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How to Create a Vintage Halloween Poster in Adobe InDesign

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Halloween is just around the corner, and if you’re celebrating with a party, a poster is a great way to advertise your event. 

This vintage-style, textured poster gives a nod to 1950s styling and is easy to adapt by adding your own text. It’s also simple to create using Adobe InDesign.

If you’re looking for more help with poster design, these poster templates on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements are super easy to edit and adapt to your own content.

Ready to get into the spooky mood? Let’s get started…

What You’ll Need to Create Your Poster

We’ll create the main poster layout using Adobe InDesign, but you’ll also need access to vector software, like Adobe Illustrator, for opening up EPS graphics.

You’ll also need to download the following images and fonts from Envato Elements:

Install the fonts on your computer, and you’re ready to start creating your poster.

1. How to Set Up Your Poster Document in InDesign

Step 1

Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document. 

Set the Width of the page to 18 in and Height to 24 in. Uncheck Facing Pages.

Add a Margin of 1 in and a Bleed of 0.25 in, before clicking Create

new document

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers), and double-click on Layer 1, renaming it Background

Create five more new layers in this order—Tower, Moon, Bats, Type, and, at the top of the sequence, Texture.

texture layer

Then lock all the layers except Background, clicking on it to activate it. 

background layer

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s main menu. 

With the Type set to Process and Mode to CMYK, set the levels below to C=3 M=8 Y=16 K=0. Click Add and Done

Repeat the process to create four more new CMYK swatches:

  • C=4 M=46 Y=93 K=0
  • C=57 M=4 Y=82 K=0
  • C=66 M=63 Y=57 K=70
  • C=0 M=76 Y=88 K=0
swatch options

Step 4

Working on the Background layer, use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the whole page, extending up to the edge of the bleed on all sides. 

From the Swatches panel, set the Fill to C=3 M=8 Y=16 K=0.

swatches panel

Step 5

Use the Pen Tool (P) to roughly trace the margin line, creating an imperfect rectangle shape. Don’t worry about making the edges too neat—imperfections will add to the vintage feel of the poster. 

pen tool

Set the Stroke Color of the shape to [None] and Fill to C=4 M=46 Y=93 K=0.

orange fill

2. How to Add Spooky Graphics to Your Poster

Step 1

Lock the Background layer and unlock the Moon layer.

Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a large circle on the page, roughly in the position shown below. 

Set the Fill of the circle to C=3 M=8 Y=16 K=0.

moon circle

Step 2

Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste in Place the circle, and then expand it slightly from the bottom-left corner, so that the new circle is just slightly larger than the original. 

On the new circle, Right-Click > Arrange > Send to Back. 

send to back

Step 3

With this larger circle still selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Set the Mode to Multiply and bring the Opacity down to 60%.

multiply

Click on Inner Glow in the panel’s left-hand menu. Set the Mode to Normal and increase the Opacity to 100%. Add about 90% Noise. 

Click on the colored square next to the Mode menu to open the Effect Color window. From here, switch the color to C=4 M=46 Y=93 K=0.

effect color

Click OK. This gives a lovely, vintage, screen-printed effect to the moon. This will be a technique we’ll keep coming back to for the other graphics on our layout.

vintage moon

Step 4

Open up the Halloween backgrounds and elements EPS image in Illustrator

Select the bat graphic only, and Edit > Copy it. 

bat graphic

Back in your InDesign document, lock the Moon layer and unlock the Bats layer above. 

Edit > Paste the bat vector onto the page, and scale it while holding Shift. Position it over the bottom of the moon, and change the Fill of the vector to C=66 M=63 Y=57 K=70.

pasted bat

Step 5

Copy and Edit > Paste in Place the bat vector, shifting the copy slightly down and to the left. Right-Click > Arrange > Send to Back. 

Go to Object > Effects > Transparency, and, as we did before, apply a Multiply Mode and 60% Opacity. 

multiply mode

Apply an Inner Glow too, with a Normal Mode, 100% Opacity, and around 90% Noise. Switch the Effect Color to C=57 M=4 Y=82 K=0.

effect color
final shadow effect

Step 6

With both the bat and its shadow selected, Copy and Paste them. Holding Shift, scale the bat down, and position it to the bottom-right of the original larger bat. 

pasted vector

Switch the Fill of the top bat vector to C=0 M=76 Y=88 K=0.

orange bat

Step 7

With just the top orange bat shape selected, Copy and Paste it. 

