Getting witchy for Halloween and brewing up a magical outdoor decoration
My brother and I have a tradition decking out my house for trick or treaters every Halloween. Each year, we try to switch it up and make a different theme. We try to tell a story of some kind. It’s so much fun to act like a kid again, and enjoy the neighborhood kiddos say, “ooohhh!! Remember this house that year!” I think my neighbors enjoy watching us freak people out.
This year, I really wanted to do a spider theme, but a little solar decoration in my kitchen window got me thinking.
If I have giant spiders, they need to come from somewhere. In the deep dark woods there’s some witches cooking up a magic potion to produce all these 8 legged creatures. I had to have a boiling caldron brewing over hot coals.
A friend of mine has a house that backs up to woods. They had some large branches come down during the spring storms. They graciously offered their land for me to rummage through for what I needed. My son and I went on an adventure, hunting for the elusive tree branches. Once we found some decently straight with character, I opened the hand saw and let him get to work.
He really enjoyed cutting all the wood into approximately 7’ lengths. Once we loaded the 3 branches in my little SUV, stretching all the way to the dashboard, we headed home to assemble.
I used nylon cord to wrap around the three branches to form a teepee. I never learned this in Girl Scouts, so I winged it. We also used a smaller branch, cut into 3 equal lengths, and assembled it into a triangle that would “wrap” around the 3 teepee legs. This provides a little extra stability, so the legs won’t slip and adds character. At the top of the teepee, I drilled a hole and screwed in an eye hook to hang the cauldron.
Now, it’s time to begin working on the burning coals. I had some thin scrap board in the barn and a strand of orange LED lights left over from another project. I used the board as a base and covered with aluminum foil to reflect as much orange light as possible.
After, I went to the garage to make the burning coals. Taking empty, clear drink bottles from our recycling, I cut off the ends and pulled the light strand through each of them.
Using clear packing tape I attached the bottles to the foil covered board in a spiral pattern leaving the plug end out, so I could plug it in.
Next, I covered the bottles and lights with scrap clear plastic. (I have no idea where it came from – probably from some package shipment I received.) I taped the plastic around the edges of the board tucked under the lights. My hope that is if I have a lighting issue or need to replace the strand of lights, I can pull this off like a lid to repair.
I sprayed expanding foam over the whole plastic sheet. (Word to the wise this stuff is EVIL. Don’t touch it, and don’t get it on any clothing! It will not come off and takes days to wear off skin. It sticks to ev 👏🏻 ery 👏🏻 thing 👏🏻‼️)
It looked pretty good as is, but of course I want to display it leading up to Halloween in the daylight as well as night. It needed a little paint job.
I waiting for 3 days because it was just too windy to spray paint. Armed with a can of red and black spray paint, I gave my foam monster a make over to look like burnt ash and hot coals.
While paint was drying, it was time to work on the cauldron. One of my best friends found a 16” cauldron for me that was dented at a Halloween store for $5.00!! SCORE! They are normally $15.00. I attached 40” faux chain from the Dollar Store to the cauldron using hanging planter chain. The night before, my husband and I experimented with the proper length of chain, and he helped me adjust the length by taking out links.
I put a cardboard box in the cauldron to set some green LED lights closer to the cauldron rim. It’s important the green lights give off a vibrant ghoulish glow.
I cut a small square in the plastic cauldron with a box knife, and bought the light cord out of the side to hide as much of the electrical cords as possible.
So the cauldron looks like it’s giving of steam, I added pillow stuffing inside over the green lights.
After the teepee, cauldron, and coals were created, I was getting super excited to see it completed. All I had left to do was set it up and plug everything in and wait for the sun to set.
The set up looks great in the daytime, just like the a bubbling cauldron! But check it out at night with a purple flood light!
I actually impressed myself with this project! I can’t wait to hang spider webs, set up creepy crawlies, and pass out candy to my victims….I mean trick or treaters! ::insert witch’s cackle here::
Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to feed yourself!