and organised all the beads to thread between our ghosts, whilst I did the tricky stuff with the needle.  Harry located the tissues when I accidentally stitched myself, and offered to check me over with his toy stethoscope, so all-in-all it was a team effort.

By this time, Toy Story was abandoned and Harry was keen to do more tracing and cutting, so we switched colours to black and started making these bouncing handprint spiders…

They’re very simply made by overlaying two handprint cut-outs and glueing together, then adding eyes, feelers (we used little buttons), and threading a piece of elastic through the centre.  I added a colourful bead to each which also helps to weigh the spider down a little and increase the bounce.  These were Harry’s favourite; they look super-cool dangling from shelves and the mantel, but they also made for a great game to test Harry’s co-ordination – every time he managed to catch the spider once I had set it boing-ing (is that even a word?), he won an M&M.  And so did I.

Our final project was the messiest by far; creating real ghosts out of a pile of Harry’s old muslin cloths (cheesecloth, in the US).  We soaked and dunked the cloths in a bowl of fabric stiffener spray, then soaked and dunked ourselves in the bathtub to clean up.  I draped each cloth over a pumpkin placed on a stool to create the shape of a ghostly head with trailing vapours.  Next morning, our cloths had dried to rock hard, ethereal-looking ghosties that cheerfully stand up of their own accord.  All it took then was a couple of eyes, a pair of false lashes (never has a ghost looked more alluring, if slightly trampy..), then I strung them up in the entrance hall; perfect!

To make the handprint ghostly garland you’ll need;

  • white or ivory card stock or heavy paper
  • silver or invisible thread and a needle
  • beads (optional) to use as descorative spacers between your ghosts
  • scissors
  • false eyes, or a black pen to draw these

To make the bouncing spiders you’ll need:

  • Black card stock and a white pencil or chalk (to draw around the hands)
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • eyes, buttons and any other embellishments you want to use
  • a length of black elastic for the bouncy ‘web’ thread

For the cheesecloth ghosts you’ll need

  • a handful of old baby muslins or squares of muslin / cheesecloth
  • fabric stiffener (used to stiffen fabric for roller blinds; ardware and haberdashery stores are likely to stock this. Buy the liquid rather than the spray so you can give your muslin a good dunking
  • a round ‘head’ shape to drape your cloths over to dry, in an area where you don’t mind a bit of mess and drips
  • false eyes (or you can just cut out eye holes for an even more ghostly effect)
  • invisible thread for hanging

The house is now in a state of sticky, papery disarray, so we will temporarily avert our eyes and deny all knowledge of it if my husband should get home first; after all we have a very important trip to make  - our first ever outing to a pumpkin patch!

Have a wonderful weekend when it arrives, and see you next week..