Calling all headbangers! This quick-drying pinata can be made in an afternoon and provides the perfect high point for your Halloween celebration. Brush it with a coat of glow-in-the-dark paint for a fabulously eerie effect in low light. When it's time to play, use a whiffle bat instead of a broomstick and be sure to keep spectators out of harm's way.
Cover your work space with newspaper. Inflate the balloon to 12 inches in diameter. Cut two 1- by 8-inch lengths of plaster cloth and set them aside. Cut the rest of the plaster roll into 5-inch pieces.
Dip a 5-inch plaster piece in water and let the excess drip off into the pan. Smooth the piece onto the balloon. Repeat, overlapping the pieces, until the balloon is covered, but leave a 2- by 4-inch opening around the knot. Apply extra pieces around the opening to reinforce the edge.
Set the balloon upright on a bowl and let the wet plaster harden (about 30 minutes in a sunny spot). Then pop and remove the balloon.
Insert the cardboard into the opening as shown (trim it if necessary). Apply plaster pieces so that the cardboard is covered and secured to the balloon. Let it dry.
Paint on the facial features with black paint and let them dry for 15 minutes.
Cut the craft sticks in half and glue them in place as teeth.
Wet the two 8-inch plaster strips, then use them to cover the sticks' cut ends. Let the strips dry for about 30 minutes.
Use the foam brush to coat the entire skull with glow-in-the-dark paint and let it dry for 15 minutes.
Position the tea lights inside the skull behind the eyes, then poke the bulbs through the plaster. Secure the lights with duct tape, leaving the on-off switch exposed.
To attach the hanging cord, wrap one end of the cord with duct tape, folding it to create a plug shape. Use strips of duct tape to reinforce the inside and outside of the skull at its top center, then with a craft knife, poke a hole through the center of the tape. Pull the cord through the hole until the plug stops it.
Before the party, switch on the eyes, fill the pinata with candy, and use white duct tape to seal the bottom hole. (If you have extra plaster, you can apply some over the tape, letting it dry for 30 minutes.) Hang the pinata from a secure hook, beam, or branch.