No Bones About It

Skeleton Human

When it comes to Halloween decorating, skeletons are featured favorites. 

T-Rex Skeleton

T-Rex Skull

Terrifying dragons and dinosaurs are a few of the latest décor entries. 

Saber Tooth Tiger Skeleton

Saber Tooth Tiger Skull

Wild dogs and Sabre Tooth tigers are sure to follow. 

Close-Up Rooster Skeleton

Close Up Original Rooster Skeleton

What about ferocious chickens?  Ferocious may be a bit of a stretch, but “cocky” is a well-earned title. 

Confident & Cocky

Rooster Crowing

At a farm near my home, I saw a defiant rooster face off against a slow-moving minivan.  That bird crowed at the top of his lungs.  I wonder if roosters use curse words.  The bird won the battle of wills!  Apparently, roosters always have the right of way. lol. 

Unpainted Rooster Skeleton

Original Rooster Skeleton

There are many Halloween bird skeletons, including vultures, crows, ravens, and ducks.  When I saw this rooster, I knew I had to do something to make him stand out in a crowd. 

How to Paint a Rooster Skeleton:

Inspiration

Brown & Teal Rooster

A rooster’s crown and wattle tend to be red, but anything goes for the feathers. 

Inspiration

Multicolor Rooster

Because my favorite color is blue, I chose inspirational photos accordingly, but you can choose whatever colors you prefer. 

Supplies

Paints

Supplies:
Rooster Skeleton (12-1/2” high x 11-1/2” long x 7-1/2” wide) sold at JoAnn Crafts
Acrylic Paints – red, black, metallic sapphire blue, & metallic periwinkle blue
Paintbrushes

Painted Head Details

Close Up Red Details

Brush red paint onto both sides of the two most recognizable traits of roosters, the comb and wattle.  Darken the eye sockets with black paint. 

Unpainted Rooster Tail

Close Up Original Rooster Tail

As you might imagine, roosters are very proud of their plumage.  Those tail feathers should be bold and colorful to make their presence known and to impress the ladies! 

Painted Tail – Option 1

Black Rooster Tail

Paint the tail black, which tends to be the most common tail feather color. 

Painted Tail – Option 2

Blue & Green Rooster Tail

Paint the tail a combination of metallic green and metallic blue. 

Painted Tail – Option 3

Metallic Blue Rooster Tail

Paint the tail metallic blue.  I love the iridescent blue feathers shown in the two inspirational photos.  What bothered me about the skeleton was the five bones in the tail, which resemble a metallic hand. 

Defining the Tail Feathers

Black Tail Feather Details

Carefully apply a line of black paint down the length of each tail bone and angled short strokes to create a feathered appearance. 

Side by Side

Two Versions - Rooster Skeletons

Minimally painted head details versus fully defined tail feathers.  If you are satisfied with your results, you could stop at this point.  Additional steps below will give the rooster a more frightening appearance.  

Painted Eye Detail

Red Eye Detail

Outline both eyes with red paint.  This changes the entire expression with a few easy strokes.

Eerie Glow from Within

Metallic Periwinkle Ribs

Paint the inside of the ribs with metallic periwinkle paint.  Many Halloween skeletons come with LED lights hidden inside to illuminate the rib cage.  This one did not come with lights, but the metallic paint produces a similar visual effect. 

Joint Details

Red Joints

Add red on each of the ball joints for the wings and the knees. 

Unpainted Rooster versus Completed Rooster

Before & After Rooster

As you can see, this rooster has come a long way from its humble beginnings.  At a distance, you can easily recognize it, and the extra painted details catch the light, drawing your attention to this demanding and amusing creature. 

For more ideas, please click here to read last year’s post on skeleton painting. 

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Halloween Masquerade

Blue Venetian Mask

Have you wondered what it would be like to be a superhero, a celebrity, or a movie monster? Halloween opens the door to adventure. The stage is set, the orchestra is warming up, and an audience of admirers eagerly awaits your arrival. Who or what will you be? Let us find out together…

Basic Costume Building Blocks:

Mask

Frankenstein & Wolfman

Sometimes all you need is a great mask! Frankenstein’s Monster & the Wolfman are classics. Monster gloves would be nice additions to complete the look. The only downside is that masks can be hot to wear. Be sure to apply character-appropriate makeup to stay in character without it.

Makeup

Skull Face Paint & Eye Contacts

Makeup tutorials make it easy to create any character. Be sure to read the makeup labels before you buy to avoid skin irritation. To elevate the creepiness factor, the man in the photo above is wearing white monster contacts in his eyes.

Costume

Zena Warrior Princess

Whether you prefer DIY or readymade, the key to your success is a great costume. Like the idea of “one and done?”  All you need is a one-piece dress to become Zena Warrior Princess. Confidence is an absolute necessity! The boots, wristbands, and a weapon are optional.

Accessories

Accessories

When creating a character, never underestimate the importance of accessories. Can you imagine Indiana Jones without his hat and whip? Without fangs, Count Dracula is just a guy in a tuxedo. (lol)  

Attitude

Attitude

Musketeers cloak themselves in courage, honor, and dedication to their king. Think about how your character thinks, speaks, and acts and then exhibit those traits. Have fun with it!

