For a truly ghoulish gathering, ensuring your Halloween table decor sets a sinister but stylish scene is essential for a fright night to remember.
From devilish dinner parties to creepy cocktail soirees, filling your dining, coffee and side tables with Halloween decorating ideas is an excellent way to make sure your spooky theme is carried consistently throughout the home – with varying levels of subtlety.
The Halloween dining table is a space where you can really wave your magic wand and create an immersive experience for your guests, but don’t forget to think beyond dining table decor and include tricks and treats on your smaller spaces too.
Halloween table decor
Whether you’re looking for simple schemes with a hint of hubble bubble, or terrifying tablescapes that still major in style, we’ve gathered some stunning tablescaping inspiration and expert advice to make your Halloween table decor come to life.
1. Give guests a ghoulish welcome with entry table decor
Your outdoor Halloween decor might be the first spook your guests get on arrival, but be sure to continue the chills indoors. Give your entry table decor ideas a ghoulish twist by mixing in Halloween ornaments and decorations in and among your usual display.
In this example by interior designer Shea McGee, a skull sits upon a pile of books; black candles are swapped in for the season; a cobweb is draped across the mirror and crows adorn the dried branches in the floor urn. To create a sense of continuity, borrow accents from your Halloween porch decor (or fall porch ideas) to hint at the changing natural world.
2. Don't forget the finishing touches
If you know how to set a table for a special occasion, you know that it's the table gifts that really count, even at Halloween.
'We tend to only consider crackers on Christmas Day, but why not at Halloween too? They're a fabulous finishing touch if you're having guests over for a Halloween dinner or make your own and fill them with fall treats.
'This oatmeal handcrafted tableware teamed with coir placemats and dried flowers work a treat too, they certainly invoke the harvest element of this fall season,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living.
3. Create an elegant Halloween table centerpiece
One way to create a Halloween-suitable table centerpiece is by making a pumpkin planter, but you can keep it even simpler with a basket of gorgeous gourds.
‘When it comes to Halloween table decorations, I prefer a slightly pared back look that still brings plenty of drama. Save the traditional skeletons and spiders for elsewhere in the house, and instead use pumpkins and gourds to create a really lovely centrepiece.
'Try to choose different colors and sizes to give your display a sense of scale, and mix in lots of fall berries. Don’t forget to add plenty of candles to create a particularly eerie – and not to mention cozy – atmosphere,' says Sue Jones, co-founder of OKA.
4. Create a stylish Halloween color scheme
'Halloween is a great opportunity to have a bit of fun in the home once summer has come to an end but we’re not quite ready to think about Christmas. During the week of Halloween I like to dress the dining table with an abundance of fall colors, terracotta napkins and a runner being my go to pieces. I’ll usually dot lots of black candle stick holders, lanterns and gourds down the centre of the table. It has a nod to Halloween but remains elegant and not at all gimmicky.
'We are actually stocking ceramic pumpkins this year which look great placed around the house all fall, it also means you can bring them out each year and not have to worry about a last minute dash to the supermarket,' says Suzy Humphreys, founder of Layered Lounge.
Or, you could check out our pumpkin painting ideas and take a range of fall paint colors to knuckle-sized gourds.
5. Create a creepy (but cozy) atmosphere with candles
While you may find yourself getting caught up in choosing a pattern for your pumpkin carving ideas, remember that it’s the ominous glow of candlelight that really make a Jack O’Lantern so atmospheric. Be sure to get out your best candles for your Halloween-themed tables to create a creepy but mainly cozy atmosphere around the home. In this tablescape put together by Piglet In Bed and Olive & Co, candles of varying heights and in autumnal colors are at the heart of the dinner table.
‘Set the mood with some low-level, warm lighting to give your tablescape the atmosphere it deserves,’ says Jessica Hanley, Founder of Piglet In Bed. ‘For hosting guests, it's a great idea to fit the lights in your dining area with dimmer switches, turning it down after guests have eaten for some atmospheric, moody after-dinner drinks. You can also take control of your atmosphere with some fun additions like candles and fairy lights across the table.’
6. Nestle miniature pumpkins among your table decor
While no-carve pumpkin ideas are a favorite among wider fall decor ideas, they still top the list of unmissable elements of Halloween decor. While a large carved Jack O’Lantern might be a little unwieldy for your dining or coffee tables, miniature pumpkins are a perfect match for low level decor. Nestle them among displays of more organic autumnal items for a natural look, or dot them down the length of the dining table to create an informal runner.
7. Theme a scheme around your favorite horror movie
Watching scary movies is a Halloween must – so why not turn a viewing party for one of your favorites into a themed event, decor and all?
‘When putting my Halloween tablescape together, I was inspired by the classic Hitchcock horror film, The Birds,’ says Instagrammer Stephanie Campbell of @onassisandclaire. ‘I imagined birds causing havoc on a field of pumpkins and corn, all about to be harvested before they started attacking our dinner party. As a result, leaves of corn are organically tossed about the table, while the corn’s flower tassels adorn each place setting.’
Campbell used foraged, dried thistles and Autumn Goldenrod in laboratory beakers to finish the cinematic look. For further continuity throughout the house, consider carrying your chosen movie theme through to the Halloween door decor and Halloween window decor too.
8. Think beyond orange with multicolored pumpkins
Orange may be the color that immediately comes to mind when picking up a pumpkin, but there is actually a whole world of multicolored gourds out there – including varieties that may fit even more seamlessly into your fall color scheme.
