Halloween Shadow Puppets

Craft and stage a shadow puppet play of your favorite Halloween story or of a Halloween-inspired story you wrote.
Halloween Shadow Puppets craft


  • Construction paper
  • Black poster paint
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Transparent or white drinking
  • Scotch tape
  • Hole punch
  • Craft knife
  • White fabric or thin sheet of paper
  • String
  • Lamp
  • Cellophane paper (optional)

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help.. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.


Step 1 Halloween Shadow Puppets 1. Find an interesting Halloween-themed book to base your story from or write your own Halloween story. Draw a simple sketch of your characters or you may look for similar pictures in the Internet. We also have these Halloween printables that you might find useful:
Step 2 Halloween Shadow Puppets 2. Cut out the characters.
Step 3 Halloween Shadow Puppets Ask for an adult's help.3. Punch out or cut out the facial and character features that you want to emphasize. Typically these would be the eyes and mouth, but you can cut out other details such as stars on a wizard's hat or perhaps the letter on a superhero's chest.
Step 4 Halloween Shadow Puppets 4. Paint all the characters black.

*If you are drawing your characters, you may actually draw them onto black construction paper in Step 1. This will eliminate the painting step.
Stepa 5 Halloween Shadow Puppets 5. Set your painted characters aside to dry.
Step 6 Halloween Shadow Puppets 6. If you want your character to have colored eyes, cut out a piece of cellophane paper just large enough to cover the eye area. Glue this at the back of your character's eyes.

For the irises, you may either glue on small round paper shapes (use a hole punch) or make dots with black puffy paint.
Step 7 Halloween Shadow Puppets 7. Tape a transparent or white drinking straw at the back of each character. If your puppet needs an extra long handle, connect two drinking straws end-to-end.
Step 8 Halloween Shadow Puppets 8. To make the screen, look for a sheet of relatively thin white fabric or any thin white sheet of paper. If you're using paper, cut it to the desired size.
Step 9 Halloween Shadow Puppets 9. Decide if your story setting needs any foreground elements on the screen. If it does, draw them on black construction paper and cut them out. You may add colored items by cutting them out from cellophane paper.
Step 10 Halloween Shadow Puppets 10. Tape the foreground elements onto the screen.
Step 11a Halloween Shadow Puppets 11. Here are some set-up notes and tips, including photos of my set-up from (a.) the audience view point and (b.) the puppeteer's side:

a.) Audience's View
  • Stretch the screen taut with strings from the top corners.
b.) Puppeteer's View
  • Use a tall table with ample room underneath for the puppeteers.
  • The foreground elements on the screen should be facing the puppeteer's side.
  • For a small screen, tape the bottom edge of the screen onto the table. A large fabric screen can be allowed to drape on the floor.
  • Set up a lamp behind the screen.
Step 11b Halloween Shadow Puppets
Step 12 Halloween Shadow Puppets 12. Finally, turn on the lamp and start your shadow puppet play!

More Ideas

Halloween stencils After using your puppets for the shadow play, you can use them as stencils. Place the stencil on your paper and paint around it in quick outward strokes. Don't forget to paint inside any holes (e.g. eyes, mouth) on the stencil.

Remove the stencil to reveal a spooky outline of your Halloween character. Try decorating your Halloween posters with these easy stenciled outlines.