Good Life

Art & Antiques: Use Halloween memories to decorate

Traditional Halloween decorations include painted pumpkins.
Traditional Halloween decorations include painted pumpkins. Photo provided

There are many types of Halloween decorations that are collectible and crafty. For the purists among us, you can decorate a pumpkin using everything from acrylic paint to glitter glue, featuring themes ranging from the scary Frankenstein monster to Casper the Friendly Ghost.

While carving jack-o’-lanterns requires some skill and expertise, you can use your favorite Halloween antiques and collectibles to make some fun and seasonal home decorations. If you want some quick Halloween decorating ideas, try these simple displays. Some of the easiest Halloween holiday displays can be developed from digging in your crammed closets, dusty attics or jam-packed basements. Find some vintage costumes, black and orange metal noisemakers, autumn-themed ceramics and pumpkin candles and put them together to make a fancy kitchen island or family room shelf display. In no time, you’ve got a great display that ushers in the season’s scariest night with memories and objects from days gone by.

Halloween noisemakers

Clickers, horns, lithographed tin noisemakers and even musical instruments with Halloween themes are not just objects that help children stay safe as they walk the streets in search of silly tricks or candy treats. These collectible noisemakers speak to the crux of the Halloween holiday. Vintage noisemakers — featuring owls, ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats — were introduced in order to ward off evil spirits, plain and simple. The idea behind vintage collectible noisemakers is making noise and a lot of it. It was thought that evil spirits could be frightened away by loud noises.

To make your own Halloween noisemaker, fill a clean orange juice concentrate or lemonade concentrate can with uncooked beans, decorate the outside of the can with Halloween-themed drawings using markers, crayons or stickers, add a Popsicle stick or wooden dowel as a handle and you are ready to go. Most of the original, vintage Halloween noisemakers are very valuable on the collectibles market now, so don’t let your children or grandchildren take the vintage collectibles outside with them when they tour the neighborhood hunting for candy.

Mask basket

Remember those hot masks that you wore as a kid with your favorite Halloween costume? Reuse them to make a fun Halloween centerpiece. In the same way that many people will prominently display their beloved Christmas tree ornaments in a bowl on the dining room buffet, select a group of three or four vintage plastic costume masks from yours or your children’s bygone Halloween costumes. Keep these costume masks at home since the market for these collectibles is strong at this time of the year and collectors pay a pretty penny for them online, at flea markets, swap meets and antique stores. Gather the plastic masks — masks of politicians, witches, astronauts, cartoon characters — and place them together in an oversized bowl or basket to make a bright and colorful Halloween centerpiece. Forget the candy bowl, you’ve got a scary bowl.

Have some fun sharing the memories of Halloweens past and decorate the season in style. Happy Halloween!

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