our favorite Holiday craft, every year.

Each September the kids start asking if we can pull out the Halloween decor.

Little Rock Ghosts made from river rocks

Internally I groan…because I know it would run smoother if I pulled out the boxes at night (while they slept), and mentally inventoried the items in each box, decided where I’d like to place them in the house, and considered what we might add this year.

Then I realize how totally dumb and boring that sounds.

How to make a ghost town

So I give in to the free-for-all….
With paper bats flying here and there.
Jack Skellington and Sally dolls being tossed like cat toys.
Shrieks of joy bursting from the kids as they rediscover treasures from yesteryear.
It’s very Hallow-dramatic.

And never fail, once they spot the Little Rock Ghost Town it’s all over.
“Ahhhh!  The ghost rocks!”
“Look! LOOK!”

They’re suddenly engulfed in Ghost Town set-ups and story-lines.

Ghost Town upcycled craft
Little Rock Ghost Town craft

And in a funny twist of OCD fates,  I’m left alone with my box of decorations, to sort and scheme as I may.  Haah.  Life works in mysterious ways.
I’ll chalk it up to Halloween karma.
And I’ll make a mental note for next year to “pull out the Ghost Town FIRST.”

Do you guys remember this Little Rock Ghost Town I posted about a few years ago??
It is truly our favorite Halloween treat every year!
I might even like it more than the Christmas decorations.
Ahh!  Can I say that?

Little Rock Ghost Town craft on MADE

The kids will play with the houses and rocks for hours.

And each day I find the town set-up in different locations—on the kitchen table, by the fireplace, on the coffee table (which is my favorite because Lucy puts all the couch pillows on the ground so she’s nice and cozy while they play).

Little Ghost Town craft

There’s a system for everything.
Not sure where she gets that….
heh heh.

And I’m not sure what’s happening here.
Just getting in character.

Little Rock Ghost Town craft project

A few things have changed with our Ghost Town over the last three years; and some have remained the same.  The kids added a slew of new ghosts.  We found more rocks down by the river, sprayed them white, and drew more faces (more details here).  Lucy and Owen have characterized each ghost and given them names, based on people we know.  And they can remember the name of each stinkin rock when I ask them.   Our entire family is in there, along with cousins, random neighbors that live by my inlaws, people who live on our street here in Texas.  It’s kind of hilarious.

Ghost Rocks craft
Ghost Rocks made from river rocks

Many of the ghost parents go to work in the Tower of Terror, which is now called “the office building”. It makes me laugh when I hear Lucy dishing out information, “this is Trevor’s office…and that’s for Andrew’s dad” (people from our church and neighborhood)

Little Ghost Town upcycled craft
We’ve also added more houses and buildings.

Last year Owen used a shoe box to make the Candy Cantina (inspired by the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars).

Ghost Town buildings

And this year, construction exploded.  We added four new places!
Owen requested a location for his new ROCK Star to perform.  So we made the Rockin’ Raven, complete with a catwalk in the middle for dancing and performing.

how to make a Ghost Town from boxes
Ghost town

Lucy made the Creepy Courthouse, with green moss on the upper deck.

And I helped Owen construct The Little House which he decorated inside and out, with paintings on the wall and rugs.

Little Rock Ghost Town buildings

Ahhh.  I love this project!
It’s the best!
Better than carving pumpkins!

I might have as much fun making these as the kids.  I just love that you can take a simple granola bar box and turn it into a cute, usable toy.  And I really have fun decorating them—it’s all about the Sharpie marker details.  It’s what brings a building to life.
This is such a great project for the whole family to enjoy.

fun upcycled Ghost Town craft on MADE

We even had our babysitter join in.  Why have I not done that before??
She’s super crafty.  So we left a blue painted oatmeal container for her last weekend while Casey and I went on a date.  And she turned it into this:

Ghost Town Tower made from Oatmeal container

So, it’s been a growing year for Little Rock Ghost Town.

Little Rock Ghost Town buildings made from recycled boxes

Especially when I consider what Clara looked like when we first built these homes…and how big she is today, playing alongside the other kids.

Little Rock Ghost Town fun

And though the kids keep growing, some things never change.
Lucy three years ago:

Little Rock Ghost Town adventures

And Lucy today:

Little Rock Ghost Town upcycled craft for the whole family

She is still such a kid.
She loves her Taylor Swift and other tween things….but she will play princess toys or little figures with Clara whenever she asks.
Such a sweetheart.

Okay. You’ve still got a few weeks left to make your own little Ghost Town (more tutorial details here).
Start rummaging through that Recycle Bin!
I know you’ll ROCK this.

And if you make one, share it on instagram and tag me! @danamadeit

Little Rock Ghost Town buildings from recycled goods

  1. 1) Sharlyn

    Absolutely DARLING

  2. I am a food blogger, and all I can think of is how I am going to design the Gohst Town Cafe…. 🙂

  3. i love this so much! i made a christmas town once but my boys NEVER played with it. LOL

    • 6) Dana

      hahaha. bummer!
      I’ve actually thought about doing this for Christmas too….little fake gingerbread houses.
      Maybe your boys will play with it this year?? 😉

  4. You and your family are so creative!!
    Are you going to do more sewing videos? I love them!

  5. 8) Rebecca L.

    This is our favorite as well! It’s so much fun and well worth the time it takes to create.

  6. This is awesome! My 8 months old would try to eat everything, but it would be fun to craft and try to play with him at least one time

  7. Ahhhh this looks so fun Dana!! I let the baby loose with the recycling bin one morning and it bought me, like, a half hour, so I can only imagine what’d happen if it looked like a ghost town and the big kids were involved too! Currently mine have had fun drawing monsters to stick up around the house…oh and your bats are out for the third or fourth year in a row! 🙂

  8. Ha! I remember when you started that! It certainly has grown! (Austin ETJ?) lol

    You know what struck me when I read this? You have the perfect setting and stories for a line of best-selling children’s books. Really. Think about it. 🙂

  9. 12) Jessica M.

    I only recently discovered your site/blog and YouTube channel and I’m so glad I did. What a fun idea! My little artistic kiddo will LOVE making a ghost town and populating it with painted ghosts. I too am looking forward to hours of creating and play. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I’m super obsessed with this idea! My boy is only 20 months, so I am going to wait until next year to start making buildings, but I made him a little ghost rock version of our family and he is in love. Thanks for the idea!!

  11. 14) Rani Self

    I love your Halloween town! It’s pretty awesome.

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