Five Spooky Centerpiece Ideas

October 2014 Web Exclusive

Are you coming up blank when trying to think of eeirie or charming centerpieces for Halloween? We know houseboats can be decked out as much as any living room and we're eager to make suggestions. Here are five fantastic and festive ideas from Martha Stewart that will knock the striped witch socks off of any guest!

Mini Cheesecloth Ghosts

Frozen in time like a photograph, these little ghosts are eerily postured thanks to layers of starched cheesecloth. The only materials you need are scissors, cardboard cylinders like paper towel tubes, tape, 22-gauge floral wire, aluminum foil, cheesecloth, and liquid starch.

First create the body shape by cutting ½ -inch-deep slits into one end of a cardboard tube, then flatten the flaps and tape them to the table so they stay standing up. At the top of tube, cut a small hole on each side and push a wire about as long as the tube through both openings. Bend the wire into whatever shape of outstretched arms you want your ghost to have. Then place a ball of aluminum foil on top of the cylinder to make the ghost’s head. Cut strips of cheesecloth (about six per ghost) and dip them in liquid starch, before draping them around the tube/wire mold in different directions. Once the cheesecloth dries, you can gently lift the “ghost” away from the mold and pose it wherever you want this fascinating little specter to reign!

Spidery White Roses

These black creepy crawlies make a startling contrast to the beautiful bouquet of white roses! This creative vase adds a spooky touch to any table and promises to make a big impression on your Halloween houseboat guests. The materials you’ll need are simplepermanent glue, rose petals, vinyl bugs and snakes, black acrylic paint, 20-gauge floral wire, poster putty, and a vase.

All you have to do is glue the vinyl bugs to the rose petals. Paint the vinyl snakes black before letting them dry. Then fashion simple anchors for the coiled snakes out of the floral wire, encircling the snake's middle with one end and poking the other end into the vase to hold it in place. For the finishing touches, stick the bigger bugs (like creepy centipedes) to the vase with poster putty and voila! You’ve got a creepy Halloween vase bursting with spooky flowers and creepy crawlies. 

Witch's Broom Favors

These treat bags are so cute and surprisingly easy to create! Fashioned like little witch brooms, they’ll make a sweet good-bye for any Halloween get-together. The only materials necessary are lunch-size paper bags, scissors, small branches, candy, and black twine.

To make a broom, use two paper bags each. Unfold the first bag and push out the base so you can fold in the left and right sides. Cut thin strips from the top, but make sure to leave the base untouched. Then open both bags and tuck the second one into the first sliced bag and stuff them with your favorite candy. Finally, poke a small branch one inch into the bag, tighten the opening around the branch, and tie everything in place with black twine. Your guests are sure to be charmed with this festive little party favors that can double as cute centerpieces until everyone departs for the night.

Graveyard Place Cards 

These graveyard place cards have the added benefit of being personal treat holders! The scary cemetery theme won’t scare them off; dinner guests will love the tasty treats inside. The materials needed are quite simple, just plain paper bags, a fence edge punch, scissors, grey card stock, letter stamps, an ink pad, and whatever candy they most enjoy.

To make the place cards, fold the gusset of each bag down and cut off the bag’s top, leaving 2 ¼ inches for the bottom. Use the fence edge punch to make a cute decorative edge around the bottom of the back. For the tombstones, cut them freehand from the grey card stock and stamp each guest’s name in black ink. To put it all together, just fill the bags with candy and poke the tombstones inside!

Glittered Pumpkin Centerpiece

It’s the simple touches that count, and any ghastly houseboat salon is made complete with shimmery pumpkins, gothic candlesticks, and gauzy layers of spider webs. These pumpkins are beautifully displayed when set on a tiered cake stand and fake spiders complete the subtle creepy undertone to this centerpiece!

The materials you’ll need are various sizes of synthetic pumpkins, ultrafine black and silver glitter, tiered cake stands, black paint, a paintbrush, tacky glue, a bowl, and a tray or plate; fake spiders and “Dusty Miller” foliage are optional. To begin, paint the pumpkins black and coat the tacky glue over half of each with a paintbrush. Holding each pumpkin over a bowl of glitter, spoon the glitter over the glue. Be careful to get the glitter evenly coated, even in the crevices, and let the excess glitter fall into the bowl. After about an hour of drying time, the pumpkins should be ready for a second round of glitter on the unexposed portions. Using the same process, coat all of each pumpkin and go over any trouble areas.

Then it’s just a matter of using your creative flair to arrange the finished pumpkins, candlesticks, and cobwebs on the tiers to your liking, and you will instantly invite in a spooky atmosphere that will wow your Halloween festival guests!

For more photos and ideas, visit Martha Stewart's website here!

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