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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vintage Halloween Decorating

Halloween collector and artisan Bruce Elsass throws frightfully whimsical parties in his home decked out in fanciful antique Halloween decorations. Take inspiration from his approach for ways to display your own collectibles. The decor in Bruce's dining room is typical of 1920s party decorating with exotic paper lanterns, colorful streamers, and ghoulish pumpkin faces. The room's focal point is a grinning Beistle black cat centerpiece that's nearly 80 years old.

A contemporary cat holds a lit jack-o'-lantern for the freeloading birds circling his tail. Their backdrop is a former doll's chest made from old orange crates and filled with German papier-mache pumpkins. For collectors, the smaller the pumpkins, the greater their value.

Majolica pottery -- stored year-round in a hutch -- complements the seasonal addition of Halloween decorations. The whimsical rectangular plates in back are paper pieces produced by the American Dennison Company between 1930 and 1950.

A grinning skeleton holds court among cobwebbydesserts. The homemade paper-pulp skeleton is held together with wires. The figure is surrounded by a permanent display case of antique bottles and jars, dressed up for the party with spray-on spiderwebbing. Dare kids and adults at your party to pick up candy and cookies at the skeleton's feet.

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