Our 90 Favorite Halloween Decorating Ideas

Get ready to spook up your home — both indoors and out — with our favorite ideas for handmade Halloween decorations you can craft.

August 09, 2020

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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Spook Up the Front Porch

Even if Halloween guests never enter your home — like trick-or-treaters — they'll definitely see the front porch so give it a festive feel with a colorful rug, lanterns, mums and piles of pumpkins. For a spooktastic finishing touch, we added a pair of gnarled faux trees that are wrapped in mini orange lights that'll cast a spell long after the witching hour.

DIY Some Spooky Spiders

Easily craft these larger-than-life spiders with the kiddos for a fun Halloween craft that'll spook up your home — either indoors or out. Inexpensive craft store materials and a little imagination are all you need to build these creepy Halloween props. Make your own with our instructions, below.

Get the How-To: How to Make DIY Oversized Spooky Spiders

Pick a Palette

Limiting your decor's color palette to just a few shades creates a look that's perfectly pulled together. For our Halloween mantel, we chose black-and-white and shades of orange. Metallics are a must for any well-style vignette so mix in copper, gold or silver for an added touch of glam.

Craft Some Spellbooks

Make brand new books look like old leather-bound tomes by covering them in a removable leather jacket that you've distressed and antiqued. Stack them as part of a vignette beside wine (aka potion) bottles or lit taper candles for a touch of spooky sophistication. Magic up your own with our instructions, below.

Get the How-To: How to Make Distressed Leather-Wrapped Books

Mummify Your Front Door

Trick-or-treaters and Halloween guests are headed your way; trick out the front door with this frightful facelift that's a snap to craft. Learn how with our step-by-step tips, below.

Get the How-To: How to Mummify Your Front Door for Halloween

Or, Mummify a Beverage Tub

Need a quick and easy decorating idea for your monster mash? Turn a galvanized tub into a friendly mummy, ready to keep ice and cold drinks at the ready. Just a few craft materials are all you need.

Get the How-To: Halloween Entertaining: Make a Mummy Beverage Tub

Turn Pumpkins Into Black Cats

Welcome trick-or-treaters and Halloween guests with a litter of black cat pumpkins. These carve-free kitties are easy to craft, making them a fun project for older children or small kids with a little help from a crafty adult.

Get the How-To: How to Make Black Cat Pumpkins

Or, Magic Up a Lucky Black Cat Mum-ster

Add a little personality to your planters with our tips for dressing up a fall mum as a lucky black cat — just in time for Halloween. Craft your own with our instructions, below.

Get the How-To: Monstrous Mums: Craft a Lucky Black Cat

Or, Even a Crafty Candy Hanger

Delight trick-or-treaters by turning a faux pumpkin and old frame into a playful black cat-themed candy holder. Hang or lean it against an interior or exterior wall to create an interactive candy bowl the kiddos will love.

Get the How-To: Wow Trick-or-Treaters With a DIY Black Cat Candy Hanger

Distressingly Dress the Windows

Give the front of your home a haunting makeover in a flash with curtains stencilled with Halloween designs to transform windows or clear doors into a spooktacular scene.

Or, Create a Shadowy Scene

Adhesive black vinyl sheets and a bit of creativity turned this ordinary garage door into a shadowy Halloween scene. Best of all: It's easily removable when the season has passed. Get more tips for recreating this look, below.

Get the How-To: Make Frightening Garden Silhouettes for Halloween

Safely Set a Spooky Tone

Dry ice + spooky decor = a match made in Halloween heaven — but, you must use this subzero substance safely. Get all our tips for spooking up your haunted house without getting burned.

Timely Tip: Learn How to Safely Use Dry Ice This Halloween

Or, Opt for Spook-Free

If your Halloween celebrations will include folks who are sensitive to scares or aren't fans of Halloween's more macabre aspects, skip the spooky decor altogether and opt instead for a classic fall front porch. Planters filled with a candle lantern and an assortment of pumpkins, gourds and fall foliage will suit the season from now till Thanksgiving.

