Candy. Costumes. Sparkly decorations. What’s not to love about Halloween? With October looming, the pressure is on to get those decorations up and get them right. And when planning an event, those decorations won’t stop at the doorway! There are so many ways to decorate for this fabulous holiday it’s hard to pick a clear favorite, however, with so many options, there’s bound to be one that will suit your taste perfectly.
Natural beauty. If you choose to go the natural route, pick a color palette and let it guide your decision-making. Neutrals like browns and tans pair perfectly with pops of yellow, orange, and red. In a recent post, we wrote about flowers that communicate meaning, and what says fall like mums? The best part? These beauties commonly communicate happiness, love, and longevity. How can a day full of candy not promote all those things? Check out your local farmer’s market and stock up on mums, pumpkins, dried corn, and even hay if it’s available. Large gourds are also a great way to bring in some naturally creepy vibes. To decorate the entryway, you can go as small as a pumpkin on each side of the doorway and a bunch of dried corn hanging on the door, or you can go all out. At OTR, we like to go big with the natural decor. Hay bales can be placed on either side of the door and mums can be placed on top; we like three bunches on one side and two on the other to avoid too much symmetry. Natural, straw brooms can also be propped against the doorway to add a bewitching feel. Inside, continue with smaller gourds, dried leaves, and more mums. To display food, use pumpkins of varying shapes and sizes with the stems cut off. Hot glue a plate to the top of each to give your tablescapes some variation, while staying on-theme.
For food, the natural theme allows you to go classy and simple. We love serving anything on toast. Think smoked salmon and creme fraiche, smoked meats, or luscious cheeses. We also love sweet treats that tie into the theme, so cookies in the shapes of leaves are perfect for the occasion along with classic witch hat cookies, of course.
Classic and creepy. Jack-o-lanterns, spider webs, and skeletons win the day when you go classic for this super sweet holiday. Stock up on pumpkins, planning two jack-o-lanterns for the entryway and one for each table, then head to the your favorite retailer for spider webs, plastic pumpkins, and three larger pieces, like a witch for the doorway or a cauldron as a statement piece for the corner. Believe it or not, Home Depot has fantastic classic decorations for really reasonable prices. For tables, black cloths covered with tattered lace make fun foods pop. We also love vases full of creamy, white roses splattered with red food coloring “blood.” The same "blood" can also be sprinkled on bowls of popcorn, bringing murderous vibes to the snack table.
Polished to perfection. Get out the paint and go to town using black and white as your base colors. Load up on pumpkins and gourds in all different shapes and sizes, painting them with high-gloss paint in either black or white, later adding details with the opposite color. Need to save on time? Spray paint is your best friend. Spider webs and spiders, cauldrons, witch hats, and more fit into the polished theme, creating a look that is consistent and cool. Black or white tablecloths cover surfaces, and polished silver candelabras look stellar with drippy candles. Hit up local flea markets for creepy finds. Porcelain dolls provide perfect pops for the otherwise polished look. Looking for a surprising, natural pop? Check out this tutorial posted on The Today Show's website for mini-pumpkins used as vessels for succulents and moss. We'd paint ours white!
For food, we love that this theme allows for creepy twists on upscale food. Red caviar on white toasts mimic blood splatters, and champagne can be dressed up with a splash of grenadine. Hard cheeses pair well with sweet jams, so look for strawberry jams or chili jelly to add a bloody touch to your charcuterie.
A simply killer theme. Believe it or not, themed parties are an easy way to create a cohesive look without too much effort. The catch is, you’ll need to be okay with spending a little cash. There are plenty of themes you can shop in, scooping up pre-packaged decorations that take no time to set up. This year, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, and Scream Queens promise to be huge. If you go this route, stock up on black tablecloths, napkins, and dinnerware, because it goes with everything.
For food, if simplicity is your thing, avoid going crazy trying to get artistic. A restaurant that caters is your best friend in this situation, or, in a pinch, pizza and beer are always crowd pleasers. Instead of putting energy into the cooking, get creative with naming dishes and go label happy. Sausages can be "fingers," donut holes can be "spider eggs," (just add plastic spiders), and drinks can be labeled as different "potions."
Go all out without spending too much. Want a full, fabulous look, but need to stick to a tight budget? No problem. Halloween decor is simple to get right, even if you’re short on cash. In a previous post, we mentioned the glory of balloons. We love how bunches of balloons make a room look full without adding much to the cost. We suggest two dozen black balloons to kick off your decor. Wanna get fancy? Wrap the balloons in tulle! Then, head to the dollar store and grab the best looking pieces. You want to look for the sturdiest items, like foam gravestones and festive signs. Then, head to Goodwill or your favorite local thrift store and choose some fun pieces. Before you’re done, you’ll also want to hit up your local farmer’s market for pumpkins and gourds. The bigger the better. When decorating, start with the balloon filled corners and work your way out, creating focal points around the room. If you bring jack-o-lanterns inside, just remember to use LED candles in them instead of the real thing.
For food, go store bought and turn your favorite foods into creepy snacks. Nutterbutters make perfect mummies when covered in lines of frosting and dotted with edible googly eyes. Wafer cookies can be made into bloody band-aids with white frosting and a speck of red food coloring, and oreos transform into spiders with edible googlies and licorice legs. Fill in the gaps with treats from the freezer section, like Super Pretzels and mini pizzas.
No matter how you choose to decorate, always remember to stock up on lots and lots of candy! Pour into jars and oversize bowls and encourage guests to eat it ALL! It's basically their patriotic duty.
Want to see what else we've been up to? Check out our portfolio here. Dying to say hello? Click here to drop us a line. We look forward to connecting!