Frightfully chic: Don’t turn your home into a horror show at Halloween

Many of us who missed out on trick or treating last year are planning to make up for lost time.

Searches for Halloween-related products are up 235 per cent on 2020, according to arts and crafts retailer Hobbycraft, while luxury children’s party site Meri Meri says Halloween sales have increased by more than 100 per cent.

‘After such a challenging 18 months, it is great to see the nation getting in the spooky spirit,’ says Katherine Paterson, customer director at Hobbycraft.

Gourds galore: Hobbycraft decorations. Just because you’re decorating for children, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style this Halloween

The hashtag #halloween has nearly 100 million posts on Instagram, thanks to its visual appeal. But that doesn’t mean you have to deck your home out in ghouls and ghosties: there is a more refined middle ground.

Paula Sutton, author of Hill House Living, is a big fan of the season for the decorating opportunities it provides.

‘I display carefully selected groups of pumpkins, along with large tubs of chrysanthemums on my doorstep from the end of September until it’s time to switch over for Christmas,’ she says.

Gothic glitter

Just because you’re decorating for children doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. To start with, don’t limit your Halloween colour scheme to orange and black.

‘This year our design team introduced an ombré pastel colour palette for Halloween,’ says Meredithe Stuart-Smith, founder of Meri Meri. 

‘This sits comfortably in a more neutral home setting yet introduces a festive and playful nod to the season.’

She adds that ‘a fun activity with the kids is baking tie-dye ghost biscuits to go along with the pastel theme’.

If you are going more traditionally spooky, Stuart Smith says glitter and gothic pair well. ‘Our design team fell in love with black crows this year which offer a bit of horror and just the right amount of quirky style.

‘Kids adore the bat chandelier and parents love the black crow napkins, which look sophisticated.’

Hang their sparkly bat chandelier and pretend any cobwebs are part of the scheme.

Hobbycraft pumpkins (£5 for 4). Searches for Halloween-related products are up 235 per cent on 2020

Hobbycraft pumpkins (£5 for 4). Searches for Halloween-related products are up 235 per cent on 2020

Spooky doorsteps

Give your home Halloween kerb appeal by decorating your doorstep. While Sutton uses seasonal real flowers, Lauren Hoyal-Mitchell, the brand and creative lead at Hobbycraft recommends using faux garlands to decorate the door frame.

‘This simple addition will elevate the entrance way to your home and create real impact.’ She also suggests ‘hanging decorations to add height and baskets filled with logs to add texture’.

Along with Ginger Ray’s foliage garland (£12), try homemade hanging stars and garlands from the Art Star (from £10).

Pick a pumpkin

A pumpkin is key to a Halloween look, even if you’re dialling down the spookiness.

Hobbycraft reports search rises of 181 per cent for its ceramic pumpkins and a range of paint-your-own cardboard ones.

Meanwhile, Meri Meri has paper honeycomb pumpkins (£24).

‘Decorating with pumpkins and gourds might not be a new idea when it comes to Halloween, but I like to book in my visit to the pumpkin patch as soon as October arrives and call it decorating for autumn,’ Sutton says.

If you can’t make it to the farm, you can still pick up a pumpkin from supermarkets. Sutton has tips on which ones to choose, so as not to scare off any good taste. 

‘I tend to choose paler-coloured pumpkins and gourds in grey-blue, pale primrose and chalky peach hues rather than orange,’ says Sutton.

Pumpkin carving is still great fun to do with children, and for those up for more of a challenge, the DIY site ManoMano has instructions for a DIY pumpkin planter, where you fill the pumpkin with compost and add heathers for its hair.

Autumn wreaths

Wreaths are no longer just for Christmas; they look wonderful in autumn too.

‘As florists, we love autumn, you have so many more vibrant colours to work with, plus fruits, flowers and vegetables are all at their peak,’ says Michal Kowalski, co-founder of florists Blooming Haus. 

‘If you’re making a wreath for Halloween, visualise the colours you want and work accordingly. You can have fun foraging in the countryside; look out for dried leaves and horse chestnuts on the ground.

‘Seasonal fruits make nice decorative touches, such as apples cut into rings to dry out and attached to your wreath.’

What your home needs is a… bath rack

On retailers’ websites, the bath rack — also known as a bath bridge, a bath caddy or a bath tray — is often pictured holding a large plant.

This may be attractive, but not realistic. Imagine the mess if a plant fell into the bath.

Tub trend: At The Range, you will find a distressed grey slate rack for £30.99, ( pictured)

Tub trend: At The Range, you will find a distressed grey slate rack for £30.99, ( pictured)

If you like to relax in the tub, you need a rack for a mobile phone, a book and a drink. These should take your mind off the higher cost of heating the water this winter.

But outlay on a bath rack can be modest. Wilko’s bamboo rack is just £8 ( 

At The Range, you will find a distressed grey slate rack for £30.99. The Bath Rack has a wooden rack for £27.95 and one with a Victorian tile pattern (, £49.95).

Before you buy, measure your tub or opt for an expandable rack, for £7.99 at The Range ( A swish version is £99 at John Lewis ( 

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