Living With Style: Decorating For Halloween

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Oct 6th, 2018 

Decorating for Halloween doesn’t need to take a lot of time – and if you’re looking to economize on time, much of what you create for this holiday can continue to be used in November as fall décor.

Here are a few simple and playful ideas to make your home feel special for the new season.  Some of these ideas will look great thru Thanksgiving, while others are clearly good fun just for All Hallows:


A Glowing Welcome

Living With Style: Flickering Lights

Battery operated flickering candles remove the fear of fires starting.

A glowing welcome can be created not only with the traditional jack-o-lantern, but with lanterns or even mason jars.  If using something such as a mason jar, make sure to weight it with sand for safety before inserting your votive.  Cluster your lanterns or jars on stairs leading up to your doorway for a bigger impact.

I like to use battery operated candles with a timer feature so they can come on every evening at the same time and they welcome me and my guest’s home without any additional work on my part.  I also don’t have to worry about anything catching fire — and behind a pretty lantern face, it’s really hard to tell whether it’s a real flame or not!

Living With Style: More Lanters

Colorful paper lanterns are an inexpensive way to add a little panache to the front porch or window.

Another idea, if you prefer to use real candles, is to put the votive in the freezer for two hours before lighting them.  The chilled wax will slow the burning.

An Ornamental Option

Using a little black spray paint, repurpose an old mini artificial Christmas tree as a Halloween centerpiece.  Use orange or red ribbon to hang quirky Halloween ornaments from its branches.  You can buy All Hallows Eve ornaments – but you can also make your own using fortune teller cards, red, orange or clear crystal ornaments and strings of candy corn thread together.

I also recommend using dried tree branch in a large vase to achieve a similar effect.  And this one you can leave up to incorporate into your Thanksgiving decor!  Throw a little up light behind them and it can add an extra spooky effect with the shadows cast on your ceiling!

Living With Style: Existing Lamps

Enhance your existing lamps with flickering flame bulbs for a spooky effect.

In Lieu of Pumpkins

Use a colorful decorative bucket or a cast iron urn with autumnal color at the front door and fill it with a size appropriate five or ten gallon container of blooming annuals from your local home store.  Look for yellow, orange and red blooms for a simple burst of fall color at your entry.  Want a bigger impact?  Include at least three pots of blooming fall colored flowers.

A Unique Design

For a unique pumpkin design, photograph yourself and your loved ones in profile – print out the images and trace adding a witch’s hat.  Cut around the outline to make a stencil and tape it onto your pumpkin.  Trace around the stencil with a pencil and then use a narrow brush to fill in the image with black acrylic paint.

Or, if you’re looking for an easy and fun way to dress up your pumpkins consider “Pumpkin Bling.”  Just press the Halloween patterned black rhinestones onto the pumpkin and voila!  Five dollars spent, but instant and playful All Hallows Décor!

Creating a traditional carved jack-o-lantern?  Extend the life of your lantern by applying petroleum jelly or WD-40 to the cut portions of the pumpkin so that it deteriorates less from air contact and lasts longer.

Dress Up Your Existing Patio Décor

 I love to enhance my existing patio décor for each season.  At Halloween, I like to dress up my dapper dog statue with an orange and black top hat along with a colorful orange scarf! 

Easy Breezy Fall Décor

Living with Style: Fall Decor

When I pull out my fall decor, I know some of it will only last thru October, but many of the items will continue to fill the home through Thanksgiving!

It’s the easiest fall centerpiece of all, but I never grow tired of it – Fill a carved wooden bowl with a variety of colorful gourds.  Even Trader Joe’s carries a nice supply.  Surround the bowl with beautiful fall leaves picked up on your evening walk.

Looking for something that says fall, but you’d like to steer clear of the traditional pumpkins and gourds in your centerpiece?  Consider filling your bowls with autumnal apples, pomegranates or persimmons.  Enjoy them for a week or two and then bake yourself and your friends something fantastic!

Living With Style: Day of the Dead

Incorporating some Day of the Dead decor into the season brings playful color and graphic patterns into the mix.

Also easy, is to use inexpensive large and medium scaled paper lanterns in orange, black and white.  Cluster them over a table and enhance them with light strings that are clustered on the inside.

Incorporate Day of the Dead Décor 

I love the papier-mâché skulls, the bold colors and the graphicness of these items.  They look terrific with other traditional Halloween décor.

Use Existing Lamps

Enhance Your Existing Lamps with flickering “flame candles.”  I like to do this in my front windows for an extra spooky look come October!

And little indoor up lights below your ghostly décor at the window can also enhance the display.

However you celebrate Halloween and autumn in your home, I wish for you a beautiful and inspiring season with friends!

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824


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