Making Ghostly Trick-or-Treaters and Glowing Goblin Ghosts


How to make table top ghosts - er - trick-or-treaters.

Note: My spooky friends are designed to haunt a table or mantle or peek out from a window sill rather than hang. The tallest is 16" and the littlest fellow is 6".

With care in packing, they can be saved from year to year.  I still have two that are over 15 years old!

You will need:

Cheese cloth or gauze fabric

Plaid Stiffy

Styrofoam ball - 2" to 3" diameter (use a smaller one for a 6" ghost)

coat hanger or sturdy wire - you will need a piece about 20" long

sheet of cardboard - mine is 20" x 24"

waxed paper

Styrofoam block

plastic wrap


Make a ghost support form.

1. Cut the longest piece possible from a coat hanger - you will need a piece of wire about 18" to 20" long. Place a Styrofoam ball on one end and then wrap the ball with plastic wrap leaving a tail.

2. Make a small hole in the cardboard sheet and place it on top of the styrofoam block. Cover with wax paper. (Just pretend I remembered to place the wax paper on the cardboard before taking the picture!)

3. Stick the wire through the hole in the cardboard and into the block of styrofoam for support. Make your ghost as short or tall as you please - it's height depends upon how much wire you embed in the styrofoam.


Make a ghost

4. Cut your gauze into a square large enough to cover your form and pool at the bottom. For my 16" ghost I used a piece of gauze 34" x 40" and for my little wee 6" ghost-witch, I used a square 18"x18".

Note: Ghosts can be made using only one layer of gauze. However, I recommend using two layers of gauze if you are planning to keep your ghost for next year.

5. Pour some Stiffy into a bowl or bucket . The amount depends upon how big your ghost is going to be! Do not dilute with water.

For my 12" single gauze layer ghost (masked in the family photo),  I used about 1/3 cup. For the 16" double gauze ghost, I used more than a half cup but less than 2/3 cup! Sorry - I was sort of guessing! All I know is that after making the 12" ghost and the 16" ghost, I had about 1/8th cup in the bottom of the 8 oz, bottle - and I used that up saturating the fabric for the 6" ghost!

I was having way too much fun to leave a single drop of Stiffy unused!

6. Place your gauze into the Stiffy pushing it into the liquid until the Stiffy has completely disappeared into your gauze. Nearly an instantaneous process -  a vanishing act to be sure!!

7. Work the saturated gauze with your hands a bit to make certain the Stiffy has reached all areas of the fabric.


Note: the next few images show my 12", single gauze layer ghost.

8. Drape your saturated gauze over your ghost form letting the ends fall into pools at the base.


9. This is one of the most fun parts! Playing with your fabric!

Although I have made many, many ghosts with diluted white glue, I found that playing with the Stiffy saturated gauze was a much more pleasurable experience! I am so glad I was encouraged to give it a try!

Pull the gauze outward slightly from the form, arranging the folds and  playing with the pool of fabric at the base. I like to make at least some of the gauze look as if it is trailing.


10. Set aside and let dry at least overnight - about 12 hours.


11. Once the ghost body is dry and the pools of fabric at the base are mostly dry on the tops and edges, remove the ghost from the cardboard and wax paper. Remove the wire from the Styrofoam ball.

12. Place your lovely ghost on a wire rack to finish drying. The rack will provide both a flat drying surface and air flow. Drying time should be about 24 to 36 hours depending on the thickness of your folds and the amount of Stiffy you used in your fabric.

13. Once dry - remove the Styrofoam ball. Your single layer gauze ghost will be more susceptible to denting from finger pressure than the double layer ghost, so be gentle. Twisting the ball slightly will usually release it.


My 16" double gauze ghost!

I really pulled the fabric away from the body, leaving less for pooling; and since I planned to have this particular ghost tote around a trick-or-treat bag, I fashioned a little "hand".


13. For the hand, I just wadded up a bit of plastic wrap into a ball, draped a bit of gauze around it and tied in place with a string made of twisted plastic wrap. Not perfect - but it worked!

Remove the plastic wrap tie and form when dry.

P1080649 Another thing I love to do when making ghosts is to have areas where part of the gauze floats up a bit - so I stuff what ever is at hand under the gauze until it is dry.


Decorate or not to decorate?

That is up to you! But I have always decorated mine - I much prefer my ghosts wearing a hat! In years past - cowboys for my son and grandson, witches for my daughter and niece. Any little hat I find has the potential of becoming a ghost chapeau!

Earlier this year, when I found the little metal mask at a thrift shop, I knew exactly what I would do with it!

Eyes? Black felt , of course!


Making a Glow-in-the Dark ghost

Not wanting to paint the surface of my glow-in-the-dark ghost, I tried making it a bit more spooky and three dimensional by creating a two layer ghost - a gauze layer with an under layer of fabric coated in Glo Away.

