From the time I was in first grade to third grade, my family lived on Rhein-Main Air Force Base near Frankfurt, Germany. We had a lot of fun living there; we did a bit of traveling, visited nearby German towns and made yearly trips to the amazing Christmas markets (my personal favorite). But out of all the things my family did and saw during those three years abroad, one of the memories that sticks out the most is Halloween night on base. The bulk of the base housing where we lived was made up of stairwell apartments, with multiple families in each building. On Halloween, the families in each stairwell got together to decorate their building and hand out candy. And by decorate, I don’t mean carving a few pumpkins and hanging some fake spider webs. These people went all out. Some ran with a particular theme, some set up haunted houses; the only rules seemed to be that a little was not enough, and more was always better.
As a kid, this was the greatest Halloween celebration ever (and if I’m honest, I haven’t seen a Halloween this amazing since). It was fun, over-the-top and everyone dressed up (my brother and dad went as matching Frankenstein’s monsters one year, green hair included). We would trick-or-treat from building to building and come home hauling half our weight in candy, just the way Halloween is supposed to be. Aww, memories. I think I need a Twix bar.
My point to this trip down memory lane is that when it comes to Halloween, over the top is 100 percent acceptable. There’s a house a few streets over from my parents that we’ve lovingly dubbed “The Halloween House” for its ever-growing family of light-up pumpkins, ghosts, monsters and witches that appear annually in the front yard. Yes, it sticks out like a sore thumb for the two weeks leading up to Halloween, but on Halloween night, guess where all the kiddos want to go first? It’s totally fun, which is totally the point.
Unfortunately, Jared and I don’t have a lot of outside space to decorate at our current locale (you’re welcome, neighbors, for not lighting up the night sky with an inflatable jack-o-lantern), but when we do, you can count on some Halloween house awesomeness. In the meantime, my love for Halloween décor is confined to the inside of our apartment.
I love seasonal decorating, so this year I started with a bunch of fall-ish things that could last beyond Halloween and into Thanksgiving time. Then I threw in some quintessential Halloween fun to make the rooms feel truly festive. So it’s one part fall, one part Halloween, all parts holiday goodness. Here’s what we’re rockin’ this year:
Because I start my Halloween decorating on Oct. 1 (that’s a self-imposed rule, which is absolutely necessary or I’d have pumpkins out by the end of August), I try to look for pieces that mix well with my everyday décor. My friend Amber scouted out these little white pumpkins at Michaels (less than $5 a piece. Wahoo!), and I picked up enough to scatter around the house. I love that they’re totally fall without screaming: “Look at me! I’m fall!” They come in larger sizes, too, but I thought the little guys were cute as a button and perfect for all nooks and crannies.
I think candles are a must on Halloween, and these black tin lanterns from Target are super cute and super practical. Their happy carved faces are trademark Halloween, and the lantern is wide enough to prevent any wayward candle wax from dripping on your furniture. Behind the lanterns you can also see one of the two mum pillows we picked up a few weeks ago (also from Target) for some added fall loveliness on the couch. Oh, and there’s another one of our little white pumpkin buddies. See? They fit anywhere.
I whipped up this project yesterday and keep smiling every time I look at it. I found the idea on Young House Love a few months ago and finally got around to trying it out. It’s super simple: Take black cardstock or construction paper, and cut out the shape of a bat (I freehanded these, but you can find some good templates online by searching “bat outline” on Google). Then take a tiny piece of tape, and stick them to the inside of the lampshade. I put a few in two lamps in the living room and the desk lamp in my office. Spooky, right?
This is a shot of the top of our TV armoire in the living room. The two light-up pumpkins are made of twigs, and the orangey guy is ceramic, so we’ve got a nice little mixture of materials and textures going on. And the silver candlesticks add a bit of shine, which is always a plus.
And what would Halloween be without a jack-o-lantern? Petey was the very first Halloween buy of our coupledom, and three years later he’s still looking mighty fine. There’s no mistaking the season as long as Petey is out, so we’ve given him a prime spot on the shelf by the front door.
So how do you decorate for the holiday? Are you all decked out inside and outside? Do you have any favorite Halloween memories you’d like the share? I’d love to hear it!