Traverse City Record-Eagle

Life

October 11, 2013

Halloween parties for grown-ups

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Halloween, the holiday built around the twin pleasures of playing dress-up and eating too much candy, is obviously a hit with children.

But send invitations to your grown-up friends and you’ll probably find they haven’t outgrown the urge to don creepy costumes and celebrate in spooky, theatrical style.

Want to host a party that merges Halloween fun with grown-up sophistication? Turning your home into a haunted mansion is surprisingly easy, says interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of Flynnside Out Productions.

Just ditch the cheerful orange pumpkins and smiling ghosts for darker, more creative décor.

“Stay away from anything cute,” Flynn says, “and instead opt for creepy-chic.”

Here Flynn and two other design experts — Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs and the latest “HGTV Star” winner, Tiffany Brooks — offer decorating advice for a memorable, stylish and affordable Halloween party.

Cheesecloth evokes ancient mummies, while burlap brings to mind scarecrows. Both fabrics are inexpensive and lightweight, but sturdy — perfect for Halloween party tablecloths.

These solid-color pieces also have a more adult feel than the whimsical prints on Halloween tablecloths or napkins designed for kids.

Call likes using large sheets of brown craft paper on buffet tables or as a runner down the center of a Halloween dining table. Cluster small gourds (the darker and more oddly shaped, the better) along the runner, he says, then add a few large pillar candles.

Easily and inexpensively, “you’ve knocked out a table that’s great for any fall holiday,” Call says. And cleanup is simple: “After a party, throw the paper out.”

Flynn says you can make your home’s entryway extra creepy by soaking large pieces of cheesecloth in tea, then shredding the cloth once it’s dry.

Hang the pieces from the ceiling above your porch or drape it from walls with a few well-placed nails to conjure up the feel of a haunted house.

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