Halloween is coming! Halloween is coming! And I love it sooo much. I don’t think I decorate for Halloween as much as I transform my home.  At my house, Halloween lasts the entire Fall season with Thanksgiving thrown in at the end. 

I like to think I am building an environment, not just temporarily decorating a space.  I am going to assume that’s because I am a stager and I tend to look at decorating as creating a particular environment or vibe. In the next few weeks, my home will slowly evolve into a mostly haunted mansion with just a drop of insane asylum.

I like to live in this place for Halloween. I am the madame of my haunted mansion enter at your own risk. 

First, let me share my most important tip of Halloween decorating. If you want to create an experience.  Don’t mix metaphors.  I know I said Haunted mansion with Insane asylum, but I really just mean haunted mansion where some questionable experiments happened.  My point is -it’s important to hold your theme.  It also makes it so much more fun to build your design.  

At the risk of sounding a bit too pyched about Halloween I would like to share some of my transformation process.  

First, I unpack last year’s pieces. 

Let me make something very clear about my Halloween inventory. 

Here is what I don’t have.  1. Blow-up anything  2. Low budget props i.e. gravestones, skeletons, witches etc.  3.  Cliche horror themed paraphanalia i.e. chuckie doll anyting, Michael Myers hockey mask, Freddie Krueger etc. 

I collect things that stand the test of time and aren’t cliche.  I have black candle candlabras that paired with black candles make such a haunted mansion impact.  I do a lot of candle holders and black candles. 

I use dress forms and mannequins and dress in old wedding gowns or black velvet and set in front of my windows. 

Old mirrors are fantastic too.   Items that are eerie but not cliche give the house an elevated look. 

This year I wanted more old hanging fabrics.  I used some old lace curtains out of staging and spray painted them black.  You can also dye but make sure you use the right dye for the fabric you have. 

I also kept last year’s Christmas wreaths and spray painted them lacquer black.  I put them over my mantles they look amazing.  The single easiest and most impactful alteration of my normal house to my haunted mansion are colored light bulbs throughout the house.  I use green (total insane asylum vibe) my neighbor uses purple.  Shhh I like green better.   

This is just the first phase.  I haven’t even started on the front porches. We are talking how to choose pumpkins and gourds without loosing the haunted mansion vibe.  

And trust me, there won’t be any shortage of vibes of when I’m done with this house! I most likely get one trick or treater this year because, like everything, COVID is going to mess that up too, but I’ll be perfectly happy knowing that I’ve upped my game this year anyway.