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My name is Anne Villano and I am an Artist, proud Air Force Spouse and mother of two. Hope you enjoy following our life journey!

Last Minute DIY Halloween Decorations for any Mama Llama!

Last Minute DIY Halloween Decorations for any Mama Llama!

Halloween at the Villano household is normally intense in the best possible way! We have decorations galore, Hocus Pocus playing on repeat and normally kick-butt family costume ideas. We also started a tradition of pumpkin painting with the kiddos last year that will remain as long as I say so!

Our First Annual Kiddo Pumpkin Painting Extravaganza!

Our First Annual Kiddo Pumpkin Painting Extravaganza!

This year is a little different. We are still adjusting to our new home, have not been able to find the Halloween decorations in the stack of unpacked boxes taking up the much coveted parking spot in our garage and I have no idea what we are all dressing up as for trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. I had no plans of decorating the house this year other than maybe a couple pumpkins on our front porch until we decided to take the kiddos to a pumpkin stand on the side of the road. Side note- ALWAYS stop at the produce stands on the side of the road if you happen to find yourself in New Jersey! I have yet to be disappointed. When I saw the joy on my kids faces when they discovered pumpkins AND we got to take some home it inspired me to power through this festive rut that had taken over my mindset.


If a baby in a pumpkin cart can’t inspire festive decorating, I don’t know what would!


Inspiration struck last night as I thought about all of this. Those who know me understand that if I have the means AND the mindset to make my own anything I will. I realized that I had an unhealthy amount of acrylic paint (Damn you Target $1-3-5!), an abundance of cardboard boxes, and a box cutter! Exactly what I needed to create my own decorations, all I needed was some ideas. The thing about military housing is that everything is exactly the same. Houses may vary in size but the general look is the same. The decorations can also be generally the same because we are in the middle of no where so your options are limited as to where to shop. My two mainstays are the BX if I am feeling like spending an arm and a leg or Dollar Store, unless I want to drive a minimum of 30 minutes to a Michael’s with my two toddlers in tow. You definitely need to hit a sweet spot of Mama energy and good kiddo mood days to accomplish that feat!

Remembering that we had just received an Amazon Prime shipment of diapers, I grabbed the insanely large box and cut it into two pieces. I then decided I wanted to make a Garage monster, A Graveyard with a Full Moon door display and some Bush Creatures. This may sound like a daunting task but I assure you if you have a bow, plate, and paint you already have what you need to make 80% of these decorations!

As you can see above you will need a few items:

  1. A large Amazon Prime Box or any large cardboard cut into two pieces.

  2. One Bowl and Plate


  4. A box cutter, Permanent marker and ruler

  5. Command Strips or heavy duty double sided tape

On the first sheet of cardboard use the permanent marker to trace four circles with your bowl and then trace THREE circles with your plate. (Yes, I know the picture above shows just the two but humor me) Next, use the bottom part of the box flap and flip it vertically. Draw a frown face at the top of the flap—-this will be your tombstone for your door! See the image below as a guide.

All you Type A’s out there brace yourself for this next step! Take a deep breath and your sharpie to draw the mouth for your garage monster. Make it as goofy or as sinister as you’d like and don’t spend longer than a few minutes on this step. There will be plenty of time in the future when you begin painting to perfect this.

And now the fun part! PAINTING! I used the white to paint all of my circles and tombstone, then the black to paint the Garage Monster’s mouth. If you are using acrylic paint, once you have finished painting the garage monster’s mouth, your eyes/moon/tombstone should be dry enough to add details! Go crazy at this step!! I used the black as the pupils for my Bush Creature’s eyeballs and the Garage Monster’s eyeballs then added some orange to make him look insane. Once the mouth is dry, paint triangles for teeth and add orange drips as if your Garage Monster just ate all the pumpkins in the neighborhood!

For the moon I took a different approach. Use a paper towel or sponge to dab around the bottom of the moon creating craters. I then painted bats but you could do whatever you want! Maybe a witch or a cat or an actual man on the moon. The tombstone was made to look old and worn down by using a dry brush technique. This is when you wash your brush, dry the bristles, and dip just the tip (that’s what she said) into the paint. Then lightly brush all over. Being a huge fan of Impractical Jokers, I dubbed this Crangis McBasketball’s grave.

The last and probably most important part to this would be painting the Modge Podge or Clear Varnish layer over all of your pieces. This is super important if you want your decorations to last in the elements as it is a protective layer that will seal your paint and protect your cardboard. Once everything is dry, use your box cutter to cut out all your pieces. I then used both double sided tape and command strips to adhere everything to whatever surface you chose to make into a creature! You can tell by the slideshow below that I worked quickly and used the dry brush technique to create a very textured look. Use your own judgement and create the look you wish to create!

Some of you may be looking at this and think, “Girl, ain’t nobody have time for that!” and you may be right. But this took me maybe an hour to paint and ten minutes to put up. It also cost me a whopping $0 because I was able to use things I already had! Think about what you already have that can be used to create something whimsical! You may be surprised at how creative you can be!

Our Homecoming Truth

Our Homecoming Truth

Creative Business Growing Pains

Creative Business Growing Pains