How to Make a Quick Halloween Prop

We all know that the countdown to Halloween has begun, and we know that our time is sometimes limited due to our hectic schedules. But there is a quick and easy way to create an almost free Halloween prop in a few minutes. Let me show you how!

HOW TO MAKE A QUICK HALLOWEEN PROP

First, grab your branch cutters or a little hand saw and head out into your woods. To make this easy, look first for little branches that might be lying on the ground. If you can’t find any, which I would find it hard to believe that you couldn’t, you will need to saw or snip off a few small branches.

Carry those branches back home and snip off any little pieces of branches so you are left with just one long branch. Now carefully lean them into each other to kinda make a branch t-pee. Once you get them in a shape you like, take some jute and tie them up where all the branches meet. (I would suggest you do all of this “where” you are planning on putting this prop in your yard so you don’t have to carry it afterwards) Make sure you jam each stick a little bit into the ground for stability.

The next thing that I did was bring up one of our black witches cauldron from storage. At first, I wanted to “hang” the cauldron from the sticks, but the cauldron did not have any hooks, so I had to MacGyver something. I took one of our tomato cages and cut off the bottom section with wire cutters and placed the cauldron on top of it. THIS WORKED OUT PERFECTLY!

The next item I grabbed was some fire wood we have behind the garage and stacked them around the cauldron. This is making the effect that the cauldron is stacked on top of wood. Next, I balled up a set of white Christmas lights under the cauldron (inside the tomato cage frame) and turned them on! WOW! When I took this photograph, it actually looks like a fire underneath the cauldron.

I am going to also add an orange set of lights underneath the cauldron too, to give the “fire” a more realistic look. Now comes the fun part…I am going to grab two of our skellies and have them stand around the cauldron! I will have one posed as if he is “warming up his hands” by the fire, and the other one will be “roasting a marshmallow”!

This Halloween prop was made for free, because I already had the cauldron, lights and tomato cage, and the wood & branches were free! Yeah!

Hee hee, don’t you just love Halloween!

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DIY Cement Hand Tealight Holder

While we were recently working with cement, we had a brainstorming idea!  Since we love Halloween a lot, we decided to try making a Cement Hand to hold our tealights, and the results were awesome! 

In our last post, DIY Cement Tealight Holders, we showed you how to mix up your Quikrete Anchoring Cement, so you should be up to date on that part of the process.  So, now that you have mixed your cement, take your latex glove and carefully pour the cement in the fingers first so that they fill up, then fill the rest of the glove, but make sure you keep enough room at the top of the glove so you can twist the end together and clamp it off with a binder clip.

Next, lay the glove on a flat surface to dry.  To get your fingers to stand up in the air, slide the glove filled with cement up against a box to hold up the fingers. 

Then, take one of your laundry detergent caps that we used in making our other cement tealight holders, and hold it in place in the middle of the palm of your hand.  Keep holding the cap in place until you feel the cement start to harden.  (pushing down on the cap also helps get rid of any air bubbles you might get under the glove)  Keep pressing down on the cap until the entire hand has hardened, which is about 5-10 minutes.  Once the hand is formed well, let it sit for about another 10 minutes to cure properly.

Take off the binder clip and carefully cut the glove with scissors off the cement hand.  Work carefully around each finger, as part of the glove will be caught under the grooves of the bent fingers and you might need tweezers to remove all the glove in this area.  NOTE:  While making our first cement hand, we noticed that when we bent the fingers up against a box, the cement did not completely fill each finger to the tip, but that’s ok because it looks like a finger or two was cut off, just perfect for a Halloween effect! 

You now have a finished cement hand to hold your tealight candle, or perhaps you can fill the indent in the palm with paperclips!  If you use a cap large enough, the indent you make could possibly hold a drinking glass and use the cement hand as a coaster!  The possibilities are endless, but be creative, have fun, and make sure you wear your own pair of gloves when working with any kind of cement! 

If you make any Cement Hands yourself, please share with us what you have made!

Post Halloween: Our Best Treat Night Ever

We had the best treat night ever this year!  We got so many rave reviews from all the parents and the kids absolutely loved all of our decorations.  We were so pleased to hear all of the rave reviews and a lot of the parents even told us that we had the best Halloween decorations in the neighborhood!  WOW, that made us happy as we worked really hard at setting everything up this year.   We even had some parents tell us that they noticed that we added a lot more props this year and that they enjoy coming back to see us every year.  That makes us really happy!  Click here to see our video of our front yard.  We used a Gemmy Halloween Light Show & Timer to play the music and all of the yard props with lights danced to the music. 

