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How to Make Haunting, Hanging Ghost Decor for Halloween

by on Oct 1, 2021

Goblins, ghosts, and ghouls — oh my! It’s officially October, which means the green light is on for Halloween decorating. If you’re looking for an affordable and low-key way to let little trick-or-treaters know you’ve got candy, a gaggle of ghosts is a safe bet. This outdoor Halloween decor isn’t pricey or complicated. Plus, once night falls, these ghosts can light up for extra creepiness.           

Spooky Halloween decor for outdoors

I’ve put together a short video if you want to watch how easy it is to make this outdoor Halloween decor. Make sure you keep reading for all the ghoulish details!


Materials needed to make hanging ghost decor
  • Liquid starch
  • Flour
  • Balloons
  • Paper
  • Twine or string
  • Cheesecloth
  • Paper cups and tape
  • White acrylic paint (not shown)
  • Glow sticks or hanging LED lights


Step 1 | Glowing yard ghosts

In order for the hanging ghosts to have structure, they each need a solid head. These ghost craniums are created from paper mâché. 

To create the paper mâché mixture, combine two parts liquid starch with one part all-purpose flour, and mix thoroughly, breaking up any lumps of flour.


Step 2 | Flowing, glowing yard ghosts

To give the ghost heads their shape, apply the paper mâché to a balloon. Inflate a balloon, then prop it up so you have room to work around it (two paper cups taped together works well!). Cut strips or paper or newsprint, and dip them in the paper mâché mixture. Lay the paper across the balloon. This process is messy, so make sure you’re working on a surface that’s easy to clean!

Allow your paper mâché to dry thoroughly between layers. If you’re using a heavier paper, 1-2 layers will be sturdy enough. If you’re using a thinner paper, like newsprint, aim for 2-3 layers.

Leave your paper mâché heads to dry overnight.


Step 3 | Glowing yard ghosts

Once completely dry, pop each balloon inside the paper mâché heads. Use scissors to cut two openings for eyes, which will allow light inside the head to eerily shine through.

Using paper mache to create flowing ghosts shapes

Paint the heads with white paint, and allow then to dry thoroughly.


Step 4 | Hanging ghost decor

Once dry, cut a small opening at the top of each ghost head. Drape cheesecloth over the head, then pull the weave of the cheesecloth apart to match the small opening at the top of the head. Feed string through the opening, then tie a glow stick or LED light inside the head to the other end of the string. Now all that’s left to do is hang your outdoor Halloween decor. Haunt on!

Outdoor Halloween decor

Oh, and…good news! Once this season is over, you can definitely reuse these for many Octobers to come. Once you’ve taken them down, remove the cheesecloth from the head to separate the pieces. Give the cheese cloth a handwash in soapy water, then rinse thoroughly. Allow them to dry, then place all the cheesecloth in a gallon zip top bag, removing the air to compress. Store the bag inside one of the heads, and you’ll be ready to go for next year!

Wide shot of hanging ghost decor for Halloween

When the sun goes down, light up the glow sticks or LED lights, and watch your ghosts glow… because good outdoor Halloween decor has to be a little bit creepy, too.

Hanging ghosts with suspended glow sticks inside

Close-up of glowing ghost decor

How to make haunting, hanging ghost decor
Share this spooky outdoor Halloween decor on Pinterest!

Looking for more Halloween ideas?

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