See More Photos: Our Favorite Fall Decorating Ideas

Witch Up Your Pumpkin

Magic up this not-too-scary witch for your front porch or entryway using a faux pumpkin and basic supplies from the craft store. Create a friendly witch to welcome Halloween guests or a scowling witch to keep mischief-makers at bay.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Bewitching Halloween Pumpkin

Or, Magic Up a Witch for Your Planter

Garden stakes, stuffing and a thrifted pair of stockings and shoes will add a playful twist to a flower bed or front porch planter.

See More Photos: Crafty Fall: Create These Kooky Witch Legs Just in Time for Halloween

Summon Up Some Spooks

Create these fun, floating ghostly shapes with a little formed chicken wire, gauzy cheese cloth and liquid fabric starch. A battery-operated fluorescent light gives the apparitions a spooky glow.

More Tips for An Elegant Fete: How to Create an Elegant Grown-Up Halloween Party

Create a Candy Corn Piñata

What's Halloween without the candy, right? Construct this colorful piñata to serve as both a party decoration and crowd-pleasing game for your Halloween get-together. Get started with our free templates and step-by-step instructions, below.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Candy Corn Pinata for Halloween

Or, Just Rock Candy Corn Colors

Make a grand entrance with front porch planters filled with colorful fall annuals — like purple fountain grass, mums and ornamental sweet potato vine — surrounded by piles of pumpkins and candle-filled lanterns.

See More Photos: Celebrate Autumn With the Season's Best Porches and Patios

Eerily Greet Guests

Give trick-or-treaters and Halloween party guests a (slight!) scare with this smaller-than-life-size headless horseman figure. Add his jack-o'-lantern head to one hand and a sign leading the way to the festivities in the other. Add a little character to your front porch with our free template and instructions, below.

Get the How-To: Make a Headless Horseman Figure for Halloween

Or, Give Them a Giggle

Seriously, where would our digital lives be without the handy emoji? Give your Halloween pumpkins the same shorthand sense of fun with a little yellow paint and construction paper.

Get the How-To: Create a Fun Fall Front Porch With Emoji Pumpkins

Turn a Peaceful Plant Into a Man-Eating Monster

Betcha never thought about giving your houseplants a Halloween makeover, right?! Hit the hardware and craft stores for supplies to turn the humblest of household residents into a devilish denizen.

Get the How-To: Halloween Decor: Turn a Peaceful Plant Into a Man-Eating Monster

Or, Monster Up Your Mum

Give your entryway a not-too-scary Halloween update with this easy-to-craft blooming beastie. Our tutorial, below, makes this front porch fix-up a snap.

Get the How-To: Halloween Front Porch Fix-Up: Magic a Mum Into a Monster

And, Even an Interior Wall

Inexpensive paper party bunting, colorful card stock and double-sided tape are all you need to turn an interior wall or door into a menacing monster. Best of all, you can make your beastie as large or small as you'd like and it's a snap to make this denizen disappear when Halloween's over.

See More Photos: 7 Super-Easy Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Give Arachnophobes a Fright

Inexpensive (and removable) supplies give an everyday shade a creepy-crawly makeover that's only visible when illuminated. Learn how to craft this lampshade with a scary surprise, below.

Get the How-To: Spook Up an Everyday Lampshade With a Spiderweb Silhouette

Make a Mini "Pumpkin" Wreath

Although the tiny orange shapes covering this wreath look like diminutive pumpkins, they're actually putka pods. A great stand-in for mini pumpkins, the dried organic seed pods don't deteriorate so your wreath can be displayed year after year.

Get the How-To: Make a Mini Pumpkin Wreath for Fall

Or, Ditch the Wreath for a Basket Instead

1 basket, 3 holidays. Make swapping out your Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations a snap by trading multiple wreaths for a single straw tote or basket you can fill to fit the season. Bonus: Add vinyl house numbers for a personalized touch.

See More Photos: Skip the Wreath: Try a Holiday-Spanning Front Door Basket Instead

Scare Up Dollar Store Crafts

Get creative to turn $1 finds and basic craft supplies into creepy-crawly wall art. Plus, check out four more Halloween decor DIYs you can craft on the cheap, below.