Move above the large bat, over the top of the moon, and give it a green Fill. Paste again, move it above the green bat, and make this bat smaller.

bat scaled

Continue to paste more bat shapes above, in a sequence, giving the illusion of a trail of flying bats. 

bats small

Step 8

Open up the Halloween vector pack in Illustrator.

Select the tower graphic on the left side of the illustration and Edit > Copy it. 

halloween vectors

Back in InDesign, lock the Bats layer and unlock the Tower layer. 

Edit > Paste the tower onto the page, positioning it in the bottom-right corner of the layout, just overlapping the bottom page edge. Select each window individually and change the Fill to C=57 M=4 Y=82 K=0.

green windows

Step 9

Copy and Paste the tower and send it behind the original. Repeat the process we did earlier to create a vintage shadow for the tower. Add a Multiply transparency effect. 

multiply

Add an Inner Glow with a generous amount of Noise and an orange Effect Color.

effect color

3. How to Format Retro Type on Your Poster Layout

Step 1

Lock the Tower layer and unlock the Type layer. 

Use the Type Tool (T) to create a long text frame across the top of the page. 

Type in ‘HALLOWEEN’ and, from either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to CA Negroni, Size 160 pt.

text frame

Set the Font Color to C=0 M=76 Y=88 K=0.

halloween text frame

Step 2

Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame below the first, positioned over to the right side. 

Type in ‘Party!’ and set the Font to Carosello, Size 300 pt, and Font Color to C=3 M=8 Y=16 K=0.

carosello font

Step 3

Move down to the bottom of the layout, and use the Type Tool (T) to create a square text frame over the blank space. 

Here, you can type up the date of the party, setting the Font to Graham Cracker and Font Color to C=3 M=8 Y=16 K=0.

date of event

Add text frames around this, also set in Graham Cracker, adding the month…

month

…day, and time of the event. 

day and time

Step 4

You can add more text frames listing details about the event, such as what will be available, and also the address of the venue, set in Graham Cracker.

graham cracker

Step 5

You can add quirky, curved text to the wings of the bat too, which is a nice space for listing the venue name, for example. 

To do this, use the Pen Tool (P) to create a simple curve across the left wing (click and drag to create a curved, rather than straight, line). 

pen tool

Then switch to the Type on a Path Tool (Shift-T), and click once on the left-hand side of the line to turn it into a text path. 

type on a path

Type a word, highlight the text, and set the Font to Carosello and Font Color to C=57 M=4 Y=82 K=0. 

Use the Selection Tool (V, Escape) to select the line and, by doing that, you can make sure the Stroke Color of the line is set to [None], making it invisible.

text tool

Copy and Paste the path, moving the copy over to the right wing and rotating it to fit. 

pasted text frame

4. How to Add Vintage Texture to Your Poster

Step 1

Lock the Type layer and unlock the top layer, Texture.

Use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame across the whole page. Go to File > Place, choose one of the textures inside the vintage texture pack you downloaded earlier, and Open, allowing it to fill up the whole frame. 

texture overlay

Step 2

With the image frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency.

Set the Mode to Screen and bring the Opacity down to 35%. Click OK

transparency

5. How to Export Your Poster for Printing

Your poster artwork is finished—awesome job! All that’s left to do is export it to a print-friendly format. 

Step 1

Go to File > Export. Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format drop-down menu at the bottom of the window. Give the file a suitable name, such as ‘Halloween poster_for print.pdf’, and click Save.

In the Export window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Adobe PDF Preset menu at the top.

press quality

Step 2

Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu. 

Check both All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings.

Then click Export to create your PDF file. You can send this file straight off to your local print shop. 

marks and bleed

Conclusion: Your Finished Halloween Poster

Congratulations, your spooky party poster is finished! 

final poster

As well as creating an awesome poster design, in this tutorial you’ve also picked up some handy tips and techniques you can use in other print design projects, such as creating CMYK color palettes, formatting professional typography, and working with textures. 

If you’re looking for more help with poster design, you can find a huge range of easy-to-edit poster templates on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

Looking for more poster design tutorials? Look no further: