10 DIY Halloween decorations for all ages

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    (Janet Paik/Houzz)

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    (Corynne Pless/Houzz)

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    (Corynne Pless/Houzz)

October is an exciting month for the family. Even if you or your kids aren’t into the haunted part of Halloween, you can still embrace the festivities of fall, warmth and togetherness. Encourage your kids to exercise their imagination and creativity with these Halloween-themed crafts that everyone can participate in.

1. Family Portrait Pumpkins

Skip the mess of carving pumpkins this year by investing in some good old fashioned chalk. Simply paint a circle on each pumpkin with chalkboard paint. You’ll probably have to apply at least three coats of paint. Then, draw a self-portrait using a piece of chalk. Voila!

2. Colorful Garland

Before kids jump in the pile of leaves this weekend, encourage them to collect a few especially vibrant ones. Press the leaves in a book for a couple of hours while the kids continue to play outside. Once they’ve been flattened, show your children how to clip the leaves to a string with miniature clothespins and find spots to hang them throughout the house together.

3. Harvest Vignettes

Look to nature’s bounty for easy decor ideas. Arrange apples, pears, pumpkins, squash and gourds in baskets throughout your kitchen and dining areas. Having easy access to fruits will also promote healthy eating for your family this season.

4. Candy Laboratory

First, gather vases, jars and dishes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Then fill each container with colorful treats, like candy corn, marshmallows and of course candy eyeballs. Challenge your family members to come up with a creative new name for each candy. Crows bones, zombie zingers and pumpkin teeth are excellent examples. Arrange the jars neatly on a tray or turn a bar cart into a wonderful candy buffet.

5. Candy Corn Checkerboards

A checkerboard made from a placemat can be quickly rolled up and easily tucked away. Cut a 1½-inch square from cardstock paper to make a stencil. Start at one edge of the square and paint every other square. Precise placement and straight lines aren’t necessary in this project, which makes it great for kids. Small imperfections can even give the game a rustic or quirky look. You can use candy corn or small plastic spiders as game pieces.

6. Gothic Deskscape

Fall break is the perfect time to take a break from work and transform your home office into a spooky showcase. Open a dictionary and lay a magnifying glass on the definition of “Halloween”. Stack a pile of literature to display your favorite fall titles, like The Tell-Tale Heart or Harry Potter. Swap out a desk lamp’s lightbulb for one with an orange glow or purple hue, and don’t forget an inkwell and quill pen!

7. Mantel Accessories

Fireplace mantels are the go-to spot for any holiday decor. Find wooden display letters at your local craft store to spell out “boo” or another ghastly term above the hearth. Place a mini pumpkin or two and add some candles. A stack of books and a vase of bare branches are also great ideas.

8. Stylish Spider Webs

Tulle is great for wrapping accessories, draping over doorways and even dressing up the bushes. Don’t overlook the nooks and crannies though. This fabric is even more effective in small corners of a room since that’s where spiders hang out most anyway. You might even have to dust off a few real webs before making your own.

9. Window Decals

Shadows and silhouettes can be extra spooky this time of year. Use your interior lighting and the long dark nights to your advantage by decorating windows with DIY decals. Sketch large outlines of your favorite Halloween characters on fade-resistant paper. Then cut out your witches, skeletons, bats, cats or ghosts and tape them to the inside of your home’s windows.

10. Dip-Dyed Baskets

Prepare for trick-or-treaters this year by sprucing up a traditional candy basket. Fill a plastic container (larger than your basket) with semigloss paint. Place the basket in the paint and push down until all sides are covered to your desired height. Let the basket sit overnight on an elevated rack you don’t mind getting dirty, like an old cookie sheet. Reuse this basket all year long as stylish storage!

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