Halloween doesn’t have to be tacky.

When an orange-and-black color scheme appointed with Walmart-esque witches and goblins will never be your style, go edgy.

I love the creative process of building a tablescape, especially when it’s a pet side project for several weeks. Love it even more when it’s a challenge and a hunt.

Tablescape design is therapeutic. My mother changes her dining room table micro-seasonally as ongoing home project, but for Halloween? Never!

Decorating anything Halloween in my own house is an almost-never. I may have a few ceramic pumpkins somewhere, but I’m doing well to get fresh mums on the porch and some cheap candy on hand, just in case.

Go edgy or go home
The inspiration for my never-say-never Halloween tablescape started with justifying the need for these new raspberry pink dinner plates—with cool skulls. I had feasted my eyes on the Rock and Roll Collection by London designer Melody Rose. Pink bone china skull plates? Devilishly tempting!

Stop following me on instagram because I’m totally gonna have to buy those plates!  Then my godsister in Atlanta sent me a “you need these” DM, asking if I had seen the skull plates (“so you!”)–and that was another hook.

Wolf & Badger and I found each other on instagram, each us receiving a high RIO.

Me: target audience. Them: supplier of highly-curated cool things by independent designers I just may need to know about.

Signed up for W&B email list. Saw pink skull plates again and boom. You know how this works. Shopping is an online matchmaking game these days and I love it.

I was already in the spirit this year, though. A hazy, screw-it 2020 mood, perhaps.

Sips of mezcal, slightly daring dimlit socially-distanced steakhouse dinners, germ fears, dirty politics as culture. Everything just feels a little dark these days.

Plus, Jenny had already shown us how to rise to the October occasion with her APOTHECARY VOODOO vibe in the French Quarter. I loved it. One October weekend evening, we sipped Cabernet on those plush emerald velvet sofas surrounded by her creepy voodoo-chic vibe and it felt very festive.

Voodoo and arsenic poisoning and serial killers? Yes, I can go there! (I live there too often: Netflix true crime.) I even watched a kid’s Halloween movie with my godchild and it was adorable.

Just add pink
So, sure, I’m feeling the vibe. Voodoo and skulls. I can do that. Skeletons. Yes, yes. Cool. Add pink velvet pumpkins? How cute!

Not to mention OCTOBER PINK! Never again will I miss the opportunity to honor a month with a tablescape that’s all about pink and awareness to literally save womens’ lives. Just think pink chic, oiu!

I do admit to looking for strands of cobwebs and totally wanted to borrow a creepy portrait to hang behind the table, but neither happened.

Here’s how I interpreted “spooky” with a Skulls & Roses tablescape and the custom DIY touches along the way. 

Halloween chic

Hunt around the House

Tablescapes always start with a hunt inside your own house! Spooky chic. Hmmm… Apparently, I don’t own anything remotely spooky, unless nutmeg McCartys Pottery owls count? However, I did grab my black cheap-chic water goblets that I have used mostly for NYE and started there.
My mother knew what I was “hunting” and unearthed a super-creepy, bronze-painted skull (note rat-eating skull) from the junk storage of a neighbor. (Thanks, Leet!) The bronze skull became the anchor for the bar on the kitchen island.

My collection of Veuve Clicquot flutes seemed appropos!


Add Paper

I looked at Home Goods, but there are less-tacky choices in runners and placemats out there (many of my gift decor stomping grounds are devoid of any Halloween). I love paper runners and placemats from Hester & Cook for setting everyday tables and parties, too. I found these charcoal “die-cut” placemats. Surely that qualifies as a Halloween pun, right?
Hester & Cook also had this runner with archival scrolls and that screams Baroque and otherworldly to me. For Hester & Cook, check local shops first (Rosson & Co and Forty-Nine Commissary carry it near me), order direct or search from a few styles on Amazon.

Pink Velvet Pumpkins!

Velvet pumpkins are a no brainer this year. Some fabrics look cheap, but most are too cute! I ordered a set of 4 of the assorted pink velvet pumpkins in the Your Hearts Content etsy shop and then ordered 4 more to make a bigger statement down the middle of the table!

Custom Monogrammed Napkins

The idea of monogramming napkins in a spooky font inspired the next-level idea: spooky sayings in a spooky font. I love tapping makers, especially “leaning on local,” and Leslie Smith of Delta Monograms jumped in on the creative process. She suggested hemstitched cotton napkins from Forty-Nine Commissary and a font like the show “Charmed,” assuring me that black thread was essential to the Halloween look.
Some of the sayings were stolen from a Pinterest sweep, but most are semi-original versions including: Resting Witch Face, BOOze, Bitchez Brew, Trick or Tequila? Ghouls Just Wanna Have Fun…

Pro tip: I had 8 napkins custom monogrammed rather than 4, in case hosting a Halloween dinner party is truly in my future.


Add glitter and creepy candlelight

Candelabras feel old and add height, so I switched out the magenta glitter beeswax candles we stock at Milk Punch with black glitter 12″ tapers by Gold Rush. Per Jenny’s tip on Milk Punch, I ordered the flickering chandelier bulbs for that little extra effect. Add to cart! So worth it.

More skulls and roses

Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka skull bottle is ideal for the bar and to one day hold flowers. The box set I found comes with a bonus: two skull jiggers. I used the skulls as bud vases and gave them headdresses with roses, mums and a little greenery—whatever I could find at Fresh Market.

Skull jiggers from the Crystal Head Vodka Gift Set.


Roses on my grave

Roses are very rock ‘n’ roll, especially in the context with skulls, so the final touches included fresh flowers in a Champagne bucket and black spray-painted roses placed across the top of each plate. I covered the stems and leaves with blue painter’s tape before spraying and let them dry outside overnight.

Now I’ve officially moved over to the dark side. My goth girlfriends are impressed. Looks like I will have to start collecting more pieces of Melody Rose china and throw that spooky-chic dinner party next year. The cocktails will be deadly.

Happy Chic Halloween!