Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, offering a creative freedom unlike any other seasonal theme. From spooky to magical, and anywhere in between, you can celebrate the fall in a way that suits your personal style. No need to play host to a Halloween party, or go out and spend tons on cotton webbing that never comes out of the bushes, this year you can decorate with a few quick projects around your house.

1. The Great Pumpkin Tree (total time, 1 hour)

Pumpkin Tree Case

You don’t have to be professional cartoonist to create this simple work of art. A few pumpkins in a shelving unit and some black paint will create the feeling of a fall landscape. To complete the effect, grab some colorful leaves from outside and set them around the pumpkins. Side note: you can reuse these pumpkins as Jack o’Lanterns by carving the hidden side as Halloween draws near.


2. Creepy Coffin Shelf (total time, 1.5 hours)

coffin shelf

This project is a little more involved, requiring some basic power tools to cut out the shapes. The goal is to create a coffin shaped shelving unit to display your creepy trinkets or favorite Holloween keepsakes. All you need to do is trace a long diamond pattern onto 5/8″ thick fiberboard. This will be the backing. Cut out the basic diamond, then come in from the ends for a horizontal cut (to form the top and bottom). Measure the width at various points and cut small rectangles for the shelves. You can attach these with finishing nails from the back side, then paint or stain the whole thing for some decorative fun. More adventurous carpenters might try cutting out the bat wings with the backing!


3. Mmmmm, Brainshelf (Total time, 2 hours depending on how quickly paint dries)

zombie shelf

This shelf has a very simple design, but a requires a greater degree of artistic flair. Take two pieces of 1″ thick plywood and sketch an outline of a head and a brain. Cut along the outline, sanding down those rough edges. Once you have your two pieces, you’ll want to paint them separately. The brain uses a pink base with red highlights for the veins. For the zombified back-piece, we recommend a mix of greens and yellows for a putrid skin tone. The features are then highlighted in a darker green for a sullen appearance. At this stage, you can make the zombie as disgusting as you want!

After the paint dries, you will then put two screws through the back of the zombie face into the edge of the brain, where you have painted the flesh-craving teeth. If it were a real zombie, you’d want to put those screws a little higher, but for now, let’s just show off your fun project.


4. Creepy Doll Head Decor (20 minutes)

doll heads in jars on shelf

A fantastically creepy favorite, scarey jars with gross things inside are an easy decoration to accomplish. All it takes is a few old or unwanted dolls, glass jars, and food coloring! By combining these items in a place where the sun shines, you’ll have an eerie decoration that seems to radiate from the windowsill.


5. Paper Mache Frankenstein (2.5 hrs)


This one requires a lot more attention to detail, but is really great for younger kids. For this, all you need is a milk jug, paper mache, green water color paints, black felt, an egg carton, black/white/silver markers, a Styrofoam ball, and googley eyes! Tools required are glue and scissors.

Cut a flap in the back of your milk jug and clean it out completely. Once dry, you can begin applying the wet paper mache to the outside of the milk jug, coating it to form the frankenhead. Use green water color to dye the strips as you go, and be sure to poke a few holes to allow air to flow through, otherwise he might have a real headache!

After you get a green base for the head, cut out the black felt to form his hair. Jagged triangles work well for the hairline, so continue applying them all the way around the “top” of the head (bottom of milk jug). Cut your Styrofoam ball in half and press the googley eyes into each half, forming eye sockets. Glue those to the front of the jug about halfway down.

For Frankenstein’s bolts, you can roll up an individual section of egg carton, gluing it into place so it won’t unroll. Those want to be silver to make them really look like metal bolts!

Now that you have a basic head, its up to you to decorate his face with the black and white markers! This is a great craft to put on the table or hang on the porch.

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