I love countdown calendars like the one that has become a Christmas tradition in our family, because they allow the excitement before any holiday or celebration to build and also can help families create a bit of together time in the midst of busy lives.
For Halloween this year, I decided to combine a count down calendar with a banner/bunting, for a unique, interactive decoration.
I made 31 paper pockets, each with a number between one and 31 (for the days leading up to Halloween). Each can contain a “love note,” an idea for a family activity or a small healthy treat or treasure. All are attached to a length of ribbon with clothespins. String the ribbon like a banner in a child’s or family room.
Each evening, gather the family, pull the slip of paper from the dated pocket and unclip the pocket from the ribbon. Store everything to be brought out next year on October 1.
In making the banner, I wanted to use only what I had on hand. So while I’ll give directions for the calendar banner below, know that you don’t have to do it the way I did. I’ll even point out alternatives to some of what I used. Hopefully there will be no need to hit any stores to complete your own masterpiece!
16 pieces of black heavy weight 8.5×11 paper cut into 31 pieces 4″x8.5″ I was fortunate in that a friend of mine had stopped scrapbooking and gave me lots of paper including an unopened package of black cardstock which is what I used. Of course you can choose other colors or designs from what you have on hand.
Pumpkin and cat stamps (Again, choose or make stamps with a Halloween theme.)
1 piece each, orange and yellow heavy weight paper
Black stamp pad (or paint)
Stapler (Or use tape or a glue gun.)
Small embroidery type scissors
Pop dots (Or something that will make the pumpkins and cats stand 1/2 inch off the paper. I had some of these dots, but when I ran out, I used small pieces of cardboard as spacers.)
31 spring type clothes pins (I have these and use them regularly. I don’t care whether they’re decorated or not so I just used what I had on hand. If you don’t have any, you could punch a hole in the pockets and add a ribbon or string to hang or maybe you have some clip type curtain rings or bent paper clips.)
Burnt orange paint
1/2″ wide paint brush
Variety of orange and black ribbon
Number stickers from 1 to 31. (I had an odd assortment of number stickers so I used those. You could also write the number with a white pen, cut them from magazines and newspapers or stamp with white paint.)
Other stickers and ephemera like sparkly gemstones, buttons, feathers etc.
1. Fold one piece of cut paper into a cylinder with a diameter of about 1.5″-2″ .
2. Staple once inside where paper overlaps, then on the outside, press down on the bottom of the cylinder and staple twice. (If you prefer something neater you could use double stick tape or glue inside. Personally I like the look of the staples.) Make 30 more cylinders. (By the way, you also could use toilet paper roles and paint them as was done on this wonderful countdown calendar from Maya Made which was an inspiration as I made this one. Unfortunately for me, the TP we buy sticks to the tube making it difficult to impossible to remove it and interfering with the painting idea.)
4. To make the pumpkins and cats, decide how many you want of each, then stamp on yellow and orange paper and cut out with embroidery scissors making sure to leave a little bit of the paper at the edge as you cut. If you cut without that edge, when you glue them to the black paper, you won’t see the whole shape.
5. Attach pumpkins and cats to pockets using pop dots.
6. Stick numbers on the pockets and add other stickers and ephemera as desired.
7. Paint one side of clothespins with burnt orange paint. Let dry.
8. On some clothespins, tie bows. On others, glue ribbon the length of the pin over the paint. You also can add rhinestones, buttons or anything else that fits with your theme.
9. Lay out the 31 pockets side by side and stretch a piece of ribbon or string the length of all the pockets adding about 12″ at each end.
10. Tie each end of the ribbon to 2 post or nails, then attach the pockets in order.
If you make a similar calendar banner please share it with us.
Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, and founders of Green Halloween®.