By Today's ParentUpdated Oct 19, 2016
Throw a Halloween-themed party complete with easy ghoulish DIY decor items that will delight your littlest ghosts and goblins.
Spooktacular pumpkin Carve out some fun with this family-friendly craft.
Materials: Pumpkin, spooky silhouette template, awl, fine-tipped linoleum cutter, wide-tipped linoleum cutter, petroleum jelly, brayer, lino ink, paintbrush
1. Cut a hole in bottom of pumpkin, and hollow out until flesh is about 1/2-inch thick. Draw desired template and tape to pumpkin.
2. Use an awl to punch holes along the design. Remove template.
3. With a fine-tipped linoleum cutter, carve outline and interior features of image, exposing flesh but not cutting all the way through. Draw a frame around design with a pen. Using a wide-tipped linoleum cutter, carve away rind inside frame and around design; cut 1/4-inch deep so uncarved area is in clear relief.
4. Rub petroleum jelly on exposed flesh to repel ink drips and to slow decay. Coat a brayer with lino ink; carefully roll over design. Use a paintbrush to fill missed areas. If ink strays, cut away stain.
Dreadful bouquet Inky florals make a pretty, dramatic centrepiece. Follow these instructions to make your own:
1. Trim carnation stems and place in water coloured with black food dye. The flowers will absorb colour overnight as they drink up the water.
2. Hollow out a white pumpkin (or spray-paint a regular hollowed-out pumpkin white and allow to dry).
3. Glue a plastic spider to the pumpkin and fit a bowl or small vase inside, out of sight. Fill with water and arrange flowers.
Cauldron of potions Transform a large pumpkin into an ice bucket for homemade soda. Here's how:
1. Remove the top third of a large pumpkin, leaving a jagged edge. Remove innards.
2. Using a needle or pin, trace your design. Carve along the design with a linoleum cutter (or other carving tool).
3. Rub exposed edges with petroleum jelly to prevent drying out.
4. Fit a plastic bowl slightly smaller than your pumpkin inside and fill up with ice and drinks.
Get the recipe: Blackberry Soda Syrup
Get the recipe: Clementine Soda Syrup
Pumpkin scarecrow Black paint makes a standard jack-o’-lantern super spooky.
1. Tie branches together like a cross to form the body. Drape dyed cheesecloth over for cobwebs.
2. Open the pumpkin from the bottom—carve a hole in the underside just big enough to remove innards.
3. Carve a face in the pumpkin, but leave pieces in place (to prevent paint from getting inside).
4. Spray paint the pumpkin black. Allow to dry.
5. Remove the face pieces and place the pumpkin “head” over the stick so the top branch runs through the pumpkin, touching the top on the inside, with the “arms” holding the head up. Prop against a wall to display.
Silly skeleton Take the terror out of traditional decorations with funny frills. We added faux fur and a party hat decked out in pompoms to make this skull friendlier
A version of this article appeared in our October 2014 issue with the headline “Boo,” p. 81-8.