Branches that resemble small trees have become one of the most popular centerpieces found at parties—regardless of the season or occasion. These mini-trees make particularly great Halloween decorations, because they’re easy to make and can add an eerie ambiance to any room, table, front porch, or walkway. To create your own, follow the guidelines below.

Halloween tree

You will need:

•     a manzanita branch, or a branch found in your backyard;

•     newspapers;

•     black spray paint;

•     a black marker;

•     a base (e.g., planter, vase, wine bottle, etc.);

•     base filler (e.g., candy corn, gumballs, potpourri, planting soil, etc.); and,

•     tree ornaments (optional, e.g., fake cobwebs, spiders, ornaments, treat bags, etc.).

What to do:

It's best to begin this process outdoors. First, spread newspapers on the ground.

The branch you paint should be between two and four feet long. To avoid spraying the ground with paint, lay the branch directly on the newspaper or hold it above the paper.

Cover the branch with coats of spray paint until it is completely black from top to bottom. After the branch has dried, touch up knots and crevices using a black marker.

Next, place the branch inside a sturdy base. This base can be anything: a planter, vase, wine bottle, or even a box. Just make sure the base is strong enough to keep your tree from falling over.

Depending on the base you choose, you may need to fill it with something to keep your tree centered and standing upright. If your filler can be seen, opt for traditional Halloween items such as candy corn, miniature candy bars, white and orange gumballs, skeleton parts, or plastic spiders. For a more natural look, fill your base with potpourri or autumn-colored leaves. If your filler cannot be seen, you can use something as simple as potting soil or a Styrofoam block.

Decorate:

Once the tree is in its base you can leave it as is or you can decorate it a handful of creative ways.

For a spooky look, weave cobwebs around the branch and prop fake ravens or spiders on the tree. You can also hang small rubber or construction paper bats from the branch.

To add a little color to your tree, tie treat bags on the branch or create ornaments with Halloween sayings such as "boo," "eek!," or "happy haunting." You can even hang black and orange Christmas ornaments from the tree for some additional sparkle and shine.

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