Creepy, kooky crafts inject a little fun into Halloween decor

Posted Friday, Oct. 25, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Faux caramel apples A fun take on the traditional caramel apples given out on Halloween, these faux versions made from popcorn balls, melted caramel squares and craft sticks are just as tasty. What you’ll need: • Bag of microwaveable popcorn (regular, not snack-size), or a bag of popped popcorn • 10-ounce bag of marshmallows • Half a stick of butter • Green food coloring • Plastic food gloves (optional) • Craft sticks • Bag of caramels, unwrapped • Spoon • Halloween-themed cellophane bags • Halloween-themed ribbon What to do: 1. Pop the popcorn if necessary. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl, and remove any unpopped kernels. Set aside. 2. Melt marshmallows and butter together on low heat in a saucepan. Add five drops of green food coloring and mix well. (Depending on the shade of green desired, you may want to add more food coloring.) 3. Once you are satisfied with the color, carefully pour the green mixture all over the popcorn. Using your hands, mix together until the popcorn is well coated. (Tip: Because of the heat from the green mixture, we suggest wearing plastic food gloves for this step.) Then, taking a large handful of popcorn, form it into a ball. Because of the mixture’s stickiness, this part can be tricky. Work fast to pack the popcorn together. The slower you go, the more the popcorn will stick to your hand. 4. Press one craft stick each into the tops of the popcorn balls so that about two-thirds of the stick is still visible. Set the popcorn balls aside. 5. Microwave a bowl of caramels for about 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Heat for 20 more seconds, then stir again. When the caramels are fully melted, using a spoon, drizzle caramel all over the popcorn balls. (Tip: To add a little more pizzazz to your faux caramel apples, drizzle them with melted chocolate for a double dose of sweet.) Let the caramel harden, then package each popcorn ball in a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.
Where to shop Hobby Lobby: several area locations www.hobbylobby.com Michaels: several area locations www.michaels.com
Halloween week! Thursday: Halloween-themed TV shows Friday: Where to find favorite candies of yesteryear Today: DIY party and home decorations Sunday: Readers show us their inner villains Monday: Last-minute, no-carve pumpkin creations Tuesday: How much do you know about black cats? Wednesday: Tricked-out treats using leftover candy Thursday: Our annual amazing Halloween maze

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Halloween is just days away, so what better way to get in the spooky spirit than with some easy-to-make Halloween crafts?

From making deliciously cute party favors to fashioning creepy home decor, you’ll have lots of fun prepping for the most haunted night of the year.

Note: All craft items purchased at Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

Creatures of the night

Deck your halls or your staircase with this adorable, easy-to-assemble bat garland.

What you’ll need:

• Medium-size foam balls

• Black craft paint

• Foam paint brush

• Black construction paper

• Pencil

• Scissors

• Toothpicks

• Adhesive

• Googly eyes

• Black cord

What to do:

1. Paint a foam ball entirely black. Let dry, then recoat if needed. Repeat this step until you have painted as many foam balls as you will need (i.e., how many bats you want for your garland).

2. Make the bat wings: Draw a pair of wings for each bat on construction paper. (Tip: We free-handed our wings, but you can search the words “bat wings stencil” online to find printable stencils.) Cut out the wings.

3. Glue each of the wings to a toothpick, leaving about half of the toothpick sticking out from the wing. Let glue dry.

4. Now that you have your bat bodies and your bat wings done, you can begin assembling your bats. Take one wing and slowly press the toothpick end into the side of a bat body. Do the same with another wing on the opposite side. Repeat this step until all of your bat bodies have wings. You can add more character to the bats by gluing on googly eyes.

5. Attach bats to the black cord: Cut a piece of cord the length that you desire (taking into consideration how many bats you have to attach). Plan to leave about 1 inch of space between wingtips. Apply adhesive to the top of the bat head, press the cord into the adhesive and hold it in place until it is secure. Let dry, then repeat with remaining bats. When finished, string along a banister or mantel.

From the great beyond

A haunting addition to your home’s Halloween decor, these wedding bell-shaped ghosts are not only ridiculously easy to make but they are crazy-cute.

What you’ll need:

• 9-inch white crepe wedding bell

• Adhesive

• Black construction paper

• Pencil

• Scissors

What to do:

1. Unfold the bell and apply adhesive to the back side where its two open ends meet. Most crepe wedding bells come with adhesive strips on the back to keep the sides together, but adding glue makes it extra secure so you don’t have to worry about your ghost coming undone.

2. Draw a pair of eyes and a mouth for your ghost using construction paper. (Tip: We chose to freehand ours, but you can find a stencil online by searching the words “ghost face stencil.”) Then cut out the eyes and mouth.

3. Glue the facial features to the front of the wedding bell. Let dry and then hang up.

All wrapped up

Dim the lights and set a spooky mood by lining your fireplace mantel with these mummy luminaries made from Mason jars and cheesecloth.

