Saturday, July 21, 2012

Halloween Decor for Year-round Design

Well, darlings, it's that time of year again: American stores such as Michaels and PartyCity have begun stocking their usual Halloween treats. For many Goths, this is the time of year where we can buy up some of our home decor without ordering online or dipping into our DIY materials. Hooray! Now, of course, you'll have to wait until after the "back to school" sales to get the whole inventory, but it's better to have a battle plan now than when surrounded with all kinds of spooky delights! While last year I wrote a little piece about shopping around Halloween time, I'd like to revisit that topic and spend a bit more time on one particular aspect of it: using Halloween decor year-round. For you, now, I present my guide for buying Halloween decor with intent to decorate year round:

 
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1. Materials - Halloween decorations generally come in one of five materials: paper, foam, rubber, plastic, and metal. Right away, I will tell you that it is generally not a good idea to buy Halloween decorations made out of paper and foam because they are not meant to last very long. They will tear and chip and will generally not be a good use of your money. I would also avoid from buying anything made out of rubber because they tend to be Halloween-specific decorations that look cheap or cheesy. (I know, we all love rats, but I have yet to see someone successfully incorporate a bag of rubber rats into Goth decor.) This leaves plastic and metal decorations, which are by far your safest bet for long-term wear.

2. Motifs - This one is more up to personal taste but it is generally accepted that while there are many elegant and Gothy ways to decorate with Halloween items, hanging a banner that says "Happy Halloween!" on it isn't as elegant as it is...silly? Feel free to disregard this rule if you're making a Halloweentown-themed room or similar. For the rest of us, sticking to motifs such as spiders, coffins, vampires, etc. will look less "Halloweentown" and more "Gothic abode."

3. Quality - The quality of the items has a lot to do with the previously mentioned materials that they are made out of. Most people have their Halloween decorations up for a maximum of about three or four weeks so the items they buy for the holiday don't have to be particularly good quality. However, if you're intending on buying them for year-round wear, you'll quickly find that they deteriorate faster than you intended. Thus, you should be picky about what you're buying. Beware of items heavily coated in glitter (it will shed on you like nobody's business) and candles that, while they appear black, are just white with a black wax coating. To preserve items that might not be the best of quality, place them in areas where they will not be regularly handled (for example, hang a wreath on your wall instead of on the back of a door which will regularly hit the wall and cause it to crumple to pieces.)

4. Price - This is the biggie. While Goths are no stranger to paying mark-ups for our clothing (that The Cure t-shirt is how much?!), there's no reason this has to be the case when shopping for decor. After all, part of the reason we're shopping at these stores is because it's cheaper and more convenient than buying specialty Goth items. Still, because Halloween items are only available for a short time, stores that sell these items are looking to make as much of a profit off of them as quickly as possible, so the items can often not be worth the full price. If you can, find coupons for chain stores and shop in the after-season sales (be quick, they move into Christmas gear faster than you can say "Bauhaus!") to avoid paying huge mark-ups.

Here is a small list of items which are generally safe to buy during the Halloween sales and which might turn up useful in a Goth's decor:

  • Black, red, orange, and purple candles 
  • Halloween-motif tableware (plastic or ceramic, not paper, please, and note that these might not be microwave safe!) 
  • Lenticular photographs 
  • Halloween Flags 
  • Spooky wreathes 
  • String lights in unusual colors (purple, red, orange, etc.) 
  • Candelabra and other candle holders (aim for the metal ones, not paper) 
  • Black or "bloody" white roses 
  • Decorated storage jars and containers 
  • Window clings 
  • Spooky stuffed animals 
  • Bolts of black cheesecloth, gauze, etc. 
  • Plastic/ceramic 
  • Halloween knick-knacks (busts of creepy creatures, tombstones, etc.)
  •  Wall clings 
  • Paint-able wooden shapes (you can see Bane of GIY: Goth it Yourself putting these to use on an amazing chest of drawers here!) 
  • Wall posters and signs 


I'm afraid I am not overly familiar with your shopping options in other countries, but perhaps someone in the comments would like to lend a hand? For the rest of you, what guidelines do you try to adhere to as far as using Halloween decor year-round? Can you add more to the list of "Safe bets" I have above?

110 comments:

  1. This is a very important post!! You are doing a service...I know about glittery decorations from (repeated) experience. I still have to force myself away from sparkly skulls...

    More safe bets include; stamps and stencils (to use on walls, furniture or stationary), stickers (decorate school stuff! Or your nails...), and colored light bulbs for lamps or ceiling lights (sometimes you can even find blacklight bulbs!). Also, some stores sell feathery ravens or owls. They would look cute perched on a lamp or chandelier!

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    1. Thank you very much! I definitely agree with your suggestions about the stickers and feathery creatures (I have a little raven myself!)I haven't seen any owls though...I'll keep my eye out!

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  2. Wow you are lucky in America to get Halloween stuff in so early! I doubt it'll appear in UK stores until September.

    These are great tips though.

    All I'll add is that halloween can also be good for clothing; getting things like stripy tights cheap (last year I got some adorable tights with witches on broomsticks for a quid!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're absolutely right about the clothing, definitely! I mentioned that in my previous post but perhaps it deserves a post of its own as well! It's a shame about the UK stores being later on this kind of thing, though. Hopefully it starts cropping up soon!

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  3. This was an awesome post! Like so many other broke American Goths, I go overboard with decorum shopping around Halloween because its the cheapest way to get spooky decor.... but as you pointed out, you cant just buy every little thing and expect it to last year round or not look ridiculous. I have to add though that rubber rats might be successfully incorporated into an Emilie Autumn style room - that's not really MY style but I could see it working if done very carefully! Lol

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  4. When I saw the post title in my Blogger home, I got so excited! I love your advice posts like these.

    I didn't expect Halloween decor to come in so early- I usually see it pop up in August. But I will certainly be keeping a vigilant eye on the stores in my area now!

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  5. Other places at least in the US that I've found cool things in are craft stores such as Micheal's or AC Moore. I even found a plastic goblet with some spider-webbing on it! <3 I love the little glass very much, and stores I've found to have fairly good quality items that are just amazing.. Sorry I get a bit gushy and babble, apologies >.<

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  6. Keep a look out for what you can use during other holidays, like those fake hearts for Valentines, and many Halloween decorations can be used for a Gothy Tree during the holiday season, as Hallmark occasionally has some great glass Halloween items, occasionally ornaments. Dias de los Muertos is also around the same time as Halloween, as some of those items can also be great for Gothy decor, and tend to be of some nicer materials.

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  7. Not a goth myself but I love Halloween decorations. I'm saving up money this year to buy a bunch. I have a nice hanging wraith that I call "Guy" who lives on my porch right now. ^_^

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  8. I found some GREAT stuff at target this year, including a great spiderweb-festooned throw and matching hand towels for my bathroom, as well as heavy metal skeleton arm salad tongs, a spiderweb metal cake stand, and some lovely heavy gargoyles... Also Jo Ann's Fabrics carried a great brownie pan with coffin-shaped cavities!

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