How to Decorate for Halloween: A Dark, Spooky Forest in the Living Room

Jennifer Griffin

Article Posted By: Jennifer Griffin

of Dimples & Tangles

How to Decorate for Halloween: Dark, Spooky Forest

Decorating your living room and fireplace mantel for Halloween can be tricky. You don’t want it to be too spooky, and you probably want to have a little fun with it, but it has to be a look you can live with for a several weeks. We think Jennifer Griffin nailed it. She says she has no formal design training, but she certainly knows how to decorate for Halloween.

The fact is, Jennifer clearly knows how to decorate for any occasion. Take a look at her blog Dimples and Tangles, and you’ll see what we mean.

She is one of the terrific DIY and design bloggers we invited to take part in our Halloween Style Challenge. We sent each blogger a mystery shipment of Home Depot Halloween decorations, and then we stood back while they came up with fresh and inspiring Halloween decorating ideas.

Jennifer came up with a Halloween mantel that’s warm and colorful with interesting textures and tons of wonderful detail. Read on as she takes us, section by section, through her creative process, including how she modified some of the items we sent her to give them her special look.

I was so excited when my friends at The Home Depot invited me to be a part of this Style Challenge. I mean, doing a project for one of my favorite companies, in my favorite season, with some fun new products… what could be better?

After receiving the assignment of decorating my mantel, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go until I received my boxes of mystery items from The Home Depot. One item in particular inspired the entire design. Keep reading to find out what it was, but because of it the idea was born to do a dark, spooky forest theme.

How to Decorate for Halloween: A Halloween Mantel

The Base

Once I had a plan in my head, I started building my area section by section. First, I knew that I wanted lots of branches to mimic trees. These urns were the perfect containers to keep them stable and steady. Just as my plan was coming together, my neighbors were having their trees trimmed. Perfect timing! They were happy to throw a pile of cast off branches over my fence.

Decorating Ideas for Halloween: Dark, Spooky Forest

The Focal Point

Secondly, I focused on the actual mantle. I wanted something rustic and some kind of signage. After discovering spools of festive rope lighting in a mystery box, I thought it would be fun to use it to write out a phrase. The lighting added an extra bonus and helped to set a mood, too. Since our society is all about #hashtags these days, my sister suggested adding one and I jumped on her brilliant idea.

To assemble the sign I re-used a section of an old fence panel. With its mesh coating, the rope light was really easy to work with and form. After sketching out my word–#beware– with a piece of chalk, I used a staple gun to barely grab the edge of the mesh and attach it to the wood.

When you do this, just make sure that the electrical light wire inside is moved to the other side of the rope, and that your staple only goes through the mesh, not the wire. Also, work with the lights unplugged, just to be safe!

Halloween Mantel Decorating Ideas: Lighted Sign

Halloween Decorating Ideas: Lighted Sign

Halloween Decorating Ideas: How to Turn a Wreath into a Chandelier

The Classy Vultures

After putting the two main components of the sign and the tree branches in place, it was time to fill in the details. Now, here’s my inspiration for the entire design…. these guys!

Decorating Ideas for Halloween: Dark, Spooky Forest

When I found light up vultures among my mystery items, I knew right away they needed some trees to hang out in, and the idea of a spooky forest went from there.

I couldn’t resist giving them a little class, though, and added top hats and bow ties made with ribbon from the craft store. Because vultures can be stylish too, right?

To place them in the branches, I rested their feet where I could, and then used strips of floral wire to secure their bodies to the branches in various places. The cord for their lights blends in with the branches and can be plugged in with an extension cord at the base of the urn.

These cute bats needed a home in the forest, too, so I used some wire to secure them as well.

The Layers

With the major pieces in place, it was time to add in accessories. Even with the height of the branches, I wanted to fill in some of the area close to the ceiling. One more mystery item from The Home Depot came to the rescue, but it’s serving a totally different purpose than how it started!

These Halloween wreaths were festive, but as-is didn’t have a place in my plan. So, they got a makeover, turning them into some statement lighting. Every spooky forest needs some glowing chandeliers, after all.

After disassembling each wreath, I wrapped it in jute rope, securing with hot glue once in a while. Since I needed to be able to get to the bottom of the battery operated candles to turn them on and off and couldn’t hot glue them to the wreath, I used some pieces of a Scotch adhesive fastener strip to secure the candles to the wreath. Then I used some Christmas beading from the craft store and some prisms I had on hand to add some sparkle, and embellished with some of the leaves from the original wreath.

To finish it off, I tied three more long pieces of rope in even sections around the rim of the wreath, knotted them together at the top, and hung with an eye hook in the ceiling.

DIY Halloween Decor: A Halloween Chandlier

DIY Halloween Decor: A Halloween Chandlier

Filling In

With the high areas filled in, I moved on to filling in the area around the hearth, building on a hide rug to add some texture and interest. These lanterns from Home Decorators Collection are a very generous size and made a nice statement, allowing me to add some light at the ground level. I also appreciate how the rustic finish ties in with the branches. The tops are hinged, so it’s really easy to fill them and get access to light the candles.

A few curly leafed crotons from the Home Depot Garden Center filled in some spaces with fall colors, and some rustic pumpkins that I had on hand gave a nod to fall as well.

Fall Decorating Ideas for the Living Room

Halloween Decorating Ideas: Dark, Spooky Forest

Halloween Decorating Ideas: Dark, Spooky Forest

With a cozy chair added in, it’s the perfect spooky story spot!

Reading a spooky book in a living room decorated for Halloween

My friend enjoyed the I Spy book as well…

How to Decorate for Halloween: Dark, Spooky Forest

And, it’s even better at night when the lights are glowing and casting creepy shadows on the wall.

Mantel Decorating Ideas for Halloween: Lighted Sign

Hearth Decorating Ideas for Halloween

I hope you’re inspired to add a bit of whimsy, a bit of nature, a bit of class, and a bit of spooky to your home this season. Thank you so much Home Depot for inviting me to this challenge, it truly stretched my imagination and creativity!

Mantel Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Jennifer Griffin says her home is her hobby. She enjoys blogging all about it at Dimples and Tangles, where her posts focus on decorating and design, DIY, food, crafts, travel, and a good thrift store makeover here and there. She lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and two sweet children.

For more great ideas on how to decorate for Halloween, see other articles in our Halloween Style Challenge series here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Halloween Style Challenge board on Pinterest.

Visit The Home Depot’s online Holiday Decorations Department for everything you need to decorate your home for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.