Papier-Mâché, Crepe, and Cardboard: These Halloween Decorations Prove That Anything Is Possible with Paper

From cut-out wolves and wall-crawling spiders to ghoulish kitchen maids and more, these paper crafts will get your home ready for All Hallows' Eve.

fantastic beast window silhouette in house
Photo: Frank Frances

Some ideas look good on paper, but the Halloween decorations below turn that humble medium—from yesterday's front page to crafters' crepe—into sinister, spine-tingling scenes. Greet visitors with a howling hellhound, grab their attention with an otherworldly wall display, or go goth at dinner. Your place will be the talk of the block.

Fantastic Beast

A big, bad wolf can blow your house down—or blow up your décor. If you're artsy, draw his silhouette, like we did, above, on black poster board, cut it out with a utility knife, and tape it inside a window. Another option? Simply use our template: Download it here, and have your local copier print it on a 36-by-60-inch sheet of paper, and follow our how-to. Post-Halloween, store it flat so you can unleash it again next fall.

Get the Window Wolf How-To

show of hands wall decor with ghost woman
Frank Frances

Show of Hands

For a delightfully dismembered display, slice the bases off hollow papier-mâché hand forms with a craft knife and paint them a ghostly shade. Then slip the top and bottom of each "wrist" into a Command cord clip, place the adhesive on the side of the hooks rather than the back, and attach them to the wall. At a party, this makes a gripping backdrop for "spirit photos." Set your phone camera's exposure time to 10 seconds and have the subject slowly lean forward and out of the frame as you snap the picture.

Shop Now: Orange Wire Art Papier-Mâché Hands, $9 each,; Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint in White, $4,; Etista Life-Size Black Feathered Crow, $25.99 for two,; 3M Command Clear Cord Clips, $10 for 13,

night crawlers spider wall decor
Frank Frances


The very scary spiders climbed up (and down) the living-room wall. For these eight-legged invaders' bodies, we inflated two different-size balloons and covered them in papier-mâché, then glued the parts together and spray-painted them black. For legs, eight lengths of floral wire, bent and wrapped with paper tape at the joints, were sprayed black and poked into holes in the body. We kept our arachnids monotone, cut holes in the abdomens, and mounted them with Command hooks. But you can up the fear factor by painting on the red markings of black widows, or suspending them in a dark corner or hallway. Gotcha!

Get the Papier-Mâché Spider How-To

masters of disguise spooky masks and dark cloaks
Frank Frances

Masters of Disguise

No need to toil and trouble over a last-minute getup. Throw on dark duds, trick out a store-bought papier-mâché mask, and shazam: You're creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky. The masks are so affordable, you can buy a few to customize—cut a triangle out of one and glue it onto a second as a beak before painting it all black. Just as eerily easy? Cut the front half off a decorative skull. For a macabre-chic touch, ditch the mask elastic and thread black ribbon through each side to tie it on. Set out a bunch for guests at a party, then walk around asking, "Who was that"

Shop Now: Factory Direct Craft Papier-Mâché Mask, $5.99,; Factory Direct Craft Life-Size Papier-Mâché Skull, $7,

desparate housewife skeleton doing dishes
Frank Frances

Desperate Housewife

The home's previous owner? She was the type who'd keep her kitchen clean, or die trying. Tell that to guests who startle at the sight of a ghoul floating above a steaming sink of dirty dishes. It's really a pot of dry ice, and "she" is a coat hanger stuck inside a papier-mâché skull, tricked out with skeleton arms, wrapped in crepe paper, and hung with fishing line from the ceiling. (But we'll never tell.) We will, however, tell you exactly how to make her.

Get the Desperate Housewife Hanging Ghost How-To

creeping vine tablescape with black candles
Frank Frances

Creeping Vine

Between the slithery rubber snake, black tapers, and brainy-looking cheese, this tabletop is the last word in evil elegance. But the truly terrifying part is the vicious vine, sprouting leaves that resemble black hearts (they're modeled on slightly toxic English ivy). To make it, cut hearts out of black paper, hot-glue them to floral wire wrapped in black floral tape, and wind it along the table to ensnare unsuspecting diners.

Get the Creeping Vine How-To

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