mercury glass pumpkins
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The best Halloween party decorations are elegant yet still atmospheric, and often have a vintage vibe. Yes, you can stay classy, people—even while you nurture your dark side. Forget bright orange plastic pumpkins and fake cobwebs. Maybe you don’t have kids, or even if you do, you’re not into that kitschy, crafty stuff. But you still want to get in the Halloween holiday spirit. No need to go all colored-construction-paper-glue-and-glitter on us.

We have ways to spread the spirit throughout your home for your creepy-crawly soirée without being all tacky about it. Think of it as an eerie kind of elegance for your Halloween, a holiday which usually doesn’t whisper of fine taste. Rather, these end-of-October bashes typically scream bloody murder and excess. *Sigh* So passé.

“I like a fresh + clean + uncluttered aesthetic, and stay true to that thinking when it comes to seasonal decor as well,” says Landyn Hutchinson on her lifestyle blog, Living with Landyn. “While it’s so fun to be able to start embracing all things fall, sometimes it can be a tad overwhelming as to how you’ll incorporate it into your home.”

Live like Landyn, and don’t be overwhelmed by kitschy witches, fake plastic spiders, and gore galore. Chill. You can have a cocktail party, a dinner party, or a full-blown Halloween féte with quite the distinguished décor. Sit in that wing chair by the crackling fire, put down that Wall Street Journal, and grab your snifter of brandy. Drink in the following Chowhound wisdom. Then show off your newfound knowledge at your party—tastefully of course.

1. Your color scheme could be classier than the usual orange-and-black tradition or multi-colored mess.

Black-and-white is an easy—yet still ghoulish—color choice that can stay classy.

For her Halloween dinner party, Chloe Crabtree of the Celebrate and Decorate blog started with an oversized table runner of black-and-white chevron to set the stage for white chargers, black plates, and white soup bowls topped with black linen napkins. She built the rest of her Halloween tablescape around these colors.

Black and White Chevron Table Runner, $13.99 on Amazon

Bring bold design and classic colors to your table.
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Mosser Black Glass Pitcher, $60 at Sur la Table

Scalloped edges and a raven's beak spout make this opaque black glass pitcher even better.
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Follow her lead, or consider embracing just the autumnal orange: Stay in that color scheme, but use several different shades (light orange, medium orange, and dark orange) as another way to go. Add in gold or silver accents for even more dimension.

2. Do pumpkins differently.

You can buy or paint your pumpkins gold, silver, black, and white—or anything muted and more elegant than that garish orange.

Set of Three Handmade Black, White, and Gray Velvet Pumpkins, $24.99 on Amazon

Classy and everlasting.
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Or embrace the orange and emphasize it even more by adding light-up mercury glass pumpkins; that antique finish automatically makes them classy.

mercury glass pumpkins


Romingo Mercury Glass Pumpkin with Light, $25 on Amazon

This will lend a warm glow, year after year.
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A nice middle ground is to go with white pumpkins and mix in metallics, like this light and airy example from Landyn—which may be meant for Thanksgiving, but works for a modern, elegant Halloween table too, especially with the spiky antler nestled among the pumpkins.

Decorative Metal Antler, $25.99 on Etsy

Lend a little rustic charm without sacrificing shine.
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Related Reading: Creative Ways to Decorate with Pumpkins This Fall

3. Set up a smashing bar.

Decorating the bar is key. Go with a Gothic vibe and assemble skulls, pumpkins, black vases and flowers, and things that look vintage for a chic, yet eerie vibe.

Franklin Bar Cart, $151.99 at Target

This industrial chic bar cart works perfectly for Halloween but looks great the rest of the year too.
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Skull and Cross Bones Decanter, $29 at Target

Because you need something festive for serving your boos.
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4. Go Gothic and literary.

See a theme here? Call it antique, call it vintage, call it rustic. For Halloween, we’re going with Gothic. When decor-hunting, keep your eyes peeled for Gothic + (insert your fave). Here, it’s Gothic writers, actors, and poets. And as you can see, when used with restraint (and the right scene partners), even plastic insects and grim grinning skulls can look eerily elegant:

Ebros Gift Bronzed Skull Planter, $25.99 on Amazon

This bowl is perfect for low floral arrangements.
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Clothbound Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, $18 on Amazon

And this handsome edition of the classic Gothic novel is a perfect addition to your tableau.
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5. Consider the crow.

Or the raven (if you’re going all Edgar Allen Poe on us; see No. 4), and/or black cats. Head toward the Victorian era with a foreboding-animal tablescape idea like this:

Cast Resin Raven Statue, $20 on Amazon

Perch this sturdy statue on your table or mantel.
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Creepy black birds, black candelabras, ornate crystal, and gilded silverware plus black cloth accents do wonders for an otherworldly table.

Black Candelabra, $26.99 on Amazon

Insert tapers, real or LED, for flickering atmospheric illumination.
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6. Create vignettes.

You can create a little cluster with a minimum of three items; see what you already have around your home. Even things that don’t necessarily read Halloween on their own (like vintage clocks or scales, candle holders, cake plates, and Scrabble tiles) can be combined to great effect:

With a little know-how and imagination, spooky and sophisticated can pair up perfectly, and the creepy-classy coupling can leave a lasting impression…forevermore.

Header image courtesy of Target

Amy Sowder is a writer and editor based in NYC, covering food and wellness in publications such as Bon Appétit, Women's Health, Eat This, Not That!, Upworthy/GOOD, Brooklyn Magazine, and Westchester Magazine. She loves to run races, but her favorite finish lines are gelato shops. Learn more at
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