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  • October 2013
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Maggie is right.  ‘Tis the season for all things scary and spooky.  In Western Pennsylvania, a favorite and long-standing Halloween tradition has been the haunted house.  (And of course, the haunted library!)

The teens at the Ream Recreation Center in Mt. Washington are planning and creating their own haunted house.

Haunted House at Ream Recreation

Lots of preparation has gone into the design of the haunted house.  The teens have started to craft coffins and cemetery stones for the display.  They have painted masks and other spooky decorations.


Making “gross-out” jars for the haunted house refrigerator was the sloppiest and most fun of the decorating projects.  Fake blood and eyeballs.  Spiders and bugs and rats.   Big hairy spiders.

 Yucky and as gross as can be.




Gross-out jars are easy to make.  Start with a quart sized canning jar.  Actually any empty jar or container will do.  Sort through the recycle bin to find some suitable jars.  Next, you need some stuff to put in your jars.

  • spiders and spider webs, eyeballs and skulls (find them at the dollar stores and craft stores)
  • doll heads
  • food coloring and gelatin mixes
  • food items such as grapes, olives, macaroni and spaghetti (cooked), salsa (the chunkier the better) and jelly
  • craft glue mixed with paint
  • shredded plastic bags and paper
  • items from nature such as rocks, buckeyes, leaves and sticks

Add your selected items to your jar, layering things as you go,  If you add water with food coloring, some items will float for a truly spooky look.

If you use food items, use a jar with a lid.  When using food items–make your jars just a few days before you need them.  We don’t want our Gross-out jars to be really gross and stinky!

Gross-out jars are the perfect thing for a haunted house that has a Mad Scientist room.  Display them on a window sill or bookcase.

Another great idea for using canning jars is to make Halloween lumaniries.  Decorate the jar with tissue paper and craft glue or paint the outside of the jar.  Use LED tea lights instead of candles for safety reasons.


And one really fabulous pretty jar~


For more great ideas, see Mason Jar Love and Pinterest Mason Jar Halloween,  Ask your librarian for more recommendations regarding books and web sites for Hallloween decorations.


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