This Halloween season I wanted to celebrate the spooky season with a bit more refined, glamorous tablescape and hallway greeting than the usual gourds and orange pumpkins.
I was looking for a refined “adult” version of happy trick or treat.
I wanted it to be more about the art of tablescaping for this most favorite holiday. (Did you know that, in fact, Halloween is now only second to Christmas in terms of popularity?)
Given that Halloween has, at its core, dressing up in costumes, it only seems apropos to “dress up the table and noteworthy home spaces with some inspired, seasonal masquerade.
Especially when the harvest season screams out for luncheon, dinner, and cocktail parties to celebrate the abundance we enjoy and share this time of year.
So let’s delight in dressing up. Our tables, our home. It's all about entertaining in style.
I began my Halloween tablescape and home decor compositions as I always do -- by dreaming a bit.
And by answering the question: “What story do I want to tell?”
Tablescapes, of course, are more than mere centerpieces. The overall tablescape look comprises the entire table, amplifying an event or holiday or your guests -- with your personal style, color, and dimension.
It tells your story; your fantasy… While making your guests feel welcome and relaxed.
The visual stimulation of a compelling composition sparks fun and conversation.
Good tablescapes create a sense of balance, harmony and personal style.
For my tablescape design this year, I was drawn to artful skeletons - more as sculptural objects.
I went for the skulls, especially... Skulls and skeletons can be pensive (Rodin?!) or rather sweet - even humorous.
In terms of color, witchy black was the spooky shoe-in, right? Dark, mysterious - and sophisticated.
To harmonize, I thought the color gold and gold accent pieces would add that touch of elegance, along with the basic black.
I use the tiny white (battery operated) string lights for most every tablescape. The evening twinkle is frothy and romantic - and can stand up to our cityscape view that sparkles out on the horizon - seemingly within reach.
And I always create a trompe l’oeil or a kind of “vehicle” that allows me to hide the battery pack for the two light strands. After all, we’re creating illusion..
For the last tablescape display, I used the decorative blue box designed to look like a grill - that the wood fish came in which styled perfectly with the fish and beach composition - complete with live Beta fishing fish in their own four, individual glass vases with plants.
What could I use for the Halloween to hide the battery pack in?
Keeping with the gold color and elements theme, I repurposed two small gold urns and topped the batteries with store-bought mini green and gold gourds that caught my eye at a store.
It’s always best to lay out the designs and look on the table; then determine what you have in your own decor inventory or household items that could work in the design. You’ll be surprised how many items can be repurposed.
Next up is to make a list. This keeps you focused when you get to the store and become overwhelmed or distracted by displays there.
There, I also found perfect small black lacquer pedestal urns - (they looked as if the front porch big urns had incubated teeny offspring!)
The shiny, black urns were perfect: size and price wise so I got four - two for the table and two for the entranceway.
I also found spiky air plants to use.
I got small chile plants -- one with yellow pepper plants and the other with purple pepper plants.
I was building the composition.
I also got eyeball rings -- where the eyeballs actually roll a bit - and placed them on the runner, too. Fun as a kind of kooky cocktail ring!
Skull banks worked - just like the fish banks for the previous composition. The point here is not to limit your design to items that are expressly made as decor - but to think of elements that can add charm and style - whatever their original utility might have been.
I placed the plants in two of the black urns. In turn, I placed them on the round mirrors. The mirrors amplify the main element’s value in the composition.
You don’t see the wires and at night when it’s lighted -- the illusion is dramatic and elegant.
Creepy, elegant, fun.
When all was in place, it just needed something more. As if a hand was directing me, I was compelled to turn to the fireplace and shazaam, targeted the four wrought iron candle holders. Perfect! They and their gold, battery operated candles were soon transported to the tablescape. That finishing touch completed the look.
For a “Ladies Who Lunch,” affair, I found mini pumpkins in the garden and used them for the name placeholders.
Black napkins and gold napkin rings accented the table look, as did the ceramic gourd soup bowls (Williams-Sonoma).
Even the seasonal biscuits from the “Spice Whisperer” Lior Lev Sercarz’s La Boite was wrapped in the pumpkin hue. (See the wrapped box on the table).
We enjoyed Lior’s biscuit treats as part of our dessert.
The seasonal menu included most everything from our garden: onions for the French Onion Soup: (Photo courtesy of Angie Lambert)
Fresh-grated Consider Bardwell Farms Rupert cheese - An aged, raw Jersey cow milk cheese inspired by great European Alpine cheeses like Gruyère and Comté.
We enjoyed Mother’s homemade bread, and garden-fresh eggplants for the Eggplant and Pasta with truffle buffalo mozzarella entree.
(photo courtesy of Angie Lambert)
(Photo courtesy of Angie Lambert)
I couldn’t resist making my trademark punch with garden ice floating ring for the Ladies Lunch.
(Photo courtesy of Angie Lambert)
I used Mint as the frozen in time greens. This you must start a few days ahead of time, freezing distilled water halfway in a bundt pan. When frozen, place your greens or flowers or whatever you want that will amplify a party theme - on top of the half frozen mold.
Then, fill the bundt pan with more distilled water to help cover the greens or flowers. Some will stick up from the mold -- which makes it all the prettier.
As the ice melts, the greens stay in the circular shape -- so that it comes to rest in the bottom as the punch is consumed. Lovely…
Ladies Who Lunch guests: Angie (L) and Maria enjoying the smoky punch.
For Halloween, I had to try the dry ice to produce a holiday, smokey drama.
I ordered the dry ice from our local Party Store. They told me I had 15 or 20 minutes to experience once I broke up (be sure to wear winter gloves) and ignited the dry ice with water.
It lasted longer than that but be advised.
The result was even better than I hoped for. It was giggling-good!
I encourage you to try this hostess treat for your next party.
Garnish the punch cocktail with fresh, local green apples.
For the entry hallway, I was inspired by those “menacing-looking” spiky, small succulents.
Heading to our garden, I cut the spent hydrangea macrophylla -- the ‘Lady in Red’ cultivar offers gorgeous petioles and a red-veined style that I interpreted as a bit of blood-red color that paired well with “eyeball” picks decor for the vases.
I purchased glow-in-the-dark rubber-like “insects” that rest on the prickly succulents and red-swirled Murano glass bowl that is perched atop the antique Asian table there.
The “Thing” hands are sparkly, with an insert for a candle; I put little light globes in them.
And behind the bowl I placed white globe battery lights that I had previously purchased for holiday decorations.
The hallway table has black wrought iron sconces topped by battery operated candles - so with a few masks and tiny tin buckets filled with candy treats -- along with the shadow art the sun etches across the walls there - it’s a welcome Halloween tableau.
The little spiders are available in black - for the tablescape - and orange - which complemented the saffron/orange in our garden room so I strategically placed them on the spiral staircase. Whimsical!
Front Door Entry
The PS / funny part is that the squirrels knocked out one of the skulls - but the glue job made it only all the more realistic!
Boo to you! What will your table be wearing for Halloween?
The arbor twinkles with a view of the harbor