Get the How-To: 5 DIY Dollar Store Halloween Decor Ideas

Or, Hit the Hardware Store

For a pumpkin that'll last for many years to come, follow our tricks, below, to dramatically age a new galvanized metal bucket, then paint on a friendly (or not so friendly) jack-o'-lantern grin.

Get the How-To: 3 Pumpkin Projects That Will Out-Last the Season

Upcycle Old Hanging Planters Into Pumpkins

Hit the hardware store (or your potting shed) to gather the inexpensive materials you'll need to create blooming 'pumpkins' you can display all fall long. Tip: Because the pumpkin's body is made out of porous coco mat, these are best displayed (and watered) outdoors.

Get the How-To: 3 Pumpkin Projects That Will Out-Last the Season

Repurpose Summer's Beach Ball

Turn balls in assorted sizes into giant bloodshot eyeballs that'll add a creeptastic touch to your indoor or outdoor Halloween decor. Kids are sure to get a kick out of them.

Get the How-To: How to Make Giant Bloodshot-Eye Halloween Decor

Or, Keep Your 'Eye' on the Ping Pong Ball

Break out the Christmas string lights a little early this year, then give them a spooktacular Halloween makeover with ping pong balls and a little craft paint.

See More Photos: 7 Super-Easy Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Set Up an Outdoor Trick-or-Treat Station

Weather permitting, bring a lightweight table or shelf outside, then fill it with an assortment of kids' favorite treats packaged using one of our free printable templates. Have adults on hand to make sure everyone gets their fair share and with cameras at the ready to snap photos of the neighborhood kids enjoying the spread.

See More Photos: Halloween Trick-or-Treat Candy Station

Or, Win at Trunk-or-Treat

Craft store supplies and a red flat sheet or tablecloth are all you need to give your trunk a great white shark-themed makeover that'll draw kids over for a quick bite.

Get the How-To: How to Make Your Own Shark-Style Trunk-or-Treat Halloween Decoration

Stencil One On

Pumpkin-carving patterns aren't just for pumpkins. Put our free templates, below, to work to give a plain white tablecloth an easy Halloween makeover.

Get the How-To: Halloween Decorating Ideas With Stencils

Turn a Pumpkin Into an Owl

You don't need an intricate pattern or advanced pumpkin-carving skills to turn a fresh pumpkin and wee white gourds into this adorable decoration.

Get the How-To: Cute Owl Pumpkin

Or, a Mum Into a Friendly Ghost

This project's easy assembly makes it perfect to craft with the kiddos. Get an assist from your little ghouls to make this cute ghost planter with personality. Our tutorial, below, shows you how.

Get the How-To: Halloween Kids' Craft: Make a Friendly Ghost Mum-ster

Conjure Up a Tiny Ghost Town

Matte black spray paint turns craft store birdhouses into an eerie mini landscape. To bump up the creep factor, add oversized spiders, rubber snakes or faux birds to your scene.

Or, a Giant Lurking Spider

Watch our video, below, to learn how to turn an empty milk jug and foam pipe insulation into a menacing giant spider that, despite its size, is light enough to hang anywhere indoors or out.

Get the How-To: DIY Your Very Own Giant Porch Spider for Halloween

Craft a Litter of Black Cats

Turn a sheet of plywood into these simple cat silhouettes that keep a baleful eye on Halloween visitors with glowing eyes created by backing moon-shaped cut-outs with small, battery-powered lights. Get more tips for decking out your home with silhouettes, below.

See More Photos: Make Frightening Garden Silhouettes for Halloween

Or, Let Your Yard Go to the Birds

Print out our free template, below, to turn plywood and paint into a larger-than-life raven you can display either indoors or out.

Get the How-To: Giant Raven Outdoor Halloween Decoration

Go Glam With Glittered Pumpkins

School glue and black glitter are all you need to give natural or faux pumpkins a chic makeover. Choose an easy pattern for crafting with kids or go with a timeless design, like a monogram or graphic pattern, for a sophisticated look.

Get the How-To: Halloween Decorating Idea: Black-Glittered Pumpkins

Or, Pumpkin Up Your Bonfire

Bonfires are great but they can pose a real safety issue — especially to pets and small children. Instead, creatively fake the look of a roaring fire without the fear using faux pumpkins, battery-operated candles and a few logs.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Halloween Pumpkin Faux Bonfire

Craft a Cheery Orange Wreath

Bright orange tow rope makes it a snap to craft a cheery orange wreath you can display from Halloween through Thanksgiving. Just swap out the saying on the mini pumpkins for an easy holiday update.

