Majolica pottery -- stored year-round in a hutch -- complements the seasonal addition of Halloween decorations. The whimsical rectangular plates in back are paper pieces produced by the American Dennison Company between 1930 and 1950.
Halloween collector and artisan Bruce Elsass throws frightfully whimsical parties in his home, decked out in fanciful antique Halloween decorations. Take inspiration from his approach for ways to display your own collectibles. The decor in Bruce's dining room is typical of 1920s party decorating with exotic paper lanterns, colorful streamers, and ghoulish pumpkin faces. The room's focal point is a grinning Beistle black cat centerpiece that's nearly 80 years old.
A contemporary cat holds a lit jack-o'-lantern for the freeloading birds circling his tail. Their backdrop is a former doll's chest made from old orange crates and filled with German papier-mache pumpkins. For collectors, the smaller the pumpkins, the greater their value.
A grinning skeleton holds court among cobwebby desserts. The homemade paper-pulp skeleton is held together with wires. The figure is surrounded by a permanent display case of antique bottles and jars, dressed up for the party with spray-on spiderwebbing. Dare kids and adults at your party to pick up candy and cookies at the skeleton's feet.
Rare 1940s jack-o'-lanterns flank The Sheepish Boy, a one-of-a-kind reproduction of a pumpkin-headed lad carrying a pumpkin basket. In back, a vintage Fairy Seed Company poster coordinates with the rich orange wall when the Halloween decorations are gone.
The noisemaker on the left is a German antique. On the right is a reproduction made of tin and pressed paper and filled with beans.
A collection of American hard-plastic Halloween memorabilia from the 1940s and '50s lines the shelves of this hutch. Unlike the mass-produced plastic creations of today, each of these collectibles is handcrafted. Most of the pumpkins, watermelons, and other vegetables have human features such as bright eyes and toothy grins. The effect is eerily fun.
This 3-inch grimacing pumpkin is a collector's favorite. Also on the table are rare lapel pins from the 1920s. Combined, they create an eye-raising tableau.
Aim for a focal point in each room to spark conversation. This striking ghost wearing a top hat came from Disney World's Haunted Mansion; only about 1,000 were made, so it's a collector's dream.
This papier-mache black cat by folk artist Jack Roads provides a game of chance as well as decoration. Hidden beneath one of the jack-o'-lanterns is a pea -- take a chance and guess which one. The cat's clown companion is by artist Cody Foster.
Search salvage shops, house demolition sales, and estate sales for creepy old architecture to add mystery to your Halloween lawn decor. Here, an ancient wooden post serves as a cheesecloth-covered perch for a faux crow.
Planning a Halloween party? Try these tips from Halloween collector and Bethany Lowe Designs artisan Bruce Elsass for transforming your home into a whimsical haunted house.