Halloween is right around the corner, but there’s still time to get into the festive spirit and feature a decorative table! Whether it be a buffet for your annual costume party or a spirited centerpiece on your dining room table- why not challenge yourself: instead of investing in props that only come out of storage once a year, consider using items you already have that can be recycled back into your décor scheme once the holiday is over.
Tablescapes are generally a pleasing yet edited arrangement of cherished items and other objects. Always factor in the size and scale of your surface- in this post I will describe the layers of a table arrangement, but as you apply each layer think about the shape of your table. If you have a rectangular table, it’s best to space the objects along the length. If you have a circular table, divide the table in thirds, allowing your tablescape to be viewed from different angles.
Let’s move on to some ideas for objects to feature. Even if you don’t have these items lying around, consider them a good investment if you can think of other ways you will use them once the holiday season has passed. General rule of thumb, work in odd numbers to allow for asymmetry and to keep things more visually pleasing- but use your own judgement. For example if you are working on a console that is centered against a wall, then keep things centered and perhaps the best way to do that is using an even number of objects.
For this Halloween scheme, I am going to focus on just a few colors to keep it harmonious. As mentioned, we don’t want the look to be too ‘themey’ so that we can continue to use these items year- round. That said, skip the orange. The colors I suggest for Halloween are black, white/ivory and silver- with some brown accents for a rustic Fall look.
If you’d like to start with a textile base, a gauzy black fabric that’s torn and thinning sets the haunted theme to build upon. Next, add larger objects as a foundation. Think about your tabletop décor as a still life painting. There will be different perceptions of depth, so you will have larger layers to build upon in the background and smaller items in the foreground to create an impact. Tall bottles, whether they are clear or colored black or silver like your theme – are normally something you have lying around and are also functional since they can be used as vases as well.
I also love the idea of using glass cloches in a tablescape- from a seasonal perspective, they remind me of an ancient potions store during the days of witchcraft. If you have oversize candlestick holders or platforms, these are the perfect surfaces for the cloches. Insert candy eyeballs or other ‘specimens’ beneath each cloche and the cloches are instantly transformed from an everyday decorative item to an immediate Halloween prop.
Adding Height and Smaller Objects
It’s also important to add height to vary the décor. A tall vase with a twiggy branch creates that haunted house look- the twig branches can either be put in vases or smaller ones can be laid along the base of the arrangement. Taper candles will add height and an eerie glow to your arrangement. Make sure to space these out evenly so that the eye is not drawn to one specific spot.
These test tube bud vases are another example of piece that perfectly fits the Halloween theme (hello Frankenstein!), but can be transitioned easily to another season. Fill these with little plastic spiders or candies to add to the theme.
Add in some smaller objects at the base of the larger objects. Grouping them together will prevent them from getting lost and also play up the theme.
If you are having a dinner party, instead of the obvious dinnerware choices, consider something like this twig cutlery- it has a Fall feel but really makes a statement at any time of the year. Black linen napkins add some luxury while at the same time keeping dinner casual.
Since we tried to keep things ‘neutral’ so to speak, the last layer is when you can add in a few holiday-related items. We love these aluminum skulls at the base and the tall skeletons add an additional dimension of height.
An easy and inexpensive final touch is to thin out and spread cotton across the tablescape to look like a web. Throw in some white pumpkins and your tabletop should instantly scream Halloween. Aside from the obvious, what are some of your favorite ways to create a Halloween themed tabletop?
Jessica Haberer is an active blogger and part of the Gardenology team, a retail home décor and pioneer in interior design in San Diego. Her passion for informing people in all aspects of home décor are quite visible in all the articles that she provides. While not writing, she loves to go out with friends and reading books.