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Halloween will always be associated with my first big win in life — the day I won a massive jar of candy corn at the elementary school Halloween party by guessing the amount. The principal of the school announcing my winnings over the loudspeaker is one of the highlights of my life. Such glory… no wonder I love candy so much!

Beyond the “corny” memories, I loved that everyone wore their costumes to school. We got to wear makeup and high heels. And it didn’t even mind that we could barely breathe behind the ubiquitous plastic princess masks. (I think there were only 3 costumes to choose from back then.) Everyone ate hotdogs for dinner, making for a quick mealtime before our parents let us collect and eat candy from strangers at random houses in the neighborhood. Boy, have times changed. And I’m not only talking about safety and health precautions.

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Nowadays, in our very involved parent culture, parents must also know how to make Halloween crafts. Now THAT is really scary! I’m not a crafty person by nature, and I cringe at the thought of glitter and glue spilled all over my house. But even I have learned how to channel my inner Martha Stewart over the years to create inexpensive and EASY crafts for Halloween. The kids have loads of fun being creative, and it’s a perfect way for a family to spend some quality time together. At this point, I may even enjoy these crafty activities more than they do. Halloween doesn’t have to be just for kids.

Here are some of my favorite Halloween craft projects I’ve collected over the years:

Floating Eyes in a Blob


* Empty clear bottle/jar (with or without a lid, but with a lid is safer!)

* Corn syrup

* Green, blue or yellow food coloring

* Plastic googly eyes from craft store


1. Pour corn syrup into your jar. Fill an inch or two away from the top.

2. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring and stir.

3. Drop in the googly eyes, which will float.

4. Cover if you don’t want a mess!

Photo Credit: Alma Schneider

Spider Hats

(Can also double as a costume worn with a black outfit )


* Black foam visor or foam cut out in a long strip like a headband

* Hole puncher

* 4 black pipe cleaners

* Glue or tape

* Googly eyes

* Red construction paper


1. Take your hole puncher (or just stick the pie cleaner through) and make 4 holes on each side of the hat/headband.

2. From the inside of the hat/headband, thread the pipe cleaner through one hole and out the other, then back through to the top again. Use 2 holes for one pipe cleaner.

3. Bend each pipe cleaner to make it look like the legs have knees.

4. Add tape or a dot of glue to the back of each eye, and then place the eyes on the front of the hat/headband.

5. Optional: Cut out a mouth from construction paper and glue or tape that on as well.

Scary Hands


* Black construction Paper

* Yellow construction Paper

* Glue stick

* Scissors

* Glitter (be careful with this!)

* Crayons

* Optional: Chewed up gum (for nasty warts)

* Optional: Nail decals or small stickers


1. Trace hands on green paper and cut out hands.

2. Draw and cut out fingernails on yellow paper.

3. Draw warts or use chewed-up gum on the hands.

4. Decorate the fingernails with glitter and glue/decals/stickers to the hands.

5. Hang as decorations on your door or in windows.

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Balloon Ghost Decorations


* 2 round balloons

* Black construction paper

* Clear tape or glue

* White string or yarn

* Old white sheet or big old white t-shirt (cut up to look like a sheet)

* Scissors


1. Blow up balloons. Tie off with string or knot the balloon itself.

2. Cut up a sheet to size of your desired ghost body.

3. Place balloon in the center, wrap sheet or t-shirt around the head and tie off a knot with the string or yarn at the bottom of balloon so sheet hangs freely below the balloon head.

4. Cut out eyes with the construction paper and tape, or glue on the covered balloon where you would like the eyes to go.

5. Tape the balloon to your front door or hang with string from nearby tree or bushes.

Photo Credit: Alma Schneider

Orange Spider Decoration


* 2 black pipe cleaners

* 1 orange

* Plastic vampire teeth

* 1 red hot or Skittle candy

* 2 googly eyes

* Tape, glue or frosting


1. Cut pipe cleaners into 3-inch pieces.

2. Insert 4 pipe cleaner pieces into one side of the orange and bend the legs at the midpoint. Do the same on the other side.

3. Tape, glue or frost the eyes to the front of the orange.

4. Place a dot of frosting under the eyes for the nose, and place a red hot or Skittle candy.

5. Make two small slits with a knife at the outer edges of the vampire teeth, and stick the teeth into the orange where the mouth should be.

6. Prop up the orange on a little cup, and place anywhere as a decoration.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Alma Schneider is a licensed Clinical Social Worker helping individuals overcome their psychological and practical obstacles to cooking and parenting on her blog and consulting business, Take Back the Kitchen. She is a native New Yorker transplanted to the suburbs with her husband, four children and loving yet stubborn Beagle Shiloh.