Haunting your House for Halloween: Decor and Details

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Part two of the “Haunting your House for Halloween” series. See part one here.

Lots of people find joy in decorating their house for Halloween, but those with a Gothic bent are especially bound to to relish it. These people will take particular care in crafting a beautiful yet bone-chilling atmosphere for their guests… For them, it isn’t so much “decorating” as it is “haunting” the house.

Here are some of the easiest and most effective ways to perfect an eerie atmosphere:

Cluster Candles.  Clustered candles create a haunting and visually interesting focal point. At once reminiscent of somber Gothic cathedrals and spiritualist seances, try turning the lights out and illuminating the room by candlelight alone, as shown in the image below. If you are throwing a dinner party, this kind of lighting will hide any distracting, non-themed parts of the room and will keep guests’ focus on each other as they dine. For an even more magical effect (and double the light), place candles on a mirror or reflective platter.

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Paint it Black.  Everyday items take on a commanding and ominous tone when given a coat of matte black spray paint. Consider painting pumpkins, cheap vases, figurines, candleholders, branches, and wine bottles.

wine bottles black

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Mirror, Mirror.  Mirrors have always been a bit uncanny, so use this to your advantage for Halloween! Place fabric or a veiling over the mirrors in the house– this was actually a Victorian mourning tradition to prevent the soul of the deceased from getting “trapped” in the looking glass. Covering all the mirrors in your house will definitely ramp up the creepy factor. You can also make your own haunted mirror (which is I guess what happens if you didn’t cover the mirror?) in one of many “haunted mirror” tutorials, or try creating a flipped-reflection mirror.

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Eerie Vignettes.  For the top of a mantle or table, consider grouping eerie objects together to form a “vignette”. Wilted or dried flowers in a vase beside antique glass bottles work well (below). For the most effective haunting vignette, stack old leather-bound books on a table and top them off with a skull.

tableau 4

Phantom Photos. Round up some picture frames you already have, or buy some at a dollar store and paint them a matte black. Print out creepy Victorian-era photos (look up spirit photography) and place them in the frames, then put them around the house where people are bound to see them. Your guests will gradually realize your home is filled with ghostly portraits.

Halloween frames

Utilize your windows.  Cut-out silhouettes always add a element of fun to your haunted house for Halloween, but consider going subtle for a more spooky effect. The Hitchcock inspired bird silhouettes below are small and detailed, but effectively lend a creepy sense of infestation.

The Birds House

You can also forgo silhouettes altogether and create a foreboding atmosphere by covering your windows in red tissue paper (your house looks like this, doesn’t it?)

Red Windows

There are plenty of other elegant Halloween decorating ideas out there, and I might be adding more to this post as I find more inspiration. Feel free to list your favorite ideas in the comments section, and I’ll incorporate it into this page!


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