I don’t like dolls. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate dolls.  They’re gross.  And scary. Like clowns. As a young girl, formulating my likes and dislikes, dolls very clearly fell into the dislikes group. Because of that, instead of playing with dolls, I would dismember them and throw them under my bed.  Feeling empowered, I’d then run outside, find the nearest worm and claim him as my plaything.

I didn’t do dolls.  However, in a strange turn of events, I now love dolls *on one condition.* That they’re obviously terrifying.  Antique, creepy, dirty looking dolls bring me the kind of joy I normally only get from finding leftover pizza in the fridge I’d forgotten about.

So a month ago when I was planning this year’s Halloween DIY I knew I had to use dolls. They are the perfect combination of grotesque and terrifying.  Am I right?  In fact you’ve already seen one of my prize dolls heads in this Christie Antique Show post I did last month.  It’s the one on the right, below.

I didn’t buy the head at that show, but saw it again at a show the next weekend and picked it up then.  As luck would have it, after digging around a bit, the vendor was able to find the arms and legs and also donated the torso.  It was at that exact moment this year’s Halloween DIY was born.

The following simple DIY may be disturbing to some readers.   And I’m O.K. with that.


Halloween and dolls



Doll parts under glass.  I know.  It’s disturbing.  That’s what makes it great.

Creepy Halloween DIY


The dolls and doll parts were all bought at local flea markets or antique shows; the most expensive one being $20.

If you don’t have access to flea markets the best place to find vintage dolls or doll parts is Etsy.  If you click here you can see what they have right now.

The glass cloches (other than the huge one in the centre) were all bought over the years at Homesense.  That’s Homegoods to you American folks.

Halloween decorating

Rule number one in any kind of decorating, grotesque or not, put something under glass and it’ll look special. No. Matter. What.

Creepy Halloween decorating

Even a dirty old hand looks remarkable under glass.

Halloween decorating with doll parts

The dolls legs are particularly gross.  In other words, fantastic.

Halloween decorating with vintage dolls



This full, straw stuffed doll cost me $20 at a flea market. The vendor had $45 on it but as I was looking at it he must have been so thrilled someone was interested that he dropped the price immediately to $20.  SOLD.  I’ll be keeping this out in various places of the house throughout the year. I mean, you don’t keep something as stunning as this hiding in a Tupperware bin in the basement.  You just don’t.


dolls head under glass halloween

This is the head that started it all. The head without a body, until the vendor found the body in pieces for me.


Halloween decorating

There’s a certain elegance to displaying all of these body parts under glass like specimens.  It’s the kind of elegance a worm would be hard pressed to ever achieve.  I mean unless you put a top hat on him.

Next Monday I’m going to give you this year’s full Halloween house tour.  It will be in keeping with how I’ve always approached Halloween decorating.  It should be creepy but with something weirdly pretty about it too.

It should be Pretty Grimm.


  1. Amy in StL says:

    Meh. Maybe you have to be afraid of clowns to find this creepy? I think it’s ugly, but not creepy. But then I loved my dolls when I was a child.

  2. Lynn Wallrath says:

    Perfection Karen… complete perfection.

  3. Jody says:

    If the doll body parts were just strewn across your table it would be more of a creepy repair shop scene. But under glass………….they become evil specimens. Love the twig broom on the wall with the crooked handle. Perfect for sweeping up more body parts.

  4. Hilda Peraza Munk says:

    OH-MY gosh!!! I Love to hate creepy dolls. (You crack me up…again! Never a dull moment) Happy-Free-Candy-Night!!

  5. Renee Ryz says:

    Just creepy! here’s a good one. Part of our business is installing fire alarms. One of our customers was opening a haunted house that we had to alarm. I got a photo tour of the whole place. Each room in the house had a theme. The little girl’s room was full, and I mean FILLED on every surface with dolls, all with their eyes gone. EEEEEEE! You wanna talk about creepsters – even in the daylight! I shudder just thinking about it still.

  6. Heather Sykora says:

    You have succeeded in truly terrifying me!!!
    I am impressed with your type of brilliance…
    I am suddenly motivated to go do laundry and ground myself back in reality!!!
    So- hm- thank you?
    Heather in TX

  7. Janelle says:

    Creeptastic, Karen – although, it’s the lack of genitalia that I find truly disturbing, particularly in respect of dolls they went to great pains to make look realistic, otherwise.

  8. Marna says:

    Wow, that’s interesting! Oh I was just given an old trunk by a neighbor with all sorts of cool stuff in it. One item is a partial doll, the legs are missing and it is cracking, wondered how I could use it, now I know! Thanks 🙂

  9. Benjamin says:

    Even Margaret, trying to look stoic, has a look of creeped out and disturbing on her face… other words you hit the sweet spot with your décor this year. Hope you scare the candy out of all the kids. Have fun, kiddo.

  10. Mia Pratt says:

    The ultra-creepiness of your house-sized doll-body-part diorama is so delightful! We love your beautifully creative and slightly twisted mind<:}

  11. Rosiland Ball says:


  12. Connie says:

    Just WOW. Just Wow.

  13. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    This is brilliant Karen!! Makes me think of the creepy possessed doll kept in a glass case so she doesn’t wreak havoc on the world…your ‘babies’ are trapped under glass. That doll head with the eyes kinda looking up at you looks like she’s giving you the evil eye!

    My favorite is the straw doll with the sideways look, definitely should be kept out year round.

  14. Janie says:

    Best Halloween decor I’ve ever seen. You rock Karen.

  15. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Again with the creepy dolls….I love it you sick little puppy you!

  16. Kaysi Rose-Hunsaker says:

    Oh my, my dear, you ARE brave. I too, NEVER liked dolls and I think it’s because at a young age I caught that creepy Twilight Zone episode where the girl’s doll comes to life and starts to curse the household from the top of the stairs. YIKES!! It stuck with me and I never could abide eyes following me around the room anyway unless it’s my child, dog or cat. In my mind those beast come alive and so…they are alive to me:))) (Not really, but kinda) Since childhood I haven’t even been able to watch any horror shows where the dolls come alive, except Chucky, something about him was not scary, maybe because he is a boy doll, who knows. The pretty dress, big eyes, hair done up in pigtails or some old fashioned dew, the prettier and more old fashioned ~ the more wierded out I get. I simply can’t keep them in the house, they must die, and die a death very far away from where I am living. Too many times people have, in innocence, given me one of those creepy monsters and they might have been quite valuable even. No matter out they go with sage burning purification ritual…just in case. K

  17. leslie says:

    ugh I cant take the eyes !!! this is soooo creepy worse than clowns, waaaaaay worse
    did you keep the glow in the dark painted walls up all year – glow in the dark I love

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