Victorian Gothic Halloween, A Home Tour: Part 2: The Entry & Stairwell.

As promised, here is the entry and stairwell, all set up and ready for this year’s Halloween shenanigans…

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This year I brought all my old crow decoys inside the house (see the Front Room decor HERE) and I love the way they look on top of the newel posts, so dramatic! Attaching them was challenging, but I figured it out using zip ties. (Look below to see how I attached them.) I also used zip ties to attach the garlands and lights to the railing. So quick and easy, and super fast to take down. That’s our regular Dogvacay guest Cleo the Weimeraner at the top of the stairs in the second photo. Oh, I almost forgot the mice. Good ol’ Martha Stewart mice, from Micheal’s craft store. I’ve been using them for about 4 years now.

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Here is how I attached the crows with zip ties. I then used sheer black fabric to cover up the bases and the zip ties. I also did the lights a little different this year. Instead of just stringing the tri-color and amber lights along the railing, I gathered more of the sheer black fabric around them, and draped more of the fabric down from the railing here and there. I like the look. On top of that I wrapped in my old fake fall leaves garland. (All of the garland was purchased at the thrift store years ago.) After Halloween, I’ll remove the black fabric, tri-colored lights, and crows and just leave the amber lights and leaves up for Thanksgiving.

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Here is the landing at the top of the stairs. I put a couple of those fun blinking eye shoe boxes here under the chair for a little ghoulish surprise.

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Lastly, here is the front entry at the bottom of the stairs. I used more of that sheer black fabric to drape the mirror (over a string of purple lights), the pedestal, and the chair. The skull on top of the pedistal “smokes” and changes colors. These are also from Target a few years back. I also added some little black bats across the front door. I just printed them off the computer, cut them out and attached to the wall. The graphic on the door is also just a printed image on glossy photo paper. The fun ghoul portraits on the walls next to the front door I bought at Target about 5 years ago, half-off the day after Halloween of course 😉 My vintage “trick” light at the bottom of the stairs is still one of my favorites. It was purchased at a garage sale over a decade ago for a few dollars.

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I promise to post a video tour of the Halloween decor within the week. Happy Halloween everyone!

Halloween Decor, Dia De Los Muertos Style! or…What I did outside the house this year…DIY

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I love Halloween!!! I go a little nutso decorating every year, but always on a budget. Most of our things we’ve been reusing for years, (like the fake pumpkins and crow decoys, though we do add a few new things here and there from yard sales, thrift stores, even dumpster-diving. I try and change it up a bit every year by moving things around and using things in different ways. I acquired these “hand-me-down” Dia De Los Muertos skull graphics from a big party I helped with a couple years ago, so they were Free! And I love them. It’s because of them I decided to go all Day of the Dead-ish outside this year. I used a unifying theme of hot pink fabric. (all leftover from other projects) Here is all I did, step by step:

The Front Door. This was probably the easiest thing I did. The Katrina image I printed out on my computer, the old frame I had laying around, as well as the leftover silk flowers and neon flagging tape. I little hot glue and about 3 minutes and it was done. A fun change from the typical wreath.

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The Skull Altar. The silk flowers I’ve collected from thrift store, usually at about $2 a bunch. The dish I’ve had for ages, and the candles were another hand-me-down from that party of yore. (they are about $1.50 each at many grocery stores). The skull was a failed experiment from last year that I found another use for here. It is cello clay (fine Paper Mache) in a skull cake form from Wilton’s that I purchased on Ebay a couple years ago. I spray painted it white, was not happy with it at the time, and set it aside. I found it in the Halloween storage boxes this year, added a little stain to age it, and now it looks like a concrete skull. Great for the theme! I hot-glued it onto an old ceramic plate along with the silk flowers. I put some hot pink fabric scraps over the existing patio table, added a few of the candles and one of the big skull graphics* and voila! The Skull Altar.

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The Patio Table. The patio table is very simple, Just some leftover hot pink fabric (It’s acetate lining fabric originally from Distinctive Fabric that I got for about $1.50 a yard on sale), one of the old fake pumpkins, some of the silk flowers tied in a bunch with an orange ribbon, and a couple of the candles. One of things that makes it look good is that I knotted the fabric in a few random places. (the succulent garden has been on the table all Summer, I just moved it to the chair.)

