Glow in the Dark Walls. A Fast & Easy Halloween DIY.

This is the best of best. A Halloween decoration that’s one part Halloween and one part April Fool’s joke. Both days revolve around scaring the shit out of each other – one of them was just smart enough to lessen the blow with an offering of candy.

Halloween is one of those love it or hate it holidays.  I happen to love it.  The goth, the decorating, the darkness, the creep.  I love giving my house a dark, eerie quality.  Of course when you own a 180 year old house, you could fill it with marshmallows and rainbows and it would still have a dark, eerie quality.

I decorate the inside of my house for Halloween about 2 weeks before the event.  There’s black netting and lace thrown around, spiders, weird things in jars, and bones piled up in strange places.  You know.  In places one wouldn’t normally pile their collection of bones.

I hate the kids though.  Well not the kids specifically so much as opening the door for them every few minutes.  That bit I hate.    Stupid kids eating all my candy.  Also it really kindda ruins the dark vibe I have going on when little Susie shows up with her bright smile and sparkly princess costume.

So I guess I was wrong about that whole love it or hate it thing regarding Halloween.  Seems like you can both love and hate it.

7 years ago I tried a little Halloween DIY on a whim. I wanted a Halloween decoration inside that was quick, easy and fun to do.  A glow in the dark drawing on my staircase wall.  

I did a big skull.

7  years ago.

It still glows in the dark at night. 

I forgot about washing it off after Halloween then when I noticed it again around Christmas I thought it was funny that it was still there.  And from there it was just a matter of always forgetting to wash it off.

Almost a decade later, yup, it’s still there.  You don’t see the glow in the dark paint on the white walls at ALL. Especially not in my dark stairway. Not until it’s completely dark.

So if you do this and you don’t wash it off of your walls it will glow on forever.  I can guarantee it. Actually, I can guarantee it’ll glow on for 7 years – I’m just assuming it will also keep glowing for the rest of eternity or until I wash the wall.

Halloween Wall Decoration - Glow in the Dark Skull

Halloween Wall Decoration - Glow in the Dark Skull

Yield: 1 glow in the dark skull
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy(ish)

Obviously you can draw whatever Halloween themed thing you want on your wall. I went with the outline of a skull because it's a pretty simple but effective.


  • Glow in the Dark face paints or crayons


  • Paint brush


  1. Decide on an image you like that is simple to draw as an outline. The skull is fairly easy but if you want even easier do a pumpkin, a bat or a spider. Crows and demons are excellent choices as well. Obviously.
  2. Next you have to decide where to put this. Remember wherever you put it needs to get a fair amount of light (natural or artificial) in order to "charge" the glow in the dark aspect. You also have to put it somewhere that is completely dark at night. A hallway or staircase works well.
  3. Using a small paintbrush paint the glow in the dark paint on the wall in the shape of your desired creepy thing.
  4. Keep the light on throughout the day to ensure it'll glow bright at night.


Don’t do this on really dirty walls because when you go to wash the glow in the dark paint or pencil marks off you’ll have a big clean spot where the drawing was and you’ll be forced to either live with it, or wash your entire wall/s

You don't have to draw something, you could also just write frightening words on the wall like - I'm watching you, Go Away, or my personal favourite, This Item Isn't on Sale Anymore.

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I’ve included links to glow in the dark makeup paint in the how-to above, but if you’re shopping for this during October MOST dollar stores sell glow in the dark paint so that’s where to get it if you can.

The paint I used for this (that has lasted 7 years as I mentioned) was a $1 tube of glow in the dark face paint from my local Dollarama.

Why use face paint and not regular paint?

Because you can’t wash regular glow in the dark paint off of your wall.



To do your skull portrait there’s really only one thing you have to keep in mind.  Placement.  The glow in the dark makeup “charges” under light. So you have to do your picture on a wall that gets direct light for most of the day. Either from natural sunlight, or from a nearby lightbulb.   It also needs to be in a place that’s going to be very dark during  the night so you can see it when it glows.

