Halloween is such a theatrical holiday, don't you think? Sure, Christmas has the big tree and the carols, but Halloween is toothy pumpkins, dark vampire liars, mummy tombs, and all points in between.
Joanna of MommaCuisine.com recently invited me on her new show Momma Cuisine Live and asked me to conjure up a sophisticated Halloween tablescape. I had to look no further than my DVD player. My husband and I love PBS's Downton Abbey and have been making our way through season two (yes, we're late to the party).
Downton Abbey is set in the early 20th century and tells the story of both the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants "downstairs". The Crawleys weather life's curveballs yet Lord and Lady Grantham always manage to end their evenings with an elegant dinner...thanks in no small part to the servants' efforts!
But what if the Crawleys went mad? And what if the servants had enough of their shennanegans and simply left the estate? And furthermore, what if the Crawleys barely took any notice, and kept trying to entertain as per usual? These thoughts led me to...
Deserted Downton Abbey
Colors: Dark neutrals, tarnished silver, aged gold, and ivory (never white).
Style: Keep it antique, and slightly mis-matched. This is a great way to use incomplete sets of china. Borrow from friends or rent, as I did, from Tablescapes Event Rentals. Everything you see here, (with the exception of the flower vase and candleabra) is from Tablescapes!
Details: Crinkled placecards written in half-dry markers, bent forks as amuse-bouche servers, dripping candles, dry flowers
Below: Candles bend at precarious angles and drip freely. At right, these bent forks from Tablescapes are meant to be used as placecard holders, but I like them as amuse bouche forks. Placecards are crinkled and written with a half-dead marker, to add to the look of neglected elegance.
Silverware should be mis-matched, as seen here with Tablescapes' heirloom flatware collection. And did you notice that one place setting is gold-ivory, while the other is ivory-gold?
Don't polish the silver before this party! You don't want anything too bright on the table.
The overall look is coordinated, but not overly matchy. Note the complimentary crystal wine glasses.
A behind-the-scenes look! It doesn't look nearly so forboding in the daylight, does it? I recommend dark lighting and chamber music played on a scratchy record to set the mood. And feel free to dress in your moth-eaten finery!