Last Minute Halloween Craft: At Your Service

Posted by on Oct 25, 2010

I found some cute Halloween scrapbooking paper on sale over the summer, and I had to come up with a craft idea to use it. This tray is perfect for serving up a Bite-me-tini or an after school snack.

Supplies- Unfinished tray (available at craft stores)- Halloween paper of choice- Sand paper or sanding block (fine grit)- Primer or acrylic craft sealer- Acrylic craft paints- Decoupage medium- Foam brush- Artist brushes

1. Lightly sand the tray and wipe with a damp cloth. (You may skip this step, however, I notice that little blurs appear when I don’t sand an unfinished wood piece.) Prime or seal the tray.

2. Paint the tray with acrylic paints of your choice. The paper I used is just a little too narrow, so I chose a color that would blend in with the background. Allow the paint to dry.

3. Cut paper to size. For best results, use a paper cutter or a straight edge and an X-acto® knife. Using a foam brush, apply decoupage medium to the bottom panel of the tray; once it’s tacky, apply the paper. Apply a topcoat of decoupage medium, smoothing out any air bubbles. Allow to dry completely.

4. Decorate the outside of the tray as desired. For this look, I cut out a few of the designs from the paper and used the decoupage medium to apply them to the tray. (Note: This piece is not food safe. Always use a plate to serve food from this tray.)

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Chic Halloween Decorations

Posted by on Oct 17, 2010

A new craft superstore opened recently in my town, and there I found a glossy black papier-mache pumpkin with a silver spider web design. There were several other designs, but that was my favorite. What a cool twist for Halloween decorating, I thought, until I saw the price tag: $19.99. Here’s my budget-minded take.

At first I couldn’t find spider web tissue paper (I saw some at Target last week), but I did find this black and silver hounds tooth design at Hallmark, which I thought gave a more modern, upscale approach to a Halloween icon. Total cost was $5 for the pumpkin and 25 cents worth of tissue. Even if you have to buy a new bottle of decoupage medium, you’re still under $10 for the entire project, less than half of retail. Customize this to coordinate with your home décor!


1 medium craft pumpkin (available at craft stores)

1 sheet of patterned tissue paper

Decoupage medium

Foam brush

Acrylic paints (optional)

1. If desired, paint the pumpkin stem to coordinate with your tissue paper design. Allow to dry.

2. Make an “X” in the middle of the tissue paper with an X-acto® knife or scissors. Dry fit the tissue paper over the stem of the pumpkin and smooth the paper. Cut away the bulk of the excess; you’ll trim it better later. Remove the paper.

3. Coat the pumpkin with the decoupage medium. Fit the tissue paper over the stem and smooth down the paper, adhering it to the pumpkin. Apply a top coat of decoupage medium, smoothing the paper as you work around the pumpkin. Gently smooth the paper around the stem, using additional decoupage medium as needed.

4. For the bottom of the pumpkin, trim excess paper and pleat the paper around the bottom “core,” using additional decoupage medium to keep the paper down. Your hands will get sticky! (Hint: Use the side of your thumb, a burnishing tool or anything smooth and rounded to crease the paper in the pumpkin creases.) Invert the pumpkin on a drinking glass and allow to dry completely.

Here are more chic decorating ideas:

- Deepen your palette. Instead of child-like bright oranges and purples, try deeper shades such as pumpkin, persimmon and plum.

- Lots of black. Lucky for us, black is a Halloween staple, and it’s also a very chic color for home decorating. Every room should have a little black every day of the year!

- Lace can be good. When I was in kindergarten I dressed up as a vampiress and my mom put a black lace veil on me. I thought I was very sophisticated! Today, several retailers have created Halloween-inspired lace drapery panels, table-toppers, mantle scarves and more with bat, spider and skeleton designs woven in the lace. Any one of these can add a subtle bit of spirit to your home.

- Add some shine. Mix in silver-toned accents to your Halloween displays. It provides just enough shine and can amplify your Halloween-inspired color scheme.

- Think small. Just a touch here and there can have a big impact. Look for seasonal pillows for a couch or bed, a pumpkin-shaped candle holder in a metallic finish, or a black and silver bejeweled picture frame for your favorite costume photo.

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Keep Your Goblins (and Your Home) Safe on Halloween

Posted by on Oct 17, 2010

Whether you’re sending out a batch of witches and zombies on Halloween night or just giving out treats at home, here are a few tips to keep Halloween scary, fun and safe at same time.