What you’ll need:

• Cheesecloth

• Scissors

• Mason jar

• Adhesive

• Large googly eyes

• LED tea light candle

What to do:

1. Cut a strip of cheesecloth long enough to wrap around the jar. Wrap the cloth around the bottom of the jar and glue down its ends. Working from bottom to top, repeat this step until the jar is covered in cheesecloth.

2. Glue googly eyes to the front of the Mason jar to make your mummy’s face. Let dry.

3. To finish, place an LED tea-light candle inside your mummy.

A friendly warning

Hung above your entry doorway or across your buffet table, this fun Halloween pennant banner warns of the dangers that lie ahead.

What you’ll need:

• Halloween-themed scrapbook paper

• Ruler

• Pencil

• Scissors

• Adhesive

• Black construction paper

• Orange construction paper

• Halloween-themed ribbon

What to do:

1. Using a ruler and pencil, draw a triangle that is 6 inches long on each side on a piece of scrapbook paper, then cut out the triangle. Using the triangle as a stencil, trace five more triangles on the remaining pieces of scrapbook paper, and cut out each one.

2. Glue three of the triangles to black construction paper. Cut around the triangles leaving about 1/4 inch of black border. Repeat this step with the remaining triangles, except using orange construction paper. You should have three triangles with a black border and three triangles with an orange border.

3. Draw and cut the letters that spell out “beware.” We free-handed the letters, alternating between two colors of construction paper. You can use stencils, or an even easier option, stick-on letters. When you have the individual letters ready, glue each onto its own triangle. (Reminder: The banner triangles will be facing points-down, not up.)

4. Cut about 3-4 feet of ribbon. Lay the ribbon out flat, and place the triangles so that they are centered on the ribbon (check your spelling!). Apply a line of adhesive to the top of the triangles (again, facing pointy side down), and adhere the ribbon on top. Let dry, then hang up.

Franken-treat cups

Just like Dr. Frankenstein, you, too, can build your very own creature complete with Rolos for bolts and hide a sweet surprise inside.

What you’ll need:

• Nabisco Go-Paks cups (Choose your favorites — you will be decorating the exterior.)

• Green craft paint

• Foam brush

• Adhesive

• Rolos

• Scissors

• Black construction paper

• Large googly eyes

• Black craft paint

• Filbert paint brush

What to do:

1. Remove the yellow plastic lid of the Nabisco Go-Paks cup. Using the craft paint and foam brush, paint the entire cup green. Let dry; reapply paint as needed.

2. Glue a Rolo to each side of the cup to create the bolts.

3. Cut a strip of construction paper 1 inch wide and long enough to wrap perfectly around the top of the cup (this will be the hair). Cutting a zigzag pattern along one edge of the strip, to give Frankenstein’s hair its jagged quality. Glue the hair along the top part of the cup. Let dry.

4. Glue googly eyes to the face. To finish, take black craft paint and a Filbert paint brush (or a paint brush with a thin tip) and paint a mouth. We chose a simple smile lined with stitches. Let dry completely, and replace the lids.

Faux caramel apples

A fun take on the traditional caramel apples given out on Halloween, these faux versions made from popcorn balls, melted caramel squares and craft sticks are just as tasty.

What you’ll need:

• Bag of microwaveable popcorn (regular, not snack-size), or a bag of popped popcorn

• 10-ounce bag of marshmallows

• Half a stick of butter

• Green food coloring

• Plastic food gloves (optional)

• Craft sticks

• Bag of caramels, unwrapped

• Spoon

• Halloween-themed cellophane bags

• Halloween-themed ribbon

What to do:

1. Pop the popcorn if necessary. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl, and remove any unpopped kernels. Set aside.

2. Melt marshmallows and butter together on low heat in a saucepan. Add five drops of green food coloring and mix well. (Depending on the shade of green desired, you may want to add more food coloring.)

3. Once you are satisfied with the color, carefully pour the green mixture all over the popcorn. Using your hands, mix together until the popcorn is well coated. (Tip: Because of the heat from the green mixture, we suggest wearing plastic food gloves for this step.) Then, taking a large handful of popcorn, form it into a ball. Because of the mixture’s stickiness, this part can be tricky. Work fast to pack the popcorn together. The slower you go, the more the popcorn will stick to your hand.

4. Press one craft stick each into the tops of the popcorn balls so that about two-thirds of the stick is still visible. Set the popcorn balls aside.

5. Microwave a bowl of caramels for about 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Heat for 20 more seconds, then stir again. When the caramels are fully melted, using a spoon, drizzle caramel all over the popcorn balls. (Tip: To add a little more pizzazz to your faux caramel apples, drizzle them with melted chocolate for a double dose of sweet.) Let the caramel harden, then package each popcorn ball in a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon.

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