Tag Archives: diy halloween decorations

A Very Vintage Halloween

21 Oct

This year, we massively scaled down our production. There wasn’t any way we could top last year’s  decorations and we didn’t have enough time to go all out this year. It just didn’t feel like October without a Halloween party though, so we threw together a last-minute vintage party theme. We both adore vintage Halloween pictures and decor and we wanted to have an intimate and scaled down retro bash.

We picked out a favorite vintage Halloween picture for our invite and created our invitation using Pingg. I really used to like Pingg but after I sent out the invitations I noticed that they’ve added way more annoying ads to the site, so I think we’ll go back to Evite if we throw another party.

I found some fun vintage games to play as well. For “Spooning Match,” we  tied two spoons together with a 6-inch piece of ribbon and then had couples race to finish a bowl of ice cream and for “Ducking for Apples,” we tied  apples to fishing wire and then had guests try to finish an apple for a prize.

For the decorations, N spent the whole week cutting out 113 construction paper bats. He then made a papier-mâché moon and we dropped a glow stick into it to give it a nice eerie glow. I wish the pictures could show how amazing the moon looked!

N stuck most of them to the wall and then we hung a few for a 3-D effect.

We placed the dessert table, jam-packed with mini muffins, Italian cookies, caramel apples and candy, below the bats. I bought some spiderweb shaped collage paper from Target and then taped them together to create a table runner to place over the purple table cover. Our awesome Halloween tree served as a perfect centerpiece and some battery lit candles finished off the effect.

For the bar, I made some spiked apple cider from this  Martha StewartShrunken Heads in Cider” recipe. It was okay, but far too much effort for the overall taste.

N threw together an awesome graveyard for decorating the bar. He used an old artist’s clipboard as a base and then he shaped hills using chicken wire. He then papier-mâchéd and covered it all with real dirt to create the ground. For the grass he used, well, real grass. To scale it though, he ground it up in a coffee grinder and then glued little bunches all over the graveyard. The tombstones are all made of card stock and the “trees” are really pieces of a dead tomato plant (damn you Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter!) Anyhoo, I really loved his walnut pumpkins too, they each have their own distinctive features. The “stems” are pieces of twisted paper painted green.

Our good friends Tiff and Joe (check out some of their art in my earlier posts) drew and then hand cut the scaredy-cat, the dancing cats and the rats. They looked killer!!! Here’s Tiff’s scaredy-cat at the base of the bar.

You can see Joe’s dancing cats on the mantle.

N and I created the colorful vintage kitty out of construction paper. N first drew the cat on black construction card stock paper based off of a vintage design we found online. Then we traced and cut out the various pieces out of colored construction paper and layered them on with glue. I love how this turned out. We gave it away as a prize for the best costume.

We got this idea from Martha Stewart’s Halloween Central. Joe didn’t need the templates though and he free-handed the rats. They really creeped everyone out!

For the living room, we just draped white sheets over all the furniture to make it look like an abandoned house. N hung up some banshees from the ceiling and we used candle light to make it feel more haunted.

For the food table, Joe and Tiff suggested this awesome crêpe paper decoration. It really helped to fill up the space and it was just stunning! Who knew crêpe paper could still be such an awesome addition to a party.

For the backdrop to the food table, here are our versions of some vintage looking decorations, again from Martha 😉

Even though our party was way more last-minute and smaller than most years, we had a blast. Happy haunting!

May the Birthday Be With You

17 Aug

I rarely actually have the lavish budget or the extra hours during the week (or months, depending on the size of the event) to pull off a beautifully detailed, high maintenance gala. (Oh, what I’d give for a chance to do a no expense spared event…)

Sometimes though, it’s actually the last minute, pull a rabbit out of the hat, ideas that just execute so well. For N’s birthday, I really wanted to plan and design a fantasy Star Wars table setting. Unfortunately, due to (inset excuse here), I found myself scrambling the night before the party to figure out something, okay, anything. And that’s when I found these over at Toy-A-Day:

And Bingo!!!!!!

I googled Star Wars Paper Toys and came up with hordes of sites that feature Star Wars paper craft, from origami Yoda to intricate Death Star models. Since it was already pretty late in the game, I settled on the easiest ones I could find.

We’d decided on a brunch and to make things really easy (read; to give the hostess a chance to enjoy some yummy mimosas) we set up a waffle bar along with fried chicken, french toast, muffins, bacon, fresh fruit and coffee.

For the tablescape, I simply covered the table with “space” (as in outer) pattern fabric we had left over from a previous Halloween party and scrunched up yellow fabric to use as a runner using fabric left over from my mom’s birthday tea.  Some free form folded white paper napkins resembling little spaceships / airplanes added a little something different and something to safely throw at certain people 😉 Then I arranged the little paper cutouts my Mom and I had cut and taped the night before all around the table.

