The Truth About Winning Every Halloween Contest 5 Years In A Row
Something wicked this way comes…
Halloween is just around the corner! It’s time to start thinking about inventive and astonishing new decoration to be the champion of that Halloween competition you’ve always wanted to win.
Well, my name is Roy, and for 5 years in a row I have been the winner of the Halloween house decoration contest in my neighborhood. And now I’m here to tell you all my secrets so that you can do the same.
What follows is a list of easy and affordable DIY projects that you can make with your family and some Halloween activities to invite your neighbors to join in.
Be the owner of the most popular house in the city! Game on!
Let’s start with the basics…
With some paint, nails, and old wood from a fence, you can make a mysterious sign to set up in your front yard. Let people know they are on “Spooky street”. Set up a “Haunted House” or “Witch’s Lair” sign at the entrance of your house. You can even create a Halloween countdown chalkboard. Make a broom parking board. The possibilities are endless! But one thing is for sure… everybody will know that yours is the most haunted house in the neighborhood!
Easy to make and amazingly good-looking, you can ornate your house with these pumpkins following these easy steps.
1. Brace together 5 or 6 boards from an old fence.
2. Draw the outline of a pumpkin.
3. Cut the wood, spray paint it orange and use a stencil (it can be handmade) to draw the face, or add any details you prefer, like “Happy Halloween” greetings or scary phrases.
Make as many as you want and put them on your front porch. I love setting them up on my windowsill since they make the perfect outdoor decoration.
These easy-to-make yard skeletons are perfect to decorate and look fantastic at night with some lights. It’s a challenging project but I promise you it’s worth the effort. Get yourself some thin and easy-to-cut pieces of wood (pallet, pine, lumber), exterior white paint, a hammer, and some nails. These don’t have to be perfect so have fun with the shapes.
1. Cut a rectangle for the head, a piece for the hipbone, then 4 long pieces for the arms and legs, and 4 shorter ones for the ribs and shoulders. Finally, you will need a long thing piece to brace everything together.
2. Paint all the pieces white.
3. Shape the rectangle to look like a skull, then draw the details on the face.
4. Nail the leg pieces to the hipbone.
5. Nail the arm pieces to the shoulder piece.
6. Nail everything into the longer piece.
7. Set the skeleton up where it can scare the biggest amount of visitors.
Something that everybody loves about my Halloween decoration are the silhouettes on the windows. They look amazing and are super simple to create. Just cut out some cool shapes on black cardboard or paper, stick or hang them on the windows from the inside and wait till dark. When the lights are on, it’s showtime. Be creative with the silhouettes, they can be ghosts, witches, pumpkins, or any scary thing you can think of.
CANDY DOOR HANGER
By the time people arrive at your door, they will already know that the Halloween spirit is there. But what will happen if trick-or-treaters come by when you’re not home? Well, here’s the perfect solution (apart from fantastic decor!). You just need a chalkboard, or regular wood board, a half-pumpkin, white and black paint, and candy. Then, once you have everything follow these steps:
1. Draw a big smile on the pumpkin.
2. Carve it with any cutting tool you have.
3. Paint it white. Draw the eyes in black.
4. Nail it to the wood board.
5. Fill it with candy to welcome your visitors to trick-or-treat themselves to some candy.
6. You can also hang some plastic spiders and cotton-made cobwebs for an eerie-sistible aspect.
My lawn is not fully decorated until I fill it with lanterns. For these fantastic ones you need: white blank corrugated plastic (the one you use for yard signs), a very sharp craft knife, outdoors black acrylic paint, and flameless candles. Now get to work:
1. Decide which side will be the front. Then cut only the outer layer of the board. Don’t cut all the way through both sides. This will allow you to bend it around to form a box. Tape the edge with clear tape to attach the two sides. My measurements for the front and back were 7 inches and 3 inches for the sides.
2. Paint your design on the lantern.
3. Put the flameless candles inside.
4. Secure the lanterns with stakes.
Now that we are inside, let’s take a look at all the things you can do to make your house the spookiest in the neighborhood.
There is an old Irish myth about a man called Stingy Jack who tricked the devil and was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity. Since people didn’t want Jack to visit their houses, they use to carve scary faces on turnips to scare him. Inmigrants continued this tradition in the US but changed turnips for pumpkins. The rest is history because the Jack-O-Lantern is the most famous Halloween object. And of course, you want lots of them in your house. How to make a wooden Jack-O-Lantern is very easy, you only need wood and some basic tools. They can be useful as house decoration or you can put them on your front door as storage boxes full of candy and surprises. From my experience, these are the award-winners.
