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. Sarah says

    hahaha… my favorite part of the vid is when you are talking about the dog bone treats… hehe… Burger is fixated on that treat as you move it around and talk about it he just watches it the whole time :) Love it!

  2. says

    I love it all, or at least the recap of it because I am at work and can’t watch the video at the moment, but I’ll be sure to watch it later today. My favorite thing is the arrangement on the coffee table. It’s so eerie, but also so glamorous!!! You two are always amazing me!

  3. says

    Beautiful! I just did my Halloween decorating which involved the destruction of an old purple boa scattered among candles and some construction paper bats in the window. I love what you did with the books! Would you mind my using the photo/linking back on my website for a feature I do about decoracting with books?

  4. Carolyn says

    I LOVE how Burger is paying such close attention while you talk about his bones! And then he seems disappointed when you put it back down on the table instead of giving it to him. I hope he got an extra special treat for being such a good dog on video! :)

  5. Lisa in Seattle says

    The wedding photo is one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen! I love Halloween – the more dark and decadent and elegantly creepy, the better. It’s our first year in this house and we don’t know the neighborhood, but if there are a lot of kids, we’ll do a big deal next year. We attend our friends’ pumpkin carving party every year. They cut-and-gut and provide food and drink, and we all carve for hours. We decorate their yard with at least a couple dozen pumpkins and it’s one of the high points for their neighborhood.

  6. LauraC says

    While we don’t decorate for Halloween, I agree with everyone else that you did it very classily. Much better than ghosts and witches and giant spider webs on your door! I just love fall so much and love the oranges, rusts, reds, yellows, and browns that I use to make it cozy. I also use real pine cones and leaves rather than the fake stuff you find in stores.

  7. Melissa says

    Love it!!!!! You guys did such a great job and the wedding photo is crazy. Really creeps me out. I think Sookie and Bill would be very proud!

  8. Mandy says

    I love all of your halloween decorations, they look great! When you decorate for holidays, where do you store all of your everyday decor that usually sits on those tables? It seems like you would have to have an entire closet dedicated to that! Thanks :)

  9. says

    Brilliant! I love the inexpensive decorations! Our apartment is unfortunately completely devoid of Halloween goodness, so I think I’ll have to fix this soon. We already have a ton of orange bowls and such, just need some black accessories to spice it up a little – I love that you were able to work mostly with what you already have!

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