DIY Halloween Ghoulish Floral Displays

Planters with orange, pink and yellow flowers

Arrangements or pots of mums are almost expected in autumn, since they're available in such abundance. Give your potted flowers a ghoulish look for Halloween by painting a plant pot to look like your favorite classic movie monster. As an added spooky surprise, the monster face glows in the dark.  

Things You'll Need:

  • Clean, dry, empty terra-cotta or plastic plant pot
  • Printed image of monster face
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Painter's tape
  • Pencil or fine-point black marker
  • Plastic tablecloth or old newspapers
  • Acrylic craft paint in black, white and translucent green glow-in-the-dark 
  • Paintbrushes in various sizes
  • Mums in pot small enough to fit in outer decorated pot
  • Small Halloween-themed toys and props: spiders, skeletons, etc. 
  • Fishing line or floral wire

Getting Started: Pick the Perfect Image

Pick your favorite classic movie monster that would look scary in black and white: Frankenstein, the bride of Frankenstein, or the creature from the black lagoon – all are good options. Search the web for free downloadable pumpkin stencils of your favorite monster; these stencils work equally well for painting plant pots.

Print your chosen image, ensuring it is sized to take up most of one side of your plant pot. (If not, enlarge the image before printing it.) Cut out the white areas designed for carving using scissors or a craft knife. Trim some of the excess paper from around the edges, so your monster stencil is as compact as possible.  

Choose a more friendly Halloween image, such as a smiling ghost or monster, if young ones in the family find classic movie monsters too scary. 

Painting a Black Background

Set the empty pot on a plastic tablecloth or old newspaper; then paint the entire outside and the inner 2-3”of the rim black with acrylic paint. (You can paint the entire inside black if you like.) Foam brushes or inch-wide paintbrushes help tackle the task quickly. Once the paint is dry to the touch (30 minutes or so), paint a second coat if the original pot color is still visible in some areas. 

Setting Up the Stencil

Press the paper stencil onto the empty plant pot and tape it in place with painter's tape so no gaps exist between paper and pot. Trace inside the lines of all cutout areas using a pencil on a terra-cotta pot or a fine-point marker on plastic. 

A Base(coat) for the Face

Paint the cutout areas of the stencil with white acrylic paint, holding the stencil against the pot so the paint doesn't bleed through to other areas. Wait for the paint to dry; then apply a second coat so the white looks solid. Once the second coat dries, add a coat of glow-in-the-dark light green acrylic paint. Once the glow paint dries, remove the tape and the stencil without tearing the stencil paper.

It's All in the Details

There's a good chance some of the black areas need a bit of a touchup within the face detailing and around the perimeter of the face. Dip a fine artist's brush into black acrylic paint and touch up the areas as needed, using the stencil or original monster image as a guide. A fine-point black marker can be used to add the smallest details, such as fur, eyebrows or outlines of pointy teeth. 

Place the potted mums inside the painted pot once all paint has dried. Mix a few Halloween-themed embellishments among the mums, such as plastic spiders, tiny toy skulls or miniature plastic ghosts. Use fishing line or floral wire to secure some of the items to flower stems, if necessary. Set the pot in a sunny area, which is good for both the mums and the glow paint. After dark, your potted mums take on a spooky glow. 

Tip: A plastic vase can be painted instead of a plant pot if you prefer to display cut mums. Only paint the outside of the vase to keep the water fresh for your flowers.