There are a few reasons why I want my grandkids to know how to make paper mache decorations for Halloween. I suspect that the day will come when they see a "totally awesome," creepy looking life size party monster that they will just "gotta have." Chances are that the price will be "equally awesome" too, but chances are even better that mommy will step in and say, "You're not bringing that gruesome thing into our house!" Fair enough, mommy. That's when I want the kids to remember that any fantastic seasonal decoration their little hearts ever desire can be made by themselves using a skill that grandma introduced at pre-school age.
This friendly ghost is an easy "three-visits-to-grandma's" project. It costs next to nothing, recycles newspaper and backyard sticks, entails just the right amount of sloppy mess to keep the finickiest little crafter happy, and results in a decoration that will charm everybody for years to come.
Here's how we made ours:
Day 1: Construction
Give each child an open sheet of newspaper (20" x 23") and demonstrate bunching it up into a ball. This will be the head. Wrap the ball in a second sheet and bunch up the excess so it begins to form a tapered body that is not unlike a turkey drumstick. Use a third and a fourth sheet until satisfied with the shape and size of ghost. Hold everything in place with masking tape.
Our ghosts are 10" 15" and 18" tall. Originally, each child was to make one 15" ghost requiring four sheets of paper, but the boys insisted on another pair for their year old twin sisters. Those are the small ones, made from two sheets.
But what about mommy and daddy? The larger "six sheeters" fill that order. Whew! What was to be a three ghost event quickly turned into a convention of seven!
|"Me? Put my cute little hands inside of THAT?|
You first, grandma!"
Once size and shape are satisfactory, have the children tear strips of newspaper, about 2-3" wide, while you make the flour paste. Fill a small bucket with about a quart of warm water, add a few handfuls of all-purpose flour, and stir with your hand until it is the consistency of craft glue. Dip the strips into the paste and cover each form with 2 or 3 layers. Place the ghosts on plastic bags to dry. Turn them over a few times as needed. Drying should take 2 days at the most. See above photo.
Day 2: Stick Arms and Painting
Take the kids into the woods and select arms for each ghost. Sticks that are forked are the best choice.
Poke holes into the sides, insert arms, and secure with craft glue.
Once glue has dried, it's time to paint. Acrylics are a good choice, but spray painting is the quickest method....and the one most like a squirt bottle of whipped topping! Protect the area with cardboard or newspaper, paint the first side, flip over and repeat.
Use acrylic paint for features - black for eyes, and orange for cheeks. If you have a craft punch and scraps of paper, kids will enjoy punching and gluing either eyes or cheeks, or both, with this method.
Punch a hole in center top of head. Knot the end of a length of yarn or cord and insert into hole. Secure with glue and dry.
Cut strips of white crepe paper, about 10 per ghost, at least 18" long. Fold one end over a stick arm, closest to body. Place glue on end of paper and pinch together to hold in place. Repeat until both arms are covered as shown in top photo.
Thank you to my dear friend, Lily, for the darling photo of Brielle taken during a strawberry eating binge at a family celebration. I love it!