This Halloween our party takes a cue from the frightful and delightful American classic, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Washington Irving's timeless tale of the Headless Horseman is rendered in scary detail by our Pottery Barn stylist Jeffrey Moss. His decorating video makes it easy to recreate the story in your own living room. Chef Joey Altman makes it fun to conjure up a menu worthy of a mad scientist. We love a traditional tale brought to life, but any dark book or movie can be the theme of your Halloween. From an inviting porch for tricks and treats to whole haunted houses, we have all the special effects you need.
To throw your own Legend of Sleepy Hollow party, start by downloading our free invitations. Instruct guests to show up dressed as a character from the story or in period costume. The spine–chilling Headless Horseman, the lanky, superstitious Ichabod Crane, lovely Katrina Van Tassel, and town scoundrel Brom Bones offer plenty of opportunities for creative interpretation.
To set the scene for a spooky soiree, use the porch and entryway to create anticipation for the party inside. A little foraging in the woods can turn up a twisted branch that will make the perfect perch for menacing Faux Crows. Hang strands of Halloween String Lighting, and line the pathway with Caged Crow Bag Luminaries filled with battery–powered candles that will cast an eerie glow well into the night.
To help you go all out, we've created lots of free downloadable decorations just for this party. Simply customize our gravestones with names of your choosing and choose several of our menacing signs of warning, then have them printed in large format at your local printing store. Go above and beyond by renting a dry–ice fog machine to set an ominous tone as guests enter. Create a scarecrow–style Headless Horseman for the front porch by stuffing a rented costume and using a terrifying carved pumpkin for the head.
Indoors, the decorating doesn't have to take over your entire home. It can, in fact, be more effective to concentrate the gesture with one great focal point — and the mantel is an easy place to do it. Repurpose frames already hanging by placing creepy pictures where beautiful photos reside the rest of the year. If you have plenty of time to prep for your party, it can be fun to go the extra mile and alter photos of friends and family members using photo–retouching software.
Or for a quick fix, download our frame–ready images complete with severed heads and ghostly apparitions. And since no haunted house would ever feature a neatly hung gallery, make your frames temporarily overlapping and askew by using 3M™ Command™ Picture Hanging Strips.
Litter the frames with Bronze Mice Objects and Halloween Masks, and pile the mantel high with old books flanking a Haunted House Votive Holder, Printed Newspaper Candles, Dead Moss and Black Glitter Spider Vase Filler, plus plenty of old books and antique keys.
Print famous passages from Washington Irving's “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” that we've gathered below and cut them into strips of paper that can be rolled and placed in a Mercury Glass Serve Bowl. Once your party is well underway, pass the bowl around and have guests choose a passage to read in their most foreboding tone. You might even have a prize on hand for the best performance. A copy of “Sleepy Hollow” wrapped in butcher paper and adorned with Dead Moss Vase Filler and Glitter Spiders would be perfect.
So that guests won't be afraid of serving themselves, create a drink station by stocking a buffet or side table with plenty of glassware and drink dispensers. Premixed cocktails await in our classic Glass Drink Dispenser, which can be easily updated for Halloween with a Skeleton Hand Drink Dispenser Stand.
Have plenty of bar towels on hand to keep guests from getting spooked by spills. Our Skeleton Bar Towels keep every mess in stark perspective.
Use our Vintage Tombstone Chalkboard to create a foreboding sign warning guests of the ingredients of each potion, poison and paté.
Make a striking presentation of a simple severed–finger hors d'oeuvre (made with string cheese and pimento fingernails) by standing them upright on a Mercury Glass Serve Stand.
Be sure to have enough serving pieces to accommodate chef Joey Altman's creative Halloween canapés and hors d'oeuvres. Polished silver and smoky mercury glass dishes and platters play perfectly with the gothic scene. Little accents like Mouse Cheese Knives and Skeleton Hand Servers bring just the right amount of spirit to your buffet table.
Showcase your single deadliest dessert on our Spooky Halloween Cake Stand, placed prominently at the center of your spread.