Halloween, the holiday built around the twin pleasures of playing dress-up and eating too much candy, is obviously a hit with children.
But send invitations to your grown-up friends and youll probably find they havent outgrown the urge to don creepy costumes and celebrate in spooky, theatrical style.
Want to host a party that merges Halloween fun with grown-up sophistication? Turning your home into a haunted mansion is surprisingly easy, says interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out Productions.
Just ditch the cheerful orange pumpkins and smiling ghosts for darker, more creative décor.
Stay away from anything cute, Flynn says, and instead opt for creepy-chic.
Here Flynn and two other design experts – Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs and the latest HGTV Star winner, Tiffany Brooks – offer decorating advice for a memorable, stylish and affordable Halloween party.
Cheesecloth evokes ancient mummies, while burlap brings to mind scarecrows. Both fabrics are inexpensive and lightweight, but sturdy – perfect for Halloween party tablecloths.
Call likes using large sheets of brown craft paper on buffet tables or as a runner down the center of a Halloween dining table. Cluster small gourds (the darker and more oddly shaped, the better) along the runner, he says, then add a few large pillar candles.
All three designers suggest using a muted palette of grays, browns and black. Brooks suggests spray-painting pumpkins glossy gray to create a glamorous centerpiece.
Use orange only as an accent, Flynn says, perhaps adding a few orange napkins to an otherwise black-and-gray table setting.
Take down any cheerful artwork and replace it with old portraits from thrift shops or flea markets. Halloween stores sell deliberately creepy portraits made for this purpose, but its more fun to hunt down real paintings, says Flynn.
Once youve hung your new gallery of portraits, Flynn suggests taping tiny pieces of black construction paper over the eyeballs in the pictures for a haunted mansion feel.