Before printing, you first need to think a bit about what kind of paper you will use. Some printers can print onto construction paper, but especially if this activity is for children, I recommend that you opt for normal printer paper. This is because after folding the paper it becomes rather bulky and thus makes cutting out the patterns more difficult when the paper is thick.
Let’s get started!
1. Print one of the templates (set the scale of the printer to 100%).
If you want to make a short paper chain of 4 ghosts or Jack O’Lanterns, cut around all of the borders of the patterns, like the bottom long rectangular strip in the photo.
If you want to make a longer garland type paper chain by connecting a number of short ones, leave the right edge of the paper attached (highlighted in magenta), like the top long rectangular strip in the photo.
2. Make accordion folds along the dotted lines as shown in the photo. Note that the printed pattern must face out.
If you are making a garland (you have the right edge highlighted in magenta still attached), please fold that extra edge along with the others.
3. Cut along the outline of the pattern, but be careful to NOT cut along the sections marked as “Don’t cut here” (shown with orange lines in the photo). After this step, you have a couple of options:
Cut out the faces of the ghosts and the Jack O’Lanterns -> Go to Step 4.
Decorate and/or color the back side of the paper chains -> Skip to Step 9.
4. For the ghosts, cut out their mouths. For the Jack O’Lanterns, cut out their mouths and noses.
For the ghosts, go to Step 5.
For the Jack O’Lanterns, skip to Step 6.
5. Ghosts: Use a hole punch to punch out the ghosts’ eyes. I recommend that you NOT attempt to punch through all of the layers at once. Instead, make holes in two layers of paper at a time. You may end up with ghosts with slightly different eyes, but I think that it simply adds a bit of character to each ghost!
A ghost paper chain!
To connect the paper chains to make a longer one, skip to Step 9.
To decorate the ghosts, skip to Step 10.
6.Jack O’Lanterns: Fold the upper half of the face of the first pumpkin along the dotted line that goes through its eye, as shown in the photo. Then, cut the eyes out along the printed outlines.
8. After the eyes for the first Jack O’Lantern are cut out, trace the inside of the eye onto the next Jack O’Lantern and cut out the eyes. Repeat for the rest of the Jack O’Lanterns.
A Jack O’Lantern paper chain!
To connect the paper chains to make a longer one, go to Step 9.
To decorate the Jack O’Lanterns, skip to Step 10.
9. Here is how to connect the paper chains to make a longer garland type chain. First, lay down the paper chains with their non-printed sides up. Align them side by side, as shown in the photo.Apply glue onto the extra segment (highlighted in magenta), and attach it behind the ghost right next to it to connect the two paper chains.
Repeat this step until your paper chain reaches the desired length.
As seen in the photo, the glued area hardly shows at all.
10. When decorating your paper chains, the sky is the limit. Some ideas include: coloring the paper chains or gluing on pieces of paper, fabric, glitter, sequins, etc. (Note: Remember to decorate the non-printed side of the paper chains.)
Now you have one of a kind ghost and Jack O’Lantern paper chains!
Here is a long garland of Jack O’Lanterns!
Taping the two ends of a paper chain together makes a perfectly ghoulish candle cover, spine-chilling enough even for Luna the Halloween Witch! (Note: a paper candle cover can be a fire hazard; if in doubt, substitute the candle with a battery powered light, for example this DIY LED pumpkin light.)
If you liked this project you might also enjoy making old-fashioned doll chains of your own design, here is a great page with instructions which you might enjoy.
If you decide to share photos of your Halloween paper chains made from this template on social media, please remember to tag me (@muumade) so I can see them, too!
Below are some other Halloween-related activities: