For a super spooky effect and one that is sure to be loved by children, how about having some scary ghosts floating through your garden. It’s easy to create these ghostly Halloween yard decoration using inexpensive craft items. For the best effect your life size ghosts will look fantastic hanging from trees or alternatively, place one on your front porch to give ‘Trick or Treaters’ a real fright!.
For each ghost you will need:
- 6-8 packages of muslin or cheesecloth
- 1 large foam ball
- 2 small foam balls
- A paint roller extension pole or similar long stick
- 2 meter rules
- A hammer
- 2 short large-headed nails
- A jug of liquid fabric starch
- an empty spray bottle
- a sheet of black felt
- fabric glue
- large sewing needle
- spool of fishing line
Step 1: To create each ghost’s framework, construct a skeleton by layering the paint roller extension pole and two meter rules crossed over as illustrated. Use a large-headed nail to attach these together, one on top of the other.
Step 2: Secure the Extension Pole framework in a non windy spot for ease of draping the ghostly fabric.
Step 3: Attach the ghost’s head by pushing a large foam ball onto the top of the extension pole.
Step 4: Attach the ghost’s hands by fixing a smaller foam ball to each of the outstretched yard sticks.
Step 5: Draping the cheesecloth is where your ghostly figure will start to come to life, so to speak! Start by draping large sheets of muslin over the framework as shown. Continue to add more fabric and adjust the folds until you are happy with the effect.
Step 6: Fix your ghostly form in place by using Spray Starch: Dilute the fabric starch and pour into the spray bottle. Saturate the head arms and upper structures with the starch solution. Leave the body free from starch so that your ghostly figure will trail in the breeze.
Step 7: Once the starch has hardened fully, its time to create the ghost’s eerie features. The shapes of these are down to you. For an adult party the phantom’s features can be made particularly gruesome, but for a kid’s party maybe you could go for a more friendly or comic impact. To create the eyes and mouth cut these simple shapes out of black felt and use a fabric glue to stick them on the head.
Step 8: Now its time to remove the small foam balls that have formed the hands, do this with care so as not to damage the delicate forms in the stiffened fabric.
Step 9: To suspend your ghost you will need to attach fishing line to the arms. Using a large sewing needle thread a long length of fishing line through the fabric of both hands. Knot these securely so that your apparition doesn’t disappear in a gust of wind.
Step 10: Finally, attach the fishing line to head, again using the large sewing needle, attach a long length of fishing line to the top of the ghost’s head. If possible pass the needle straight through the foam ball for extra strength. Knot this length of fishing line very securely.
The really exciting part of the whole process is to display your fabulous floating phantoms on trees or hooks in the yard or outside your front door to ‘welcome’ guests. Of course these creepy ghouls would look super dramatic if positioned near your terrifying tombstones. Combine these dramatic Halloween yard decorations with some of the eerie lanterns and carved pumpkins described in our other Halloween feature articles, for a perfectly creepy outdoor party setting.