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Halloween Guide and Ideas


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Halloween Guide and Ideas
Halloween Guide and Ideas


As I write this article, I can't believe its been more than twenty years ago, but back in 1989 we created our very first full size Halloween Tree from an old tree in the backyard. Our friends, family and guests just loved the idea that we actually had a fully decorated Halloween Tree sitting right in our living room, just like you would at Christmas time. From that year on it became an October tradition to setup and decorate a Halloween Tree. We even started wrapping Halloween presents and placing them under the tree which we opened on Halloween night.

It all started one October day when I was working on a Halloween prop in the backyard and noticed that there was a dead tree in one corner of our property. It looked foreboding and kind of spooky, and I suddenly thought, Halloween Tree! I cut off one of the large limbs with my trusty chainsaw, trimmed off the limbs that I didn't want and since we were going to have the tree against a wall in the house, I cut the back limbs off a little shorter, so it could sit closer to the wall.

First we gently removed any loose dust, debris and unsalvageable bark from the tree. The bark on dead tree limbs tends to come off very easily, so we had to be careful to avoid knocking off any we don't have to.

Here's where we really departed from the tree decorating norm. We decided that we were not going to add mini-lights to our Halloween tree. Instead, we would use fluorescent paint and two black lights, one on either side, to illuminate it. This created a very unique and eerie effect.

Dead tree limbs tend to be quite brittle, so to strengthen them, we gave the tree two heavy coats of polyurethane spray. This also helped to adhere any loose bark to the tree. We let the first coat dry for a day, then gave it the second coat and let this dry for another couple of days. The next step was to carefully paint the entire tree with orange glow-in-the-dark, water-base paint and let it dry completely. This type of paint can usually be bought at craft stores or ordered online.

Now we painted the entire tree with a thick coat of crackle paint with a paint brush. This was left to setup for an hour before adding a final coat of semi-gloss, water-base black paint. As the black paint dries over the crackle paint, it creates a wonderful effect of the orange under-coat showing through the "crackle" like orange veins.

Lastly, we painted the whole thing with two coats of clear fluorescent spray paint. For this we used "Glow in the Dark Spray" made by Fun World. This glow in the dark aerosol spray goes on transparent. It is water soluble, so its easy clean up after using. Now the basic Halloween tree was finished. For a base we used a regular metal Xmas tree stand spray painted black.

We went a different direction with the ornaments as well. We wanted to use items that would look like they belonged on the tree if it were still growing outside, so we used a feathered crow perched on one branch, two spiders hot glued to the trunk and a branch, and most importantly a light coating of spider web using a Cob Web Spinner. We surrounded the base with river stones, a bed of brown and green Spanish moss for an outdoor look and then placed a tilted tombstone on one side, a skull and a couple of Jack O' Lanterns on the other side. Bats were hung with clear thread from the ceiling above the tree.

The last thing to do was add the black lights. We positioned a four foot black light unit on either side of the Halloween tree, about six feet in front of it. The entire tree glowed eerily and looked great!


Safety Tips - Never leave the lights or any lighted decorations plugged in when you leave the house. Its a good idea to attach a smoke detector to the wall or ceiling above the tree. Make sure that plugs plugged into outlets and/or extension cords are plugged in safely. Always have a fire extinguisher handy during the holidays.



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