Haunted House How-To

10 ways to create a spooky setting at home

1. Boo-Worthy Baking: To make a candy corn cake, cut a cooled 9- by 13-inch sheet cake into the shape of a large piece of candy corn. Divide three cups of white frosting into separate bowls. Mix yellow food coloring into one cup of frosting and orange food coloring into another cup. (Try to match the colors of a real piece of candy corn.) Frost the cake in bands of white, yellow, and orange.

2. Mood Lighting: Replace normal light bulbs with orange ones to create a spooky feel both inside and outside the house. You could put one big bulb in the main foyer or have smaller bulbs lining a walkway. To make a witch hat lantern, paint a rubber traffic cone black and place a flashlight inside.

3. Dancing Ghosts: To decorate your yard, pierce the ground with three or more long wooden sticks topped with large styrofoam balls. Cover with a large sheet to create three ghosts. Attach the sleeves of each ghost to one another so that it looks like they are dancing around the lawn.

4. Scary Centerpieces: For a Halloween party or family dinner, make a centerpiece by filling glass bowls with plastic spiders, and garnish dessert plates with gummy worms. Place votive candles on the table and turn off the lights for a haunted house effect.

5. Friendly Scarecrow: Stuff an old pair of jeans, a flannel shirt, socks, gloves, and a hat with scrunched up newspaper, and assemble a seated scarecrow to greet trick-or-treaters. Use an inflated balloon or a plastic jack-o'-lantern for the head.

6. Dramatic Doors: Drape doors in orange tulle (as shown in the October issue of Child) or cover them in spider webs created with stringy cotton. Kids can place plastic spiders or other Halloween decorations on the door.

7. Goblin Mobiles: Hang glow-in-the-dark bats, ghosts, pumpkins, and spiders from the ceiling and turn out the lights.

8. Homemade Treat Bags: Create a Halloween goody bag from a mesh laundry bag (as shown in the October issue of Child) or a pillowcase decorated with your child's handprints in red fabric paint.

9. Spooky Wind Tunnel: Hang black and orange streamers from entryways and place a fan in an inconspicuous place nearby. The windblown streamers give the effect of a ghost passing by. Play Halloween music in the background.

10. Easy Jack-O'-Lanterns: Kids who are too young to carve a pumpkin can create their own masterpieces by drawing a jack-o'-lantern face with a marker or finger-painting a colorful design on a pumpkin. Assemble a "family" that looks like your own by buying pumpkins in various sizes.

Copyright © 2001.

Updated by Kathy Henderson
and John Dolan
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