Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Manning Makes Stuff - Halloween decorations, paper mache masks, costumes, party ideas, and more

Haunted forest party decor with fallen branches and birds


Published by Manning on June 20th, 2015

Haunted forest Halloween party decor

The first Halloween party I threw after moving to New York in 2010 was pretty last-minute and minimalist. I hadn’t planned on having a real theme at all, but I got inspired a couple weeks before Halloween when I saw that an unusually-powerful storm had knocked down a ton of dead branches in the streets around my apartment. I gathered up about a dozen of them and brought them home, and put them on my terrace to dry.

Soon after, I was at the dollar store and looking at the Halloween junk and saw that they had a huge box of nice little black birds with real feathers for a buck a piece. (They were probably meant to be spooky crows, but they were way too small!) I bought about two dozen of them, and my Halloween party theme was sealed.

The haunted forest was easy to set up and made for a really great effect. I simply hung the branches at odd angles all over the apartment where the walls met the ceiling. I used fishing line and thumbtacks for this. I hung some of the birds from the branches, and others all over the middle part of the ceiling. I propped a few on the branches themselves.

Haunted forest Halloween party decor

Oh yeah, I’d also bought a big spider at the dollar store and stuck it on the ceiling upside-down. I’d bought one of those carvable foam pumpkins and painted it black and used that for the head of the spider; I put two red thumbtacks in it for eyes. (Pro tip! Do not try to spray paint a foam pumpkin! It’ll melt. Use acrylic paint and a brush instead.)

Then I replaced all the light bulbs in the apartment with bright red fluorescent party bulbs, and that was pretty much it! The stark contrast of the dark branches and birds and the white walls was really accentuated by the red lighting, and all the branches and birds swayed gently with the breeze coming in from our open terrace doors.

Since I hadn’t planned on the haunted forest theme I didn’t have a costume that went with the decor; I’d planned on simply being a vampire with a black suit, white makeup, and red contact lenses, but I got the idea to take one of the dollar store black birds and prop it on my shoulder with some wire, and that really completed the look.

If I’d had more time, other decorations I would have added for the haunted forest them might include: black paper cut-outs of spooky trees on the walls, old-timey lanterns, maybe a fog machine, etc.

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