Dramatic Details

Scare up some fun this Halloween without fear of breaking your budget.


Who says Halloween is just for kids? Why not create an adults-only gathering to celebrate the fantasy-filled holiday that we all remember so fondly from our childhood? Halloween is, in fact, so popular that it is second only to Christmas in holiday spending. Annually, consumers spend over $2.5 billion on decorations, candy, costumes and party supplies. Happily, decorating your home doesn't have to be expensive. There are many touches that you can add at little cost to decorate dramatically this Halloween.


A few of the inexpensive touches that we added to our room:

Spiderwebs, which are ubiquitously available around Halloween, add a very spooky touch to any room for quite literally pennies. One bag of spiderwebbing could be used to decorate many rooms. The trick for making the webbing look natural is to use small bits at a time and to pull the individual threads in a variety of directions, eliminating big clumps and crisscrossing the fibers. It's best to have a roll of clear double-sided tape handy to anchor the webs to surfaces, such as the underside of tables or the top of a mirror or crown molding.


Flicker bulbs are readily available at most hardware or lighting stores and can be used to replace any existing bulbs in chandeliers and other decorative lighting fixtures. They put off much less light than a traditional 40 or 60 watt bulb, and as the name says, they flicker – replicating the same amber, low-light glow of candles.


Like flicker bulbs, quick-drip candles are a simple way to add a dramatic, old-world effect to your décor. Modern candles are treated in such a way to make them dripless, which is very practical for day-to-day use, but lacks the drama and romance of drippy old-timey candles. You can find quick-drip candles in specialty candle stores and online. But, be forewarned that they really drip, so you'll want to display them on a surface that can be easily cleaned.


Invite a few creatures to your feast. This time of year, costume shops have lots of realistic-looking beasties. Traditionally, ravens, rats and black cats have been regarded as witches' familiars and therefore associated with Halloween. For our Haunted Masque theme, we added a few ravens for their gothic elegance.


Consider purchasing directional plant lights or canister uplights to highlight a few of the decorative elements of your room, and to create dramatic cast shadows. These specialty lights are inexpensive and can be found at most hardware or mass-merchandise stores. Twisty branches, such as the corkscrew willow that we used, are a great way to fill corner space and with the addition of the plant lights create wonderfully spooky shadows. You can also add colored gels to the lights, available online or in large camera stores, to flood your walls with color.


A cotton tablecloth would have been too simple for our elegant theme, so we glammed it up by draping the table with crimson velvet. For the utmost in glamour, measure your table and purchase enough velvet to accommodate puddling the velvet on the floor. We then slightly gathered our corners and pinned on a chandelier crystal. Vintage brooches would also make a sophisticated addition.

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