For the centerpiece, I took a cactus in a little terracotta pot and arranged some flowers around it to cover any exposed dirt. Then I wrapped the pot in the same fabric as the tablecloth and set a big round vase over the whole thing to try to give it more of an out-of-this-world feel. As you’ll see, the fabric kind of got away from me, oops…

If I had had more time and resources, I’m sure it could have been much more impressive, but, I have to admit, I was pretty stoked with the results. And the food – well, I think a picture of my plate will say it all 🙂

Blitheful Birthday: Tea Anyone?

24 May

With an endless array of simply stunning tea party inspiration on the web, it’s so easy to spray out in a hundred directions. My greatest hurdle for this next event wasn’t deciding on the food, venue or guest list but rather in trying to reign myself in to create a cohesive design. Originally, I had every intention of creating a romantic but modern Georgia peach-ish gala. So I sent out this invitation using Pingg

I happen to favor tone on tone or working with hues and my hubby N was nudging me to play outside my comfort zone and I somehow ended up with something completely different when I got home from the fabric store…

While my super helpful MIL and great friend Lena were finding me teacups, N and I spent a full day browsing this awesome antique store to find the last six, which would later serve double duty as presents to mom. I picked up some ribbon, fake jewelry, mini topiary trees and boxes from Michael’s and the Dollar Tree. The rest of the decor, I found around mom’s house.

My MIL also went on a mad mission to find authentic scones and she seriously scored. These were so delicious!

And check out these adorable petit fours.

This whimsical cake creation was very yummy too

We made some tea sandwiches using a Martha Stewart Recipe and then just improvised the rest with our own recipes;

We also served some “spa water,”   to go with all that tea.

The pièce de résistance was this amazing hat from Nordstrom. On the day of the party, N, my dad and I presented her with the hat and told her to go get pretty so we could setup.

I had so much fun playing with all this color and I think it the mix of bold vibrant colors in her serene garden was really stunning. I hope you enjoy!

Prepping for the Persian New Year

3 Mar

Growing up in L.A, I’ve come to really appreciate the plethora of cultural celebrations Angelenos absorb. There’s just something so deeply rooted and satisfying in prepping for traditional festivities.

As a kid, watching my mom faithfully produce a gorgeous sofreh-ye-haft-seen each year for Nowruz (the Persian New Year) filled me to the brim with awe. Far removed from the bustling marketplace in Tehran, she would drive miles to procure the seven symbols this spread requires; sabzeh, samanu, senjed, sir, sib, somagh and serke. Though sometimes she had to improvise, she never failed in delighting us with a differing version of this spread year after year.

Few memories are as sacred to me as helping my mom prepare for this holiday. From decorating eggs in vibrant colors and exotic scripts to creating the little khanum nokhodi dolls out of tiny, dried garbanzo beans and, finally, helping place each adorned item in its respective spot, Nowruz is simply captivating. More importantly, it’s a ritual between me and my mom that’s evolved throughout the years. I’m so grateful to her for ensuring that this three thousand year old tradition remained alive in our home.

Here’s a pictures from last year’s haft seen and there are more detailed shots in the gallery below.

I’m really looking forward to our festivities this year so I’ve been busy gathering some gorgeous haft seen pictures for inspiration. Here’s to a new year of sweet, sweet memories. I hope you enjoy!

Update: For photos of our 2011 haft seen, please click here.

Sweetheart Sundaes

10 Feb

Who says a dessert bar should be for a crowd? I say it’s the perfect, unique opportunity for you and your V-Day buddy to indulge in this seriously sweet sundae bar created by Eat Drink Chic

Not only does the site provide some (potentially sticky – in a good way) vintage dessert inspiration for V-Day, they even offer template downloads for all the labels and signs. This way you can spend less time fussing over the fonts and format and spend more time

a) finding the perfect toppings

b) browsing Amy Atlas Event

Atlas is undoubtedly the creator of the most stunning dessert bars ever! Just look at this perfected showstopper;

I didn’t even realize just how much I loved her designs until I popped over to her website and found tons of dessert buffets I’ve ogled in the past without realizing they all originated in the same great mind.

Creepy Carnival: The Party

10 Nov

Well, our party came and went. Why can’t we have more dress up holidays? I petition we adopt Carnivale too. I had a really great time with my amazing fam and some awesome friends. Here’s the last installment of our Creepy Carnival.

We hung our dolls and bears, from nooses, from the huge tree at the center of the space. My parent’s neighbor saw it before the party and he’s now convinced that we may have some deep seeded psychological issues. You start hanging mutilated dolls and stuffed animals from trees and suddenly you’re crazy. I don’t get it. ; ) We’d wrapped the tree in colored lights first and we have spotlights, installed long ago for party purposes, so the area isn’t too dark.

