northstory + co

Halloween Front Porch Decor

We were in Walmart this month and I needed to get food colouring. The food colouring is sold in the same aisle as the magazines. While in that aisle looking for Wilton Orange Icing, my daughter decided to pick up a magazine to browse through. Above all magazines on the shelf she picked up Country Living‘s Halloween Decoration issue.

And above all pages she turned to it had to be this image of a cascade of bats across a front door. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t been on Pinterest where it’s been pinned about 10000 times.

“Mommy can we decorate our door like that this year?”

“Yes dear I’ll cut out 100 bats for you and duct tape them to our walls”. That was my outside voice too.

Ok. Felt – which is what they recommend to make them with – here in Canada isn’t cheap. Let me re-phrase that. It isn’t cheap to me per quantity of bats that I needed to cut out. So I picked up a roll of craft foam at our local dollar store where I could get 74″ (just over 6 feet) for $1.25. And then began to cut out bats (I used chalk to make the outline on the foam sheets that I folded in half which made it way easier to cut out each bat).

Foam is great for two reasons. A) It’s waterproof and B) It’s reusable, meaning after you take your bats down, you can re-use them again next year so you don’t have to cut them out all over again.

Mind you if you have a blog doing last years Halloween decorations again on your blog the following year, may not be that enticing for your readers. Says the one who is copying one of the top Halloween DIY pins on Pinterest. When both grown women and a 5 year olds think it’s cool, you know you’ve made a hell of a great DIY.  So kudos Country Living.

I made three different bat sizes. If I can give you one word of advice after doing this, make more smaller sized bats and less bigger sized bats. When you build your swarm of bats, you want your big bats to be the focal point surrounded by the smaller ones. I wound up trimming a lot of the bigger bats.

In the meantime during the week that I was making the bats I came across a dead tree branch on the side of an empty road I drive on everyday. After a week it was taunting me. So it came home with me.

Then I also found two metal star wreaths at the thrift store that I thought could use a good update.

If you’re a fan of taupe or beige, turn away now (and don’t worry I have an extra that I am saving for Christmas that I am going to paint Candy Apple Red to make you cry even more).

 And it all kind of came together like this.

But something was still missing for me.

For one the bat wings were flopping around. I tried to justify it to myself by saying “Oh they look like they’re flying”  but that ended pretty fast the more the bat wings curled into each other – the foam started resembling bat balls and not bats. So I went back and re-taped them on properly so their wings were flat on the siding.

And then I thought what good are scary bats, black crows and tree branches if they’re not in the shadow of a full moon.

So I made a moon.

And then waited until it got darker to take a photo of it lit up.

The moon was ridiculously easy to make and yet the effect looked really cool in real life. I just hoping to get some glow out of it but it actually wound up doing a really did a great job of lighting up the entire porch, especially when it got really dark at night and brought out all the shadows from the tree branches. I am going to take some photos of it all on Halloween night if I can remember to drag out my tripod before I get swarmed by trick or treaters.

All I did was take an embroidery hoop (I have dozens in my basement from thrift stores), painted it white, put in a white pillowcase, trimmed it to size and hung it off the tree with fishing line. Behind the embroidery hoop, I put up one of those stick on LED touch lights that you can buy for your closet similar to this one only I got mine at the dollar store for a $1.

And you get yourself a pretty kick ass full moon.

You know what this porch really needs?

Some PicMonkey Halloween effects that get them to feel a little more Edgar Allan Poe era-esque with letterbox. Everything looks better when it’s letterboxed and 16:9.

That and a lot of mason jars with tea lights, some lit up pumpkins and a couple of hundred trick or treaters. That’s not a typo. Get your candy this week ladies and gentlemen. Last year we almost ran out.

Welcome to suburbia. The only place where your Halloween decorations will cost you less than the candy that you will give out.

On a side note, wait til I get my hands on that tree branch for Christmas decorating.

