Skip to main content

Open house: Elegantly eerie Halloween decor

By Ann Hoevel, CNN
updated 11:53 AM EDT, Thu October 24, 2013
Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" inspired blogger <a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1047484'>Roeshel Summerville</a> to create this "nevermore tree." Her blog <a href='http://diyshowoff.com/2012/10/03/diy-halloween-nevermore-tree-tutorial/' target='_blank'>The DIY Showoff</a> shows how to recreate this display. Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" inspired blogger Roeshel Summerville to create this "nevermore tree." Her blog The DIY Showoff shows how to recreate this display.
HIDE CAPTION
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
Spook-tacular Halloween decorations
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Editor's note: Welcome to CNN's Open House, an interactive, online tour of iReporters' houses that showcases incredible decor. Space by space, we'll feature beautiful design moments and learn from decorators' experience. Want to show off your decorating skills? Submit your photos to our iReport assignment! Our next edition is all about decorating with orange.

(CNN) -- Silhouettes, vintage oil portraits, one-of-a-kind finds, bird imagery, lots and lots of patina -- sounds like a "Country Living" cover of flea market finds and Etsy artwork, right?

It absolutely is, said Sara Morrow, the features director for the magazine -- but it's also the modern way to decorate for Halloween.

"That elegant look, with, like, a slightly creepy factor," she said, is dramatic -- maybe a little more than plastic spiders and faux-cobwebs.

"The cabinet of curiosities, the ravens, the silhouettes," she said, "even without Halloween, I feel like that Victorian look has become a huge trend in decorating, almost year-round."

"You might hang a bunch of these oil portraits on a gallery wall in your home. You don't know who they are, you don't have any connection with them, but they're this window to what came before," she said. "And some of those portraits can be downright creepy, too."

Halloween provides adventurous decorators with the perfect opportunity to tinker with trends.

Halloween decorations like raven figurines, candelabras, Edwardian-portrait zombie holograms or even feathered wreaths are part of the larger movement toward decorative items that feel more genuine, more authentic, more personal, she said.

Halloween decorations prompt 911 call
Pumpkin carving reaches new depths
A foxy Halloween house

"A lot of shops, like Michael's and Target, are selling products, especially holiday decor, that hark back to the early 1900s," Morrow said. "People want to feel connected to the past that way."

Eschewing creepy green witch hands in candy bowls or gigantic plastic skeletons for something elegant and glitter-free doesn't necessarily mean Halloween decor has lost it's scream factor, Morrow said. The holiday has simply grown up a bit, and donned a more classic look.

"Halloween has always been a huge holiday for us at Country Living," she said, "but it seems over the years it's become more of an adult holiday than it ever has before. People aren't just looking for cutesy, cartoon decorations and costumes."

So what is hot these days? Skulls of any sort, Morrow said, birds --the creepier the better -- bat silhouettes, wreaths and black lace.

Even the humble, snaggle-toothed jack-o'-lantern is getting a makeover.

"It's amazing the things you can do with pumpkins when you think beyond carving," Morrow said. "In the past couple of years for Halloween, we've explored all sorts of different no-carve ideas. We're huge fans of painting pumpkins."

"We've done everything from painting a pumpkin a really beautiful sagey-green fall color and using a stencil to paint your door number on the pumpkin and putting it on your porch," she said, to decoupaging pumpkins with fall leaves.

So how can you add your own twist to Halloween? Here are other lessons from this week's Open House contributors:

Make it fun for kids and adults

"We love Halloween around our house because, for us, it's the official kick-off to the holiday season. Having said that, however, we have four tiny granddaughters, so all of our decorations are little-kid-friendly! My porch decorations (as well as the owl party favors) center around cute Halloween friends and my favorite fall elements: Pumpkins, hay bails and mums!" -- Robin Gay

"I balanced the kids' requests for spooky Halloween decor with my desire to keep things sophisticated." -- Sarah Macklem

"I chose the (styrofoam) pumpkins because they last longer. With styrofoam pumpkins, you can decorate early and use the decor year after year ... as a mom on a budget, I definitely love that." -- Jessica Kielman

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Tell a spooky story

"My favorite piece(s) are the skull photos since they are from our vacation. My son loved visiting the ossuary on the outside of Prague and he is thrilled that they hang in our dining room for Halloween." -- Julia Konya

"I looked at the vintage typewriter, the table and old door and thought to myself, 'There are many holiday stories that can be told with these three pieces.' For Halloween, why not honor the great writer, Edgar Allen Poe? After that I began reading ("The Raven"). The object was to place the reader inside the poem ... the raven rapping at the window, the narrator lamenting over his lost love, Lenore, all while trying to preoccupy himself with a book of forgotten lore." -- Melinda Hartzog

CNN's Alicia Stewart contributed to this report. CNN intern Cydney Fisher produced this gallery.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:05 AM EST, Thu November 7, 2013
It wasn't so long ago that orange fell off the home decor color wheel. But corals, pumpkins, rusts, even copper has brought it back.
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Thu October 10, 2013
People have used animal imagery in decorating since they were painting ancient beasts on cave walls.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Thu September 26, 2013
Once upon a time, bookshelves were just for books, a spot to proudly show off your full set of encyclopedias.
updated 8:39 AM EDT, Thu September 12, 2013
Notebooks, pens and ... a chandelier? Find out what you really need in your home office.
updated 12:38 PM EDT, Thu August 29, 2013
When it comes to pantries, your sundries can be an unexpected element of decor.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Thu August 15, 2013
If there's a villain in the world of bathroom decor, it's the standard, builder-grade light fixture. Learn why and how to avoid it.
updated 3:28 PM EDT, Fri August 2, 2013
A perfect nursery is as much for the parents as it is for the baby.
updated 11:28 AM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
Kitchens don't work like other rooms in your home, say decorators.
updated 1:06 PM EDT, Thu July 18, 2013
When it comes to outdoor living, it's all about comfort.
updated 5:10 PM EDT, Tue July 9, 2013
A fireplace isn't just a spot to keep logs and kindling. It's where you put your heart on display.
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Wed July 3, 2013
If there's one thing that kills bedroom coziness, home decorators say, it's a bed-in-a-bag set.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT