HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Here is the Video House Tour as Promised…

Here it is. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!! Here’s a 5-minute video of our house all done up for the frightening fun. !


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!

Victorian Gothic HALLOWEEN!!!!!! A Home Tour: Today, the Front Room. Decorating on the Cheap DIYs, Tips & Tricks.


Did I happen to mention I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I live in an old “Denver Square” Victorian home, so our decorating tends to be a sort of  “Victorian Goth” style. Today we’ll tour the Front Room, where most of the Halloween Magic happens. Everything you see is either DIY, found, reused, or picked up cheap at the thrift store. This year the only things I spent actual cash money on are a couple of pumpkins, the little gourds, and of course the candy. The biggest splurge was a giant 20 pound white heirloom gourd. It was just too cool to pass up, and I’ll use it for Thanksgiving too. TIP! The trick to keeping your Halloween decor fresh is to use your old stuff in new ways. Move it to another room, create new combinations, or paint it.

Let’s start with the table shall we? (See picture above). Most everything on the table I’ve had for years. The candy jars and beakers I’ve been collecting from the thrift store whenever I find them, usually about $3-5 each.  Even the candy corn is “reused. (I put it in the freezer after last year’s celebration ;-). Those plastic bones were leftover from a cheap “Bag of Bones” that we used pieces from for our voodoo costumes last year. TIP! The awesome big skull, the black tablecloth, and the skeleton salad tongs were purchased half-off at Target years ago. The day after Halloween they mark everything half-off. That’s the time to stock up!

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The Mantle. TIP! The mass of sheer black fabric is what makes the look. I happened to get the fabric as free hand-me-downs from a previous large event I decorated, but you can find it cheap. The fabric is simply knotted and draped over the mantle, with red lights underneath. The red string lights serve double-duty for Xmas. The “Happy Halloween” garland I made last year. (See the DIY HERE). The pumpkins and gourdes are from the grocery store, and the glitter skulls came from Target a few years back. The pumpkins-and-crows graphic I printed out on the home printer last year and reused. See if you can spot the “ghost dog” in the second photo 😉


For the cabinet to the right of the fireplace I created a new vignette by putting all the white decorations together there. These are all things we’ve been using for Halloween for years except the mask. It’s been hanging in our closet for a couple years and I decided to add it into the mix for Halloween this year. (we have a thing for masks 😉 And there’s more of that sheer black fabric. You’ll notice it all over the room, used as a “unifying” factor for the decor. Knotting it adds interest.


For the cabinet to the left of the fireplace, we had a little fun. I emptied the cabinet and created a little scene in there with a few “devilish” items we had elsewhere in previous years, keeping it fresh by moving things around from last year. The top of the cabinet is the same as last year (See a DIY on those candlesticks HERE) There is nothing new here, just the old stuff “re-purposed”.


Remember those ghoulish blinking eyes that were outside last year? Here they are, moved inside. This is just 3 of the shoe box eyes stacked on top of each other and covered with the sheer black fabric. The black glitter sticks that were outside last year have been placed behind the eyes this year, and I removed the regular art on the wall and replaced it with a couple vintage dime store masks I’ve also had for years.

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The Window. I love how this looks. These are my old crow decoys that I usually put outside. I brought them all inside this year and put two of them in the big pots. I added some more of the sheer black fabric and some black feather boas to create a “nest’ for them and cover their bases. There’s that giant gourd I mentioned earlier. The skull collection inside the black and white display is actually there year-round. There’s a reason why our  friends call us “Gomez and Morticia”!

Here are a couple more pictures for you to enjoy. I hope you’ve been inspired! Next time: The Entry and Staircase.

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That’s our pug Emma in the first picture, and our “guest” Miss Cleo the Weimeraner in the second. (we dog-sit through Dogvacay) What hams!

Beetlejuice-esque DIY Halloween Striped Candlesticks…with Electrical Tape! So Easy it’s Scary.