The pumpkins shown in this side table display create a tonal scheme in combination with the basket, and are perfect for use in a neutral scheme. For more vibrant looks, consider green pumpkins and pale pink varieties as well as striped options – if you want something really out there, get a little messy with paint – and, of course, find out how to carve a pumpkin for some interesting shape-making.
9. Use seasonal florals for your centerpiece
Natural materials are a growing trend in interior decor so, this Halloween, look to your fall planter ideas for centerpiece inspiration.
‘Keep your centerpiece simple and classic with a nice vase and a bunch of seasonal flowers for a chic look this autumn,’ says Jessica Hanley. This really is enough to impress your guests and won't overcrowd the rest of the table.’
‘Seasonal winter flowers like honeysuckle or roses make the perfect impact and bring a burst of nature in from the outdoors. You might even want to use conkers and pumpkins to accessories your table in the lead up to Halloween.’
Discover how to make a Halloween wreath that matches the centerpiece, or swap the vase out and make the wreath the focus
10. Dot creepy crawlies around your dining table
Looking to give your guests a little mid-feast fright? Add a touch of unexpected peril to your Halloween table decor by letting creepy crawlies run riot over your tablescape – fake ones, of course. Unnerving but ultimately elegant spiders in glittering metallic tones roam this breakfast room display put together by blogger Fabiana Reese. For full on fright, consider allowing spiders of different sizes to make their way through the display, or perching bats and crows among your higher level floral displays.
'Its always exciting when it’s time to get cozy again and we focus on those details and rituals that add a real sense of seasonal change. Include soft throws and tactile knits on benches, natural textures incorporated through linens and placemats, soft candle light and simple displays of fall foliage and berries,' says Mark Winstanley, chief creative officer at The White Company.
11. Add drama with a statement tablecloth
When putting together a tablescape, be sure to be on theme from bottom to top. ‘Get your base right,’ says Hanley. ‘A decorative tablecloth gives your table a put-together feel, while natural fibres like linen maintain that semi-effortless look.’
Using a statement patterned tablecloth will instantly communicate the sense of a special occasion – and its print doesn’t necessarily need to be Halloween themed to feel spooky. This black and white tablecloth from Summerill & Bishop’s collaboration with Claridge’s is stylish all year round, but makes for a dramatic base for a quirky and fun Halloween theme – just finish with candles and miniature pumpkins for a sophisticated look.
12. Keep Halloween chic in black and white
Beyond the tablecloth, following a monochrome palette for your Halloween table decor is a great way to stay both seasonally on theme and perennially chic. In this example, it gives both a fashionable and spooky edge to a rustic tablescape, featuring a gingham tablecloth, black napkins, a white vase filled with dried flowers and black and white mismatched candlesticks. Embrace no-carve pumpkin ideas too by getting out your paintbrush and redecorating miniature pumpkins with black and white paint to fit into your scheme.
13. Ensure your guests get treats as well as tricks
Trick or treat? Make sure your table includes an abundance of both. ‘Leave some picky bits on your table like bowls of nuts, crisps or even Halloween-themed chocolates and cupcakes,’ says Jessica Hanley. ‘This will make guests feel welcome and give your room a lived-in feel that stops the tablescape from looking too overdramatic. Besides, who doesn't like picking at yummy treats when they come home from the cold?’
In this example, wrapped candies are piled into simple paper cones, tied with string and bedecked with patterns – perfect for placing at each table setting.
14. Use faux cobwebs as a table runner
Blending the stylish with the spooky is about keeping all the traditional elements of a beautifully decorated table, but adding something a little uncanny. Table runners are great for making a scheme at a long dining table feel coherent from end to end – but instead of a traditional fabric runner, consider stretching fake cobwebs along the center of your table instead, like in this example by Amanda S Gluck, Founder of Fashionable Hostess.
15. Create a spooky console vignette
'It's really easy to create an impactful Halloween table decor idea with just a couple of ingredients,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens. 'I love this simple idea, particularly for an entryway. You simply attach a couple of fake crows (I bought these crows from Amazon) to twigs in bell jars. It couldn't be simpler!'
How do I decorate a table for Halloween?
First of all, it’s a good idea to decide just how much of a fright you want to give your guests. Bedecking your table with faux cobwebs, spiders, skulls and gurning Jack O’Lanterns is one way to go, but it is also possible to create a Halloween atmosphere with a thoughtful, simple scheme and just a few little surprises.
A monochrome scheme of black and white – interspersed with the occasional tonal neutral – will create a dramatic but stylish effect, especially with a few metallics thrown in. From there, you can warm it up with rusty oranges, and include miniature pumpkins in all sorts of colors, create a creepy atmosphere with candles, and add a spooky ornament or two.
What can I use as a centerpiece for a Halloween dining table?
For circular tables, a centerpiece is a great way to bring focus to a dining room tablescape – and on Halloween, you can really go all out. As ever, seasonal florals are an excellent choice – fall favorites include dahlias, marigolds and rudbeckias, all of which can be found in orange tones to compliment a pumpkin-laden display.
Filling vases with dried flowers and branches is not only on trend, but also fits in perfectly with a ghoulish scheme. Instead of a vase, find out how to make a pumpkin planter and display your florals in a very on-theme container.
If you’re putting together a long table, consider ditching the single centerpiece for a low-level runner display. Drape cobwebs from one end to the other and dot pumpkins, candles, and numerous small vases filled with dried flowers down the center.
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Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.
- Sophie Warren-SmithContributing Editor
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