If you’re planning a grown-up party for Halloween, why not leave the tacky plastic pumpkins to the kids this year and embrace a darkly gothic tone for your own decor.
Channel your inner Miss Havisham with a sophisticated take on the haunted holiday, featuring fine cobwebs and spine-tingling swaths of Victorian-inspired black lace, set off by the glimmer of candlelight on cut glass…
A tall elegant glass of blood-red wine in your hand.
A copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on a side table…
Are you feeling a frisson?
Creepy but Classy Decorating for Halloween
More is more when it comes to Halloween’s most elegant black lace draperies and table linens, but do resist the urge to set out those amusing Halloween figurines and leave the life-sized inflatable ghost in storage!
Accessorize lightly, instead, with mirrors in dark ornate frames, pale candles, a touch of crystal, and old silver.
For just a hint of color, try a dining table centerpiece of tiny real pumpkins or knobbly gourds of fantastic shapes, piled loosely on a black japanned tray or in a vintage glass bowl.
Begin with Black Lace
When you build your Halloween display around a foundation piece like a generous length of spooky lace to drape over your mantel or side table, you’ve immediately created a beautifully sinister setting.
Choose the right style of mantel scarf and the one piece works in three different ways: Hang it as a valance at the top of a window, drape on your fireplace mantel to form an stylish foundation for a Halloween display, or gather the length into a lampshade topper, for instant haunted-house style.
The gothic lace lamp is a look that’s easily achieved with a length of black lace as beautifully menacing as a black widow’s veil. A deep fringe on one scalloped edge evokes the Victorian parlor, but the skull motif hidden in the lace is pure Halloween!
Elevate the Spooky Mood
Build height with a stack of vintage leather-bound books (Edgar Allen Poe would do nicely!) flanked by pale wax tapers in ornate candle holders, preferably silver and preferably vintage Victorian, of course.
Accent with a layered arrangement of seasonal treasures. Try a spray of small white flowers like babies’ breath or bride’s bouquet, dried to pale sepia, with a scattering of oak-brown or maple-red autumn leaves, and a white miniature pumpkin… or a grinning faux human skull.
No fireplace? No problem. The spider web-patterned black lace drape can serve as a scarf for your buffet or hutch – another fine venue for a display of your conversation-starting Halloween collectibles, or hang the lace as a valance over a window or an interior doorway.
Coordinate with Cobwebs
Scatter a few shadowy spider-web doilies across your table linens with a few miniature pumpkins for an easy high-impact Halloween centerpiece or to create the effect of a runner down the length of your table.
Small black cobweb doilies make ideal Halloween coasters, either in your living room for a drinks party or as part of the place settings at your dinner table. You can often pick them up for a song on Amazon or eBay, or at your local dollar store, but you crafty types may prefer to crochet your own.
I don’t advise trying a faux spiderweb of the sort that some ill-advised people insist on spreading over their shrubs and draping in their windows on Halloween, however. These things so seldom look convincing.
You’ll have a far more successful effect if you keep to the black lace linens, white candles, and a few choice accessories in neutral shades (think leather, parchment and old bone), highlighted with sparkling glass and the subtle gleam of old silver.
Restraint, elegance, decadence, and the eerie sensation of centuries-old wraiths lurking in the shadows – that’s the mood we’re going for here.
So, what do you think?
Will you decorate in a ghoulish gothic style, this Halloween?