It’s glow in the dark paint, not a neon sign so remember those two tips above.

I drew my skull on the wall freehand with  a small artist’s paintbrush.  It’s fairly hard to see where you’ve put the paint because it’s basically clear, so feel free to do a really light pencil outline first on the wall.

(note:  Don’t do this DIY on really dirty walls because when you go to wash the glow in the dark paint or pencil marks off you’ll have a big clean spot where the drawing was and you’ll be forced to either live with it, or wash your entire wall/s)




I chose to do the skull portrait at the bottom of  my staircase because there’s a pendant light right there to charge the glow in the dark paint and the area is really dark in the middle of the night (which is when I wanted the skull to show).  If you strain you can barely, barely see the outline of the skull in the photo above. That’s what it’s like during the day.  You can’t see it unless someone really points it out to you.

But at night, when the staircase is dark …




… it shows right up.

This Halloween craft WORKED OUT GREAT.

These are real pictures of my real staircase with the real glow in the dark paint.  And  yes. I’ve since painted those stairs.  One coat anyway.  I’ve been thinking about the second coat it for 5 years now. Stop rushing me.




This is the image I used as reference for my skull. I should remember exactly what a human skull looks like since I had a pet one growing up. I brought it in for show and tell.

I originally did a crow painting on the wall but it didn’t look like a crow for some reason.  It looked more like an elbow with a beak.  So I  washed it off and started over.

Which brings me to my next point.  The makeup washes off the wall no problem.  I just used a damp cloth to get rid of it when I made mistakes, so don’t worry about that. HOWEVER, test your walls first just to make sure.  That’s me covering my ass by the way.

You can do this project from beginning to end in about 15 minutes.  That’s less time than it takes to eat a $18.99 box of assorted mini chocolate bars.

And just slightly more time than it takes to run out and buy another box.

Glow in the Dark Walls. A Fast & Easy Halloween DIY.


  1. JeannieB says:

    Halloween gives me the creeps too.
    Some years ago, after the little kids were all done with their trick or treating, i was alone in the house. It was after 9 p.m. There was a knock on the door and I opened it to find ,standing on the lower step of the porch, someone ( an adult male) dressed as a witch with a frightening rubber mask on, and carrying an open handbag.
    I didn’t know who it was and never did find out. I just wanted them gone. The street was deserted and the witch had “her” purse wide open. I was taken aback but, jokingly said, ” aren’t you a bit old for going door to door?” and proceeded to step forward to drop some candy into the handbag . In one quick move, the “witch” grabbed my wrist tightly.and wouldn’t let go. No words were said, but I was quite terrified as I wriggled loose, stepped back and closed the door. I’ll never forget that feeling.
    And that’s why I feel nervous now at Halloween!
    But, I have been thinking about painting some rocks in the driveway with Glow in the Dark paint.

  2. Natika says:

    One night a few weeks after moving into my university dorm, I woke up at 3am with dark-adjusted eyes and realized someone had once drawn pentagrams on the ceiling with glow-in-the-dark something-or-other. Freaky indeed.

  3. Magdalena says:

    Great idea! Love it! Keep up the great work! And BTW! …

    LMAO!!! ; )

    Little creeps takin’ ALL MY candies!

  4. Love it. Off to get some paint for the garage door now!

  5. Kari says:

    I LOVE this idea!

  6. Feral Turtle says:

    Very cool! Great idea.

  7. LazySusan says:

    Do you have another set of stairs? Is your bedroom upstairs? I’m just wondering how in the heck you’d get furniture up or down those stairs! I like Halloween, but I’m pretty easily spooked, and my memory is leaving me, so if I decorated the inside of the house, I’d terrify myself, most especially if I lived alone. I’ve always managed to live somewhere there were few, if any, Trick or Treaters, so have lucked out in that regard. Love the idea of the makeup. I wonder if it would work on our picture window? We have heavily-lined curtains on that window, and it gets plenty of sun during the day. Draw something on the inside, close the drapes, spook the neighbors. Off to the dollar store tomorrow! Oh, and we’re getting a SECOND dollar store – different name, much larger, and less than 2 miles from our house! Can’t wait for that grand opening!

