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Halloween Crafting

I know it's a popular thing to say, but Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I've always loved the fun traditions surrounding the holiday, its religious roots, the folk lore -- and of course, getting a free pass to dress up and play pretend as an adult. There's also something about Halloween that just makes me want to bust out my Mod Podge and glitter and start crafting. Perhaps it's because the majority of ready made decorations available are either (a) heinous, (b) cheap looking, (c) overpriced or (d) some combination of the above. As a result, I'm often left thinking "I could make something cuter myself". Okay, well, maybe I couldn't, but Martha Stewart certainly could. And so, I thought I'd bring you some of my favorite craft ideas, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

I'm not generally a fan of Martha Stewart -- she's a bit too stiff, serious and unattainable for my tastes. That said though, I buy the Halloween issue of Martha Stewart Living every year. Because, if there's one thing Martha and I could bond over, it'd be our shared love of Halloween. Martha's website is a veritable smorgasbord of ideas for Halloween and while I've featured a few of my favorite below, there are literally dozens of other crafts, recipes, arrangements and even costumes to get you inspired.

I love this arrangement -- it's so dark and moody. Just goes to show you orange isn't the only color pumpkins come in and I love these gorgeous inky green beauties (according to Martha, they're Australian heirloom varietals called 'Jarrahdale' and 'Queensland Blue' ). And there's no need to try to improve upon nature with these pumpkins -- I wouldn't dare besmirch them with carvings. When Dave and I hit up the pumpkin patch (i.e., the local grocery store), you can bet we'll be looking for some of these to take home with us.

I love an easy craft project and boy are these candles easy. Simply light a red candle and drink the red wax down a white taper. For extra credit, why not try this with black tapers?

Think beyond a jack-o-lantern face when it comes to carvings. I love how eerily beautiful this moth and flame look. Another good tip is to let the shape of the pumpkin dictate the design. Here, the bell shape suits the shape of a candlestick.

While I love the look of a beautifully carved pumpkin, I'm not a huge fan of carving pumpkins -- it's just such a mess and I'm not a huge fan of the smell of uncooked pumpkin. Plus, I'm not so adept with a knife as to do some of the really gorgeously elaborate cut outs that Martha showcases. So for those of us who aren't so into carving, these glittering pumpkins are a wonderful alternative. A little Elmer's glue and a few coats of the glitter of your choice and you've got some beautiful pumpkins that will easily transition to Thanksgiving. Unless you want to purchase glitter by the bucketful, I think this project is best left for your small pumpkins.

Another candle idea but this one involves taking ordinary frosted glass hurricanes and decorating them with glittering spiderwebs. All this project involves is some glue and glitter. I'm fairly certain drawing a spiderweb is fairly fool-proof, but if you're nervous about free styling, Martha even provides a handy template that you can print out and trace on.

These paper lanterns are definitely the most complicated of any of the craft ideas I featured here, but I love them and think they'd look so fun hanging over your next Halloween spread. Don't let the multiple steps involved here daunt you though, Martha will hold your hand through the whole ordeal and even provides templates for all three of the lanterns and graphics.

For as simple as this idea is, it really makes a great impact. To make the tree, simply spray paint a branch a glossy black, use Styrofoam to secure it firmly inside the vase of your choice, hide the Styrofoam with moss (I think dead leaves would work nicely, too, though). Et voila! To finish off, just hang ornaments on the branches as you please. As for ornaments, you can either buy some or make your own (see Martha's directions on making the ones above here).

For your Halloween party, why not try whipping up some gorgeous black and silver pompoms? For less than $15 for the kit, you've got some seriously chic party accessories that will far outshine ordinary crepe paper.

If you're more of a baker than a crafter, Martha has a slew of ghoulish dessert ideas -- I particularly love all her cupcake options. So you can get to the fun part (decorating them!) faster, I'd recommend whipping up Nigella's Fairy Cakes (which you can make in a blender and cook/cool quickly) as a base for all that colorful icing and candies. Directions for decorating the cupcakes shown above are here.

If you lack the time and/or inclination for a little DIY, Martha Stewart's new Halloween collection over at Grandinroad has some really cute stuff (much of which is already on sale). Another great online source for creepy-but-still-cute Halloween decor is ZGallerie.

Happy Halloween crafting!

All photographs courtesy of

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