These cute Halloween puppets are a fun way to support oral language development and story retelling. You can have the children paint the craft stick bases, and then help them add the unique features to each puppet.
If you’re looking for Halloween craft ideas that are inexpensive and have some play value, these craft stick Halloween puppets are for you.
We’ve come up with 5 different versions that preschoolers (and kindergartners) will enjoy playing with. You can jump straight to the one you want by clicking it here:
Craft Stick Puppets
Craft sticks are easy to hold and simple to decorate. You can make quick ones by taping photos or illustrations to the top of a Popsicle stick. Or, have fun getting crafty while creating more elaborate ones.
For instance, last year we made these craft stick unicorns that could easily be used as puppets.
Even better, you can pair your puppets with a story. For Halloween, you may like to choose a title from our list of Halloween books for preschoolers.
How to Make Halloween Puppets
There are lots of ways to make puppets. If you’re going to go with craft stick ones, start by choosing your favorite Halloween puppets below.
For all of these except the spider, you’ll begin by painting a jumbo craft stick. Acrylic paint works best. If you prefer to use washable tempera, you’ll want to allow some drying time for adding several coats.
I’d plan on providing children with pre-cut paper shapes, and perhaps also gluing those on for younger preschoolers. Let them enjoy painting and gluing on the googly eyes, and perhaps winding the pipe cleaners.
Then let them play! I love these DIY puppet stands and ideas for engaging children with early literacy puppet play.
1. Pumpkin Puppets
You can pretty well see for yourself how to make this pumpkin puppet, but I’ll give you a few tips.
- Paint a jumbo craft stick orange. Let dry.
- Take one green pipe cleaner and wrap about half of it around the top of the stick, leaving the rest of it hanging off the top.
- Optional: Glue the pipe cleaner to the craft stick at the very top. Let dry.
- Next, wind that extra bit of pipe cleaner around a pencil.
- Slide the pencil back out, and then stretch out the coil you made.
- Cut out jack ‘o lantern features from black construction paper and glue them onto the stick. Children may need adult help for this step as the pieces are pretty small.
By the way, the pipe cleaner part of these was inspired by these elf ornaments … which come Christmas time could also be used as puppets.
2. Monster Puppets
We had a lot of fun making up our monster Halloween puppets. You can definitely get creative with this one!
I raided our miscellaneous craft supplies and found some crinkly green paper basket stuffing that made great spiky hair. You could also just accordion fold some bits of green construction paper.
- Paint a jumbo craft stick green. Let dry.
- Glue 1/2 of a green pipe cleaner to the back. You can use craft glue and wait for it to dry, or just have an adult hot glue it on.
- Shape the arms as desired.
- Glue on hair, googly eyes, and a construction paper mouth.
This one is simple enough for little ones to do almost the whole process. You will just need to do the taping for them.
If you look closely you’ll see that I ended up photographing the mummy that I painted backward. It will be easier if you follow these directions:
- Paint the entire jumbo craft stick white. Acrylic paint works way better than white tempera, so get out those paint smocks!
- After the white paint is dry, wrap narrow strips of masking tape around the craft stick. Make sure the edges are all smoothed down.
- Now paint the whole stick with black paint. I used several coats of washable tempera for this step, but acrylic would have been better.
- Once the paint is completely dry, peel off the tape. Magic!
- Glue on googly eyes.
You can use these spider puppets for the nursery rhyme “Itsy Bitsy Spider” as well as using them as a Halloween puppet craft.
If you make these with a group of children, do be aware that the edges of pipe cleaners can be sharp. If you’re concerned, you could twist and crimp the end of each one with needle nose pliers…or with your fingers if you don’t have too many.
We used a regular-sized popsicle stick for this one. The jumbo ones just didn’t look right. Here’s how to make your own:
- Preparation: cut two black pipe cleaners in half, giving you 4 pieces.
- Wrap each pipe cleaner firmly around the craft stick. Criss cross each piece across the others.
- Slide the legs down, apply some glue, and then slide them back in place.
- Glue on googly eyes.
This witch puppet has a lot of details that an adult or older child will need to do. The detachable broom has a lot of play value though!
- Paint a jumbo craft stick purple and a regular size craft stick brown.
- Cut out a hat shape from a black construction paper triangle. Glue on a bit of ribbon or contrasting color construction paper to make the hat band.
- Cut 6 short pieces of orange yarn or construction paper for the hair.
- Cut a broom bristles outline from a 1-inch by 2-inch rectangle of yellow construction paper. Then, accordion-fold the bristle part. Finally, unfold and cut fringe to form each bristle.
- Glue: first glue on the hat, then the hair, and then add the eyes last. Also glue the broom bristles to the brown broom handle.
- Draw on a nose and mouth with a fine tipped permanent marker.
- Optional: add a dot of Velcro hook and loop fastener to the back of the witch and the front of the broom.
You can make as many different craft stick Halloween puppets as your imagination allows. Let these 5 be a starting point for your creativity. Have fun with them!