From cozy to creepy

It's time to have fun with Halloween décor

METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION The all-white, ghostly look works indoors or out when you feature bones, grinning skulls optional, in your Halloween decorations.

Halloween is creeping around the corner.

While fall décor was ushered in with the cooler temps, and with help from the vendors at the Johnny Appleseed Festival, now’s the time to take your home’s look from cozy to creepy.

That doesn’t mean you have to spend loads of money or go overboard with cheap plastic pieces to decorate for this spooky season. No matter if you add one accent or go overboard inside and out, there are festive options for everyone. Even just one little spider or pumpkin can add a convivial spirit to your Halloween home.

Start with using what you have on hand, adding a couple of well-placed accents to get the most bang for your buck. The devil, so to speak, is in the details, and a few tips and tricks will set the mood for tricks and treats.


Choose a unique, more singular direction for your Halloween decor instead of putting out all the generally popular motifs at once.

For a wicked witch vibe, go for accents in all black, adding shimmer and shine for an elegant take with vases of black roses, a banner hung from the fireplace mantle that says abracadabra or wicked or your favorite spell, and bats or a witch’s hat hung with fishing line from the ceiling above the dining table, in the foyer or in front of a mirror.

An ornate candelabra, perhaps found at a thrift store and spray painted black, makes for a dramatic centerpiece, while a scraggly witch’s broom propped up in a corner is a subtle nod to the theme. Fuzzy spiders and a black cat statue in cleverly chosen nooks and crannies will make guests do a double take.

Go for an all-white, ghostly look by using gauze bandaging to add texture to items you already own. Gauze can be wrapped around mason jars which then make great tea light holders. Drape gauze around the hearth or create a gauze wreath using a styrofoam form found at craft stores. Add a bow or glue on a few plastic eyeballs or severed (rubber) fingers for extra creepiness. Fake blood optional (and totally gross).

Look for a skull candy dish to fill with small, light pink candies or even just a skull figurine to place with some old leather bound books on a side table. Scatter bones on the mantle or as a dining or coffee table centerpiece, perhaps with a mouse peeking between them, or arrange the bones spilling out of an oversized pedestal vase on a side table.

Matthew Gallaway, of All Occasion Party Rentals, says to “collect milk glass vases from every corner of your house (or buy some at a thrift store) and simply drop a tea light into each and line them up on your mantle or cluster them on the center of a table. The glow cast by the flickering candle is both chic and eerie. Add some ‘gilded’ (grab a can of gold metallic spray paint) pumpkins and gourds and you have decor perfect for the most stylish of ghouls.”

If you really adore the typical Halloween colors of black and orange, go bold but with a twist.

Halloween-hued chevron tablecloths or placemats, polka dot toss pillows, bare black branches in an orange vase (or vice versa) and orange candles flickering within black lanterns (or vice versa) unify the decor through color but with unexpected pieces. Hang garlands, swag-style, across windows, wrapped down the banister or draped over mirrors or picture frames. The ubiquitous orange pumpkin pail, used by trick-or-treaters for decades gets an upgrade when placed atop black pedestals and topped with a mini top hat.

If over the top Halloween decor isn’t for you, go the natural route for a vibe that’s understated yet still festive. Says Gallaway, “pumpkins or gourds under a cake dome (like putting ornaments under one at Christmas) is another easy and elegant centerpiece.”

He adds, “live plants can be another great and unexpected addition to any Halloween decor. Potted Venus fly traps or pitcher plants under a glass dome look like something scientifically frightening and poisonous as a centerpiece. Or look to the houseplant sections at the big home improvement stores and find plants that look like they belong in a witch’s potion such as spiny aloe, an unusual cactus, or rabbit’s foot fern (the roots are furry, weird and rather creepy). You can also just look around some of the local greenhouses, such as Young’s Greenhouse, at their tropicals and see if anything unusual catches your eye, like a lifesaver plant (yes, the bloom looks just like a lifesaver candy) or the rather strange looking rhipsalis (which can be found at Lowes or Meijer).”


For a front porch that pops, stack various sized, colored and shaped pumpkins and gourds for a decorative touch. For a more bold statement, customize the pumpkins, without cutting into them so they last longer, by painting, adding glitter and other decorative touches such as craft gems, marabou trim and the like. Snapchat filter-inspired pumpkins are a popular, light hearted trend this year so get creative with a floral crown or butterfly face on your pumpkins.

The fun doesn’t have to stop at the front porch steps.

Glow in the Dark spray paint, by Rust-Oleum, for example, can transform nearly any object into a glowing objet d’art for your lawn. Consider spraying large flat stones to form a path, pots filled with glowing, dead branches or even an animal statue or rubber snakes for an extra creepy factor. Cut slits in cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels to make eyes, insert a freshly cracked glow stick in the middle and place in or underneath bushes and on tree branches to appear as if creatures are peering out. Spooky, and sometimes terrifyingly realistic!

For a goofier, kid-friendly spin, inspired by www.ohjoy.com, create oversized colorful felt or cardboard eyes and place them directly onto shrubs and trees for fun outdoor décor that can be seen during the daytime. Go one step further and create 3D eyeballs from plain white inflatable beach balls. They look especially funny sitting on top of a prominent bush.

Local company, Yard Cards by Jess, is an amusing, innovative way to both decorate your yard and send a particular message with large-scale letters that can be mixed and matched, delivered and pick up for free (depending on zip code) for a rental fee, and typically a 48-hour heads-up. Say Happy Halloween, Trick or Treat or a custom message of your choosing.

Gallaway recommends considering your seasonal pots when planning Halloween decor.

“Outdoor planters and window boxes can be changed out from the typical mums and kale with some ivy as a base for pumpkins in any color or some carved jack-o-lanterns,” he said. “Or, empty out your pots and window boxes altogether and ‘plant’ yourself a mini cemetery. This can be really cute using tombstones made out of plastic or styrofoam, branches spray-painted black and poked in as trees, plastic skulls and lots of spiderwebs.”


All Occasion Party Rentals: alloccasionpartyrentals.com

Young’s Greenhouse: www.youngsgreenhouse.com

Yard Cards by Jess:



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