Gothic elegance was the 2009 Halloween theme. I’ve tried to add some sparkle and shine with glittery black tree branches, a witch corner, a special display for a corpse bride and a Halloween village. It took me about a week to put all this stuff back, but it’s so much fun to arrange in different ways each year. I was happy to discover a new witch bust, one of my best finds, from upscale retailer Horchow. I got her on sale and couldn’t be happier with the vibrant colors and black glittery accents that add to her menacing allure. 

Here’s a few highlights below:

corpse bride doll

A lonely ghost carries her lantern in search for the living


This is a Katherine’s Collection doll from the Shiver Me Timbers collection. The title is Lady of Balete, but I think of her as a modifed Corpse Bride. This one is unique. Her left hand had two fingers broken off of them when I ordered it, so I hot-glued them together in the hopes it would look like some wax from her candle dripped onto her hand. 

Also, I wasn’t satisfied with the lips, which I thought looked a little snarly, so I tried to match the color and paint them a little more thicker. This is one of my favorite dolls. She embodies a lost spirit, but doesn’t really look too perturbed, just relaxed in a dreamy state between this world and another…

These two dolls complete each other’s web. Both are from Katherine’s Collection. Mr. Snidely sports a dapper top hat and spider staff, while Griselda shows off her colorful attire with a hairdo reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein. Both watch over a bag of baby spiders waiting to crawl out all over the living room floor. 

spider dolls

Mr. Snidely and Griselda watch over some baby spiders crawling out of their bag


A black owl was a perfect door greeter. The Welcome royal Halloween banner featuring a skull wearing a crown was another spooktacular purchase from Target, as well as the werewolf bust at the bottom with flashing red eyes. Both were from the retailer’s Halloween Heraldry collection, an affordable take on gothic glamour. 

royal Halloween ban

A black owl greets visitors at the door


This is one of the buffet tables I use for the Department 56 Snow Village Halloween collection. This is my city scene, the commercial district, complete with a motel, movie theater, wax museum, brew pub and costume shop. Lugging the village out and unpacking all the styrofoam boxes consumes the most of my time, but it’s worth it to see the village come alive each year in new designs and districts. 

town of Halloween

The village is busy on Halloween night


pumpkin candolier

A pumpkin candolier lends a glow to festive ornaments


It’s a shame the Radko’s Shiny Brite line does not include Halloween items anymore. These pieces offer a nostalgic, retro-look to any scene. I was lucky to find this candolier on eBay. It provides a soft orange glow to any dark corner. 

candy dish, nutcracker

All the spooks find a spot on the bookshelf


A bookcase offers a landing spot for some decorative pieces without a theme. The candlestick is a part of a Masquerade collection by, surprise: Cracker Barrel. The franchise has offered some unique pieces like this that fit into a sort of elegant party theme each season. This candlestick is fun to use. All you have to do is pick it up and drop it to turn it on and off. 

Next is a Jim Shore Headless Horseman, alongside a candy dish guarded by a raven and another candlestick from Hallmark. This one flickers and glows and is battery operated. I especially like the face featured in the candle flame.

mantel scarf, fireplace

Fireplace fiends gather to celebrate All Hallows Eve


A butler and the evil mistress of the mansion flank some colorful comrades decked out in beads and feathers. 

ghostly boat ride

Tattered ghosts wail at sea


I didn’t think this picture would ever be completed. It started out as a cross stitch pattern called Skeleton Crew. I had never been a cross stitch fan and was dismayed to find out it was 17-count (super-tiny) holes cloth to stitch these in. Well, I tried and after one hour, it felt like I was going cross-eyed. So for months I put the pattern out of sight and thought about throwing it away. A trip to Hobby Lobby and a walk down the acrylic paints aisle gave me an idea. I bought a canvas and some paints, in addition to these distressed frame that looked like it had been battered at sea. 

