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haunt your house DIY Halloween party decorations 
by Yee-Fan Sun |
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haunted portrait gallery
These portraits, with their spooked-out red glowing eyes, have proven to be a big hit at my Halloween parties, so much so that when my friend Barrett was helping us take down the decorations after the first year they made an appearance, he begged us to let him take one home. I almost died laughing the next time I went over his place and noticed that sitting amongst his beautiful insect prints was our cardboard haunted portrait.

Get on over to a library and pore through the art books. You're looking for stuffy old portrait paintings; creepy children are particularly good. Borrow the best books and scan in the images; use a photo editing program and blow them up to a print size of anywhere from 2' to 3' tall. Forget about maintaining a high resolution -- in the dim light of a party, you won't be able to make out details too well anyway. Set each image to print so it automatically tiles across as many pieces of paper as needed; reassemble the image by taping together the individual tiled sections.

Next, mount each portrait on a big piece of cardboard. Cut out pseudo-fancy, wavy-edged frames for each portrait (making the frames a bit bigger than the images, of course) and spray-paint 'em gold. Once dry, pop the frames over the portraits, securing them with tape at the back.

To get the portraits haunted, you'll want to make a trip to an electronics supply store. Now, if you're hard-pressed to find anything else, a Radio Shack might do, but I'd highly recommend looking in the Yellow Pages for a locally-run business instead, as you'll stand a much better chance of finding an employee who can actually give you advice on the specific parts you'll need once you explain your project. What you're looking for are red LED lights, battery holders for the three triple-A batteries that will power each pair of lights, plenty of batteries, plus coated wire.

Poke the LEDs into the cardboard through all the eyes. Use a wire stripper to expose the ends of the coated wire, then use the wire to connect the LEDs to the battery holster. Here's where a little of your high school physics lab knowledge will come in handy: you're making a circuit, and you'll need to make sure that you have positive terminals connecting to negative terminals. Yes, that includes the LED lights themselves too; if your batteries are oriented properly and the lights still don't work, you probably need to flip around your LED wiring. Hang your portraits along the walls, pop in those batteries come party time, and enjoy!


check out these related articles: 
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halloween party how-to | creepy-crawly cocktails | into the spirits more cocktails | fright night costume anxiety | got costume?

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