HER DIY: Spooky Soirée

Featured Sliders / Food & Drink / Lifestyle / Stories / September 14, 2015


Throw an unforgettable Halloween party this October with decorations that you can create yourself. HER designers Kate Johnson and Leah Beane made subtly spooky accents guaranteed to make an impression.


Ghostly Luminaries

Adding lighting accents is key to creating an ambiance at any party. Use posterboard and parchment paper to create luminaries, assembled with glue, and filled with LED strand lights to add a glow.


Hangin’ Out

Every table setting needs a centerpiece, so we decided to make a branch full of hanging bats. We started with a cardboard base that we stuck our branch into, and covered with some dried decorative grass. The bats are just black felt and feathers, wrapped around the branches and glued together.


Medusa Macabre

Work toy snakes (or other rubber creepy-crawlies) into a simple twig wreath. Spray paint the wreath with black spray paint to add shine and give a sense that the entire thing is a wriggling ball of snakes. This is a super easy project that can be hung on the front door or inside.


Cat Scratch Fever

With just black posterboard and tape, you can create these creepy-cute felines for a place setting or just for show. Use chalk to write names on the side.


Finger Food

Creepily realistic witch-finger cookies make a great snack. We got our recipe from Food.com:

  1. Heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. Place food coloring in a shallow bowl. crack each whole almond into halves. and toss them into the bowl with the food coloring and stir them until the color is evenly distributed. leave them in the bowl and stir them every so often until the color is as dark as you like.
  3. Separate 1 egg. Set aside the white. In a small bowl, whisk together yolk, remaining egg, and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add egg mixture, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic, and chill until firm, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Work with one piece at a time, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic wrap and chilled. Divide the first half into fifteen pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece back and forth with palms into finger shapes, 3 to 4 inches long. Pinch dough in two places to form knuckles. Score each knuckle lightly with the back of a small knife. Transfer fingers to prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. When all fingers are formed, brush lightly with egg white. Position almond nails; push into dough to attach.
  7. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.
  8. note: To make the knuckles more creepy just shape them big and uneven. To keep them from puffing out too much, roll the fingers extra thin (a little skinnier than you want them to look). I also try to get them out of the oven before they brown. I sometimes add a bit of almond extract to dough.


Old School Cool

Create these Victorian-inspired silhouette portraits yourself. There are several ways we devised to complete this project:

1. Using a printed out photo of someone turned profile view, trace the outline of their head and use a black marker or paint on white paper to fill in the shape.

2. Alternatively, you could trace the head onto a sheet of black paper and glue it onto a piece of white paper.

3. If you know how to use computer programs like MS Paint, Photoshop, or Illustrator, you could trace over the photo with black and print it out.

With all of these methods, the fun part comes when you add spooky details like wings, horns, and tentacles to the images.

martini1WEBPick Your Poison

Every party needs a great cocktail, so we created a traditional Black Russian (5 parts vodka to 2 parts coffee liqueur, like Kahlua.) We served it in a martini glass instead of the traditional Old Fashioned glass over ice. If you want to avoid alcohol, you could use straight black coffee for a similar look. Any drink could be dyed with black food coloring, but we weren’t sure how that would treat your guest’s teeth!

A tiny bottle accompanying the drink, spray painted eerily or labeled with a skull & crossbones, cements the idea of poison in your guests’ minds.


Masked Mayhem

Offer guests woodland masks to take the pressure off finding a costume, or have them available for guests who try to get away without dressing up!

Download our different mask templates here> 

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Arcane Library

Measure your hardcover books and make them new custom covers. Reimagine old classics, like Dracula or Frankenstein, or create new spellbooks. You can create them on a computer program, like we did here, or go the traditional route and draw them yourself.


Bat Mobile

We wanted to tie our entryway into the table setting we created, so we mimicked the centerpiece with a branch and posterboard bats. Make as many or as few as you want, hang them with fishing line, and enjoy your spooky chandelier.


Creative Invites

If you’re theming the party around something specific, make sure to play it up on your invites. Crows, skeletons, witches’ hats, pumpkins—classic imagery, especially in black & white and paired with simple type, makes a striking invitation.

All projects made by Kate Johnson and Leah Beane | Photographs by Leah Beane

Alvin Leifeste

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