Good Old-Fashioned Scary: Vintage Halloween Décor’s a Hit, Indoors or Out

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If you can’t get enough Dickens or Poe — if the image of Miss Havisham in her faded wedding gown strikes you as the perfect Halloween costume — you’ll love these vintage Halloween decorating ideas. Vintage ingredients here include antique bottles with clever calligraphy labels: Withered Zombie and Vengeful Vodka, from all appearances, made a rather good martini, while the “bar” that holds such things as Newt, Lizard Legs, Bat Toes and other “flavorings”, may give your guests a moment’s pause. Trimmings that look as if they’re from Grandma’s sewing basket ¬— black ribbons, buttons, and edging — are painted on ceramic white pumpkins; other real pumpkins get paint jobs of gray, black, or silver glitter. Of course, there are plenty of ravens to go around: under glass domes, perched on centerpieces or sideboards, decorating a black-wreathed antique desk.

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Having a formal sit-down meal for Halloween? Black tablecloths and napkins make an elegant foil for plain silver and glassware; black lace tablecloths cover a circular table and give a somber tone to a tea party. Fireplace mantels lend themselves naturally to black-and-orange beaded garlands, black feathers, a black owl or two, and a witch silhouette. A less-chilling approach gives your guests “ghostly greetings” from a pillow on an antique armchair, beneath wall letters that spell BOO!, and flanked by pumpkins of all shades. On the other hand, if your chairs float up the wall when you place pumpkins on the seats, as these do with no visible means of support, your guests may decline the invitation to stay for long! These and many other ideas are just the beginning of the creative things you can do with a few vintage or antique details, plus a little Halloween imagination. Be inspired!

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