    • gabrielle says:

      You could tape a photocopy of whatever image on the other side of the glass and use it as a template for your drawing (unless you are good with winging it!). Also, places like Staples or architectural services, etc. often have services where they can blow up a digital image extra large using banner paper, etc. and in my experience, costs next to nothing.

  8. SuzyMcQ says:

    Hmmm. I’m thinking the day glow makeup on the mummified cat….it could work.

  9. marilyn says:

    i hate halloween

  10. Susan says:

    Dang..spell check, my neighbor woman dressed as a witch…

  11. Su says:

    I like it! There was a teacher in our neighborhood growing up who in real life was the sweetest lady but come Halloween dressed up as a witch, decorate her huge wrap around porch and scared the bee-jeebies out of us trick or treating!
    BTW why are you making fun of my sparkly princess costume????

  12. Susan says:

    We had a woman in my neighborhood, dressed in a fantastic with costume, with a huge cast iron cauldron.never there any other time, but she put dry ice in there and would stand there stirring it with this big stick, and say, “Come on up here, you know where the candy is…” and shriek when we came closer, the you had to put your hand into the cauldron and take your candy. Frightening?….never missed her house.
    The fond memories. ..

    • TucsonPatty says:

      I love this so much!! I do a watered down version of this – witch costume, sitting in a chair pretending to not be real, just a stuffed witch. My small black plastic cauldron is resting on my lap, with my hands, with my fake long black fingernails, resting inside that, holding the candy. The kids have to come up to me to get the candy, and when they do, I gently move my hands – kind of grabbing at them, and say “Wuh!” Scares the bejeebus out of them, they jump back and scream, and I immediately go out of character and laugh with them, and all is perfect. I then require them to tell me a short riddle or joke in order to get their two handfuls of candy. I love it so much, and so do the kids! Some come back, dragging along another unsuspecting soul! LOL I have grandparents telling me their grandchild can’t wait to come over and has been working on her joke for weeks!!
      I didn’t “do” Halloween last year, and will not again this year. I decided I didn’t want to be part of a super spreader event. The kids bunch up in a crowd at my door. Too close, in my opinion – to me and to each other. I adore Halloween, and am so sad to not have my full cemetery right outside my front door! :( Happy Halloweenie everyone!!

  13. Tigersmom says:

    I have totally slacked on the Halloween decorating this year. My glitter skull and creepy cloth wreath broke last year when it fell from its hook and I haven’t had the chance (translate to “the inclination”) to fix it.

    Plus, I’m in a bit of a funk which tends to bring project-y things to a grinding halt. I think this may snap me out of it, though. There you go being all inspirational again.

    • gabrielle says:

      Argh! Funks can really spoil things! My prescription: Forgetaboutit. In fact Forgetabouteverything! I endorse doing anything you want for yourself – 20 things! And if you are not feeling better, do 20 more. I mean it! I am a professional defunkifier.

  14. Linda J Howes says:

    Creepy words written on the wall would do me in more. Things like “all work and no play make Jack (you could insert your own name here) a dull boy” (or girl) or how about “You’re next” make the “t” like a cross. Be careful not to slip on the stairs or you could be, next that is. I definitely think words could be creepier. And why take them down? Leave them up all year and imagine the fun when you have guests stay over. Bwahahaha!

  15. mimiindublin says:

    Thanks for pre-empting the stair questions.
    I’m really enjoying the comments on this one, even though I hate halloween.

  16. Sia says:

    If my mom saw those stairs, she’s think it was enough of a Halloween horror!!!
    I, on the other hand, would probably need a few more years to think a bout it.

  17. marli says:

    ok, this was great, it really was, but all that aside…

    You have a mummified CAT??? Is there a picture of said cat somewhere? I’d love to see this!! I think I might need a mummified…something. Not sure my actual living cat would be thrilled with me if I had a mummified one, but who knows? She’s not too fond of live ones, maybe this is the way to go.

