As I’m sure you’re aware, Halloween can be harsh on the bank account. Costumes, booze, decorations, pumpkins, and don’t even get me started on all the candy you’re expected to just hand out for free to every grimy little bastard that knocks on your door. That shit adds up, and quickly. Instead of doing something insane like “scaling down” or “not decorating this year”, I suggest putting on your Martha Stewart hat (or skirt or underthings or skin or what have you) and try the do-it-yourself route. It’s not always necessarily cheaper, but it feels like it should cost less than buying from a store, so it’s a pretty satisfying option. Plus, should anyone compliment you on your props, you can very smugly reply, “Oh, yeah, that? No, it’s no big deal. I just made it myself ’cause I can do shit like that. Why, what do you do? Buy?”
The path to superiority begins here:
I can’t wait to try this one myself. This could be used so many ways; in a makeshift front yard cemetary, under a freshly burned witch’s corpse, or underneath one of those plastic cauldrons everyone in the United States owns. The instructions look relatively easy to follow, and it actually doesn’t appear to be that expensive to put together! I bet this could be put together with such little frustration, a DIYer could get it done using only one alcoholic de-stressor and one swear word.
Head in a Jar
There are two ways to do this, and they’re equally easy. You can submerge a Halloween mask into a jar filled with green tinted water and call it a day, or you can print off a picture of a flattened face and put that in the jar instead. To make it extra realistic, throw a crappy old wig in there, too. Templates for a printed out face can be found here. I’d call this one at one drink, no swears.
Super easy! Pick yourself up a small, tabletop rotating fan, and remove the cage and blades. Throw a mask on top and voila! You’ve got an instant prop. Obviously you’ll want to dress it up a touch more than just a mask on a fan, so I like to thrown something over the base: bloodied cheesecloth, an old tattered sheet dirtied up, or the robe of the Grim Reaper costume everyone has lying around somewhere. Shove that bad boy in an old crate and you’re good to go. One drink, no swears.
If you’re extra ambitious, you can purchase a photocell switch and make a sensor to animate this prop only when someone breaks the beam, making it much more unexpected and impressive. Instructions can be found here. Two drinks, one and a half swears, but so worth it.
This one is a little more complicated, only because most decent Halloween masks are sold not just as a face, but include the top of the head, the back of the head, and usually a neck. For this particular prop, you very specifically need JUST the face. You’ll need to very carefully cut off the excess parts because this can quickly go to hell if you get too sharp of edges. Otherwise it looks really wonky and you just fucked up a $20.00 mask. Other than that, this one is pretty self-explanatory. One drink (to steady your scissor-holding hand) and three panicky swears.
This might seem like the lamest option here, but stick with me, people. Once you’ve got a shit ton of fake barbed wire, you can do lots of things.Like a garland for a staircase. Or it cane become a costume accessory. Or you can do this:
Or whatever your freaky heart desires! The possibilities are endless. Endless, I say! Directions are not as cut and dry as I know you’re thinking, so make sure to read them here. It might take some time to get the amount of barbed wire you need, but that’s where the three drinks come in, and one delighted, “fuck yeah!” when you’re finished.
You might need a little artistic skill to pull this off, or at least the misplaced confidence to try to pull it off. The books are easy enough to find at any thrift or secondhand store, and the art supplies themselves shouldn’t run you too much. Most craft stores like Michael’s have tons of coupons online just waiting to be Googled and used. Because I don’t have this kind of artistic talent myself, I know I’ll need to allow myself four drinks, and ten-plus swears. But I believe in you, readers. I really guess I do.
Ghost Face Frame
Warning: Do NOT just look at this picture and assume you can throw this together. You cannot. It is so much more than just cheesecloth, a decapitated doll, and a frame. You MUST read the directions or you will fuck it up. We tried this a few days ago in my household and it didn’t end well.
I highly recommend you use the Styrofoam craft heads referenced in the how-to, and if you must use a doll, use a straight up baby doll. Bald. No hair. No extra frills like a fucking magnetic tongue, just a regular bald-ass baby doll. Good luck finding them, though. Apparently no one donates that shit to thrift stores anymore. I’m still bitter over my seven drink, uncountable swears experience, but if you actually read the directions I would put this one at a two drinks, three swears.
This one came from a Halloween forum and was created by member “creepycathy”. It’s such a phenomenal idea because it relies on subtlety and suggestion rather than outright gore. Of course, if you pair it with some fake body bags (which can be found in this post) or streak it artfully with blood, that would be equally badass. Creepycathy hand cut the letters for her sign (and it is important for authenticity that they do extend from the sign itself) but if you don’t have that kind of patience, foam letters can be purchased from a local craft store and painted by you. There aren’t many instructions included, but it’s easy enough to figure out. A little more involved than most projects, so I say four drinks, four swears.
I love gory props for Halloween parties, because they discourage guests from just touching whatever they want. You gotta instill that fear in people when opening up your house like that. Bloody body parts are a great way to do that. This video will show you how to make awesome severed fingers, and this will teach you how to make your own fake blood and other body part props! I give you unlimited drinks and swears on this one, because I think you should turn this into a prop-making party and have fun with it.
I highly encourage each and every reader to make these bad boys and fling them all over your yard, your porch, your neighbor’s cat! I want to hear of waves of traumatized children and pissed off parents. The above picture comes from Spirit Halloween, but if you DIY you can make them much more realistic and gross! Remember, guys: there’s no such thing as too much blood. As cool as this is, it looks a little tedious, so I decree three drinks and ten swears (liquid latex can be a bitch to work with).
How amazing is this one?! I like to refer to this as “Satan’s Pet Pumpkin” but it makes my grandma cry so I changed the name here. The best part is how crazy easy this is to do! It’s a cheap and fun way to wow guest and/or trick-or-treaters, and you have no excuse to not do this. No drinks, though…I can’t in good conscience recommend you partake while working with fire. All the swears you can handle though. You earned it.
Now go! Go forth and scare the fuck out of your neighborhood and make sure to send me pictures of the carnage.