Tips for Spooktacular Fall Decor

Our Best Bites_Table Centerpiece introI think we’ve talked about Halloween before, but I haven’t always loved it.  I’ve always, always loved Autumn time, and for years I’ve been known to start decorating with fall leaves and burning pumpkin candles when it’s still 90 degrees outside, but none of that was really Halloween-y.  I just kind of embrace the season as a whole and focus more on the Autumn aspect, ignoring Halloween all together.  But over the years I’ve changed my tune, due much to the the fact that I married a boy who is absolutely loves Halloween, and I’m a Mom to 3 (almost 4) sons.   My glittered pumpkins were bound to at some point be taken over with skulls and I feel like I’ve finally struck a nice balance and sort of found my style, which actually allows for some Halloween love (even skeletons).  Halloween is a little tricky because there’s gross and gory, and there’s overly cute and crafty, and neither one of those really fit for me, which is kind of why I used to overlook it.  I still focus more on the fall season, but now I insert a few things that are more focused on Halloween and it’s become one of my favorite holidays.  I’m going to show you a few peeks around my house today, and tell you about some of my style tips when it comes to decorating for any holiday.

Use What You Have

People who know me know how much I love decorating for holidays, and I often hear, “Well that’s fun, but I can’t afford to buy all-new decor just to put up for a month.”  Neither can I!  Chances are, you have a lot around your house already that can be transformed.  And with a few fun additions, you can make them fit for a season.   For example, this mirror in my entry way got a super quick make-over with the addition of a fall feather wreath.  I used thumbtacks to secure that burlap ribbon, and then used thumbtacks to pin the ribbon into the top of the wood frame on the wreath.

Our Best Bites_Mirror WreathLiterally took 30 seconds and added a festive touch to that little area.  Also, every time I walk down that hallway, I can now center my face in the feathers and pretend I’m some sort of costumed lioness.

Our Best Bites_Bench and Wreath

Speaking of wreaths, if you want to make a quick and easy one for very inexpensively- check out this post for our Halloween Tulle Wreath.  So fun, and super cute.


I don’t like putting away everything I have out already to make room for holiday decor, so I try to work in as much as possible.  I just filled that little terrarium with pumpkins (and apparently a lego guy- I didn’t spot that until just now!) and filled my glass jars with yellow and orange roses from the garden, which happen to match all of the fall stuff going on.

Our Best Bites_Table Decor

I love this built-in shelf in our stairway, and I love that my builder suggested putting outlets at each end for decorations.  Last year I put away all of those pictures and filled the whole thing with pumpkins,  gourds, candle sticks, garlands, pinecones, and more.  It was gorgeous.  Maybe it’s because I’m about to have a baby, but this year I was feeling nostalgic and didn’t want to take down those sweet faces.  Since my kiddos go up and down those stairs a million times a day, I put some fun stuff on it for them, like candy corn lights, those jack-o-lanterns, and some little spiders you can’t see in this photo.  It took hardly any effort and my kids love it.  Sometimes I ditch my own ideas for stuff I know will make them happy; I’ve found there’s room for both.

Our Best Bites_Family Photo Shelf on Stairway

Find Your Style, and then Find it Somewhere Else.

Turns out I like fancy things from Pottery Barn.  Go figure.  What I don’t always like are the price tags.  Try going through catalogs and getting ideas, and then finding similar styles at places like Target, Home Goods, etc.  Take these Mercury Glass pumpkins, for example.  Up to $40 each at good ol’ PB.  Costco has had them for the past several years for about $6 each so I stocked up on lots of them and use them all over my house.  They’re glass, and just as beautiful.

Our Best Bites_Table Centerpiece

Again, I just grabbed stuff from around my house for this centerpiece on my kitchen table.  I had lots of candlesticks, and I pulled those green moss balls from another room.  The table runner was from Target a couple of years ago, $15 bucks!  After Halloween is over, it’s easy to switch out the runner, and add a few things to make it more Thanksgiving-ish.

Our Best Bites_Table Centerpiece 2You can also incorporate very inexpensive things when you put them in the right spot.  This fun felt garland was about $6 at Target one year and it looks cook hanging behind the semi-elegant table against the bright white shutters.

Our Best Bites_Felt Garland
Make Your Colors Work For You

My house is full of turquoise/teal/aqua.   I used to think I had to hide all of that when I started pulling out different holiday colors, but then I learned to just work it in. Orange and turquoise is a great color combination, so instead of hiding all of my color, I incorporate it.  I love how it combines with the bright orange and all comes together.

Our Best Bites_Fall Kitchen

One of my favorite things in my kitchen is the little mantle over the stove-top.  I love changing it around during different times of the year.  This year I kept the chunky aqua candlesticks I had up there before, and just switched out the white candles for pretty orange ones.

Our Best Bites_Teal Candlestick

Then a few quick swaps and the addition of some black crows and wax pumpkins, and it’s all Halloween-y.

Our Best Bites_Kitchen Mantle Close Up

Our last family picture was taken in the fall time, so this little space fits right in.

Our Best Bites_Halloween Decor

I kept my turquoise chalkboard where it usually is, and just grabbed a couple of Halloween photos from last year’s photo album.  Displaying photos of your own family dressed up from years past is a great way to decorate and if you’ve got kids, they’ll love seeing themselves and reminiscing about costumes.  I love that little teal colored ceramic pumpkin, too (Hobby Lobby).  Whenever I see holiday decor in my color- I grab it!

Our Best Bites_Halloween Photos

I’m totally obsessed with these adorable marquee letters that are new to me this year.  They’re from Grandin Road, and sadly they’re currently out of stock.  I had lots of disappointed Instagram followers after I posted a link to those!

Our Best Bites_Marquee Lights
Bunch o’ Pumpkins

This might seem like a silly tip, but buy a bunch of tiny pumpkins.  You can get bags of little fake gourds at just about any craft store during this time of year for a pretty inexpensive price.  Over the years I’ve collected SO many of them.  It’s so easy to make any space a fall space when you just fill up a vase, or sprinkle them on your shelves or table top.

Our Best Bites_Vase with PumpkinsLarger ones can be stacked or bundled .

Our Best Bites_Halloween Gourds

I kind of just toss them everywhere and suddenly it’s all autumn-y!

Our Best Bites_Pumpkin Vases

Glitter and Gore: Find Your Happy Place

Now.  When it comes to Halloween, you can get away with both a little pretty and a little scary and make it work together.  My husband asked what I had done with his wife when he came home to see this mantle last week:

Our Best Bites_Mantle
There’s no way that would have happened a year or two ago, but like I said, I’ve come around.  I’ve found if you do it in the right way, you can combine a little fright and still keep it classy!

I found that big canvas print at Gordmans (also saw the same one at Tai Pan right after that, both about $25) and used black and white candlesticks I already had, combining them with cheap pumpkins (the black glitter ones are from the Target $1 section!) and kept a silver/gold/black/white theme.  My boys thought I was Supermom after this one.  (Did I mention the skeleton has glowing laser eyes?)

Our Best Bites_Mantle 2
On that note, I put up Mr. Giant Spider, too.

Our Best Bites_Giant Spider
Take It Outside

Lastly, to stay true to my horticultural roots, (Get it?  Roots?  I crack myself up.) Think about switching up some fall plantings this time of year.  Some of you may have planted summer container plantings, and when fall hits, I usually leave a few things in mine, but replace stuff that’s not looking so hot with fall annuals.  I love ornamental cabbage and kale.

Our Best Bites_Ornamental Kale

And of course, mums!

Our Best Bites_Red Mums
Mums often go on sale right about  now, and if you have a Costco near you they have HUGE ones for an amazing price.  I popped a few in my front beds and it’s a great way to perk things up for the next few months.

Our Best Bites_Pink and Yellow Mums

Pansies are another great option.  They’re inexpensive, and pretty cold-hardy so mine last well into winter (and sometimes even re-seed themselves into spring!)

Our Best Bites_Pansies

I emptied out one pot entirely, and before I could plant something new, my kiddos popped this guy in there.  I decided he gets to stay; much cheaper than plants.

Skeleton Pot

On Halloween night, he usually ends up in the fountain.

