Dreadful Decor

  • June 27, 2011 2:07 pm

Gravely the butler awaits trick-or-treaters
Gravely the butler awaits trick-or-treaters

I’ve collected Department 56 Snow Village Halloween for 11 years, and I have watched the town grow each year. Nearly every item you could think of spotting in a real town — from stoplights to construction cones — has been developed by artists. The villages became a monster of sorts and start to take over the whole house. I don’t have room to display in now all together, so I’ve set up tables in other rooms, including the kitchen, to allow for more space in spreading out different sections of the village.

Some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way have enhanced my decorating experience. Some are purchased from Department 56, and others are fashioned from found objects or floral leftovers from craft stores. We’ll take a tour of this year’s village at Village Scapes. Enjoy your visit!


Haunting The Home

One of my biggest challenges is grouping odds and ends I’ve found throughout more than 14 years of collecting. So I try to envision areas of the home where each piece would most naturally fit. For example, I have my collection of wine bottle candle holders and kitchen witches in the kitchen, and spooky black feathered owls with red eyes sitting on top of the topiaries by the front door.

Color schemes are another consideration. I found a regal looking owl with purple glitter around its eyes, and propped him a small chair. For added color, I arranged a purple bead garland around a candle and tucked the ends under the chair.

I find these spangled wreaths at a Lilli’s, a home and garden decor shop in Eureka Springs, AR. They add a sparkle to any scene. I used one an orange garland around a lamp and let the ends hang down to form colorful tendrils. This was the perfect complement to an Evangeline Ghastly doll, who was dressed all in black. I placed her and her horrific cat under a lamp.

Evangeline Ghastly
Evangeline Ghastly and her Halloween cat are ready to haunt the house


black owl
A regal looking owl sits in his chair



Purple is the color for 2010. I’ve seen it at most major retailers, including Yankee Candle Co. The all-purple display in the store caught my attention, along with a large black crow in a purple bird cage and wine bottle tea light holders that look like they are lit from black lights when a candle burns.

I found the perfect welcome mat with purple lettering at Pier1 Imports. I love the bat shape instead of the traditional square.

bat mat
Bat Mat


Sleepy Hollow Winery
A bottle from Sleepy Hollow Winery keeps a grim reaper company in the kitchen


purple cage
A crow sticks his beak out of a purple cage



I don’t have many vintage or retro Halloween pieces, although I’m starting to collect those. I think this crescent moon with a cat and pumpkin dangling down the side is a wonderful addition. It is designed by Halloween artist Scott Smith/Rucus Studio for Bethany Lowe. The piece looks at home alongside a black fluffle bird and mean green witch bust.

With and moon
A jolly moon offsets a grim witch


A black bowl I use for potpourri made the perfect spot for a painted gourd with mouth carved into a bat shape. A little bit of moss added underneath provided an accent to the bright orange. Several household items make the perfect props for your Halloween pieces. You could use cake stands, serving trays and apothecary jars to display collectibles.

Even a grapevine floral design came in handy. I had four kitchen witch ornaments, but I didn’t want to display then on an ornament tree or have them hanging in the way, so I fastened them to the filler in this grapevine cone. I think they look like they belong flying among the twisting green vine. In fact, the girls look so good, I plan to keep them up all year.

kitchen witch
Four kitchen witches fly on a fork, spoon, whisk and spatula, casting their cooking spells


These food-themed dolls from Katherine’s Collection add a whimsical touch to the kitchen. One is placed on the fruit stand — next to other bad apples — and the corn is one the veggie bin, and lastly, the pumpkin carver sits atop a pumpkin.

gourd scene
A haunted village scene is painted on this gourd


apple man
Rotten to the core


pumpkin man
The pumpkin carver


corn man
The corn stalker



I believe in decorating every room in the house for Halloween. This prevents my whole living room looking like a store, as one blunt visitor put it. Spiders aren’t usually a welcome sight in the bathroom, but this one from Bath & Body Works is adorable with her orange bow and black body. Best of all, the spider loofah can help you stay clean in spooky style.

spider loofah
Spider girl joins me for a bath



The store went all out for Halloween this year. The Harry Slatkin candles were scrumptious smelling. My favorite was Creamy Pumpkin, which sold out at the local store in the first two weeks it was out. Slatkin has also designed a haunted house candle holder that is bewitching when the candles glow, as the interior is painted orange.



boo mansion
These haunted house windows present a warm orange glow


Even the dish towels were creepy. I hung them over the kitchen cabinets to showcase their creative names: Ice Scream Cone, Scarrots and Terrormisu.

kitchen towel terror
Towel terrors



A large mirror in the corner of a bedroom gave me the idea to create a witch’s dressing area, with two arms and a boot attached to the mirror frame. This is the only Halloween decor in the bedroom, but it’s simple enough to not overwhelm the space and lend a playful touch to the holiday.

witch boot
The witch’s boot is ready for her to slip on for an evening of fun


witch hands
Lacy orange sleeves complete the witch’s outfit



Smaller pieces tend to get lost among large busts, dolls or pumpkins, so I placed them on bookshelves and try to think of some creative ways to display them. It’s really fun to place them in seemingly ordinary spots in the house. The effect is a little more startling when a ghost or skull head pops up in a fern, curio cabinet or window.

rats and nutcrackers
Black rats scuttle along a bookcase shelf



Halloween nutcrackers are not as prevalent as their Christmas counterparts, but they are equally charming. The Frankenstein on the left is from Target, and the one on the right is a Jim Shore design. I scattered some black velvety rats and gray sisal rats along the sign for a creepy effect.

Skeleton key and witch ornaments hang from a DVD case, which allows them to command more attention than lost on a tree of ornaments.

A small ghost could have been lost in the crowd, but he stands out as a surprise. He is tied to a pull cord on window blinds.

skeleton key
Skeleton key and witch hang out together


Ghost cord
A tiny ghost dresses up a blind cord



Spiders, spiders everywhere! I knew something special had to be done with two large spider dolls that were displayed separately last Halloween. I had found a great bench from the previous year at a store closing sale, and I thought this would be perfect for the couple to sit in front of the fireplace.

An ordinary spider web that retails for $2 formed a backdrop. Plastic spiders were placed in the web to resemble a steady stream of them crawling from the “power couple.” I opened another bag of fuzzy spiders to create a total spider homecoming.



spider couple
A spider couple is surrounded by Halloween friends


A home wouldn’t be complete without Dracula stopping by for a visit. This year the count settled into a corner and folding a wing around his red wine.

dracula red wine
Dracula takes a drink



Care to leave a comment?

1 Comment on Dreadful Decor

  1. canapé pas cher - October 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Really good article. Thumbs up!

Leave a comment

Add Your Comment