Fun striped candle sticks! Very “Nightmare-Before-Christmas”/”Beetlejuice” looking. This was crazy-easy. Black electrical tape. That’s it. Use another piece of tape as a spacer, and just wrap the tape around so it overlaps a tad. The tape is shiny and looks great, and so cheap to do it’s ridiculous. Like, pennies. These are 24″ white tapers, but you could do this on pretty much any candle. This would be fun on orange or red candles too..

Here’s the BEFORE:


Here’s the WRAPPING TAPE part:


And DONE! The whole thing took about 10 minutes. (Of course, be careful if you are going to light the candle, and remove the tape. It will get all melty and gross if the flame hits it, and will probably be very hard to clean up. Never leave candles unsupervised!)


(If you are wondering about my black kitty, I’ve had him about a decade. He came from Dept. 56. The silver candlesticks came from the thrift store (about $8 for the pair as I recall.) The antique mirror was my man’s before I moved in.)

Charming Victorian Gothic Halloween Garland DIY – Plus FREE PDF Template!

I LOVE Halloween! I’ll be doing a bunch of fun Halloween DIYs for decor, food, and fun, so FOLLOW the blog and you won’t miss a thing!

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This Halloween Garland is super easy, cheap, and fast to make! I love the look, it goes perfectly with our old Victorian house. Here’s how I did it, there’s a downloadable PDF a the end for you so you can make it, too.

I made these entirely out of supplies I already had on hand, so it didn’t cost me a thing, but even if you had to buy the supplies, it would be pretty cheap. I created the template on my istudio software, and printed it out on glossy photo paper. This is the key to a good looking garland. The thick paper is easier to work with, holds it shape, and the glossy finish makes it look more professional (I buy photo paper in bulk at Costco).  First, gather your supplies. I used orange tissue paper, orange striped baker’s twine, and duct tape. (there are many other things you could substitute for the twine, use your imagination!):


Then cut out the letters with a sharp pair of scissors or an Exacto knife, leaving a little white around the black circle lines. Note: You’ll have more control and get a better cut (not to mention avoid wrist fatigue) if you hold the scissors steady and move the paper your cutting into instead of your scissor hand).


Then cut your tissue paper. fold it gently over on itself a few times the long way until it is about 4″ wide, then cut into strips about 1″ wide. You’ll use about 1 1/2 strips per letter.


Now it’s to assemble your garland. Duct tape! Does it get any easier than that? Finally, a project without glue-gun burns 😉 Tear off a few strips of duct tape (I used black, but any color will do, you won’t see it when it’s finished) about 1/2″ wide and have them ready. Now hold your letter circle in one had, and fold a strip of the tissue back and forth accordion-style along the rounded edge with the other, overlapping the paper about 1/2″, holding it in place with your thumb as you go. Don’t worry about being exact, or even neat, you can trim off uneven parts later. Get about 1/3 of the way around, then tape the tissue down to the paper. Do that twice more until it’s all the way around, Easy-peasy.

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At this point turn them over and see how they look. Trim the tissue to even it up if needed (I had to). Now it’s time to attach your baker’s twine (or whatever string-like think you decide to use). Cut it longer than you think you need it, and be sure to account for the ends, keeping in mind how you’re going to attach it to hang. Be sure your letters are upright on the front, then rip off a few more pieces of duct tape and tape the twine onto the letters about 1″ down from the top.

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You’re almost finished now, time to attach the backs. (this isn’t absolutely necessary, but it completes the look, and your garland will hold up longer.) Rip off some more strips of duct tape, roll them onto themselves (so the form a sticky loop, put one or two on the back of your letter, line up the plain back, and press. You’re done! Wasn’t that easy? It took me about 20 minutes to make the “BOO” garland, and about an hour to make the Happy Halloween Garland. (All of which I did on the couch watching a movie, “the Shining” if you must know. I’m serious about Halloween!)

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I love the way this looks, so perfect for our Gothy-Victorian Halloween Decor. And here’s a sneak-peak of the mantel… I’ll be posting pictures of all our Halloween decor over the next couple weeks!


And as promised, here’s the PDF: