What a Tangled Web We Weave…

Everyday Adventures

This post is part of an ongoing promotion with Oriental Trading Company. All opinions and photos, below, are my own.

Simple Halloween Dining Room

View from the back hall doorway into the dining room

How much am I loving our decorated dining room? A lot!

Though I think I may add something to the drapes… maybe a large black bow over each? I’ll have to give it some thought.


Can you spot some lurking Halloween monkeys?

The hanging spider decoration from Oriental Trading Company didn’t look like much in the package, but is pretty impressive when opened up! Thanks to our 10′ ceilings not even our tallest guests will have to worry about plastic spiders skittering through their hair, but I love the way it peeks through the view from the door and throws shadows onto the wall behind it.


Some of the wall decals made their way into the dining room, as well.

I’ve given up any effort to make the dining room symmetrical. The room is about 14′ square, with the chandelier in the center of the ceiling. Yet, if we were to center the table under it, said table would block the path between the library and the kitchen. (Granted, the kitchen wasn’t added on until later, so it wasn’t a big consideration at the beginning.) On the other hand, we could line the table up with the fireplace, but then there wouldn’t be room for anyone to actually access the far side of the table.


The tall “picture” there is actually a dish towel from Kohl’s draped over a canvas board. It added some nice height to our alchemist’s mantel.

Since nothing else lines up in the room, it seemed less prudent to go through the trouble of moving the 8′ table to be able to center the spiders over it, so we opted for placing it over the walkway and I think I actually like it more!

I keep the table decorations simple, both because we do use the dining room for 99% of our evening meals and because in another week or so it’ll be covered completely by serving dishes for our Halloween party. There’s so much food at our parties that tablescaping is wasted effort!


Meanwhile, the living room presented me with 3 blank walls and a hesitancy to actually hang things on them since I’m not certain that it wouldn’t make the plaster fail faster! So I needed a way to add some sort of interest in a quick and simple way.


Cue more creepy cloth (aka freaky fabric, aka spooky cloth… depends on the store you find it at)! I drapes sheets of it over the drapes in the bay window and then had Todd help me by attaching small brads to the picture rail that rings the room and swagging the cloth between them.

Our mantle is partially hidden by the television (one day it will be mounted on the wall, once it’s been shored up enough to securely hold it!) so it’s a simple assemblage of skull candlesticks, pumpkin candles that I refuse to burn because I may never find the cuties again, and a glittery house silhouette.


Finally, over one of our sofas, we arranged a mix of wall decals to create a small scene over the chair rail. The witch, cauldron, and a good but of the bats came from the Oriental Trading Company wall decal pack, mixed in with the Tree and bat decals we purchased from Lowe’s last year.

And, of course, the monkeys decided to hand out on the sofa-back as well.

I’d like to give one more thank you to Oriental Trading Company for the opportunity to incorporate some of their new Halloween products in our home, this year! We’ve certainly had a lot of fun putting them into play and  hope our guests appreciate them at the party next weekend. There’s still a couple more days left in their sweepstakes, so don’t forget to head over and enter!

Of course, I’ve got plenty more Halloween fun to share over the next couple weeks, so I hope you’ll come back next week to see what’s next!

Extreme Halloween Makeover: Hallway Edition

Everyday Adventures

This post is part of any ongoing promotion with Oriental Trading Company. All photos, projects, and opinions are my own.

There are folks out there who turn their home, garages, or yards into haunted houses. Or who sync up running lights to music and put on a real show for the neighborhood (something Todd totally wants to do for Christmas, one day, by the way). This year, I think we’ve stumbled into that territory.

Aside from the outside decor, which anyone passing by can see, the entry way of the home is probably the place you get the most bang for your decorating buck. Trick-or-treaters see it, anyone else who comes to your door sees it, and it’s the first thing guests see when they enter your home for a visit or party. If you have a foyer, vestibule, or entry hall, it’s probably not a massive space, so it’s easier to do some high-impact decorating in this space.

Greetings of the season for sure!

Greetings of the season for sure!

That’s not a scene-setter, folks, that’s a mural I painted onto our entryway wall over the last few weeks.

