Saturday, August 31, 2013


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!"
Bree, at age two, was not a fan of the sticky mess, so she happily skipped away, allowing grandma to make one (pictured at top) for her!

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.

Day 3: Decorate and Complete

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!


  1. Look at the little one with the spray paint ...I am impressed! You are brave. I think I'd spray paint ahead of time, ha ha ..

    I guess it is time to buy the Sunday paper for a few weeks

    That picture of Bree..priceless! :)

  2. Paper mache day in art class used to be my favorite...what kiddo wouldn't love making these?!

  3. I agree - that picture of Bree is so sweet but then so are the pictures of the boys. You are such a good Grandma! Great instructions by the way but where do I find the woods?!

  4. What fun! My latest installment of A Little About Diana is up and I've nominated you for the Leibster Award.

  5. The grands are precious. What a wonderful project. Sure miss all the fun we used to have when our grands were small. They are all adults now. They still like to come to Papaw and Mamaw's to eat but not to make crafts. They grow up too quick. Enjoy while you can and I know you do.

  6. Ohhh another wonderful project - hmmm, newspaper? What is that? LOL

  7. This is so cute! My granddaughter has already started making out her Halloween wish list, starting with a skull pinata!

  8. Man I so want to come to your house. You do the best projects!!!

  9. I love this and something I would love to do with my own children at Halloween! My little boy used to hate paper mache because of the mess too, but he slowly got over it, it took a long time though! You really do such fabulous activities with your grandchildren (whom are totally gorgeous by the way). The picture of Bree speaks a thousands words! She certainly was not impressed with the sticky mess! :))

  10. Too cute! Great idea for little ones! It is so exciting that the Fall season is just around the corner! Stopping by from the inspiration hop! New follower!

  11. Very cool project! My kids used to love paper mache when they were little!! We even made pinatas that way for parties!

  12. Ahhhhh...this brings back memories!

    Modge Podge is this generations answer to paper mâché.

    Your grands are adorable!

    Thanks for joining our blog hop! We are so happy to have you!

  13. Wow, what a nice activity to do! I bet going to the bush and choose the arms was one of their favorite part!
    Tx for linking up @ Fun Friday Blog Hop, i'm now following you on bloglovin' and GFC!
    MammaNene @

  14. This is great! I pinned to my popular Three Ghost Friends PinBoard. Happy Halloween!

  15. It's so great that you are teaching them to make the decorations. It's part of the fun of the holiday isn't it? And it's a great way to make memories. Hope you have a great day!

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  16. Aw man that is adorable. I'll have to try this with our kids!

  17. This is a great project for the kiddos!! I am visiting you today from Lovin' the Weekend hop.

  18. What a fun project! And I just love how they turned out! Thanks so much for sharing at We Made That Wednesday!

  19. How could mommy not love them, the kids are so cute creating their art!

  20. The boys are old hands at this creative business you have going at your house. Love Bree's look like 'are you crazy Grandma'? What a great project and you are right that it is a skill they can fall back on with their own kids. Just another great project, Joyce.

  21. So cute! My autumn open house is going to be ghost themed this year. I pinned this to my pinterest board!

    My name is Katie and I host Fall Into the Holidays, open Saturdays. I would love to have you link up!

  22. This is great & not at all scary!

    Inviting you to link at our SUPER SUNDAY Link Party, our readers will also enjoy!

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