15 Halloween Centerpieces and Tabletop Ideas
Hosting a Halloween party? You've probably spent hours and hours whipping up scary-yet-delicious treats and wicked cocktails to boot—not to mention a wonderful Halloween landscape outside for neighborhood trick or treaters. But now it's time to think about what your interiors will look like—and more importantly, what you will adorn your tables with to keep guests entertained all evening long.
While Halloween calls for unique touches and a spooky theme, that doesn't mean you should not approach this event as you would any other. Florals are a great example of a sophisticated tablescape element that balances the fine line feeling thematic for Halloween without becoming overly cheesy; here, we share festive centerpieces featuring fresh florals that can make any tabletop that much more inviting for guests of all ages. But centerpieces can also feature seasonal arrangements that aren't dependent on delicate florals; succulents, for one, and accompanying gourds are beautiful when paired together. You can even use the kids' Jack-o'-Lanterns to act as a fun vessel for our pumpkin basket centerpiece.
Aside from florals and other garden favorites, you can even incorporate edible treats into tabletop decorations—candy centerpieces are both visually appealing and interactive for guests. Plus, candy can also be used to create fun place settings if you plan to serve a more formal meal before everyone decides to take to the streets for some trick-or-treating.
Whether you strive for an autumnal aesthetic or a decidedly festive Halloween theme, these DIY projects and centerpieces will help turn a handful of dishes and trays into a spectacular party tablescape for any guest.
Floral Skull and Skeleton Hands Centerpiece
If you could you use a hand—or two—with the flowers for your party, try this: When guests arrive, be sure to introduce them to your dear, departed decorator. Re-create our floral arrangement of smoke bush, 'Black Beauty' roses, allium, and carnivorous cobra lilies in a glass vessel, then set it inside a human skull. Prop a pair of lightweight hand appendages as candle taper holders.
Haunted Punch Bowl
Fill this vessel with dry ice for a smoldering display, or use it to serve punch. To begin, use a ruler to measure the halfway point on each pumpkin, and draw a horizontal line around the circumferences with a grease pencil. Cut pumpkins in half and then discard the tops while lightly scraping the insides clean. Tape this template to your pumpkins (starting at the backs, since templates won't meet up exactly), and poke holes with an awl along outline of the patterns; continue around pumpkins, moving the template as you go. Finally, use a keyhole saw to cut out shapes along dotted lines and tubing to cut tiny holes. You'll need to place the larger pumpkin on top of the inverted smaller one, and use a 2-inch wood screw to fasten the pumpkins to each other. Insert a glass bowl, and fill with water and dry ice if desired, or simply place your choice of punch in this space.
Deranged Halloween Centerpiece
Dreadfully sophisticated and shockingly fun, a bouquet infested with insects gets Halloween off to a screaming start. You'll need to start by using glue to attach a selection of fake vinyl bugs to rose petals. Then, paint a toy snake using black acrylic paint and let it dry. Use floral wire to create an anchor for your coiled snaked: twist one end around the snake's middle, and insert the other end into the vase. Finally, secure centipede (or another big bug) to the vase using some poster putty.
Mini Spray-Painted Gold Table Pumpkins
Who says Halloween dinner parties need to be macabre? If you're throwing an elegant fall party, spray paint miniature pumpkins in gold and add place cards written in gold ink. A block-printed napkin and tablecloth and the marbleized plate add patterned richness, while a mix of mismatched contemporary glassware and classic flatware keep the feeling clean and modern.
Vellum Halloween Table Lanterns
When the sun goes down, set a spooky scene with these dramatic lanterns made from simple supplies and our exclusive clip-art designs. Trace your chosen template (snake 1, snake 2, or frog) four times, side by side, on black paper; with a bone folder, crease where the sides meet. Cut out. Print four copies of a design onto vellum, then cut each piece just larger than the frame "windows." Tape vellum into frame. Trim the bottoms straight, tape edges, and then set them aglow.
Cast a sinister glow over any setting with a cluster of white tapers dripping with "blood" (actually red candle wax). Fill a cup or a small pail with sand, and plant white candles inside so they stand upright. Light a red candle and tip it over the white candles so the wax drips down the tops and sides, being careful not to burn yourself. Let wax cool completely before removing candles from sand.