FB Skelaton

Again, combining pretty new flowers with a little kid-friendly fun.  I remember when my husband bought that skeleton when we were first married and I was so appalled he actually expected it to be displayed anywhere.  In fact, I refused.  It’s been with us ever since and I have to admit, it’s kind of grown on me.  Enough that we upgraded to this guy this year.  Don’t get me started on the skeleton-in-the-bed thing.

So that’s that.  Everyone has their own style, and I’d love to hear about yours!  Tell us what you love about this season and your favorite way to decorate!

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Love your decor hint and the tip on the Mercury glass pumpkins. I better get to Costco! I love making PB knock offs!

  2. So cute. I love it all! I love your house style too! Someday if I build a new house I’m gonna come tour yours 🙂

  3. I LOVE that everything is even on your mantles! I much prefer having symmetry in my life!

  4. Where did you find the fall leaf garland above your stove? I love the colors and it looks like there are plenty of leaves, so it’s nice and full.

  5. Love your decorations!!!
    We also have the Lego haunted mansion….my boys love it! The tricky part is not letting them “rebuild” it…I’m totally Mrs. Kragle 🙂

  6. I am in love with your house – Halloween decorations or not! My fall decorations right now consist of 2 bowls of gourds and one lonely ceramic pumpkin. I have a tiny house with not many “surfaces” to decorate. However we just got a Michael’s in a nearby town so I plan to check that out this week and hopefully find some stuff I can use.

  7. This may be one of my favorite posts ever! Halloween is easily my favorite holiday, but also struggle with the balance between all the cute things and scary/gory. It doesn’t hurt that I already love how you decorate (I am pretty sure your kitchen is my dream kitchen). Thanks for the great ideas!

  8. My favorite is the lego man! What beautiful decorations! My husband forbade me to put up any decorations until October 1st. I’m almost there! Thanks to your post I’m even more excited!!!

  9. Love your ideas, love the cute bench under the wreath too! Where did you ever find it ?

  10. I love all of your decorations and ideas! If you ever get bored, you are welcome to come and decorate my house anytime! 🙂

  11. A lot of fun ideas! I need to get more Halloween decor to go along with my Fall decor:) Thanks for the ideas, and your house is gorgeous!

  12. I loved this post! We’re in a new house that’s way bigger than our previous home so I find myself still trying to figure out what to do with holidays (and just everyday decor for that matter). I tend to stick to a little more of the autumn side of decorations…one reason being I can put it up in September and not have to worry about it again until Thanksgiving is over!

  13. We don’t do Halloween in our house, but I do love fall decor and might I just say that if your house smells as good as it looks (which is what I imagine!) ahhhhh. I just want to come for a tour.

    1. Haha, seriously my house smells like a fall bakery ALL the time. Not because I’m baking, but because I’m totally obsessed with fall candles!

  14. Thanks for sharing your ideas and decorations. I love your style. I had seen an idea in a magazine that I saved for years that I eventually wanted to make once I became a homeowner. I made a life size cutout in plywood (spray painted black) of a witch (profile) who has her hand extended. I wire wrap a gnarled stick to her hand and then stick the other end into a black caldron I set on the ground. I do a spotlight and dry ice in caldron on Halloween. That’s still one of my favorite decorations. I’ve also become a little addicted to making plaster bones. Crumple newspaper loosely and tape clumps together to form a bone shape. Wrap in strips of rigid wrap (plaster bandages). To avoid the plaster being bright white, I dip in tea instead of water. I have a pile that I put in front of my fireplace with some black crows and a 6 ft bone that I have on the landing of my staircase.

  15. Love it! I absolutely love the holidays but I have never done much decorating. Thanks for the tips!

  16. We just moved into our new home & we have many of the same colors as you. I haven’t decorated for fall yet because I just couldn’t imagine fitting my fall decor into the othe stuff & mixing fall colors with my gray walls & teal decor. But you have proven that it can be done beautifully! I’m so motivated to get out my decor & hit up Hobby Lobby for some more (my hubby will love that!!)! Thank you for the inspiration!!

  17. Everything looks so beautiful, you are so creative! You definitely love Autumn and it shows!!! Great post, nice to see what you come up with.