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Halloween Party Crafts

Source: Halloween 2004, Volume 2004 Special Issue 2004


The simplest supplies can make the party. The shivery, candy-fueled thrill of trick-or-treating lasts but an hour or two. Why not prolong the fun by inviting kids to a party? Little goblins can work together with grown-ups to make decorations, including papier-mache pumpkins and decoupage lanterns.

These easy crepe- and tissue-paper techniques can also be used to make spherical treat containers and even a pinata shaped like a wing-flapping bat. None of the projects here requires anything more than basic craft supplies. Set aside some time on an early-fall afternoon to create all, or just one, of the haunting ornaments. For a really special event, you can sew costumes with paper streamers and crepe paper. Soon your house will be transformed into the perfect venue for a monster celebration.

Papier-Mache Basics
Almost all the projects on these pages -- from tiny treat containers to a giant bat pinata -- begin with these two steps: Pasting layers of tissue paper onto balloons that serve as forms, and then letting them dry, hardening so they can be cut and embellished. The balloons vary in size from the large birthday-party variety to small ones sometimes sold as water balloons. A list of what you'll need to get started is below; additional necessary items are included with each project. Templates for treat-ball silhouettes and cat and bat faces can be downloaded and printed. When using black tissue paper, wear gloves and cover your work surface because the dye may run and stain.

Tools and Materials
Craft glue
Colored tissue
Medium artist's paintbrush
Clothespins and clothesline
Small scissors
Utility knife

Begin by resting a balloon on an empty jar (this will prevent the damp tissue from discoloring or sticking to the work surface). Dab diluted craft glue (2 parts glue to 1 part water) on a small section of the balloon, and drape a strip of tissue paper from the balloon's crown to its knot. Using a paintbrush, apply more glue over the strip. Add another strip so it slightly overlaps the first, and brush on more glue. Continue around the balloon, layering tissue as desired (see individual project instructions for details) and leaving the knot exposed.

Using clothespins, hang the tissue-covered balloons from the clothesline by their knots; let dry completely (several hours or overnight). Pop each balloon by making a slit with scissors next to the knot. Remove balloon through hole around knot.

Treat Balls

Treat balls adorned with silhouettes are spooky party favors.

You will also need: treats.

Cover small balloons with one layer of orange tissue paper and then one layer of yellow. Cut out your own shapes, or download and print our silhouettes, then trace them onto black tissue paper; cut out each shape. Affix the silhouettes to spheres with diluted glue. When dry, enlarge knot holes (start cutting with utility knife, then finish with scissors). For party favors, fill balls with candy and tiny toys; paste a circle of orange tissue paper over the hole.


Jack-o'-lanterns set an eerie party mood. These papier-mache versions started out as balloons. Strips of tissue paper and glue give the grinning faces structure. Make them with stems or without, and illuminate with battery-powered lights.

You will also need: floral wire, floral tape, cotton balls.

Cover a balloon with two layers of orange tissue paper, then two of yellow. Once dry, cut a lid from knot end, and a small circle from other end for a base. Cut out features with utility knife and scissors; cover inside with tissue (glue at edges). For stem, push three lengths of floral wire through knot hole in lid. Attach a cotton ball to underside with floral tape. Wrap each wire in floral tape; twist together at bottom to create stem's base; wrap end of each wire around a pencil to make tendrils.

Candy Dispenser 

This hissing papier-mache cat has a mouthful of treats.

You will also need: newspaper, white pencil, black duct tape, white and black card stock, treats.

Cover balloon with two layers of red tissue paper, two of newspaper, then with black tissue. Let dry. With utility knife and scissors, cut out a mouth-shaped wedge (sketch with white pencil first); set aside. Secure with duct tape across inside of upper lip. Cover tape with black tissue. Cut ears from wedge, and affix with duct tape; cover with tissue. Download and print face template; trace onto card stock. Cut out features; attach with undiluted craft glue. Roll black tissue into whiskers; glue in place. Fill mouth with treats.

Cat-Bucket Variation
Make head without cutting out mouth; cut a hole on top. Place ears on either side. Poke a hole 1/2 inch in from edge on each side of rim; thread with black wire and twist ends for handle.

Bat Pinata

This bat pinata is creepy enough to be the center of your decorations. Just be careful after dark; he might swoop down and give you a fright.

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