My earliest memory of Halloween is not exactly pleasant. I was in the first grade and my mom dressed me up as Barbie so I could partake in my elementary school's festivities. The smaller-than-should-be-allowed nostril holes on the plastic mask I wore over my face made it hard to breathe. My mother's solution? She took her house key and wriggled it around the holes until they got bigger. The metal of the key left embarrassing gray marks all over Barbie's face and off I went to school to be tormented. Halloween never really got better for me after that.
Nearly 30 years later, I still hate everything about the spooky holiday, other than, obviously, Brach's brunch-flavored candy corn: Costumes, trick-or-treaters, and especially the decor. I can't think of any time when I'd want bats or skulls or cobwebs hanging all over my house, and All Hallows' Eve is no exception. But as much as I dislike Halloween and all the ghosts and goblins that come along with it, what I do love is fall. And decorating. And decorating for fall (who wouldn't want an excuse to create an unbelievably lovely all-white arrangement like Tone on Tone Antiques' display above). Basically, I like redecorating as often as I'm given the chance. So here's how I adorn my home for the autumn season without feeling like I'm living in a kitschy haunted house.
1. Let's start with a little ambience, since it's a scientific fact that one can never have too many candles. Even as I sit here typing, the mouthwatering scent of White Barn's Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow is wafting through the air. I have the one that comes in a cute little mason jar with a lovely cream-colored pumpkin, autumn leaves and a pretty bird on the label. And if I close my eyes, I can tell it's fall just from the fragrance.
2. Next, you have to have an actual pumpkin, right? But bright orange gourds simply clash with my color scheme, and carving sinister smiles into them is far too creepy. Luckily there are tons of how-tos on the Internet for making adorably chic and tiny white-and-gold ones. Homeyohmy makes her craft pumpkins more festive with gold Washi tape from Michaels. They're still fun, but keeping them more neutral makes them much less jarring.
3. Target has a plethora of harvest-themed decorations: Rattan string lights, gold and copper ornaments, Halloween-themed apothecary jars and garlands, and vintage-looking potion books. They even offer fabric-covered pumpkins in fashionable chevron, plaid and herringbone prints, or already-metallic ones if you're not the DIY type. Or better yet, skip the festive fruit all together and opt for a pumpkin-adorned pillow (like Target's above), instead.
4. But okay, it's not quite Halloween without a few traces of black around the house, right? But who says it has to be spiders and witch hats and dark, scary shadows? Why not Anthropologie's Latte plates in Squid Ink (above) to dress your table, the black Loop Steel candelabrum from Wayfair for your bar cart, or West Elm's Boucle pillow in Nightshade to toss onto your sofa?
5. And finally, for Halloween curb appeal, what could be more fun than a pair of flamingoes on your lawn? I know, I know—flamingoes sound pink and cheery and the opposite of Halloween. But I'm actually going full-fledged frightening here, because World Market sells Black Zombie Flamingo lawn ornaments with red eyes and sharp fangs. Up close, they're everything I try to avoid, but from a distance, for just a moment, Halloween isn't so bad.
How do you keep it chic for Halloween? Tell us your ideas in the comments!