6 Easy Crafts to Spook-ify Your Dorm

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Out of all the reasons to love the Halloween season, I'm partial to all the crafting and decorating. However, as deadlines start to pile up and budgets shrink, an extensive crafting exodus to Target or Joann's Fabrics isn't always manageable. Here, I compiled some suggestions for dorm-friendly crafts that I've personally enjoyed and don't require the purchase of otherwise useless items. (I'm sure you crafters are no strangers to all those videos that assume everyone has a bucket of wet cement lying around.)

  1. 1. Tissue Ghosts

    We’ve all seen these little guys. One easy way to make them is to first cover the head of a lollipop in a tissue and pinch and then tie or tape around the neck. If you aren’t passionate enough about lollipops to run out to Target and get them, you can do the same thing with a Q-tip or some sort of similarly-sized stick. You'll have to cover the Q-Tip in a tissue and imagine where the ghost’s neck would be. In that spot, pinch and twist the tissue a bit. Without the head of the lollipop, you’ll have to pull at the tissue above the neck to fluff it up and create a head. Once your head is good enough, tightly tie or tape around the ghost’s neck. With a marker, draw a little face onto your ghost’s fluffed up head. Hang them up, let them fly!

  2. 2. Apothecary Ingredients

    Cluttering your desk with a few pen-filled mason jars is a great way to convince people you’re organized, even if you’re far from it. If you have an extra mason jar laying around, why not use it to show your Halloween spirit?

    There’s lots of possible ways to scrawl something witchy on a mason jar. There’s acrylic paint, and spray paint followed by paint marker, puffy paint, and even fabric paint. If you don’t want to touch the jar itself, you could decorate an artsy tag on a scrap of paper and tie it by the lid. I used “dragon’s blood” and “bezoars”, but it’s easy to find some other names of apothecary must-haves online (or perhaps rack your brain for anything vaguely Harry Potter-y). 

    I actually decorated the jars pictured at a floor event where the RAs lended out glass paint markers. They can be a tad expensive, but they’re available all over the internet or at Michaels or Joann’s Fabrics. Something like these should work.

  3. 3. Jar-O-Lanterns

    Tape off a little jack-o-lantern face and paint the jar orange! Add a little tea light and you’re glowing! (Or some pens, something useful...whatever works for you!) 

    Wary about committing your mason jar to a lifetime as a pumpkin? I used acrylic paint, and it comes off the jar easily when scrubbed.

  4. 4. Dangling Hands

    What dorm is complete without a few severed hands lying around? If you’ve got latex gloves, you’re in luck!  Blow them up as if they’re balloons, quickly twist and tape the end of the glove shut. I’d recommend blowing the gloves up to be larger than any real human hand to account for inevitable air loss during the closing process. I happened to have a box of latex gloves while decorating for my roommate’s October birthday last year.  As pictured above, we taped these creepy “balloons” to string lights, and they stayed inflated throughout the semester. The hands were much spookier than if we’d bought orange and black balloons, and we used the rest of the gloves throughout the year for cleaning and hair-dye adventures.

  5. 5. Creepy Gauze

    Toilet paper: widely available, widely used, typically not decorative. However, if you’re the kind of person who likes to decorate their door seasonally, you may be interested in mummifying your door. Grab a roll and start taping, and for some added flair you could give your “gauze” a few funky red stains with acrylic paint. This way, you avoid committing to a roll of wrapping paper you may never touch again.

  6. 6. Haunted House Agenda

    All you need for this craft is construction paper, scissors, a glue stick, and small post-its. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but the idea is to make a calendar-style haunted house. Through each “window”, door, or gravestone lurks the scariest thing of all: deadlines.

    You can also mark weekends with a spooky little drawing and add some fun open-ables! Maybe some cotton-ball ghosts or smoke coming out of a chimney?? Go wild!

I pinpointed a few affordable and dorm-friendly crafts, but of course there's more to find online and on campus. There'll be free pumpkin-painting or carving opportunities all around the UMass Amherst Campus this month, and the Student Union Craft Center (now in Bartlett) is a magical space to get spooky this October. Happy crafting, Happy Halloween!