Halloween Decorating Ideas: Bloody Candles, Crows, & Skulls

This weekend we spent a few hours combing through things we already had and popping out to Target and Michael’s for a few affordable Halloween accents to decorate three different areas of our living room just in time for the season of ghosts and goblins. We don’t usually go all out for the spookiest day of the year, but when we realized that purchasing a silver candy bowl, a faux crow (say that ten times fast), two votive candle holders, a plate, one red candle, two white faux pumpkins and a few black feathers could transform our console table, coffee table and dining table we were totally game.

So here’s a little video all about how we repurposed everything from an Old Navy scarf to dog treats (yup, dog treats) to get into the Halloween spirit without breaking the bank:

And for those of you who can’t view the video at work, here’s a little summary for ya. We opted for an eerie Edgar Allen Poe meets Twilight & True Blood effect, so we skipped the orange pumpkins and fall leaves and went for high contrast black and white accessories set off by a few haunting accents like an ominous black crow and some DIY bleeding candles.

For the console table we dug up an old scrap of burlap to use as a raw and rough looking runner and placed various candlesticks and votives around the new silver candy bowl we picked up.

We also found books laying around with appropriately spooky titles and black spines to work into the display…

…and even realized that old printing blocks from the flea market that spelled LOVE could be rearranged to spell EVOL- just one letter away from EVIL. So we flipped over the O block and markered in an I on the blank wood back. Voila- a cheeky little greeting (or warning) to add interest to our display.

John also had some free Photoshop fun with our wedding picture, turning us into skulls and framing it above our console table in a let’s-see-who-notices experiment for the Halloween season. Switching out art is just another easy way to add some dark and creepy interest around the house, so from ominous silhouettes to spiderweb sketches there’s no end to what you can DIY for your walls on the cheap.

When it came to the coffee table we gathered every single candlestick and votive holder that we already owned (from mercury glass beauties to crystal and glass varieties) and grouped them en masse on the coffee table.

Then we just dug out some white taper candles we already had and purchased just one thing for this entire set up. A $69 cent red candle, which we heated up and used to drip red wax down the tops of our existing candles (an old Martha Stewart trick we love).

Presto- an arrangement that Edward and Bella (or Sookie and Bill) would be proud of.

Then for the dining table we pulled out my aforementioned Old Navy scarf to repurpose as a runner (the black and gray pattern almost looked like spiderwebs) and a glass greenhouse that used to house a fern in the guest bedroom (which we used to display a silhouette of Burger that John gifted me a while back). It’s funny how putting something behind a dome of glass makes it look like a specimen or some sort of eerie mad-scientist experiment. We even added an old fashioned stopwatch for even more of that scientific vibe (a relic from my past as copywriter- I used it to time scripts I wrote for commercials).

Raising the glass dome up on a cake stand created some interest and height in the center of the table, and then we just added our two white faux pumpkins, two hurricane candle holders from the den, and even two white ceramic pears from the kitchen. The finishing touches were six small ceramic-looking bones which are actually Burger’s treats! They’re made of oyster bones and they’re odorless and actually look super convincing among our other Halloween décor- especially when paired with Burger’s silhouette. And the funny thing is that they’re around $2 for a bag of 15 at Target (which we already had laying around) so although we used six on the table there were still plenty left over for Burger’s belly.

So that’s how we sifted through our closets, cabinets and even Burger’s treat dish to come up with three fun little arrangements for the Halloween season. And because we know you people love a budget breakdown…

  • Silver candy bowl – $14 (Target)
  • Faux-crow – $4 (Michael’s)
  • Smoky glass votives – $7 for two (Target)
  • Skull plate – $2 (Target)
  • Red candle – 69 cents (Michael’s)
  • Two faux-pumpkins – $5 for both (Michael’s)
  • Black feathers – $2.00 (Michael’s)
  • Grand Total: $34.69 (which breaks down to around $11 per arrangement)

Not bad considering we were able to snag a few things we can use all year round (like our new silver bowl and the smoky glass votive holders). Plus we love that we now have a little go-to collection of Halloween accessories that we’re sure we’ll  be able to repurpose in a whole new way next year. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… we still have at least 30 hungry neighborhood kids to shove candy at THIS Halloween.

And speaking of doling out candy to the adorable 3 foot tall ghosts and mummies who ring our doorbell, that’s always our favorite activity along with getting together with friends. Do you guys have any fun Halloween plans or traditions? We’d love to know what DIY decorating schemes you have up your sleeves and whether you’ll go door to door, dish out candy or meet up with friends on the 31st. And stay tuned for some more Halloween-related projects coming down the pipeline, from pumpkin carving to porch decorating and more!


  1. Jen Z. says

    Love it all! You guys are so good with stuff like this. I need to decorate for the Fall. I’m not that into just decorating for Halloween, but I really love what you guys did. Great job! {clapping}

  2. Amanda in Boston says

    Looks great. I think it is really hard to decorate for holidays without it looking cheesy. Your living room looks ready for Halloween with a classy feel! Great job, I’m headed to Michaels to get some of those white pumpkins!

  3. Olga says

    I’m also not into Halloween, but this looks very neat and dramatic. You pulled off the look you were going for. Sweeeet!

  4. says

    I love all y’all’s ideas! Everything looks great and is so different than what you’d find in the stores.

    And thanks for the picture/text recap of the video. That rocks!

  5. says

    OMGosh you guys are geniuses! We don’t celebrate halloween in any way, shape, or form, but if we did, I’d be copying your ideas. Brilliant! And much more fascinating with your eerie and disturbing take rather than the typical orange pumpkins and black cats, spiders, etc. that can get a bit cartoonish.

  6. Sarah says

    Thank you for the ideas! Please, please, please keep the halloween themed ideas coming! My husband and I are throwing a dual-action halloween and housewarming party on Friday October 30th and I’m in desperate need of design inspiration to bring our house up to seasonal level without looking too crazy.

    Thanks for the headstart!

  7. Vanessa says

    I like the book idea, and will be borrowing it :) Funny thing, I thought Mary Roach’s book Stiff was much better than Spook, but in any case, both are being used as decor!

    This year’s halloween party theme is “Dead Celebrities”, paying homage to those who passed this year (Farrah, Teddy, Walter, Patrick, MJ, etc.). Decorations, costumes, music, and signature drink all fit the theme. Invitation was a coroner’s toe tag (courtesy of Mrs. Limestone)! I love Halloween.

  8. says

    Ideas are great as always. I like holiday decor that isn’t overwhelming…especially digging the black feathers. And I’d like to second Rachel’s thanks on the recap. THANK YOU!!! I’m an at work reader most days & it’s hard to wait till lunch when I can watch videos to get my dose of YHL.

  9. Vanessa says

    Oh, if anyone is looking for a scarf/table runner (tee hee) like Sherry’s I found something similar at Wal-mart for about $10.

  10. Lisa says

    Very creative guys!! The skulls on the wedding pic and the words ‘evil’ are a bit too demonic for me. Not something I’d want to bring into my home. We don’t celebrate halloween in any way but I do enjoy the harvest aspect of the season. Plus, pumpkins seem to decompose really quickly in my composte, very eco-friendly! I loved the old navy scarf idea for the table runner! :)

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