Hauntingly good Halloween decorations

Adrienne Wyper / 25 October 2016

Fun ideas to decorate the house and dining table this Halloween.



Set the scene for trick-or-treaters with these fabulous homemade Halloween decoration ideas – great fun for grandchildren to make!

Gauzy mini-ghosts

These sheer spectres look great hanging from fishing line, or placed on a mantelpiece or shelf, where they appear to hover with no visible means of support.

Cut gauze or cheesecloth into circles, using a plate to draw around. Make sugar water to stiffen the fabric. Dissolve one cup of white sugar in two cups of warm water. Dip the fabric circles in and squeeze out excess liquid. Now drape the wet cloth over an orange, tennis ball or an upturned teacup. Pinch the bottom edge into folds. Leave overnight until dry. When dry, use a black felt-tip to draw on eyes and mouth. Tie on a length of fishing line or black thread and hang up, or leave as they are and place on a surface.

Floating phantoms

You can use black or white balloons for these. For both, blow up the balloon and drape in a piece of white fabric. If you’re using black balloons, cut holes in the fabric for eyes and mouth. If you’re using white balloons, draw on the eyes and mouth with thick black marker pen. Suspend the balloons from the ceiling with fishing line, thread or fine string, or use helium-filled balloons and the 'ghosts' will float near the ceiling.

Try these fun Halloween activities with grandchildren

Phantom in the frame

Cut an outline of the top half of a ghost, cutting out eyes and mouth holes, from a large sheet of white tissue paper. Stick the straight edge of the paper to the top of a door frame, so that the ghost is hanging down upside down. Now close the door. The next person to open it will get a spooky surprise. These half-ghosts also work well hung up at the window…

Ghosts under glass

Keep scary ghosts safely stored in a jar.

Tip a handful of wood shavings, straw or soil into a jam jar. Make a gauzy ghost as above, or drape a piece of sheer white fabric over a cotton-wool ball. Draw on eyes and mouth with black felt-tip. Thread a needle with white thread and pass through the fabric and cot-ton-wool ball. Fix the thread to the underside of the lid with sticky tape. Screw on the lid, and decorate with a ribbon.

Ghost decorations

Spooky snacks

Banana ghosts and clementine pumpkins are healthy little treats that are so easy to make. Slice bananas in half, making sure the cut is a right angles so that the banana halves can stand up. Stick on chocolate drops or raisins for eyes and mouth with a little honey or jam. Peel some clementines or satsumas, and push a sliver of celery, green-skinned apple or green pepper into the top for the pumpkin’s stalk.

Creepy cupcake toppers

The simplest sort of cupcake toppers are shapes cut from card, pushed into the icing on top of the cakes. Shapes that are simple to draw and cut out include ghost, black cat, gravestone and bat. You can also tape card shapes to cocktail sticks or bamboo skewers (make sure children remove them from cakes before eating). Or wrap your card shapes around the base of the cakes, securing with sticky tape. 

With coloured ready-to-roll icing (£1.80, 250g, Hobbycraft) and writing icing (Lakeland, from £1.99) your scope broadens. Turn a cake into a ghost by rolling out a circle of white icing, drape it over, and use a little honey, jam or icing sugar and water to stick on chocolate drops, raisins or pieces of liquorice for eyes and a mouth. Alternatively, draw on features with writing icing. You can also cut the Halloween shapes above from coloured icing, to lay on top or push into the icing. Or how about a mini ghost on a stick, made in the same way as the gauzy mini-ghosts?

Try baking these Halloween cupcakes

Chilling bat colony

Re-create a roosting bat colony in a twig tree. This makes a great buffet table centrepiece.

Draw your own designs or use this bat template (PDF) to cut out lots of bat shapes from black card. Snip a hole in the top of each one, and tie a hanging loop with black thread.

Arrange a bundle of twigs in a vase, and hang the bats from the ‘branches’.

Spooky bunting

Decide on the shapes you want to use, such as orange or black traditional bunting triangles and Halloween shapes like pumpkins, ghosts and bats. Orange circles are great for getting creative with pumpkin lantern faces in black pen. Space them out along a length of string or ribbon, and fix in place with sticky tape. Hang the bunting up on a wall or window.

Read our tips for carving and decorating a jack-o'-lantern

Halloween table decorations

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