Whether Hurricane Sandy decided your Halloween decorations would look better in someone else's yard, or the holiday snuck up on you, it's not too late to get in the spirit.
I've made these ghosts three years in a row now, each time trying new tweaks (no, arm like protuberances are not an improvement) and learning from them. No, these ghosts will not make the neighborhood kids shriek in fear, but I love how each one ends up with an individual personality and the way they sway when the wind blows. The more you make, the better the effect.
- roughly a yard of fabric per ghost. Muslin is really cheap (a little over a dollar per yard) and works well. Old sheets would be classic, but I never seem to own white sheets. Blue ghost anyone?
- Yarn or string
- Big needle - yarn or darning needles are ideal
- Waterproof markers such as Sharpies
- Styrofoam ball for each ghost - 6" diameter or larger works best. These can be found at craft stores. You could also use a plastic, rounded container like a large yogurt container, gallon milk jug or soda bottle. It needs to be something that will give the ghost shape and is easy to pierce with a needle.
What to do:
- Thread the needle with about an arm's length of yarn.
- Poke the needle through the styrofoam ball. The trick here is to get it as deep into the ball as possible (so the ball doesn't just rip when weight is placed on the yarn), but still be able to push the needle through the ball without it getting stuck. I have occasionally gotten a needle stuck and been able to shove it out the other side with a chop stick or other thin device.
- Tie the end of the yarn that went through the ball, to the big long tail.
- Now for the fun part. Fold the yard of fabric in half so it is roughly a triangle. Nothing needs to be precise here, these are ghosts afterall.
- Find the center of the fold. This is going to be the top of the ghost's head. Move down a couple inches. This is where you want to place the eyes. If you do use Sharpies, let me warn you that the purple and maroon will run when they come in contact with rain, no matter what the package may say.
- Make the face big and have some fun with it. I've gone with the classic black holes for eyes and mouth look. I've also made faces that look like candy (candy corn teeth and lollipop eyes). The kids I've done this with have colored big orange pumpkin heads on their ghosts, have written spooky messages and have made some of the funniest faces you can imagine. This can even be done with toddlers, as long as you keep on eye on what they decide to color with their Sharpie. It's the making that matters.
- When the masterpiece is complete, one again attatch the needle to the thread hanging from the styrofoam head. Put the head inside the fabric and poke the needle through. Remove the needle and tie the ghost to a tree.
When Halloween is just a fun memory, the fabric can be ripped up for rags or added to your compost. The styrofoam balls can be reused year after year.