My First Halloween Mantel

September 3, 2013

   Feeling Spooky 

Fall has been my favorite season ever since I can remember.

Every year, right around now, I get in the mood for pumpkin everything.  I want orange leaves, sweaters, hay rides, and ... I could go on for hours!

Ordinarily, I'd decorate for Fall right about now as well.  I'd bring out the fake orange leaves, the scarecrows, and the "Harvest" signs.  

But, this year - I thought of my mother.

Before decorating for Fall, she always decorates for Halloween specifically.  And, in my own home I never had ...

until now:

The mantel you see up there is my first EVER go at Halloween decor.

And I'm really happy with how it turned out. :-)  I'm so happy with it, in fact, that I'm actually continuing the Halloween decorating throughout the house!

But, that work's not done yet.  So, let's talk some more about the mantel.

The decorating process started with this black frame:

I got it at a garage sale for $2.  It originally was a wood tone, and it framed a mirror.  But, bye-bye mirror, hello black spray paint, and wa-lah!

I envisioned it front and center on the mantel, and then ... I went shopping with my ideas:

  • I knew I did NOT want anything neon green, purple, or orange.  I see that stuff a lot for Halloween, and it's very cute.  But, it's just not my style.
  • I knew I didn't want any skulls, or blood, or anything too creepy or violent looking.  
  •  And I knew I didn't want it to be over-the-top.

What I really wanted was something slightly spooky, but in a fun, old-charm way.  And I think achieved that.

I found SO many great pieces at Crafts 2000, including this somewhat vintage "pumpkin on a candlestick":

If you look closely at this guy, he really seems like he'd be a pretty easy DIY.  

But, for $8?  I couldn't pass him up.

I struggled with whether or not to use my fake Fall leaves.  I wanted the mantel to say "Halloween," more than it said "Fall."  But, putting them inside the bird cage was perfect for me:

The cage was another great Crafts 2000 find.  It was only $9!  I think it's perfect, too, the way it sits flush against the wall: 

It took me forever to get the leaves just right.  And, adding my little owl friend complicated things too:

But, I'm glad I put him in there. :-)  I think he's fun, and my two-year-old agrees.

The bird cage is actually where I spent most of my time arranging, because, it's also where I decided to add these battery powered LED lights:

I LOVE them.  They are just enough light at night, and they are on such a maneuverable, thin, wire.  They're also on a six hour timer, once they're turned on.  So, less work for me! PERFECT!

The picture quality isn't great, because I snapped these dark ones with my phone last night.  But, I think you can still get the idea: 

I should've lit the candles too!  That would've really given it some oomph ;-).

I actually think my favorite part of the mantel is the books:

I originally wanted really old looking books, but - I didn't find what I was picturing while I was out shopping.  So, I did the next best thing to DIYing, and simply looked around the house! :-)

These were the most "Halloween-ish" books I could find.  They were tucked away in one of our closets, because we own more books than we do bookcases.  I think I literally said "Ooooooh," in my best creepy voice, when I found the Edgar Allen Poe collection.  Poe is the KING of spooky in my book:

And the little silver pumpkin on top gives me my much needed dose of "cute."  That guy was a TJ Maxx find.  I think he was $3.

That stuff you see draped on the frame was something I decided to buy, after the mantel was all put together.

By itself, the frame had too much white space around it.  And, since I HATE spider webs of all kinds (real and fake) ... this was the perfect option for me:

It was super cheap and really easy to cut up and drape.  I have so much leftover too.  It's going to be great for other places in the house.  It gives me that "spooky, but old-charmy" flair I was telling you I wanted.

This sign in the middle of the frame was yet another Crafts 2000 find.  (That store is PHENOMENAL.  I think we live near the only location in Ohio.)

I put it in the middle totally last minute.  I bought it because I liked it, but never planned on it being so prominent.  

I was originally going to do a black wreath or something, hanging from the frame.  But, I fell in love with this idea.

I especially like what it says on the bottom:

It's the perfect phrase, considering the mantel is right above our couch:

The candles pictured on the right are so great.

The glass tops are removable:

Which gives me the option of adding mini pumpkins on top, should I ever feel so inclined.  ;-)

The actual candles themselves were clearance buys.  They aren't even a Fall scented candle.  I think they're actually some sort of island fragrance.  But, the orangish reddish tone was perfect for me:

I truly love everything about the mantel.  It's got me in the Halloween spirit, that's for sure.  And I feel kind of silly for never decorating specifically for the fun holiday ever before.

I think I always feared I wouldn't be able to make it fun and spooky, without being scary.  But, once I started thinking about what I wanted out of it ... the process was really quite easy!  

And I seriously had a BLAST.

It may only be the beginning of September, but we are ready for Halloween!  And it feels great.

Like I mentioned, I'm in the process of decorating other parts of our house for the pumpkin-friendly holiday.  And I'll be sure to share some of that with you all soon.

Until then, have a SPOOK-tacular Tuesday ;-)!!


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