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Frightfully fun Halloween decorations

Don't trick your children into being with you on this spooky day. Treat each other  to a ghoulish good time with these six do-it-yourself decorations from author and educator Donna Erickson!
/ Source: TODAY

Make your home look boo-tiful with these spooktacular Halloween decorations! Donna Erickson, author and host of the TV show “Donna's Day,” shares her simple and easy steps to making them, as well as how you can make it a ghoulish good time for the entire family!

Halloween ghost

Tools and materials
Cheesecloth1 balloon 1 empty 2-liter plastic bottle filled with some sand for weight Masking tape Sturdy wire or old wire hanger (optional)1/2 cup liquid laundry starch Plastic drinking cups Black markers or self-sticking black felt Fishing line, string or wire Steps

  1. Cut cheesecloth into a 36-inch square. Set aside.
  2. Blow up a balloon to approximately 5 inches in diameter, knot and place on top of the 2-liter bottle. Tape the balloon securely in place with masking tape. Twist and extend wire from each side of bottle to form arm shapes if desired.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of liquid laundry starch in a bowl in the kitchen sink.
  4. Immerse the cheesecloth in the starch, then squeeze out any excess. Open the cheesecloth and drape the center over the balloon and wire. If not using the wire, arrange plastic drinking cups in a circle around the bottle and extend the cheesecloth edges over the cups to create a ghost shape.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Use a black marker to draw eyes and a mouth on the cheesecloth while it is on the balloon or cut out eyes and mouth shapes from felt and attach to ghost. Carefully remove ghost from balloon.
  7. To hang, make a hole at the top of the head of the ghost and thread fishing line, string or wire through the hole. Make several to display indoors or out.

Tip: Two layers of cheesecloth will give it added strength.

Talking pumpkin

Tools and materials
Large carved pumpkin Baby monitor set or 2 walkie-talkies Plastic to line pumpkin Steps
Set a baby monitor or small walkie-talkie inside a carved jack-o’-lantern lined with plastic. Say spooky words in the transmitter from another room to surprise your kids when they walk by the pumpkin. Or, let your kids create the voices in a pumpkin set on your porch to greet Halloween party guests.Ghost notes in a pumpkin tree
Tools and materials
Bare branches Medium-size pumpkin Markers Floral moss or fake spiderweb Halloween trinkets Small metal flip-top breath-mint container Self-stick Velcro

Poke the tree branches into the top of the pumpkin. Drape the floral moss or spiderweb on the branches. Hang small spooky trinkets such as spiders and bats from the limbs. Think of the pumpkin as the ghosts’ entrance to their haunted tree residence. Make a special door where the messages will be exchanged. Paint the front of the metal container to look like a door and attach Velcro to the back of the box. Attach the corresponding piece of Velcro to the pumpkin. Draw windows and other details directly onto the pumpkin, or make them out of paper and attach with glue. Cut small pieces of white paper for the ghost notes. Let the kids write messages, fold the paper and place it in the “door.” An adult “ghost assistant” can respond to the messages using white crayon on the back of the message. Tuck the note back in the door and when the kids retrieve it, they can paint watercolor paint over the paper to reveal the invisible note

Flashlight goblins

Tools and materials
Colorful paper lunch bags Craft materials such as foam sheets, construction paper, pipe cleaners, fur, pom-poms Glue Scissors, hole punch, craft knife (adult or teen use only) Flashlight Rubber band

Steps Use your imagination and think about your favorite Halloween creatures. Cut out craft materials to create a face and glue onto the paper bag, open end down. Open the bag and cut holes into the eyes, mouth and nose (this will allow light to shine through). Add more personality with fur, pom-poms, etc. Place the flashlight into the open end of the bag so switch is still visible. Gather open end of bag around flashlight and tighten with rubber band. Turn on flashlight and see your goblin glow.

Family "web site" bulletin board and spider writer

Tools and materials
Quilting or large embroidery hoop Plain fabric, large enough to fit hoop String elastic Scissors Styrofoam (or paper) egg cartonSteps

  1. Set fabric over the bottom hoop.

  2. Cut 2 lengths of string elastic long enough to extend across the hoop and over the edges. Place them on the fabric to form a "+" sign, dividing the circle into fourths. Add another length to divide circle into sixths and a final length to divide circle into eighths.

  3. Carefully secure the top hoop, securing the fabric and the string elastic.

  4. Trim excess elastic and fabric to give the message center a finished look.

  5. Tie and knot additional string elastic in two concentric circles onto the "web," knotting elastic strips as you go.

  6. To make the spider, cut away a section of 4 egg cups from the bottom of the egg carton. One cup will be spider's abdomen and the other three cups will be leg sections.

  7. Cut away excess carton around the abdomen egg cup.

  8. Each leg cup will have three legs for a total of eight legs. To create legs, start with one cup, cut out a leg, cut away a space, a second leg, a second space and a third leg. Repeat with other two cups.

  9. Paint and decorate spider if desired. Poke pen through both sides of abdomen section.

  10. Poke a small hole in spider and attach a length of elastic string. Tie elastic onto web.

  11. Tuck messages, notes and photos under webbing.

Gooey goop

Tools and materials
8-ounce bottle of white household glue (Elmer’s works best) Poster paint 1-1/2 teaspoons borax powder One small mixing bowl and one large mixing bowl Measuring spoons and cup Water

Squeeze the entire bottle of glue into a big bowl. Fill the empty glue bottle with water and add to the glue. Stir well. Add several drops of poster paint. You can mix colors or use just one. In the smaller bowl stir together one cup of warm water and borax powder and stir until dissolved. Slowly, stirring constantly, pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture. Stir and swirl with your hands until the goop forms into gooey globs and starts slowly oozing from your slippery grasp.

Note: If the gooey goop gets on clothing, wash it out quickly with soap and water.

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