I love Halloween. It’s probably my favorite time of the year so I firmly believe that this holiday isn’t just for the kiddies. Of course I don’t trick or treat anymore, not because I don’t want to, but because it would be “wrong”. But I do decorate for the holiday.
I have this odd tradition of carving my pumpkin after the holiday. This is my own little tradition but I like to decorate with lots of pumpkins and I seem to never get around to carving them until after the 31st. But I love the seeds and it seems a shame to cut them up, gut them and then just toss the shells out. So my Halloween decorating lasts a bit longer than the norm.
Now you don’t have to follow my lead, but everyone can decorate for Halloween without having a house that looks like its crawling with plastic spiders, loaded with gobs of gauzy webs, and teaming with tacky skeletons. Halloween decorations can be so tasteful that they carry into the thanksgiving season and even last much longer.
Instead of going down the ghosts and goblins path try a harvest road. Focus on the gourds, pumpkins, broomcorn and Indian corn that flourish during autumn. Set up displays or decorative nooks in your house that spill over with nature’s gifts during this season. I think its important to celebrate the last crops of the season and to me bringing a bit of the garden inside makes those long Wisconsin winters seem just a little bit shorter.
Stacking piles of pumpkins is a start but before you go for the simple, try getting complex. Select pumpkins that are unusual shapes and sizes. Try using some odd colors and mixing and matching your display. You could even do a display of all white pumpkins flanked by the palest broomcorn you can find.
Decorate the top of your mantle with well-spaced gourds. I like the kind that looks like tiny pumpkins. Fill glass jars with Indian corn kernels and display them on your mantle or tabletop for a centerpiece.
Here’s a little tip I’ve discovered, check your local apple orchard for apple crates. The old-fashioned orchards, or family run farms, still make their own crates and will happily sell them to you for just a couple dollars (they cost $10 or more in a department or garden store). Stack these crates outside during the winter to let them properly age and silver and next year you’ll have some great props for your harvest display. I’ve never tried staining them but I believe that might create a nice rich effect if you don’t want them to sit outside all winter.
By turning away from the kitschy Halloween traditions you can create a tasteful holiday display that will last through the season and into the next. And if you can’t tear yourself away from the kitsch try a mix and match approach and on November 1st you can pack up your witches and broomsticks and rearrange the remaining pumpkins and gourds for a fresh display.