Create a Display
Use a box or two to stagger levels for a great display in any corner, near a door or to fill an empty space. Place one box on the ground, or a large box with a smaller box on top set askew. If they are not very sturdy on their own, stuff them with scrap cardboard. Cover the boxes with scrap fabric or old table cloths, or paint them if you desire with autumn designs and colors. Lean a cinnamon broom on the side. Stack some pumpkins on and around it. Make holes to push electric lights up directly through the bottom of the pumpkins so you can’t see the wires. Add a black stuffed cat, Halloween lantern or plastic cauldron. Rummage for any small fall or Halloween theme items and decorations you may have in your house. Alone on a shelf or table they may look mediocre at best, but collected, giving them height and prominence, make a lovely display.
Use a box as the basis of a haunted house structure. You don’t even have to cut the box for this Halloween craft. Just use scrap cardboard to give it a pointed roof, then paint it and decorate it. Paint it a base color and then use a small, rectangular cut of sponge (slightly damp and coated thinly in dark paint) to dab “bricks” in a staggered pattern around the box. Cut out square shapes of paper or craft foam for windows, then use markers to draw the shadowy silhouette of a witch in one, or a stringy spider web in another, or a vampire peeking through one. Glue the windows onto the house and use Popsicle sticks as shutters or boards on the box craft. After you have fun decorating it, put it out in a window or use as a table centerpiece.
Remember making dioramas box crafts for school projects as a kid? Dioramas don’t have to be purely for education. They make wonderful decorations. Create your own diorama out of a box of any size you want. Decide on a theme for your scene such as “Graveyard on Halloween Night,” “Frankenstein’s Monster comes to Life,” or “Witch’s Ball.” Paint or cover the inside with paper, cut out paper or craft foam elements. Use items from nature, such as a twig for a tree (push it into a lump of clay to hold it in place) or autumn leaves for color. Be as detailed as you like and have fun making it.
Turn shoe boxes into miniature coffins or turn big grocery store packing boxes into large coffins. Cut down out a piece of cardboard in the shape you want the coffin, and create a second identical shaped piece for the top and bottom. Tape strips of cardboard around the edges to make the sides. Make cardboard strip “hinges” for the cover, glue one half of the hinges to the side of the box and the other half to the cover. Brass page fasteners will hold them strongly in place, like rivets. Paint the box brown and use black paint or markers to draw details on the coffin. These can make cute candy and popcorn holders (just line them with foil) or you can use the for decoration by putting an old skeleton or vampire prop in there.
A few tombstones will always set the mood in a yard for Halloween decor. The most simple material to make tombstones is to just cut out a shape in cardboard. If your cardboard is too thin and bends, cut several of the same shape and glue them together to thicken it. You can make a basic rectangular stone, a cross or cut out an elaborate shape if you desire. Paint them gray and use darker and lighter shades of gray and a damp sponge to give it shadows and highlights for details. Write witty or creepy names and epithets on the stones and hot glue a garden stake, dowel or piece of wire to the back of them so you can sink them into the ground and secure them. These won’t survive a rainfall, but they’ll look great for a party or trick-or-treaters.
Freak out your friends and trick-or-treaters with a little Halloween craft joke. Take a shoe box and fill it with fabric or some kind of stuffing. Cut a hole in one end and stick your hand in there. You can put make up on your hand, black nail polish or blood to make it look creepy. Cover your arm partially with a jacket slung over your shoulders so your friends can’t see it and hold it close to your chest. Tell people you found this strange item and open it with your free hand. When they peer in, grab at them with the hand in the box craft for a surprise.
For a really cheap Halloween display, stack up a few small boxes of odd sizes and shapes on a shelf. Paint each one uniquely, or wrap them in odd gift wrap paper. . Give the boxes different labels such as, “vampire fangs,” “bat wings,” and “assorted reptile skulls.” This is great if in your decorating theme you want an area to look like a mad scientist or potion-brewing sorcerer lives there. Let your guests use their own imaginations for this display. They probably won’t want to look in the boxes.
Old books, such as spell books or scary magical titles, make excellent, simple props to put on the shelf for Halloween. One great way to replicate such a book is with a cereal box and some scrap corrugated cardboard. The corrugated cardboard is the “cover.” It should be large enough to wrap around the cereal box, covering three sides (front, side, and back), and should protrude slightly over the edge of the cereal box. The cereal box inside will look like the “pages.” Glue the cover on and paint it or paper mache it to give it texture. Give it titles such as, “The Complete Book of Potions and Brews,” or, “How to Cook Monster Stew.” Write the titles on the front or down the spine. Paint the sides of the cereal box an antique white and use a ruler and pencil to trace lines down the sides to give an impression of pages. Stack several old tombs like this on a shelf or table. Put a skull on top, or pumpkin, or just line them up like an old library shelf, as Halloween Halloween decoration props. Spread some webs on them or sprinkle some baby powder to make them dusty.
Take a large box, such as an appliance box, and turn it over on it’s end so someone can crawl inside. Cut a hole in the top center of it. Place some scrap cloth or an old tablecloth on it and cut a hole in the center of that. Cut a hole in the center of a cardboard cake tray and place it over the other hole. Someone can crawl inside and put their head through the hole, making their head appear to be on the platter. Now you can scare your friends when they come calling for Halloween. Decorate it like a table with plastic or paper dishes and napkins. Arrange lettuce leaves or other food trim around the person’s head. Cover the head with a large dome cover, so you can present “dinner” to your guests as a surprise. You can do a lot with this box craft if you want to get creative.
Make a cute autumn-themed Halloween craft “hay ride” wagon for some small scarecrows, stuffed Halloween animals or dolls. Just cut the top half off of a box and paint it brown. Decorate it with black paint or a marker to make the impression of wood boards. Take another large box and cut out round shapes for wheels and paint them. Arrange the wagon on top of a smaller box to hold it up, glue the wheels to the side and fill the box with dried leaves, hay, Spanish moss or shredded newspaper spray-painted yellow. Put your dolls or cheap Halloween figures from thrift shops and dollar stores inside. A nice touch is to add a pumpkin, some gourds or a bushel of apples next to it.