Get the How-To: DIY Halloween Decor: A Tow Rope Wreath

Whip Up a Little Poison

Don't toss that old bottle. Instead turn it into sleek Halloween decor. To get the look: Thoroughly clean the glass; once dry, coat each bottle with one coat of spray primer and 2-3 coats of matte black spray paint. Add a handwritten label and display your potent potables as a group.

See More Photos: 20+ Hip Halloween Decorating Ideas

And, Make Wine More Wicked

Don't forget to deck out your Halloween party. Get crafty to turn a party staple, like boxed wine, into dastardly decor that'll cast a spell over your guests.

Get the How-To: Halloween Party Magic: Make a Wicked Wine Cauldron + Ghostly Garnishes

Haunt a Terrarium or Cookie Jar

Add a little Halloween spirit to your kitchen counter. All you need is a large glass jar, basic craft supplies and a little imagination. This easy project is perfect to do with kids, they'll love coming up with ideas for the terrarium's spooky scene.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Haunted Terrarium for Halloween

Turn a Pallet Into a Jack-O'-Lantern

Spook up your front porch, walkway, foyer or any dark corner with this rustic recycling project that uses a (free!) wood pallet to craft a Halloween pumpkin you can display year after year.

Get the How-To: Turn a Wood Pallet Into a Halloween Jack-O'-Lantern

Or, a Board Into a Scarecrow

Greet trick-or-treaters with this friendly character that — surprise! — is backed by an equally cheerful snowman so this one easy project will have your front porch decor covered from fall thru winter.

Get the How-To: Snowman + Scarecrow: Two-in-One Front Porch Decor

Candy Candles? Yes, Please!

Prep your front porch or entryway for the arrival of trick-or-treaters or Halloween guests with the sweet aroma of candy-corn-filled hurricanes. To create them, place pillar candles inside clear glass hurricanes of different sizes then fill each hurricane, roughly halfway, with candy corn. For safety, be sure to blow out the candle before it burns below the candy.

See More Photos: 70 Front Porch Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Invite Bugs to the Dinner Table

Give inexpensive white dinner plates a creepy-crawly makeover with black ceramic paint and bug silhouettes. Learn how to make the painted plates food-safe, below.

Get the How-To: Hand-Painted Insect Plates

And, Ever-Watchful Owls to the Porch

These denizens of the dark are a just-spooky-enough way to decorate your front porch without making it too scary for the littlest trick-or-treaters. Learn how to attach them to the banister, below.

Get the How-To: Outdoor Halloween Decoration: Banister Owls

Turn Your Family Into Pumpkins

OK, not really, but you can add signature characteristics to pumpkins and gourds that resemble your nearest and dearest. Fresh produce, felt, a permanent marker and a few bits of clothing are all you need.

Get the How-To: Parsnip and Carrot Pumpkin Characters

And, Bring Your Living Room to Life

Hit your local craft or dollar store for googly eyes in assorted sizes and shapes to give everyday objects big and small an ever-watchful gaze.

See More Photos: 7 Super-Easy Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Craft a Gaggle of Ghosties

This quick-and-easy craft is a great Halloween project to do with the kids. Best of all, the inexpensive materials ensure you can whip up a whole gaggle of ghosts for your front yard.

Get the How-To: Outdoor Halloween Decoration: Hanging Ghosts

Create Critters With the Kiddos

Black craft foam, googly eyes and fishing line are all you need to create a colony of swooping, weatherproof bats. Kids big and small will love this quick and easy Halloween craft, that's perfect for adding a spooky touch to your front yard.

Get the How-To: Halloween Kids' Craft: Hanging Foam Bats

Fake Some Formaldehyde

Fill lidded jars with water, green food coloring, rubber creatures (like mice, snakes, bats or insects), leaves or dried flowers to give any room the look of a mad scientist's lab.