    Seriously, the bone wreath last year was amazing, now this. My sister does the Halloween house and I’ve passed along some of your ideas, and I’ll pass this one along too. Thanks! :)

    But really…a mummified cat…I’m intrigued.

    Smiles, marli

    • Ru says:

      That’s exactly what I want to know about as well :-)

      Mummified cat sounds positively ghoulish and might come in handy for some interesting practical jokes…

      Can’t wait to try the glowy skull thing!

  18. TucsonPatty says:

    I LOVE Halloween best of all…I’m at my door, being an ugly scary witch on a chair, pretending that I am a stuffed object, my hands in the candy bowl and when the reach in to get some candy, I grab their hands and say Boo! They jump and scream and laugh and then they have to tell me a joke to get their candy and I love love love it and all the kids. Cemetary in the front yard, things hanging in the trees, body parts and heads strategically placed around in the bushes. What’s not to love? Oh, yeah, the candy is pretty awesome.

  19. Ev Wilcox says:

    My house is 208 years old, and it has it’s long time residences for sure! They seem non-violent, that is, except for years ago when we tried to get them (it?) to move on. Thought we were doing the right thing. Never tried that again! Halloween is my favorite time also. We deemed our family “The Addams Family years ago, because we enjoyed thunderstorms. Our kids grew up with that. Oh well, happy Halloween. Doing a pictorial?

  20. gabrielle says:

    Our stone farmhouse was built in 1872 and we used to really fix it up for halloween, something new every year. One of use had to lurk outside and communicate with the other if the kids were little and tone down the theatrics at the door so no kids freaked out. I wanted to collect larger baby dolls and have them back-lit behind sheer curtains, hanging from ropes in our 10-ft windows, and run the ceiling fans to make them sway, but my husband nixed it. Too bad, but in these PC days, probably for the best! When the demographics shifted and fewer kids came trick-or-treating, I used to wear a black balaclava and slip around the neighborhood on roller blades, moaning “wheeere are my my little childreeen?”

    Good times, good times!

    • martina says:

      I love you

    • Pat says:


    • TucsonPatty says:

      You are my people!! Genius, all the way! LOL

    • TucsonPatty says:

      I forgot to add this – my ex-husband’s mother went over the top for Christmas, and we were always required to attend a tree decorating party. There were so many wonderful ornaments, with great stories to them all. One pretty little angel had lost her hanger eyelet on the top of her head and so we (well, I ) tied a length of ribbon around her neck to still be able to put her on the tree. Most of us thought it was hilarious, except for the mama. No wonder she didn’t like me. LOL Your hanging floating dolls in the window made me remember this! Thanks!! :)

  21. Rachel San Diego says:

    Awesome idea! Hoping this will work outside on a stucco wall? Oooh, maybe even on a garage door? Love the idea of a floating skull peering down on poor little unsuspecting kids. Karen, how can you not love the side of Halloween that let’s you scare small children? That seems right up your alley!

    • SeaDee says:

      That’s what I immediately thought – Garage Door! Mine faces due east and gets at least six hours of direct sun. Dang it! Another project.

  22. Laura Bee says:

    Mighty freaky. I have a little bit left from a body paint thing I did . . .

  23. Cred says:

    That’s excellent!

  24. Kat says:

    OK you are no longer in trouble, I was thinking you were not going to do a “Halloween Thing” this year but you did not disappoint me. This is awesome. I changed jobs this past year and now work at Value Village where we get to dress up for 2 months! I have not missed a day yet. I now have 27 freakish costumes that I make myself. My Captain Jack Sparrow is to die for I really look like Johnny Depp! I put together a Rasta man dude I can’t wait to wear, it is so hilarious. Anyway gotta go out tomorrow for some glow in the dark makeup. Thanks!

  25. Jamieson says:

    I don’t think you’re actually afraid of skulls at all. How’s about next time you draw a big glow-in-the-dark Brussels Sprout?

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