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Halloween spinning ghosts and cartoon eyes!

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Here is a super fun Halloween art project that you can do with your kids at home, or in the Kindergarten classroom. It all started when I asked my five year old to think of a project that kids in her class would enjoy. She said "cardboard ghosts!" So I went with this idea, and it ended up being a really fun project. When you hang the finished ghosts on a tree they will spin in the wind and the eyes create a fun effect. Scroll down to the bottom to watch a video of how they look when spinning!

Materials needed: Cardboard, gesso, box cutter knife (for adult use only), hole puncher, string, sharpie and oil pastels.

You will need to start by cutting out the ghost shapes. I drew them first with a sharpie on cardboard, then cut them with a box cutter knife. I was doing this for a class of 22 kindergarteners, so I made 3 different templates so they could have a choice and it would give the project a little more variety. The ghosts are about one foot tall, so you will need some pretty good sized boxes to make these. After cutting out all the the ghosts I applied 2 coats of gesso to each side. This is not absolutely necessary, but I liked starting with a fresh white slate. If your cardboard doesn't have any writing on it you could try skipping the gesso part. In the video example at the end of this blog you will see that one side of the ghost had gesso and the other did not. Oil pastels work well when placed directly on cardboard.

Once the ghosts are dry, punch a hole in the top, this is where you will later put a piece of string so that they can be hung outside. A single hole puncher works great on cardboard. Next prep your string, you don't want to be stuck cutting 22 pieces of string at the end of class.

I had an hour time slot to do this project. I wanted to teach them some new skills, while also letting them have the experience of process art, so we did a little of both. I decided to do a follow along lesson with different cartoon eyes, followed by them choosing their two favorite eyes, drawing them on each side of the ghost, then adding color and patterns with oil pastels. I started the class by looking at this poster and briefly talking about what emotions these eyes show.

We also talked about the shapes and lines that they would need to know how to draw before they could draw the eyes. I created the large poster below, and then created a matching worksheet so the kids could follow along, we used sharpies.

Cartoon eye shapes and lines poster before I wrote on it.

Cartoon eye shapes and lines poster after I wrote on it.

Next we passed out a small piece of paper with 8 rectangles on it. I explained that we were going to draw 8 different types of cartoon eyes. I had a large poster of this as well to demonstrate on at the front of the class. Below is how it looked before and after. As we went through each new emotion I asked the kindergarteners to show me their angriest/sneakiest/happiest faces. We used sharpies for this part.

If you look closely you can see that I pre-drew all the eyes, this makes it much easier to teach.

This is the same large poster after we all completed the 8 sets of cartoon eyes.

Here is what you can expect their eyes to look like

Next we passed out the ghosts and I told the kids to draw one set of eyes on the front and one set of eyes on the back of their ghost with their sharpie. I also told them they could draw a mouth if they wanted to as well with the sharpie.

Once they all had their eyes drawn I did a quick demo on how to use oil pastels. Crayons would also work for this project. If you want to know the difference between crayons and oil pastels as well as how to use them you can read a specific post here.

Put some paper at their work space for easy clean up!

This is the part where you can turn on some spooky Halloween music and just let them have fun. There is no right or wrong here, it is their ghost and they get to do whatever they want to it. When they say they are done you can tie a piece of string on and voila, you have a spinning ghost!

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