Saturday, October 18, 2008

Scrappy decor

About a week ago, after some prodding from Will to get our Halloween decorating in gear, Rob retrieved a pathetic Halloween box from the attic. It contained nothing but a funky looking stuffed pumpkin, a twiggy fall wreath with fake orange berries, a clay jack-o-lantern candle holder and a plastic trick-or-treating pumpkin pail. So I decided to launch Will on a series of do-it-yourself-kid Halloween projects that have occupied Will’s time and creative abilities and produced some truly spooky decorations that have left Rob wondering why we don’t just go out and buy some polished looking décor.

My philosophy is if a kid’s playing artist/creator, he should do as much of the work as he possibly can himself. I’ll write bubble letters, for example, or cut out a shape that Will’s drawn. But the ideas and the execution are largely left to him. The result is some funky, scrappy, crude-looking décor that Will and I happen to like just fine.

There’s this Happy Halloween sign for example, colored by Will on the back of a strip of Cheerios box. (It’s hard to tell but there’s a few trick-or-treaters drawn between the letters. Will was glad when he realized this sign was facing toward one of our front windows. He imagined that folks driving by would enjoy viewing a sign that’s kind of hard to make out from just 12 inches away.)

And there’s this pumpkin, whose not so circular shape Will drew and then painted himself. Even the painted toilet paper tube stem didn’t stop Rob from asking me, “What is that?” -- out of earshot of Will.

There’s also this sock ghost, with a head stuffed with newspaper and sparse ghostly facial features drawn in marker.

When it came time to make a haunted house Will kind of lost track of its “hauntedness” as he began industriously working to cut out windows and doors (these he did cut himself) and then color them in cheery blues and purple. For a few days the cardboard-brown house sat on the dining room table awaiting its ultimate purpose. Rob called it clutter, but Will and I were just waiting to add some Halloween flair. Eventually Will gave the house a black paint job, and now we’re calling it scary. We’re planning to add some stretched-out-cottonball spider webs, which will no doubt only add to its beauty.

But my favorite piece of Halloween décor is this footprint ghost that Owen made with his teachers at school. I’ve decided to build on their idea by making a banner with a wide strip of black poster board and having the boys each add a footprint ghost to it each year. We’ll write the date below the ghosts and I’ll let Will write his name in white crayon. Then each year, we can pull out the banner and add two new ghosts to our footprint ghost parade.

Who has Halloween craft ideas to share?


shannon said...

Ooh, ho, oh! I am laughing so hard! Marveling at Will's creative genius and proud of your encouragement, but laughing at the reality of it all and Rob's perplexed understanding of art! The what is that? comment hit me hard and made me roll. My kids are constantly dragging out the craft supplies and making the craziest things that I'm then supposed to hold onto for-- forever? I was also laughing (and loving you) when I read about your year-to-year footprint project! Are you serious? I've said it before, but you are amazing, Annie Addington! There is no way I could keep that project safe from year to year and no way I could keep the kids on track, either. But that's the point you're making, I guess. Just let the art come, right?
ps- that Happy Halloween sign rocks and it IS really scary looking!

Tina said...

This is fantastic,
I am so inspired, to the scissors we will go!!

Annie Addington said...

Yep, we have now completed the 2008 section of our footprint ghost banner. But it'll probably look pretty tattered when it comes out of the attic box next year. If I even find it again! Often I'm better on the ideas then the follow-through.