Cast of Characters:

Mermaid

Mermaid

If you own a bikini top, you are halfway to a mermaid costume. All you need is the tail. Make sure you can comfortably walk and adjust the tail as needed.

Butterfly

Butterfly Costume

This sexy ensemble requires a one-piece black swimsuit and butterfly wings. Antennae are optional. For a less revealing version, wear a black jumpsuit or top with leggings.

Scarecrow

Scarecrow

The Scarecrow from the “Wizard of Oz” is a classic favorite. All this costume requires is a great hat and handfuls of straw. Any plaid shirt will work, and do not forget to smile and move as the actor did in the original movie.

The Joker

The Joker

This is a perfect recreation of the 1960’s television version of the Joker, played by Cesar Romero. Although he is a criminal, this early version of the character is amusing and lighthearted compared to his diabolical present-day counterpart.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

True to the “Game of Thrones” characters, this couple successfully combined, costumes, makeup, attitude, and accessories, including the little dragon looking over her shoulder.

Medieval Sorceress & Gothic Witch

Medieval Sorceress & Gothic Witch

In the Wizard of Oz, whose side are you on – Glenda the Good Witch or the Wicked Witch of the West? Actors enjoy playing the villain to break out of their comfort zones in favor of a walk on the wild side.

Fantasy Owl Woman

Owl Woman

You might want to create a completely original character, such as this owl woman. Like a living sculpture, she is beautiful and intriguing.

Red Fox

Red Fox

Those mesmerizing green eyes draw you in for a closer look. The details are incredible. The mask blends seamlessly with the costume, and the eye openings are cleverly hidden in the corners of the fox’s eyes. It is utterly amazing workmanship.

Court Jester & Evil Clown

Court Jester & Clown

If you want to be a clown, you have a decision to make…Will you be an amusing entertainer like a court jester? Or terrifying like Pennywise in Stephen King’s “IT”?

Skeletons

Skeletons

There is an extraordinary level of anatomical detail in the skeleton makeup. Look at those teeth! And the half-masks are an illusion achieved through expertly applied makeup! The white contacts, worn by the skeleton on the right, produces a piercing cold stare that feels uncomfortable, even from the photo.

Steampunk & Plague Doctor

Steampunk & Plague Doctor

The secret to a steampunk costume is incorporating metallic details, such as studs, chains, gears, and anything else inspired by 19th century mechanization. The Plague Doctor on the right is terrifying! How could he be a medical professional? He does not appear to be human!

Anime

Anime

Every detail of this costume, from the bows in her pink hair to the tips of her knee-high boots, is a shining example of anime.

Fantasy Princess

Fantasy Princess

This costume is so beautifully coordinated. The color of the faux fox stole matches the colors in her dress. Intricate gold patterns are repeated on her dress, her jewelry, and the beads in her hair.

Medusa

Medusa

Medusa have never looked so fierce and fabulous. Wriggling snakes form the headpiece, topped by a golden crown. The python print dress has snakelike scroll design accents. Special effects snakeskin patterned makeup creates the illusion of snakes emerging from her cheeks and forehead. Yikes!

Reptilian Tree

Carnival Reptilian Tree

What do you get when you combine a human, a reptile, and a tree? You get a fascinating creature covered in gnarly roots and raised scales, with a disturbing face and mysterious, unknown intentions.

Samurai Warrior

Samurai Warrior

Psychological battles begin long before any physical confrontations. With this fear-inducing costume, potential opponents will choose to flee rather than trying their luck.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead

When it comes to Day of the Dead costumes, this man must be royalty. The elaborate feathered headdress, staff with life-size human skulls, and tricolor palette ensure he will stand out in a crowd.

Maleficent

Maleficent

This vengeful fairy has great magical powers and a commanding physical presence. The raven sitting atop her staff is a reminder of her connection to nature as protector of the moors. Is she thinking of something witty to say or deciding what to conjure up next? We are probably better off not knowing.

Lord of the Rings: Orc

Lord of the Rings Orc

Tolkien would be proud of this battle-ready orc. The distressed piecemeal garments, weapon in hand, hidden dagger in his boot, and defiant stance are hallmarks of this malevolent Lord of the Rings character.

Amazon Warrior

Amazon Warrior

At first, the soft feminine garments and feathered headdress might lead you to believe she is a vulnerable native princess. But you would be wrong! The multi-pronged weapon, metal-studded glove, and cold calculating stare hint at the powerful fighting capabilities of this formidable Amazon Warrior.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the most recognizable characters in the world, which means you need to get the details correct. Check out the tattooed fingers, the braided beard, and the weather-worn hat! All of Jack’s quirky mannerisms and facial expressions have been incorporated into this authentic performance. I wonder how often people request his autograph. Outstanding work!

Venetian Sun

Venetian Sun

In the “Masquerade” scene in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, the cast sings, “Look around there’s another mask behind you.”  During the Venetian Carnival, just when you think you have seen the most exquisite costume ever made, a better one pops up behind it, leaving you awestruck.

Cosplay

Sun Moon Stars & Angel Warrior

Do you enjoy making your own costumes? Most of the extraordinary costumes shown in this post are from the world of Cosplay. There are competitions for best handmade costumes, and these people are incredibly talented. They take costumes to the ultimate level, often equally the wardrobes created for multimillion dollar films. It is fascinating to see, even if you are not into DIY. Enjoy!

