Hallowe’en, all Hallow’s Eve is a night of fantasy and freedom fiendish foes; a night of terrible tales of ghoulish ghosts and superstitious stories. Be alert and look out for Jack with his Lantern seeking refuge or bringing chaos and curses; dance by the Technicolor explosions of fire works and Catherine wheels and enjoy the cathartic scares and stories.
Far from its druid roots, Halloween is now a festival of fun for all the family. Kids escape from school and celebrate with friends. Teenagers watch gruesome slasher movies and scream at the sudden jumps and shocks and parents get to be children again and leave reason and science on the doorstep beside the curved pumpkin and bowl of sweet treats.
The one thing I love about this time of year is the abundance of creativity and crafts it encourages. Children abandon their computer games and parents leave the paperwork and P.D.A.’s at the office and crave messy art making and fun party tricks.
Here are a few festive favourites if you are feeling low on inspiration this Hallowe’en:
1.) Ghosts and Ghouls.
The simple and traditional:
All you need is a box of tissues (big man sized ones!), string or a white rubber band, cotton wool, shredded newspaper or something similar and a felt tip pen.
a.) Lay your tissue flat on your work surface (tissues are easily ripped so if you have some old fashioned handkerchiefs, bed sheets or even white towels or dishcloths, they will be more durable).
b.) Place your filler (cotton wool, socks, shredded paper or what works quite well is a little polythene bag of rice) in a little heap in the centre of your white material.
c.) Pick up the edges of your tissue/other so that your stuffing is weighed down in the centre.
d.) Hold all the edges in one hand, raise the material and grab onto your stuffing in the centre through the cloth and squeeze in the material around the top of your filler separating it into a tight ball at the bottom.
e.) Tie off this ball with ribbon, string, rubber band etc – this is the head of your ghost.
f.) Now that’s secured, let the ends go and turn the “head” to the top so you have a pinched ball for the head and the rest of the material hangs like a ghostly sheet or cloak.
g.) Be creative; take a felt tip pen and draw some big hallow eyes and ghoulish mouth onto the head to form a face.
h.) You can then staple/glue a piece of string to the centre top of the head and hang your apparition up or if you want to do this more neatly you can prepare your ghost for hanging at the start by using a needle and thread, making a couple of stitches in the centre of your laid out cloth and knotting off the end or by making a hole in the centre, threading some string through and knotting the end a couple of times so that the knot is too big to pass out through the hole again.
What you will need: white card or even just normal A4 printing paper, kids glue – the huge white sticky stuff that’s sold in most stationary shops or art stores, old paint brush, black paint or pen or you could even try some small black buttons, hole punch some black card, even maybe use some raisins or black rice or maybe some glitter.
a.) Put down some newspaper on your work area, mix the glue so it’s thick and gluppy and put your white paper or card on the newspaper and let your kids get to work.
b.) Scoop out some glue on your brush and paint the basic shape of a ghost onto the paper (card is better for this as paper tends to wrinkle under the glue and might even get soggy and tear).
c.) Paint over this shape, or drop dollops of glue on it to make a nice thick layer of glue on your ghost shape.
d.) Let the glue dry. (If you are being more creative, now is the time to push in some buttons for eyes and mouth etc)
e.) Once dried the glue will become solid and a kind of see through white, you can then cut out your ghost shape or even just rip away the excess paper/card.
f.) Draw/paint on your ghosts face and now you have a solid, spooky ghost decoration.
You might also consider buying little round magnets and gluing them to the back of your ghost so you can stick them on your fringe or dipping some string into the head of your ghost before the glue dries completely so you can hang them up or even make a whole row.
You can also make flat ghosts out of white paper plates or white foam:
a.) Cut a white plastic bag/white paper/fabric into strips and glue them onto the back of your paper plate or cut out foam head of your ghost at the bottom edge.
b.) Draw a face onto the plate or foam using black felt tip pens.
c.) Pierce a hole in the top of your plate (you can us a skewer or knitting needle) or foam and thread some string through it.
d.) Knot off the string and you have your hanging flat ghost.
Home Made Dough Ghosts
What you will need: (this will make lots and lots of mini ghosts so cut down the amounts shown if you don’t want to be overrun!)
1 cup of salt
2 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of water
White and black acrylic paint
Black felt tip pen
a.) Preheat your oven to about 200degrees.
b.) Mix up your ingredients in your bowl.
c.) Lightly flour your work surface and begin to knead your dough. As with baking, if your dough is too sticky you can add more flour as required but not too much or the dough becomes flaky and cracks easily. (This dough does not taste good, not harmful but not pleasant!)
d.) Break off some dough and roll it into a short, stumpy, thick pillar shape.
e.) Set your pillar upright and round off the top to form a head.
f.) Below the head squeeze in you finger a little and draw a line down to the base, with a little pressure your base will become wider and form frills each time you mould it with your finger to look like a ghostly frock.
g.) You can at this point use the end of a pen or a knitting needle or any other small, round, blunt object and press in some eyes and even a mouth or you can just paint them on little.
h.) Bake your little darlings for about 2 hours, but just keep checking them for wet or sticky spots as baking times vary depending on size etc.
i.) Leave to cool (overnight is best)
j.) Mix up your white paint and coat your moulds, let dry and made add extra layers.
k.) You can then paint or draw on black eyes, mouth and creative features to make your ghosts unique and fun.
You can off course use this dough to make other Hallowe’en critters the easiest being pumpkins and maybe simple witch’s cats – large oval for body, small ball for head, smaller balls for feet, long snake for tail (which you can wrap around body so it’s less likely to snap off) and two small balls that you pinch into triangles for ears.