Extreme Halloween Makeover: Hallway Edition

This post is part of any ongoing promotion with Oriental Trading Company. All photos, projects, and opinions are my own.

There are folks out there who turn their home, garages, or yards into haunted houses. Or who sync up running lights to music and put on a real show for the neighborhood (something Todd totally wants to do for Christmas, one day, by the way). This year, I think we’ve stumbled into that territory.

Aside from the outside decor, which anyone passing by can see, the entry way of the home is probably the place you get the most bang for your decorating buck. Trick-or-treaters see it, anyone else who comes to your door sees it, and it’s the first thing guests see when they enter your home for a visit or party. If you have a foyer, vestibule, or entry hall, it’s probably not a massive space, so it’s easier to do some high-impact decorating in this space.

Greetings of the season for sure!

Greetings of the season for sure!

That’s not a scene-setter, folks, that’s a mural I painted onto our entryway wall over the last few weeks.

A few weeks ago I was somewhat bored and restless, and sometimes that translates to a cleaning spree. There was a piece of torn wallpaper in our entryway so I decided I was just going to removed the lifted, damaged bit, just so it wasn’t hanging around being obvious, and we could go back to ignoring the 20+ year old wallpaper that we will eventually be replacing. To my surprise, though, the entire sheet came up with just a little tug.

And a little later I ended up with an expanse of white wall up the first half of our staircase.


The white wall irritated me–it was so plain! It highlighted that we haven’t hung things on the wall. It mocked me.

So I gave it a temporary makeover for the holidays!


A better view of our mural

While there are some more details I want to add (blades of grass, more detailing on the tree), I’m happy with where it is for now and can move onto decorating the rest of our entryway in our customary fashion.

The first focus is the staircase–I cannot tell you how much I love having a banister to decorate for the holidays! I have fond memories of my grandmother’s house at Christmas with stockings for the extended family lining the banister and it’s always been the epitome of holidays to me. Porch railings just aren’t the same, I’ve learned over the years!

A festooned banister makes my heart happy!

A festooned banister makes my heart happy!

Long-time readers might recognize the candy corn garland from several years (and 2 houses) ago as well as last year’s hand-stamped skull ribbon tucked in along with the tatty creepy cloth and black drapey fabric. The paper mache pumpkin is from Marshalls (several years back) and sits in the hollow created by a missing spindle.

Chandeliers need spooking too!

Chandeliers need spooking too!

More of the creepy cloth drapes the arms of our entryway light fixture. The flame-shaped bulbs and drippy-looking candle cover sleeves (the official name, apparently, for the plastic tubes that slip over the lamp bits) work especially well for Halloween, I think!

Of course, also on our stairs are two of our Oriental Trading Company scores.


You can also see some of the rough nature of the mural painting–I tried not to get too precious with it, knowing that it’s temporary.


The little rat silhouettes with their red crystal eyes work just perfectly on the stair treads and along the mural. I used about half the package here, so I have the other half to sprinkle elsewhere in the house, and the double-sided foam adhesive that came with them is super sticky (unlike a major lifestyle brand’s raven silhouettes I purchased several years ago that would never stick with the provided foam dots) and I have every confidence that they won’t scurry off elsewhere before the party in a few weeks.


The glow-in-the-dark footstep clings were a little more of a challenge, but I figured it out. It could be (most likely is) the worn finish of our stair treads (all the wood flooring in the house needs to be refinished some day), but they weren’t automatically receptive to the clings. BUT! Knowing the trick about wetting suction cups to get them to adhere, I decided to swipe the step with a damp paper towel and that totally did the trick. We’ll see if I have to redo any of the spots, but so far, so good. And I kept them to the railing-side of the steps just in case any came loose–I didn’t want to create a hazard on our already treacherous staircase (it has a history… but that’s a story for another post!).

Of course, you want to know if they really glow, right?

Something phosphorescent this way creeps!

Something phosphorescent this way creeps!

They do! Granted, because we’d just set them out they hadn’t gathered enough light to glow very brightly, so to one you see here that’s really standing out is because Todd shined his flashlight on it for a few moments to “charge” the footprint. Pretty cool, right?

Across from the staircase (and between the doorways to the living and my office) we have our console table with our little Halloween village set-up and the motion-activated ghoul mirror.


We’ve amassed quite a bit of the creepy cloth of various hues and use it liberally! It’s so inexpensive and can be used for a lot of things, but I will warn you–the darker versions tend not to be color-fast. My fingertips are usually grey by the time I finish messing with it, so be careful what it’s brushing up against.

jvanderbeek_halloween_2015_decorations-0287Our village is made up of a couple of tin houses (candles will flicker inside them for the party) and an animated Lemax pieces that features a costume contest in progress. Then smaller figures–a mix of craft store and dollar store finds–fill up the rest of the space.


We still need to set up the photo-booth backdrop in the back corner of the entry (a post for next week), but these two areas in our entry hall pretty much set the stage for when guests come by.

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