Creative

Halloween Glittery Cobwebs

by Sue Colby October 24, 2017

In this crafty Halloween #WhatsInMyTray activity, you will make spooky decorations for your classroom, community space or home and learn more about the history and origins of Halloween.

Learning outcomes

You will be able to:

  • Design and create your own Halloween inspired artworks.
  • Outline the origins and history of Halloween and describe how this has led to our current traditions (in an age-appropriate way).

You will need:

  • 2 x Shallow Gratnells (F1) trays or Gratnells Art Trays (A1)
  • 1 x Black A4 card per participant
  • 1 x White crayon
  • 1 x PVA glue in a fine-tipped bottle
  • 1 x Pot of glitter
  • 1 x Gratnells mini tray or alternative paint tray
  • 3 x Paint in a range of colours

If you would like several participants to undertake this activity at the same time you will need additional trays and white crayons.

What to do:

Take a look at our Halloween Glittery Cobwebs video here for inspiration and read the ‘’What is happening?’ section to learn about the history and origins of Halloween.

To create a spooky glittery cobweb design:

  • Place one piece of black A4 card into a shallow Gratnells tray and draw the outline of a cobweb with a white crayon.
  • Trace over the crayon cobweb with PVA glue to make the cobweb sticky.
  • Sprinkle glitter over your design.
  • Carefully lift up your work and trip the excess glitter into the tray. This glitter can be used for another cobweb.
  • Move your glittery cobweb to the second shallow Gratnells tray.
  • Squirt some small blobs of paint into a Gratnells mini tray or an alternative paint tray.
  • Finger paint two or three small blobs onto the cobweb.
  • Use the crayon to give each little blob eight little legs, turning them into spiders!

What is happening?

The history and origins of Halloween

Halloween is a festival celebrated in several countries across the world on the 31st of October. A shortened version of All Hallows Eve or All Hallows’ Evening, Halloween is thought to have originated from an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain (Summer’s end), which celebrated the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. During Samhain, pagans checked their food stores and prepared for winter. Celts from Britain and Ireland celebrated the start of their new year, All Souls Day or All Hallows’ Day, on the 1st of November. This date marked the end of summer and harvest time and the start of winter. It was believed that on the 31st October the world of the living and the dead overlapped before the start of the new year. The Celts believed that on All Hallows Eve, ghosts of the dead could return and destroy the harvest and food stores. To prevent this from happening, they lit bonfires on hilltops to ward off the evil spirits and protect their winter stores. For Christians, this was the start of a three-day observance of Allhallowtide, during which the dead, saints (hallows), martyrs and the faithful departed were remembered. Even now, modern Christians may attend church to light candles to remember departed relatives on the 31st of October.

At Samhain, offerings of food and drink were left outside for the ancient gods. In Celtic tradition, poor children would go door-to-door on All Hallows Eve and were given food in return for the promise of praying for the giver’s dead relatives on All Souls Day and for protecting their harvest from evil spirits (or theft by pour children!). This was known as souling and is thought to be the origins of trick-or-treating.

To ward off the evil spirits, Celts would carve scary faces into turnips, this evolved into pumpkin carving in America because pumpkins are plentiful at this time of year and easier to carve.

During the Samhain festival, people wore masks and disguises to hide from evil spirits, this may have developed into the modern-day tradition of dressing up on Halloween and has been capitalised on, creating a lucrative consumer holiday.

Other things to try…

  • Experiment with different coloured paper and crayons.
  • Try different Halloween inspired designs e.g. pumpkins, scary faces, candles, skeletons, ghosts or evil spirits.
  • Compare your designs to those created by your classmates, what can you learn about Halloween from other people’s designs?
  • Make bigger designs using a larger piece of sugar paper or card and work in a Gratnells Art Tray to contain any glitter or mess.
  • Make use of recycled or reusable materials to create your artworks.
  • Further research the history and origins of Halloween, you could expand your work to include the Mexican Day of the Dead, which has distinctive designs and artworks.
  • Share photographs of your spooky creations on social media using #WhatsInMyTray.

Health & Safety

As with all Gratnells Learning Rooms What’s In My Tray activities, you should carry out your own risk assessment prior to undertaking any of the activities or demonstrations.