SPECTACULARLY SPOOKY TABLE SETTINGS
It was a dark and rainy night…as I walked down the dimly lit pathway that led to a large and intimidating front door. It was a thick and heavy door, with hammered, black iron hinges holding it to the door frame. An enormous skull was fasted high enough that I had to reach over my head to touch its articulated jaw that was in fact, the door knocker. As I went to knock, the heavy door creaked open, as if it had been pulled inward from the inside, but as I peered around it, there was no one in sight. Once my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I found myself face to face with a ghoul, my best “ghoulfriend”! I had arrived on time, for her Halloween Soiree.
Wherever people gather, you will find they tend to gravitate towards the location of food and drink! So, creating a great themed dining area is a lot of what folks will remember about your party! Why not make it spectacular! Where to begin… I guess the best place to start is to figure out your table theme. Whatever theme you choose, you want to avoid a visually confusion chaotic scene, it is best to stay consistent with everything you do. It is very important to take a few minutes to really look at your space before you get started. Sit down at the table. Walk around the table. Stand by the table. Decide if you are having a sit-down dinner or a buffet. Here at a Vintage Address, the rule of thumb is usually a sit-down dinner if it’s just a few intimate ghostly friends (no more than eight or ten), and it turns into a buffet when the number of ghastly ghouls increases. Either way, we like to set three different tables, so as not to clutter the table where the main course will be. They don’t have to be anything large, a small round table, or square card table will be perfect for a dessert station. Remember to add smaller dessert plates and fresh utensils, for your devilishly good desserts. The third station will be where your drinks, glassware and beverage napkins will reside. We like to put them in different locations, so everyone doesn’t congregate in one small area. This way your guests don’t feel cramped. Your main food table could be in the dining area, the bar could be in the living area and the dessert station could be on a buffet or another corner of the room the bar is in. Don’t be afraid to rearrange or remove furniture to keep traffic jams from forming.
Whether you will be using your tables for dining or buffet-style serving, start out with the right foundations. For tablecloth ideas, black lace, black or deep red, or gold satin can really make a statement. White is never a wrong choice, and pairs very well with silver dishes and accessories. Add clear glassware for a classy, transparently ghostly feel. Add cake stands and other serving ware that are elevated, to add depth to your table. Decorative table runners can add another layer of interest, in an appropriate pattern, or coordinating or contrasting colors. Building a good base is an important first step because it affects everything you put on top of it. That also goes for your choices in china, and serving wares, which should also support your theme and/or chosen color palette. Putting chargers under plates is a nice touch. They come in nearly every color, and since they can be found at most discount stores, they offer an extravagant look, without breaking the bank.
You will want your area of vision to be as exciting, and interesting as possible, but you don’t want so much going on that it’s distracting. There are so many options available to set your table, whilst perfecting your own custom-creepy atmosphere, that will leave a lasting impression on your ghastly visitors! Now that you have your table cover its time to move to the second layer. If you are having a sit-down dinner, lay out your place settings first, to insure ample room for each guest. Be sure that your centerpieces, candles, or any other decorations, are not so large that you cannot see who is sitting across from you. You need to be able to easily see and converse with your guests and have unobstructed access to food and drinks. If food will be placed on the table, make sure to leave room for your serving pieces. If you find that you don’t have room for a centerpiece…it’s okay, you can add tiny votive candle, or decorate the place settings themselves. We also have vertical space! When setting the buffet table, you will want to designate a place for your centerpiece and then put the dishes you will be serving with, on the table. Make sure your buffet tables are as nicely put together, as they would be, for a formal sit down affair.
Look up and decide how best to fill the space between the top of the table and the ceiling without out overdoing things. You will want some things hanging down, and some things going up from the table, to keep things interesting. You can add visual interest to the space by hanging small items from light fixtures or chandeliers. Silk greenery or vines, which can be spray painted black or any color that works with your theme, work very well. Moss is another good effect. You can add dangling items to catch the light like small crystals, pretty beads or hang bats, tiny ghosts, or swags of lace.
Lighting, for any occasion, is very important, so use it to your advantage. Using the right lighting can be used to highlight specific items, to help to focus your guests’ attentions wherever you so desire. If you have them, you can really take advantage of your chandeliers. Ornate candelabras can also provide their own brand of eerie glow. In any configuration, clusters of flickering candles create awesome visual appeal. Let your rooms be ablaze with ambient lighting. Up lights can be focused on key elements while casting spooky shadows. You can find inexpensive par can lights and gels, at just about any store that sells Halloween merchandise String lights can be used to mark walkways, stairwells, or doorways into the next dimension, indoors or out! That’s right! Weather permitting, there is nothing saying your dinner party must be held indoors. Whether you have a permanent pergola, a screened in porch, or you want to set your table by the pool, you can create a frightfully wonderful ensemble outdoors as well. With out door dining you have the option of using lanterns, tiki torches, solar lighting and string lights.
Whatever you decide, do it with zest! Use treasure chests for holding potato chips or fill them with faux jewels and use them as centerpieces for a pirate themed party. Faux gold coins scattered on table tops, and displays with them spilling out of wine glasses, along with strands of pearls. Pearls can also be hung on the backs of chairs, strung over light fixtures, and wrapped around the stems of glassware, for adding glamour to your haunted table scene. Skulls and skeletons are very versatile. Skeleton hands can be used as napkin rings or holding place cards. There is a theme to suit every taste, and of course, there is nothing stopping you from making up your own theme! All that really matters is whatever bests suits your style, your theme and your guests! So, have fun and make this year’s Halloween party the most unforgettable one yet!