Homemade Halloween How-To

In a kid’s world, a year is a long time to wait for a favorite holiday like Halloween to roll around, so take a little time to get into the “spirit” of things and create some fun memories that will get them through til next year. Surprise them with a candy treat or a ghostly message in their lunchbox, or stick Halloween-themed stickers to their napkin or ziploc sandwich bag. Remember that those unexpected little details are what makes holidays special for a child.

Have a Boo-tiful Halloween!


One good thing about Halloween is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to make an impact. All you need is a few basic craft materials, your recycling bin and a good imagination. Your kids will surely love helping you make some of these cute or spooky decorations using materials you probably already have lying around the house. There are tons of great ideas all over the internet for even more ways to scare up a good time.

Here are just a few that I’ve come up with or adapted from other sources:

Giant Hanging Spider

Giant balloon spider

Balloon, garbage bag, yarn and some red jewel eyes are all you need for this creepy critter!

Materials Needed

  • Balloon (any color because it will be covered)
  • Black garbage bag
  • Black yarn (black streamers would also work)
  • Red plastic jewels (red dimensional paint, red beads or red paper cutouts would work too)
  • Tape


  1. Pull the garbage bag taught around the balloon to cover it as smoothly as possible; gather and tie tightly with yarn at the neck of the balloon.
  2. Wad up excess bag and fold it into itself to create a small, smooth head; tie again with the yarn as before. You should now have a large body and small head.
  3. Punch a small hole through the top of the bag where you want to hang the spider (be sure not to puncture the balloon) and thread more black yarn through the whole; use this yarn to hang the spider from the ceiling.
  4. Cut eight lengths of yarn (or streamers) and attach four to each side of the body using tape to create the legs; cut to even lengths.
  5. Glue red jewels to the head to create the eyes
  6. If desired, drape additional yarn across the wall or ceiling near the spider in an uneven crisscross pattern, attaching with tape at various intervals, to create a web-like feeling.

Mummy Bowl

Mummy Decoration

I want my mummy…filled with popcorn, please!

Materials Needed

  • White plastic bucket (other light colors are fine, but it will take more to cover it)
  • Black paper or black tape
  • Red plastic jewels
  • White streamers (could also use toilet paper or gauze)
  • Double-stick tape


  1. Cut a 2-inch by 1-inch piece of the black paper and round the edges into an oval shape; affix to one side of the bucket where you want the eyes to be.
  2. Use double-stick tape or glue dots to affix the red jewels to the black paper for the eyes.
  3. Starting just inside the rim of the bucket, use double-stick tape to affix the white streamers; wrap the bucket with the streamers, folding and turning the streamers as you go and affixing as needed to the side of the bucket using the double-stick tape. You have to play with it a bit, especially around the eyes. The idea is to let the eyes just barely peek out from the “bandages”.
  4. Make sure the streamers around the rim and the base are secure and that all loose ends are securely fastened.
  5. Line with a white napkin or white tissue paper and fill the bucket with popcorn, chips or other treats for your Halloween party table.

Hanging Bats

Bat Decorations

These cute Halloween decorations will drive you batty!

Materials Needed

  • Black construction paper (8 1/2 x 11 sheets)
  • Black feather boa
  • Googly eyes
  • Black yarn
  • Glue gun
  • Half bat pattern (I used this pattern from Martha Stewart Living, page 1 only)


  1. Fold construction paper sheets in half and cut out bat shapes using half bat pattern. (You may need to adjust size or positioning slightly in order for it to fit.)
  2. Open bat shapes and cut a piece of the boa just long enough to fit the body of the bat (leave room around the head for the eyes); affix boa to paper bat using glue gun. NOTE: the feather boa will start to “shed”, so use a little extra dab of the glue at both ends to bind the cut ends and minimize the shedding.
  3. Glue googly eyes to head portion of paper bat.
  4. Once glue is hardened, turn over and attach desired length of yarn for hanging to the back of the tail using a good amount of glue.