Thanks for Reading!

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Designing Outdoor Halloween Displays

For many, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year.  People go all out decorating their homes, and there is always something new to thrill and delight.  Let’s look at some decorating ideas for designing the Halloween display of your dreams…or should I say nightmares? 

Creatures of the Night:

Bats

Vampire Bat

Bats certainly have a way of making humans squirm.  Keep your visitors on their toes by hanging bats upside down from tree branches, lightly swaying in the breeze on invisible fishing tackle. 

Crows

Crows

A crow’s habit of feeding upon dead animals and loud calls are bound to cause a shiver or two.  Mount a couple crows on tombstones or in a prominent spot, such as atop a wall or the edge of your roof. 

Owls

Owls

This predator silently soars across the night sky, seeing all with his glowing eyes.  There are some motion-activated owls that turn their heads and hoot. 

Spiders

Spiders

Most people instinctively shy away from spiders.  The tarantula-sized spiders shown above are painted with glow-in-the-dark paints.  Place them along porch railings or on the outer edge of steps.  You also might want to have several crawling up a wall near the front door. 

Dragons & Black Cats

Dragons & Black Cats

Many people are superstitious about black cats.  When lit from behind, cat silhouette yard stakes have an eerily realistic appearance.  Inflatable dragons glisten and change colors, while animated dragons have glowing eyes, frightening sound effects and “breath fire” courtesy of a fog machine. 

Rats

Rats

Sewer rats are bound to cause a few goosebumps.  Just like the photo above, place a few rats on or around pumpkins to create a creepy atmosphere. 

Witches

Witch

If you want to charm your guests, witches are sure to please.  Life-size, motion-activated witches greet visitors with glowing eyes, casting spells, and stirring cauldrons.  For a more humorous effect, a wall or tree-mounted crashing witch on a broom is sure to make everyone smile. 

Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a classic.  Although you probably won’t have a horse on the lawn, you could create a dummy with a glowing pumpkin head.  New this year is an animated life-size headless horseman holding an axe in one hand and a talking pumpkin in the other. 

Legendary Movie Monsters

Werewolf

Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Count Dracula – so many possibilities.  You could make a dummy by stuffing an old shirt and pair of slacks and buy a rubber mask to create your monster.  If you or a family member are budding actors, dress up in costumes to unnerve visitors on Halloween night. 

Zombies

Zombies

“The Walking Dead” has been a popular television series for years, spawning a zombie craze in movies, merchandise, and Halloween décor.  If horror is your goal, zombies are the go-to characters. 

Ghosts

Ghost with Lantern

Ghosts can serve as props or as live action creatures.  Halloween night, if you really want to keep trick or treaters on edge, place a life-size ghost among your yard decorations.  Go outside several times wearing an identical costume to stir up chills and thrills as you move across the lawn.  Kids love theatrics like this and will return every year to find out what you will do next.

Scary Props:

Carved Pumpkins

Carved Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a Halloween staple.  Depending upon your preferences and skills, you can carve or paint designs to frighten or amuse your guests.  If you have had trouble in the past with squirrels eating fresh pumpkins, buy craft pumpkins, which can be carved and displayed for years to come. 

Tombstones

Tombstones

With tombstones, draped in spider webs, and scattered bones, this haunted cemetery is ready for visits from the living. 

Coffin & Skeletons

Coffin & Skulls

If you like working with wood, you could build a coffin and reuse it with different monsters each year.  If the weather cooperates, or if you have a covered porch, a cardboard coffin can be easily made.  Skeletons and skulls can be frightening or funny.  It’s all up to you. 

Kid Friendly Scarecrow

Scarecrow Kid Friendly

Scarecrows are easy to make and inexpensive to buy.  Secure them to tree trunks, or place a few on a bale of hay with pumpkins and a few crows for a bit of humor. 

Frightening Scarecrow

Scarecrow Scary

This horrifying scarecrow will keep crows, as well as people, at a distance.  The vicious teeth are an unexpected and unsettling detail. 

Spider Webs

Spider Webs

Our brains tell us that where there are webs, there are spiders.  Drape webs over bushes and railings.  A bag of plastic spiders has great impact or buy one large spider to instill fear. 

Lighting:

Halloween String Lights

Pumpkin String Lights

Pumpkins, Bats, Skulls, Witch Hats, and Ghosts are just a few of your string light options.  Some are the plug-in variety, but for more flexibility there are also battery-operated versions. 

Pumpkin Lamppost Cover

Lamppost Pumpkin

This lamppost cover is an easy way to show your Halloween spirit, and it acts like a beacon attracting Trick or Treaters like moths to a flame. 

Luminaries

Luminaries

Luminaries are easy to make by simply drawing Halloween designs, such as cats and bats, with Sharpie markers on glass jars.  For lighting, burn tealights or use battery-operated candles. 

Special Effects:

Spooky Sounds & Fog

Sound Effects & Fog

Sound is an often-overlooked element in Halloween displays.  Howling wolves, dragging chains, maniacal laughter, growling monsters, and high-pitched shrieks are among the many scary soundtracks.  Fog provides additional layers of Halloween ambiance. 

Lightning & Thunder

Lightning

Conjure up the perfect storm by using theatrical spotlights, which project lightning bolts upon your house, accompanied by claps of thunder. 

