Article and tombstone photo by Doreen Coyne. Plant pot people photo by L Angelo - members of the Richmond Hill Garden & Horticultural Society.
As we get close to Halloween this year, I’m sure we are all a little leery to let our children go door to door or even for us parents to allow children to come to our doors to get candy. But you and your children still desire a little extra fun for Halloween. Below are a few ideas your family can work on this week and next to spruce up the yard and get some Halloween fun even if you aren’t going door to door.
How about a planter person?
First, gather up your old planting containers (plastic, ceramic or fibrous material) and round wooden baskets that may be in the garage or basement. They can be arranged – and wired or hot glued together - to make interesting objects or even people like the ones in the accompanying picture that one of our members displayed on their front steps. You can see that smaller plastic pots nestled into each other make the arms and legs. Socks added to the bottom of the leg make feet. Larger pots or baskets, one up and one down make up the body. And another basket forms the head. The heads are each filled with plants but you might consider hot gluing plant leaves for a mouth and flowers for the eyes. More simply, you can use a Sharpie marker to draw a face on the pot. Or even replace the “head” pot with a pumpkin.
Of course, you can also make a great piece of Halloween art by stuffing clothing together. Stuff jeans and a plaid shirt with newspaper and ensure the shirt is tucked into the pants. I like to sit the jeans in a lawn chair and fold the legs so my person is comfortably seated. Add socks to the bottom of the jeans for feet and gloves to the end of shirt sleeves for hands. Take an old pillow case, or even a white plastic grocery bag, and stuff that with newspaper and fit in into the shirt’s collar for the head. Shape the head so you can put a baseball cap on it and draw on a face.
Carved Pumpkins are always popular.
If you didn’t happen to grow your own this year, you can readily buy them in varying sizes at local farms and grocery stores. You know how to carve a pumpkin but if you want a new carving design or template, there are several good ones online. Try googling “pumpkin carving ideas”. Your teenagers may enjoy trying the more detailed patterns. As you empty the pumpkin, be sure to save some of the seeds. Dry them on a paper towel for several days then you can roast some for snacking and store the rest in an envelope for planting next year to grow your own pumpkin patch. Use your pumpkins for Halloween but don’t carve up all of them; for some, draw on a face then the next day harvest the “meat” of the pumpkin for cooking. Next week learn how to prepare the pumpkin for baking and get a pumpkin pie recipe!
Perhaps this appeals to the more macabre folks – but my sons, starting in their “tweens”, liked to make tombstones to display in the flower beds that line the walkway to our front door. I would buy foamboard (now sold at staples) and then the boys would cut them to about 18”x36” and round the tops or cut various crosses into them. Then using acrylic paint, they’d colour the board to look like granite and then add a saying to each one such as “R.I.P.”, “R.I.P Van Winkle” or “Ben Better” followed by year of birth and death. Simply attach a 2x2 to the back of the finished project with about 18” of it below the bottom of the tombstone. Then push the protruding 2x2 into the ground. Visiting Halloween kids always enjoyed these as well. Store them in the basement for yearly usage or repainting!