When I was a kid, my family didn’t do a big, at-home Halloween blitz. Now that my own kids are of Halloween-appreciation age, I’m all about giving them the full-on Halloween treatment — from spiderweb wreaths on the front door to a pumpkin runner down our dining room table and custom DIY costumes of their choosing. I usually start prepping in early September and then collapse in a pile of Smarties come October 31st.
This year, I decided that if I’m going to be passing out candy to my Brooklyn neighbors, it would not come out of a plain old bowl (or — horrors! — straight out of the sack). Instead, I whipped up a few super-easy paper-maché balloon bowls and painted them with abstract, modern patterns that earn them the right to stay out on display well into November. (To turn the bowls into take-away party-favor baskets, just add a strap.) Whether or not the kids appreciate the effort, I think the bowls are pretty darn spook-tacular — and making them means one less plastic jack-o-lantern accessory to cram away in a closet until next year.
What you’ll need:
• 1 balloon (per bowl)
• Permanent marker
• Mod Podge
• 1-inch foam brush
• Newspaper, torn into 1-inch pieces
• Plain newsprint, torn into 1-inch pieces
• Hot-glue gun
• 1-inch ribbon for strap
Step 1: Inflate the balloon to the desired size for your bowl. Then, determine how deep you want the bowl to be and use a permanent marker to draw a line around the balloon to stand in for the rim. If you want a shallow bowl with a wide mouth, draw the line farther away from the knot. For a more ball-like shape, draw it closer to the knot.
Step 2: Holding the balloon by its knot, begin coating the surface at the opposite end with Mod Podge, using a foam brush and working in 3-inch-square sections. Place newsprint pieces on top of the Mod Podge, then generously cover the paper with more Mod Podge. Keep covering the sides of the balloon with overlapping newsprint pieces until you’ve reached the line.
Step 3: Apply a layer of printed newspaper pieces over the layer of blank newsprint, using the same technique you did in Step 1. (Applying the second layer in printed paper allows you to track your progress.)
Step 4: Add a third layer of paper, this time switching back to plain newsprint. (There’s no need to let each layer dry in between.)
Step 5: Let the layers dry overnight (I propped my balloon knot-side down atop a smaller glass bowl while it dried). In the morning, pop the balloon (which should still be slightly flexible), peel the latex from the inside of the bowl, and throw the latex away.
Step 6: Trim around the rim of the bowl with scissors to remove the jagged edge and any remaining traces of marker.
Step 7: Paint the bowl to your liking, leaving some of the natural newsprint visible if you choose. Hot glue a strap to the inside edges for a little handle, and fill with candy once everything has dried.
Photographs by Michael Cohen. Modified excerpt from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014.