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

Voodoo Bayou Halloween party

Published by Manning on November 1st, 2015

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!

Light-up VOODOO sign on the balcony

See my post about this light-up VOODOO sign, made with Christmas lights and aluminum cookie sheets!

Voodoo Bayou fake wooden sign

See my post about creating a fake wood texture for signs like this and other projects. That’s just foam board and wood stain!

Front hallway with fake vines

Once guests are in our building, we have a private front hallway with a second door to get into our apartment. We covered the walls of this hallway with plastic table cloths and hung up lots of fake vines everywhere.

Front hallway with fake vines and skeleton

This is the view out the front window of the hallway. You can see another party happening on the small rooftop across the street!

Giant skull voodoo shrine

For this giant skull voodoo shrine I was able to recycle a giant paper maché skull I made several years ago — he was originally a failed attempt at a Mardi Gras mask (second pic on this page), and then he later became the head of my giant spider decoration for our nightmare-themed party a few years ago. For this year, I simply drybrushed him white, cut out the eyes/nose/mouth, propped him up on a guitar stand and pointed a clip lamp with a green bulb up inside. Plus I added lots of little battery-powered candles everywhere.

Giant papier mache bat

Here’s my giant paper maché bat finally hung up on the ceiling! He ended up being sturdy enough that I only hung him from one central point; the wings were strong enough to not sag so I didn’t need to attach them to the ceiling like I thought I would.

Voodoo sign as seen from inside the apartment

This is just a shot of the light-up Voodoo sign as seen from inside the apartment. You can see we covered all the windows with spooky cloth and fake vines. Also featured: dip!

Spooky lighting at the Voodoo Bayou party

I wanted to get a shot that captures the lighting of the party. On the right there you can see the shimmering water lighting effect that I use most years. It was perfect for this theme. The top-hat-wearing monkey skull was a last-minute thing I threw together: one of the paper maché animal masks from last year, repainted with a simple skull, stuck on a styrofoam head with a black plastic bag over it, and topped off with the hat I wore for my old-timey devil costume a few years ago. On the top right is our metal deer head that’s up all year round, and I put another repainted animal mask on him.

Papier mache alligator in the bathtub

Here’s my paper maché alligator that I spent most of the summer working on! In the end my fiancée talked me out of putting him in water; we decided we want to keep this guy as an all-year-round decoration and didn’t want to risk ruining him. So all that polyurethane was for nothin’! I tried a couple things in the bathtub to create a fake water effect — a green plastic tablecloth, a black plastic tablecloth — but nothing looked great. So I ended up just propping up the alligator on stacks of books, to make him look like he’s raised up/floating in invisible water. With the green lighting and the fake vines, it’s not too bad! I would’ve preferred dark, murky water, but this worked out fine, and the dark alligator was much more visible on a light surface.

Fake crawfish in a net on the bathroom mirror

For our bathroom mirror, I bought a fake fish net at the Halloween store and ordered several dozen plastic crawfish from They looked great but were very shiny bright red when I received them, so I dirtied them with up black spray paint. I brought them outside, laid them out on a plastic tablecloth, and lightly dusted them all over with spray paint, first one side, then the other. When they were dry, I brushed them with the rough side of a sponge to rub the paint off of the outermost areas, leaving dark shadows in all the crevices. Super easy and looked great!


I also put some of the fake crawfish in a pot on the stove. I put a box in the pot to fill up most of the space, added a foam board circle on top, then a couple layers of crawfish. The dripping effect was very last-minute; just cut-out paper with red paint, taped on. People really liked messing with the fake crawfish; I’m still finding strays around the apartment!

Me and my Devil Man mask

Here’s my finished Devil Man mask! More about that here.

Swamp goddess costume

Here’s my fiancée’s swamp goddess costume with the antlers and voodoo staff we made. They turned out great! I hope someone else got a better picture of her/them!

The Devil Man posing in a fake wooden coffin

Here’s the Devil Man posing in front of our fake pine box coffin.

Kitchen cabinets with jars and curiosities

This is the second year we’ve filled our cabinets with jars and other creepy curiosities. You can see last year’s here. Last year I wasn’t thrilled with the white interior of our cabinets, although it wasn’t too bad for the asylum theme — kind of stark and clinical. For the bayou theme, I definitely wanted something darker and more rustic, so I made a tiled wood pattern in Photoshop, printed it out a few dozen times, and we taped the print-outs all over the interior of the cabinets. Much better!

Kitchen cabinets with spooky jars

I made lots of labels for poison and other assorted spooky substances and stuck ’em to old jars and bottles. Alligator tongues, zombie dust, etc.

Zombie dust, snake juice, etc

We hung some fake knives on the cabinets, and you can see a few of the voodoo dolls we made too.

Papier mache snake, skeleton, voodoo dolls

There’s my 9-foot paper maché snake prop up on top of our kitchen cabinets! And one of the voodoo dolls we made is on the right there. The dolls on the left were made by a friend and her husband who couldn’t make it to the party; adorable! I considered sticking pins in them but couldn’t bear to do it!

Haunted swamp wall decorations

For our walls this year, we got a ton of green plastic table cloths from the dollar store, hung them everywhere, and made black poster board trees and tombstones. We did all the walls on the day of the party! Very last minute, but it came out great.

This year’s party was really fantastic! I can’t wait for next year!

5 Responses to “Voodoo Bayou Halloween party”

  1. lance Says:

    Your invitation is awesome! Great work tying in the actual decorations from your party.

  2. Stacy Dresden Says:

    I love it. So festive. You win the prize!

  3. manning Says:

    Thank you, Stacy!!

  4. Grim Says:

    Could you please tell me what brand of green light bulb you are using in the photo where the alligator is in the bathtub? I am searching for a green lightbulb but every time I buy one it is either very light green or very dull.

  5. manning Says:

    Hello! I’m 99% sure they’re BlueX bulbs — if you google you’ll see the kind that looks like a spiral tube, in the shape of a normal light bulb. I used to use those for all my parties, until I got Hue lights for the whole house. However! The green and blue colors in the BlueX bulbs are much stronger than the Hue lights.

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