Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me from such educational Halloween blog posts as How To Host A Kick-Ass Halloween Party. Today I’m here to talk to you about decorating for Halloween when you are cheap and lazy. I’m probably one of the cheapest and laziest people I know, so who better to guide you on your quest?
Something that really annoys me is when you search for “cheap/easy/quick” Halloween decorating ideas and get articles entitled “cheap, easy Halloween coffins” that assume that you are the kind of person that has a garage workshop and plywood on your person at all times. In my opinion, anything that requires a visit to the hardware store and a working knowledge of “4X2 size wood”, “LED lights” and “soldering” is NOT easy, nor is it usually cheap. So I bring to you, my knowledge of how to make a decent sized perching gargoyle Halloween decoration using nothing but the following things: flour, water, assorted rubbish ie old plastic bottles/polystyrene packing, cardboard boxes, 1 balloon, duct tape, masking tape, grey poster or acrylic paint, wooden kebab skewers, 2 wire coat hangers and shitloads of newspaper. Also, some kind of darkish fabric for the wings, though you can papier mache those too if you aren’t as lazy as me.
This stuff is literally all less than $5 at the supermarket, no specialty stores required. I would say that I spent about $10 max for this endeavour. If you really can’t access old boxes or old bits of polystyrene packing, then you should be able to get them easily enough by asking local businesses for their rubbish. Another thing you will need is alcohol and music, this makes the task at hand a little more fun.
I started by drawing a crude picture of a gargoyle, so I would remember what bits to include. Then I went digging through my pile of junk and started making a haphazard frame, and taped it all together using masking tape.
Once that was done, I was able to get a clear idea of how big the head should be, and blew up a balloon to the size I wanted. Then I taped plastic bottle caps to where I wanted the eyes to be, and 2 plastic shot glasses to where I wanted the ears/horns to be. Then, I taped the balloon onto the top of a small box, to be held there for the papier mache-ing.
For papier mache paste, you just add 2 cups of flour to 3 cups of water and mix until its pretty much a goo. Tear long strips of newspaper (I got mine for free, its one of those lame “community” newspapers – the Gosnells one, which is surprising when you consider that nobody in Gosnells can probably even read). Fill a bucket with the newspaper strips, get the bowl of goo handy and you’re away laughing. I’m not going to outline the “technique” of papier mache because everyone did it at school, and if you really can’t remember, then just go and search it online.
Once the papier mache was done to my satisfaction, I left it to dry and started on the wings and claws. For the wings, I used 2 of the wire coat hangers, I untwisted them and stretched them out, then duct-taped them together to make one long wing-shaped frame. I made “veins” that came off the main frame by duct-taping wooden kebab skewers to the wire.
For the hands, I wanted to do kind of “wizened claws” which were made using kebab skewers, wrapped in duct tape. Because the duct tape we had at home was already grey, I was lucky – in fact in hindsight you should buy grey duct tape, as it can be hard to paint another colour grey.
Once the papier mache was dry, I painted the head and the body grey, then once the paint was dry I used duct tape to attach the head and the wing frame onto the body.
For the paint I didn’t do anything artistic; I just did one coat of grey paint and that was it. This gargoyle has like, no features except for bumps for eye sockets.
I cut a slit in the bottom of the arms on the frame to stick the wizened claw into each arm. I was going to make feet but I cbf (and that’s how lazy people do things). For the wings, I literally just draped “creepy cloth” (which is really like this dark greyish coloured cheesecloth that I got at Crazy Clark’s for about $3) from one end to the other. Once I know where I will be putting the gargoyle on the night of the party, then I will use black string to tie the wings up onto something to keep them from drooping, but otherwise that is all there is to it.
To look at in broad daylight it isn’t all that awesome, but the party isn’t going to be in broad daylight. It’s going to be at night time, and the only light sources will be red lights and candles, so I just had to know if it would look okay in the dark with a candle next to it –
which I reckon it does! On the night he will also end up with cobwebbing stuff on him also.
Love, Chelle xoxoxooxoxxoxoxo