Listed below is an approximate list of all the items we had in our home haunt and what it took to pull off our 2011 Halloween Graveyard:

    • Jason Voorhees animatronic prop
    • Freddy Krueger animatronic prop
    • Ripping Reaper of Souls animatronic prop
    • 2 Lighted Willow Trees (150 Lights per tree)
    • 2 Lighted Slender LED Ghosts (150 LED Lights per Ghost)
    • 11 Handmade Wood Tombstones
    • 8 Styrofoam Tombstones
    • 18 Extension Cords
    • 12 Flood Lights
    • 3 Strobe Lights
    • 2 Fog Machines
    • 1 Coldfusion Low-Lying Fog Maker (we ran 1 fog machine through the Coldfusion machine which was filled with ice, the fog gets chilled and then shoots out the top, and the fog lays low in the grass and creeps along the ground)
    • 2 Shady Spiders WOW Window Posters
    • 1 Green Monster WOW Window Poster
    • 1  63″ Standing Ghoul
    • Dapper Death Prop
    • The Count Prop
    • Spewing Corpse Fog Machine Accessory Prop (this guy spewed fog on the kids when they entered through the cemetery gateway)
    • 5′ RIP Coffin
    • Lighted Moving Spider with purple lights
    • 2 Color Changing Skeleton Lanterns
    • 1 Black Crow
    • LED Lighted Cemetery Gateway & Columns (made out of BOXES then spray painted with Krylon Make it Stone spray paint)
    • 2 Carved Pumpkins (One was the home grown one Daddy grew in the backyard)
    • 9 Skulls & Groundbreakers
    • Gemmy Halloween Lightshow & Timer with Speaker

    We had such a fun time pulling off a great treat night as Daddy & Mommy worked like a well-oiled machine together, and it took many hours to prepare for only two hours of trick-or-treating, which came and went so fast as it usually does.  The one thing that we had in our favor was the weather.  It had rained a little before trick-or-treating time, but that didn’t dampen our spirits, as we kept working feverishly to get everything outside and set up in time. Even our UPS driver, Sanford, stopped by to take a look at all of our decorations and got a photo taken with Daddy.

 

     

With all the time involved to plan everything out for our home haunt, the time involved making our wood tombstones and our cemetery sign, we can’t believe it is all over.  Well, as we would say, there’s 363 days until Halloween and we can’t wait to see what we come up with for next year as it is always an adventure for us! 

Don’t forget to watch our video

Our First Trick-or-Treaters!

 

DIY Halloween Prop: Cemetery Columns & Sign

CEMETERY COLUMNSDIY Halloween props are fun to create, but they can take hours, days, weeks, and perhaps a little longer to create when you can’t imagine the final product.  So, when you start with an idea for a Halloween Prop, think it through, draw it out, list the materials you will need, then… go to work!

We have been working feverishly on getting our Cemetery Columns and Sign completed before Halloween.  We can’t even imagine the hours we have spent on this project, truly don’t want to know either, but we really really wanted to create an entrance in the driveway for the trick-or-treaters to walk through.

We started with an idea, drew it out on paper, made some corrections to the design as some of the things that we came up with we could not figure out how to actually make it work, then once we had a solid idea, we started constructing the columns.  We used all the same size boxes to create the columns and started taping them together with masking tape.  (we did not want to use the shiny shipping tape as we were unsure if the spray paint would adhere to the tape)  We took four boxes to start and taped them together, then made another four and taped them on top of the first four, and kept doing this until we had a good height to our columns.  Ours ended being over 6′ tall for each column.

Once the columns were completed and taped together, we used some more boxes and added a “cap” to the top of the columns to finish them off, then taped the cap to the column.  Now, you have an unfinished column made from all the same sized boxes.  Next, we primed the boxes with gray primer and let that dry, then once dried, we sprayed a Krylon Make it Stone over the primer to make the columns look like sand stone.  Next, we added a round heavy-duty tube to the top of the cap and taped that in place, as this will be used to hold the actual cemetery sign above the columns.

