Back in college, I spent a semester as an educational tour guide at Disney World. The job was as cool as it sounds, and among the activities we did with the kids was going to the Haunted Mansion to discuss Victorian-era superstitions and beliefs, and to the Tower of Terror to examine set design. I was always amazed at the amount of detail that the "Imagineers" put into the sets of both attractions. A set of dusty spectacles on an yellowed open book here, a decomposing velvet tablecloth there...it was all very well thought out.
You can recreate some of that detail at your house without a Disney-sized budget. Check out these Neglected Flowers. The effect is spooky yet sophisticated, and not at all cheesy (unlike so many Halloween decorations at the party stores).
Neglected Flowers How-to
You will need:
-A vase, preferably not in a modern style
-Dried flowers (I bought fresh pink sweetheart roses and purple statice, then let them dry out). Select flowers with an old-fashioned look to them. This is not a good project for Birds of Paradise!
-White floral spray, available at any craft store
-Fake spider webbing, available at any of those pop-up halloween stores
-Fake spider (optional, also found at the pop-up stores)
1) Cover your work area with newspaper. Spread out the flowers and gently spray them with the white floral spray. The goal is to make them look old and dusty...you still want some of the color to come through so don't paint them completely! You might have to do several passes with the paint until you get the look you want.
2) Once the paint has dried, arrange flowers in the vase.
3) Take a SMALL amount of the spider webbing and pull apart until it's very gauze-like and resembles a cobweb. Spread it around the arrangement, in various parts. You don't want it to be too consistent.
4) Add spider, or not.
Voila! Halloween decorations, sans cheese!