Halloween: It's the perfect time of year for kids to use all the fantastic, creepy and ghoulish inspiration surrounding them and channel it into creative craft projects.
HowStuffWorks and TLC have a few ideas that are easy on parents, fun for kids and a comfort to the wallet. We'll start by taking one of the most important parts of Halloween night - the candy loot bag - and turning it into a useable craft.
While you could buy a Halloween treat bucket or raid the linen closet for a pillowcase, this year try a craft project with your kids: make your own Halloween trick-or-treat bags.
- Recyclable grocery bag, or paper or cloth bag with handles
- Markers or craft paint
- Kids' imaginations (crucial!)
- Stickers or stamps
- Felt or cardstock paper
- Little plastic spiders
- Any fun decoration found at the local craft or discount store
Let kids come up with their Halloween patterns and ideas, from crazy monster bags to spooky gravestone sacks.
Beach pails, ready-to-decorate paint cans from the craft store and cleaned-out popcorn or ice cream tubs can easily be made into treat-carrying cauldrons.
Most of us probably think of edible house projects in December. It's time rethink the cozy winter of the gingerbread house create a delicious, spooky version instead.
A Web search will offer up many basic patterns for the holiday version. Simply consider skipping the gingerbread and molasses flavors with a house more aligned with the tastes of Halloween. Ghastly modifications to your recipe might include Halloween colored candy, such as candy corn and sprinkles, along with colorful icing and your imagination as decoration.
Don't forget to add a ghost in the attic window.
Yard or front porch luminarias can be created from a variety of materials, from tin cans to milk jugs. But the classic way to craft them includes three basic items: a small brown paper bag, tea light and sand.
Little kids can draw or color on the paper bags with their favorite Halloween theme. Pumpkins, bats and ghosts are just a few easy choices, as the shape isn't too intricate. Older kids can draw, stencil or experiment with cutting designs into the bags.
Fill each bag no more than halfway with sand and add a tea light to each. Line your walkway, porch, driveway or street with the bags and light each candle. Voila.
Jack-o'-lanterns don't have to be the only handmade Halloween decoration adorning your porch or windowsill. Flower pot decorations are another inexpensive, easy craft and good for a range of ages.
- Small, terra-cotta (clay) flower pots
- Acrylic paints and brushes
- An assortment of little accessories for kids to use as pot decoration (pom-poms, googly eyes, construction paper, yarn or muslin for mummy making are just a few ideas).
Set up a craft table and invite kids to make their own Halloween pot. When dry, use to hold candy, pencils or maybe plant a pumpkin seed leftover from when you carved your jack-o'lantern.
Turn your candy serving bowl into a handmade masterpiece with a larger flower pot and paints. Give the pot a good base color both inside and out, allow it to dry and apply your devilish design. Fill with candy and wait for the tricksters.
Salt dough is a great go-to material for making all sorts of arts and crafts. The easiest way to use it for young kids' projects is to roll out the dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Let them paint or decorate. These can be used as centerpieces for your Halloween night dinner, ornaments for your front door or decorations for kids' rooms.
Or make it a 3-D project. Mix your material, then let kids shape their own Halloween ghosts, goblins, witches, black cats or monsters. Magic markers and paints can help fill in the details.
Salt dough crafts will air dry in a day or two, or for more immediate results, bake them in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit until they harden. Here's the quick and easy recipe:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups salt
- 1 cup water
- Food coloring
Mix with your hands until moist and smooth.