Autumn,  Projects

The Dramatic Art of Shadows

So October is here already, and it’s time to get ready for that festival of all things spooky – Halloween. I have to confess I am not a fan of the blood/gore/horror aspect of Halloween – I’m much too squeamish for that, I prefer the eerie/atmospheric/gothic approach. The kind of scariness that relies more on suggestion and imagination. Shadows are of course one of the simplest yet most evocative things you can use at Halloween to create atmosphere, so I thought I’d do a round-up of shadow themed creative activities to try with children:

  • If you’re looking for some DIY spooky creativity, the Shadow Art Boxes we created a few years ago are fun to make, or they can be made even simpler by creating silhouette window scenes. There are even some free drawing templates to use.




  • If you’re having a party, create a ‘silhouette booth’ instead of a photo booth, and provide a range of props for the sitter to make the silhouette even more interesting! Guests can try to guess who is in there from the silhouette…as well as drawing or tracing the shadow created. The simplest way to create one is to hang a white sheet up and position a strong light behind the sitter.
  • Create dramatically lit still-lifes or spooky scenes to draw.
  • Try some Spooky Scanner Art.




  • Make a ‘Bat-Mobile’ using origami and black paper and hang it in front of a lamp so it casts dramatic shadows.




  • Make some mysterious lanterns using jam jars and black paper cut outs.
  • Try some Halloween Window Clings using PVA medium and black paint. Spiders, webs and bats are the obvious candidates here
  • Use a Torch and cut out silhouette shapes to project images onto a bedroom wall.
  • Or see if you can create your own monsters by using the combined shadows of everyday objects and letting your imagination run wild.

For more ideas, inspiration and fabulous examples of some of these ideas in action, see our Art of Shadows Pinterest board.