Happy haunting.”“Let the ghoul times roll.” These are just two of the greetings you’ll find at Web sites offering ideas and instructions for making Halloween costumes and decorations.
Each year Halloween seems to gain in popularity as a holiday, the fervor to decorate hearth and home, indoors and out, rivaling the Christmas season decorating binge.
Those who like to do such decorating have plenty of advice available at the touch of a few computer buttons.
A visit to www.hgtv.com yields a series of five-minute videos giving crash courses in how to craft specific things — such as a basket of ghoulish faces. The faces begin as pieces of fruit such as apples, oranges and pears. Add some black spray paint, dab on white eyes and mouths with suitably eerie expressions and the decorating deed is done. Dump them into a basket or drop them into a clear glass pickle jar, one of those big ones, and set them in a conspicuous place where their creepy demeanor can scare one and all.
Also at hgtv.com is the “terrorium,” made like a terrarium, only not. This creeped-out landscape is constructed in a clear glass jar or goldfish bowl and replicates a cemetery in miniature, complete with tilted headstones and a dead twig standing in as part of the sinister landscape.
An outdoor decoration made from inverted, straw brooms, the handles wrapped with colored lights, is another video how-to offering at hgtv.com. The threads holding the broom heads together are removed to allow the broom straw to fan out.
The broom handles are set into the ground, lined up along a walkway, giving the impression that the brooms are parked outside while the witches are inside conjuring a few spells.
The videos are fun to watch, but be warned that they include minicommercials for products unrelated to crafting, just like on TV.
At www.marthastewart.com I found a truly “spooktacular” idea, a tulle ghost costume. All it takes is yards of white tulle fashioned like a cape to encase head and body, with long swaths allowed to trail along behind in a wispy way. What could be easier than that? White, simple and probably as elegant as Halloween costumes ever get.
Another idea on the Martha Stewart Web site is the garbage-bag witch costume made from 10 of those giant black plastic drawstring bags designed to hold a tree’s worth of leaves. Use cutting, slashing, shredding and taping methods to make the outfit. The costume is paired with red-and-white-striped stockings to give the effect of the Wicked Witch of the West out to do her worst.
The Martha Stewart Web site also offers recipes and ideas for Eerie Edibles.
If you need an additional visual aid for Halloween costumes ideas, watch the DVD of the movie “Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.” Aunt Josephine, Violet or Cap’n Sham, anyone?
The Sewing and Craft Alliance has listed its Top 10 Costume Picks for 2008. The list includes superheroes, Sarah Palin look-alikes, fairies, princesses and pirates. Visit www.sewing.org for how-tos for sewing Frankenstein, one-eyed monsters and jack-in-the-box costumes.
The Halloween tradition of making a jack-o’-lantern is perhaps the easiest and most satisfying ritual of the scariest night of the year. Pumpkin carving is something families can do together, and old and young alike can participate. Drawing the face on the pumpkin before cutting it is helpful, but I prefer to do it freehand and be surprised by lopsided results. I like to illuminate my pumpkin with a “tea light” candle, but a small solar-powered flashlight works well, too.
Trick or treat.
• A By Hand reader is seeking a skein of Red Heart Super Saver four-ply yarn in the color called Venice, variegated aqua, purple and rust. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a skein to share or to obtain more information.
• Visit www.lionbrand.com to find free patterns for crocheting trick-or-treat bags. One is a pumpkin shape and the other sports a skull.
• If you like to watch television while you knit or crochet, here’s a twist — now you can knit and watch a program about knitting. “Knitting Daily TV” airs at 2 p.m. Fridays on Maine public television stations. In the 13-episode series, knitting and crochet experts and designers talk about yarns, tools and trends. They offer tips for improving needlework skills and invite viewers to knit along with them. The program is a great way for beginners to sharpen their skills and for veteran knitters and crocheters to deepen their knowledge about color ways, design and fit. The series is an offshoot of the Knitting Daily Web site. For more information, visit www.knittingdaily.com.