Apply the same limits to your space and lighting as you have your color scheme. Simplify your hosting duties by decorating one main room rather than the entire house. Start by draping sofas and armchairs with white sheets for a ghostly, abandoned look. Stretch artificial cobwebs across ceiling lights and bookshelves, and determine your haunted lighting plan.
Start with multiple strands of spooky string lights hung up or wound around gnarled branches set in sizable vases to brighten everything without over–illuminating the scene. Candles in pots and lanterns add to the ghoulish ambiance. Skull candles and standing candelabras with dripping tapers are must–have props.
When it comes to accessorizing, aim for a grinning skull on every surface with concentrations in a few places. Fill large vases with miniature Halloween vase fillers. Place copious spiders in the cobwebs you've strung. Black bats and taxidermy–like crows can be hung mid–flight. Sneak more bones in with skeleton–themed votive holders and dishes.
The black–and–white dining table is fun to create. Our stylist filled cellophane bags with black and white licorice caramels and labeled them, "Trick" or "Treat." In keeping with the Dia de los Muertos theme, bake cookies in skull shapes and frost them with a base layer of white icing. Provide guests with a tube of red icing and invite them to decorate their own skull cookies. Serve mini tamales with husks dyed black and red, blue and white corn chips with black bean dip, and white bean dip with red salsa for the perfect Halloween color trifecta. Design paper tombstones to place on platters and bowls of dip with comic labels like, "Here lies our beloved Jicama."
Decide on a signature cocktail. We love a grapefruit margarita accompanied with grapefruit–rind jello shots. To create these, cut grapefruits in half and squeeze out the juice, then scrape the pulp from the rind. Prepare red jello with tequila and pour it into the grapefruit halves, then chill. Once the jello is set, cut into grapefruit smiles and arrange these into a blood-red mountain, then top with toy skulls.