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Halloween Decorations: Striking a Balance Between Spooky and Tasteful

by Gabriel Martinez
7 comments
Halloween decorating

When it comes to Halloween decor, some individuals revel in creating a terrifying atmosphere. Whether it’s a glowing-eyed zombie girl decapitating her stuffed bear or a towering figure wielding a chainsaw amidst horrifying screams, the objective is to unnerve. To these enthusiasts, the fright factor is an essential element of Halloween celebration.

However, not everyone appreciates this horror-centric approach, especially those with young children. For individuals like Jamie Morrissey, a parent of three children under the age of three in suburban New York, the graphic and violent aspects of Halloween can be unsettling. Morrissey aims to protect her young children’s innocence and shield them from themes they are not yet mature enough to comprehend as fictional.

For those interested in a more subdued but still captivating Halloween experience, myriad decorating options exist. Themes can range from arcane sciences and mystical wizardry to more playful, gothic inspirations. Traditional Halloween colors like black and orange are not obligatory; creativity knows no bounds. However, it’s important to note that experts in wildlife recommend avoiding fake cobwebs and lights that can entangle animals, causing injury or death.

The Spectrum of Halloween Aesthetics

Jessica Dodell-Feder, the executive editor of HGTV Magazine, opts for a minimalist color palette. She focuses on natural elements with a slightly eerie edge, such as bats or snakes, all in monochromatic black and white. On the other end of the spectrum, professional crafter Kara Whitten offers vibrant, multi-colored Halloween ideas on her website, incorporating everything from rainbow pumpkins to day-glo painted faux pumpkins.

Collaborative Craft Ideas

One engaging activity for families involves reshaping white taper candles. By soaking them in warm water until pliable, they can be bent into twisted shapes. Add facial features with a permanent marker, and upon hardening, they become ghostly table decorations.

Embracing Seasonal Colors

Betsy Cribb Watson, senior homes and features editor at Southern Living, prefers autumnal hues. Watson emphasizes that focusing on the colors of fall allows the decor to transition smoothly from Halloween through to Thanksgiving.

Time-Honored Halloween Classics

While Watson suggests avoiding the overly terrifying aspects of Halloween, she still appreciates a dash of the spooky. Handmade ceramic ghosts by Mollie Jenkins offer a charming balance between endearing and eerie, and they have gained considerable popularity, selling out annually on Jenkins’ website.

Planning a Sophisticated Halloween Gathering

If you’re thinking of hosting a sophisticated Halloween event, a plethora of upscale decorating options are available. Balsam Hill offers battery-operated floating candles for a magical Hogwarts-inspired atmosphere, while Crate & Barrel provides matte-black wreaths and haunted houses for a more modern touch. For table settings, The Spruce’s editorial and strategy director, Caroline Utz, recommends luxe textures like velvet and candles in a variety of shapes and colors.

Subtle yet Effective Decor

Emily Reaman, an interior designer based in San Francisco and a mother of a preschooler, opts for a less-is-more approach. While avoiding macabre items like skeletons and cobwebs, she and her son indulge in decorating gourds with paint and glitter, which double as Thanksgiving table decorations.


Kim Cook, a New York-based writer, frequently covers design and decor for The Big Big News. Follow her on Instagram at @kimcookhome.com.

For more lifestyle features by AP, visit The Big Big News Lifestyle Section.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Halloween decorating

What is the main focus of the article?

The main focus of the article is to explore various approaches to Halloween decorating. It covers a wide range of styles, from terrifying and horror-centric decorations to more subdued, tasteful, and family-friendly options.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience for this article includes anyone interested in Halloween decorations, but it is particularly aimed at those who are looking for inspiration and guidance in striking a balance between spooky and tasteful decor.

Does the article address concerns of parents with young children?

Yes, the article specifically discusses the concerns of parents like Jamie Morrissey who wish to protect the innocence of their young children by avoiding overly gory or scary decorations.

What alternative decorating themes are suggested for a more subdued Halloween experience?

The article suggests various themes such as arcane sciences, mystical wizardry, and playful gothic elements. It also highlights the use of seasonal autumnal colors as an alternative to traditional Halloween colors.

Are there any considerations mentioned regarding wildlife?

Yes, the article includes a note that wildlife experts recommend against using fake cobwebs and dangling lights for decorations, as they can entangle animals and lead to injury or death.

Are there any ideas for hosting a Halloween party?

The article provides several upscale decorating options for those interested in hosting a more sophisticated Halloween gathering. This includes suggestions for table settings, luxe textures, and magical atmospheres inspired by popular culture.

Does the article feature any crafts that can be done with children?

Yes, the article includes a craft idea involving reshaping white taper candles into ghostly shapes, which is an activity that both kids and adults can enjoy.

Are there any tips for making Halloween decorations last through Thanksgiving?

Betsy Cribb Watson recommends using autumnal hues in decorations so that they can seamlessly transition from Halloween through to Thanksgiving.

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7 comments

Rebecca Smith October 29, 2023 - 9:38 am

The crafts ideas are cute and doable, even for someone like me who’s not that crafty. Gonna try those candle ghosts!

Reply
Dave Williams October 29, 2023 - 11:37 am

never thought about how Halloween stuff could hurt wildlife. Gonna skip the fake webs this year, thanks for the heads up.

Reply
Megan Foster October 29, 2023 - 1:58 pm

Wow, this article’s got everything! Love that it gives options for those of us who arent into the gore. Finally, decor that won’t scare the kids!

Reply
Sarah Parker October 29, 2023 - 7:20 pm

so many good ideas here! I’ve always stuck to orange and black, but maybe it’s time to branch out. The Hogwarts floating candles? Yes please!

Reply
Emily Chen October 30, 2023 - 12:30 am

Love the tip about making decorations last through Thanksgiving. It’s like two for the price of one! Who wouldn’t want that?

Reply
Tom_Green October 30, 2023 - 7:02 am

Great read. It’s not easy finding a balance when you have small children, but still want to enjoy the holiday. This gives some really practical tips.

Reply
Jack Roberts October 30, 2023 - 8:43 am

interesting how people are so polarized on Halloween. Some want it super scary while others just want to keep it lowkey and classy. this article’s for everyone.

Reply

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