Magic Up Ghostly Draperies

These billowing, tattered draperies made from budget-friendly cheesecloth will add an eerie, haunted house atmosphere to your front porch or an interior doorway.

Get the How-To: Make Ghostly Outdoor Draperies for Halloween

Incorporate Antiques

'Haunt' local estate sales, thrift stores and antique shops to pick up everyday items, like this serrated knife, with a rusty or timeworn patina that gives them a slightly sinister appearance.

Impress Guests With Wee Witch's Broomsticks

Made from a twig, raffia and a scrap of paper, these diminutive brooms add an enchanting touch to any Halloween get-together, plus they're a fun party favor that guests can take home with them.

Get the How-To: Witch's Broom Halloween Place Card Holders

Turn Mini Pumpkins Into Itty-Bitty Bats

Mix a little mischief into your Halloween decorations with these mini bat pumpkins. These not-too-scary creatures are fun to create and will look great grouped together on your mantel, entry table or as a centerpiece.

Get the How-To: Mini Bat Pumpkins

Conjure Up a Lifesize Ghost

Turn craft store materials into a lifesize (or at least afterlife-sized) ghost that appears to float several feet above the ground.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Life-Size Halloween Ghost

Turn Scrapbook Paper Into "Specimens"

Another great craft to do with kids, this project couldn't be simpler. Just stamp creepy animal shapes — like vampire bats, snakes or spiders — out of colorful card stock to create a collection of "specimens" to fill a shadowbox-style frame.

Get the How-To: Creepy Specimen Art

Or, Yarn Into a Spider's Nest

Get an assist from your littlest bug aficionado to turn chunky white yarn and dollar store plastic spiders into an oversized nest full of creepy crawlers.

Get the How-To: Create Spooky Spider Nests

Craft a Classic Banner

You certainly don't need sorcery on your side to magic up this budget-friendly decoration. Our free printable template, below, makes it a snap.

Get the How-To and Free Printable: How to Make a Classic Orange and Black Happy Halloween Banner

Or, Stick to Can't-Miss Colors

Black + white is a classic color combo for a reason: It never goes out of style. For a timeless look, stick to just the high-contrast hues or mix in pops of orange or red or green for a more colorful take.

See More Photos: 5 DIY Decorations That Transition From Halloween to Thanksgiving

Whip Up a Spider Web Pillow

Fuzzy yarn on gray wool fabric is used to make this arachnophobic (but cute!) Halloween pillow. This project involves basic machine- and hand-sewing, so it's a snap to make, even for crafters new to sewing.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Spider Web Pillow

Or, Send Foam Bats Flying

Easily create this sculptural Halloween wreath that resembles bats taking flight with craft foam, floral wire, fabric and yarn.

Get the How-To: Outdoor Halloween Decoration: Flying Bat Wreath

Safely Light Up the Night

Make it easy for trick-or-treaters or Halloween party guests to find their way to your front door by lighting the way with hanging solar lamps, strands of bistro lights or candle-filled lanterns.

Get the How-To: String Light Solution: Hang Patio Lights Using Planters and Wood Posts

And, Craft Kid-Friendly Luminaries

Fill clear buckets or cylindrical glass vases with battery-operated tea lights to easily craft kid- and pet-safe, fireproof luminaries to light up your Halloween celebrations.

Get the How-To: Halloween Jack-o'-Lantern Luminaries

Tempt Them With Edible Candy Topiaries

Cover inexpensive foam topiary forms with fondant and candy to create a sweet Halloween decoration or centerpiece that kids will love helping to craft. After the festivities are over, they'll have just as much fun pulling the candy off and devouring it.

Get the How-To: Halloween Decorating Idea: Make a Candy Topiary

Stack a Jack-O'-Totem

Add some personality to your entry with a pumpkin topiary in the shape of a totem pole. All it takes is a few faux pumpkins, basic craft supplies and a little imagination.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Halloween Jack-O'-Stack

Or, Turn a Faux Pumpkin Into a Gumball Machine

Bubble gum fans, old and young, will love this vintage-inspired gumball machine that's easy to create from a faux pumpkin and ceramic pot.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Gumball Machine Pumpkin

Conjure Up a Ghostly Slipcover

Use gauzy fabric and cheesecloth to give a traditional dining chair a tattered, ghostly silhouette for Halloween. With raw edges and a simple shape, this slipcover is a snap to make using basic sewing skills.