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No creepy carnival is complete without a strong man cutout and ours is the grotesque “Great  Fausto.” First we took an old piece of plywood and cut out a face hole with a jigsaw. We painted the board, let it dry and then sketched and filled in the figure. Here he is halfway done:DSC_0011

Once he had dried, my hubby sketched and cutout the “weights” for his barbell on thin wood with a jigsaw. Then we painted and attached them to the board with nails.

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For the finishing touches, he painted on the border and sign. I think he came out really great.

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The carnival booths were a little tricky. They were constructed using two 8 ft. beams of scrap wood wood horizontally and three 6ft. beams vertically, to form a frame. Then we attached two 3 ft “legs” to prop up the frame and attached metal spikes to the 3ft. legs to secure into the ground. I forgot to take a picture pre-decoration, but I think it’s pretty obvious from the picture anyway. The tricky part was trying to attach the wood with screws. The wood was so thick that none of our drill bits could insert the screws. So first, we had to drill a hole and then insert the screw. So we sat there on the grass, with an extension cord and two drills, switching out the plugs each time, forgetting it to do it at other times wondering why the drill wouldn’t work. We were almost done with two of them when my dad walks up to us with a power strip in hand. Yeah. Can you hear the circus music? I think I was useless for a good five minutes from laughing so hard.

Once we assembled the booths, a little creaky and uneven, but erect, we had to decorate them. Our first idea was to staple butcher paper onto the fronts and paint that. So we attached the butcher paper and it looked horrible. Luckily we has some blingy red fabric and we attached that over the butcher paper. Unfortunately, the blingy fabric was see through and it still looked pretty bad. By this point, we were a little tired so we gave up for the day. The next day, I brought along some red fabric. We attached the solid red fabric (we used small nails and duct tape for that btw) and them draped the blingy fabric across it. Success!!! For a finishing touch, we installed multi-colored rope lights around the visible parts of the frame.

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We hung the prizes around the borders, set up the games behind them and we were the proud owners of carnival booths!

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We created a mini graveyard:

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And here’s a last minute idea for holding the cotton candy and caramel corn. We took a long branch, creating a “tree” with a plastic pumpkin on top and then attached shorter branches using hemp rope. Clothes pins tied to rope and dangling from the “branches”  served as dispensers, I guess you could call them, for all the goodies.

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The gift bags were filled with carnival tickets, to play games and for a raffle, beads, to hand out to the person with the best costume and glow-in the dark bracelets for fun. They could also be used to stash some candy to take home.

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I think my biggest disappointment was the dessert bar. I’d really wanted to create risers, but didn’t have the time, so I kind of scattered everything around last minute. The crows hanging out in the background are silhouettes made from black construction paper.  The jars (moved here because someone was looking at one) were my specimens from an earlier post. The tree in the middle was store bought (on sale, hee hee) years ago. I printed out pictures of circus “freaks,” two small copies of each, spread rubber cement on the back of one copy, placed a 6″ string of black yarn on it and then  placed the other copy over it, creating a double sided ornament. The looked pretty creepy hanging from the tree.

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Here’s a picture of our Grimsley. I think every single guest took a picture with him. 🙂

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We’d also hung streamers around the dessert bar and had over a hundred balloons hanging out all over the place, but, I forgot to take pictures…oops (I have to get better at that!)! There are a few more pics I need to yoink from friends to post and I’ll try to do that soon. Can’t wait for Halloween next year…

Pumpkin Carving Patterns

26 Oct

I’m carving pumpkins for the party and I found this site for pumpkin stencils. They’re not exactly horrifying, but they’re definitely fun and kid friendly. So far, I’ve carved the skull and am planning on trying the night scene next. Happy carving!

DLTK Halloween Pumpkin Carving Patterns.

Update: Check out our pumpkins, I think they came out great! What a pain though. We actually had to do two batches because our first molded after just 2 days! That was disappointing. We’d kept them in a relatively cool dry space, but whatever, damn you mold!!! 🙂

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I think carving into the skin in much easier than the traditional method. It may take a little (or a couple hours) longer, but I’m twisted like that so I didn’t really mind. Here’s what I did:

First, I printed and pinned the picture and some text to the pumpkin.

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Then, and here’s the painstaking part, I poked mini holes all around the picture so I knew what to scrape later.

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It’s a little tough to see but this is what it looks like after I’d finished poking the crap out of the poor pumpkin:

Creepy Carnival 065And finally, the scraping. We used general wood carving tools (way better than those cheap and cheesy kits) and scraped the outline first to get a better idea of the basic shape. Once the outline and details were finished I scraped some more pulp on the inside to create thinner walls for a better glow.

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All done!

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