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

Posts tagged "halloween decorations":

Ancient Egypt Halloween party

My Halloween party theme for 2017 was ancient Egypt! This is one I’ve been wanting to do for about 20 years! The theme is so rich with built-in imagery, colors, mythology, monsters, etc; it was insanely fun to explore. Here are some of the projects and costumes that went into our ancient Egypt Halloween party…

I started off by sending out our annual animated invitation; I make these every year, and my friend Robbie Davis always supplies music, and in this case, lots of cool sound effects. Read more…

Published by Manning on November 8th, 2017 | 2 Comments

Paper maché ancient Egyptian canopic jars

Paper maché ancient Egyptian canopic jars

I made these canopic jars as decorations for my Halloween 2017 party. Canopic jars are a set of four jars with the heads of Egyptian gods on top, and they were used during the mummification process to store various organs. I’ll let Wikipedia explain more about them rather than try to write about them myself. I wanted to make these for our ancient Egypt Halloween party to use as decorations in our mummification scene. Read more…

Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | 4 Comments

Paper maché scarab beetle decorations

I made these very quick and easy paper maché scarab beetle decorations for my ancient Egypt Halloween party. They were a breeze! Check it out…

Paper mache scarabs with skeleton decoration

I started with these plastic bowls from the dollar store — four for a buck! I cut one of the bowls in half to make the head and back end of the scarab beetle. One half would be the head, and I cut the other half in halves again to create the division between the wing coverings.

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Published by Manning on October 30th, 2017 | No Comments

Voodoo Bayou Halloween party

Our Halloween party theme for 2015 was Voodoo Bayou! Here’s the animated invitation I made for the party.

Here are some pics our decorations, with links to how I made a lot of this stuff!

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Published by Manning on November 1st, 2015 | 3 Comments

Giant paper maché bat — part 3

Papier mache bat -- Painting finished

See part one and part two of my giant paper maché project. When we left off we were here:

Papier mache bat -- Paper mache finished

Now then, it’s time to paint!

Papier maché bat -- black spray paint base coat

I started my paint job on the bat by bringing him outside and protecting my work area with a cheap shower liner from the dollar store.

First, I simply applied a coat of black spray paint all over the whole bat.

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Published by Manning on October 20th, 2015 | 9 Comments

Making a giant paper maché bat decoration — part 2

Papier mache bat -- front view

See part one of this paper maché bat project here. Now, where were we? When we left off, I’d just added the wing membranes, and the head was nearly finished but not yet attached to the body.

Papier mache bat -- teeth and eyes

I cut the teeth out of an aluminum cookie sheet, and I put a layer of paper maché on them; this was very difficult and annoying because the shape was so small and intricate. For the eyes, I decided to stick with the buttons I’d been messing around with earlier, and cover them with paper maché so I can more easily paint them.

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Published by Manning on October 20th, 2015 | 2 Comments

How to make a fake wood grain texture for signs and other projects

Believe it or not, these signs are just foam board! Plus a little spray paint and wood stain. I experimented with a few techniques, and here’s what I came up with…

How to create a fake wood grain effect

For the big Voodoo Bayou sign, I started by cutting out my foam board shapes and spray painting them with a light tan color. You can see that color on the white foam board at left, below:

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Published by Manning on October 14th, 2015 | 5 Comments

Six-foot Paper maché giant bat — part 1

For our Voodoo Bayou Halloween party, my fiancée told me she wanted a giant bat decoration. Okay!

I started with a rough pencil sketch of a bat to figure out the proportions, and then I transferred that to two sheets of foam board. I started with just the wing bones and body; no head. I cut out those pieces with an X-acto knife.

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Published by Manning on October 14th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Paper maché alligator — waterproofing and painting

Paper mache alligator painting completed

It’s finally done! This is part three of my paper maché alligator project. See part one and part two.

With all the paper maché done, it was time to waterproof and paint the alligator. Originally this guy was just meant to go in the bathtub during my Halloween party and then get thrown out, but as I made the thing I got pretty attached to it, so now I’m hoping to be able to waterproof it well enough so that it might not be in too bad shape after being submerged in water during the party, and maybe I can keep it and use it as an all-year-round decoration in my apartment, maybe on top of my bookshelf, or hanging on a wall. So I’m trying to approach decorating this thing like it needs to look good not just in the tub but anywhere.
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Published by Manning on July 27th, 2015 | 18 Comments

Paper maché alligator, part 2

How to make a paper mache alligator

This is part two of my paper maché alligator project for Halloween. Part one can be found here. When I last left off, I had just applied Activa Plus clay to the alligator’s head in order to create the teeth, eyes and eyebrow ridges, and nostrils. So my next step was to paper maché over those bits; easy. See my article about my paper maché method here. The short version is: I use Roman PRO-543 universal wallpaper adhesive and alternating layers of newspaper and brown wrapping paper. Read more…

Published by Manning on July 16th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Cabaret de L’Enfer Halloween party

The theme for my Halloween party in 2012 was the Cabaret de L’Enfer — a real Hell-themed café in the red light district of Paris in the 19th century. You can read all about it and see some amazing pics of it on my Paris website, Cool Stuff in Paris. Of course our color scheme was red/orange/yellow, and the centerpiece for the party would be the iconic devil mouth doorway that graced the entrance of the Cabaret. But first, here’s the animated invitation I made for the party. (It has audio, and it’s made with Flash so it won’t work on your iPhone/iPad.)
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Published by Manning on July 15th, 2015 | No Comments

Sunken ship Halloween party aboard the RMS Albatross!

This was my Halloween party theme in 2011! Halloween in a sunken cruise ship! Basically an underwater Titanic-type thing. Our color scheme for this party was blue and green, and we made tons of decorations to go with the theme of a formal ball underwater. Here’s the animated invitation I made. (It has audio, and it’s made with Flash, so it won’t work on an iPhone/iPad.)
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Published by Manning on July 14th, 2015 | No Comments

My nightmare-themed Halloween party

The theme for my Halloween party in 2013 was: nightmares! The name of the event was Night Terrors, and I chose purple and green as my main color scheme for the party. Here’s some info about the decorations we made, our costumes, the animated invitation, etc.

Invitation — I create a short animated invitation for my Halloween party ever year; it really helps set the mood and establish the color scheme and give people some inspiration for their costumes. Here’s the invitation I sent out for Night Terrors. Note: there is audio. Also, it’s made in Flash, so it won’t work on an iPhone/iPad.
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Published by Manning on July 13th, 2015 | No Comments

Haunted asylum Halloween party theme

The theme for my Halloween party in 2014 was: haunted insane asylum! I made up a name for our old-timey asylum: Tranquility Meadows Lunatic Asylum, and I chose red as my main color for the ambiance of the party. Here’s some info about all of the decorations we made, our costumes, and the animated invitation we sent out, all with the goal of fleshing out the theme and establishing a great spooky mood for the event.

Invitation — I make an animated invitation for each of my Halloween parties; it really helps set the mood and establish the color scheme and give people some inspiration for their costumes. Here’s the invitation for the haunted asylum party! Read more…

Published by Manning on July 11th, 2015 | No Comments

Halloween portraits for my sunken ship party

Every year I design graphics in Photoshop to print out and put in the picture frames on our living room wall. For my sunken ship party (which basically Titanic-themed) I put together pictures of some of the party guests, and the hosts, and our pet rabbits, and mixed them up with old-timey nautical photos and drawings. I printed them out and cut them to size and stuck ’em in the frames. It’s a totally cheap and easy decorating project that makes for a great effect, and people really got a kick out of it. Here are closeups of all of the portraits!
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Published by Manning on July 4th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Cabaret de L’Enfer Halloween party — cave walls in Hell

For my Cabaret de L’Enfer-themed Halloween party in 2012, I wanted to totally transform my apartment; a goal I have with the decor of each of my Halloween parties is to make it feel like you’re not in a modern apartment in Brooklyn, but somewhere else entirely; somewhere scary! This was the first time I completely covered all the walls of my living room and dining room; I wanted to turn them into the cave-like walls of the real Cabaret de L’Enfer.
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Published by Manning on June 30th, 2015 | 1 Comment

Cabaret de L’Enfer Halloween party — light-up sign

How to make a light-up sign for Halloween using Christmas lights

For my Cabaret de L’Enfer-themed Halloween party in 2012, I made this fun light-up sign that I hung sticking out from my front balcony so that guests could see it as they approached my apartment. This was an easy project that made for a really impressive effect! Here’s how I did it…

I made the box shape out of foam board; of course you can just use a cardboard box if you can find one that’s the right size. I cut the pieces of foam board to size with an X-acto knife, and assembled the whole box shape, minus the front panel, with heavy duty Scotch packing tape.
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | 2 Comments

Cabaret de L’Enfer Halloween party — devil mouth doorway

How to make a Cabaret de L'Enfer devil mouth doorway for your Halloween party

The theme for my Halloween party in 2012 was the Cabaret de L’Enfer — a Hell-themed café in the red light district of Paris in the 19th century. You can read all about it and see some amazing pics of it on my Paris website, Cool Stuff in Paris, and I have a whole post about the party decor here. Of course, the main decorating project I wanted to tackle was the iconic devil mouth doorway of the cabaret.
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | No Comments

Super-easy Halloween decoration: jars full of doll parts and bugs

How to make an easy Halloween prop; jars of baby heads and spiders

This was a fun and easy decorating project for my insane asylum Halloween party in 2014. I filled up two wide kitchen cabinets with these things, and propped the doors open.

These were just about the easiest decorations I’ve ever made. I asked my mom if she had any old mason jars or other kinds of jars lying around in the garage, and she ended up bringing me a few dozens, in all sizes! Then I shopped around for baby dolls, but it turns out they’re not cheap, even at dollar-store type stores. So I asked around, and a friend who lives out in the country got me a bunch from a thrift store for practically nothing. I encouraged her to chop them up for easier shipping! And she sure did.
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Published by Manning on June 24th, 2015 | No Comments

Skeleton in a bloody bathtub Halloween party decoration

How to make an easy skeleton in a bloody bathtub decoration for your Halloween party

This project is so easy and creates such an amazing effect! All you need is a bathtub, a skeleton, and some tempera paint! I like this one so much I do it almost every Halloween, even though my party has a different theme every year. Skeletons in bathtubs go with everything!
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Published by Manning on June 23rd, 2015 | No Comments