These are a favorite of my children because they get to decorate them. I only cut little blocks of wood and sand them so the surface is neat and they can work with ease. So this is what they do:
1. Paint the blocks. The colors depend on the design.
2. Put their handmade stencils (made of cardboard or plastic) on the blocks.
3. Transfer the pattern with acrylic paint, with the help of a small sponge.
4. Leave them to dry and after that, place them anywhere in the house.
Small containers are great to store candy and other eerie-sistible sweets. You can make them using pallets, old wood from fences, spare wood from other projects or buy them to personalize. Paint them black, orange, and purple; draw skulls, pumpkins, and spiders on them; or go that extra mile and customize them with an engraving pen and some scary stencils. Then place them on your entry table for your trick-or-treating friends.
ENGRAVED COBWEB GLASSES
One of my favorite tools is an engraving pen. I use it for basically all of my art projects because it allows me to personalize them. I engraved these glasses last year and they were a success among my guests. Just get your rotary tool
and some glasses, and start engraving.
1. Always wear goggles and a mask because glass chips could fly into your eyes.
2. Draw the spiderwebs in the glass with a glass-marking pencil.
3. Start engraving.
4. Clean the glass with a damp paper towel.
5. Repeat with all the glasses and patterns you want!
Another hit for the Halloween decor is apothecary bottles. These mysterious things give your house a bone-chilling aspect, and they are very easy to make with items you have at home. Let’s have a look at the steps:
1. Take an old empty bottle, soak it in hot water to remove the label, and then dry it.
2. You can paint it black for a darker vibe.
3. Print some apothecary bottle labels. Tape it to the bottle for the outline of the design.
4. With an engraving pen, start engraving slowly through the paper.
5. Wipe off the dust. You can finish it off with glitter top coat spray.
6. Finally, put a red candle in the bottle and light it. The drips will provide a gory effect.
My children love making these not-so-scary spiderwebs because they can handle them without our supervision. To make them, you’re going to need: popsicle sticks, scissors, glue, tempera paint, and yarn. Follow these instructions:
1. Glue three sticks together.
2. Paint them with tempera paint.
3. Cut very long pieces of yarn.
4. Tie one of the ends to a popsicle stick. Then wrap it around every stick.
5. Tie the end, and leave a tail for hanging the spider web.
Your kids will be super proud of these!
The spider frame project looks spooky and lovely at the same time. I hang it every year, and every year it is a hit! You should definitely try to do it, it’s not rocket science at all. Just get some jewelry wire, an empty frame, and two beads. If you don’t have a frame, you can make one with pallet offcuts or spare wood boards. Then…
1. Cut three pieces of wire. I used two pieces of 19.6 inches and one of 9.8 inches. The length of the wire depends on your frame size so adapt it to suit. Bend the two long pieces of wire in half.
2. Take the shortest middle wire and wrap it around both the bent longer pieces to form the outer strands of the spider’s web.
3. Then with thinner jewelry wire add the cross strands.
4. Leave a long piece of wire on either side so you can attach the web to the frame when you finish.
5. After completing the web, use a staple gun to staple de loose bits to the frame.
6. Make the spider using a short piece of jewelry wire and two black beads.
7. Hang it (I used some fishing line). And it’s ready! Fa-boo-lous!
The Halloween table is super important, and these spoons are fantastic to liven it up. Buy some wooden spoons at your local store and get creative. You can paint them with different types of paint or draw ghosts, zombies, and vampires on them. If you have an engraving pen, you can customize them with Halloween phrases, or whatever design you imagine. The spoons are your canvas, you are the artist!
Now that everything is ready for Halloween night, it’s time for the real fun to start!
Is there anything more delicious than Halloween candy? My wife is an expert in this area, and all the kids in our street line up at our front door to have a taste of her delicacies. Here are two super easy ones that anyone can make (I’ve made them, so trust me when I say ”anyone”).
Banana ghosts and tangerine pumpkins
I told you they were simple! For these, you need: mini chocolate chips, regular-sized chocolate chips, celery sticks, tangerines, and bananas.
- Bananas: Cut bananas in half after peeling. Use micro chocolate chips for the eyes and regular-sized chocolate chips for the mouth. To create a face, insert the sharp end of the chocolate chips into the banana.
- Tangerines: Peel the tangerines and keep them intact for tangerine pumpkins. To create a stem, insert a piece of celery into the top.
MARSHMALLOW GHOST BROWNIES
I won’t give you the brownies recipe because everyone has got their own. Here I’ll teach you how to make them scary! You need these ingredients: 1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin, 1/2 c. granulated sugar, and store-bought black piping frosting. Do this next:
1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a bowl to soften.
2. In a small saucepan, mix 1/4 cup water and sugar. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring as soon as the water reaches a boil and wipe the pan's sides with a wet pastry brush to get rid of any remaining sugar and avoid crystallization. Boil for 4 to 6 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reads 238°F.
