The most enduring Halloween decor, if you ask me (and no one did), is a blend of classic, kitsch H-Ween foolishness, and all the sincere trappings of a budding occultist/baby Pagan. Think the Home Depot Skeleton, flanked by artisanal gothic creations, and slimy lamps, pumpkin string lights, and dried plants that could’ve come from the Interview with the Vampire set. It’s a little tacky, pretty classy, and will have your friends wondering if you actually *do* use that crystal ball. Keep them on their toes.
To be clear, I’m not talking about how to decorate your home for a Halloween party. Autumn is upon us, and it's the best time for seasonal decor, so this is the obligatory makeover scene where your home goes from IKEA-meets-CB2-normie to the House on Haunted Hill. Vincent Price has now entered the chat, dishwasher-cooked salmon recipe in tow, ready to flesh out your home in ghoulish vibes for the next few months. Yes, months. Spook Sâisøn lasts from now until November 30 (fight me), so you’ll need decorations that go the distance. And who doesn’t want to fall in love with a giant Beetlejuice Sandworm every morning?
The trick to getting fall decor that won’t feel passé is to replace a chunk of your existing decor—lighting, fruit/candy bowls, floral arrangements—with classic spook town shit. I recommend gathering pampas branches from highway traffic divides, and foraging for ookie spooky tree branches and leaves in Central Park. Sprinkle them amongst some gothic Skymall-worthy sculptures and quality pumpkin spice scents; find the best come-hither candles and 90s slasher movie decor. Adopt a vague vampire accent, and you’re ready.
Fasten your capes, pump up the fog machine, and let’s fly.
Get your fall foliage
Unless you remember to ask for flower food or buy hearty blooms, keeping floral bouquets alive is lowkey stressful. Luckily, fall foliage is for hot and lazy people with good taste, as evidenced by the abundance of low-maintenance, high-style wreaths and dried flowers that abound during the season. Get some Spanish moss, and hang it from your mirror while you mold your vampire fangs; use pampas branches as an affordable, high-drama way to fill your living room.
Serve up spooky stuff
Nothing really cements the autumnal spirit in your friend group like throwing one of those corny but delightful parties where you serve up “worm” spaghetti and martinis accented with olive “eyeballs.” Seriously, that shit really is fun—and it’s even more fun to keep serveware on hand that will set the mood, like these trippy, occult-ish plates from West Elm.
When you pour the drinks (which, make no mistake, must be flowing freely), go with glassware ensnared by snakes…
Or held up by skeletal hands. Like, seriously, how sick is this bar cart? We’d definitely keep it on display year-round.
Amber is the color
Your life is now lived betwixt the shadows of swanky, spooky candles and lamps. Make sure they all look as if they were carved by unhinged Surrealists, goblincore babes, or people who have LOL’d in the face of death.
The category is “retro Halloween”
Picking a favorite era for H-Ween decor is like picking a favorite child, or hot sauce. Difficult (but not impossible), and subject to change.
This year, we’re leaning into collectibles from the late 20th century, from Japanese-language Dario Argento posters to a custom A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 lamp to put by the TV during movie night (peep the Buffy the Vampire Slayer one, too). You really don’t need much, man! Even some classic pumpkin string lights will do aaaaall the atmospheric work.
Because Home Depot Skeleton Needs a Bud
Does the Home Depot skeleton (now selling on eBay for $$$) still have a gorilla grip on our wet dreams? Welllllll:
But Design Toscano’s novelty sculptures are the goddamn blueprint for spooky season. As one of the last, truly weird purveyors of stuff on the web (please see: the skeleton throne and the cursed, giant crab chair), we’ll always look to them first for Halloween inspiration. But also: Peep sites like Wayfair and Cost Plus World Market for solid statement decor. Everyone needs a massive spider hanging from their fire escape.
A solid candy bowl
Fruit? Pffffffffft. The next few months are dedicated to bowls of candy and Entenmann's Apple Cider Donuts. Maybe some apples, for posterity. Get you a bowl that can do both, like a mini cast iron cauldron, a bony dad joke bowl, or an animatronic skull to scare the kiddos.
A cinnamon broom
Ah, a classic. One of these suckers will infuse your whole home with the heavenly scent of cinnamon, effectively pumpkin-spicing your entire domicile. There’s a reason they fly off the shelves year after year—they’re an instant hit of spooky-season ambiance.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.