Next, I placed the cross stitch pattern over the canvas and traced it with a pencil. I then painted the outlines and added a few embellishments. In the original, there is no moon, bats, or hill with a spooky tree on it. I’m glad this image is preserved now, because I believe it would have taken me 15 years to complete the original way.

scarecrow doll

Autumnal friends gather for the season


I used these items to hide some cords. They make a fun group. The scarecrow is from a shop in Branson, Mo., called Mulberry Mills Gifts & Floral, which carries a lot of works by local artists.

dinner table, Halloween theme

Bone Appetit


The table is ready for a Halloween feast. For the spiderweb effect I looped some webbing around my kitchen table lights and spread them out to the ends of the table. 

A pork tenderloin mummy wrapped in phyllo dough rests is ready to escape his sauerkraut bed. This was easy to make. 

warped picture

A queen turns into a medusa monster


Yet another masterful offering from Target. This picture is one of the best of its kind I’ve seen. The queen’s image changing into a maniacal cat/medusa figure that scared more than a few visitors to my house. 

This clear skeleton server looks like the real thing as its used to scoop up some thick Witch’s Brew.

spooky punch, skull hand

A skeleton hands out some Witch's Brew


green witch

Mean and Green


One of the more serious witches I’ve encountered. This Horchow witch I was talking about above was a wonderful addition to my collection and didn’t break the bank, since it was on sale the week before Halloween. 

I really like this witch’s expression. She grimaces as she grips her broom handle, ready to fly. 

purple witch on broom

Up, up and away


witch, grim reaper, vampire, Jim Shore

Harbingers of Halloween, a witchy weathervane joins the grim reaper and a vampire.


Jim Shore has produced some excellent Halloween pieces. I remember thinking that this Witch Weathervane was a departure from his more family-friendly, Disney characters. Definitely a figure you won’t forget.


A dapper skeleton dances to his own beat


I tried to place these skeletons together in their own scene. The cloth figure is by Joe Spencer, and the Boney Bunch skeletons are from Yankee Candle Co. 

Some of these were about $14. I was amazed to learn about three weeks after I bought them that they were sold out in 2008 and were going for more than $100 on eBay. Glad I got mine when they first came out in August.

witch, purple

Dressed to thrill


The witch with the purple hat is from December Diamonds. I have long admired this company known for its mermaids and mermen ornaments. I thought this was a well-crafted piece with colors that pop and little details like her coffin purse. 

witch on broom

This witch is a vision in purple


This owl witch and Lenox Moonlight Enchantress completes my witchy-themed corner. Lenox used to make some outstanding Halloween figurines, but lately, they mainly produce Disney pieces. Nothing wrong with that, but these more traditional Halloween collectibles are my favorite. Just give me a witch who is unknown, not a character in a movie or cartoon, but one that looks like she could be someone you know, or at least a real Halloween haunt.

welcome mat, haunted

A Haunted welcome


Lowe’s really surpised me this year with their Halloween decor. The company doesn’t usually have Halloween props, but they did this year. This welcome mat is from the store. It’s the perfect balance of creepy and elegant.

witch, butler, dracula

Team Halloween


Dracula, a gruesome butler and haggard witch await trick-or-treaters. I made the small wreath in the background out of black feathers and beaded branches.

My house has a black mold on it — perfect for Halloween. I didn’t have to produce that effect on purpose!

October roses, fall

Sun rays create a haunting ambiance


The landscaping usually looks unassuming, but I thought this picture of soft sunlight stretching its rays out over the roses, ghost and pumpkin cast an eerie light on the scene.

Jack-O-Lantern glow

Glowing Jack


I placed this jack-o-lantern decoration on either side of my garage over lights to give it an other-worldly glow when trick-or-treaters walked up the drive. 


Grave stones line the walk


I place tombstones I’ve collected over the years in the landscaping. Usually I trim back the weeds and dead hostas, but I was hoping the unkept appearance would make it look more like a real haunted house. 


Orange Glow


I bought one tree at Lowe’s this year and added some orange and purple lights to my dwarf alpine spruce tree. 

costume, wig

Checking out the moon


The flash wasn’t on in this photo to show the orange glow cast by the trees and pumpkin. That’s me checking out the scene. 

I am usually a blonde for Halloween, since I have naturally dark hair. It’s a fun change, and that’s what the holiday is all about, to step out of your comfort zone and become someone else.