Halloween is one of those holidays you either love or hate.
Unless you’re me, in which case you both love and hate it. In a related note, I also both love and hate exercise, John Grisham novels, Spanx and America’s Next Top Model.
When it comes to Halloween decorations I’m not big on the cartooney, cutesy stuff. Think more Addams Family, less Munsters. For one thing The Addams Family were infinitely more elegant than the Munsters. Candelabras, smoking cauldrons and marble floored ballrooms. They had better taste than the Carringtons when you think of it.
Creepy really can be beautiful if you’re focused. And creepy but beautiful was exactly what I wanted for the Halloween wreath I planned to make this year.
So when I eased my way past the people wearing slippers as actual footwear in the Halloween aisle of my local Dollar Store, I had to keep a sharp eye. Only look at things that had qualities I would have in my house on any given day, let alone Halloween.
What I came away with were some black skulls covered in sparkles, 8 black feather boas and some black cotton gauze.
The Dollar Store didn’t sell any styrofoam wreaths big enough for what I wanted to do, so I hijacked a garbage bin behind a furniture store and grabbed 3 sheets of styrofoam to make my own wreath.
And here’s how I did it and exactly what I used.
A Few Black Sparkly Skulls – $ 1 each
8 Black Feather Boas – $2 each.
Black Gauze – $1
3 Sheets of Styrofoam – Free
If you choose to make your own styrofoam wreath form because of your excessive cheapness (and laziness … couldn’t be bothered to drive to Michael’s) you have to glue your sheets of styrofoam together.
This way you end up with a nice, thick wreath. Not an unnice, skinny wreath.
I used 3, 1″ pieces of styrofoam to make a HUGE wreath. You don’t have to be as excessive as me. I tend towards excessiveness.
After you glue all your pieces together with regular white glue, let it dry overnight.
The next morning, when you wake up bright and cheery, full of vim and vigour, stretching your arms over your head just like they do in breakfast cereal commercials, your styrofoam will be perfectly adhered, ready for shaping into a wreath.
The first thing you’ll need to do is regress to grade 6 math class and make one of those circle making things out of a string, a pin and a marker.
Do the same thing in the centre with a smaller circle.
Grab the trusty 1970’s electric knife you bought at a church bazaar and get ‘er revved up. Maybe stretch your arms over your head again, just for good measure.
Cut the outer styrofoam circle. An electric knife is the easiest way to cut styrofoam. I’m not saying you won’t have flying balls of styrofoam everywhere. It just makes it easier. Be forewarned that you will be trying to clean up styrofoam balls that have static clinged themselves to every part of you and your kitchen. For the next week.
Good job. Now your outer circle is cut out perfectly. I’m quite impressed with you.
Now cut the centre circle out.
In just moments I’m going to wrap the black feather boas around the wreath, but to make sure they stay where you want them you should cut some wire into 2 inch pieces …
… and then bend them over so they’re like modified clippy things.
Start wrapping and clipping your boas around the wreath.
When you’ve applied approximately 17 birds worth, you’ll have something that looks like this.
If you need a little more room in the centre of your wreath, just clip away some of the feathers so you have a bigger opening.
Allow the cat to court it’s newfound love for a minute or two then shoo the cat away.
I randomly cut small pieces of the black gauze and then pinned them “pleasingly” on the wreath. Just wherever I thought it looked good. It was at this point I had to show some restraint, remembering I wanted a classy and elegant Halloween wreath. My “excessive” gene had to be stomped down for this one.
Every so often hold your wreath up to see what it’ll look like hanging.
The sparkly skulls I got from the Dollar store had tooling and ribbons around their necks and came on sticks. However, I didn’t like where the sticks were, so I cut them off …
… and placed them where I wanted them, in the backs of the skulls. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love these sparkly styrofoam skulls. They make me want to grin and stretch my arms above my head like I’m about to have a delicious bowl of sugar cereal.
This is another place I had to show some restraint. If you want to know the truth, I actually bought 8 skulls expecting to use them all and thought it was entirely possible I’d need to go buy more. But when it came down to it the wreath actually looked better with only a few skulls. Too many of them and they weren’t as noticeable.
Hang it on the door, bat your eyelashes at Gomez and call it a night.
Oh yes! And I put mini-lights into it for nighttime viewing.
If you plan on doing this yourself for Halloween keep a couple of things in mind. The wreath will end up costing you $20 – $25 depending on where you get your supplies but you can use it year after year. So all in all it’s pretty inexpensive. Even if it costs you $30 … it isn’t disposable so that’s a deal and a half really. It’ll last you as long as you can keep your cats from humping it to death.
Also, improvise. If you can’t get feather boas, use all black gauze. If you can’t find sparkly skull heads, use crows or spiders or anything else that gives you a tight squeeze, cool breeze … leaves you with the shiverees Don’t worry if you can’t find the exact same materials I have. Just get things you like. As you can see, I happen to think the wreath looks best if it’s monochromatic. An all white version of this would also be beautiful and unexpected.
And on *that* very Martha Stewart note … happy wreathing.