Spooky Chic DIY Halloween Decorating Ideas

Conjure a mad scientist vibe with Halloween decorations that are more haute than hocus-pocus.​

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Painted flecked pumpkins in moody blues, blacks and greens, accented with gilded stems, look awesome spilling out of an empty fireplace. For the how-to, read on.

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Drink in the Magic

Any corner can become an inviting spot for drinks and sweets. To play up the mad scientist vibe, use flasks and beakers for liquid libations—just look up lab-type replicas on Amazon or do a quick Google search. Test tubes with stoppers are genius for small candies.

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Perfect Specimens

Turn a basic bookshelf or curio cabinet (we doctored up an Ikea Fabrikör, $169) into a pantry fit for a science genius. To start, cover the back of the case with a printed scientific illustration. Simply cut to size and adhere temporarily with poster putty. Fill glass jars and oversize beakers with water tinted with a drop or two of green food coloring. Add plastic bugs and veggies like beets or mushrooms in each to create eerie specimens.

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Weird Science

With a little ingenuity and glue, a foam wreath form (painted black) plus poster board cutouts become a biohazard symbol. Thread a ribbon through the center to make it easy to hang on a removable Command hook.

DIY: Flecked Pumpkins

This is all about layering using sponges and a variety of flat and metallic acrylic paints. If you like, you can use textured paints as well—we used Folk Art Painted Finishes in Moss ($7). Paint pumpkin with a base color or leave it unpainted. Then apply layers of texture using sea sponges  in varying sizes and different colors as well as a sponge roller.  You can vary the intricacy and texture from pumpkin to pumpkin so that each has its own unique look. 

For even more pumpkin decorating ideas, click here.

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Shelf Life

Paint and group a trio of honeycomb-shaped shelves on the wall, then add in foraged flora and fauna to your heart’s content. Twisting vines, apothecary jars, feathers, nests and faux blackbirds create an arrangement that  would be at home in a forgotten corner of the Bates Motel.

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It's Elementary

Create a card-stock-backed banner with letter designs inspired by the periodic table. Hang over the mantel and complete the look by filling flasks, jars and beakers with pictures of bugs and other creatures that go bump in the night—and perhaps even throw in some branches with poison berries for good measure.

Originally appeared in our October 2017 edition.