Setting the Scene: Finished Halloween Displays

Witch’s Brew

Witch's Brew

Wondering what it would be like to have a close encounter with a witch?  A cauldron, bubbling over with glowing fog, rests upon a flickering faux fire.  With an ancient broom, a book of magic spells and a bottle of her latest potion in hand, this witch chills and thrills guests of all ages.  Live action will astound visitors.  All you need is a costume and have a few clever “incantations.” 

Haunted Graveyard

Haunted Graveyard

How do you create a haunted graveyard?  Start with tombstones, and then add a red-eyed skeleton climbing out of an open grave, bathed from below by an eerie yellow light, as ghostly apparitions take shape in wisps of fog.  An orange moon in the nearby tree completes this otherworldly scene.  Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” would be the perfect theme song for this frightening display. 

Comical Family Fun

Kid Friendly Pumpkin Patch

Is it possible to celebrate Halloween in a kid-friendly way?  A pumpkin family reunion is a good place to start.  Trick or Treaters can pose for selfies with this cheerful, welcoming display.  At night, the bright orange glow will intrigue everyone, drawing them nearer for a closer look. 

If You Build It, They Will Come

Group Photo

Want to attract attention?  Consider your desired theme and select a fascinating focal point, such as the gigantic cat in the above photo.  With colors, shapes, textures, and proportions in mind, continue adding props and characters, creating a multi-layered composition to delight viewers.  Viewers will discover something new each time they see it.  Having a few characters spring to life would be the cherry on top of this theatrical masterpiece. 

Trunk or Treat

Trunk or Treat Decor

Are you participating in a community trunk or treat event?  Don’t forget to decorate your car.  There are Halloween decorations made specifically for trunk or treating.  If your furry best friend rides along, a pet costume would be adorable, and the kids will love it! 

Halloween brings out the kid in all of us.  Do you have a favorite decoration?  Have any suggestions to share with readers?  Please note your thoughts in the comments section.  Thanks for reading and sharing. 

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Skeletons Like Makeovers Too

Eerie & Otherworldly
Spooky Cemetery Skeleton
No Halloween display would be complete without a skeleton or two. Each one has its own personality.

Unexpectedly Playful
Funny Skeletons

Culturally Festive
Day of the Dead

Bone-Chilling & Terrifying
Snake Skeleton
Every year manufacturers introduce new items to thrill, amuse or frighten avid Halloween fans. With a few easy steps, you can personalize store-bought skeletons to express whatever style or attitude you desire for your Halloween décor. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Fierce Makeover:

Deep Sea Fish Skeleton
Original Fish Skeleton
This skeleton is based upon a real life deep-sea fish called an Anglerfish. To attract prey, a bioluminescent fishing lure is cast in front of its head and in no time, those strong jaws snap shut as vicious teeth make short work of consuming the meal. Check out the illuminated photo below.

Illuminated Deep Sea Fish Skeleton
Original Fish Skeleton Lit
As a Halloween decoration, it certainly is more unique than the usual offerings. When lit, the lure is bold yellow and the stomach has an eerie purple glow. While he does have a menacing appearance, I think we can do better! I really like the purple glow but when the lights are turned off, the bones are a neutral color without any contrast. In other words, he needs an upgrade!

Fish Skeleton Paints
Fish Paints
Supplies:
Deep Sea Fish Skeleton (8” high x 17” long x 5” wide)
Acrylic Paints – linen, metallic periwinkle blue, & black (not shown)
Paintbrushes

Fish Tail – Before
Fish Tail Before

Fish Tail – After
Fish Tail After
Paint the tail and tips of the spine with metallic periwinkle blue. Notice how the bones stand out against the metallic blue. The reflective quality of metallic paint contrasts well with matte finish bones.

Fish Head & Fins – Before
Fish Head Before

Fish Head & Fins – After
Fish Head After
Paint the eyes black. Paint the webbing of the fins and crevices around the eyes with periwinkle blue. The fleshy, darker contrast makes the eyes look meaner in a zombie-like fashion. Linen paint can be used to touch up unwanted marks on the head.

Finished Fish
Finished Fish
The individual bones in the tail and fins really show up now, resembling creepy skeletal hands for seizing prey or curious trick-or-treaters.

Illuminated Finished Fish
Finished Fish Lit

Portraits – Before & After
Before & After Portrait
The first photo is the original fish and the second is the finished makeover. The purple glow now extends across the entire body. With a ferocious expression and intimidating attitude, this Anglerfish is ready to strike, perfect for a Halloween scare.

Fantasy Fashion Makeover:

Spider Skeleton
Original Spider
Spiders often have a very creepy aura and you could certainly go in that direction. This lucky lady prefers a haute couture makeover and we know just how to bring it!

Spider Skeleton Paints
Spider Paints
Supplies:
Spider Skeleton (6” high x 8” long x 13” wide)
Acrylic Paints – metallic blue sapphire, metallic copper, & pure black
Paintbrushes

Spider Head & Feet
Spider Black & Copper Paint
Darken the eyes with black paint, and paint the facial details and feet with metallic copper. Feel free to experiment with the colors.

Spider Joints & Spine
Spider Metallic Blue
Turquoise and brown are a very fashionable color combination, making metallic blue the perfect complement to the copper. This bejeweled spider is ready to make her debut on the fashion runway! lol!

