You know that crazy house in the neighborhood that goes all out with the Halloween decorations? The one that everyone going by in his or her car slows down to look at? The one that must have taken days to assemble? The one where you wonder, “Where do they find the time? Don’t they work?” Well, that’s my house. (Much to my husband’s grief.) And lucky for me, that IS my work!
I just can’t help myself! And I am fickle, so each year I need to give it a new spin, new lights, new ghouls, fog…(my husband doesn’t know about the new fog machine yet so let’s keep that between us until it starts rolling across the street next weekend.)
There is one new element this year that looks so awesome and creepy, and was incredibly easy to make. Believe me. ANYONE can do this.
Meet the new ladies of the spirit world.
Here is what you need:
1. Get yourself some Styrofoam wig heads. These are seriously about $5. Go to a local wig shop or order them right on Amazon. Make sure being handled too much has not smashed the noses in. They can be used, but must have very clear features.
2. Two yards of white fabric for each head. Be sure to use something thin and stretchy. T-shirt jersey or some other polyester as long as it is thin.
3. Sheer curtain panels or fabric, one for each head. (I get pairs of them at IKEA for just a few dollars.)
4. White plastic PVC pipe. **It must be ¾ inches wide. If you want these standing in the ground, get a variation of lengths from 4 to 6 feet for each, plus some pre-cut 2’ pieces. If these will be in trees, you can get just the 2’ pieces. They should have a cutter at the hardware store. It’s a scissor style snapper that will cleanly cut through it. You may also want to pick up a few “elbow” pieces to vary the angles of the heads.
5. Outdoor ModPodge and a wide inexpensive paintbrush, bristle or sponge.
6. White clothesline string.
7. A rubber mallet.
8. A pair of scissors
9. A few PLUG IN exterior light fixtures that stick into the ground along with some green exterior flood lights.
10. (Optional) stiff rubber gloves.
When you have all or your supplies, start by ripping ½ yard pieces of the white fabric, as many as you have heads. It can be rough edged, that is fine.
Line up your heads on flat surface, faces up. Start by dipping you brush in your modpodge and giving the front of the face, forehead, and just below the jaw line a thin coating. Lay your fabric on top and begin to stretch it around the face while pressing it into the crevices. It won’t stay perfectly at first and that’s OK. It will stay wet for a while so you have time to play. Next, Dip your brush back in the modpodge and start a layer on top of the fabric. Be generous. You will see that as it soaks in, the fabric will become softer, heavier, and easier to press into the features of the face. Don’t be afraid to use your fingers if that helps. Just let the extra fabric drape for now.
Repeat this process with each head. Once this is complete, put them somewhere to dry. An hour or two may be plenty depending on the temperature.
While that is drying, let’s talk about the optional “hands.” I have made them both ways. Either is great so it’s your choice. Fill the rubber gloves with plastic bags to make them stiff. Then take the filled gloves and repeat the process you followed for the heads, with the gloves. You will want the top of the gloves covered so the fabric hangs down. This is a bit more challenging due to all of the curved surfaces, but take your time; and remember it doesn’t need to be perfect.
Now, everything is dry and ready. Time to take it outside. If you are putting some in the ground, choose one of your long poles and hammer it down into the ground with your rubber mallet. Keep hammering until it stays firmly on it’s own.
You will notice that under the neck of the heads is a hole. Your ¾” PVC pipe will fit in there perfectly like they were made for each other. To have the heads look straight out, put directly on the large pole. If you want to have the head sit higher and look down, attach an elbow joint, then one of your 2’ poles, and then the head.
If your spirits will be soaring through trees, you can simply attach the head to the short poles, and angle them how you want. Search for a place where the pole can be anchored in two spots to keep it in place. Tie some of your clothesline string around each point.
At this point you will have a collection of poles with fabric-covered heads. Cut a few dozen pieces of the clothesline and stick them in your pocket so you can grab them quickly. Start to drape the fabric around the faces by pulling each side up around the back of the head. With your scissor, cut a small hole in each. Feed one piece of rope through both holes and tie in place. Now, get some of the remaining stretch fabric and tear off another good size piece. Wrap it around the pole and repeat the previous step, remembering to also attach it to the last piece so it doesn’t slide down.
Alternate this step over and over with both the stretchy jersey and the sheer curtain panels. You can be very forgiving with how small or big the pieces are. It becomes a sort of intuitive thing. Imagine you are making her a long flowing dress. I have even connected heads to make the spirit look as if one has broken off into two. They are spirits for goodness sake! They can flow wherever they’d like!
If you decided to make the optional hands, take a small PVC pole and wedge it into the glove up to the fingers. Follow the same steps as mentioned above. Place them accordingly on the sides of the heads.
Once you finish all of your lovely flowing spirits, it’s time for lighting. This is actually best to do at night. Place your light fixtures just in front and below your creations so that the light shines up on them causing severe shadows. Due to the Styrofoam heads being slipped on to the poles, you can turn the heads until you get the best effect. Be creative. Remember to take into account where most people will view them.
Welcome to the world of those devoted to the art of spook. You are now the crazy house on the block! Yes. It took a bit of time, but the effect is spectacular. The best part…you won’t have to do this again next year. You will have them ready to go…and we, the worshippers of this hallowed holiday can come up with some other spooky projects to scare the neighbors!
"Cross over children. All are welcome. All welcome. Go into the Light. There is peace and serenity in the Light." - Poltergeist.1982
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