Pumpkin Floral Basket
A basket carved from a pumpkin is perfect for holding striking sprays of dark blossoms and leaves. Cut your pumpkin to be lopsided on it's bottom if need be; then, measure halfway up your pumpkin and draw around its circumference with a grease pencil (the line should be parallel to your work surface). Tape this template onto the pumpkin itself; use an awl to poke holes along the template, and use a keyhole saw to cut out one side of the pumpkin along the handle's dotted line and circumference. Hollow the pumpkin, scraping the inside clean, and cut it out on the other side. Cut along the circumference to finish the pattern and place floral foam inside the basket to arrange flowers.
Tattered Halloween Tablecloth and Spiderweb Decor
Hair-raising party decorations don't need to be costly or fussy. You can make these frightening flourishes with some inexpensive craft supplies in just a few minutes. We covered a table with gauze and then affixed black tissue-paper tatters to the table and sweets-laden cake stands. Spooky card-stock spiderwebs hang from up above—spun, perhaps, by the store-bought arachnid dangling nearby.
To make the tatters, cut a length of black tissue paper about nine inches wide (three inches for smaller varieties), then make two-inch accordion folds down the length of the paper—after, trim the excess. Using a straightedge and a rotary cutter fitted with a decorative blade, cut the folded paper into a V shape, leaving a one-inch border at one end.
To make the cobwebs, first photocopy this template onto card stock, enlarging it by 400 percent for the smaller web, and an additional 150 percent for a larger web. Cut out the template, and fold a 12-inch square sheet of black card stock (about an 18-inch square for the large web) in half diagonally, and then fold in half twice more to form a small triangle. Trace out the template using a white pencil on this paper, and then use a crafting knife to cut out the pattern. Unfold, and hang using monofilament.
Glittered Skulls, Bones, and Bugs
These glitter bones and bugs are an eerie but elegant decoration for Halloween. Start by laying craft paper or newspaper over your workspace, and then use a craft brush to apply glue to half of a skull or bone. Hold the object over a large shallow bowl or tray—spoon ultra-fine opaque glitter over glued surface, making certain the glitter falls into all the crevices and sockets. Place the item on a tray; let it dry for at least an hour. Finally, tap off the excess glitter. You can repeat this process on each uncoated surface of the items you wish to include in your display. Lastly, cover a handful of plastic novelty bugs in glue, and then place the bugs in a plastic bag filled with glitter. Twist the top of the bag and shake thoroughly to coat the item in glitter.
Succulent Planter Pumpkins Centerpiece
Cluster ghostly pale pumpkins as a centerpiece and top them with small, sculptural succulents—echeveria, haworthia, and jade are all sun-loving varieties that make these planters stylish and functional.
This glittering figure—encrusted with thousands of rhinestones, beads, and faux pearls—was seen emerging from an oval-shaped mirror (Grandin Road "Sorceress Skull" Framed Mirror, $499, grandinroad.com). At this party, he dutifully served as the bartender, highlighting the space where guests could refill their libations all evening long.
Moon-Rock Pumpkins Centerpiece
This lunar look has a sweet secret: To decorate these white Baby Boo gourds, all you need is rock candy, sugar crystals, and clear caulk—no carving knife (or spaceship) required. First, break up the rock candy into chunky pieces. Spread the caulk on top of the gourds, and cover them with the sugar and candy. Then sprinkle more "moon rocks" around them. It's a few small steps for you, but one giant leap for your dinner table's ambience.
Piled Pumpkins Centerpiece
For a sit-down autumnal feast, bring in unusual finds from the pumpkin patch: look for moody hues and interesting shapes and textures. This tabletop display includes Black Futsu and Long Island Cheese pumpkins, as well as bowls of knobby black radishes.
Metallic Copper-Leaf Pumpkins
These pumpkins are small and lumpy like gourds, which makes them perfect for autumnal arrangements that look stylish well past Halloween. To make, place tape around the base of pumpkin stems and paint the stems with gold acrylic paint. Cut a leaf shape (with a long stem) out of a metal sheet; turn face-down. With small and large tips from an awl kit, press vein patterns and larger ridges into foil. Wrap stem of each leaf around a pumpkin stem, twisting ends into a spiral. Arrange pumpkins on a tray with lit votives.
A floral arrangement becomes positively frightening when covered in creepy cobwebs. To make the webs, cut a 5-inch section from inexpensive or damaged white panty hose, and pull apart until it becomes wispy and resembles cobwebs. Stretch the material over a cluster of dark blooms (we used crimson roses and dahlias, as well as some fiddlehead ferns). Set on a sideboard, or on a dining table as a centerpiece.