We made a video tutorial for this project! The written tutorial continues below, but here is the video as well:
As I mentioned in our last Halloween decor post, any money we spent this year on Halloween decorations would be devoted to things we could put outside. It’s our first Halloween in the house (eeeeep!!!) and we want to
lure in some innocent children get some trick-or-treaters without breaking the bank or having loads of decorations to store later.
So after much Pinteresting and Googling, we decided to make some fabric ghosts to hang in our trees! It seemed like they would be pretty cheap and easily storable, but we couldn’t find tutorials we liked to we decided to wing it.
The idea was to get some fabric, make a round “head” for the fabric to be draped over, and somehow attach a string to this “head” that we could hang from fishing wire.
We wanted to make 7 ghosts, so we went to Joann’s and found some super cheap white muslin fabric and bought 7 yards of it. Then we passed by some 50% off “Halloween fabric” that was light gray, sheer, and quite ghostly. We decided to pick up 7 yards of that as well so that we could overlay it on top of the solid white fabric.
To make our “heads,” we considered several options: styrofoam balls, light plastic upside-down bowls, and balled up plastic bags. We ended up going with the bags idea because it was free (we always have a collection of grocery bags) and easy. Who knew styrofoam was like $17.99 for a ball the size we wanted?!? Shit cray.
So here’s how we did it. I cut the fabric into seven 1-yard-long pieces (you could make yours bigger or smaller depending on how long you wanted your ghosts to be). I separated them into piles to keep everything straight.
We tested out the length of the cuts to figure out how big of a head the ghosts needed (we wanted it to be proportional their length). It was decided that something between a Mochi sized head and a Katelyn sized head would suffice.
Evan started forming the heads. He would basically take one plastic grocery bag, stuff 5 or so more inside it, and bundle it into a loose ball. At first we were just going to use enough tape to keep the main bag closed, but we decided to just wrap the entire head in duct tape to make it a little more sturdy (and hopefully to prevent rain/moisture from getting trapped in the bags).
The little white things Evan is holding the balls from are wire hangers. He used some heavy duty clippers to cut them and pliers to bend them into little loops that could be taped to the top of our bag-and-tape balls. This is is what the ghosts would hang from.
He sort of rounded the “arms” so that they fit nicely with the curve of the ball. Then we just placed them on top and added a little tape to secure them.
I snipped a little hole in the center of each fabric to poke the hanger loop through. We put the first whole ghost together and he looked just like we hoped for!
For eyes, I wanted something that would be water proof so construction paper and poster board were not an option. I decided to cut pieces of black gorilla tape into round eyes and tape those on the inner solid fabric so that the outer sheer one would overlay the eyes.
So at this point the ghosts were pretty much ready. But we had one more bonus element we wanted to add:
Of course, something battery powered or wired would be way brighter and longer lasting. But we wanted something easy, water proof, and cheap. But glowsticks aren’t going to last more than one night, so we had to rig a way to prepare the ghosts for a quick and easy glowstick attachment come Halloween night.
So we decided to attach the little plastic caps (that come with the glowstick bracelets) to tape that was hanging under the ghosts. We wanted it hanging so that the light was lower than it would be it we just attached the cap directly to the bottom of the ghosts head.
We took some of the gorilla tape (just duct tape would be fine too) and taped a cap in between two long pieces. We closed it around the cap but left the other end open so that we could stick it to the bottom of the ghost heads. On Halloween, we can just pop a glowstick into the cap under each ghost.
Hehe. That ghost looks violated. Now they were ready to hang outside! We used some clear line from Michael’s to hang them as invisibly as possible.
They’re pretty light so they didn’t require any super heavy branches or anything. We decided to hang them at staggered heights in our trees.
We used our staple gun to tack a few staples to the underside of our roof overhang to hang some more ghosts by our windows.
We really like how they turned out!!!
Because there are so many of them, there’s always at least a few with their eyes turned towards you at any one time. The outer fabric is super light and flowy so it catches the breeze really well and gives them that ghostly transparent feel, while the inner fabric is opaque enough to conceal the heads underneath.
The super awesome thing is that all the fabric cost us $28 because of Joann’s coupons, and the rest of the materials we had on hand! At $4 per ghost, I’d say this was a pretty sweet deal. We aren’t adding the glowsticks until Halloween day but we will be sure to post some updated photos with our ghosts looking all glowy after the 31st!
Haha, the glowsticks were a total fail. They just weren’t bright enough to really make a difference. You win some, you lose some. So I’d say if you want your ghosts to glow, stick on a battery powered light to their underside.