So your having a Halloween party for the big kids. However, your home is probably more festive in a friendly way, than frightfully festive.
Making your house creepy for an adult halloween gathering can be both fun and inexpensive. No, I am not talking about raiding Party City for every possible Halloween item they have on the shelves. I am talking genuine, old school, scary movie weirdness. Matter of fact, avoid going to Party City altogether. You can make your house uber spooky by scouring your local flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores.
Before I get into the list of things to shop for, I want to address the items to leave behind. Whatever you do, do not, I repeat, DO NOT decorate with orange pumpkins, cardboard ghosts, or signs that say “BOO”. Also bypass any commodity that would also work great for your child’s elementary classroom.
To get you inspired, I want you to conjure up images from any scary movie that made you (literally) pee your pants. My muses for this post: “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “The Conjuring”, released in 2013, and stills from any Alfred Hitchock movie. The “Conjuring” scared the Bah-jezus out of me. It had all of the ingredients to creep out any level headed adult.
Grab screen shots from your favorite scary movie and get inspired by those scenes to up the creep factor in your home or party setting:
Creating this mood in your home is simple. Here is your list of must haves:
- Cheese cloth from your local fabric store – used as draperies (you will here me reference this cloth a bunch)
- Burlap from the fabric store, can also be used on walls, and tables
- Broken, dusty furniture from the thrift store or local yard sales
- Old dusty mirrors
- Vintage, broken, housewares that appear not to have been used in a very, VERY long time
- Dead plants and branches in front of windows
- Leaves on the floor to make your house “FEEL” abandoned.
Lighting and Weird Children’s Items:
The trick behind creating a scene like this lies in the lighting. For any halloween party, I suggest cutting the power to any overhead lighting and using all candles.
There is hardly anything, I mean ANYTHING, that spookier then old dolls and toys. To create vignettes in your home, search the thrift stores for:
- Old Dolls – scuff them up with dirt, and a red food coloring + corn syrup mix when you get them home
- Find a couple of old rocking chairs. One empty, and another for the doll
- Grab old toys and music boxes. Ones made out of tin evoke memories of how toys were made in the past
- Place vintage baby carriages that you may find in a dark corner of your home. Back lighting these would enhance the creepy factor
Other uses for oddities at thrift stores:
- Hang the cheese cloth from the fabric store from your ceiling to create even more of an abandoned house feel
- Wrap foam wig heads with dirty medical tape and place them on your table scape to give your Halloween diner an erie setting
Speaking of Creepy Dinner Table scapes:
Once we look past what may have been one of the most F’d up scary movie dinner scenes of all time in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we can easily see how they created the above sets.
- Dim lighting, use nothing but candles to highlight the table you are wanting to showcase
- Candelabras are our friends here, pick more up at the thrift store
- Get multi-sized pillar and taper candles for your tables
- At the fabric store grab white lace, dirty it up when you get home
- Use the wig heads from above, dusty books, vintage yellowed glass, and dead plants to finish off your table scapes.
Vintage Photos and Portraits
One mood killer is keeping up all of your original art, and family photos. They more than likely give off a feel of cheerful, modern, and/or colorful. With us attempting to create a sinister mood, I say replace your wallhangings with with:
- Vintage photos, you can find ones to print on pinterest
- Framed Victorian portraits (Resale shops and flea markets carry these by the boatload)
- If you are not feeling like replacing, take some of the left over cheese cloth and drape them over your art
- To make the pictures really scary replace the eyes on the portraits with black construction paper
Holograms by the Pros:
Imagine this… One of your halloween party guest uses your dimly lit restroom. They wash their hands, give themselves a quick look over, and in the mirror as they are looking at themselves they see this:
On second thought, the people I roll with will likely go ape shit and bust out my power room mirror! So I will take a pass on this one.
However, a ghostly hologram in your home my be a stroke of genius! I found this guide on how to create one. Click the image below for detailed instructions.
Happy Halloween People!
Your Interior Designer & HGTV Host