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Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 | 3 comments

Penny’s Ghostly Halloween Craft Tutorial

Penny’s Ghostly Halloween Craft Tutorial

Penny, the owner of Contessa’s Home and Garden Shop on Mt Vernon Ave., invited me to stop by and see a tutorial of the adorable ghosts she makes by hand for her store. She hangs a dozen or so of the friendly apparitions from the ceiling where they gently spin overhead as shoppers mingle and browse her antiques and homewares.


The supplies you need to make this fun and simple craft are:

  • A package of small balloons
  • Styrofoam or plastic cups
  • Liquid starch (Penny insists that the Sta-Flo brand works best. You can find it at Michael’s.)
  • Cheese cloth
  • Scissors
  • Black felt (for eyes)
  • Craft glue
  • Fishing wire or thread


1. Blow up the balloons and set them in the styrofoam cups.


2. Cut the cheesecloth into approximately 8 x 8 inch squares.


3. Pour the liquid starch into a shallow dish and thoroughly soak the cheesecloth.


4. Drape the cheesecloth over the balloon to create the ghost with a rounded top and the bottom edge fanned out.


5. When the ghost is completely dry (after about 10 minutes), cut out ovals from the black felt for the eyes and glue them on with a bit of craft glue.


6. Pop the balloon to remove the hardened ghost form, and then you can use fishing wire or string to hang your ghost up wherever you like.


In addition to the ghosts in Penny’s shop, she does a great job with her Halloween decor in general. She put together the tree branch display, a delightfully spooky centerpiece.


You’ll also find spiders here and there….


Cute holiday decor to buy…


And for children, she offers a bucket of Halloween-themed games. If they can solve the game in the store, she gives them the puzzle to take home, plus another to give away.


Penny says that a lot of customers come in and want to buy the ghosts. She encourages them to make them at home — you can take a set of instructions home with you (in a roll, tied with orange ribbon) — but she will also sell them to the not-so-crafty inclined in batches of three.



  1. What a delightful idea! Who would have known that Penny of Contessa’s would be making such a craft unless you did this blog? I always learn new things about the people in Del Ray from DIY’s beautiful photos and short descriptions, and I’m so glad you share these blogs with our community! Thank you!

  2. I am assuming these are indoor ghosts (I am guessing the starch would go away in the rain)? Any ideas what I could “harden” them with that would let me hang them outside on a tree?

    • Hi Sarah – I talked to Penny and she thinks the ghosts would blow around a lot outside and not survive the elements in general, but also you’d have to spray something like polyurethane on them. You could test it out probably.

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