If you were to crawl under the table at my mother’s house and look up, you’d find the space filled with childhood hieroglyphics that my siblings and I left behind. For whatever reason, a boring piece of paper or coloring book wasn’t enough of an attraction for our crayons, colored pencils and markers, and their tips always found their way to the underside of our (not cheap) dining table. Magically, my mom didn’t seem bothered by it. Out of site, out of mind, I suppose… plus, we just loved camping out under that dang table.

*photography by Molly Winters

I don’t think our behavior was special or unique — I’m realizing that just about every kid I know under the age of 5 likes to hang out under kitchen tables! It makes for the perfect little hiding place, and just like my dog seeks refuge there in anticipation of dinner scraps, so do little kids, anxious to grab at ankles and surprise dinner guests.

With that in mind and Halloween on the horizon, we created this most fun do-it-yourself tablecloth turned haunted playhouse. Let’s just say, the thing was a smash hit. Keep reading for the easy-to-follow instructions, then kill two birds with one stone when you break this out at this year’s Halloween bash: kids will absolutely love their creepy hideaway, while adults will be pleasantly surprised to find the little ones out of site all party long.

Tablecloth Haunted Playhouse



  1. Place tablecloth on table. Rate 90 degrees so that the "front" of the playhouse is positioned on top of table. Cut an 18"x12" rectangle into the center as pictured to create the opening for the "door." Use tape to secure the tablecloth in place to keep it from sliding around while you work on it.
  2. Position the frame mats centered on either side of the door.
  3. Use chalk to trace the outer edges of each 5"x7" opening.
  4. Cut out along chalk outline as pictured. Squeeze hot glue onto back of the photo mats and press onto the tablecloth to create a "window."
  5. Measure and cut two pieces of cheesecloth to just slightly larger than the door opening. Carefully hot glue along the top of the door opening to create a "curtain."
  6. Follow these easy instructions to make your cheesecloth curtain look tattered and creepy. Option to line the top of the curtain with ribbon to conceal the glue for a cleaner finish.
  7. Break balsa wood to about 18" long (breaking it with your hands created a jagged, broken edge). Option to stain the wood, then once dry, hand paint a creepy message on two of the boards.
  8. While the paint is drying, create the scalloped shingles for the roof edge. Accordion-fold the kraft paper with each fold measuring about 5" wide. Use scissors to cut out one scallop along the top, ensuring you don't cut all the way to the corner.  Unfold to reveal one long scalloped chain.
  9. Use hot glue to attach the balsa wood boards to the black frame mats, and the scalloped chain along the top edge of the tablecloth.
  10. Cut yellow card stock to size, and glue into back of the black frame mat in half of the 5"x7" openings. Leave the other half of the openings as-is to allow kids to peek and reach through.

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Chanel Dror