In 1999, I’d read an article in a craft magazine…then got to work creating what would turn out to be an amazing tradition in our neighbourhood.
I remember the very first year we placed “The Phantom” on neighbourhood doors. The Tall Blonde was seven and had me driving the neighbourhood repeatedly to see if it spread.
It spread to over 100 homes in the first year and continued to be a staple in our neighbourhood for a very long time.
To Create your Phantom:
- Take three plastic pumpkin heads, halloween bags, brown paper bags or anything your creative imagination can come up with! Fill each package with Halloween decor and treats including candles, napkins, pencils, socks, make-up, glow sticks, craft kits, candy, cookie cutters, wine, baked goods…the list is endless. Essentially, create a fun halloween gift bag filled with spooky happiness the entire family can enjoy.
- With a sheet of white bristol board, get ready to draw your phantoms! Using a thick black marker, draw an upside down “U” (about 8×10 inches) and then draw a squiggle on the bottom to connect the ends. Add some big eyes and a smiley squiggle for a mouth! Cut the Phantom out and place it in the bag along with the poem and treats.
- Print out the following poem:
The Phantom haunts you happily from now through Halloween
And was delivered by a friend who hopefully was not seen!
The spirit of the neighbourhood has come to wish you well
Someone, somewhere, selected you to receive this happy spell!
You must display the Phantom on your door so all can spy
That you’re already haunted by this happy little guy!
Then fix three sacks with goodies like the one given to you
Ring someone’s bell and cast your spell to make them happy too!
Then, get ready to Haunt your friends!
How to Haunt!
In our house, I’d load up the car with the kids and packages, then drive around to deliver the packages (I’d often start with 5 or 6 to get things rolling!) The kids were always a little anxious…super excited…and ready to run! I’d park a few doors down from a house they chose and they’d sneak up the front porch, place the package…and run for all they were worth…jumping in the car and yelling “DRIVE” in their over excited and our of breath voices.
Each and every year, there was much laughter as they tried to escape unnoticed. The Tall Blonde haunted on her own for awhile until Spiderman and Bones were old enough to join in the fun…where three kids trying to escape a house unnoticed and quiet is a HILARIOUS thing to watch!
Afterwards, we’d drive around to see if the packages were picked up…and if folks had placed “The Phantom” on their front door to let others know they’d already been haunted. Some years, it was a challenge to find a home that hadn’t been haunted! Often, we’d drive around the neighbourhood counting all of the phantoms…with the biggest year having almost 300 cardboard ghosts on our neighbours front doors and hearing it had spread to other neighbourhoods near by as well!
A few years ago, it kind of dwindled out as the kids in the neighbourhood were a little older and my three weren’t so interested in getting it started. Like everything…it had sort of run it’s course but the thing is…the memories are pretty fantastic.
If you’ve young kids in your neighbourhood…I highly recommend you get this started and watch the fun! Start a few weeks before Halloween as the kids love counting the houses and discovering the new Phantoms each day.
Enjoy the adventure…we did, for so many years!