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":

Haunted flying books decoration

I made these lightweight fake books to hang from the ceiling for my seance Halloween party, to look like they were floating around the room due to spectral activity! These were really cheap and easy and fun to make!

Ghostly books decoration

I made graphics in Photoshop for several of the surfaces of the books: the pages, the left and right edges of the pages (those are the long straight pieces pictured below), and the tops and bottom edges of the pages (i.e. the curved pieces). I did some Google image searches of old books to find references for all of this, and then did a lot of tweaking and measuring in Photoshop. Read more…

Published by Manning on November 11th, 2016 | No Comments

Stabby ghost costume!

This was the second of the two “person getting killed by a ghost” costumes that I designed. Read about mine here for most of the basic info. I made my fiancée’s ghost second, using most of the same steps and materials, with a few important differences. I’ll cover those below…

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Published by Manning on November 1st, 2016 | No Comments

Strangler ghost costume!

Hooboy, this costume was a big undertaking! The basic concept for this costume is a lightweight ghost sculpture, made with wires inside to make it somewhat adjustable, and it’s attached to a harness worn under one’s clothes. There were so many different parts to build and so many problems to solve, and I basically made up the whole thing as I went along, jumping around from part to part in a weird order. So, I’ve put together as much info as I can about how I made this thing here…

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Published by Manning on November 1st, 2016 | 2 Comments

Crystal ball decoration for my séance Halloween party

This homemade crystal ball decoration was for my séance Halloween party. The main decorations for the party were lots of pieces of lightweight paper maché furniture hung upside down on the ceiling. This crystal ball was the centerpiece for all of that, hanging upside down from the little paper maché table I made. It was fun and easy to make!

I considered a lot of options for the clear ball part itself; my main criteria were that it had to be lightweight, transparent, and preferably cheap. I ended up buying an 8″ acrylic globe off of Amazon; these are meant to go over a light, like on a light post in front of your house or whatever. They come in a lot of sizes, with options for clear or frosted, and mine ended up being about $11. You can find these at Home Depot too.

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Published by Manning on October 31st, 2016 | No Comments

Creepy paper maché hands for my ghost costume

I made these creepy hands for my “guy being strangled by a ghost” costume! (Article about that whole thing coming soon.) You could use this same method for posable, realistic hands for any kind of monster decoration: a witch, a vampire, a zombie, etc!

First, I traced my own hand onto a sheet of craft foam (aka Wonderfoam). I kept my thumb stretched way out since ultimately I wanted these hands to be in a strangling position around my neck.

Paper mache ghost hands - tracing and cutting

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Published by Manning on October 20th, 2016 | No Comments

Paper maché spooky lamp prop

This is part five of my paper maché furniture projects for my séance Halloween party; see part one; chairs, part two; table, part three: mantel, and part four; nightstand.

I got the idea for this lamp when I saw this plastic bottle of almond milk in our fridge; it’s a neat bowling-pin shape that’s perfect for an old-timey lamp. I decided to add this lamp project to the list of lightweight paper maché furniture that we’re hanging from the ceiling for our spooky séance party.

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Published by Manning on October 20th, 2016 | No Comments

Paper maché table for my séance party

This is part two of my paper maché furniture projects for my séance Halloween party; see part one (chairs!) here.

Paper mache table - finished and ready to paint

With the chairs done, I moved on to the table! Unlike the chairs, I didn’t have a real table handy to use as a model for this, so I just made up a table based on some Google image searches for victorian round table.

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Published by Manning on October 12th, 2016 | No Comments

Paper maché chairs for my séance Halloween party!

For my upcoming séance party I wanted to have a few pieces of paper maché furniture stuck upside down on the ceiling — a table with a crystal ball, two chairs, maybe a little dresser with a lamp, etc. The main guidelines I set for myself are: the furniture all has to be extremely lightweight, since it’ll all be attached with thumbtacks to the ceiling, and it doesn’t have to be super realistic, since the lighting in the party will be low. I started with the chairs; here’s how I made ’em!

I have some simple Ikea chairs that I used as a model. My plan was to trace and/or draw the various pieces of a chair onto foam board, and then cut out all the pieces and assemble ’em and hope they resemble a chair.

Paper mache chairs, painted

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Published by Manning on October 11th, 2016 | No Comments

Halloween 2016 theme revealed: Séance!

Check out our animated séance party invitation! You (probably) ain’t invited but feel free to check out the video.

Coming soon: tons of paper maché and other ghostly decorating projects!

Published by Manning on October 11th, 2016 | No Comments

The Devil Man and the Swamp Goddess

The Devil Man and the Swamp Goddess

This old-timey photo of me and my fiancée — dressed as the Devil Man and a swamp goddess — is an edit of a photo by New Orleans photographer Kevin O’Mara, taken at our Voodoo Bayou Halloween party in 2015. In editing the pic in Photoshop I wanted to try to make it look like an authentic vintage Halloween card; I think it’s pretty close! Let’s see if this pic starts turning up in dumb listicles about terrifying old Halloween pics; I see those kinds of lists every year and half of the photos in them aren’t actually vintage, or aren’t actually Halloween-related.