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The Main Patio Display. The big display next to the door is also very simple. I draped some sparkly hot pink fabric over a string of pink lights, and added the skull graphics* on top of them. I also added a second string of pink lights behind the big skull to illuminate the tissue eyes. I put another fake pumpkin on the existing pots and added a few more of my silk flowers. (the white wrought iron things are always on the porch I just moved them to be part of the display.)

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Crows & Pumpkins. I love my crow decoys. I’ve had them for about a decade and use them somewhere every year. This year most of them are inside, but I played with the two outside ones and came up with this. The holes in the bottoms of the crow just happen to fit perfectly over fake pumpkin stems. I added a little hot glue to hold them there and then glued on a few of the silk flowers, and this is the result. I like the way it turned out.

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The rest of the yard. I placed the rest of the fake pumpkins around the yard, and the two I have that are missing their lights went on the plant stakes in the front pots. I kept it simple this year 😉 If you look closely, you can see a couple more of the big skull graphics in the upstairs windows.

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Here are some more pictures of the front for you. Enjoy!

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* The Skull Graphics. These were made by having Day of the Dead skull images (that were purchased from istock.com) printed out at about 2′ x 2.5′. These were attached to foam-core board with spray adhesive and cut out with an Xacto knife. I also cut out the eyes on a few of them and taped colored tissue on the backs so light could shine through.

How I Did My Yard for Halloween This Year…And it’s All on the Cheap, of Course.

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Halloweeeeen!!

Did I mention I LOVE Halloween? Here’s a look at our front yard this year…

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The Front Gate. The 2 pots are changed out every season. This year I simply added fake Fall foliage and my beloved Crow decoys. All my Fall foliage was been gathered over the years at thrift stores for a couple bucks a piece. I scored all my crow decoys on Ebay. I’ve had them for about a decade and still love using them every year. They are indestructible! I added a little orange sparkly ribbon this year. The sign on the gate was an alley find: Free!

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To the left just inside the gate is the “Ball Garden”, where I’ve added a few fake pumpkins. To the right, more fake pumpkins, and more foliage and crow decays in the tall pots. A little trick with the fake foliage: I fill the pots with real Fall leaves (we have no shortage of those this time of year!), then add the fake stuff. It helps fill in the pots visually. OK, I hear many of you purists scoffing at my fake pumpkins. Believe me, I’d have real ones if I could, but the ravenous army of squirrels around here would eat their faces off within 24 hours (unfortunately I know this from experience). So faux pumpkins it is! We’ve been collecting these over the years from various thrift stores for a few bucks a piece.

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I continue the faux pumpkins up the steps (I still need to tape down the extension cords) and onto the porch (I do like a solid theme, I guess you’d call mine “Crows & Pumpkins”). The two pots up on the stoop are also changed out for the seasons, and these I wrapped in translucent black fabric with a little orange ribbon, and there are strings of orange lights in the pots just under the crow decoys. This year I added the Glittery Black Sticks to the pots. They sparkle like crazy! The columns on either side of the stoop are simply wrapped in more orange light strings and sheer black fabric, and topped with a little of the orange ribbon..

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On the left side of the porch sits another fabulous alley find table, awaiting a paint job. I dolled it up with more of the black fabric, some old dried out gourds (I save and dry out gourds every year, after they have been used fresh on the mantle inside), and of course, another crow decoy.

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To the right of the door sits this white column, done up in similar fashion. The door itself is surrounded with more orange string lights draped over with more of the translucent black fabric. I snagged the Fall wreath at the thrift store, and added a bit of the black fabric and orange ribbon (after Halloween, just remove the fabric and ribbon and it’s perfect for Thanksgiving!) The image above the door is just vintage crows and pumpkin clip-art I printed onto gloss photo paper on my home printer. (The porch is covered, so no moisture can get at it)

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My favorite part this year are my home-made Monster Eyes that blink at night. They look great! We always save one of the faux pumpkins for the porch light, using a compact florescent of course so there is no fire risk. Here are a couple more night shots:

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Almost everything in the yard came from the thrift store or is home-made. The only things I bought this year are the spool of orange ribbon and the sticks and glitter paint. Everything can be reused for years to come.

Next time, the inside of the house!

How did you decorate for Halloween? I’d love to hear about it in the “Leave a Reply/Comment section below.