Celebrate the season with these frightfully fun decorating tricks. No magic required.


Airmail Witch

You've got mail. When a witch lands on your mailbox, you know it's a special delivery. This one's made from a small pumpkin and plastic garbage bags. A broom provides the finishing touch.


  • 2 to 3 Large black garbage bags
  • Scissors
  • Pumpkin
  • Acrylic enamel craft paints
  • Gourd
  • T-pins
  • Clear packing tape
  • Orange pumpkin leaf bag
  • Bag tie
  • Broomstick
  • Witch's hat

To make:

  1. Lay 1 garbage bag flat. Cut open sides to make a long rectangle. Wrap this around mailbox, covering half. Pull and tie tightly under box. Cut off excess.
  2. Paint face on pumpkin. Let dry. Cut off end of gourd and use T-pins to attach to face. Place pumpkin on front end of mailbox. Use tape to attach, tightly wrapping tape around pumpkin and box several times.
  3. To make hair, cut away the closed end of pumpkin leaf bag. Cut bag in half horizontally. Use 1 half only. Tie bag in center with bag tie. Cut strips to make hair on both sides of bag. Use T-pins to attach hair to pumpkin.
  4. Cut another black garbage bag to make a large rectangle. Drape over back of mailbox to make cape. Tape front edge to mailbox behind witch's head. Cut a jagged bottom on the cape.
  5. Nail or tape broomstick to post. Put witch's hat on pumpkin. Attach with T-pins.

Winged Pumpkin Bats

Spectral faces fly from the trees when you create bats from mini pumpkins and plastic bags. Hang them from a thin wire so they'll sway eerily in the breeze.

Materials for each bat:

  • Black garbage bag
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wire cutter
  • 2 Wire hangers
  • Black cloth tape
  • Small pumpkin
  • Black paint or permanent marker
  • Craft or kitchen knife
  • Thin wire
  • Wing pattern *

To make:

  1. Lay garbage bag flat on table. Print wing pattern* on paper. Tape pattern to bag and cut. This will give you 2 wings.
  2. Lay each wing flat. Using wire cutter, cut a straight length of the hanger the length of each wing. Lay wire down center. Cover wire with a strip of black tape.
  3. Fold wing in half, bringing the 2 pointed sides together so tape is inside. Push 1 end of wire into each side of pumpkin. Bend wings as desired. Paint or draw face.
    4. To hang, use knife to make a slit in the pumpkin handle. Slip wire through slit.

* You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the template. If you don't have this program, see related links below for a free download.

Related Links:

Wicked Web

Our spooky, cascading spider web is really a few spools of curling ribbon. We suggest black and white, but any color will do the trick.

What you need:

  • White or black curling ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Florist wire
  • Nails and hammer

To make:

  1. Measure the width of your front door or porch, add four inches, and cut wire to that length.
  2. Pound one nail into each side of door or porch frame, and secure wire by wrapping the ends around each nail head. Measure the height of the door or porch frame, and cut ribbon to fit. Tie ribbon to wire.

Scaredy Cats

This trio of felines may look harmless by day, but beware come nightfall, when their eyes cast a ghoulish gleam.

What you need:

  • White foam-core board or cardboard
  • X-Acto knife
  • Wooden garden stakes
  • Wood glue
  • Black spray paint
  • Drop cloth
  • Glow-in-the-dark or reflective tape
  • Cat patterns *

To make:

  1. Enlarge cat patterns * and cut out.
  2. Trace pattern onto foam-core board or cardboard, and cut out using an X-Acto knife.
  3. Attach wooden garden stakes to cats with wood glue and let dry.
  4. When the glue is dry (about twenty minutes), lay the cats on a drop cloth and spray-paint one side black. When the painted side is dry (about 30 minutes), turn over and paint the other.
  5. Using our eerie eye pattern, cut a pair of eyes from reflective or glow-in-the-dark tape. Secure eyes to cats and place in yard.

* You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the template. If you don't have this program, see link below for a free download.

Related Links:

Copyright © 1999 and 2001. Reprinted with permission from the October 1999 and the October 2001 issue of Parents Magazine

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