Hallowe’en is nearly upon us – after not opening our door to local trick-or-treaters for the past couple of years due to the pandemic, my husband and I decided we should do something again this year. But when the question of decorations came up, he wasn’t too keen as he immediately thought of the single-use plastic decorations you see in the supermarkets. However, it’s entirely possible to have spooktacular decorations for Hallowe’en without the plastic – and what’s better is that many of these are small projects which are great for scrap busting!
It’s worth saying that there are lots and lots of great patterns out there, the ones I’ve chosen to include in this post are simply my favourites.
A staple of Hallowe’en decorations is the pumpkin. While it’s technically an import from American Hallowe’en celebrations, the carving of a vegetable and lighting it as a Jack o’Lantern is an old British and Irish tradition according to English Heritage – though we used to do this with turnips rather than pumpkins. While most of us still carve pumpkins for Hallowe’en, often they create a lot of waste as many folks don’t eat them or simply don’t know what to do with all the flesh they carve out of their pumpkin. Making your own pumpkins from scraps is therefore a much easier and far less wasteful option – and one you can use year after year.
Patchwork pumpkins like these ones above make a great alternative to the real deal, and they’re pretty straightforward to sew too. Check out the full tutorial by Positively Splendid for making three different sizes of pumpkin. Plus – if you’re anything like me and have loads of teeny tiny little scraps that you can’t sew with, you can use these to stuff your pumpkins with too! Double scrap busting!
For knitters, there’s a wonderful realistic pattern by Nimble Needles, complete with stalk and leaves – though you can also make them with the cut stalk. Nimble Needles also has a handy walkthrough video of the pattern and as Norman points out, you can use the pattern with different size needles and yarn to create bigger or smaller pumpkins. Another great knitting pattern for pumpkins is this one by Leslie North – I love the idea of turning mini pumpkins into a garland, especially when they’re as cute as these!
Finally, crocheters can have fun creating these beautiful stacking pumpkins by Winding Road Crochet. A fantastic centre piece for the table at a Hallowe’en party, or perhaps a lovely decoration on a windowsill – I’m quite sure I’ll be making some of these with my leftover balls of yarn… though I might also have to make some mini versions based off this pattern and make them into a garland like Leslie North’s knitting pattern!
What’s fantastic about all of these scrappy pumpkins is that you absolutely don’t have to make them orange. You can use whatever colour fabric or yarn you have and they’ll still look great, plus there’s lots of pumpkin and squash types that aren’t the classic orange colour, so it doesn’t matter anyway what colours you choose to use.
Autumn is the season when we typically notice more spiders in our houses, as they move indoors during the colder weather. Far from being a pest or something we should be afraid of, spiders are actually quite helpful creatures, keeping our houses free of annoying flies and other insects.
That being said, Hallowe’en wouldn’t be the same without the spider decorations or costumes.
Here’s a short video by Jürgen Otto (who studies these spiders) showing the real peacock spider that the crochet pattern is based on. This little guy is approximately 5mm in size.
Who said spiders had to be mean and evil looking?! I fell in love with Peacock Spiders many years ago after seeing a documentary about tiny jumping spiders – in reality these little guys (the one in the video above is the male, as is the one in the pattern) are so small you could fit quite a few of them on your little fingernail. They’re small, but they’re incredibly stylish – dancing (literally) for their lives to impress their lady and with such astonishing colours and patterns adorning their bodies too. I’ll definitely be buying and making the four species accurate crochet patterns by Kabelbinder on Etsy – and probably their other amigurumi patterns too!
For knitters, there’s this great pattern by Revati Poole. What I like most about it is that you can make the spider as colourful or as menacing as you like, so it’ll fit in with your other decorations and also makes it great for busting those short rounds of yarn you’ll likely have left over from larger projects. Folks who have previously made the pattern have even added things like webs to hang the spider on, based on the pictures – they look great and it’s another way to use up your leftover yarn too.
Finding a sewing pattern that I liked for spiders was a bit more difficult, but this one by Cherry Toys Boutique is quite sweet. It’s designed for sewing with felt, but it would be possible to sew with fabric too if you add some small seam allowances to the pattern pieces. Alternatively, you could use up your scraps to make this spiderweb quilt designed by Sewing With Scraps, either as a tablecloth or perhaps as a wall hanging.
Thanks to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, bats are eternally connected in our minds to vampires, therefore making them a staple of Hallowe’en decorations. Of course, there are species of vampire bats in some countries, but most bats are more interested in fruit and insects than drinking human blood.
Making toys is always a great way to use up scraps, and it’s even better when these toys can also be used as decorations. I love this adorable little bat sewing pattern by Beezeeart and it would look amazing as a Hallowe’en decoration hanging from the ceiling or in your window. The use of contrasting fabric for the wings and ears gives this bat toy a striking look and it means you can use up more of your offcut fabric pieces too.
Going back to the garland idea from the section on pumpkins, it would be super easy to turn the ‘Boo’ knitting pattern by Mochimochi Land and the Itty Bitty Bat crochet pattern by Lucy Ravenscar into garlands as they’re both designed to hang from something. They’re also both small enough to use up short ends of yarn you have leftover from bigger projects, plus it’s easy to make the body and wings from contrasting colours – so you could make a different colour bat for each one in your garland if you choose to.
Midnight on All Hallow’s Eve (as Hallowe’en is also known) is traditionally called the ‘witching hour’ and is supposed to be the time when evil and darkness is at its strongest. Virtually every society around the world has tales involving witchcraft, making them one of the more prevalent evil figures in global folklore.
Immediately, my favourite witch pattern is this amazing little ‘evil’ witch crochet pattern by Supergurumi. I love how angry she looks! Her construction is also quite clever, so if you don’t have much in the way of filling then that’s okay, because you don’t need it. I’ll be creating a coven of these angry little ladies to go on the windowsill or decorate my table with for future Hallowe’en parties!
For knitters, these Waldorf Witches by DenizasToysJoys are perfect for using up leftover yarn. You can make their bodies from single colours or alternating stripes and they’re a great size to use as a table decoration or on the windowsill.
It’s quite a bit harder to find a sewing pattern I liked for witches that could also be made from scraps, mainly because the patterns I came across are for quite large dolls and therefore they require quite a bit of fabric in the same colours. Not exactly ideal for using up smaller scraps and offcuts. However, if you’d like to try your hand at appliqué, you could adapt a pattern designed for felt, like this cute little witch by sosaecaetano on Etsy.
There's plenty more Hallowe'en decorations you could make...
I’d love to be able to list them all for you, but this post would get seriously out of hand if I did!
I hope that what I have included in this post has inspired you to think about what you could make, rather than buying and throwing away. I also hope that if you’ve not done anything for the past couple of years, it’s inspired you to get back into Hallowe’en. We all need a little light heartedness as the days grow shorter here in the northern hemisphere – so whether you believe the old folk tales or not, it’s just a good bit of fun.