Scrolling Headlines:

Political discourse heats up at Amherst College -

September 19, 2017

Author Thomas Suarez leads talk on Israel-Palestine conflict -

September 19, 2017

Q&A with DKMS ambassador -

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SPIRE changes to include more gender and sexual orientation options -

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Massachusetts men’s soccer looks for first road win of the season -

September 19, 2017

Top 25 notebook: Mason Rudolph and No. 6 Oklahoma State roll past Pittsburgh -

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Streaking UMass men’s soccer stares down final non-conference team -

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Let’s embrace innovation -

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First response is important, but a long-term response is too -

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Traveling through a changing life -

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Community and local goods mix at student farmer’s market -

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Fifth annual Poetry Festival reading -

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Peacemaker Najeeba Syeed discusses interfaith cooperation in a time of Islamaphobia -

September 18, 2017

UMass hosts lecture on the meaning of the word ‘genocide’ -

September 18, 2017

Thirty-three arrested, 18 hospitalized during first weekend of semester -

September 18, 2017

UMass women’s soccer stuns Yale on Marra’s late winner -

September 18, 2017

UMass men’s soccer slips past Colgate 1-0 -

September 18, 2017

UMass field hockey wins weekend set over Davidson, UML -

September 18, 2017

Strong second half leads Massachusetts men’s soccer over Colgate -

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Being promiscuous helps me cope and there’s nothing wrong with that -

September 18, 2017

Halloween do-it-yourself tricks and treats

During the long weekend, I took a trip to my hometown of Beverly, Massachusetts. When I got off the highway at my exit, I passed one house that is, regardless of whether or not there is a holiday coming up, always extravagantly decorated with what must be hundreds of dollars worth of tacky Walgreens purchases. This weekend the house was covered in plastic skeletons, phony spider webs, giant felt spiders and the like.

On Monday, my brother Sam and I drove to his friend’s house in Marblehead so I could sit in on their band practice. Driving through Salem, famous for its Halloween celebrations, I saw another house decorated much like the one just off the highway, only much more carelessly. There were ropes hanging loosely over the driveway, giant felt bats hanging from them, and even more fake, cottony spider webs. I was amazed that in a place that goes all-out in every way for Halloween, the people who live there would take the easy way out with CVS décor – they even had a Frankenstein “wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.“

I started searching the Internet and other retail locations for cool-looking, cheap decorations that I could make myself for my dorm. Walking around campus, it’s always nice to see the little things students have put in their windows for passer-by to see. The only bummer is that candles are not allowed in residence halls, so I couldn’t carve a pumpkin in the traditional way (and keeping one in my dorm room would be problematic because they rot and I never throw anything away). But who needs traditional, right?

One of my favorite ideas that I found in my search for DIY inspiration was the 13-hour clock. The project is easy; find a cheap clock (Target has a nice selection), unscrew, or otherwise unfasten, its face, take off the piece of paper that has the numbers of hours on it, and draw the new numbers on its opposite side, using a giant number 13 instead of the usual 12. After creating your new, hopefully spooky-looking letters (this is Halloween you’re decorating for), screw the cover back on and hang it up.

The easiest decoration I found was a spider web weaved on a porch using white yarn. I decided to create my own in the window in my dorm room, using black yarn so it would be more visible. All you need to do is tape two pieces of yarn to whatever frame you’re working with – one horizontally and one vertically. Then, tie a new piece to one of the first and connect it to another with a knot. As you go along, add more support strings (attached to both the frame, in my case a window frame, and the web) and continue to tie yarn to those as well. You can also use clothespins and paperclips to attach photos and other lightweight things to the web, effectively turning it into a much cooler (and spookier!) bulletin board.

You can also go the “alien in a jar” route if you’re into sculpting, using Crayola modeling clay. Just mold the clay into your desired alien shape leaving small indentations for eyes, should you choose to give your creation any. Allow the creature to dry, then bake it in a 375o oven until it’s an even shade of light brown. Then paint it, allow it to dry, and put it in a jar filled with water. To make the water look more like formaldehyde, dye it with food coloring.

Halloween décor is easy to make. It’s fun to show your festivity and excitement for (arguably) the best holiday there is, whether it be through decorations, costumes, or the funky-looking foods you put out at your Halloween party (whatever it is, throw in some doll limbs for an extra creepy effect). You can find a plethora of easy-to-follow tutorials like these at instructables.com. But for everyone’s sake, don’t be generic with your celebration like the-house-off-the-highway. Six-foot-tall plastic skeletons get less scary with each passing year.

Ellie Rulon-Miller can be reached at erulonmi@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Halloween do-it-yourself tricks and treats”
  1. Spooky Mulder says:

    Sounds great. If I did not have an electric alarm clock with a stuffed lemur constantly sitting on it, I would definitely make the 13 hour clock.

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