Finished Spider Pulling Wagon
Spider Drawn Carriage
Why not show off her new look by participating in a Halloween parade with a few friends?

Fairy Tale Makeover:

Frog Skeleton – Before
Original Frog Skeleton
This little guy has a heartwarming smile. I believe we can add a little more charm.

Frog Skeleton Paints
Frog Paints
Supplies:
Frog Skeleton (3-1/2” high x 5” long x 4-1/2” wide)
Acrylic Paints – metallic peridot green & pure black
Paintbrushes

Frog Skeleton – After
Finished Frog Skeleton
Sporting his new color, he’s bound to win hearts and maybe even garner a few kisses for luck. Who knows – maybe he will turn into a prince?

I hope you enjoy these fanciful skeletons and apply these ideas to your Halloween décor..

Thanks for reading! Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Halloween Magic – How to Make a Bewitching Centerpiece

Witch Flying Across Full Moon
The movie Hocus Pocus is celebrating its 27th Anniversary, inspiring witch themed costumes and decorations. Whether you’re having a Halloween party or simply decorating for the fun of it, a centerpiece is a must for the coffee or dining tables. Below are step-by-step instructions and photos for building your own, one piece at a time.

Witch Boots
The Inspiration – As with all creative projects, the first requirement is a source of inspiration. This pair of witch’s boots is sold at Michaels. Although smaller than expected, it still has a spooky vibe. The style varies slightly, but all are black with a silver spider painted on each side. Having a pair of boots is nice, however it’s one piece and can’t be separated. If you prefer a more humorous impression, many stores sell individual witch boots painted in bright, fanciful colors and patterns.

Witch Boots
Step 1. Witch’s Boots – Centered upon this coffee table, these boots look quite sparse, but we’ve only just begun.

Witch Boots with Floral Stems
Step 2. Floral Stems & Owl – For color and texture, the key to this design is choosing strange looking plants in autumn, Halloween colors. Here we have added leafy vines with plush mini pumpkins, and orange lanterns. Bend the stems as needed to adjust the height. Crafter Tips: Do not cut the stems because you may need to adjust the height at the end when the arrangement is complete. (You may not need to cut them at all, simply conceal the bent stems inside the boots). The owl, made from twigs, was already mounted on a long stick for easy placement.

Witch Boots with Pumpkin
Step 3. Jack-O-Lantern – Orange and black – the perfect color combo for Halloween. This resin pumpkin includes optional lighting. High contrast and a brilliant punch of color lend visual interest to this asymmetrical composition. Instead of a pumpkin, you could use a round platter or globe, resembling the full moon, or a light color witch’s broom to contrast with the dark boots.

Witch Boots with Pumpkin & Owl
Step 4. Ceramic Owl – Contemporary details with an eerie presence make this owl a perfect addition by contributing color, light, and texture. Moss green and tan coordinate with the autumn vines and leaves. Feather-like half moon slits in the body of the owl allow light to pass through and the opportunity to insert mini lights inside with the battery pack underneath, wrapped in black fabric. Crafter Tip: Ensure the battery pack’s on/off switch remains accessible.

Add Decanter
Step 5. Decanter – No witch-themed display would be complete without a few unknown potions brewed with magical spells. The clear glass decanter, with four separate chambers and claw-like stoppers, provides much needed height and color on the left end of the display. A little food coloring and water becomes a scary cocktail of witch’s potions. The green color was chosen to coordinate with the other green elements. Alternatives: You could create a grouping of different size bottles or apothecary jars with strange contents inside; or add a book of “spells” and candles to capture the spooky aura. Crafter Tip: Experiment with various objects and colors, being sure to balance the composition.

Add Rat & Snake
Step 6. Rat & Snake – Now we need a few creepy crawlers to stir up our primal fears. A rat on top of the pumpkin seems like a natural choice, and the snake has the added bonus of implying movement, as it appears to slither along the tabletop among the objects in the centerpiece. A trip to a Halloween or craft store is sure to have plenty of options, including spiders, worms, skeleton bones, and the like. A few spider webs might kick up the spooky factor another notch.

Candle Stick
Step 7 Orange Candle & Metal Candleholder – To add height and a pop of color on the left end of the centerpiece, add an orange candlestick in a dark metal candleholder. Although the base of the holder is plain, it provides an opportunity which we will take advantage of in the next step. The candle had been stuck in a box for years, which caused the wax to curve. This works great in a Halloween project, where crooked lines are more desirable than straight ones.

Add Spider
Step 8. Orange & Black Spider – I never thought I would say these words, but this spider is actually quite beautiful. The camera flash tends to wash out the brilliant colored stripes upon the spider’s body, which is covered in tiny orange and black glass beads. The large size and imposing ready-to-strike posture are just what this display needed.

Add Witch's Hat
Step 9. Witch’s Hat – The pumpkin’s toothy grin becomes the witch’s face by the simple addition of a classic black hat, which frames the pumpkin’s face, adds character, and ties all pieces together into a unified Halloween theme.

Finished Centerpiece Illuminated
Step 10. Illumination – This is the finished centerpiece with optional lights turned on inside the owl and pumpkin. It’s spooky fun just like the movie, Hocus Pocus.