Next, we had to work on the actual “cemetery” sign.  This part we had a lot of issues with because we could not come up with an idea that we agreed upon on how to “light up” the sign.  We tried adding purple rope lights but they were too dim and did not light up the sign, then we tried a black light tube and that did not work either as it too was not bright enough, so we actually found something that worked – LED white Christmas lights.  Now, that we know what kind of lights we were going to use, we went to work on creating the actual sign.  We gathered 4 of the same sized boxes again and taped them together in a row.  (we used 4 skinny boxes like a shirt box size for the sign)  Next, we cut  2 large letters out with an exacto knife in each box. (Box one: C E, Box two: M E, Box three: T E, and Box four: R Y)  Next, we spray pained the long box sign all black, both inside and out to give it an eerie look.  Now comes the difficult part, how to attach the lights inside the box.

After deliberating over this for quite some time, we decided that we would drill holes in the back of the box right through the cutout letters so that we can poke the lights through from the back of the box.  This actually turned out better than what we expected.  We had to measure the distance between the lights on the string and they came out to approximately three inches apart, so we had to drill holes to those specs.  Then, we just pushed the Christmas LED lights through the back of the sign so they would show through the inside of the sign, and then taped the LED lights to the back of the box to hold them in place.  Now that the lights are all in place, we plugged them in and were happily surprised on how great the sign looks!  LED lights was the best choice for this project for sure! 

Now, the only hurdle that had to be tackled was how to keep the columns and sign standing on Halloween night with the strong winds that normally appear around the witching hour.  Hmmmm, this one took some thought, but we finally figured it out.  Since we have all of that pressed wood around for our homemade wood tombstones, we made a wood base that the columns will sit on and created an inner wood column that we nailed to the base.  Now, the columns that we made out of boxes will just slip over the heavy wood base and will hold it up when the winds blow.  Nice!   The last thing that we will need to do is attach the sign to the columns and this will be done by drilling holes in those heavy duty tubes and one through the back of the sign.  Then we will add a long bolt and some washers and tighten it. 

We have learned a lot by doing this project, as making DIY Halloween props is a lot of fun, but you definitely need to start on your project well in advance before Halloween so you can have it completed in time.  And, we used a lot of items that we already had on hand, a few cans a spray paint, masking tape, LED Christmas lights we already had, and a lot of imagination.  Our cemetery columns and sign will make a great addition to our home haunt this year!

What have you made for Halloween?  Share your ideas with us!

How to Decorate Handmade Tombstones with Stencils

It all starts from somewhere.  An idea pops into your head, you think about it, you ponder awhile, then you try to turn your idea into reality.  That is why my Mommy did.  For years, they have been complaining about how their styrofoam tombstones keep falling down in the yard, breaking apart from the strong winds in the Fall and blowing down the street into a neighbors yard.  So, back in July, Mommy started on her trek to figure out how to create some tombstones for their yard that would not fall over and could withstand strong winds.  Daddy purchased a few sheets of pressed wood, and that got Mommy well on her way.

Staining a Tombstone

Next, was to figure out a few designs of tombstones that would look great.  So, Mommy sat down and started to draw out some designs on a little piece of paper, then she turned those little sketches into larger drawings onto pieces of thick cardboard.  She then cut the designs out with an exacto knife and traced them onto the pressed wood.  Now came the fun part – cutting them out!  She started out using a jigsaw that Daddy had and that worked great, until she almost burned up the motor on it from the massive amounts of abuse and use on this poor little hand saw.  She eventually had to purchase another jigsaw which she got at a steal at Sears Hardware that had more power.  This new jigsaw was the answer to all of her dreams as it cut through the pressed wood like it was butter!  Then, Mommy had to figure out how to make the tombstones stand up in the yard.  She cut small bases of wood for each tombstone, then drilled 4 holes in the bases.  Two of the holes were for the 7″ spikes to pound them into the ground (the tombstones would not blow away for sure now), and the other two holes were for the wood screws to attach the tombstone to the base. 

Mommy was off and running cutting out tombstone after tombstone, one design after another, until she realized that she has made over 15 wood tombstones!  Holy crap, she thought!  We’re going to have a yard filled with tombstones now!  Then, she had an idea to put some of the tombstones on eBay and their website to see if they would get any “bites”.  Well, they did in fact!  Daddy & Mommy sold 13 different tombstones in total and were happy that they could make someones Halloween special.  They sold the tombstones not painted so that you could decorate them yourself!  View them here!

