Halloween Tricks and Treats
by Jennifer Hammond-Moore
Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I would spend months planning out Halloween costumes and planning our fall activities. One year our family turned our home into a haunted house. It helped that at the time we were in the middle of renovating a turn of the century home and had just demolished walls and door openings to make way for new construction. My parents allowed us to lay black plastic throughout and bring in endless bags of leaves to add to the sounds of the season. We toured children through the house for days and called it the “Amodt-evil-horror House,” wordplay on the movie the Amityville Horror. What a great, adventurous memory.
Growing up with such inspiring, artistic outlets only added to my desire to learn more. When I was asked to write about Halloween DIY my thoughts went straight to costumes. Unfortunately there is not enough space to print costume tutorials that I would feel could guide you to your ultimate halloween experience, so instead I wanted to share some simple but fun DIYs that you can also use other times of the year.
It’s All About the Treat
One of the easiest treats you can make are cake pops. I actually purchased an electric cake pop maker for under $20 and have used it many times for quick treats. You can use a boxed cake mix or make a mix from scratch and fill the wells with the mix. I prefer to use a gluten free mix that can be purchased at most grocery stores. The cook time is under 10 minutes per batch and they just need to cool before they are frosted. Know that you should dust the crumbs off before frosting as well.
The Art is in the Decorating
Melting the decorating chocolate or almond bark just enough to make it smooth and not overcooking is important. I like to fill decorating bags with the mix and then drizzle over the cake rather than dip it into the mix – if the cake falls off the stick or fork you will have a mess. Using decorating bags with smaller amounts of mix is easier to guide on the small pop work surface.
To Etch, Not Scratch
I learned how to etch glass one summer at camp. There wasn’t a glass surface that was safe after that class. It took a Pinterest reminder to bring back all of the fun that can be created in a small amount of time and with relatively little cost. Etching creates a translucent effect on your work surface.
– glass cups, bottles, vases or mirrors (thrift stores are a great place to find glass)
– clear contact paper
– exacto knife
– glass etching cream (purchased at Michaels, other craft stores, or online). Probably the safest way to etch.
– waterproof gloves
– eye protection
– small paintbrush
Etching is made by covering areas that are either the negative or positive of a picture and etching or acid washing the opposite area.
I like to find templates online of the item that I want to etch into the glass. Print the template, then trace onto the contact paper and cut out with the exacto knife or a very sharp pair of scissors. Apply to the glass, making sure not to get skin oils on the surface of the glass. Press edges of the contact paper down with a pen lid or something smooth. Whatever isn’t firmly secure will allow the etching cream to get under and will etch out as well. Once
your design is secure, apply the etching cream with your small paint brush and let sit according to the drying time on your specific etching cream instructions. Rinse the etching cream off using a bucket of water and the paint brush you used to apply the cream. Complete a final rinse of the etched item under tap water and let dry. Dump the etching water in a space that will not damage plants or go into the local water system – it is acid after all. Take care not to get in eyes or on skin. Rinse off quickly if you come into contact. I have never been burned by it, but I would not want there to be a first.
Ta-da! Wasn’t that easy? You can also paint inside the etched area or add a stain for a contrast.
Quit Wining and Apply Spray
Thousands of empty glass and wine bottles get thrown out every day. A great way to upcyle them is to clean, dry, then spray with chalkboard paint.
Chalkboard spray paint can be purchased almost anywhere now. I got mine from Walmart for under $5. You can spray at least a dozen bottles with one can. The dry time is quick as well but remember to use quick, light spray strokes so your paint doesn’t drip down the bottle – unless that is your
intention for Halloween décor.
Apply some cute ribbon, cording, or twine for decoration and then be as creative as you want with your chalk. We used some of our chalkboard wine bottles at a buffet table to write what the food items were. The chalk can be wiped off and you can reuse your bottles for multiple holidays.
Remember that you are only limited by your own imagination. Take a little time for some DIY fun this fall and bring your creative side out to play.