Designing a Halloween centerpiece is an enjoyable process for stretching your creative muscles. Start with one piece as an inspiration and decorative items you may already own. Find different ways to use existing items by looking at things in a whole new way with your theme in mind.

Happy Halloween and Happy Crafting!

Who’s Behind The Mask?

Red Feathered MaskIt’s hard to believe we are in the month of October already. Thoughts of my favorite time of the year, Halloween, come to mind. I suppose I’m just a big kid at heart. Dressing up was so much fun. Deciding what to be for Halloween was a major accomplishment. Sometimes the costume was store bought (e.g. Snow White, Peter Pan), while other times we made our own (e.g. Gypsy, Witch).

Purple & Gold Mardi Gras Mask
Purple Gold MaskAll you really need is a great mask. Craft stores sell a variety of white masks to decorate any way you please. In terms of comfort, the quarter masks are an easy solution, as opposed to latex masks, sold in Halloween stores, which can be very hot to wear.

Red Sequined Mask and White Floral Mask
 Red & White MasksMasks can be decorated with a particular theme in mind or for holiday celebrations, such as Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, and the Chinese New Year. Each finished mask is a beautiful work of wearable art.

Turquoise & Gold Feathered Mask
Turquoise & Gold Feathered MaskI look at this mask and think of Aqua Man, the Marvel Comic’s super hero. It is also reminiscent of the Philadelphia Mummer’s Parade. The rich details and vibrant colors are real showstoppers.

Red, Black & Gold Long Nose Joker Mask
Red, Black & Gold Long Nose Joker MaskThis mask has a devilish quality about it. Practical jokes are sure to follow.

Black & Gold Opera/Theater Masks
Black & Gold Opera/Theater MasksMusical notes and gold braided trim adorn these fanciful masks.

Antiqued Cat Mask
Antiqued Cat MaskPerky ears and delicate patterns make this mask a favorite among cat lovers.

Blue & Gold Asian Mask
Blue & Gold Asian MaskA lovely combination of two arts – mask making and fan decorating.

Assorted Feathered & Bejeweled Masks
Assorted Feathered & Bejeweled MasksThis assortment of masks is ready to be worn in celebration or displayed as artwork and party decor.

Black & Gold and All White Feathered Masks
Black & Gold and All White Feathered MasksFeathered masks tend to be the most flamboyant.

Red & Black Harlequin Mask
Red & Black Harlequin MaskThe visual impact of this red, black and gold mask is enhanced with light catching glitter and thick gold trim. A few faux gemstones are the perfect finishing touch.

Ornate Venetian Masks
Ornate Venetian MasksMasks made to celebrate the Carnival of Venice are among the most elaborately decorated with lavish brocade fabrics, ribbons, crystals, intricately hand painted designs, and touches of gold or silver leaf. This centuries old technique has influenced artists world wide, and is highly valued among collectors.

For a more practical, down-to-earth approach, below are the instructions to complete your own decorated mask.

How To Make Your Own Mask
Your project starts with a visit to the craft store. The mask you choose will be the most important decision because it determines the range of decorating possibilities.

Plain White Quarter Mask – Ready for Decorating
Plain White Quarter Mask – Ready for DecoratingMost craft stores have several style options. Because this was a first attempt at decorating a mask, this simple white quarter mask was chosen.

Mask – Painted Blue and Outlined with Rhinestones
Blue Mask with Rhinestones
The mask was spray-painted royal blue. Fabric stores have beaded and rhinestone trims perfect for mask decorating. The rhinestones twinkle in the light, calling attention to the wearer’s face with an emphasis on the eyes. As shown, the mask is ready to wear, but let’s take it to the next level.

Black Feathers on a Foam Backer
Mask with Feathers
This mask was made as a wall decoration, so the back will not be seen. (If you plan to wear your mask, simply glue the feathers directly onto the back of the mask, and line it with felt for comfort.) To make the wall art, trace the mask onto a sheet of black foam, which is used as mask liner to hold and support the feathers. The eyes and lower shape of the mask are cut out using an X-Acto knife.

The Opposite Side of the Foam Backer
Feather Backing
This photo shows the wrong side of the foam sheet used as a liner or backer board for the feathers. The bottom of the foam and eye openings line up perfectly with the blue mask, but the upper portion of the foam extends upward like a crown to support the feathers.

The Finished Black Feather Mask
Finished Feathered Mask
Luxurious black feathers and sparkling rhinestones stand in sharp contrast to the rich royal blue on this completed mask.

Take a walk on the wild side. Dress up, stay in character, and most importantly have fun. Mask making isn’t just for kids. It’s for the child within all of us!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Crafting Day & Night

Eiffel Tower Day & Night

“As different as day and night” is a common expression. As we find our selves stuck inside, we’re often looking for ways to be entertained. For many, crafting is the answer. A little effort goes a long way, and everyone loves seeing “Before” and “After” photos. These crafts will surprise and hopefully inspire you to create a little crafting magic of your own.

