By Cora L. Diekman and Lydia Geisel

Published on October 11, 2018

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photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

Contrary to popular belief, Halloween decorations don’t have to be kitschy. Instead of half-committing to a poorly composed graveyard scene on the front lawn or sloppily carving what was supposed to be an intricate pumpkin design, this year we’re opting for a more striking party scheme that reflects your personality—no goo, ghosts, or goblins required.

Whether your taste leans toward modern and minimal or bohemian-glam, come autumn, your home should blur the line between spooky and stylish. From dark and dreamy front door wreaths to mummy-approved cheese boards, we scoured the internet for the most unexpected Halloween recipes and decorations. Read on for the hauntingly beautiful ideas for your most elevated bash yet.

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Photography courtesy of Eden Passante of Sugar and Charm

A Decked Out Candy Cart

While we love a good booze station, come Halloween, there’s little we adore more than an elaborately stocked candy display. Instead of serving libations from the comfort of your bar cart, swap out the adult beverages for a spooky array of sugary treats. While spider webs and friendly skeletons give this clever cart a ghoulish edge, fresh pink flowers and glass beakers elevate the overall look. For the full tutorial on this sophisticated candy cart, visit Sugar and Charm.  

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Bloody, Budget-Friendly Candle

To add a spooky feel that’s both classic and festive, try these spray-painted “bloody” Halloween candles. The touch of red instantly elevates a boring white backdrop. This is one DIY you’ll have fun creating in the process. See our full how-to here.

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Spooky Pumpkin Punch

Yes, this punch actually smokes thanks to the addition of dry ice hiding inside the pumpkin but beneath the punch bowl. If you really want to wow your guests, forget throwing on a horror movie. This giant steaming pumpkin pot will surely do the trick. It doesn’t get any more festive than this. Snag the recipe on Honestly Yum.

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Tulle Balloons

Come fright night, it’s the small, extra touches that will go a long way. For a simple but totally elegant decorating idea, cover balloons with black tulle for a ghostly effect. If you’re throwing a kids-only bash, this straightforward hack is a great way to make a space feel festive without scaring the youngest partygoers with ghoulish decorations. Check these spirited creations out on Poppy Talk.

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Cantaloupe and Blackberry Skewers

Black and orange decor is always in fashion this time of year, and these festive colors can be repeated on the buffet table, too. Cantaloupe and blackberry skewers are edible treats, which are easy to prepare, elegant, and a healthy swap for super sugary sweets.

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Pastel Pumpkins

FYI: Halloween parties can be glamorous and feminine, too. We love how this mini-tablescape focuses on ice cream pastels rather than traditional fall colors. Gooey pumpkin innards gross you out? Painting your pumpkins is a great way to make a statement with minimal effort.

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photography by CODY GUILFOYLE

Post-Trick or Treat Surprise

Because we firmly believe that you should never waste perfectly yummy, unused Trick-or-Treat candy, we found a number of sweet and spooky recipes to make the most of your forgotten sweets. Our favorite? Using leftovers to create a melted marshmallow friend. See our how-to here.

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Smoking Blackberry Sage Margarita

This wild and wicked mixer is sure to wow your party guests. Comprised of silver tequila, lemon juice, blackberries, and fresh sage leaves, this gloomy libation tastes as good as it looks. To achieve the smokey effect, add food-grade dry ice directly to the cocktail, and wait until the ice melts completely before taking your first sip—safety first!

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Pumpkin Hummus

There are sure to be plenty of sweets at your bash, so line up a few seasonal treats and appetizers that are savory instead. This pumpkin hummus packs lots of yummy flavors, like garlic, paprika, and cumin, and pairs perfectly with homemade pita chips for a salty crunch. Get the recipe on High Heels and Grills.

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LOVELYINDEED.COM

Copper Herringbone Pumpkins

Trust us, this is the simplest DIY you’ll ever do, ever. All you need is a mini pumpkin and a paint pen to complete this darling project. Use your imagination to create a pattern that speaks to you, but we think this herringbone pattern is lovely and chic. Get the DL on this no-carve craft on Lovely Indeed.

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Blush and Black Tablescape

If your bash calls for an al fresco dinner party setting, this tablescape is elegant and inspiring. Between the sleek, shiny black stemware and delicate pink florals, this flawless scene is proof that even Halloween, of all holidays, can also be sophisticated and glamorous. See how the rest of this themed masquerade came together here.

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Matte Black Pumpkins

They’re minimal and chic, so it’s no wonder the internet is in love with matte black pumpkins. Achieve this look by either painting or spray-painting your pumpkin with matte or flat paint, which are readily available at craft and home improvement stores. We won’t blame you for wanting to keep them out year round.

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Gothic Cheese Board

A reminder that Halloween isn’t just for kids, we’re all for this spooky cheese serving station, which takes a more classic, old-world approach with skulls, faux cobwebs, mummy-wrapped brie, and stone slabs. Get the how-to from Leigh Anne Wilkes of Your Homebased Mom.

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Whimsical Backyard Feast

Never underestimate the power of candles and a slightly rustic table setting. Bottles painted with matte black paint and filled with metallic tapers create the perfect tablescape for a Halloween dinner party. See how this haunting fȇte came together on Nouba.

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DIY Pumpkin Vase

When all else fails, you simply cannot go wrong with a pumpkin vase centerpiece. If you can’t be bothered to carve a real pumpkin, craft pumpkins are inexpensive and readily available at craft stores all season long. Your fall florals will never look better. Check out the tutorial for this spirited arrangement on House Beautiful.

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A Storied Mantel

Gone are the days of draping cobweb atop the fireplace. Get creative with your mantel by crafting a scene that tells a story. This seriously cool mantel looks like it was lifted from the pages of your favorite horror story, and that’s exactly the point. Recreate this look by following the step-by-step guide on Handmade Mood.

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LAUREN KELP

An Ethereal Food Station

Use this tablescape as inspiration for styling the buffet table. A simple collection of candles and pumpkins are all you need to create an Instagrammable, grown-up party. Oh, and an ombre orange backdrop. Get the DL on this adorable set up from Lauren Kelp.

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Poison Apples

For a dark twist on dessert, these devilish-looking “poison” apples are ideal. Use any color you like for the candy coating—in this case, a dark blue hue is definitely mysterious and unexpected. Trust us, they’re so good even Snow White will want a second bite. Learn how to make your own on here.

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Colorful Chalk Pumpkins

Want to avoid carving and spray paint? Chalk paint gives pumpkins a unique texture, and ups the wow factor a bit. Plus, you can use it on both real and craft pumpkins—your preference. For a non-traditional look, blues, whites, grays, and greens are a good place to start! Check out the step-by-step DIY guide on Perfectly Imperfect.

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Candy is great, but who wouldn’t love biting into one of these festive donuts? If you make one sweet treat for your Halloween party, definitely consider these! Soft, sugary, and oh so delicious, you’ll want them for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. Snag the recipe on Baker by Nature.

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Pink Ombre Pumpkin Trio

Skip the black, gold, and orange altogether. Instead of going full-on moody, make your own rules and decorate for your Halloween bash in shades of pink. Who knew Halloween could be so pretty?

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Blackberry Margarita Recipe

Blackberries provide this margarita with a dark maroon tinge—how Halloween is that? Paired with a black table setting, it’ll instantly add a chic element to your party decor. Our homemade concoction is one part tequila, three parts juice, and ½ cup crushed ice. Really, it’s as easy as that!

See more Halloween ideas:

You’ll Fall For These Hauntingly Beautiful Halloween Wedding Details