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Halloween Fireplace Mantel Display

The air is cooler. The leaves are beginning to turn. And football has started to dominate many a household’s flat screen. Autumn is here, and with that comes one of my favorite times of the year – Halloween! While I dread most horror flicks, for some reason I love spooky decor. Even those animated ghostly figures, or zombies seemingly crawling out of the ground delight me. Something about those things tickle a spot inside me from childhood.

When I was a kid growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, we had this one neighbor who’s house was surrounded by really tall hedges. Literally the hedges formed a perfectly square-shaped fence. You couldn’t see in – and you couldn’t see out over those hedges. And honestly, no one gave much thought to those hedges any time of the year, except on Trick-or-Treat night. Suddenly those hedges became home to the BEST place to get your scare on! The wonderful folks who lived there turned their front yard into a fright fest – filled with live people dressed in mummy wraps, Dracula capes and other monsters. Each year, a man complete with white face and fangs would lay in a coffin perfectly still with his eyes closed. We would creep over (knowing full well from the previous year what was to come) and approach him. The moment we were close enough to see his chest rise up and down, he would jump up and reach out to grab us! Dear God, that gave us all a huge scare, but we loved it. Well, I did anyway – certainly there were some kids who cried. Rookies.

So all these years later, a part of me really wants to deck out the yard with all kinds of scream-inducing Halloween decor. But, the kiddos in my hood are still too young. Even my 5-year old, who wants to be a big boy and does his best to seem brave at the Halloween store, is afraid of the crawling hands and bloody appendages. I’m sure what I have in mind would put him and the other youngsters in nightmare territory. So, my dreams for the spookiest yard in the neighborhood are on hold.

However, I did decorate my fireplace mantel this weekend. I simply had to because I found this creepy black and white framed picture recently at an auction. The auctioneer referred to her at Aunt Ethel. Who knows what this lady’s name was – I’ll be calling her Scary Mary. Come on – she’s scary, right?

I wanted a mostly black and white mantel, and decided to keep the majority of orange pumpkins on the floor.

I kind of like how the black-lighting of the sun makes those crows look like silhouettes!

That gourd looks like science project under the glass dome jar! (I found another use for my yard sale Reader’s Digest books, too.)

I picked up this fabric cat at a local consignment shop this past year – knowing it would be brought out for Halloween. Something about those button eyes give me the willies! Like the dolls from the movie Coraline! I think its a Tim Burton movie – enough said.

I really wanted to use owls this year, instead of crows. However, I couldn’t find old ceramic owls to paint, and didn’t want to go out and buy owls just for this occasion. So, I recycled the crows from last year’s Halloween party. (I’ll be blogging about soon)

This is one of those solar powered patio lanterns. I would have loved an old-fashioned gas lantern – but again, the budget for new was out. Between Scary Mary and the pumpkins, I was tapped out.

The tree branches were snipped off a dead tree in our  neighborhood. The mason jar is filled with salt, the other is filled with burgundy popcorn. The labels came from Target. The skull was another purchase from last year. I painted the little vintage shutter I found at a thrift store.

Mini pumpkins and gourds – just love them!

Faux pumpkins – I learned my lesson last year – do not put these outside. Unless you want to visit the neighbors a few blocks over to retrieve them after a thunder storm.

And of course – Charlotte can’t resist an opportunity to get in on a photo shoot! She wouldn’t smile for the camera though. Too busy thinking about pumpkin pie!

Overall I like how it turned out. But, for some reason, it doesn’t feel complete to me. I need a white taper candle for the antique holder on the left. And it feels bare in the middle. Although I refuse to hang a banner, or fake cob webs.

I have a wood pallet in the garage that I want to take apart and make into signs. Perhaps I’ll paint one and hang it across the middle section. Maybe it should say, “Come back in 5 years for the fright of your life!” Because I am just getting warmed up.  (insert witchy cackle)

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