One year for Halloween I made a "Spooky Tree" door decoration that was a huge hit with everyone who saw it, and it barely cost me anything! I wish I had a photo to show you, but hopefully you can picture it in your head.
I gathered several fallen tree branches from the back yard and picked off any dead leaves (although, I guess you could leave them on). They were about 3 feet long, but could be shorter if you want. Trim them so there are no off-shoots on the bottom several inches. I laid them out on the driveway into a shape that resembled a tree, with the single branches bunched together at the bottom to form the "trunk" and the other branches reaching up to form the rest of the tree. I tied the 'trunk' together in a couple of places with string (you could use twist ties).
Next, I spray painted it black. You could put some newspaper under the 'tree' to spray it, I just held it over the lawn. Only spray 1 side, let it dry, then flip it over and do the other side-may need 2-3 coats. To hang it on the door, I used one of those plastic over-the-door wreath hangers. I held the tree up to the door to situate where I wanted it, then roughly measured how far down it was from the hanger to the "trunk", cut some string and tied it around a back branch of the trunk so it wouldn't show and hung it on the door hanger. At this point, I discovered that some of the branches were too long and some stuck out too much to close the storm door, so I had to trim some of the branches and use a Sharpie to cover up the exposed wood!
Next, I already had some of that dried "stringy mossy stuff" you put in baskets and a package of 'spider web' gauze that I got at the dollar store. I hung clumps of moss on the 'tree', then pulled small pieces of spider web off, stretched it out and draped it over the tree in spots. I also wrapped some of the moss around the bottom of the 'tree' trunk.
Once that was done, it was time for the "creepy-crawlies"! From the dollar store, I had a bag of plastic bat rings and some bugs (worms and cockroaches). The rings can just be slid onto various branches or hung on the gauze and the bugs can be draped, hot-glued, or put on with double-stick tape to the branches or gauze.
That was pretty good, but I thought it needed more. So I made ghosts! I used Kleenex (but you could cut squares from an old sheet or t-shirt), put a cotton ball in the center (or you could bunch up more Kleenex), tied a long piece of thread around the base of the 'head', and made a hanging loop out of the extra thread. I used fine-point Sharpies to draw faces on the ghosts (be careful as the ink will spread a little, so make circles wide or it will bleed together), and hung the ghosts on the tree.
Everyone who came by loved that tree! Some of the smaller trick-or-treaters were a little frightened of it at first, so I'd pull off a bat ring and give it to them, which made them happy. My kids insisted it stay on the door until Thanksgiving! When I took it down, they insisted on keeping it, so I took the ghosts off, then very carefully slipped the 'tree' into a big trash bag and stored it on a shelf in the garage with the ghosts safely tucked into a plastic bag and tied to the trash bag. We used that tree for 3 Halloweens before I had to throw it away.
That was several years ago when my younger 2 children were small. Now that they are older and wanting to 'scare' our trick-or-treaters themselves, maybe I'll let them make another 'tree'!
By lyonpridej from Tulsa, OK
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