How to Make Floating Ghosts for Your Halloween Yard Display

floating ghost props
A scarecrow pumpkin keeps an eye on the ghost group. Dan Ox/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • 01 of 12

    Easy Halloween Decor: Flying, Floating Ghosts

    how to make floating halloween ghosts
    Floating ghosts in the daytime. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Long before people started turning their yards into theme-park-caliber haunted houses for Halloween, a few of the more ambitious neighborhood decorators would put up a scarecrow in their yard or hang some white-sheet ghosts.

    As decorations and prop-making skills have become more elaborate, the sheet ghosts have given way to more lightweight, wraithlike apparitions. Discover the easy way to make your Halloween ghosts float or fly across your yard, porch or wherever the spirits take you.

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  • 02 of 12

    Gather Your Ghostly Materials and Tools

    diy materials halloween ghosts
    DIY materials for making Halloween ghosts. Products: Amazon; Collage: Lisa H. Taylor

    If you're creative or feeling ambitious, you can make your own ghosts.

    What You'll Need

    • Fine, lightweight white fabric that is almost transparent. A cotton sheet or solid white curtains will work, but visit the fabric store and find something that is sheer. Suggestions: Voile, cheesecloth, or gauze (it shreds easily) Depending on the number of ghosts, you will need at least 6 yards (2 yards+ per ghost)--extra is better. Buy it on Amazon
    • Mannequin head or large round or oval-shaped...MORE styrofoam balls: lightweight is best. ​Buy it on Amazon.
    • Glue gun, tacks, pins, etc.
    • Shepherd's hooks or telescoping yard stakes, upon which the foam head or ball will be attached. Buy it on Amazon.
    • Eyebolts: If you want to hang the ghost from a tree, porch, beam, etc., attach an eyebolt into the foam head or ball. Buy it on Amazon
    • Heavy-duty glue: Attach the eyebolt into the foam head with a strong glue like heavy-duty glue like E6000. Buy it on Amazon.
    • Monofilament fishing wire: 12-pound will work; this is to hang ghost heads and fabric. Buy it on Amazon.
    • Scissors, fine wire cutters.
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  • 03 of 12

    Buy a Ready-to-Go Ghost

    ghost materials
    Ready-made ghosts from Grandin Road. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Don't worry if you don't have the DIY chops or the time to make homemade ghosts. This tutorial focuses more on how to artfully hang or suspend the ghosts.

    You can save yourself some time and hassle by using premade ghosts, like these fairly simple and easy-to-assemble spirits that are an earlier form of the ​Friendly Ghost Trio from Grandin Road. The good thing about buying ghosts is that they are all there and ready to go, allowing you to focus on your flying trickery.

    Other ghosts to...MORE consider:

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  • 04 of 12

    Stake It

    ghost stake
    Thrust stake at an angle into ground. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    If using the Grandin Road ghost trio set or something similar, assemble the ground stake, as directed. Thrust the stake securely into the ground. Doing so at an angle will give your ghost a less rigid, more flowing appearance, as you'll see in later steps.

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  • 05 of 12

    White Ghost Fabric

    Photo of White Fabric for Ghost - Pix of White Fabric for Ghost
    Sheer white fabric makes the best ghosts. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    If this is a do-it-yourself project, then hopefully you will have chosen a fabric that is white, lightweight, and not stiff.. A plain white cotton sheet will do, but something more transparent will look "floaty" and be easier to work with. Besides cheesecloth, rayon or a cotton/synthetic blend would be good fabric choices.

    Moving right along, stretch out the fabric to its full length, then proceed to attach more-or-less in the center to the round or oval head of your ghost. You can affix...MORE it with a thumb tack, pin, use a glue gun, regular glue, or double-sided tape.

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  • 06 of 12

    Sew Your Ghost

    halloween floating ghosts
    You don't need to be an expert to do some sewing here and there. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    Thread the 12-pound-strength monofilament (fishing wire or invisible nylon heavyweight thread) through a large embroidery needle. Carefully pull the needle through a corner of the fabric a few times, enough to make a secure knot when tugged or pulled lightly. Depending on how high your overhead support is, you may need a step stool or ladder to tie the monofilament in a secure knot to the tree branch or beam.

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  • 07 of 12

    Snip the Thread

    how to make ghosts float for halloween
    Make sure not to cut the fabric!. Lisa Hallett Taylor
    Cut the short end of the monofilament / thread close to the fabric.
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  • 08 of 12

    Unreel

    diy halloween ghosts
    Anchor monofilament to beam or branch overhead. Lisa Hallett Taylor
    With the other end that is still attached to the monofilament spool or reel, stretch it up and out toward your overhead support from which your ghost will be suspended. This might be an eave or beam above a porch or a tree branch.
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  • 09 of 12

    Adjusting the Spirit's Arms

    Photo of How to Make a Flying Ghost for Halloween
    Tying ghost to tree. Lisa Hallett Taylor
    To get the ghost "arm" (corner of fabric) adjusted to the desired level, you'll need to play around with the monofilament spool before cutting and tying it. You may need to pull it out, raise it up, or lower it before it looks just right.
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  • 10 of 12

    Tie it Tight

    halloween decorating ideas ghosts
    Tie knots several times to secure the monofilament. Lisa Hallett Taylor
    Once you've found the perfect position for the ghostly arm or edge, tie it securely to the tree branch, eave, beam or other overhead support. Tie it a few times in a knot to make sure it doesn't come loose.
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  • 11 of 12

    Secret Wires Revealed

    halloween ghost project
    Trade secret revealed: monofilament. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    In this shot, you can see the monofilament. At night and from a distance, the fishing wire should barely be visible, giving the illusion of floating ghosts. To section off your ghostly gathering and keep trick-or-treaters from any close encounters with the monofilament, surround the scene with low fencing.

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  • 12 of 12

    A Ghostly Gathering

    ghosts on lawn
    Ghosts floating above a lawn give a chilling sense of mystery. Lisa Hallett Taylor

    This is exactly the effect you're after: ghosts that appear to be floating in mid-air. It's an exciting, "uplifting" sight, and is a cinch to pull off.

    Now that you've got the "hang" of do-it-yourself projects, check out our other easy Halloween how-to projects.