Witch candle

A witch holds a melting black candle

It’s never too early to start shopping for Halloween, and today marks the unveiling of Grandin Road’s Halloween Haven. The site offers to-die for merchandise that is gorgeous, functional and highly creative. The most fun of all is watching their video featuring several products from the new catalog.

This mini movie unfolds with witches cackling above a bubbling cauldron. One crone shreds a page from last year’s Halloween Haven catalog and tosses it into the brew, effectively beginning the horror scenes that showcase 2011 products. A mysterious woman in white awakens to find herself saying “help me, I can’t get out.”

She walks as if in a trance past zombies with flashing eyes and figures emerging from underneath tombstones. Next, talking busts greet her on either side of a castle entrance. “Welcome to our humble haunt.”

The witches help transition this scene into another by casting pumpkin seeds into the pot, which conjures an image of a laughing halloween pumpkin. His jagged smile stretches and contorts with each chuckle. For the next scare, a witch scoops up a black furry spider and throws him into the mix.

This action affects the mysterious woman in white by the appearance of crawling spiders over her shroud and hissing cockroaches. She is greeted by a writhing wreath made of snakes before arriving as a guest at an all-white skeleton wedding. Skeletal hands poke out of walls and a couple long past their prime join bones at the alter.

A few splashes of a viscous red liquid whisks this “victim” into another role as a vampiress mingling with other vampires. A beating heart dumped by the witches creates the next scene as the woman touches her chest only to find a scar and a mad scientist surrounding her. She is dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein and is trapped until she is once again transported to a mirror where she spies her face alternating between her own the very crones who have been whisking her along on these adventures.

She becomes one of these witches who cackle as they morph into printed versions of themselves on the 2011 Halloween Haven/Grandin Road cover.

I was impressed with this video, and although it was designed to sell products, the shots were so elegant, such as the actress’s face reflected in the cauldron or in a red wine glass, you feel as if you are along with her on the journey through Grandin Road’s vision for Halloween.

Here are my top picks from the various categories:

  • Animated and Lifesize Figures: Venetian Victoria Halloween Figure, Martha Stewart Dr. Shivers Mad Scientist, Lifesize hanging Faceless Specter Halloween figure, Martha Stewart Hectate the Witch
  • Lighted Decor: Morphing Halloween Pumpkin, Morphing Halloween Skull, Velma and Evander Interactive Talking Halloween Busts, Zombie with Light and Sound, Martha Stewart Come Closer if You Dare Bag Set
  • Collectibles: Katherine’s Collection Mummy of Isis doll
  • Hanging Props: Hanging Halloween Witch, Hanging Halloween Cocoon Man
  • Wall and Window Accents: Animated Halloween Haunted Magic Mirror, Set of two wall-mount Skeleton Hands, Spiderweb Cascade Halloween Valance
  • Tabletop and Entertaining: Martha Stewart Glass Eyeball Serving Tray, Martha Stewart Chip and Dip Tombstone, Vwine Vampire Halloween Snack Dish, Set of four Halloween goblets, 54-inch square checked Halloween tablecloth, Martha Stewart Coffin Candleholder, Martha Stewart Halloween Chemistry Drinkware
  • Costumes and Accessories: Bite Me Rat Halloween Handbag, Wicked Women’s Shoes
  • Autumn Harvest: Midnight Twilight Swag, Garland, Urn Filler and Lucas Urn


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Pumpkins, scarecrows and apple decor are typical of what you might find at Cracker Barrel Country Store, but surprisingly, I have started paying attention to their Halloween stock in the last couple of years. The restaurant chain has continued with its Masquerade Party theme. Items like black and purple glittering cauldrons, bats and green witch hands with pink glittery “polish” adorn several new pieces. I bought the Witch’s Hand Blow Out Candle. It is elegant yet playful, with globs of the faux black candle melting down into her green palm and spilling out between her fingers.

The hand doesn’t look too ugly or bony/witchy, which makes it more realistic. I love these types of candle. They flicker, no mess and do not require any more effort than a AA battery. If you have collected several of these items, or purchased some of the next accessories, you will have a decent witchy wardrobe.

I combine all my Cracker Barrel pieces and make a sort of witch’s wardrobe in the corner of a bedroom. For example, the elbow-length gloves with lacy black and orange and stuffed witch hands at the end make for an elegant arch over a full-length mirror. A glittery black and purple hat sits on the mirror top, and witch boots sit on the floor at the bottom. It looks like her clothes are waiting for her to get dressed for the night and fly out the front door on her broomstick!

Different versions of these items can still be found this year.

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For tons of great Halloween and Harvest deocrating ideas, check out Pottery Barn. Vintage, elegant, retro and rustic can all be found here. Among my favorites are the Cheese Board and Mouse Knives Set, Spooky Burlap Table Runner and a set of four Curiosity Appetizer Plates. These plates depict an owl, mouse, skull and raven with elegant cursive words like Nevermore on the raven and see me run on the mouse.

If you just want to put a few items out, then vase fillers will add a minimal spooky infusion into your fall mix. I like the Glitter Spider and Mini Skull Vase Fillers.

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Looking for something no one else has? How about a Halloween circus? I was amused by these Vergie Lightfoot characters. My favorites are the Halloween Zebra (black, white and orange go well together), Black Cat Ringmaster and Circus Mice. City Flowers of Bellevue, Wash., offers a variety of top brands and exclusive finds. I certainly can’t afford it, but I was still amazed to see the detail that went into a 9-foot Halloween candy corn tree. This would certainly make a statement! I guess I will have to make my own.

Also featured are some new Midnight Sonata in G items from Katherine’s Collection. I love the new Steampunk spiders and skeleton figures and the Melancholia Bat Girl holding a box with a skull head. So unique! Several Patience Brewster and Glitterville items are also listed.

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I don’t see anything on the shelves in Walmart or Target, yet, I think it will be shortly after Labor Day, but you can still shop at their Web sites. In fact, most of the items I liked were only available online and not in stores. From Walmart, I liked the new 6-foot tall Reaper Carriage with Horse and Halloween Ground Fogger Machine.

At Target, standouts were the Jack-o-Lantern Luminary Collection, Illusive Concepts Floating Ghost and Realistic Hissing Cat.

I’ll keep looking for more Halloween treasures. Be sure to leave a comment about your favorite haunts or a great new item you’ve seen for this year.