So let me tell you a little something about how we arrived here.

A couple of months ago I was wandering through what is basically a junk hardware store.   Think off brand spray paint and steering wheel covers with boobs on them.

This particular store also has a lot of interesting mechanical parts. The kind of things you’d normally have to order off of Chinese Amazon.  On my last trip there I found bins and bins of different sized motors.  Big motors, small motors, minuscule motors, all lined up just waiting for someone to turn them into something fun and exciting.  I gargle-screamed something that ended up sounding like “FRAPTFYIMMINY!!!”, and then I choked on my own spit a little.

This was the most exciting day of my life.  Although to an outside observer it appeared more like I was in the final stage of cardiac arrest.

I was going to turn those motors into SOMETHING.  I just wasn’t sure what.  There were a billion things I could almost think to do with them around the house, but I kept coming back to Halloween.

Those motors could make skulls spin or witches glide … I just had to come up with a real plan.

And then I forgot all about them until this week when I realized it was too late and I was a big loser and I’d never achieve my goal of making a small child cry this Halloween with my scary motorized something-or-other.

So I moved onto Plan B.  Take a fan I owned, rip it apart and use the motor from inside it to make some scary motorized something-or-other.  But I liked my fans.  And also, I still didn’t have a lot of time to come up with something great.

So I moved onto Plan C.  Take a fan, cover it with really lightweight material and turn the fan on.








It might not make anyone pee, in fact it looks kind of pretty, but no less than 2 children crossed to the other side of the street when they approached my house as I was testing it out which I see as a very good sign.

This is literally a standing, oscillating fan, with VERY lightweight fabric draped and pinned over it.  I tested out all the normal materials for you, so you wouldn’t have to go through the trial and error that I did.  I also figured out a way to put any kind of head on top that you want and ways to take it over the top at night if you want.

Before I get into the details, take a look at this video of me constructing this Fan Ghost from beginning to end.




1. Use super lightweight fabric. I used row cover for gardening. Sheets are too heavy. Gauzy fabric is too heavy and there are too many large holes for it to blow. A very lightweight sheet would work.

2. Make sure the back of the fan is clear and not covered with fabric. If it’s covered by fabric the blowing power will be reduced a LOT.

3. If it isn’t blowing the way you want, turn the fan on and then just start pinning and stapling the fabric in different spots until you get the effect you like.

4. To make it even BETTER stick some LED Christmas lights under it or a flashlight to make the whole ghost glow.


Next year I tell ya.  NEXT year I’ll make something out of one of those fraptfyimminy motors.


  1. Milton says:

    Sheer genius!

  2. Linda from Illinois says:

    Oh My Gosh I laughed so loud it brought tears to my eyes. Nice, I like it.

  3. Love it! Really, really do! And know I can do it.

    Just unsure of where to get the fabric…

    • Karen says:

      I think the ideal fabric is this row cover I used which I got from a seed store. Garden centres would have it. You could also use sheer curtains. That’s what is over the pumpkins head on mine. It doesn’t blow as well because it isn’t as lightweight as the row cover but it still works, just more subtly. Sheer fabric you can get from a fabric store or look for old sheer curtains at a second hand store. 🙂 ~ karen!

  4. Ardith says:

    Fantastic, absolutely fantastic. I think I need one of these. Plus, I can use the fan to make my hair blow around movie-perfect style—for photo ops and selfies, of course. Thank you much, Ardith

  5. Debbie from Illinois says:

    That is so creepy, I love it! You probably won’t get many trick or treaters because they’ll be to afraid to come ring your doorbell. Great way to save money on candy. Lol!

  6. Jeannieb says:

    Really clever Karen! I love it! If you take the spiders away, It’s ME, trying on my 50 year old edding dress. Yikes!

  7. Sherry in Alaska says:

    Ooh, ooh! Did you try a black light????

  8. TucsonPatty says:

    I love this so much!! I’ll have to reconfigure my entire graveyard to put it out front, but, oh the possibilities. Thanks for the awesome tricks and ideas!

  9. Stephbo says:

    I love it! No time/room for it this year, but next year will be perfect. Those spiders are wonderful! Where did you get them?

  10. Maureen Locke says:

    Love this… We only get about 30 kids and most of them are from the preschool that our daughter teaches at. I’d hate to scare the little buggers but maybe someday. Where on earth did you get the spiders??

  11. Jenny W says:

    You’re good, luv it!

