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Halloween is literally around the corner so to kick off our Interior Designer Secrets series, we had a conversation with Kelley Sandidge, CEO and Founder of Hip Haven to get her top tips on creating a vintage Halloween tablescape this year.
Sandidge is a designer, artist, and expert in mid-century modern home decor so when it came to dressing a dining table with unique Halloween decoration ideas for a retro twist – we knew who to call.
Creating a vintage Halloween tablescape
If you’re planning on having guests over for a toffee apple or two on fright night, set a spooky scene that also ticks the boxes for stylish and oh so retro vibes.
Where do you start with a Halloween tablescape?
‘Decide on a general theme—it can be anything from a subtle nod to the holiday, with color scheme and themed napkins or candles, or you can go all out and add silly or spooky props to take it in any direction you like. This year, themes we noticed standing out with the biggest range of decor for sale in stores were Witchcraft (seeing it called “Witchcore”,) and Gothic Haunted Mansion. These are both ripe for ideas for themed glassware, candlesticks, table linens, dark floral arrangements, place cards, etc.’
How do you decorate a candelabra for a Halloween table?
‘If it’s a candelabra that already has a gothic feel, there’s not much to it but to add Halloween-colored candles like black, orange, purple, or green.’
‘They need not be dripless candles because the drips add to the effect! If you’re using a more conventional non-Halloween candelabra or candlesticks, you can start with candle color, but also add items around it that support your theme. For example, a black muslin table runner, craft store spiders, bugs, owls, ravens, etc. Some decorative pumpkins, and a few cobwebs will also get the point across.’
‘My favorite decor item for Halloween is a vintage brass candlestick in the shape of a cobra. I combine this with some modern black candlesticks that echo the lines of my vintage glass carafe and modern day stemware. On the credenza I use a Gothic style black candelabra that comes out of the cupboard just for Halloween.’
What makes the best retro Halloween table decorations?
‘Retro covers a wide span of years when it comes to decor, ranging from the late 1940’s through early 1970’s. It can go kitschy, or can have the more minimalist and futuristic look referred to Midcentury Modern.’
‘For kitschy decor items, look for inspiration in things like old monster movie posters, or vintage plastic Halloween masks. Things like witches hats, blow mold pumpkins, accordion paper pumpkins, cats, and owls all fit right in. Use the classic Halloween colors like black, orange, purple and green. In my shopping over the last few years, it seems there are plenty to choose from with a retro theme.’
‘Of course any retro table could be improved with authentic vintage items, and that’s my approach. There are many amazing styles of tableware and glassware from that era that had modernist shapes, colors and patterns. My table has a combination of vintage dishes: Poppytrail in the black and white pattern Aztec, and Iroquois and American Modern serving dishes designed by Russel Wright. I add current-day stemware, some spooky props to help set the mood, and I finish the look with Hip Haven’s Mini Retro Bullet Planter in black, planted with a spiky, plum-colored succulent as a centerpiece.’
Where is the best place to find retro Halloween decor?
‘I have found some great pieces at thrift stores and antique stores. These days most of the big brick and mortar stores have something to offer with a vintage/retro style. My newer decorations usually come from Target, Michael’s, and a few sources local to me. It can all be found online as well, between Ebay, Etsy, and a quick Google search of Retro Halloween Decorations you can find everything you need.’
Can you DIY retro Halloween table decor?
‘Absolutely! My latest fun project was a DIY Spooky Branch with Bats displayed in our Mini Retro Bullet Planter in black. In the past, I have done bat-silhouette place cards, Jack-o lanterns with succulents planted directly in a hollowed-out pumpkin, and homemade napkin rings made with raffia ribbon. I think it’s always best to have at least one DIY project in the mix, to make the decor uniquely yours.’
With special thanks to Kelley Sandidge of Hip Haven.