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Treat your house to a touch of Halloween

When I think Halloween, I think of my friend Twila, who does it up big. She teams up with Chery, one of the designers at Nell Hill’s, and the two of them have a ball as they make over Twila’s house. Every year, they come up with completely new creations, giggling and cheering as they go through Twila’s treasure trove of Halloween decorations, which she has collected through the years. Once her home is decorated to perfection, Twila hosts parties and gatherings, inviting her friends to share in the fun.

Twila likes to weave Halloween decorations into her existing fall decor. For example, Twila tricked up a bouquet on her entry table by plopping a ghoul in the center. Talk about unexpected! What tools to you have that could take on a sinister cast if placed in the right setting? How about some tarnished silver candlesticks, lanterns or iron urns?

Hunt through your house for additional props. A fedora jauntily perched on a skeleton’s head was a perfect last-minute addition, pulled out of one of Twila’s closets on a whim. I’ve found that when you set your creativity free and play around with your displays a bit, you come up with masterpieces.

When you decorate for Halloween, don’t do over the whole house. Instead, add some powerful punches in a few key places. In my home, that includes my dining room. In years past, for my fall open houses, we’ve gone to town in my dining room. Pumpkin vines twist through the chandelier and along the buffet. Gothic-looking risers hold containers of mini-pumpkins. .

Try this trick: Shroud each of your dining-room chairs in a yard or so of scrim fabric, then tie them up in back with Halloween ribbon.

The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at