  12. I think that was the best Halloween Decoration I’ve ever seen, loved it ? Your trip to the hardware store reminded me of my husband’s first trip to Harbor Freight. It was something to see kinda like your trip to the hardware. He ran in grabed a buggy, started running through the store, my little legs could hardly keep up. He was to the point of drooling, I was about to hand him a cleanex when I spotted this guy watching him. At first I thought it was store security and we were about to be kicked out of the store, first time for everything I guess. The man walked over put his arm around my husband and said, it’s your first time here right? Mine was the same, next he
    Handed him a coupon for something free, he walked off l even think he had a tear in his eye. It was something to see. But anyway I hope you got to scare some kids, what’s Halloween for anyway? Can’t wait to see what you do with a motorized Santa!

  13. GrammyK says:

    Brilliant! You always inspire. Thanks for the video. ^_^

  14. Murgie says:

    Gorgeous ghostie!
    Number three “fan” asking where you found the spiders.
    They are entirely too realistic for this arachnophobe but aren’t they just perfect!!

  15. bill keiser says:

    You can get rolls of “sewer paper” at a hardware store. It is unwoven synthetic fabric for covering sewer drain fields. Way more than needed for one small project, but handy material. (It can be died, too. One time at Burning Man, we needed dozens of yards of pastel colored fabric to drape on the inside of a geodesic dome. We still have boxes of the stuff lying around.)

    • Karen says:

      Yup, that sounds like it would work! Your one time at Burning Mans remind me of “one time at band camp”, lol. 🙂 ~ karen

  16. Monique says:

    That is absolutely genius:) So creative you are..

  17. Jody says:

    Brilliant. Hope you get scads of kids in your ‘hood to scare away. I may very well steal this idea. We get over 300 kids and they would love it–or not!

  18. Arlene says:

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!
    I love how you make everything look so easy!

  19. Melissa says:

    The head cover over the top definitely adds to the “creep” factor. Great job!

  20. Mary W says:

    FABULOUS! This I can do. Kind of a Marilyn Monroe meets Jack less Sally.

  21. Marilyn meagher says:

    Love it, if only I liked Halloween

  22. KathyB says:

    Oh, the dirt on the row cover just really makes it for me. So Miss Havisham.

  23. jainegayer says:

    Perfect to keep away those small children in our circle and I will have ALL the candy for myself!!! LOL

  24. Alena says:

    It would also look in black with a scythe.
    Absolutely brilliant, Karen!

  25. maggie van sickle says:

    Not sure where u come up with these ideas but they are the best. Happy Holloweenie.

  26. SusanR says:

    If your goal was to keep all of the candy for yourself, by scaring away all of the Trick-or-Treaters, I think you’ve succeeded! The only thing I can think of that would make even the most brave run away, also, would be a step-switch under the door mat that activates the fan and a recording of a scream, but you might find a dead parent or two on your porch in the morning.

    A caution for those who will make this. Make CERTAIN that the holes at the back of the fan motor aren’t covered, and the fabric can’t move over them at all, or the motor could overheat and the whole thing could go up in flames. Karen was careful about making sure the back wasn’t covered. Her guidance is the right way to go. There needs to be plenty of air clearance in the back of the fan.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      “The whole thing could go up in flames”??? Now THAT would be spectacular!! I wanna see Karen’s house on the local 11pm news . . . lol.

      • SusanR says:

        Well, no, Karen made sure to keep any fabric from the back of the fan, as well as from the motor, so you won’t see HER house on the news, except for creative Halloween design. 🙂

  27. Kris says:

    Love it!! You come up with the coolest ideas! One question, is that a real pumpkin or fake. Would a real one be way to heavy to stay on top of the fan?
    Thanks for another inspiring post!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kris! It’s a foam pumpkin, you’re right a real pumpkin would be way too heavy on the fan. Michaels usually has tons of foam pumpkins. This one that lights up I got from Shoppers Drug Mart a few years ago. ~ karen!

  28. Sherry says:

    You really out did yourself with the music… Neat idea but was really fun to watch with music. Thanks for helping us that are willing to make stuff just don’t have time to think this stuff up. I enjoy all that you post after a long day at work its nice to relax with your posts…

  29. Carole says:

    As soon as I heard the bubbles from the labORatory, I started dancing!!!! Love, love the Monster Mash! It caught on in a flash….
    Now it’s stuck in my brain?

    • Karen says:

      Now that you’ve mentioned it I’m going to have to go back and rewatch it because now I want to hear the song, lol. I’m so easily influenced. ~ karen!

  30. Sabina says:

    Love it and I have all the supplies!

  31. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Love it!

  32. Sheila Turchyn says:

    Good grief! I’m getting ready for Christmas but want to make a billowing ghostie!! I. Love. This!

  33. Izzy says:

    I was looking for some inspiration for this year – and your ideas are definitely winning !

  34. Heather says:

    So cool!

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