If you’ve stepped foot in a store – any store – this month, you know that while it’s only September, Halloween is already in full force! The aisles are bursting with new décor items, from darling red wagons laden with fall’s bounty, to spooky ghosts and witches, to stunning Murano pumpkins in a rainbow of hues. The sheer number of choices are a little overwhelming!
When my children were small, I went a bit crazy decorating for every holiday. And none more so than my kids’ perennial fave… Halloween! Bats dangled from the chandeliers, jack-o-lanterns leered from every corner, and faux skulls, spiders and all manner of creepy crawlies often surprised the unwary. An abundance of Halloween decorations could be found in every room of the house (even the bathrooms).
Now that my kids are grown, I have updated – and upgraded – my Halloween decorations. Although I still go over-the-top, the pieces I favor these days are a little more sophisticated. And in the interest of time, these days I also tend to select Halloween and fall décor that can last until Thanksgiving.
If you’re ready to update your Halloween decorations, here are my favorite tips to get the look you love easily, quickly, and without breaking the bank.
Start Halloween at the Front Door
Adding a holiday-neutral fall foliage wreath creates a welcoming entrance and can be kept up until it’s time to decorate for Christmas. Some of my favorites include rustic twig wreaths covered in fall leaves, tiny pumpkins and berries. Or, you may favor signage (Pumpkin Patch, Apple Picking, etc.) or a large Welcome Sign.
Masses of pumpkins and gourds also make an impressive Halloween display. When purchased at a local farm market, they are wonderfully affordable. Plus, as long as they aren’t carved, they can last for many weeks. (Bonus! After Halloween, smash the pumpkins and gourds in your garden and next year, grow your own! Gourds in particular, are oh-so-easy to grow.)
Mums (whether potted or planted) are another beautiful addition to greet guests. Vibrant colors like sunshine yellow are sure to make fall days brighter. Paired with cornstalks, mums will make your entrance will be Insta-worthy in no time.
And, don’t forget the details. A Halloween or fall flag, lanterns and doormat are the finishing touches that take your entrance to the next level.
“Shop Your Home” for Halloween Decorations
You never know what is lurking in your cupboards or garage that could be repurposed. For example, I rediscovered several sturdy vintage wooden wine crates in my basement. Stacked, they flank my front entranceway and offer great display space for harvest bounty of pumpkins and potted mums.
I also unearthed a black enameled cake stand which I never use, since it’s not quite level. Not so great for cakes… perfect for a pumpkin!
Any crystal pieces (from Great Aunt Myrtle’s candlesticks, to a pretty bowl you received as a wedding gift, but rarely use) can become Halloween décor. Replace the candles in crystal candlesticks with black ones. Masses of mismatched crystal candlesticks filled with black candles on a mantle or dining table offer a sophisticated, yet completely creepy Halloween vibe. Forage for acorns and pinecones and fill crystal bowls. The combination of sophisticated crystal and rustic elements can be striking!
Baskets (of all sizes) are another great addition. Overflowing with colorful corn or brilliant fall leaves, they can be used both inside and out.
Add (Lots of!) Mini Pumpkins and Gourds
Real versions are available everywhere from the grocery store to farm market stands. Incredibly realistic faux versions can be found in your local craft store and sometimes even the local dollar store.
If you are pressed for time, simply load up on a variety of colorful, attractive mini pumpkins and gourds. Use them to replace the candles in your candlesticks, stuff lanterns, fill crystal or wooden bowls, perch a row on a windowsill, and your Halloween decorating is done!
Fill the House with Fall Flowers
The season offers so many gorgeous options. And discount stores such as Trader Joe’s make fresh flowers more affordable that they have been in years. Personally, I love sunflowers. They have such happy faces! But, when sunflowers are not available, cut mums in fall hues from russet, to gold, to deep burgundy can also be lovely.
Simply plunk an arrangement in an existing vase, if you’re in a rush. If time allows, hollow out a pumpkin (real or faux), add a clear glass of water to hold the flowers, and you have a truly stunning centerpiece.
Or, as time allow, gather vibrantly hued leaves, sculptural twigs, and berries from the garden and make a more rustic arrangement. (Please note, some berries such as holly, yew and Virginia creeper, among others are poisonous. So, please check before bringing inside where they could potentially be dangerous to children or pets.)
Experiment with Shiny Halloween Accents
Whether you favor silver or gold, metallic accents create glam Halloween decorations. Simply spray real or faux pumpkins for a rich look. Metallic is best when massed, so a stack of pumpkins in gleaming gold will make a bigger impact than those same pieces scattered throughout the home. Inexpensive tag sale glass pieces can also be turned into “mercury glass” simply by using spray paint. My favorite is Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint.
Another of my personal favorites are blown glass pumpkins. I picked a few up over a dozen years ago (at Joann’s Fabrics, of all places) and thought they were both lovely and unusual. The look has steadily gained popularity and now gorgeous glass pumpkins and gourds are readily available in all home goods stores. These come in a wide variety of price points, from expensive Murano from Italy and studio art glass pieces, to more affordable mass produced versions. Blown glass pumpkins can be found in a rainbow of colors that goes far beyond traditional orange and green, so you can match to your existing décor. (I am currently searching for the perfect blue options for my blue and white bedroom.)
Have you got some favorite Halloween decorations? Or, easy-to-implement decorating tips? Please share them in the comments section, below!
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Susan Said… WHAT?! is your guide to a life filled with style. From must-have fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest products for weddings, holiday gatherings and events of all kinds. Editor Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.