Sledding Centerpiece

Before:  Wooden Sled Wall Art.   After:  Snowman & Friends Centerpiece.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Foxy Santa

Before:  Misfit Christmas Decoration.   After:  Foxy Santa with new hat and tail.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Seashell Plaque

Before:  Drab Wall Art Print.   After:  Seashells, Sea Urchin & Starfish Framed Art.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Piggy Before and After

Before:  Colorless Pig Statue.   After:  Pink Pig with lots of personality.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Before & After Pumpkins

Before:  Faded Lawn Decoration.   After:  Bold Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns
(Click here for how to instructions)

Headless Dog Before & After

Before:  Snowman with Headless Dog.   After:  Restored Dog.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Light House Before & After

Before:  Incomplete Candleholder.   After:  New Lighthouse Roof & “Light.”
(Click here for how to instructions)

Octopus Before & After

Before:  Monochromatic Candleholder.   After:  Blue Ringed Octopus Sculpture.
(Click here for how to instructions)

Sneak Peak of Upcoming Projects:

Candlestick Before & After

Before:  Difficult Candle Size.   After:  Candleholder for Taper Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

Leaves Before & After

Before:  Dull, “Muddy” Wall Sconces.   After:  Vibrant Tropical Leaves & Candles.
(Stay tuned for how to instructions in a future post)

I hope you enjoyed these projects. Take a look around your home for any items that could use a little refreshing. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Good Luck!

Thanks for reading & Happy Crafting!

Pets Celebrate Halloween Too!

Ghost Dogs
Every Halloween, you decorate your home and dress in costume, but don’t forget to include your furry friends. You could make the costume yourself. Scissors and some old sheets will do the trick. Or it may be easier to buy from crafts stores, Halloween stores and of course online too. Below are several pets “hamming” it up for the camera in their Halloween’s finest costumes. Enjoy!

Cowboy Dog
Leading a parade in a covered wagon is a tough job, but this cowboy is up to the task.

Bear Cat
What a difference the right hat can make!

Princess Dog
This cute poodle will be the belle of the ball in her elegant evening gown.

Pumpkin Dog
The best pumpkin in the patch has a very cheerful personality.

Bunny Cat
It may be Halloween but you can still dress up as the Easter Bunny.

Pumpkin Dog
Larger dogs like to celebrate too.

Sailor Cat
Who says cats don’t like water? This handsome boy is ready to sail the seven seas.

Spider Cat
Arachnophobia is a very common fear, but this little guy is just adorable.

Bewitching Dog
Something magical is always brewing with this bewitching little lady.

Pirate Bear
Don’t have a pet? No problem! Put a costume on your favorite stuffed animal. This Vermont Teddy Bear is wearing a Build A Bear pirate costume, which included the eye patch, sword and parrot. How cute is that? These costumes will fit any 10” to 14” plush animal of your choice.

The family that plays together stays together, including our pets. With everyone in costume, you won’t be able to resist taking pictures to commemorate the occasion.

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Glowing Eyes in the Darkness: Jack-O-Lanterns

Spooky Pumpkin
It just wouldn’t be Halloween without a few carved pumpkins, also known as Jack-O-Lanterns. Patterns are readily available online, or you can flex your creative muscles by coming up with your own designs. What does your pumpkin say about you? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Carved Pumpkins
From the goofy to the spooky, there’s something for everyone.

Pumpkin Trio
There are numerous options for lighting your pumpkins: Lit candles flicker in the breeze. LEDs produce high intensity and sometimes color-changing light. Glow sticks give off softer, otherworldly light. Spotlights and flashlights light up the face while also creating some eerie dark shadows inside the pumpkin.

Awestruck Pumpkin
Even pumpkins have moments of surprise and awe. I wonder what he sees?

Monster Pumpkin
Little details make all the difference. This carved pumpkin owes its devilishly good looks to the absence of a nose. That one little detail, plus the intensity of the light within, gives him a more ghoulish appeal.

Jaws Pumpkin
This one brings a whole new meaning to the name “Jaws.” After carving the teeth, the orange skin around the perimeter of the mouth was removed to reveal the white flesh beneath. If that seems like too much work, you could use a white Sharpie marker to define the mouth.

Jack Skelleton Pumpkin
Nightmare Before Christmas is a very popular Halloween movie and decorating theme, and this pumpkin doesn’t disappoint. A little dry ice, or a fog machine takes the spooky vibe to a whole new level.

Cat & Spider Pumpkin
Cat lovers will appreciate this creative design. Black cats and spiders are staples in Halloween décor.

Scary Pumpkin
This frightening character has menacing eyes surrounded by flames above and below.

Scary Ghost Pumpkin
This ghoulish ghost is another Tim Burton inspired design from his nightmare movie.

Pumpkin Happy Hour
It’s Happy Hour for Jack-O-Lanterns only! Honestly, if I saw a gathering like this in my backyard, I would probably run away! It looks like a scene from a Steven King movie.

Pumpkin carving isn’t for everyone. There’s also nothing wrong with displaying your pumpkins “as is” with the added bonus of being able to keep them on display for Thanksgiving too.

Painted Pumpkins
If you like to paint, you could paint designs on real or artificial pumpkins. These decorated pumpkins can be accomplished with a few Sharpie markers, and they will last longer than the carved variety.

Lamppost Pumpkins
Another great option is painting a wooden plaque like the one shown above. It can be used for years and is very inexpensive to make. Over time, the sun, wind and weather can take their toll. Whether you are painting a brand new pumpkin, or giving a makeover to an existing one, the steps are the same.

