Haunted Hamlet

By 10/19/2020April 9th, 2021One Comment

I love to go to thrift shops. They are the best kind of inspiration. When I go into a thrift shop, I’m not usually there to look for something in particular, I like to go and let my creative juices flow as I go up and down the isles waiting for a discarded treasure to catch my eye and imagine how I can repurpose it into something fun for Halloween. That’s how this project came to be way back in 2014, when I made a mini Haunted Hamlet version on Castellon’s Kitchen, which you can read about here. I spent that summer scouring thrift shops to find discarded Christmas Village houses to make this little township, pictured below.

Fast forward to spring of 2020, after weeks of social distancing and sitting on my couch staring at my built-in bookcase when I thought it would be cool to do another Haunted Hamlet…only bookcase size.

Luckily, I had my main haunted house already, since I found this beauty at a thrift shop a few years before. I knew when I bought it, I wanted to turn it into a haunted house and fill up all those windows with fun Halloween silhouettes, but it wasn’t until this year that I finally had the rest of the idea on how to make this large haunted house work. So I was off to find some cheap houses to fill up my bookshelves. It being spring, the 99centsonly store had all their Easter items out, bunnies, eggs, baskets and other spring decor which included these galvanized metal houses. At the time, I bought one at full price, because they were more than 99 cents…I bought the last 5 on clearance at the beginning of summer when they were half price. I also bought this light up Halloween lantern from the 99 as well. In August, I found these 3 cute galvanized houses at Home Goods. These lovely items were Halloween decorations already so I got them to add a little variety to my Hamlet.

Supplies Needed:

Assorted houses (wood, plastic, metal)

Mini battery powered orange lights or string lights

Matte black spray paint

Vellum paper in orange gold or yellow (link)

Double sided tape

Various trees and tombstones

Small Jack-o-lanterns

The hardest part of this idea is finding the houses, so plan ahead and enlist your friends to look for you if they happen to go to thrift stores, dollar stores and garage sales. Any kind of house will work because they all get a coat of black paint that’ll tie them all together. Once you get them, remove any built in candles or electronics using a screw driver and spray all the houses with matte black spray paint.

For the large house: I cut the vellum paper to fit on the inside of each window, allowing for overhang. I searched the internet for fun Halloween silhouette images and adjusted the sizes so that they’d fit inside the windows. I printed the images out on a regular sheet of paper. Next, I laid the cut piece of vellum over the silhouette and traced it with a fine tip black permanent marker. Once they were all traced, I used double sided tape to affix the silhouettes to the inside of each window. I added orange string lights inside the house and plugged it in. Viola!


For the smaller houses: I didn’t add any silhouettes to those, rather I used double sided tape to affix the vellum inside the houses and added the battery powered lights inside and reattached the candles on the houses that came with built in lighting. But you could easily add silhouettes to those as well.

Create your Hamlet

  1. I turned all my books around to create a neutral backdrop for the houses and then stacked some to create various heights for the houses to sit on.
  2. I added the houses to the bookshelves and played with their placement until it looked balanced.
  3. I added black trees to create interest and to make it feel more like a neighborhood.
  4. I added Dollar Store tombstones next to the big haunted house.
  5. I added a few small light-up Jack-o-lanterns to make it festive.
  6. My big clock behind the large house mimics the look of a large full moon, which was one of those happy little accidents, but consider adding a cutout of a moon to add behind any of the houses if you don’t happen to have a large clock hanging in your bookcase.
  7. Once you’re happy with the arrangement, flip all the switches and light up your Haunted Hamlet!

One Comment

Leave a Reply