Almost every Halloween tale seems to incorporate man’s deepest rooted fear of the unknown: nature. Often taking place in some distant lakeside town, campground or tiny burg, the action inevitably thrusts the characters out of their main location and into nature’s great unmapped landscape. Usually in the dark.
And what’s so freaky about a forest? Well, at night? Everything. Its vast; it’s an uncontrolled space whose inhabitants seems to be wary even of each other; it’s filled with trees, whose twisting shapes are instantly anthropomorphized into angry creatures that provide the simplest hiding places of all.
A few years ago for our annual Halloween party, I decided that I wanted to create a spooky forest inside my living room. Being I live in suburbia and had no actual forest to pillage (in the daytime, of course), I went about the neighborhood searching for discarded tree trimmings.
I found 2 really tall branches, set them next to a doorway and I was done. Sadly, not so spooky and not at all what I had imagined.
The following year I saw the flock of bats idea on Pinterest and my brain exploded. What if I created a silhouette-style forest? Like, the trees were negative space and the walls were positive space and what could I possibly use for such a– CONSTRUCTION PAPER! THAT WAS IT!!
Seriously, if I were a teacher, this would have been part of my daily life and a big duh. But no. I was a web designer and shmancy things like paper were beyond my digital thinking.
My next step was to figure out where the heck I could find a roll of black paper. Again, the teachers roll their eyes. So I went to the local Professor Toy Store, plopped down $18 for a giant roll of black paper and promptly went home to stare at my walls.
The best part of this tree thing is that it’s all really free form. There is no pattern, per se. I just stared at the spaces where I figured trees needed to be, and I started cutting.
The second best part of this tree thing is that I used black paper. The whole pattern doesn’t need to be one giants cut out — you see an empty space, you can add a limb. Even in the light, the added pieces aren’t all that noticeable; the darkness of the paper shrouds the lines and mistakes. Mostly.
The third best part is that the trees look awesome, and I had enough paper to recreate the forest a second year without plopping down any more money.
A simple project of paper, scissors and tape, and you can forest up any room.