On Halloween, the slightest wisp of the imagination can transform otherwise ordinary critters -- whether raucous backyard crows or peaceful garage spiders -- into terrible, hair-raising monsters. Therein lies the thrill of trick-or-treating.
Sure, candy is important. But what lasts in memory is not the sweets so much as the setting in which they were offered. Outfit your porch or entryway with beastly birds and oversize arachnids, then watch the costumed creatures descend in droves.
The front-door welcome sign is "spun" with chalk on a crafts-store blackboard in a ready-made frame; sticking plastic spiders onto woodwork with weather-stripping tack prevents damage to the finish and allows for easy removal. At the entrance to the creepy sanctuary, the mother spider waits on a web fashioned from fiberglass window screening decorated with a white paint marker.
Make a flat paper spider three-dimensional with foam-insulation balls.
Tools and Materials
Large plastic or paper spider (sold at party stores)
Black acrylic paint (tube, with brush, or spray can)
2 foam-insulation balls, one slightly larger than spider head, the other slightly larger than spider body
Black fake fur (optional)
2 red beads, for eyes
3 straight pins
White cotton string
Pushpin or self-stick hanger
Giant Spider How-To
Paint the paper spider head, body, and legs with black acrylic paint. Cut foam balls in half using a serrated knife. Paint one large half and one small half black (save other halves for another use). When dry, hot-glue strips of black fur to the larger ball for an extra-creepy effect; trim off overhang. Hot-glue the halved balls to the spider's head and body. For each eye, slide a red bead onto a straight pin, and stick it into the top of foam head. Hang the spider in front of its web: Pin a length of string to the foam body, and attach the other end to the ceiling with a pushpin or self-stick hanger.
A huge web can enclose a porch -- just cut an opening for guests to enter.
Tools and Materials
Fiberglass window screening in a 100-foot roll, depending on porch size
Kraft paper or newspaper
Yardstick or straightedge
Pushpins or thumbtacks
Cut screening to desired size. Lay screening on paper. Mark center point for web with chalk, and draw radiating lines using a yardstick as a guide. Connect the lines in a web pattern; add smaller webs in the panel corners. Paint over chalk lines using white-paint markers and yardstick. After paint is dry, cut along paint lines to create an entrance; cut edges randomly for a jagged look. Attach to porch with pushpins.