Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Decorate Your Windows Like a Haunted House by Merri Cvetan

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this guest post,, free of charge, from Merri Cvetan, via Home Depot,  for posting purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

Need a super quick Halloween decor idea for the outside of your house,
for that kickin Halloween party you're having?

Here's a great idea from our friend Merri, that is easy to make,
and a fun activity for the kids to help with too!

haunted house window

Half the fun of Halloween is decorating your home to scare anyone brave enough to walk up to the front door on October 31. We carve jack-o-lanterns, tie corn stalks to porch posts and hang ghosts from the trees.

If you really want to put some fright into the trick-or-treaters, transform the exterior of your home into a haunted house.

Start with a package of balsa wood. Twenty pieces (3 in. x 36 in.) will cover the average size window.

balsa strips

Make zig-zag cuts to each end. Since the balsa wood is so thin, you can easily use regular paper scissors.

Don’t worry about being too neat—each end should be a little different and rough.

painting balsa strips

painted balsa strips

Balsa ia a very porous wood and will absorb color easily. I chose to darken each board with an oil-base stain like Minwax 1 qt, Wood Finish Oil-Based Interior Stain in English Chestnut.

Following the directions on the can, mix the stain thoroughly then “paint” a thin coat on each board
with a foam paint brush (you just throw it away when you’re finished!). With a clean cloth, wipe off the excess stain and allow to dry. Don’t worry about being too neat, the ultimate goal is to make the balsa look like aged, weathered boards.

Darken each board with stain. Brush it on and wipe off the excess. I used a brown tone, but you could use a grey shade instead. The ultimate goal is to make balsa look like aged, weathered boards.

applied balsa strips

To create one 6 in. board, tape two pieces together (on the back side). Then, stick each double piece to the window frame using two-sided tape. Thumb tacks or nails will hold the balsa in place even better. Overlap them and hang at odd angles. You’re making a haunted house, after all!

To create one 6 in. board, tape two pieces together (on the back side) with clear, heavy-duty packaging tape. I used clear because I didn’t want to see the tape from the inside of the house.

Attach each board to the window frame with more of the same shipping tape. Cut a 6 in. piece and fold it in a circle, sticky side out, to make your own double-sided tape. I’ve found that 3M Scotch Heavy-Duty Shipping Packaging Tape works really well.

Another option would be to use Command Picture Hanging Strips. They won’t damage wood and are
easy to remove.

Fortunately, this window is under a porch roof and isn’t exposed to wind and rain. If your windows aren’t protected from the weather, you might need to use thumb tacks or nails.

finished window

Before hanging, paint a message on a couple of the boards with black paint and a wide brush. Mine says, “Keep out!!”, but you can write anything: “Beware”, “Enter at Your Risk”, “Zombies Live Here”, etc.

Add skeleton hands and a giant spider, and cover the whole window with spider webbing.

Tuck skeleton hands in between some of the boards. I used the same shipping tape to attach them to
the window (this won’t show from the inside of the house).

interior black cheesecloth 1

On the interior side of the window, I hung black cheesecloth I found in the Halloween decoration
department at a local store. It makes the window look dark from the outside and on the inside, it camouflages the back of the balsa wood.

interior black cheesecloth 2

If you have a really big party this year or expect a lot of trick-or-treaters, board up all of your windows and place flicker candle lights on the interior window sills. Your house will look extremely spooky!

About the Author:

Even if your house isn't really haunted, interior designer Merri Cvetan has just the right touch for your home this Halloween. Merri writes on her home craft ideas—spooky or not—for Home Depot. To visit Home Depot's Halloween collection, you can click here.

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