How to Paint and /or Repaint a Wooden Outdoor Halloween Decoration:

Supplies:
Wooden Pumpkin Decoration (30” high x 22” wide x 1/2” thick)
Orange Outdoor Spray Paint – OR – Orange Outdoor Acrylic Paint (See Step 2)
Outdoor Acrylic Paint – black, green & brown
Paintbrush
Sandpaper
Black Sharpie Marker

Faded Original Pumpkins
Step 1 – First you will need to clean off the dirt and debris, and lightly sand the surface and edges in preparation for paint.

Orange Spray Paint
Step 2 – You have two painting options here: Spray Painting versus Brush on Painting.
For Spray Painting: Apply multiple coats of orange outdoor spray paint. To be honest, I’m not a fan of spray paint due to the toxic fumes.  I also was not satisfied with the paint coverage. I’m not sure why, but the consistency was very thin like water.

Three Coats Acrylic
For Brush on Painting: – Apply 3 coats of orange outdoor acrylic paint with a brush. Be sure to coat all the edges and the back of the plaque as well to protect and seal the wood from water damage.

Green & Brown Details
Step 3 – Add details such as stems, leaves, and the surrounding ground at the edges. You may want to outline the details first with a Sharpie marker.

Black Lines
Step 4 – Draw the faces and add curved lines to give the pumpkins a three-dimensional effect. Outline the leaves and stems in black to make them stand out better.

Black Paint
Step 5 – Fill in the faces with black paint.

Before & After Pumpkins
After spending a day at the spa, these pumpkins have been renewed, rejuvenated, and are ready to greet your guests at the door. The choice of pumpkins is up to you. Whether you decide to use real, artificial, or any other material, the enjoyment and celebration of the holiday will always come through in festive style.

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!

Halloween Decorating Tips – Part 2

Jack-O-Lanterns
Spooky story telling around the campfire, frightful decorations haunting the yard, and fanciful costumes excite and delight, as bags are filled with candy and laughter drifts upon the air. Halloween will soon be here. Celebrate this popular holiday and dance like nobody’s watching! First you’ll need a few decorative ideas to set the stage for your celebration. Let’s get started…

Lantern
Many people enjoy the warm summer nights by candlelight. With Halloween approaching, transform your lanterns into Halloween décor by adding a few decals to the glass.

Moody Lighting
Lighting is so important to setting the mood. Carved pumpkins can be lit with standard candles or opt for the battery operated flameless variety. Luminaries can be made from glass jars and decals or simply draw a design with Sharpie markers.

Skeleton
Tombstones and skeletons are a Halloween classic. This one has a more menacing appearance with its glowing red eyes and the bright light from below, giving the impression he’s climbing out of his grave.

Alien Pumpkins
If elaborate carving seems a bit too daunting, these mini pumpkins will make you smile.   Cut out a rectangle in the front, large enough to fit plastic teeth as shown above. Draw eyeballs or use olives as an alternative. Attach the eyes with toothpicks and you have silly extraterrestrial pumpkins to delight your guests. Green pumpkins would be even better!

Caged Pumpkin
Do you have an old cage in your garage? People can’t resist looking, wondering what’s hidden inside. A glowing pumpkin in a dark cage will certainly keep them guessing. To kick the fear factor up, you could carve a big bite mark in the side or add some jagged claw marks.

String Lights
Strings of orange lights are perfect accents on decks and patios for railings, pergolas, and arbors. There is a wide variety of bulb shapes and sizes, and the LED strands will last a long time.

Bat Silhouette
Silhouettes of bats, crows, spiders and more are readily available online. Print out several, cut them out and tape them inside your front windows. The lights in your home will provide the eerie glow they need to be seen every evening.

Castle
Having a party? Create a castle using a roll of pre-printed blocks. This one was “built” along walls and around a china closet. Crenulations were cut in the top for the true castle experience. Owls and other figures were perched on top.

Castle Gate
It wouldn’t be a castle without a menacing gate. To make one, cardboard toilet paper tubes and a long box lid were shaped, assembled, and painted black.

Mirrored Snakes
Seeing double? A rubber snake dangles from atop this mirror. At times it’s a little difficult to tell which one is the reflection.

Spider & Gourds
Strange gourds make their debut in the fall. Combine a few with rubber spiders, snakes, rats or any other creepy crawlers you care to include. Be sure to include a few critters on your food table as well. It will keep your guests on their toes.

Pumpkin Cookies
There are plenty of opportunities for Halloween themed food at your party.

Pumpkin Glasses
Beverages can be served in cups and glasses decorated with festive faces, created with Sharpie markers or Halloween decals.

Spider Web Cupcakes
Spiders appear to have spun webs across this tabletop and over the cupcakes on this dessert table.

Witch Pumpkin
A simple pumpkin becomes a bewitching character with the perfect hat. A glow in the dark tablecloth can be used as a wall hanging.

Funny Skeletons
Not all skeletons are scary. This clever homeowner has a wonderful sense of humor with this updated version of “Hear no evil – Speak no evil – See no evil.”

From kid-friendly Casper the Ghost to a nightmare on Elm Street, there’s Halloween décor for every party, home, or office. Over time you will collect an interesting collection of favorites. Decorating for Halloween is fun for the whole family, and you will enjoy your handiwork all month long.

Be sure to check out part 1 of this article for more Halloween Decorating tips.

Happy Halloween & Happy Crafting!