Craft one of these happy haunted houses with your child, then let her play with the finished result.

By Amanda Kingloff and Clare Yaghjian, of Project Kid
Dane Tashima

Mansion of Mystery

Save all the cardboard that comes into your home—from the avalanche of Amazon packages to your toothpaste and pasta boxes—to create this wow-worthy haunted house. (pictured above) Witches made from cardboard tubes sub in spookily for regular dolls.

How to Make It

  1. Stack various boxes together until you create the shape you want, then glue to each other with craft or hot glue. If using craft glue, let dry several hours. (The house pictured is 35x25 in. and was made with about ten boxes.)
  2. Paint boxes dark gray with acrylic craft paint. At the same time, paint toilet-paper and paper-towel tubes. Let dry.
  3. Attach painted tubes as columns and spires. Top the spires with half circles of black paper curled and taped into cones. Roof pieces: Bend a piece of cardboard into a V shape; hold that shape and trace a triangle onto another piece of flat cardboard two times. Then cut out the triangles and glue or tape them to the front and back of the folded cardboard V. Repeat to make more. Paint roof pieces black and let dry. Use orange puffy paint to create a shingled roof pattern. Windows: Glue sets of four yellow squares or rectangles to the boxes to make windowpanes. Cut shutters from cardboard or cardstock and glue on. Doors: Cut doors out of cardboard or yellow paper; glue on beads for doorknobs.
Dane Tashima

Witches

  1. Paint 1/3 of another toilet-paper tube green and 2/3 black. Let dry.
  2. To make the hair, cut a 2x4-in. piece of black or gray felt and fringe it with scissors. Wrap hair around top of tube, and cut bangs over forehead. Glue into place.
  3. Draw or paint eyes, cheeks, and mouth on green section with markers.
  4. For the hat, cut a circle of black felt 1/2 in. wider than the diameter of the tube and glue to the top. Roll a half circle of felt into a cone and glue on top.
  5. Wrap and glue a piece of black felt around the tube as the witch’s cape.
Dane Tashima

Día De Los Muertos House

Made from cardboard and duct tape, this house folds down flat for storage between play sessions. You and your child can craft sugar-skull and altar accessories to give it a Day of the Dead theme.

How to Make It

  1. Cut out two 12x16-in. pieces of cardboard. Then cut a long side of each rectangle into a house shape so that the sides are 10 in. tall and the center peak is 12 in. tall, as shown.
  2. Paint the cardboard pieces on both sides in bright colors. Let dry.
  3. Starting at the bottom of one piece, cut a 10-in. slit up the center. Then starting at the top of the other piece, cut a 2-in. slit down the center. (These pieces will slot together to form an X.)
  4. Draw door shapes onto the walls and cut them out. (Optional: Leave one side of door attached, and bend it for a functioning door.)
  5. Slide the two pieces of cardboard together to form the house.
  6. Create a duct-tape border (optional). Along the top edges, adhere pieces of duct tape, sticky sides together, with about a 3/4-in. overhang. Trim the overhang into scallop shapes (it doesn’t need to be perfect!) and punch a hole in the center of each scallop. Then wrap a piece of duct tape around each vertical outside edge, as shown.
  7. Add accessories to the rooms like sugar-skull art on the wall (made from paper and stickers), a cardstock-and-string garland, mini tissue-paper flowers, paper-straw candles, and a colorful felt rug.
Dane Tashima

Monster Town

To make this haunted high-rise, stack two boxes, wallpaper them with scrapbook paper, and add a layer of paper slime to the front. Then have fun making goblins and accessories.

How To Make It

  1. Use double-stick tape to cover the inside of a small shoebox (approximately 6x9x3 in.) and a square gift box (approximately 3x3x3 in.) with craft paper. We used solid black on floors and ceilings and patterns on walls.
  2. With a pencil, trace each box opening onto green paper, and within the traced shape draw a wavy, drippy slime border, as shown. Cut out and glue around the open side of each box.
  3. Add accessories to the room like art on the wall (framed in straws), a Lego table slimed with puffy paint (don’t worry; it peels right off!), or a pendant lamp made with a mini paper cup and a yellow bead for the lightbulb.

3 Ways to Make a Monster:

  1. makeup blender + pipe cleaner + googly eyes
  2. pom-pom + paper straws + googly eyes
  3. kitchen sponge + felt
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