Halloween always strikes fear into my heart. As soon as October 1 hits and the decorations start popping up in my neighborhood, my 6-year-old starts asking why we don’t have a yard full of skeletons and gravestones. “Because mommy doesn’t have time,” just isn’t cutting it anymore, and with my new upcycling quest in mind, I went rummaging for some potential Halloween decorations.
My general problem with decorations is their uselessness. I see people putting up all sorts of strange paraphernalia, and I wonder what on earth they do with these things the rest of the year? Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a flat in London, but other than putting a pumpkin on the doorstep and a tree up at Christmas, I’ve never really bothered much with seasonal decorating. Now we live in the Southern U.S.A. though, and here it’s practically required to do things over the top.
I determined that if I was going to be peer-pressured into doing this, my decorations would have a year-round purpose. When I spotted a wooden shipping pallet sitting in a pile of debris the contractors working on our house were getting ready to haul away, I pounced. This will make the perfect pumpkin / coat rack, I thought. (Bear with me…)
First, I cleaned off the pallet with a hose. Then I dug out some old paint samples from an ill-advised attempt to paint my bedroom sunset orange, applied two coats and left it to dry overnight.
Next, with the help of my son, we screwed four double hooks that I picked up for $2 each at the hardware store into the four slats of the pallet.
And there we had it, a brand new coat rack.
I then used a wide drill bit to put two large holes in the top corners of the pallet, and put two corresponding sized screws into my entryway wall where I wanted to hang my new pallet coat-rack.
When October 1 rolled around, we took it down, unscrewed the hooks, cut out some eyes, a nose and scary mouth from scrap wood, spray-painted them black and screwed them into place.
The finishing touch was a stick my dog found on a recent walk as a stem, and our pumpkin was ready for the front yard.
Simple, very cheap, incredibly useful and totally eco-friendly; this project was the ultimate in easy upcycling. Not only did I save the pallet from the recycling bin, but I also avoided having to buy a giant plastic piece of horror to appease my son’s need for Halloween décor and I eliminated the purchase of a coat rack for my entryway.
Now I can’t wait until Halloween’s over and my pumpkin can go back to being a coat rack. It comes in very handy as extra storage for my children’s many coats as we transition to winter, and I’m thinking of adding an extra row of hooks to the bottom for backpacks. My son has been especially proud to hang his coat here as he helped make it. Anything that will actually make your children put their coats away has got to be a good thing.
Jennifer Tuohy, a mom of two, finds ways to be green with her Halloween décor and shares her “how-to” tips for The Home Depot. You can find some of the materials and other organic Halloween Decorations at the homedepot.com.