A few weeks ago I was somewhat bored and restless, and sometimes that translates to a cleaning spree. There was a piece of torn wallpaper in our entryway so I decided I was just going to removed the lifted, damaged bit, just so it wasn’t hanging around being obvious, and we could go back to ignoring the 20+ year old wallpaper that we will eventually be replacing. To my surprise, though, the entire sheet came up with just a little tug.

And a little later I ended up with an expanse of white wall up the first half of our staircase.


The white wall irritated me–it was so plain! It highlighted that we haven’t hung things on the wall. It mocked me.

So I gave it a temporary makeover for the holidays!


A better view of our mural

While there are some more details I want to add (blades of grass, more detailing on the tree), I’m happy with where it is for now and can move onto decorating the rest of our entryway in our customary fashion.

The first focus is the staircase–I cannot tell you how much I love having a banister to decorate for the holidays! I have fond memories of my grandmother’s house at Christmas with stockings for the extended family lining the banister and it’s always been the epitome of holidays to me. Porch railings just aren’t the same, I’ve learned over the years!

A festooned banister makes my heart happy!

A festooned banister makes my heart happy!

Long-time readers might recognize the candy corn garland from several years (and 2 houses) ago as well as last year’s hand-stamped skull ribbon tucked in along with the tatty creepy cloth and black drapey fabric. The paper mache pumpkin is from Marshalls (several years back) and sits in the hollow created by a missing spindle.

Chandeliers need spooking too!

Chandeliers need spooking too!

More of the creepy cloth drapes the arms of our entryway light fixture. The flame-shaped bulbs and drippy-looking candle cover sleeves (the official name, apparently, for the plastic tubes that slip over the lamp bits) work especially well for Halloween, I think!

Of course, also on our stairs are two of our Oriental Trading Company scores.


You can also see some of the rough nature of the mural painting–I tried not to get too precious with it, knowing that it’s temporary.


The little rat silhouettes with their red crystal eyes work just perfectly on the stair treads and along the mural. I used about half the package here, so I have the other half to sprinkle elsewhere in the house, and the double-sided foam adhesive that came with them is super sticky (unlike a major lifestyle brand’s raven silhouettes I purchased several years ago that would never stick with the provided foam dots) and I have every confidence that they won’t scurry off elsewhere before the party in a few weeks.


The glow-in-the-dark footstep clings were a little more of a challenge, but I figured it out. It could be (most likely is) the worn finish of our stair treads (all the wood flooring in the house needs to be refinished some day), but they weren’t automatically receptive to the clings. BUT! Knowing the trick about wetting suction cups to get them to adhere, I decided to swipe the step with a damp paper towel and that totally did the trick. We’ll see if I have to redo any of the spots, but so far, so good. And I kept them to the railing-side of the steps just in case any came loose–I didn’t want to create a hazard on our already treacherous staircase (it has a history… but that’s a story for another post!).

Of course, you want to know if they really glow, right?

Something phosphorescent this way creeps!

Something phosphorescent this way creeps!

They do! Granted, because we’d just set them out they hadn’t gathered enough light to glow very brightly, so to one you see here that’s really standing out is because Todd shined his flashlight on it for a few moments to “charge” the footprint. Pretty cool, right?

Across from the staircase (and between the doorways to the living and my office) we have our console table with our little Halloween village set-up and the motion-activated ghoul mirror.


We’ve amassed quite a bit of the creepy cloth of various hues and use it liberally! It’s so inexpensive and can be used for a lot of things, but I will warn you–the darker versions tend not to be color-fast. My fingertips are usually grey by the time I finish messing with it, so be careful what it’s brushing up against.

jvanderbeek_halloween_2015_decorations-0287Our village is made up of a couple of tin houses (candles will flicker inside them for the party) and an animated Lemax pieces that features a costume contest in progress. Then smaller figures–a mix of craft store and dollar store finds–fill up the rest of the space.


We still need to set up the photo-booth backdrop in the back corner of the entry (a post for next week), but these two areas in our entry hall pretty much set the stage for when guests come by.