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  • Reply
    Pillows A-La-Mode
    October 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I absolutely LOVE it!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cobwebs, Cupcakes And Crayons
    October 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS!! It turned out amazing!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Country Living should get a % every time a pinner does this. It’s so universally user friendly.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Well, I guess you better buy even more candy than you first thought… because EVERYONE is going to want to visit you! Those decorations are “to die for”! Was that scary? Seriously… it’s all perfect. Not too scary (for little ones) but hauntingly fun!

    The full moon was the perfect touch. That glow makes everything look amazing. So creative, Alex! I bet the kids are SUPER excited. I’d want to sleep on the front porch if I were your kid. Ha Ha! The bats turned out great, too. HAVE FUN and save some candy for YOU… you’ll need some chocolate later… when you take your bubble bath to relax and recover!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Damnit. OK I didn’t think of it that way. I decorate totally b/c of the kids. My daughter is like ok what are we doing for Christmas and I’m already “Go talk to your father Clark Griswold”.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Wow! Great work! Love everything about it! Love that moon! 🙂

  • Reply
    Victoria Elizabeth
    October 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    That. Looks. Awesome. I personally think it was absolutely worth giving yourself carpal tunnel syndrome cutting those bats out…

    I do the mason jars/tealights too. How do you store them the other 11 months of the year? I just have mine in boxes and every year I swear I’m just going to recycle them because they take up a ridiculous amount of room in the basement and are a pain to get out and put away.

    One of the girls in my facebook feed picmonkeyd her profile photo. It’s hysterical. She’s drinking a giant martini with a straw, but she gave herself vampire teeth and some blood-shot eyes and grayed her face. I was tempted to go and do one of myself immediately, but I am trying to waste less time on the Internet (so far, no… it’s not working at all.)

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      We used to buy that bag of 100 from IKEA. There was a point where I think I had 5 opened bags in those plastic storage bins in the basement. I know what you mean about room. They need a tube filing system for them. Heyyyyy….there’s an idea.

      I love PicMonkey!! Diary of a Mad Crafter showed it on her site first and I was like oh what fresh fun is this? It’s so awesome!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Love the effect of the moon with all those bats flying around your door — I am totally copying this for next year across my ugly white garage doors.

    100 trick or treaters? Impressive! Do you tell the kids you’ve run out or do you just kill the light and hide inside (we did that one year — not pretty!)?

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      DO IT!! Then post photos!

      We tell them we run out. Which is sadly the truth. Our neighbours told us their record in the past 15 years was over 300 kids. Crazy doesn’t even cover that. At that point do you start giving out freshly popped popcorn?

  • Reply
    October 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    WAY cool, alex!! great job. i love, love, love the moon

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Thank you! Maybe you can come over and teach me how to refinish a piece of wood? God knows I don’t take home any furniture b/c of my inability to do so.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2012 at 2:01 am

    Dude… Nicely done!! You don’t mess around do you. This came out incredible is as thrilled as the rest of us. By the way, the moon is my favorite and since that was all you, I’m off to pin you post. Awesome!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      I would get threatened by my kids. Our neighbours had their decorations out in SEPTEMBER. I was like ok hang on, wait on that I am still in apple picking mode. Seriously I had no idea the new touch lights worked that good. I remember getting them for my closet years ago and they were nowhere near that bright.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2012 at 5:32 am

    incredible! you make the potentially mundane beautiful. great design!

    • Reply
      [email protected]
      October 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      I still feel like someone is going to cringe when they see the black star wreath. I love how neutrals look in home decor but that one was so broken and chipped and all I kept thinking is this has the potential to look evil.

  • Reply
    November 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Love this! Brilliant – wish I had read this before Halloween 😉 Maybe next year I will put some effort into Halloween, or maybe not, we’ll just have to see…

  • Reply
    November 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    ohhhhhhhhhh is amazing!!!!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    That is adorable! I love the moon. You did a fantastic job 🙂

    • Reply
      September 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    September 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I love love love this! I did the bats last year flying across a second story wall of our house. Now I’m trying to decide how to make a moon and get it up there…I don’t think my husband will climb up every night to turn it on but I will come up with something!!!

  • Reply
    Tiffany Doss
    September 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    You are hysterical!! Best Halloween porch and I love your narrative! Thanks for the super ideas!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Oh, that looks very, very cool!!

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