Free Craft Activity: Halloween Shadow Theatre

Witches and monsters and ghosts! Entertain your kids and get them in the Halloween spirit with this spell-binding puppet show

You Will Need:

For the Puppets
Lightweight cardstock or paper
Card for mounting
Sticky tape
Craft knife (for adult use only!)
Skewers, chopsticks or lolly sticks
Large pieces of thick card or a cardboard box (for the scenery)

For the Background:
A bright light - either a torch or a desk lamp
A white bedsheet
String and pegs
Tracing paper, parchment paper or white tissue paper for an effective translucent screen
A large cardboard box

How to Make the Puppets

1. Print out the shadow puppets and scenes directly onto card or print onto paper and then cut out and glue onto card.

2. Carefully cut out each shape.

3. Some puppets or scenes have inner features such as eyes, windows or letters that can also be cut out. Ask an adult to use a craft knife for this bit.

4. Attach each shadow puppet to a skewer, lolly stick or chopstick using sticky tape on the back.

5. You can attach thread to the bats or spider if you would like them to dangle at the top of your stage. How about making your own Halloween shadow puppets – a monster? Dracula?

6. For the scenery, make simple cardboard cut-outs and add a slotted stand at the bottom so that they stand easily.

7. There are audience participation cues that can be cut out and glued to sticks, to be held up by the play’s director.

8. Invite your audience with a classically designed theatre ticket. Print out the tickets and add the performance date and time.

How to Set the Stage

For a quick, simple and effective shadow theatre, you can hang up a white sheet and shine a torch or lamp from behind.

Or you can keep crafting and create your own puppet theatre using a cardboard box or thick card. To shape a cardboard box into your stage, cut out a large window on one side. Or using thick card, make a screen with folded sides or slotted stands.

Decorate your theatre however you want – paint it black or carefully cut out other designs into your stand, such as a full moon and stars. Use tracing paper, parchment paper or white tissue paper as your translucent screen. Attach to the back of the screen with sticky tape.

Once you have set up your Shadow Puppet Theatre, place a lamp or bright torch behind so that it shines on the sheet or screen. Performers will hold their puppets between the light and the sheet/screen. Try moving the torch or light further away and closer to the shadow puppets to investigate how the shape and size of the shadow changes.

Please remember that lamps can get hot so do not leave it unattended or too close to little ones.

Now you are ready to perform!

Are you going to plan out or write your spooky Halloween story first? Or will you improvise?

Here are some Halloween story starters to get you going:

One dark stormy night…
The night was dark and the moon was bright…
There was a chill in the air…

Perhaps you could use some music or sound effects to accompany your story? Finish up your performance with a round of Halloween Bingo and turn your play into a party.

Happy Halloween everyone!


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