Halloween is the perfect excuse to decorate your home (particularly if you have kids). Decorating your home for Halloween doesn’t have to be expensive either. There’s a brilliant range of Halloween goodies available in stores and online at the moment including some very reasonable buys from Home Sense and Party Pieces. But, there are also plenty of low-cost, DIY projects you can make yourself right at home.
Here are some Halloween styling tips to create the perfect dinner this October:
Pumpkins: you can never have enough pumpkins. They really do make the perfect enchanting entrance to your front door. Whilst lit up pumpkins can look like works of art, you don’t have to carve them to get an effect; simply stack them, add them into glass lanterns or paint them to add drama to your entrance. I love painted pumpkins and they’re so easy to create. Use an acrylic paint (available from many places both online and in-store) and a sealant to protect the pumpkin. Sharpie pens come in a wide variety of colours and are great for the finishing touches and adding your own design.
For a dinner party, line pumpkins and gourds down the middle of a table to create a beautiful centre piece. You can even carve one and use it as an ice bucket and use miniature pumpkins as place names.
Candles add atmosphere to any setting. Halloween-ify white tapered candles by dripping hot red wax down the tops of them, like blood drippings. Or if you want something a little more sophisticated collect some tins cans. Simply punch holes into the side of the tins and then paint them with either acrylic or chalk paint. They’ll add an eerie atmosphere to your party. You can even use smaller pumpkins for little votives.
Polystyrene skulls can be picked up in most craft stores and spray painted or covered in dark glitter to emulate Damien Hirst’s crystal skull. Add them to a centre piece, above the fireplace, along a book shelf or into glass bonbon jars for a mysterious and elegant look. Flowers are great for adding colour to any event and in particular against dark Halloween backdrops. A single-colour flower can add elegance to any table. Use the polystyrene skulls as a vase; cut a hole into the top, in the centre, and insert a glass jar into the hole. Top up with water and add fresh blooms.
It’s always nice to greet you guests with a little tipple, whether a cocktail or straight up gin and tonic. There’s an abundance of Halloween cocktail recipes there. However, I feel a lot of them use some pretty old-fashioned ingredients; you know those bottles which have been at the back of your drinks cupboard for ten years. Keep it fresh, you can’t go wrong with espresso martinis and they always kick-start an evening off.
This is the only opportunity you’ll get this year to make some truly gruesome treats. From jelly brains, spider web trifle to witches’ finger cookies. However, a lot of these foods come with a vast amount of ‘E’ numbers and high sugar content. This is a great time of year to eat fresh, seasonal local produce, so why not stick to something warming and comforting?
Start with a pumpkin soup. The best thing about it is that you can serve it in individual pumpkins. I love a roast pumpkin and butternut squash soup and there are plenty of recipes out there to choose from, all with their own twists. Have a look at Delish.co.uk. To follow, there’s nothing nicer at this time of year than a warm, hearty pie. Spook your guests with a skull pastry topping. There’s no reason why you can’t use a cake tin mould or a cookie cutter to make the perfect shape.
Ensure you end your dinner with show-stopping pudding. I always think chocolate orange goes down well in the colder months. Waitrose have a recipe for a delicious dark chocolate orange tart with figs. It’s super easy and if you want to, you could make it without the figs and pin a cobweb onto the chocolate tart.
The final piece: your outfit
No Halloween is complete without dressing up. Halloween costumes are so readily available nowadays. There’s an abundance of well-priced options available from high-street fashion retailers to even supermarkets. Make up can tie an outfit together and take it to another level. It’s the one occasion you can look your most garish. Plus with tools like You Tube and readily available video tutorials, it’s easier than ever to do it yourself and practise different looks in advance. Or alternatively, hire a make-up artist to go all out. Brush Beauty Concierge have plenty of Halloween looks to choose from. They’ll come direct to your home or place of work – wherever you may be – taking the hassle out of getting ready. Plus you can book online, quickly and easily using their online booking system so you can take more time styling your event.
Hopefully you’ll see from this blog that Halloween doesn’t have to mean filling your home with lots of plastic decorations and fake cobwebs. It’s a time when you can bring extravagant colours and textures to life and use seasonal produce to enhance your event. So be creative with what you have and enjoy creating your own look this Halloween.