The Spider & the Fly

“‘Will you walk into my parlour?’ said the spider🕷 to the fly🪰.” The sinister 1829 poem by Mary Howitt tells the cautionary tale of the sly spider coaxing the apprehensive fly into its web🕸. Creepy/Clever and well played, Mr. Spider. Hmmmm…the parallels of the 1829 spider web and the manipulative, seductive 2021 worldwide web are not lost on me.

I am joining other tablescapers from across the miles to bring you spooky fun with a “Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop” hosted by Rita at Panoply blog. Links to their BOO-tiful sites are listed at the end of this post, and I encourage you to stop in to visit each one of these talented ladies.

I chose this pintuck taffeta table linen for its resemblance to a spider web.

A🩸blood red🩸 Royal Norfolk dinner plate sits atop a mirrored charger that helps break up the moodiness of the setting. A black salad plate and spooky skull appetizer plate complete the stack.💀 Notice there are just daggers/knives to devour the beastly feast.🗡

Spine-chilling metal spiders lord over each place setting.

The flies have been coaxed into the spider’s web!🕷🕸🪰

I found these gravestones at Dollar Tree some years ago.

The end settings have the skulls of the host and hostess of this ghoulish event trapped for eternity beneath oversized cloches/bell jars. The hungry spider below the skull hunts its prey, the flies, that have overtaken the skull. (OK…I’m freaking myself out here now!😱)

Overreaching branches canopy the centerpiece below. I used faux branches, but this spooky look could just as easily be achieved with real ones.

If there’s a graveyard, you KNOW there has to be a raven somewhere nearby! This one, perched amongst the pumpkins and slithering serpents, shows no fear.

Ick! A serpent invading the hollow eye socket of a soul long gone is a weird juxtaposition to the beautiful onyx “Elegance” Mikasa stemware.

The morose table setting is capped off with the flicker of candlelight towering high above.

A haunted pumpkin patch sits on the vitrine just beyond the graveyard.

If you’re looking for more ghastly, ghostly, ghoulish tablescapes, check out these from my archives:

Ready, set, HOP!!! Check out THESE haunting entries!!!


Halloween Tablescape – Ravenous Raven Graveyard Feast

This is another table from my “Fabulous Fall Tablescaping” class through Longview Community College. I wanted the students to really feel the atmosphere, so I went a little overboard. They say, “The devil’s in the details,” and I guess there’s no better time than Halloween to let the devil do his thing!

Watch this short video (shaky a la “Blair Witch Project” and “Paranormal Activity”) if you want to really get a feel for the sights & sounds my students experienced: doors creaking, wind blowing, bones crunching, strobe lights flashing, and spine tingling screams…or as I like to call it, “Just Another Tuesday Night at the Nichols Household!”
(Click on any photo to enhance/enlarge it. Photos and video by Sheri L. Grant.)

It’s cool. Is this not a face you can trust? 🙂 C’mon in!

At the front door to greet students was a behemoth python (Spirit Halloween) with his steroid-enhanced spider minions. I trained an uplight from across the room onto the vignette to lend a spooky effect. Tip: Whenever you want something to look spooky, just uplight it like they do in the movies!

Students were warned not to venture upstairs where I’d be unable to protect them from the evil that lurked beyond the yellow tape. (My unmade bed and several baskets of dirty laundry! ;-))You could almost hear the stealthy footsteps of the (Dollar Tree) rats as they crept along. (One student – I don’t want to put her on blast, but it was wedding planner Precious Whitmore 😉 – almost lost her lunch when she saw this area. She is terrified by rats…even fake ones!!!)

 The foyer table just beneath the stairwell is quietly aglow with an uplit pumpkin on a black urn and a few LED candles. I used LED candles throughout for safety’s sake.

Are you ready to step into the graveyard to be eaten for dinner?

The dining room table is shrouded in a full-length black linen (LinenTablecloth.com) to give the appearance of the items on top just kind of floating in the relative darkness.

Plates depicting a raven perched in graveyard branches were purchased at our local Hy-Vee grocery store. They were the inspiration for the room’s overall theme.

I used plain clear glass stemware from Old Time Pottery. The flatware is Hampton Silversmiths “San Remo” stainless which in this context takes on a sort of Gothic look. The black & white floral napkins (Stein Mart) adopt a decidedly spookier look when rolled and secured with the spiked napkin ring. The Dollar Tree napkin rings are actually those popular slap on bracelets. These would be really fun as a dual purpose napkin ring/favor for guests! Tip: Stretch your dollars by incorporating favors into the decor!