Hatching Spider Egg  (adapated from Family Fun)

Giant Spider Egg Hatching

Transform a balloon, some gauze, glue and plastic spiders into a creepy hanging Halloween decoration

Materials Needed

  • White balloon
  • Gauze or strips of cheesecloth
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Fishing line
  • Small plastic spiders
  • Black pom-pom
  • Black pipe cleaners


  1. Wrap gauze around balloon, covering completely and gluing as necessary. Brush entire thing with more glue and allow to dry.
  2. Cut several varying lengths of fishing line, tying around plastic spiders at uneven intervals; attach the lenths to different spots around the balloon with glue and more gauze, allowing lengths to descend downward from the balloon. Glue several additional spiders directly to the covered balloon in a random pattern.
  3. Use another length of fishing line to create a hanger and attach to the top of the balloon using more gauze and glue.
  4. Make the “mama spider” by bundling four equal lengths of black pipe cleaner and twisting together in the middle. Separate the eight ends slightly and bend each to resemble spider legs. Glue black pom-pom on top. If desired, attach red beads, plastic jewels or googly eyes to the pom-pom for eyes.
  5. Attach mama directly to the balloon, somewhere near the top.


It doesn’t really take much to turn an everyday dinner into a spook-tacular Halloween feast. Color your spaghetti gray for brains or brownish red for worms; Serve hot dogs wrapped in flour tortilla strips with a few dabs of Ketchup for mummy toes. Carrots make great witch’s noses or witch fingers, hardboiled eggs and olives can be transformed into eyeballs, and just about anything weird encased in jello in a glass jar creates the illusion of preserved body parts. Or how about some “ghost poop” made out or minature marshmallows for a laugh?

I have never outgrown playing with my food, and Halloween gives me the perfect excuse. Here are just a few of my favorite devilish delights:

Forked Eyeballs (adapted from Family Fun)

Donut hole eyeball dessert

Talk about giving someone the eye!

You Will Need

  • Donut holes (plain, uncoated)
  • Forks
  • Chocolate chips
  • White Chocolate chips or candy melts
  • Red icing in a tube or pastry bag fitted with writing tip
  • Several tall drinking glasses


  1. Have everything assembled before you begin. Insert a fork in each donut hole so that it is secure.
  2. Melt the white chocolate completely over a double boiler.
  3. Working one at a time, dip donut hole into melted white chocolate and cover completely, carefully shaking off any excess chocolate. Immediately press one chocolate chip into side of chocolate-covered donut hole upside down, so that the point of the chip is toward the donut; stand the fork in one of the drinking glasses to dry. Repeat with all remaining donut holes.
  4. Once the white chocolate has completely dried, draw squiggly lines from the chocolate chip outward using the red icing to create veins.

Fruit Monsters

Fruit Monster

For Halloween or any day, scare up a healthy snack your kids will love

You Will Need

  • Whatever fresh fruit you have available
  • Miniature marshmallows or sunflower seeds (optional)
  • Your imagination


Use your imagination to cut up the fruit and form a scary or funny face on any sized plate. Some ideas:

  • Banana – use slices for eyes; half a banana (peeled or unpeeled) for a protruding nose; banana sliced in half lengthwise for a mouth
  • Strawberry – use whole upside down for nose; use strawberry slices for eyes, use half of strawberry slice for eyebrows
  • Grapes – use grape halves for eyes; use whole grape for nose
  • Melon – use melon slice for mouth; use melon ball for nose or eyes
  • Apple – use apple crescent slice as eyebrows; use whole round slice as eyes; use v-shaped slice as lips (as shown)
  • Cherries or Berries – use as eyes or nose

Embellish your creation with miniature marshmallow or sunflower seed teeth, or give your monster rotten teeth using raisins or other dried fruit pieces. Feel free to use vegetables, too, and why not let your little one have fun by creating his own face!

Jack-o-Lantern Sandwich

Halloween lunch idea

Put a little Halloween spirit into the kids’ lunchboxes!

Apologies for the poor picture. This is a good example of a spur-of-the-moment, “Oh my God it’s Halloween and I’m not prepared!” kind of moment during lunch-packing time. The point is to try to make your child smile when he/she opens their lunch.

All you need is a hamburger bun. Simply cut out the face with a sharp knife and prepare your sandwich as usual. I purposely did not cut all the way through the bun. If you don’t have hamburger buns, use regular bread cut out in circles or cut the bread into other Halloween shapes using cookie cutters.

Chocolate Spiders

Spider Donut Holes

These spider treats are frightfully delicious

Mine turned out kind of ugly, but when it comes to Halloween, sometimes uglier is better!

You Will Need

  • Chocolate-covered donut holes
  • Chinese noodles
  • Red tube icing or red-hot candies
  • Chocolate chips
  • Wax paper


  1. Melt chocolate chips completely in a double-boiler.
  2. Coat a small amount of chinese noodles in the chocolate and arrange on wax paper; Dip donut hole in a small amount of chocolate and place on top of noodles; allow to dry completely.
  3. Add eyes to donut holes using red icing or by affixing red hot candies to donut hole with a small dab of chocolate.

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