Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Bootiful Halloween

I had such a great time decorating for Halloween this year.

My decorations were very simple but they had a great impact on the children that came to my door. Big or small they all liked it. For many years I have handed out mini chocolate bars in a bowl.
Who doesn't like mini chocolate bars. This year I still had the mini chocolate bars (I bought some and so did my husband), but I also added some fun candy to the mix. I had Mini packages of pop rocks, Popeye candy sticks, suckers, little chocolate pumpkin balls, black and orange jelly beans, assorted licorice, and mini pumpkins with little sour candies. As I had such a large array of candies I decided to make candy bags to hand out. 



The children were all thrilled to get a bag of candy rather than just a few mini chocolate bars. I called them boo bags. I had little ones leaving their own bag of candy on the doorstop running to show their guardian their new treat. A lot of the older kids were amazed that someone actually made fun bags. I had two different sets of bags and next year I will take this even further. I had bags for very young children and bags for the big kids. Everyone got lots it was just different candy. The mini pumpkins and easy to eat candies went to the youngsters, while the older kids got the hard candies and more chocolate bars. Next year I will take this even further by adding mini raisins, mini teddy grahams and more Halloween type toys to the little kid bags, making sure everything I give them they will be able to eat. I am thinking of adding small glow sticks to the bags too. How fun will that be when the bags get out the door and glow?

The bags were easy to make. I started with white lunch bags. With scissors I cut out the head and arms on the bags. I found it easier if I started at the center of the head and cut a rounded head down to an arm joint. I then cut from the upper corner of the bag and cut an arm, I did this on both sides of the bag.

I then found an eye graphic on www.thegraphicsfairy.com.


 I cut out the two eyes I wanted to use and glued them to an 8 ½ by 11 paper. I added a little colour to the print with a pencil crayon.  I scanned this and saved it to my computer. I then loaded the picture into www.photomonkey.com and added the mouth graphic just below the eyes. It is a simple splat with the word boo in it.


 I saved this graphic to my computer and printed it with 9 sets to a page. I have included a PDF of my eyes for you ready to print.


This year I did not preplan this so my eyes were printed on paper and cut out. I then glued them to each bag using a glue stick. Next year I will print on labels and just pull them off and stick them.

Once my bags were made, I simply opened them up and lined them up in rows for filling. I had all of my candies and toys in dishes opened and ready to use. It only took minutes to fill the bags. As I had two different bag contents, I used cardboard flats to keep the bags separated. To make it easy for my husband and myself to hand them out to the right age group, I put the little kid bags on a table by the door and the big kid bags I put on the floor in the boxes. I made one hundred and fifty bags. Fifty for young children and the other one hundred for older kids, and I ran out at around 8:00. I will make more for next year. I ended the night handing out chocolate bars from my bowl for the last 50 trick or treaters. Not nearly the same as the excitement the bags brought, but at least I still had candy. I stapled the top closed on all of the bags so everything would not spill out in the children's trick or treat bags and pillow cases. 



To go with my boo bags I also decorated with ghosts outside. I made these easy ghosts and made a walkway to the front door. Part of this worked and part of it is up for remake next year. I started by having my husband cut a walkway through our too long lawn. He did this with a weed eater very quickly. He has been working seven days a week, so lawn cutting has not been an important pastime, but the walkway worked great for Halloween night. We have a large front yard with a u-shaped curbed driveway. We created the walkway on one section of the lawn, leading to the front door.





The ghosts were simply sticks of varying heights stuck in the ground along the walkway. I then blew up white balloons and duck taped them to the sticks. I had inserted glow sticks inside the balloons and also onto the stick thinking they would make the ghosts glow once it got dark. This is the only part of the project that did not work. I had to go out later and tape mini flashlights to the sticks to make my ghosts glow. I used a roll of plastic tablecloth material to put over the stick and balloon. I simply cut the tablecloth material into rectangles. Some short and some long depending on the size of the stick. Just take a rough measurement of your stick height (including the balloon) and cut the plastic tablecloth material twice that length. Drape the plastic over your stick and balloon and tie with string at the neck. The neck is the bottom of the balloon. Just a quick balloon saver tip is to apply tape to the top of your stick before you attach the balloon.  This will save your balloon from popping on any rough edges. If the glow sticks were to work I would have to find a new type of material for the ghost bodies. Instead I taped on mini flashlights to the body of the stick. This brought my ghosts to life and will be my choice of light for next year.


We have colour changing Christmas lights that are on our trellises and these we turned on for the night. They run along the sidewalk and just added a finishing touch.

You can see how much better the ghosts glowed when I added the mini flashlights to the stick. Next year all twelve ghosts will be lit up. 

At the end of my walk of ghosts I added a BOO sign. This was a sign I picked up at the dollar store. I stapled on battery operated mini lights and it was ready to go. I liked the irony of the boo sign at the end of a path of ghosts. 


I also cut a fringe of white to hang over my front door. It turned out awesome and was easy to do. I measured the height of my door and cut a length of tablecloth material twice that length. I ran a line of double sided tape across the fabric three inches from the center line and then folded the fabric in half . This created a pocket at the top of my fringe. I put a tension rod from the dollar store in the pocket to hang my fringe. I then took my scissors and cut the fringe the length of the material. I cut two layers at a time. I then adjusted the tension rod to fit my door and hung it from the top. No nails or hooks required and the fringe folded up nicely when I took it down ready for next year. 




In a quick view of my carved pumpkin, I cut a fairly large hole in the front of my pumpkin. I then cleaned out all of the pumpkin guts. I took a foam skeleton head from the dollar store and drilled out the eyes using a 5/8 inch hole bit.


I also cut out the mouth outline and between the teeth using an utility blade. I then took a dollar store colour changing light and stuck it behind my head and squeezed the head into the opening of my pumpkin. I put a couple of large marbles in the holes. To hide any white marks created from the cutting I brushed on a little bit of thinned down black acrylic paint. 




I carved a few flame shapes around the rim of my pumpkin. I did some all of the way through the pumpkin and some shallow and removed only the pumpkin skin. When I placed my pumpkin outside I added a small led flashlight inside. So the skeleton head had colour changing eyes and mouth and the remaining pumpkin was lit with a flashlight. 


I then hung my pumpkin in a copper pot that has chains on it for hanging. I flipped a baking pan upside down and placed it inside the pot to lift the pumpkin off the bottom of the pot. I hung my pumpkin from the hook I use to hang my summer hanging baskets. This kept my pumpkin from being this year’s road smash as we have had happen in the past.
I had a great branch that my sister gave me that I put in a pot with rocks to hold it up. I simply threw on a string of mini lights and it was ready to go. 

This whole theme was great as it was just as easy to put together as it was to take down. Just cut the string around the neck of your ghosts, pop the balloons and remove them from the sticks. Fold the cover material for next year and put them away. Take the pumpkin to the compost and all is cleaned up and put away.

This was by far the easiest and the most popular Halloween I have had. I am looking forward to doing it all again next year. Wishing you a Bootiful Halloween too. This post is after Halloween but the information will be great for future use. 


 





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