Dress up your home in the spirit of the season by mixing luminous pumpkins with devilishly clever displays.
By Suzonne Stirling
Create a curtain of ghostly leaves to soften the moonlight.
Directions: Iron bleached preserved oak leaves between two layers of parchment paper using a medium setting. Tape leaves to pieces of monofilament, overlapping as desired. Suspend from window frame to create a curtain effect.
For pumpkins: To hollow, cut a 3-inch hole in the bottom with a serrated craft saw. Scoop out pulp with a large spoon. Draw leaf patterns freehand (or download templates online at digitalcardfun.com) on pumpkins with a grease pencil, etch stems and cut out leaf designs.
A centerpiece of lacy candlelight and bright little goblins sets the mood for a spooktacular night.
For candleholders: Cut a strip of unbleached parchment big enough to cover a glass cylinder. Cut a piece of black lace slightly larger than the parchment and spray the back with adhesive. Carefully adhere lace to parchment and let dry thoroughly. Trim edges of lace, then wrap paper around the cylinder, securing the seam with double-sided tape.
For mini jack-o'-lanterns: Cover stems of hollow pumpkins with painters' tape and paint pumpkins black using either acrylic or spray paint. Instead of leaves, sketch faces on pumpkins using white chalk. Carve and cut out.
For lace pumpkins: Stretch a piece of lace tightly around the bottom of a white pumpkin, securing with tape. To protect pumpkin, cover all but lace with paper. Holding can about 12 inches away, lightly spray laced area with black paint. Let dry thoroughly, then remove lace. For variety, patterns can be painted anywhere on pumpkins.
Transform a tabletop into a macabre exhibit with a menagerie of spooky objects.
Directions: Paint papier-mâché boxes inside and out with either self-priming acrylic craft paint or black chalkboard paint. For a finishing touch, fold black masking tape around edges. Stack boxes on a table, gluing together if desired. Fill with seasonal items of your choice—we selected bird's nests, a framed scorpion, dried seedpods, twigs and moss.
For pumpkins: Follow instructions for black mini jack-o'-lanterns on previous slide. Sketch insect silhouettes (download at vintageprintable.com) with white chalk and cut out. Display in boxes.
A flock of black birds sends a menacing message perched atop a group of glowing jack-o'-lanterns.
Directions: Select pumpkins and gourds in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Sketch faces on hollow pumpkins and gourds and carve. Arrange on a ladder with crows.
Shimmering pumpkins and a flutter of winged creatures team up for an eerie evening.
Directions: Download color clip art of moths and butterflies and print on vellum sheets. Cut out images and fold wings upward to create dimension. Attach to branch with glue dots. For truest colors, print two copies of each moth or butterfly, printing the second copy as a mirror image. Spray back of image with adhesive, then place second copy faceup over first, aligning the edges. Cut through both layers and fold wings up.
For pumpkins: Use iridescent spray paint to cover light-colored pumpkins—gray, tan, white. While paint is still wet, sprinkle iridescent glitter over top and side of each pumpkin.
A swarm of spiders and creepy webs add a frightening flourish to the evening.
For spiderweb tray: Paint an unfinished wooden plaque with black acrylic craft paint, allowing one hour drying time between each of two coats. Cut pieces of spiderweb-patterned net fabric and spray reverse side with repositionable adhesive. Arrange on top of the plaque as desired. Spray from above with a light misting of ivory paint. After a few minutes, carefully remove lace and let plaque dry thoroughly.
For etched pumpkin: Draw a spiderweb on a pumpkin with black watercolor pencil. Using a linoleum carving tool, scrape off skin about 1/8 inch deep to expose flesh below. Attach a plastic spider.
Tempt revelers with an array of sweets served up in ghoulish fashion.
Directions: Paint the exteriors of small peat pots with white acrylic craft paint; set aside to dry. Glue black trim around the top edge of each and embellish with a spiderweb die cut. for pumpkin: Trace a classic jack-o'-lantern face on a hollow pumpkin and cut out shape.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.