The Autumn People Present DIY Halloween Decorations

“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth….Such are the autumn people.”  – R. Bradbury

Okay, so perhaps we aren’t quite that into fall, but my family definitely enjoys its Octobers. We count the month leading up to Halloween as family activity time with an enthusiasm only matched by the Advent season. October is the time when we take outside to hiking trails and bike paths, giddy with the lack of humidity. We spend the month cuddled up with Goosebumps and showings of Hocus Pocus. We make costumes and trick or treat. But it is safe to say we have the most fun decorating.

Every year we make a homemade decoration or two. That is how this necktie wearing Dracula ended up in our house. He has hung around for five years and has yet to sell a single used car. He’s very friendly though!

"I vant to sell you a volksvagon!"

“I vant to sell you a volksvagon!”

Dracula is made of craft wire and art foam, fabric and felt. He was a little bit of an endeavor. Last year we went with the quick but temporary balloon spiders. This year I wanted a craft that was both simple, quick and reuseable. Enter peel and stick wallpaper.
IMG_3282As you may have heard (from countless other blog posts) I work for a company called Spoonflower that specializes in custom, digitally printed textiles. One of our most versatile products is a woven wallpaper that goes up like a sticker but doesn’t damage walls and if stored on it’s backing can be reused. I thought that it would be the perfect wall decoration so I went through the ample halloween related designs and picked out my favorites (if you click on the images it will lead you to the design, in case you are interested) and ordered them in swatch size.
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IMG_3285 IMG_3286My personal favorite is this design – but due to the size of the figures, I needed to order a two foot long roll, which gave me exactly one of each.

Once I received them, we set to work cutting them out.

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Remember, they have adhesive so don’t sacrifice your good scissors!

A swatch size did not give me the full bunting, however it did give me enough flags for my purpose and the ones that were cut off could be cut so that they were independent stickers.
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Soon we had a massive pile of spooky stickers!

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And then it was time for the fun part: I set the kids loose with the stickers. They had the freedom to put them wherever they wanted without fear of messing anything up. They got pretty creative.

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The bunting was my personal project and I am thrilled with how it turned out. All the fun of a bunting without the hassle of sewing it, hanging it etc. It worked so well and looks so cute I am going to get some for birthdays, Christmas and everyday use!

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The best part of the project is that it took less than thirty minutes to complete and our house was covered with unique decorations. I saved the backing in hopes of using them next year, but my boys insist that the decorations are just going to move into their rooms come November 1st.

I would write a meditation on autumn and change, hibernation, self care and such, but I have costumes to sew! Happy Crafting!

When Black Cats Prowl and Pumpkins Gleam

It’s that time again. There are clues everywhere. The sound of cloth dragging through fallen leaves time, a scoot and a crunch. The scent of sugar and burning yard waste on the air. The sight of a cape whipping around a corner. The atmosphere is electric with the promise of chill and suspense.

Halloween!

It is fast approaching as I rush about collecting the last items for costumes and send my children searching out their plastic pumpkins which lie in some forlorn corner of the house, dusty and forgotten since last year.

Halloween holds a special place in our family. We have a LOT of traditions associated with the end of October. We make a new decoration each year, we also have a group costume, we carve pumpkins, we watch spooky movies (Hocus Pocus, anyone?) and we go trick or treating. One thing we do not do however, is encourage our children to go into a sugar coma give our kids a sack full of candy to consume.

We aren’t health nuts, but if you could sum up our parenting style (and lifestyle too, I suppose) it would be: all things in moderation.

The kids bring home at least a pound of candy every year easily. There ain’t nothing moderate about that.

So, rather than allowing them to binge on sugar we have yet another tradition. This tradition’s name is *The Sugar Sprite*.

Rather than being the “bad guys” and having to take away all the sweets we encourage an exchange with a mythical creature. The children are entitled to as many pieces of candy as they are years old, which they choose with the greatest of care. The rest goes into a big bowl placed near the door. In the dead of night the Sugar Sprite swoops in, takes the candy and leaves a small surprise gift for each child.

(Actually, what happens is after bedtime my husband and I invite our friends over to watch a scary movie and to eat all of the candy. Shhhhhhhhh.)

Although, the exchange is voluntary our kids have never opted for the candy and this has been going on for eight years.

The Sugar Sprite usually spends about $20 bucks on two gifts, which is a whole lot less than the copay for two dentists visits to have cavities filled.

Shadow and Shadow

Autumn has arrived bringing along lovely low temperatures, so that even here in the south I can imagine that seasons are still as wonderfully regular as they are in books.

Fall is the best time for me. It is beautiful- windows open and nature puts on her most lively ensemble. The kids pull out boxes of Halloween decorations and we hit thrift stores, scouring the aisles for the perfect pieces to complete our costumes.

It is the time of year in which, no matter how busy I am I pick up Something Wicked This Way Comes and revel in Bradbury’s atmospheric, perfectly crafted world. A world which houses boys like mine, one light, one dark.

There are soups and warm mugs.

And sweaters.

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Welcome Fall!