Some may consider this DIY blasphemous… my mother included. It started as a family tradition of setting out my mom’s Christmas village every year the day after Thanksgiving. It was a big To-Do about getting all of her Christmas houses and decor out of the attic and my brother, sister and I would all jostle each other to get the best items to set out. Eventually, I wanted to start my own village, and each year for Christmas, “Santa” would give me a ceramic Christmas house to add to my village.
As I have gotten older, the excitement about setting up the Christmas village just didn’t quite do it for me anymore, and it eventually was boxed up and stored back in my family home’s attic with the intention of bringing it out when I had my own kids and continuing the tradition. This year, I suddenly had the realization that I didn’t have to carry out the same tradition just for traditions sake… I could mold it to fit what I am REALLY excited about… Halloween. Now, we can pull this out every year on October 1 and I can leave Christmas traditions to my mom. So with that, the transformation began! (Please forgive me mom!)
DIY Haunted Village
You will need:
- Ceramic Christmas houses (or similar) and figurines
- Matte black spray paint
- Plastic drop cloth
- Creepy cloth or fabric
- Halloween lights, extension cord, and power strip (optional)
- Flat surface to display your town!
1. You can find a lot of these houses out and about at garage sales, thrift stores, and online for reasonably cheap prices. Don’t worry if the designs don’t quite match, as a good coat of paint will make them uniform.
2. Set up your houses in a well ventilated area on a plastic drop cloth. (Be sure to remove any wires and lights first!) Coat each item, figurines and trees alike, in a solid black matte paint. Make sure to get low and aim in multiple directions to ensure even coating under eves and balconies, etc. Allow to dry according to paint instructions.
3. Set the base of your town with the creepy cloth on a flat surface you wish to display your town and arrange houses as desired. You might want to change elevation, I always liked to set my Victorian house (now haunted Victorian house) on a box (box placed under the fabric) so it appeared to be up on a hill. This year, I opted only to place a few 2×4 boards on top of my sofa table so they town was elevated above the back of my couch.
4. String the house lights (usually comes with the house and inserts inside from the back or bottom) from the houses to the power strip. I recommend using a power strip to make it easier to turn them all on or off at once from one location.
5. Finally, if desired, wind Halloween lights around the town to give it a bit more Halloween flair!