Get the How-To: Easy-Sew Ghostly Chair Slipcover

Craft a Creep-Tastic Wreath

Give your front door a fun Halloween touch with one of our 20+ easy-to-craft wreaths.

See More Photos: 50 Creep-Tastic DIY Halloween Wreaths & Door Decor Ideas

Add a Trendy Silhouette

Add a timeless twist to your Halloween decor by embellishing a faux pumpkin with a trendy Victorian-inspired silhouette. Our tutorial, below, shows you how.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Silhouette Pumpkin

Turn Your Front Yard Into a Graveyard

Whether you choose to add funny sayings or be deathly serious with traditional designs, we'll show you how to turn inexpensive foam boards into realistic-looking grave markers.

Get the How-To: How to Make Foam Halloween Tombstones

Play Peek-a-boo With Pumpkins

Kids will love helping you create a spooktacular vignette of peeking pumpkins with mini gourds and a variety of inexpensive bowls and lidded dishes.

Get the How-To: How to Make Peekaboo Pumpkins

Make Your Mark With a Monogram

Add a sophisticated touch to your Halloween decor with this personalized pumpkin you can display year after year.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Monogrammed Pumpkin

Turn a Pumpkin Into a Candy Dish

Cut a faux pumpkin in half to create a handy lidded container for serving Halloween candy. The waterproof interior also makes foam pumpkins a great cooler stand-in when filled with ice and beverages.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Pumpkin Candy Dish

Make a Haunted Mirror

Transform a thrifted modern mirror into a centuries-old looking glass with our tips, below. Select a mirror in an ornate frame, as we have, to boost the haunted house vibes.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Ghostly Antiqued Mirror

Go for a Gothic Look

Give a humble pumpkin sophisticated style by painting it to resemble an antique European grain sack. Our step-by-step instructions, below, show you how.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Lettered Pumpkin

Set the Scene for a Fiendish Feast

Gather a few of your favorite ghouls for a dinner party where handmade Halloween decor with a macabre twist sets the scene.

See More Photos: 20+ Hip Halloween Decorating Ideas

Turn Bats Into a Pillow

This oh-so-cute felt pillow requires basic sewing skills and will bring a handmade touch to your Halloween decor — our free template, below, makes stitching one up a snap.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Halloween Applique Pillow

Or, a Fashion-Forward Wreath

Wrap chevron fabric around a foam wreath form to craft this trendy wreath that'll add a big graphic punch to your front door, living room, kitchen or anywhere. Learn how to make the bat garland, below.

Get the How-To: Halloween Chevron Wreath

Craft a Giant Rat

Our free printable template, below, makes it easy to turn plywood and paint into a creepy indoor or outdoor decoration in the shape of an oversized rat.

Get the How-To: Giant Rat Outdoor Halloween Decoration

Or, a Scaredy Cat Cut-Out

Create an arched-back black cat for your front yard to give trick-or-treaters and Halloween guests a fright. Download our free template, below.

Get the How-To: Black Cat Outdoor Halloween Decoration

Make a Pretty Fretwork Pumpkin

Looking for a new pumpkin-carving technique? Requiring just two different-size drill bits, this intricate design is much easier to create than you may think.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Pretty Fretwork Pumpkin

Craft an Upcycled Cloche

Repurpose a metal lamp frame and chicken wire into a rustic cloche you can use year-round. Add pumpkins, plastic spiders and webbing for a not-too-scary Halloween vignette.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Chicken Wire Cloche for Halloween

Turn Felt Into Creepy-Crawly Napkin Rings

Spook up your Halloween get-together with these easy-to-make (and cute!) felt and pom-pom napkin rings — a perfect project to craft with kids.

Get the How-To: How to Make Spider Napkin Rings

Or, a Holiday-Spanning Wreath

This grapevine wreath covered with double-sided felt leaves is a colorful way to add festive fall color to your front door from Halloween till Thanksgiving.

Get the How-To: How to Make a Fall Felt Leaf Wreath

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