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I like Halloween and everything, but I've never been that stoked about dressing up. (Don't judge!) As you might expect, I'm obviously more into decorating the house—and I like giving out candy to all the little ones here in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.
My secret to creating a stylishly spooky Halloween? I've always eschewed cheap dollar-store décor, and opt instead to decorate with vintage goodies. Vintage pieces—both big and small—conjure an authenticity that mass-produced Halloween décor can’t, producing a very #grown Halloween look.
If you’re entertaining this Halloween, or just love getting into the spirit of the holiday, here are 4 ways to decorate your home with vintage pieces to create a Halloween atmosphere that’s the perfect mix of spook and style.
Get into the true spirit of the season: Halloween can be traced back 2,000 years, to the Celtic festival of Samhain. Back then October 31st heralded the celebration of a new year that began on November 1st. The Celts believed that on what’s now known as Halloween, the worlds of the living and dead became intertwined.
The leaves on the trees are falling, all of summer’s sweet corn has been harvested, and there’s beginning to be a chill in the air. It’s a time of transition—and death is part and parcel.
Antlers, horns, animal skulls, empty birds’ nests, and the like naturally invoke Halloween’s commune with the spirit world. Vignettes and tablescapes incorporating—and juxtaposing—these elements can be unnerving but look sublimely beautiful. And isn’t that what Halloween—and life—is all about?
PIQUE PEOPLES' CURIOSITY
What is it about a bubbling, frothing science lab that makes anyone a bit, well…uneasy? Laboratories pique our curiosity, and remind us of mad scientists (Dr. Frankenstein, I presume?), failed experiments, ill health, and (for some) genetic engineering (ew!).
If you really want to creep visitors out, set up a mysterious science lab with real laboratory glass. Flasks, beakers, and containers are easy to find, and their interesting shapes make for interesting decorative vessels to display any time of the year.
GROUP SIMILAR ITEMS
Shop for vintage table and glassware with obvious similarities. Whether pieces incorporate a certain Halloween-y motif, theme, or a special color palette (no need to stick with boring orange and black, either), your spread will look cohesive, unified, and super-stylish. A set of faux-horn knives, autumn-inspired tableware, and a mortar and pestle for serving dip may seem disjointed at first, but when they appear side-by-side on your Halloween table or bar, they’re matches made in heaven.
Unsure of whether that one thing truly goes with the other? In a store—or at home—quickly (yes, quickly) create a large grouping of pieces you really like (for whatever reason) and hold an impromptu compare/contrast session. Editing out disparate objects is much easier than methodically searching for specific things to create a perfect Halloween scene.
WEAVE IN NATURAL ELEMENTS
Mine your favorite collections, stuff sitting on your bookshelves, and (of course) the great outdoors for sculptural elements that capture the spirit of Halloween. Place these accents in and among tablescapes, atop a mantel, and anywhere else that needs a dose of Halloween spirit. Colorful felled leaves, seashells, corals, dead branches, dried berries, stones, minerals, moss—basically anything derived from the natural world enables you to really communicate the essence of Halloween without being too literal. Bonus points for incorporating some weirdness, too!
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