When you grow up in Atchison, cited as one of the most haunted towns in Kansas, you just can’t help but love Halloween. I enjoy celebrating this spooky silly holiday by brewing up some tricks and treats in my home décor. Whether you want to add just a hint of haunt to your home or do a full macabre makeover, here are some tips for creating a singular and stylish Halloween look this year. 

When I think Halloween, I think of my friend Twila, who does it up big. She teams up with Chery, one of the designers at Nell Hill’s, and the two of them have a ball as they make over Twila’s house. Every year, they come up with completely new creations, giggling and cheering as they go through Twila’s treasure trove of Halloween decorations, which she has collected through the years. Once her home is decorated to perfection, Twila hosts parties and gatherings, inviting her friends to share in the fun.

Twila likes to weave Halloween decorations into her existing fall décor. For example, she tricked up this bouquet on her entry table by plopping a ghoul in the center. Talk about unexpected! What tools to you have that could take on a sinister cast if placed in the right setting? How about some tarnished silver candlesticks, lanterns or iron urns?

Hunt through your home for additional props. The fedora jauntily perched on this skeleton’s head was a perfect last-minute addition – pulled out of one of Twila’s closets on a whim. I think it makes the whole display. I’ve found that when you set your creativity free and play around with your displays a bit, you come up with masterpieces.

When you decorate for Halloween, don’t do over the whole house – that’s overkill. Instead add some powerful punches in a few key places. In my home, that includes my dining room. In years past, for my Fall Open Houses, we’ve gone to town in my dining room. The table in the photo above is a tribute to playful pumpkins. Pumpkin vines twist through the chandelier and along the buffet. Gothic looking risers hold containers of mini pumpkins. And a pumpkin-headed figurine looks down upon the dinner guests.

Try this trick if you want a huge Halloween impact with little effort: Shroud each of your dining room chairs in a yard or so of scrim fabric, then tie them up in back with Halloween ribbon.

Scrim, an inexpensive, gauzy cotton fabric, is one of my favorite tricks for Halloween decorating. I’ve used it to drape over creepy heads and plastic skeletons to make them look like specters. And I’ve shredded it and hung it from twisting sticks mounted around my dining room windows. In the photo above, taken at one of my Fall Open Houses, we set my table for an elegant dinner party for ghosts.  Tendrils of scrim cobwebs dangled from the chandelier. The table’s disconcerting centerpiece included black iron urns holding legs and arms – mannequin parts we spray painted black.

My dining room buffet is always an important stage for my seasonal displays, so on Halloween it echoes the look I’ve created on my dining table. Twists of honeysuckle vine give the tableau the feeling of fall, as do the gourds, dusted with glitter. I topped the candelabra with black pillar candles, reserving one of the arms as a resting place for a blackbird figurine.

Another key spot to dress up for Halloween is a chandelier. I was going for a more whimsical Halloween look in my kitchen one year, so I secured some twigs to the chandelier in our breakfast nook. Add some blackbird figurines and a black-and-white check ribbon and you have a simple but fetching treatment in minutes.

In addition to decorating my front door, my exterior Halloween display usually includes my screened porch. Here, we set the table on my patio for a kid-friendly Halloween party, using a black and white quilt for a tablecloth.


Next Week … When Nell Hill’s was given the opportunity to redecorate the Pi Beta Phi chapter house at the University of Kansas, we jumped at the challenge. Come see how we celebrated the heritage of this storied sorority while giving the girls a fresh, fun living environment they are proud to call home.

P.S. Don’t miss a bit of Nell Hill’s news – stay up to date on my favorite finds, new arrivals at the stores and all our special events by checking the Nell Hill’s Facebook page every day. You don’t have to have a Facebook page yourself to look in on the fun, but if you’re already on Facebook, “like” us today!



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14 Responses to “Tricks for Treating Your Home to a Touch of Halloween”

  1. Helene Says:

    Awesome! Keep blogging!


  2. Rondell Says:

    All are fabulous, my favorite is the chandy:)

  3. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    How fun are these lovely ideas! Wish my kids were still little so I could throw another party and use them.
    Everytime I look at your blog or I go on facebook to see the photos I wish that your website had a feature where there would be photos of different parts of each wall where people like me who live so far could see everything in the store and order something that I viewed on a wall or on a shelf from a photo. I think so many people would be ordering. Your online store is lovely but there is a small group of things one can purchase. I have had the joy and priveledge to have visited all three of your stores and they are mesmerizing and people all over the country should have access to see everything if they can’t take the trip. From chairs to bookshelves to art work to tables. Absoluletly lovely. Maybe that’s something you could add to the website possibly for us out of towners! hee Hee.

  4. Carol McKee Says:

    Just had to say that I love your breakfast room chandelier. There are so few that I like and it has the look that I have been searching for – more the pool table look! If you care to share info on it, I would be delighted!

    I wish you had “existed” the 8 1\2 wonderful years I lived around Kansas City!

  5. Sheryl Says:

    Love all your ideas…..don’t think I’ll be using the scary stuff though…..have to many little grand children. :-) . They don’t even like my Clorox jug witch from the 60′s…:-)

  6. Jack Piper Says:

    Do you have chandeliers similar to the ones shown in the dining room and possibly the kitchen in your stores? Love all of your ideas!

  7. Rachel Says:

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

  8. Robin Frank -- Vision Interiors Says:

    Every body just loves the kitchen chandler !!!! Take off the blackbirds and add pussy willow in the spring and bit of whimsy evergreen and bunch of red berries … chazam CHRISTMAS !! Oh the fun of it all … Your the best !!!

  9. Ana Says:

    I liked the table setting and the chandelier, but everything else is too ghoulish for me.

  10. Patti D. Says:

    So many great ideas – and not expensive – just a little imagination! Thanks again!

  11. Janet listen Says:

    Great ideas!! I enjoy your artistic gifts! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Jack—Would love to help you with your questions about my chandeliers. I have had the one in my kitchen for a very long time and do not sell that one, however, the one in the dining room is one we sell at our Garrity’s store in Atchison. Just call 877-367-1523.

  13. Debbie Says:

    Would love to know details about the skeleton & pumpkin display on the mantle! Brilliant how the skeleton is “romancing” the pumpkin! Are the branches/leaves real or faux? What an impact it has made on my desire to try to re-create with that special look! I would so appreciate your help!!!

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