Happy Halloween! DIY Scary Ghost Décor

We have maybe the most perfect Halloween house out there. Literally every single time we have someone new working on the property one of the first things they ask about is if we’ve seen ghosts here. Before living in an antique home, I had no idea how many people (especially, and hilariously, the largest, burliest men who we’ve hired to do various work here) truly believe in ghosts.

So, it was obvious to me that it was time to make myself some Colonial-era ghosts to hang out on our lawn during Halloween.

I was inspired by these Martha Stewart ghosties, but made the process easier and less expensive by using less fabric and little glue. I like my DIY, but I also like my DIY to not involve so much fabric. Check your local fabric store before ordering online – I found fabric much cheaper in-store than I could find in online shops.

I didn’t have a tree to hang these ghosts from, so I had to make them on stakes. Luckily we have approximately one ton of extra lumber in our barn from previous owners, so it was very easy for me to make ghostly bodies with minimal cost.

Here are the instructions for each ghost!


  • Styrofoam mannequin head (I used this for the man, and a pair of these for the women – if you want to save money, just make lady ghosts; their heads are cheaper)
  • 1 wood stake
  • 1 wood cross piece (any small piece of wood between 10 and 15 inches long will do, it’s to give the ghost ‘volume’)
  • 2 Wood screws
  • 2 yards canvas or muslin
  • 4 yards cheesecloth
  • Safety pins
  • Spray glue
  • Costume hats, if you want them!


  1. About 10 inches down from the top of your stake, attach cross piece of wood with a wood screw, to make a “T.” If you want to add even more dimension to your ghost, you can add additional cross pieces to give it more body (so to speak!).
  2. Impale Styrofoam mannequin head on top of your stake. I used a large drill bit to enlarge the hole on the bottom of my female heads so that they stuck better.
  3. Loosely wrap canvas or muslin from bottom of neck down in order to hide the wood ghost ‘body.’ Pin canvas as needed to keep on.
  4. Cover the head, face and body with the cheesecloth, loosely draping the fabric around the ghost as looks best to you, pinning to keep in place. Keep access to the Styrofoam face by making sure you can lift up cheesecloth over it.
  5. Once you have ghost looking spooky, get under cheesecloth to the face, lightly spray with spray glue, then press cheesecloth over the face so that features appear.
  6. If you want to use hats, put on the head and use a couple of pushpins to secure.

That’s it! If you have a tree or covered porch to hang the ghosts from, instead of building a body you can simply tie the canvas or muslin around the neck securely and drape the cheesecloth over the head. Then put an eye screw in the head and hang with fishing line. I think this would look very cool, too!

So far, these ghosts are a big hit. There’s no shortage of people slowing down their cars to check out these creepy guys in front of our old house … and the nice thing is that unlike most Halloween décor, the closer you get, the scarier they are!