Haunt the House for an Old-Fashioned Halloween Party
A Ghastly Catch
Paint black eyes on shapely white gourds, then capture a crew of the tiny "ghosts" inside a glass display case or vintage container.
Set a spooky mood from the minute guests step up to your house by disguising the view inside the front windows. Cut black paper to the size of the window. Trace and cut out Halloween shapes. Tape paper on the windows and cover cutouts with yellow tissue paper. For an added eerie effect, line the front steps with an assortment of pumpkins; tuck candles behind some of the pumpkins to cast shadows and spooky glow.
This timeless Halloween table, set with jack-o'-lanterns, tricky treats, and colorful potions, can be put together in a pinch. Color-copy images of vintage Halloween postcards and string them together to make a table-edge garland. Use sticks, leaves, and gourds to bring a touch of nature to the table.
Decorate the party table with cake pedestals displaying tasty treats such as these pudgy ghosts that are easy to make. Squeeze conical meringue shapes from a pastry bag, bake for a few minutes, and let cool. Then paint on pairs of beady little eyes with black icing and a small paintbrush.
Pair the gooey ghost treats from the previous slide with these wicked witches' hats. Use purchased chocolate cookies for a brim and top with a chocolate ice cream cone; frosting glues the witch hat together.
Play up the old-fashioned decorating theme by arranging beverages in vintage glass canisters labeled with names of herbal plants and extracts to look like the ingredients for mysterious potions.
Set the party's haunted stage by turning tables, display cabinets, and other existing furniture throughout the house into creepy nooks and crannies. For instance, perch stuffed black crows -- found at crafts stores and tag sales -- along a windowsill or roosting on furniture as creepy chaperones.
Sprinkle a handful of spellbinding stones on a tabletop to make guests stop and ponder. Use acrylic paints to blacken stones, then handwrite or stencil seasonal words or phrases on the tops.
Freaky Family Tree
Switch out your pictures and create a freaky family tree. Be creative and let your kids help pick out the paper and font styles.
Place a costume witch's hat, enchanted with black buttons and ribbons, atop an antique candlestick.
Pumpkin on a Stick
Display these whimsical pumpkin sticks in antique crocks embellished with the words "Tricks" and "Treats" added with paint or letter stickers. Pen facial expressions onto miniature pumpkins and skewer the petite jack-o'-lanterns on painted wooden dowels. Finish with ribbon bows, and send home with guests in remembrance of the Halloween festivities.
Set a family-room chair a-tremblin' by draping it with a white cloth and adding ghostly black felt eyes.
Wrap pint-size boxes full of Halloween candy with color-copies of old letters and journals; they'll look as if they were just pulled from the depths of a dusty attic.
Sprout the skeletal remains of a neglected tree in a dark pot; then drape its bony limbs with a garland fashioned from black beads, handmade paper ornaments, and mini gourds with ghost faces drawn on them.
Carved Country-Style Pumpkins
Carry a touch of the party's old-fashioned flair to some carved pumpkins on display. To create these types of intricate designs, don't carve all the way through the pumpkin rind. Simply scrape the skin off the top of the pumpkin to reveal lighter flesh underneath.
Create frightening party favors for your guests. Paint black designs on white gourds and pair with spooky owls and faux black feathers.