For a 12" glowing ghost you will need:

A Gauze and Stiffy ghost - I used a 12" ghost - Use ONLY ONE layer of gauze

Plaid Glo Away Glow-in-the-Dark Gel


Light weight cotton fabric - a 12" diameter circle

Ghost form as above EXCEPT do NOT wrap the styrofoam ball in plastic wrap

String for hanging if desired.

A note about the gauze ghost! I have demonstrated the steps below using one of my table top ghosts. If you prefer that your ghost hang, cut your gauze into a 14" diameter circle, drape over a plastic wrapped Styrofoam ball as before, and dry on the form as you see below making sure the gauze doesn't pool on the ghost form platform.

As it dries, you might want to take a cue from Plaid and form the folds as they dry. Plaid recommends waiting about 45 minutes and then forming into the shape desired.

I am suggesting this because you don't want your folds of gauze to fall too close to the form. You will need room for the glowing part!


1. Lay your cotton fabric circle on a layer of wax paper or newspaper.


2. Brush the surface with Glo Away, making sure to cover completely. Brush on as evenly as possible.


3. Place the fabric circle on the ghost form.


4. Pull the fabric into nice smooth folds. I let the fabric dry about 24  hours, occasionally pulling the folds apart (they tend to stick together while wet).The inside folds take a while to dry.

When dry, your fabric will be soft and pliable - AND it will glow in the dark!


5. Remove the "glowing ghost" from the Styrofoam keeping the Styrofoam ball and wire still in place inside the head and body.

6. Hold the gauze ghost in one hand and the wire support for the glowing ghost in the other and shove the glowing ghost up inside the gauze ghost to the very top!

7. Remove the wire. Do not remove the Styrofoam ball.

The glowing fabric should stay put without being attached in any way to the gauze.

If you are hanging your ghost, run a thread through both layers of fabric at the very top of the head and hang.


I remember my mom making

I remember my mom making something similar for Christmas except they were angels and instead of gauze she used fabric. I think it was the popular craft at the time. I love this ghost version and think it would be fun for the whole family to work on together. I'll be featuring this on The Crafty Crow soon :)

Oh these ghosts are so cute!

Oh these ghosts are so cute! I've always wanted to make some cheesecloth ghosts. About 10 years ago I even bought some cheesecloth to make them...and then didn't make them. I have no clue what I did with the cheesecloth...

Yours are so much cuter than the ones I usually see. My favorite part is the ghost that is holding a trick or treat bag!


Love your little ghost

Love your little ghost family! I remember fondly making these with my 31 little girl scouts years ago!! They are a classic halloween craft and I'm glad to see you bringing back its popularity! It's too late for me to make them this year but I'm putting them back on my list for next year! I'm doing the "You've Been Booed" with the neighbors and co-workers and next year I think they'll be getting one of these little guys! - Karen

Aww, they're so cute! I love

Aww, they're so cute! I love their little costumes! Thanks so much for the how-to, I'll be linking.

Oh, this is groovy! I have

Oh, this is groovy! I have to forego Halloween crafts this year, but this is definitely something filled with potential for lots of things!

Wow those are so cool... I

Wow those are so cool... I bet your house is the best decorated one on the blog... I'm sure kids are still taking about it

Wow! Wow! Wow!!!!!! My kids

Wow! Wow! Wow!!!!!! My kids would LOVE these!

So cute!

So cute!

I think I would spend hours

I think I would spend hours just playing with the pools of fabric at the base. Thanks for another great project!

This is awesome.....will have

This is awesome.....will have to try this.....thank you so much for the was easy to understand and to follow.....thank you so much.....

Pam, your ghostie family is

Pam, your ghostie family is so cute. I love it! xo

"(Just pretend I remembered

"(Just pretend I remembered to place the wax paper on the cardboard before taking the picture!)" Oh I just love this! and I Love this craft! I'm sharing it on my blog with a link back to you. Thanks!

I forgot to mention yours are

I forgot to mention yours are very cute, compared to some very plain ones I've seen.

Wouldn't it be possible to

Wouldn't it be possible to mix the stiffy and the paint to dip cheesecloth?? Both are water based and wouldn;t think paint would water down stiffy too much..???

Great project tutorial!!!

Great project tutorial!!! Halloween is a favourite holiday of so many people - not just children!

It's a holiday I didn't know anything about until we came to Canada. In Germany, we celebrated All Saints Day on November 1st. As children, we would go from house to house with a lit paper lantern and sing hyms from Sunday School at each front door. Usually we were offered hot chocolate nad a cookie or some other treat.

Now Halloween has sort of caught on over there as well, but I think mre for decoration of windows and doors rather going Trick or Treating.

Mad skills! Oh, how I love

Mad skills! Oh, how I love them!