I had fun creating these menus. The backing is sparkly black paper from Michael’s craft store. I secured the printed page onto the backing with a black brad from Hobby Lobby.

A headstone marks the grave place setting of each guest. You might use gray duct tape upon which to write the names of each victim guest and affix it to the headstone to create a place card. (If you want to really personalize your headstone place cards, click HERE for my good friend and floral guru Kelly Acock’s step-by-step instructions.)

The main part of the centerpiece is this gnarly manzanita branch structure from Gordman’s. It’s big but guests can still see one another. Lurking in the branches are vicious snakes and surly ravens, both from Dollar Tree.

This place is just crawling with bugs…literally! (Dollar Tree) Maggots have transformed into flies that crawl upon the mossy earth around the headstones and beneath the trees.

I wanted to use something of a floral nature that would still be kind of dark and morose. This blood red faux boxwood seemed to do the trick in a black glass vase.

A delightful Halloween buffet awaits. Come and get it…if you dare!

Start your meal with an appetizer of assorted finger foods. Move on down the buffet line to a tasty Silence of the Lambs-inspired liver & fava bean salad. You have your pick of entrées including a ghoulishly gastronomical delight of brains with death cap mushrooms picked from our very own yard. Bwahahahahaha! (Entrails and severed body parts all from Dollar Tree.)

These tasty morsels may look like calamari at first glance, but they’re actually shrunken & skeletonized hands freshly plucked from unmarked graves. Notice the lovely tarnish on the silver.

When we say “fresh”, we mean fresh!!! The blood has barely begun to coagulate on another enticing entrée called “Nevermore Hand Hash.” Enjoy the crunchy goodness of bone casserole served with slithering snakes. And for dessert: lovely lady fingers, of course! Once again, take notice of the tarnished silver. (It took incredible restraint to let all of these silver pieces tarnish like this in anticipation of using them for Halloween!!!!!) Tip: The Dollar Tree “blood” is fun to work with, but it WILL STAIN WOOD FINISHES!!!!!!!!!! I found this out the hard way! 😦

A lot of the food is still alive when served, and chasing it down really works up a thirst. Quench that thirst and wash down your meal with one of our mellow libations. (Libation labels from Spirit Halloween.)

I created this spooky Halloween “tree” using a fallen limb from our yard augmented with several curly willow branches tied in with a virtually undetectable dark-colored wired jute. I secured the branches under dark river stones in a black urn that I sat on a box (disguised by a black linen) to lend a bit more height. The votive hangers were hand-fashioned from a medium gauge floral wire. Once again, LED candles are used to be safe around the dry wood. I finished the arrangement off with mounds of Spanish moss.

Beneath the tree in true spooky graveyard fashion are miscellaneous bones, a skull, and runaway eyeballs.

Thick blood pours from lighted skulls on the decorative sconces.

I gave chairs a ghostly look by covering them with oblong table linens. The same effect can be achieved with queen- or king-sized bed sheets.

The top of the china cabinet is decorated with moss- and lichen-covered branches.

As usual, Geoffrey insisted on joining the fun! Masquerading as the Angel of Death, I barely recognized him! 😉

Other Halloween tablescapes on this site:
Serpents & Skullduggery
Hollywood Fright Night
It’s the Great Pumpkin!

I’m joining the following blog parties in the coming week:
♠ The Tablescaper’s “Seasonal Sunday
♠ Cuisine Kathleen’s “Let’s Dish!” (Wednesday after 6:00 p.m. CDT)
♠ The Style Sisters’ “Centerpiece Wednesday” (Wednesday after 9:00 a.m. CDT)
♠ Susan’s “Tablescape Thursday” (Thursday after 9:00 a.m. CDT)
♠ Yvonne’s “Tips, Tidbits & Tutorials” (Thursday after 9:00 a.m. CDT)

Serpents & Skullduggery

Halloween is a week away!

I will admit it: Halloween is not my favorite. As a kid I wondered why we had to go from door-to-door like street urchins. Why couldn’t all the neighbors just toss all their candy into a huge cauldron in the center of the subdivision and let kids take turns dipping it out? Walking from door to miserable door, enduring the snarky “And what are you dressed as?” remarks, shivering in the inevitable cold because I didn’t want to wear a coat that covered my costume, being frightened half out of my wits (which explains a lot!) by older bullies who thought it was funny to make little kids pee their pants…ugh! To make Halloween that much crazier, my parents would “inspect” our candy before we got to eat it. “Inspect.” Yeah…right. Whatever.

Having said that, I put together a table just the same for your Halloween pleasure/fright. Whatever. I’m going to the store to grab a couple of bags of candy to “inspect” while you look at the pictures!

