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Halloween DIY projects abound for kids

Updated October 26, 2021 - 7:32 am

The pumpkins are out, the webs hung with care and inflatable ghosts give a friendly scare. Halloween has burst onto the scene in neighborhoods around the valley, both indoors and out. Halloween decorations are crowding yards and tabletops, and sooner than ever before, according to the National Retail Federation.

Sales of Halloween decorations have increased in just the last few years and DIY options are popping up to handle the demand from families who want to create their own creepy crafts and dastardly decor. Americans will spend $3.17 billion on Halloween decorations this year, up from $2.66 billion in 2017.

The Dollar Tree has seen a rise in DIY demand in recent years and responded with more craft items on sale than in previous years.

“We are thrilled to provide a broad assortment of art and craft supplies at tremendous values,” said Michael Witynski, president and chief executive officer of Dollar Tree. “Crafter’s Square gives our customers unlimited solutions for the current learn-from-home and work-from-home environment. Additionally, there are terrific opportunities for DIY home projects and decor, crafts for the whole family, seasonal decorations and handmade gifts for both friends and family.”

DIY Halloween decor doesn’t have to be over the top or complex, said Chelsea Bailey, owner, Mi Amor Art, 4245 S. Grand Canyon Drive.

She and her young daughter start out with a simple backdrop to build a spirited display.

“We use a canvas or a large piece of wood and paint that first usually black or a spooky background,” Bailey said. “Once it is dry, we paint our Halloween wood cutouts and arrange and/or glue those onto our canvas or wood. It’s very simple but fun and easy for all ages.”

The process of making crafts with kids can create memories as well as develop fine motor skills, promote patience and encourages problem-solving abilities and critical thinking.

“It opens up a whole new world of possibilities and parents can really see their children’s natural creativity come to life,” she said. “When kids get to choose what they want to create, their projects turn out next level. Crafting is also a huge outlet and place for expression, for children especially.”

Crafting can be messy, which is part of Mi Amor Art’s draw for parents. They supply all of the supplies to craft Halloween decor, gift items and anything your kid can dream up with a pot of glue and vials of glitter, without the dreaded cleanup.

Pumpkins can be particularly messy this time of year. Bailey recommends ditching the mess and elevating your pumpkin art with an inexpensive kit.

“It normally comes with ears, eyes, nose tail,” Bailey said. “You can also make your own pumpkin kit and transform your pumpkin into anything with what you have on hand. It’s still very traditional, as you are using a real pumpkin, just painting and decorating instead of cutting and cleaning out the pumpkin.”

You can avoid the chaos of carving a pumpkin and all it entails and give your orange orb a fabric wrap, said Jewel Juachon, owner of AR Workshop Las Vegas.

“The whole project can be done for less than $2,” she said. “You can repurpose a flannel shirt, or an old piece of fabric to cover the pumpkin. Then embellish with a stick and leaves from the backyard and you have a great Halloween/fall item to decorate your home with. And kids can make several to start their own pumpkin patch. It’s so fun and versatile. I love that the pumpkins go from fall to Halloween to Thanksgiving.”

An easy craft to complete at home for Halloween is yarn ghosts.

“Most people have yarn around the house, and it doesn’t have to be white,” Juachon said.

Wrap yarn around the back of a chair about 75 to 100 times. The more yarn, the fatter the ghost. Carefully remove the yarn from the chair back. Tie a 14-inch string around each loop end to create a head, about an inch below the looped end. With both looped ends tied off, cut the hank of yarn right down the middle. Add googly eyes or orange, black or purple ribbon around the neck to decorate or leave them blank.

“It’s fun, super easy, and it’s a kid’s DIY project that can be redone for any season with just a simple add or color change,” Juachon said. “Use red, white and green for Christmas; pinks and reds for Valentine’s day; greens for St. Patrick’s day; and so on.”

Decorating for Halloween opens up opportunities for kids to learn more than how to handle sticky glue and paint. They learn color theory and fabric arts.

Each AR Workshop class dives into more than how to work with craft materials. A recent popular class for kids had them knitting pumpkins and chunky blankets.

“Crafting is a great way to get kids off of the electronics and social media and offers an opportunity to hone in on their creative side,” Juachon said. “It shows them a different way to have fun. You can create art with anything — wood, canvas, rocks, yarn. There are so many options if you just use your imagination.”

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