Studio 5 contributor Risa Baker shares her system for happily hyping up Halloween.
A couple years ago, some friends and I were looking at the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and saw the most darling Halloween advent calendar. We didn’t want to pay $100 for it, so we decided to make our own.
This will be the third year I will be using mine, and the kids have been talking about it since August. They are so excited on the first day of October to see the calendar up and the pockets overflowing.
Before you buy anything, decide where you want to put it, and tailor the calendar to your space. I knew I wanted mine to be big, so the felt I used (after the edges were turned under) ended up being 28″ X 46″. I also chose to use seven rows of five pockets. Some people choose to use six rows of five pockets, and omit the 31st. You can decide how you want it to be, and what looks best for your space.
Also, decide how big you want your pockets to be and what kinds of things you want to put in them. One friend chooses to put candy in hers only, so her pockets are smaller than mine and it works great for her.
You can fill the pockets with everything from candy to Halloween crafts, to flashlights, or socks, to a Halloween recipe you plan to make with the kids that day. If you have an item that is too large to fit in the pockets, you can make a little card talking about what that item is, and place that in the pocket instead. Tip: you can buy trinkets in bulk, and save them for following years, like pencils or Halloween straws.
What you will need:
1) Felt in your desired size. I got mine at Hobby Lobby in the fabric section.
2) Felt squares in your desired colors. I got mine at Hobby Lobby in the craft section. The 9 X 12 sheets come in many colors and textures.
4) Glue (Allene’s tacky glue), thread, or embroidery floss. I used both, and glued my pockets on before stitching around them for extra reinforcement, and a more handcrafted look.
5) Felt or dimensional sturdy paper stickers. I got mine at Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Wal-mart.
6) Felt or paper sticker numbers. I got mine at Robert’s.
7) Any other trim you want to use, like rickrack or ribbon.
1) Cut your felt to the desired size. Leaving space at the top if you want to fold it over so it will hang on a dowel.
2) Cut pockets to the size you desire. I used a standard piece of 9×12 felt and cut it into sixths. Each pocket ends up being 3″ x 4″.
3) Lay your pockets in the pattern and spacing you want. I used six colors and mixed them up randomly for more interest.
4) Pin you pockets in place. Glue or sew them on to the backing. Stitch around the edges if you want.
5) Lay out your numbers. You may not be able to have a number on each pocket if you don’t buy enough, so make sure you have enough pockets labeled that you know which day you are on. If this is a problem… I am sure the kids will have no problem keeping track!
6) Lay out your stickers.
7) Glue and/or stick the stickers in place.
8) Add final trimmings.
9) Decide how you want to hang it. I pinned ribbon on, and tied the ribbon over a witch’s broom.
Buy candy and pocket stuffers early! You will start seeing it out in August in some of the craft stores. If you don’t get it when you see it, you may be out of luck when you go back. My favorite places are Wal-mart, Michael’s, JoAnne’s, Dollar Tree and Target dollar section. Target dollar section typically gets their stuff out last.
Have so much fun! The Halloween advent calendar has become a tradition that my kids look forward to, and will remember for the rest of their lives!
When storing your calendar, just fold it in the places where there are no pockets. This will preserve the pockets, and makes it so the calendar doesn’t take up much space.
Tip: This is another project that is more fun to do with friends! You can tell each other where to find supplies, share ideas, and work together.
Risa Baker is a wife, mother, and blogger, who loves her family and friends, as well as finding time to be creative every day. For more photos of this project, please visit her on line at www.restlessrisa.blogspot.com