IMG_2863WMA full-length black linen creates the appearance of a ghostly “floating” tabletop design.

IMG_2840WM

IMG_2818WMThe use of clear glass and black tabletop accessories further lends to the ethereal “floating” effect. You can pick up clear glass dishes at places like Bed Bath & Beyond or Old Time Pottery. The black stemware used here is just $1 a stem at the Dollar Tree store. Gotta love that place! Lots of bang for the buck…especially in this economy!!!

 IMG_2879WMThe close placement of the flatware creates a “chain link fortress” around the table.

Yes…I used the names of some close blogger pals like Vernice at We Three Dogs & Me for place cards. If I have to suffer through this, I’m taking you guys with me! I found the fun little skull place card holders at TJ Maxx.

The dinner menu, of course, has to be pretty nauseating to be effective! The design on the end of the Hampton Silversmith’s black “San Remo” flatware works well with its almost Gothic look.

I have a couple of wrought iron “trees” that come in handy for various centerpieces, and Halloween seems a pretty likely opportunity. The tree holds 20 votives in its “branches.” To give it a spooky look, I added clumps of Spanish moss, lots of skulls from Michaels craft store, and a 6-ft. python slithering from top to bottom. I bought this tree wholesale several years ago, so I can’t tell you where to buy one. Curly willow branches, manzanita branches, or any type of small tree would work just as well, though, to achieve the look.

Lots of delicacies under glass from Dollar Tree including “finger sandwiches” on white with a bit of herbed mayo. Hmmm…this food looks a bit undercooked! The glass covered pedestals are from Hobby Lobby and Marshalls. (Dollar Tree and Deal$ – owned by the same company – are both GREAT resources for fun, affordable props!)

Votive candles lined up along the deck ledge with a skeleton here and there provide a little more ambience.

A look from below.

As if on cue as I finished up, a huge black cat darted from under the deck, across the yard, over the fence and into the neighbor’s yard. Oh, crud. The bully made me pee my pants…again!

Other Halloween tablescapes on this site:
Ravenous Raven Graveyard Feast
Hollywood Fright Night

I’ll be joining my spooky pals at Susan’s Tablescape Thursdays again this week, so please stop by to see how much they enjoy decorating for Halloween!

Hollywood Fright Night

Who says just because you’ve passed on to “the other side” that you can’t dine in luxury?

Join these legendary ladies of Hollywood’s most spine-tingling, edge-of-your-seat, wet-your-pants movies for a ghoulish yet stylish midnight supper. They’re just dying to have you for dinner…literally!!! Among the once shining stars on the guest list: Carrie White (Carrie, 1976), Regan Macneil (The Exorcist, 1973), Annie Wilkes (Misery, 1990), Kayako Saeki (The Grudge, 2004; The Grudge II, 2006 and The Grudge III, 2009), Baby Jane Hudson and Blanche Hudson (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, 1962), Peyton Flanders (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, 1992), Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard, 1950), and the elusive Mrs. Bates (Psycho, 1960).

No graveyard soiree for these former stars of stage and screen!

 

Because mystery men from their Hollywood heydays have fresh flowers delivered to their graves each week, there are plenty to decorate the table. Because I learned my lesson from the fiery centerpiece disaster on a windy night last month AND because the ladies get enough real fire in hell (we assume that’s where all these dastardly divas are spending eternity!), I used LED candles all around.

 

 

For each special lady, a black napkin folded into the shape of a clutch bag with a carnation embellishment. Of course, nothing but silver and our best crystal will do!

 

Creepy crawly friends check out the table arrangements.

 

Two gnarled branches of a manzanita tree grace the center of the table with gleaming silver candlesticks, cut crystal votive holders, and an array of cut crystal vases filled with pink carnations and roses.

 

Oh, no! There’s a big bloodsucking bat coming toward you and a snake in the branches!!! A couple of the ladies must have brought their agents along!

 

Ooooh! And there’s a sneaky spider. Another lady must have brought her publicist! The mouse is surely her long-suffering but faithful assistant!

 

 

Carrie is present in the form of a skull, still wearing her prized prom queen tiara. The bloody “brains & spinal tissue” oozing from her neck is fashioned from fresh red cockscomb (celosia argentea, also often referred to as Brain Celosia.)

 

Hey!  How did this guy from “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” crash the party???

 

The view from Carrie’s seat of all the candles in pitch darkness.

 

 

The view looking up from hell. 🙂 See the eerie full moon above?

Other creepy tablescapes on this site:
Serpents & Skullduggery
Ravenous Raven Graveyard Feast