Making the most of a frightening situation – how to do Halloween in style

Cassandra Turner

Interior Designer

Halloween is the type of event that can send shivers down your spine… when you think about the idea of decorating your home with faux spider webs, green slime, headless gouls and plastic decapitated limbs.


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As the celebration of Halloween gains momentum in Australia, it’s not only the kids that are getting into the action. Like all good annual child-focussed celebrations, it’s become an excuse for adults to get together and socialise with friends, even if the kids are nowhere to be seen.

If you are planning on getting into the spirit this year (pardon the pun), you must know that your Halloween-themed interior doesn’t need to jar your sense of style.   I’ve held and attended Halloween parties that are far from ghoulish. In fact, I have seen Halloween events that have been styled with the same attention to detail and finesse that one might expect from an international fashion show.

Essentially, whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, Easter or Uncle Max’s request for a Wild Wild West party, styling a ‘themed’ event that falls into the ‘chic not crazy’ category relies on a few factors.


Studded Pumpkin by Eddie Borgo via



Firstly, think outside the box for creative ideas in order to come up with your concept for decorations. Don’t just rely on the typical Halloween paraphernalia that is available from shops (which is basically the same in every store and generally an eye sore.) Look to films, books, art, fashion, even music for ideas that might put a spin on the commercialised concept of Halloween. You could see one thing, an image, an idea, a mood or a space that gives you something to work from. Think interpretation rather than duplication. This is how you can create an interior that has originality rather than one filled with the same items as everyone else.

Alternatively, look for ways to turn bought decorations into something unique through alterations to colour (think spray painting), unusual styling concepts or clever additions to traditional decorations (lace covered pumpkins could look particularly chic and on-trend!).


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The second key point to take into consideration to keep your Halloween décor stylish, is restraint. Less is always more.   Don’t try and be everything Halloween at once (like a child would do), rather, pick one or two Halloween elements and apply elements and principles of design like colour, repetition and scale to give your styling an edge and an impact.


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What is your current interior style? Consider how you can make your decorations compliment that.   If your personal and interior style is modern and cool, look for styling elements with an edge. Marble or concrete skulls. Black crystal tealight candle holders. Carved pumpkins with gold studs.


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Repetition is a great tool in event styling and can make even a basic item look great in a space. Take an item and repeat it 50, 100 or 1000 times, and suddenly it has a new life.   Find one quirky Halloween element (for example, plastic bones), find a unique way to display it (for example hung from the ceiling or covering a wall) and repeat. Then, stop. If you repeat an item en masse, make this the focal point. Don’t try and do 10 other different things, unless you have a house with 10 different entertaining spaces!


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Consider the existing colour scheme of the space you are decorating and decide what will work and what will just look childish. Think the same way you would if you were buying accessories. For example, will a stack of orange pumpkins might pop against your white walls and concrete floors or just look like clutter given that you already have lots of colour and other accessories going on in the space. If that is the case, maybe you use black, white or gold pumpkins instead. Consider spraying or painting your styling elements- this can make all the difference to how the overall room looks – beautiful but still referencing Halloween. Just like Christmas doesn’t have to be all about the traditional colours of green and red, Halloween doesn’t have to be orange and black.


Image via Pinterest



Keep it simple. If event styling is not your thing, you can still make an impact. Find one key element and stick to that. Try a house full of candles (all one colour, various shapes and sizes, grouped en masse), a wall plastered with black and white images of skulls, repeated over the whole wall (you can print an image on standard A4 paper) or a giant image of something bizaare as a single focal point.


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If you are aiming for a stylish party interior, then be the stylish host. It’s like the icing on the cake. Refer to points above on originality and restraint even for your costume. Be clever and reference fashion shows for outfit or hair and make up that might have a nod to Halloween, without having to resort to fake blood fangs.

Go forth, be creepy but be cool.


Follow Cassandra: Website | Instagram | Pinterest

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