After all of the tombstones were cut and sanded to perfection, we could now paint them.  Paint them?  Holy cow, what should we use?  We started off with gray primer and sealed the tombstones well, then used different Krylon spray paint on top of the primer.  Krylon offers some really neat spray paint that comes out actually looking like granite or hammered steel, and they even have one called Glowz that once sprayed onto a white tombstone it makes it glow in the dark. (as it charges up with daylight)

Now, with the tombstones painted comes the fun part – the stenciling!  Man, what do you put on a tombstone?  We thought this part would be easy, but trying to come up with what to write on our tombstones was more difficult that we thought.  Trying to come up with a good epitaph was not easy, not to mention that it had to “fit” on the tombstone too.  We are just glad that we started really early on this project as it has stretched out for months for us, but that is only because this was our first time trying to create our own Halloween props.  Next year, we will be ready with more ideas! 

 


Stenciling on your tombstones can be done in a few ways, as I am sure there are more ways to do this than what we used, but here are some of our ideas.  a) Purchase actual stencils (this is the quickest way to stencil) and trace onto tombstone – we used a stencil called “Girls are Weird” (We know, strange name for a stencil).  b) Printout your words in the font of your choice onto cardstock, then cut each letter out with an exacto knife (this takes a lot of time and patience, but once the letters are cut, the hard part is done), then just trace around your cardstock letters onto your tombstone.  c) Purchase already cut wood letters from a craft store (this is the easiest way to do it) and glue them onto the tombstone. Or, if you feel that you are creative and want to take on this task… d) Cut your own letters out of wood with your jigsaw.  (We cut RIP letters out of wood and this took a long time and was very tedious to do, but once they were done, they looked just as good as the store bought ones) 

So that’s it!  Creating Halloween props is fun, time consuming, and sometimes you can even learn a new swear word in the process, but the results are amazing!  What we have ended up with are Halloween tombstones that can withstand strong winds, will not fall down, will not break apart, and look awesome!   Just remember, it all starts with an idea, it’s up to you what to do with that idea!

Halloween Prep is in FULL Gear

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who stops by my blog, whether it be just a casual glance, you stumbled upon it, you searched for something and found me, or you are one of my avid followers, no matter how you got here, I want to thank you.  Thanks for stopping by, reading up on me, watching me grow up and all the funny things that happen in my life. 

When you are visiting, please take the time to leave me a comment, or click the “like” button in the comments section, or even “rate” my blog posts at the top of each article just so I know how I am doing.  I would appreciate it!  If you have your own blog too, by clicking the “like” button in the comments section will get others to view your blog as well and this will help create traffic flow to your blog.

Daddy and Mommy did more Halloween prep this weekend, getting more wood  tombstones painted & ready for the yard, chasing their styrofoam tombstones down the street from the strong winds we had over the weekend (now Daddy can see what Mommy had to put up with during the day on Friday as Mommy had to head outside more than 11 times to reposition the tombstones – grrr), and they also worked on their cemetery columns & sign and they think they finally figured out how to add lights to the sign.  What is amazing about our cemetery columns is that they are made out of all boxes and then spray painted in a gray primer and some Krylon Stone spray paint.  Anyhow, Mommy & Daddy went shopping for the supplies for my Halloween costume and now Mommy has to figure out how to pull it all together.  Can you tell what I am going to be for Halloween by this picture? 

Halloween is fun, as you can act like a kid (or a dog in my case) and you can have fun with all the props.  I find it amusing when Daddy pulls out his stuffed black cat, as this thing drives me nuts.  I am ok with “real” kitties, but this stuffed thing is different.  Mommy kept moving it around the floor like it was chasing me and I barked and growled at it.  It is amazing on how big I have grown in just a years time, as I was just a little pup last Halloween. 

 

Halloween Candy Tips – How Much is Enough?

Do you wonder every year….”How Much Candy do I Purchase” for the trick-or-treaters?  I can help!  We usually base the amount of candy on the number of kids from previous years, and although this is a good way to judge on the amount of candy you should purchase, last year it was not enough.  We purchased all of our candy and packaged them nicely in those adorable Halloween treat bags and we ran out!  We got almost double the amount of goblins & cowboys last year, so we had to use our reserve candy for all the extra kids that arrived.  We were not happy with that because we saved some of the good candy bars for us to eat later, but at least the kids were happy and got candy.  As for us, we did not get to snack on anything.  So, if you are finding yourself wondering on how much candy to purchase this year, use my Halloween Candy Counter to judge on how much candy to purchase. 

Halloween is a fun time of year and all ages enjoy it!  As you are well aware, my Daddy & Mommy can’t wait for the witching hour and are scurrying around getting their Halloween props ready for their own home haunt.  I heard Daddy say that we’re going to put up our tombstones this weekend, so you will have to wait for the photographs of the setup process.  Mommy has more than 13 new wood tombstones cut for the front yard, and she will start painting them this week.  Don’t forget that if you wanted to purchase a tombstone (or two) there is still enough time to do that & paint them yourself before Halloween.  These wood tombstones will last longer than the typical styrofoam tombstones you purchase from a store because they are made from pressed wood and if you seal them good with primer & a good clear top coat, you can enjoy them for years to come. 

