By Donna Erickson
Signal Contributing Writer
Light and decorate the walkway to your porch with spooky paper bag characters on Halloween night. This clever monster patrol is a takeoff of traditional luminaries, but instead of using a candle, a simple flashlight lights the path to tricks and treats at your doorstep. Or, if you are having a party, set them on a windowsill to peer at costumed guests.
So, what will they be? A cat? Goofy alien? Frankenstein? You’ll have time to decide as you cut and paste using these supplies:
— Standard-size brown or bright-colored lunch bags
— Craft foam sheets or poster board
— Yarn, pipe cleaners, charms, ribbon, glitter, beads
— Hole punch (optional)
— Inexpensive standard-size, plastic, lightweight flashlights
— Rubber bands
Here’s the fun:
For each character, cut out craft foam sheets or poster board in eyes, nose and mouth shapes. Cut out holes in the middle of the eye and mouth pieces to eventually allow light to shine through. Glue the features to the front of the bag.
When dry, an adult may use a small, sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut out the center of the eyes and mouth on the bag.
Let the kids add the details. Glue on rickrack eyebrows, attach lightweight junk jewelry earrings or pipe-cleaner antennae, depending on what you are creating. Add some glitter for cheeks or outline lips with shiny beads. And don’t forget goofy hair. Add braided yarn and fashion a major ‘do. It’s also fun to use a hole punch to make additional features or patterns that will be revealed when the flashlight is turned on.
When complete, carefully slip it over the top of the flashlight with a rubber band, just above the switch. Line up your own monster patrol outside at dusk and flip on flashlights before ghosts and goblins appear at your doorstep.
For a younger crowd: If your child is afraid of the dark, make a nightlight together using the steps above to create a comforting character such as an angel, a puppy or a bunny with felt ears. Place this “bedtime buddy” by his bed, and he can switch it on and off when he wishes.
Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”