  • Ideally, a responsible adult should always accompany children while trick-or-treating. At the very least, older children should go in groups. Remind them to stay together.
  • Know what route the children will be taking and set a time for them to return home. Make sure they have a cell phone.
  • Remind children not to cut through alleys, yards and fields; to use crosswalks where possible; and never assume oncoming cars can see them.
  • It’s a good idea to have children carry a flashlight or glow stick, or put reflective tape on their costumes to make them more visible to drivers.
  • Teach children to never go into the home of a stranger or get into their car.
  • Remind the kids not to eat any treats until they bring them home to be examined by you. (Having a snack or small meal before trick-or-treating will reduce hunger and the desire to dig in to the candy.)
  • If you’re welcoming the neighborhood ghosts and goblins, it’s important to keep your walkway and doorway safe for little ones. Approach your home from the street, keeping in mind what the trick-or-treaters will see. Are the porch lights clean, and are all the bulbs working? Are any open flames in jack o’lanterns and luminaries set away from any areas where children will be walking or standing? (Alternatively, use flameless candles which are now widely available at drug and discount stores.) Are there any extension cords or wires in the way? Is the doorway clear of obstacles? Make any adjustments as needed.
  • Don’t forget about your pets. A constantly ringing doorbell and shouts of “trick or treat!” may be very frightening to your dog or cat or other pets. Plus, you would not want your pet escaping through the frequently-opened front door, or possibly even biting a child. So, set up a room for pets and keep them behind closed doors during trick-or-treating hours. Have food, water, a toy or two and a litter box if needed and check on your pets periodically.

With these precautions taken, all you need is bowl of candy to have a truly happy Halloween!

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Wood & Whimsy

Posted by on Oct 14, 2010

This is by far the most adorable — and EASIEST!! — craft I’ve ever created for Holiday Hints. ANYONE CAN DO THIS!! It takes less than 30 minutes and less than $5 in new materials (see the price check below).

People always ask me how I come up with my craft ideas, and honestly I don’t know. This project literally just came to me months ago and I jotted it down. These super easy wall plaques will add a bit of whimsy to your Halloween décor this year. They’re perfect for a bathroom, a child’s room or any small space that could use a splash of color.


  • 3 5×5 inch unfinished wooden plaques
  • Foam stickers – your choice
  • Acrylic craft paint – 3 colors of your choice plus black
  • Paint brushes
  • Letter stamps and ink

1. Lightly sand each wooden plaque. Technically, they are supposed to paint-ready but I find that little burrs pop up in the wood if I go right to painting. (Keep a fine-grit sanding sponge in your tool kit; they’re just a couple dollars at a hardware store.) Wipe off any dust with a damp paper towel.

2. Paint each plaque in a color of your choice. For this I used lime, orange and light purple. Apply two coats, allowing to dry in between coats.

3. If you like, use a dry brush or a toothbrush to flick black acrylic paint and a contrasting color on each plaque. Allow to dry.

4. Apply a foam sticker to the upper center of each plaque.

5. Using letter stamps, stencils or freehand, write the word that corresponds to the image on each plaque.

6. To hang, use Command hanging strips (little hook-and-loop tabs that lock together), apply a small saw tooth picture hanger to the back or drill a small hole to accommodate a brad nail.

Total time: Less than 30 minutes, plus a few minutes for drying time.

Price check: 99 cents for each plaque; $1.49 for a packet of foam stickers (all at Michaels craft store). I had the paint, brushes and letter stamps on hand already.

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Decorating in 60 Seconds!

Posted by on Oct 11, 2010

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been leaning towards a ghost/spirit theme for my outdoor decorating, from do-it-yourself tombstones to a spooky specter I picked up on sale.

This year as I was cleaning the coach lights on either side of my garage, a thought hit me: what if I could turn these lights into lighted ghosts? And today I did just that.

For each light, buy 4 yards of a lightweight, see-through white fabric. Poke around the fabric store and look for gauze, voile, scrim or muslin — whatever is on sale. I found a polyester white voile in the Halloween costume section of my fabric store for $2.50 a yard. You will also need about 1 to 2 yards of black ribbon or tulle for each light.

And here’s the 60 seconds: Toss the fabric over the light and tie at the bottom with the black ribbon or tulle. Here’s what you get:

Kinda cute! Because this is fabric, and every fabric I know of is flammable, make sure that the light bulbs are safely enclosed in glass.

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Which one of these …

Posted by on Oct 11, 2010

As the question goes, “Which one of these is not like the other one?” When decorating for any holiday – inside or outside your home – keep that adage in mind. It’s best to group like objects together so it reads like a collection you lovingly acquired over time.

For example, some of the most popular holiday accessories are painted wooden objects. Rather than scatter them around your home, group them together on a console or in one specific room, such as a bathroom. Same goes for crystal pieces, porcelain, or metallics.

To keep the vignette looking harmonious rather than too monotonous, add in candlelight here and there (you get bonus points if the candle holder is of the same material as the other accessories!).

To begin, marshal your holiday decorations on one surface or area, such as a dining table, bed or countertop. When looking at everything at once, you eye will pick up on natural groupings. Remember, “like objects” could be according to material or subject matter. Maybe you have tons of jack o’lanterns or angels, or maybe you have more porcelain pieces in a variety of subject matters. Begin placing like objects together until everything is sorted. Then you can begin placing your holiday accessories around your home.

Grouping like-kind objects is a very simple solution to bring a cohesive look to your holiday decorating!

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