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Haute Halloween

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Queen of crafts, Martha Stewart, knows how to twist classic favorites, taking them from ''blah'' to boast-worthy. And Halloween is no exception. White-sheet ghosts, pulled-cotton webs, and toothless carved pumpkins all suggest cheap, overdone Halloween decorations. So this year, stash the ''standards'' for ghoulishly chic, and you'll be the talk, no, scream of the town.

Stewart's Takes on Halloween Classics
  • Ditch the single carved pumpkin for a pumpkin snake. "Martha assembles a row of pumpkins, mimicking the twists of a slithering snake. The first and largest pumpkin forms the serpent's head, and the rest make up its long, scaly body." Drill holes in each pumpkin in various spots, string rows of white Christmas lights through the snake's "body," and watch as your porch becomes a spooky yet stylish Halloween hotspot.

  • Instead of wiggly fake brains, create specimen-jar candles that "[look] like [they] came straight from a mad scientist's laboratory." Use grapes and food dye to create these brains-in-a-jar.

  • Tired of stringing faux webs on the stairwell? Swap them for a spider shawl. Material? White or ivory cheesecloth — how's that for haute Halloween wear? "Unroll the cheesecloth and spread it out, pulling apart and snipping the ends to achieve the desired distressed appearance." Scatter plastic spiders onto the cloth and attach them with a dab of hot glue.

  • Slam that coffin shut on that "so yesterday" pop-out vampire. He never scared anyone, anyway. Create instead death-on-a-plate, a crinkly, creepy, bodiless head you can serve with your evening wine. Take dipped-in-coffee crumpled paper towels, drape them over a Styrofoam head (using a gooey mixture of flour, corn syrup, and coffee as glue), place on a serving tray, and surround the neck and tray with coffee-dipped gauze.

  • If white after Labor Day is out, then plain white candles are out too — at least on Halloween. By melting a red candle over white tapers, your sleek white candles now drip "blood" as they glow sinisterly through the night.

  • Only Martha Stewart can take a pumpkin and turn it into a Tiffany lamp. Talk about chic on a budget. "Crafted in Tiffany style, this elegant lamp was sculpted from a large pumpkin and a smaller one. The lamp's scalloped edges and starburst details are illuminated by an electric bulb, which is a more vivid and practical choice than candles, since they would balance precariously in this fixture."

  • Paper bats hanging clumsily from the ceiling — neither subtle nor stylish. But placed them behind a lampshade, and they become both. Now, guests will shudder when they catch a glimpse of your décor — and leave rolling their eyes for the supermarket's Halloween aisle.

  • If you've crammed your hand inside a squishy pumpkin one too many times, try crafting instead "tin-can jack-o'-lanterns." These cans will not only last longer, but they also won't turn your hand into a slimy mess. "[Punch] robotlike faces into cans[, add] votive candles, and the heads come to life."
With Stewart's (and your own) new takes on Halloween, the orange and black holiday goes from clichéd to creepy-chic in a matter of minutes. So, as you decorate, don't forget to add a little "haute" to your haunt this year.
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Popular tags:

 decorations  boasts  snakes  crafts  candles

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