Here is the regular photo of Me & Mommy

Also, Halloween is fun because you can dress up!  Not only can you dress up in something scary, funny, or cute, you also can enhance your photographs with some neat Halloween Effects.  My Mommy did just that with one of her photographs that Daddy took of me and her.  She added a “ghoulish” facial effect to herself and it looks really creepy!  Glad that Mommy does not look like this normally, but it sure is hilarious to see my Mommy looking like a ghoul.

Mommy as a Ghoul

Now, it’s time to pull out all of your Halloween decorations!  I am sure that every year your Halloween decorations increase, as you run across a neat item or two when you are out and about, and that’s awesome!  Pull them out now and start decorating!  Mommy started yesterday and pulled out their neat Halloween Willow Tree that has orange lights on it.  (They are selling a Willow Tree too and you can find it on their website – They only have one left!)  They put this out in the yard for Halloween, but enjoy it first by placing it indoors in the living room to make the room glow orange.  Next, will be our animatronic props that will come out which scare the pants off of me (if I only wore pants), and I growl at them when they move.  I still remember that black cat with an arched back that I was scared of last year, but I was just a little puppy then and probably did not know any better that it wouldn’t hurt me. 

Let me know if my Halloween Candy Counter helped you out!

Never a Dull Moment Around Here

There is always something going on around here, projects are in the works at various stages as Mommy & Dadddy prepare for Halloween.  We have always wanted to have a really cool entrance on our driveway for trick-or-treaters to walk through, so we sat down and thought about how we could build something.  Mommy came up with the idea of taping boxes together since we always have tons of those around here to create the columns/pillars of the cemetery gateway.  In this photo, the boxes are already taped together and the “top cap” was made too.  She will add a bottom cap too but will finish that last since it has to be filled with weight (like either sand or bricks to hold the pillars up from strong winds).  Next, she painted gray primer on the pillars.  Looks pretty good, eh?  Now that the columns are done and painted, she is working on the “CEMETERY” sign that will go across the top of the two columns.  The cemetery sign will also have lights in it so the sign will glow at night.  I will post some more phots as we progress with our cemetery entrance.  What do you think of it so far?  Like we have said before, making Halloween props does not take a lot of bought items, but it does take a lot of creativity.   

I also had a little visitor the other day – his name is Lord.  He is a three month old Husky that our wonderful contractor, Mike, brought over to show us.  (Isn’t Lord adorable?)  Mike had to bring Mommy more sheets of wood because all of the Wood Tombstones that she has been making, are flying out the door on eBay!  We have had a great response to our handmade wood tombstones, and Mommy has had to make more to replenish the stock.  If any of you have an interest in purchasing one of these tombstones, you should place your order soon, so you can have time to paint them before Halloween!   You can view the tombstones here.

Mommy spent considerable time yesterday “mending” all of my toys that were in the “Pet Hospital” on top of the fridge and I was so happy to get them back!  By the time Daddy got home from work, I had all of them all over the house and it was hard to walk from the piles of plush squeaky toys.  I still have to learn how to put my toys away, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.  LOL  (Thanks Mommy for fixing my toys

Hey!  Did you know that Daddy’s pumpkin is now turning ORANGE?  Yep, it is!  We have been watching it slowly turn orange over the last few days and soon, it will be ready to pick.  Daddy is so proud of that pumpkin, and he should be.  He definitely is going to plant more next year!  If it weren’t for those darn deers eating the main runner back in August, we would have had more pumpkins for sure.  We are just glad that this one made it.  It just amazes us that on 8/10 it was only a little tiny thing with a big huge yellow flower on top of it, and now, we think it is about 10-12 pounds!  We will have to weigh it when we cut it off the vine to see how much it actually weighs. 

Aren’t you all glad that today’s Friday?  I am sure that Daddy is, as he was a little under the weather this week.  He has been fighting a cold all week which makes it tough to go into work every day, but he did.  What a trooper my Daddy is!  Just think Daddy, you can rest all weekend and get better and I’ll be sitting right by your side or snuggling with you in bed while you rest. 

I hope you have had a fun filled week like I did & a great weekend!  Wet kisses to you, Nikita