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Halloween Grows Up

Halloween Grows Up

We’re reclaiming the witching hour for a different kind of mischief. No scaredy-cats allowed at this hauntingly haute soiree.

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To a child, a Halloween nightmare is a monster under the bed. To Kevin Sharkey, it’s a theme party -- or the irrepressible creep of morning-after glitter. “Glitter is enemy number one to a Type A personality,” he says, brushing aside stray flecks as he wedges a cobalt beetle into the eye of a glimmering skull. The result is equal parts dazzling and grotesque -- the kind of macabre glamour that makes one simultaneously shudder and lean closer. He shrugs. "But who can say no?"

Guests of Horror

The skulls are glittered by hand, a process that Kevin admits can be cumbersome. “You have to go into it with the right mind-set,” he advises. “Make sure you allow enough time.” Time, of course, is a haunting presence for any ambitious host. “I don’t think it’s necessary to make all your decorations from scratch,” he clarifies. “You get a more inspired result when you mix things up.” See more shortcuts to Kevin’s chic brand of gothic whimsy below.

Hallowed Scene

“For night, there’s no need to rely on what’s realistic,” says Kevin. “Instead, opt for what sparkles or glistens or glows. Go for glamour. Go big or go home.”
  • Sugar Crush
    Sugar Crush

    “I’m faithful to my candy. Peeps are for Easter. Red Hots are for Valentine’s Day. For Halloween, candy corn is a must.”

  • Devil's in the Details
    Devil's in the Details

    A pest infestation takes kale flowers from everyday to eerie.

  • Don't Feed the Butterflies
    Don't Feed the Butterflies

    An elegant dome display lends an air of mystery to standalone props.

  • Sugar Crush
    Sugar Crush

    “I’m faithful to my candy. Peeps are for Easter. Red Hots are for Valentine’s Day. For Halloween, candy corn is a must.”

  • Don't Feed the Butterflies
    Don't Feed the Butterflies

    An elegant dome display lends an air of mystery to standalone props.

  • Devil's in the Details
    Devil's in the Details

    A pest infestation takes kale flowers from everyday to eerie.

Glitter aversion explained, we move on to enemy number two: the theme party. “A party shouldn’t stress out the guests!” Kevin explains. “I appreciate the enthusiasm, but you can’t force a narrow interpretation on those who are there to have fun.” Nor does he endorse the trick-or-tacky “adult” costume trend. “My go-to costume is a jockey,” he says. “It’s comfortable, and it looks good. What more could you want?”

Gilt-y Pleasures

Pumpkins and metallics go together like Champagne and Cheez-Its. “I try not to overthink it,” Kevin says of his high-low entertaining style. “I let my stomach call the shots.”

Ring of Pyre

A gold acorn wreath brings an autumnal edge to the scene. Kevin made this one using craft picks, floral tape, and a wire frame. “There’s a wreath for every season,” he declares. Learn to make a hanging display that shines for day or night.

  • The Mold-and-Hold
    The Mold-and-Hold

    Gently bend the pick to follow the curve of the frame. Hold it in place with one finger as you toss the floral tape over and away from your body.

  • It's a Scream
    It's a Scream

    Layer the picks a few inches apart around the wreath’s full circumference. "I like to multitask and do this while keeping up with the Kardashians," Kevin says.

  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
    Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

    Wrap the length of the pick, and then double back. The floral tape sticks to itself -- don’t pull too tight, or it will tear.

  • Hang 'Em High
    Hang 'Em High
    Kevin had a ceiling hook specially installed for decorative purposes. “It makes swapping in big, statement-making elements so easy,” he explains.
  • The Mold-and-Hold
    The Mold-and-Hold

    Gently bend the pick to follow the curve of the frame. Hold it in place with one finger as you toss the floral tape over and away from your body.

  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble
    Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

    Wrap the length of the pick, and then double back. The floral tape sticks to itself -- don’t pull too tight, or it will tear.

  • It's a Scream
    It's a Scream

    Layer the picks a few inches apart around the wreath’s full circumference. "I like to multitask and do this while keeping up with the Kardashians," Kevin says.

  • Hang 'Em High
    Hang 'Em High
    Kevin had a ceiling hook specially installed for decorative purposes. “It makes swapping in big, statement-making elements so easy,” he explains.

A refined approach extends the Halloween holiday into all hours. Follow a night of revelry with a stylish seasonal lunch.

Simply Gourd-geous

In honoring Halloween’s coming-of-age, who’d have thought that black and orange would be the first to go? “The season’s natural color palette is more subdued, but just as festive,” says Kevin. Here, echeveria succulents join porcelain berry and starflower seed head in a lush yet unexpected mix.

In Living Color

The nontraditional party palette is offset by autumnal dishes and linens. “Find complements to squash and kale -- chartreuse, ivory, lavender,” Kevin suggests. Color isn’t the only element that gourds and greenery can elevate. “Pumpkins and gourds have an intricate matte texture that can hold its own in a display,” he says. “Day is the time to showcase that kind of natural detail.”

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