Q: [Parents] What are some decor tips for making Halloween come alive at home for young kids and family?
A: For the interior of the home, layering holiday pieces with your normal décor is my favorite way to prepare for the holiday, especially for my favorite holiday of the year, Halloween. I first start by adding lights: I recommend orange/amber-colored lights to set the mood. Lights can be strung on your mantel or bookcases. If you do not want to add string lights to the home, then you can simply replace a couple of the lightbulbs in your lamps with orange-tinted bulbs for the same effect. At night, these lights will wash the room in a tint of orange and set the foundation for your Halloween décor. I also like to replace a couple of our framed family photos with photos of skeletons or aged antiqued photos. This will add an unexpected and creepy pop to your daily décor for your guest and kids.
Pumpkins and gourds are another one of my favorite decorative items for this holiday (and can be reused during Thanksgiving as well). I like to create arrangements with the pumpkins/gourds of different sizes, shapes and colors into groupings for the dining table or coffee table. Place the pumpkin/gourd grouping on top of a black table cloth, some spider webs and toss in a couple of plastic spiders. Replace your typical white candles with black candles or add black candle holders with white candles. Replace smaller accessories throughout your home with skulls and black cat figurines. Instead of having fresh flowers during the month of October, replace them with tree branches and sticks inside vases. This will add texture and an indoor/outdoor vibe. If you want to spook your kids and guests, add some rubber rats into surprising places such as the cookie jar, by the restroom toilet or perched on a ledge.
For the exterior of the home, in addition to your carved pumpkins, string bats from the trees at different lengths and heights. Cut out and tape eyes to the windows that look out onto the street and spook anyone passing by. Make lanterns out of old milk jugs to put by the front door. Cut out eyes and a mouth with black construction paper, tape them to the jug and toss in a mini flashlight or glow sticks for an instant ghost.
If you have young kids and do not want them using a knife to carve pumpkins, painting and decorating pumpkins can be just as fun. All you need are some paint brushes, paint, glitter and stickers and to let their creativity soar. If you want to get really creative, bring out the hot glue gun and add on spiders, eyeballs, black pipe cleaners and a witch’s hat.
If you are not looking to go all out with holiday decorating and don’t want to spend a lot on your décor, I suggest checking out your local Big Lots or 99 Cents Only Stores. They have a lot of fun finds that won’t break the bank.
Lisa Conley is lead designer for 27 Diamonds, an interior design firm in Orange County, Calif. She has worked on numerous floor-sets for a retail clothing store, as a design consultant for a custom sofa company and has been a lead designer for 27 Diamonds since 2012.