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How to decorate your home for Halloween


Our fascination with ghouls and ghosts can be traced back hundreds of years but how much do you know about Halloween and why do so many of us celebrate it? Do you go all out to decorate your home? Here we look at our love of the spooky date, and show you ways to have a house Morticia Addams would love!

What is Halloween?

The literal meaning of ‘Halloween’ is ‘hallowed evening’ and takes place on October 31st. Previously known as All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween precedes All Saints Day on November 1st, and both days pay tribute to ‘hallows’ or saints. Interestingly, October 31st is also the date of the Gaelic festival of Samhain, which marked the time of year when the seasons changed and when many believed the link between this world and the next was at its weakest, allowing the dead to be contacted. Similar celebrations at the time of the harvest can be seen elsewhere with The Day of The Dead (Día de los Muertos) on November 2nd in Mexico and Pomona in Italy on November 1st.

Why do we celebrate Halloween?

History tells us that the Celts celebrated Samhain dressed up in costumes to disguise themselves to avoid being recognised by ghosts, made lanterns and enjoyed a feast. As Christianity evolved, the pagan aspect of the holiday lessened but the basic traditions have endured. Today, we still carve pumpkins and dress up, while the tradition of trick-or-treating has its roots in the Middle Ages. The poor would go ‘souling’ on All Hallows’ Eve, knocking on doors and receiving food in return for prayers for the dead.

How to use antique and vintage pieces to decorate for Halloween

A simple way to increase the reading on your spook meter is to add some simple black masks to carefully chosen vintage prints and artwork. Alternatively, get creative by strategically placing antique heads and masks around the house or display some iconic skull art.

Books may not be the first things to spring to mind when considering Halloween décor but antique books often have fascinating covers, and don’t forget natural history books which will feature beautiful prints that can be framed for added spookiness! Our online collection of antique books is available to view here .

Scientific items can also add just the right tone to your Halloween celebrations! From a collection of old apothecary bottles that can be filled with noxious looking coloured water to medical charts and illustrations, our Scientific Items are well worth browsing. You may even find some anatomically accurate models of ears and brains! And for the really unusual, consider taxidermy. The skill involved in the preservation of the creatures is second to none and will certainly set the tone. Our current examples can be seen here.

If you entertain at Halloween, dress your table with extravagant candelabra and burn some candles ahead of your guests’ arrival so you have time for the dripping wax to build up for an even more foreboding atmosphere.

For more child-friendly décor, antique bowls or vintage fruit stands piled with gourds and pumpkins make a fun display that can be positioned at your threshold to welcome guests. And don’t forget that when trick-or-treating, our vintage clothes and mannequins may have the perfect theatrical outfit or accessory!

If you like the idea of year-round Halloween, antique furniture can create a home fit for The Addams clan. From ornate, heavily carved hallstands to Victorian monks benches, our dealers have a vast selection to peruse online and at our centres, where you can lose yourself in our four buildings, packed full of antique and vintage delights, pausing for refreshments in one of our fabulous coffee shops. We look forward to welcoming you!

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