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Halloween Guide and Ideas


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Halloween Guide and Ideas
Halloween Guide and Ideas


In October 2003, we added the third Halloween Tree to our ever growing collection by adapting an outdoor metal Xmas tree decoration. With only a few minor modifications, this makes a great Halloween tree, which we've displayed in our family room every year since. Here's how we did it.

You should be warned, while this is a relatively inexpensive project, it does take several hours to complete, with most of the time being spent changing bulbs, placing in bent cotton swab sticks and spray painting then placing the purple blubs in the sockets. It was well worth the time!

During the Christmas season we found these white outdoor Xmas decorations at a local mass market retail store. The "Wire Tree - Lighted Yard Decoration" is made of coated metal and has hinged branches that unfold.

The tree stands six feet tall and comes pre-strung with 350 clear mini-lights. It also includes a metal base for the tree. With its spindly branches and somewhat barren appearance, its a perfect. We began by assembling the metal tree according to its instructions. Then we started working on the transformation into a Halloween tree.

Halloween Tree

Next, we removed all of the light bulbs and placed both ends of a folded cotton swab inside of each and every light socket to prevent it from getting spray paint inside during painting process, which would make it difficult to put the replacement orange bulbs in. Be sure to place masking or clear tape over the exposed male/female electrical plugs to prevent them from getting painted as well.

Halloween Tree

Now, we paint the entire tree with Krylon brand semi-flat black spray paint. It takes almost three cans to completely cover  a tree well. We discovered that several light coats are better than trying to apply one heavy coat of paint, as canned spray paint tends to be very thin and runs easily. Once the tree had been painted, we looked it over very carefully from all directions for any white that we might have missed.

Halloween Tree

Using canned spray paint for anything but a few seconds really kills your finger and unless you have large hands the can is hard to hold for extended periods. We highly suggest using a "Spray Can Grip Handle" when using canned spray paint. The pistol grip handle easily snaps on to the can and has a locking system that grips it so it won't fall off while you're working. Just pull the trigger and paint.

Halloween Tree

After the paint has had a day to thoroughly dry, we removed all the folded cotton swabs from the sockets and plugged in the new orange colored mini-bulbs. It is extremely important that the replacement bulbs are the same voltage, wattage, wiring type and socket-base-type specifications as the original bulbs to prevent the possibility of shorting out the lights and potentially starting a fire.

Halloween Tree

The newly painted black Halloween tree is now ready to be decorated with some spooky ornaments. During the Halloween season you can find all sorts of things that can be used as ornaments including small skeletons hung from nooses made out of twine, small Jack O' Lantern and pumpkins, orange, purple and black glass ornamental bulbs, plastic spiders, rats, bats, skulls and the list goes on.

Halloween Tree

Next, an appropriate tree topper should be added to the top of the Halloween tree. In this case, we chose to use a small plastic Jack O' Lantern for our tree, but there are many suitable Halloween decorations that can be used as tree toppers. Check your local Halloween store for small decorations. Just make sure that if any bulbs that could come into contact with what ever you use as a topper, it can't catch on fire.

Halloween Tree

Next, we gave the tree a very light covering of spider webs. Fake cobwebs can easily be overdone. Just a light covering is all that is needed. You can use the stretchable cob webs that come in a bag, just use it sparingly. We used a product called "Cob Webs in a Can" on this tree and as you can see it looks great. Just be certain to read all of the instructions and precautions on the can before using.

Halloween Tree

We added a deep purple tree skirt to surround the base with. We bought ours in the Xmas section at a local department store, but one could also be easily made using a Xmas tree skirt pattern and some Halloween printed fabric. Lastly, we placed a tombstone, a Jack O' Lantern  and several spooky decorations on the skirt. We actually give each other Halloween gifts every year wrapped in black, purple, and orange wrapping paper.

Halloween Tree

Notes - Be sure to keep any extra bulbs in case you need to replace some later. You will probably need to touch up some of the paint after replacing the bulbs. Just use a small artist brush and some flat black craft paint. Warning - If one light bulb goes out on this tree, the entire string will go out and you will have to locate the bad bulb by changing them out one at a time.

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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