DIY Halloween Countdown Calendar

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This amazing (if I say so myself) Halloween countdown calendar is so cute and actually pretty easy to pull together. If you have kiddos who are fans of spooky season, this might be just the thing to keep the spirit of the season going a little longer.

Halloween Advent Calendar

For several years when the girl was younger, I made her book advent calendars. We aren’t really that into Christmas, but it was a fun way to read some holiday and winter books, and, as she got older, to expand her library with some things she might not otherwise be exposed to.

Once she got fully into chapter books, I decided it was too much work (also: pretty expensive) to come up with 24 books she might want to read that she didn’t already own. Also, she prefers audiobooks and doesn’t usually re-read books, so it’s not like she even read all the books that went into the calendars back then.

Anyway, the holiday she does love is Halloween. She loves the costumes, the spooky stuff, decorating, trick or treating (even as a teenager), all of it.

So why not celebrate that with a Halloween countdown calendar? Or a Halloween advent calendar if you’re being a little snarky?

Supplies for Your DIY Halloween Countdown Calendar

Of course, just like regular advent calendars, you can use all sorts of things to make a Halloween advent calendar, from a fabric wall hanging with sleeves for surprises to individual bags. You can even purchase Halloween countdown calendars if you’re not feeling crafty.

But over here, we’re always feeling crafty.

Years ago I saw a Halloween countdown on Pinterest or Joann’s website or somewhere that used a cool wooden house with drawers as the base. It looked like a haunted house and that was just the thing I wanted for my version.

Except I couldn’t find that product anywhere.

So I ended up buying a house with drawers that was meant to be a Christmas advent calendar, and I jazzed it up with paint and paper (so far; it’s definitely a work in progress) to make a DIY Halloween calendar.

I love the little bit of orange I added to the edges.

In addition to the house itself, here are the supplies you’ll need to make yours look like mine:

How to Make a Halloween Advent Calendar

Once you have your supplies assembled, you’ll want to start by painting the house. Remove all the drawers and paint the house part with black acrylic paint.

The great thing about this is that you kind of don’t want it to be perfect, so if your coverage isn’t great, or you run out of nice black paint before you’re done and have to paint the back with ancient washable acrylic paint that doesn’t even match the rest, it will be fine. (Ask me how I know.)

I painted front and back and the edges of the cubbies where the drawers go but not all the way into the cubbies. If you wanted you could probably do this with spray paint and cover the whole thing.

Then I painted the fronts of each of the drawers. Some of them were a pretty tight fit to begin with so I didn’t paint the sides.

I painted half of mine black and half orange, but it’s totally up to you how you do it.

Just this would make a great little Halloween countdown calendar with minimal effort, but if you want to make it a little craftier, read on.

Embellishing Your Calendar

I didn’t want to leave the drawers just painted, and actually originally wasn’t sure I really wanted the paint to show at all, though I did end up with some of it exposed.

I started by alternating colors in the calendar (so the first drawer is orange, the second black and so on) and made sure that the drawer could fit in its corresponding cubby (some of them were a little tight so this was worth the time it took).

Then I went through the scrapbook paper and ephemera I had ans starting cutting little pieces to cover the boxes. Some pieces were already trimmed to circles or squares that I ended up having to cut down even more to fit on the tiny drawers. Some pieces I cut to the shape of the drawer and some I intentionally made smaller. Others just have a shape cut out.

I used the Tim Holtz numbers to give it a little steampunk vibe, since that’s something the girl likes.

Lots of hot glue later the drawers were embellished, and I went back with an X-acto knife and trimmed around the edges where the paper was hanging off.

Filling Your Halloween Advent Calendar

The only problem with this setup is, because the drawers are so small, there’s not a lot that will fit in them.

I bought some Hildie and Jo charms and pins (which are also from JoAnn; similar charms here and pins here), some mini skulls from Target, and some Tim Holtz mini bottles, all of which will be fun additions. I also bought some Halloween socks and a light that makes spooky shadows that will definitely not fit in the drawers.

I think I might make it a bit of a treasure hunt for the days that won’t fit in the boxes.

I’m even thinking about making one of the first days a DIY haunted house of some sort and throwing in some minis she can add to her design (this one from Janes by Design caught my eye, or maybe this one from Piecework Club).

I put some gourds in the top space but I want to decorate that more haunted house style, with cobwebs and things that haven’t made it down from the attic yet. Will update when I have that finished!

What how would you decorate a Halloween countdown calendar? What would you put inside? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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