Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spooktacular Decorating Part I

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday.   I love the idea of being able to transform yourself -- if only for one day -- to anything you can imagine and create.

I like the creativity the holiday inspires and of course I like the chocolate.  (Imani has been trained to occasionally choose a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for mom and dad when she is offered to select a piece of candy from a big bowl).

One of my favorite days of the year is our trip to the pumpkin farm.  I love to pick out the perfect pumpkin each year and even more entertaining is Jason's obsession with gourds.  If I didn't stop him, our house would be filled with them.  He's got a requirement though (for both pumpkins and gourds) . . . they must have a great stem or he won't buy them.

It's a sin in my house to carry a pumpkin by its stem for fear of it breaking off, so Jason is usually stuck carrying the pumpkins like this (I think he also just likes to show off his guns).

Trust me, there are great stems on those pumpkins! You'll see when I post pictures of them carved!

I also love carving pumpkins, although my older sister always had the award-winning carvings while mine looked like a second grader had carved them long after I had passed the second grade.  As an adult, I've married a man with uncanny artistic ability, so I still can't win in the pumpkin carving department, but I still love to see the finished products.

I also love decorating for Halloween and, fortunately for me, Jason shares a similar enthusiasm for the holiday.  Since our house has been in such a transition over the last few years, we've decorated for Halloween but not nearly as much as either of us has wanted. Each year we add a little more and each year it gets better.

Our house has only a few Halloween decorations throughout the month, but the big night will be this Saturday, when we host Imani's Halloween Party.  We will transform one room into a spooky room and I'll be sure to post pictures.

At the beginning of October we bought this book for inspiration.

One of the ideas we took from the book was to cut out mice silhouettes for our stairs.  The book has the templates included in the back, so we just enlarged them onto poster board and cut them out.  

Hopefully, we'll be able to use them year after year (maybe I should laminate them?).  If you're not into taking the time to enlarge the templates and cut them all out, I know you can buy them already made.  I saw some at Michael's the other day. I think they were $4.99 for 12 silhouettes.

I bought this frame when we went junking a while back and I wasn't quite sure where I was going to use it. 

 I knew I was going to spray paint it black and I thought I might use it for Imani's Rock Star Room Renovation, but we didn't have enough wall space in her bedroom.  After I spray painted it, I loved the look, but had no where to hang it.  Back to the basement it went . . . until October when I found a temporary home for it above my mantel. 

Jason enlarged the witch from one of the Martha Stewart templates that appears in the Halloween Handbook and cut it out to hang inside the frame. 

Let's take a closer look at the mantel.   One of my client's was kind enough to give me all of her Halloween decorations recently.  Her kids are grown and since she saw my enthusiasm for the holiday was similar to hers, she decided to pass on her decorations to me.  I didn't use all of her decorations yet, but I plan to use most of them for Imani's party on Saturday.

Some of my favorite decorations she passed along were three spooky Halloween trees.  Here is one on my mantel.  We decorated the tree with rubber bats which were also part of her stash.  I placed a vase filled with skulls and Spanish moss next to the tree and created a little candle display on the other side.  Since I didn't have black candle holders, I turned over two jars of different sizes and placed a black silk scarf over the jars. We have little plastic spiders sporadically placed around the house as well. 

As a former English teacher, I love references to literature and words in general, so it seemed appropriate to put some text on the mantel. What better poem to quote for Halloween than Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven?"

And finally, on the far side of the mantel is our gigantic spider web complete with a variety of spiders.   I placed more gourds (because we have a ton) behind the spider web and a candle stick with Spanish moss and a candle in front of the spider web.  I decorated the candle with a plastic spider and a plastic cockroach.

Overall, I'm happy with the mantel, although next year I might add some cheesecloth or Spanish moss as a base for the mantel display.

Another great way to spook up your house without spending a fortune is to add plastic spiders or plastic cockroaches to artwork or pictures you have in your home, like this:

That's all for Part I! I've got costumes to make, a house to clean, a room to decorate for the party and food to make, not to mention a full-time job to do! 

Let's hope I can get it all done in less than two days.


  1. Those are some pretty awesome ideas that I haven't see before. Good luck on the party and I look forward to seeing the pictures from it.

  2. Loved it all but the cockroach on the key frame. Little *too* realistic in my book... ;)


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