Craft a Creepy Halloween Sign for Outdoor Decoration
This Halloween, decorate your house with a home-made Halloween Sign
I'm big on Halloween, love every bit of it, from the changing of the seasons, history of Halloween, Trick or Treating, the costumes, and the creepy vibes. I was even married on Halloween Day.
We try to go big on Halloween when it comes to decorating, and once even dug a grave in our front yard.
So yeah, Halloween is big at my house. We make a lot of decorations. I got the idea to make a neat sign for Halloween that we could save and use every year between some crafting I was doing crafting some signs as gifts and a woodworking book I was reading.
All photos: Taken by yours truly.
Step 1 - Get a good idea!
Then sketch it out on paper
You are going to need to plan how you want your sign to look. This year, I have decided to craft a sign that says "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
This is a very famous quote and sign from "The Divine Comedy" more commonly known as "Dante's Inferno" which is actually only part of the complete work. It was also a sign at the gates to Hell, so I think it is very fitting for Halloween ("inferno" in Italian means hell, The Divine Comedy was written in Italian).
So I am going to sketch my idea out on paper. I am going to look at some of the drawings that have been used in the past and get some inspiration.
Also, imagine what the person who made the sign would have used? For my sign, I imagine it is some poor lost soul who daubed a warning with his fingers on a piece of wood before entering. So when I make my sign, I will be using my fingers.
Step 2 - Shape your sign
Most signs for Halloween will want to be somewhat weathered, so reclaiming wood during the rest of the year is a good practice for future Halloween signs. I happen to have just the piece available, old and weathered.
If you have to use new wood, distressing your wood is going to be a big project.
The shape of the sign also makes a difference. An old sign will not have sharp edges or corners, so be rough with your sign so that it looks just right.
I have also seen a length of chain used to distress furniture, and I think would work perfectly for this.
If you are trying to do something a little more ornate (like maybe an old sign like "Vampire Hunter for Hire, Inquire Within") you may need to start with fresh wood and be very meticulous to get it right.
Step 3 - Add the Lettering
Letters should be big, bold, and easy to read, especially with Halloween signs, as it is frequently dark out when Trick or Treaters arrive. Consider a dark background with light colored letters (like bone colored maybe) or a Light background with Black or Red writing. Black and Orange will work, but it needs to be a BRIGHT orange. Black and red will be very hard to read.
If you want to be really creative and fun, you could try glow in the dark paint.
Replacing your normal porch light with a black light is also a nice touch and gives everything a spooky glow.
Step 4 - Add the Details
I added some claw marks and some teeth marks to make it seem more interesting, but you can add whatever you want. I used a chisel and hammer to create both effects. I am also going to add some wood ash, because I imagine there might be lots of ash in the Inferno.
Remember, nothing beats the real thing. If you want it to look like someone hit your sign with an axe, by all means, hit it with an axe (not too hard, don't split it).
Blood can be made by mixing equal parts karo or corn syrup and ketchup. Maybe a bloody handprint if you are making a zombie sign - that would be fun!
Maybe next year we'll do zombies!
The tools I used to distress the signClick thumbnail to view full-size
Slow: goblins, witches and ghosts playing! (Like Slow:Children Playing sign)
Danger: Zombies in Roadway (road with stick figure in it, arms out like a zombie)
Haunted House Ahead
Vampire Hunter for Hire, ask within
All Treats, No Tricks
If you want to read about a real, spooky place, take a look at my page on Danvers State Hospital, the place that inspired Batman's Arkham Asylum.