L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who makes prize-winning Halloween decorations. Learn how to make them from scratch at home.
In this article, you'll find step-by-step instructions for making a Halloween candy tray so that trick-or-treaters can pick up their own bags of sweets on the big night. I have included photos of my process so you too can follow along and make a similar tray out of repurposed objects and purchased supplies.
- Discarded platic M&M character figure
- 12 large novelty skulls
- 15 small novelty sculls
- 18 small novelty eyeballs
- Black spray paint
- Orange spray paint
- Red paint
- White paint
- Black paint pen
- Clear varnish spray paint
- Old plastic sheet
- Large amount of thick strong garden wire
- Trick-or-treat sign
- 2 packets of battery-operated string lights
- Battery-operated candle
- Novelty spiders and scorpions (optional)
Note: These are the items I happened to use—be creative and see what materials you might be able to use to your advantage. You may not be able to find an M&M figure, for example, but if you visit thrift stores and flea markets, you can probably find something interesting to use.
I was very lucky to find this broken M&M display from a skip outside a store that was being refurbished. It is ideal for what I had in mind. You can make a stand for your tray using wooden pallets, a wooden box, or anything else you are able to find.
How to Paint the Stand
- Cover the arms with tin foil to protect them from the orange paint.
- Spray paint the hands orange on both sides.
- Give it a second coat when dry.
- Allow to dry fully before you proceed further.
- Cover the hands with tin foil.
- Paint the whole body with black spray paint (this will also need two coats).
- Allow to dry completely.
How to Paint the Eyes
- Paint the eyes white and make the body look like it is a skeleton by painting bones around it.
- Allow to dry fully. It took three coats to get the effect I wanted.
- Use a black pen to fill in the eyeballs.
- Use white paint around the bottom of the legs and feet so that it can be seen in the dark when it is displayed outside on Halloween night.
How to Make Fake Blood
- Take some red paint and mix it with the same amount of liquid glue. I find this is ideal for making the blood because it does not run when it rains.
- Paint the blood onto the mouth, allowing it to drip.
- The back of the stand needs drips of red blood too. This makes it more visible in the dark.
How to Make the Arch of Skulls Between the Hands
- Drill holes in both hands.
- Take the three pieces of wire and wrap them around each other to form a sturdy piece that will stay upright.
- Thread the polystyrene skulls onto the wire until it is full.
- Attach to the hands by threading the ends of the wire through the holes you drilled.
- Add some red paint to the sculls to make them look bloody.
- Thread the two sets of lights around the sculls and attach the batteries to the back of the tray.
How to Create the Tray
The tray for this display had to be hand made so it would fit perfectly in between the M&M's arms. You could use an old tray picked up cheaply to fit whatever stand you are making.
My Outdoor Halloween Display
Every year, I add to my front-yard Halloween display by making a few things from scratch. The kids love it, and so do the adults. I am always on the lookout during the year for bits and pieces that can be used to make another Halloween prop. I was very lucky to find this M&M display in a skip.
Because of the situation this year with the pandemic, I decided to turn it into a sweets tray. The kids can safely pick up their Halloween candy and look at my display while they're at it. I bought everything else I needed cheaply in pound, euro, or dollar stores. Other stuff came from charity, thrift, and goodwill shops.
More DIY Halloween Ideas
Here are other Halloween ideas.
- A scary, blood-soaked skull
- Georgie and his boat from the horror movie IT—I love this one
- A coffin for your decorative skeleton
- A locked door from The Walking Dead
- An Annabelle doll from the horror movie Annabelle
- Scary eyes for your yard
- Pennywise, the clown from the movie IT that terrorizes the children
- A Chucky doll From Child's Play
- A Superman/Clark Kent Halloween costume
- A scary wreath with snakes you can hang on your door