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DIY Halloween: Materials You Need

It’s August, and since Halloween is less than 100 days away, it’s time to start your projects.  You might think, “It’s only August.  I have PLENTY of time.”

You’re wrong.

Just check out this picture I took today:


Yep.  That’s the beginnings of a Halloween store. Halloween Express to be exact.  They’re getting ready for the holiday, and so should you.

If you’re new to the DIY Halloween thang, you might be wondering where to start.  Well, look no further for I have been sent here to enlighten your minds!  Or at least I’m prepared to help get you started.  First things first, we’re talking materials.

DIY Halloween_ Materials You Need(1)

PVC Pipe

I wrote a whole post about this stuff, so you should check it out here.  From monsters to cages to mausoleums, this stuff can be the base for anything.  Adult tinker toys, ladies and gentlemen.  That’s what they are.  Buy some pipe and fittings today at Lowe’s or Home Depot.  And don’t forget your pipe cutter!

Papier Mache

Newspaper and the glue mixture of your choice is all you need to make a crazy awesome prop.  I used some to make a cool scarecrow head one year (read here), and I also made a witch head for a prop last year, which I’ve yet to discuss on the blog.  That’ll come later.

Monster Mud

This stuff is like heavy duty Papier mache used for bigger projects.  To make this stuff, all you need are drywall joint compound (found at any hardware store) and any latex paint you have lying around.  Color doesn’t matter because this stuff is fully paintable after it dries.  Mix it with a drill and paint-stirrer attachment in a large bucket.  After that you can dip fabric in the stuff to cover your props or just paint on the mud itself to create an outer shell.  There are a ton of tutorials online.  Just check out Google or Pinterest for some ideas.


You can use different gauges of wire to do different things.  I like to use a lighter gauge wire to hang props and heavier gauges to make moldable fingers, spiders, etc…

Foam Heads

These can be found at most craft stores, and they can be used for – well – prop heads.  I made a severed head out of one, which you can read about here.  They can also be used to finish off a full-size prop or even hung with cheesecloth to make a ghost.  Oh, that reminds me…


Cheesecloth is pretty versatile.  You can use it to make ghosts and shrouds, you can drape it over mantels or tables for a creepy effect, or you can pair it with monster mud to create detail or make clothing for your props.

Old Clothes

What?  You want your props to be naked?  Well, that’s your decision to make, but for those of us who want props suitable for the eyes of tiny trick-or-treaters, clothing is kinda essential.  Go to garage sales or just raid your closet for old items you don’t want anymore.  The fun part is aging them.  Bury your prop clothes, rip them, paint them, run them over with your car – anything to make them look nice and old.


This one is a no-brainer.  You want to make some props, you gotta paint them or it’s just going to look unfinished.  I use spray paint for larger projects and latex/craft paint for smaller crafts and detail work.

Scrap Wood

I think everyone who has a house probably has a few pieces lying around.  I haven’t really used wood to create a large prop, but I’ve nailed pieces together to make a sturdier base for some.


I don’t have much experience using foam in my crafts, but I’m going to remedy that this year.  You can buy large sheets of foam at home improvement stores, and I’ll be buying some soon to create a life-size coffin.  Foam can also be used to make tombstones.  I’ve got a foam cooler that I plan on fashioning into one in a few weeks.  It’ll be my first foam-based project, so I hope it turns out okay.


Well, that list should give you a good start to your DIY Halloween projects.  So gather your materials, folks, and get to crafting.  You don’t have much time.