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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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for the second year in a row, i'll be hosting a halloween party at my friend's house. for two years we did it at my girlfriend's house but we broke up last summer so my friend volunteered to host it last year and again this year. (my residence doesn't accommodate a party very well.)

when it was at my girlfriend's house, we both went all out on decorating and everything. my friend is a little less into it--he doesn't mind decorating, he just doesn't want a thousand things put up everywhere. and typically i can only get in there about a day early to decorate anyway.

now, i've always been more for mood and ambience than props--i like creepy lighting, candles, etc. etc.--but i'd like as many ideas as possible about how to decorate fairly quickly, and in a way that doesn't overwhelm my friend's house.

thanks for the input in advance.
 

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Forgive my word vomit, please. ;)

Bones, skulls, skeletons. Scatter them about on end tables, coffee table, etc.
Turn down the lights, or change out all of the lightbulbs for candelabra flicker bulbs. (Get from eBay... so much cheaper than any home Depot or Lowes)
Blue/green lighting in the kitchen/food area. Body parts on the stove.
Get yourself tons of low grade cheesecloth, dye it, rinse it, hang it out to dry, BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF IT, and then cut and drape pieces of it over lamps, chandeliers, use in layers as a tattered tablecloth. etc etc etc be creative! :)
White sheets over furniture for that "haunted house" look.
Light some candles. EVERYWHERE.

BOOM. Done.

Prep work might take some time (a few hours, really), but the actual putting together and decorating may only take an hour or two. If you have help, it would be even shorter. I've become a pro at these super speedy, pop-up halloween parties!
Let me know if you need sources for affordable large amounts of cheesecloth or anything!
 

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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the ideas FF! i'm definitely interested in any sources you have.
 

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Hmm... well, I think decorating quickly is as much about easy items to set out as it is about organization before you even get there. Sorting like items with like, or putting all the objects you want to use in a certain display BEFORE you get there is a time-saver. For example, if you know it's going into the living room, try putting that in its own bag or bin.

Make sure you've got a craft kit too, for when you get there - scissors, tape, pins, crazy glue, hot glue & glue gun, etc - that way if you need to secure anything or fix it, you're not scrambling & wasting time.

I think lighting is key too - changing out bulbs, draping creepy cloth over lampshades, using candles in some places instead of lights.

A nice look is to buy some of the dollar tree silver trays - round, oval & rectangular - and group candles & skulls, rats & moss on top of them to put around as displays. It gives an elegant look & a focal point, plus it's easy to clean up.

If your friend has bookcases or book displays, turn them all around so the spines are on the inside & the pages face out, and decorate that area with battery candles, crows, rats, creepy cloth & Spanish moss.

For a dining room table or coffee table, you could line up bones & skulls - easy but packs visual impact.

You do want to have black sheets or painters drop cloths from the hardware store dyed dark colors on hand to drape over any furniture that's brightly colored. The more black fabric you have, the better, IMHO. You can drape it from curtain rods, cover up window blinds, cover up furniture, use it as tablecloths, etc.
 

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It may be my epitaph - music and lighting can set the ambiance for ANY party. Nail those two things and do what you can with the other stuff - if it's Halloween/Gothic theme, you can never have too much cheesecloth! haha
 

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You are right on about the lighting! I find that bringing some branches in from outside also makes a huge difference. If you have some crows you can perch around, even better. (The Dollar Store sells them.) A bag of Spanish Moss really sets the tone. Use red tempra paint to write Redrum on the mirror and make bloody prints in the bathroom (comes right off with Windex--just avoid the grout). Crisscross some spider webs overhead. A couple of skellys or pumpkins, and some burlap to cover the tables (Home Depot, garden section), and you are there!
 

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I think one important thing is picking a color scheme with bright colors for the accents is helpful. Black, white, grey for most of it, and a little orange or red in decorative bowls or whatever.

You might try making simple banners to pin up. Get yards of plain cloth in one or two colors. Make rectangles of the same length. Stamp, paint, or pin on some bats of various sizes. Leave some space for visual interest. Then hang these up in different places around the room. I think with that you'd have a good setting for showcasing a few accessories, and you can do some more stuff with lighting.
 
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