You can see the original, unedited version of this pic (with crazy green lighting) in my post about making the foam board antlers for my fiancée’s headdress.

Published by Manning on November 15th, 2015 | No Comments

Devil Man mask with horns — part 2

The Devil Man -- horned mask

Okay, when we last left off, I’d finished the horns and the base for the mask. I neglected to take a lot of pictures of my process for putting the whole mask together, so I’ll explain all the remaining steps here.

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Published by Manning on October 31st, 2015 | Comments Off on Devil Man mask with horns — part 2

Making a light-up VOODOO sign with Christmas lights

How to make a light-up sign using Christmas lights and aluminum cookie sheets

Check out my new VOODOO sign! This is for this year’s Voodoo Bayou Halloween party. This sign was easy to make and doesn’t involve any power tools or wood. The letters are made from disposable aluminum cookie trays with Christmas lights poking through, and the base is just foam board and paper. We hung the sign on our front balcony, sticking out so people could see it when they’re walking up our street. Here’s how I made the sign:

I decided to reuse the box shape that I’d made for last year’s sign. Last year I made a last-minute “ASYLUM” sign for our haunted asylum party. The letters were just plain white paper, and I set up a clip lamp with a red bulb in front of it to illuminate the sign a bit. Here’s what that looked like:

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Published by Manning on October 30th, 2015 | No Comments

9-foot paper maché snake prop!

Papier maché snake on skeleton prop for Halloween

My latest project for my Voodoo Bayou Halloween party: I made this big ol’ snake! He’s made of foam tubing, wire hangers, tape, paper maché, paint, and a few other odds and ends.

I started with a package of black pipe insulation from Home Depot; four one-meter foam tubes for just $3! This stuff is fantastic to work with; extremely lightweight, sturdy, flexible, easy to cut, etc. It’s so great for creating organic-looking shapes that I ended up using a bunch of it on two projects before I tackled the snake: my six-foot bat decoration and a pair of horns for a devil mask I’m working on (pics coming soon). When it was time to start on the snake, I only had two and a half of the one-meter tubes left, so that’s about seven and a half feet for the snake. (I later added a tail made of bubble wrap for a total of about nine feet; more on that below.)

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Published by Manning on October 26th, 2015 | No Comments

Making a foam board coffin

Making a foam board coffin

One of my main decorations for my Voodoo Bayou party was this fake wooden coffin; I wanted to have it standing in the corner of the living room so people could pose for pictures in it. The main material in the coffin is foam board — 17 sheets total. I designed the coffin in Photoshop based on how large each sheet of foam board is: 20″x30″. Here’s my basic design:

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Published by Manning on October 15th, 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

Ghostly knight in not-so-shining armor Halloween costume

Ghostly knight Halloween costume

This was a costume I’d wanted to try for years, and it was a lot of fun! I decided to be a ghostly knight for my nighmare-themed Halloween party. My goal was to look like a knight that had been resting in a tomb for five hundred years; dirty and rusty and dessicated. After lots of research on how to make knight armor from scratch (which sounded really difficult and time-consuming), I opted to instead start with an ugly plastic store-bought suit of armor. As I often say, sometimes the best jumping off point for a beautiful custom Halloween costume is a crappy store-bought Halloween costume!

The suit of armor I bought was a nice shape, but a terrible color and texture; flimsy smooth silver-gray plastic; nowhere near as shiny or metallic-looking as you see in the photo there. That was fine, as I knew I wanted to change the look of the thing completely; I wanted to transform this plain silver-gray plastic texture into solid heavy old corroded metal. Here’s how I got it there:
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Published by Manning on June 26th, 2015 | No Comments

Tips for applying Halloween makeup, hair color, fake blood, contact lenses, etc!

zombie makeup tutorial

My makeup method is pretty simply and I use different variations of it almost every year.

For my face, the main type of makeup I use is Ben Nye Creme Colors (paid link) — they come in a little flat jar and you can find them at a lot of Halloween stores, often behind the counter because they’re a little pricier.

For zombie makeup or general scary ghoulish makeup, I usually just use black and white Ben Nye Creme Colors, and I just use my fingers to apply it. I start off with a base of white, all over my face. Then I use black makeup on my finger tips to apply heavy black areas around my eyes, under my cheekbones, etc, and blend them out toward the white. I use my finger tips to add shadows down the creases on the side of my mouth, and on the sides of my nose, at my temples, above my brow ridge, etc.
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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

10-foot grim reaper Halloween decoration!

Giant grim reaper Halloween prop

This giant grim reaper prop I made for a Halloween party in 2010 was the first paper maché project I ever tackled! (Well, not counting art class back in grade school.) I seriously had no idea what I was doing but it turned out okay, and my success with this project really inspired me to keep trying to make bigger and more complicated Halloween decorations every year.
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Published by Manning on June 23rd, 2015 | No Comments