3. Add gelatin to the sugar mixture. For three minutes, whisk with an electric mixer set to medium speed. Increase the speed to high and whisk for 8 to 10 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Transfer the marshmallow to a sturdy zip-top bag with a small hole cut out of one corner, or use a piping bag with a #12 plain tip.
4. Pipe ghost forms on the brownies right away. Dry for an hour. Make the eyes and mouths with black icing. For one day, brownies can be kept in an airtight container.
Halloween doesn’t start until we begin carving pumpkins. It only takes about an hour to perfectly carve one, so it’s a fantastic afternoon activity to do with your family. There are many ways to do it and many tools that are useful. This is what I do:
1. Remove the top of the pumpkin with a serrated knife, and remove the pulp and seeds with a spoon.
2. Then I draw the face with a washable marker.
3. Cut the lines with a serrated knife.
4. Light it up! I use LED lights for safety.
5. Put it on display.
TIP! Make a healthy and nutritious snack with the spare pumpkin seeds.
- Take the seeds, wash and dry them.
- Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, black pepper, paprika, salt, and garlic powder.
- Distribute them equally on an oiled baking sheet.
- Roast them for 12 to 15 minutes at a moderate 350°F (177°C) temperature. Toss them every 5 minutes. They are ready when they have a nutty scent and turn golden brown.
GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS
Of course, you can’t win a Halloween contest without some killer costumes! As a family, we love wearing matching costumes, so here are two ideas for you to find inspiration. Goldilocks and the three bears For this great project, you only have to make three paper mache bear heads. Wear whatever clothes you have at home. Then have someone wear a bright yellow wig to play Goldilocks.
Amazing, right? Well, you can make these with things you have at home, so it’s a scary but affordable costume. We used plaid shirts, overalls or jeans, and boots. Then added some straw hats and stuffed raffia inside our pockets and in random places. For the make-up, you can be creative. We love “stitches,” smiles, and rosy cheeks.
Halloween masks are another great project that you can do as a family. They can be made of almost any material, with lots of different designs.
But if you decide to be a Scarecrow this Halloween, you can make a bone-chilling mask with just a few things: burlap, rope, sewing thread, and a balaclava mask. Let me tell you how to win not only the decoration contest but the costume one:
1. Measure the burlap to make a bag with it. It should cover your head completely and down to your shoulders. Cut it in a U shape and sew along the sides.
2. Turn it inside out. Determine where the eyes should go and cut two horizontal slids of about 2 inches each. Take both parts of the slid and roll them, then sew them tight.
3. Repeat the process in number 2 for the mouth, but the slid should be 4 or 5 inches wide.
4. Put on the balaclava mask and then the scarecrow mask on top. This is important because burlap irritates your skin. Tie some rope around your neck, wear a straw hat, and you’re ready to spook.
Another thing that has made us very popular these last few years are our Halloween activities. Here are some that our children and the whole neighborhood can’t wait for every All Hallow’s Eve.
An entertaining game that can be played inside, outside, or both. Children and adults can enjoy it. What you need to do is create a Scavenger Hunt list. Each team has to find the things written on the list and the one that ticks everything, or finds the most items before time runs up, is the winner. Here is my winning Halloween Scavenger Hunt list from last year for you to download.
This is probably my all-time favorite game. My family use to prepare treasure hunts for Easter, but I believe it’s the perfect Halloween entertainment. I can assure you, everybody on my street loves it.
It’s very similar to the Scavenger Hunt, but this time teams will be looking for one single item (the “treasure”). You have to prepare clues in advance and hide them in different places. Give the teams the first clue. Then, each clue leads you to the next place and the final one to the treasure. The prize can be anything you want, but from experience, I can tell you this: there’s nothing like candy!. You can download last year’s Halloween treasure hunt
to play with your friends and family.
Last, but not least. Every year around midnight, we have a tradition. We turn out the lights, sit down on our front yard with our lanterns and read scary stories. Every single child in the neighborhood is there to enjoy and share a spooky moment with their friends, and it’s the main Halloween event on our street. Everybody loves stories, and who doesn’t enjoy an eerie one? Here are some ghost stories you can use for your end-of-the-night activity. They are scary, but not enough to keep you awake at night.
🎃 HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 🎃
I gave you 21 Halloween projects that are easy to make but fa-boo-lous! There’s no chance you won’t win the Halloween contest this year if you make them. But first and foremost, don’t forget to have fun! Halloween is a great night to spend with your family and people you love, share bonding moments, and create memories. Let the spirit of Halloween fill your house, and have a spook-tacular All Hallow’s Eve!