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The scariest paper plates you've ever seen. These masks were designed and made by third graders.

Donning paper plate masks turns innocent youngsters and perfectly nice adults into creepy goblins, wild animals, or alarming Halloween creatures. The masks are easy and inexpensive to create. In fact, a mask-making party can fill an afternoon before eager trick-or-treaters hit the streets.

The one-size-fits-all masks start out with large (10 1/2-inch-diameter), deep, sturdy white paper plates, available at most supermarkets. Additional features are cut from smaller, lightweight plates, styrene foam cups, and stiff tagboard. Poster or acrylic paints, construction paper, and yarn add color and distinctive detail. To assemble the masks, you'll need a craft knife, scissors, a stapler, craft glue, and a hole punch.

Creating the base. To start, mark eyes and nose on the back of a large plate; see photograph at top left. With the craft knife, cut out eyes, then sides and bottom of the nose (top stays attached).

You can use this plate as a pattern for other plates, making adjustments as needed for each child. If young children will be decorating the masks, an adult should do the cutting.

Designing the features. The creative part is finding ways to add dimension and detail to the basic plate. Cut portions of plates or tagboard for ears, noses, hats, chins, or fangs. A styrene foam cup cut different ways takes on new identities: for a lion's nose, cut it in half lengthwise; for lips, cut off the top, then compress it into an oval; for awning-like eyelids, slice a slim piece from the base and cut in half. Construction paper makes colorful manes or hair. Glue or staple features to the bottom of the plate, which becomes the front of the mask.

Adding color. After the glue has dried (about 20 minutes), apply the paint. If you want yarn hair or beards, wait for paint to dry, then use the hole punch to make openings around the plate rim. Feed three or four strands through each opening; knot to keep in place.

Securing the mask. Two strips of tagboard hold the mask on the wearer's head. Cut 2-inch-wide strips, 10 and 19 inches long. Following the sketch above left, glue the long strip across the back of the mask. Center one end of the short piece along the top, then staple and glue its other end to the center of the long piece. If fit is too large, pinch and fold strips until they fit snugly around the head but mask can still be removed easily; staple folds closed. Caution: like all masks, these limit vision, so keep an eye on younger children as they negotiate stairs and curbs,
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1990
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