home + garden

How to Decorate a Mantel for Halloween

Halloween decoratingWhen it comes to decorating my mantel for Halloween, I try to use what I already have around my house. Decorating for a holiday or a particular season doesn’t mean you have to spend lots of money or buy new items. Start by looking around your house first to decorate. You’ll be surprised at how much can be used for Halloween and how much money you’ll save.

Once I decide to add to my collection of seasonal decorating items for Halloween (or any holiday), my first place to look are estate sales, garage sales or at the Goodwill Clearance store (“The Bins”). While shopping second-hand, I try and keep my eyes peeled for decorating items that I can use for Halloween. Halloween really lends itself to old items – books, vases, heads – all of which are plentiful at these haunts.

The last option is to buy new and shop the after-holiday-sales. If you can wait until after the holiday to add to your seasonal decorating collection, you can usually find items marked down considerably. That’s when I try and buy items that are new and that I simply must have – after the season when they’re more than 50% off the original price.

Halloween Decorations

How to Decorate a Mantel for Halloween

  1. Start by clearing off your mantel. This is when I clean the big mirror, too, otherwise I make excuses for not cleaning it when it’s all decorated.
  2. Look around your house and garden for Halloween or harvest items. What are Halloween or harvest items? See note below.
  3. Start with candlesticks and tall items on the outside of the mantel and work your way into the center.
  4. Look for ways to cluster items in groups – groups of three usually look good together.
  5. Leave the must haves on the mantel. My family goes crazy if I move the clock off of the mantel so I just tuck it in the back to keep everyone happy.
Clock on mantel
To keep my people happy, I left the clock on the mantel.

Here’s my mantel cleared off and mirror cleaned. Please ignore all the spots that need repainting. That will be another post.

Decorate mantel for Halloween

Next, I add the candlesticks. Tall items on the sides of the mantel.

How to Decorate Your Mantel for Halloween

Then I add interesting pieces that add height – a chalice and an old iron fence post top.

Decorate Your Mantel for Halloween

Next, I added groups of items.


Use vegetables to decorate

Books with ends….

Use old books to decorate Halloween

And a head…

How to Decorate Your Mantel

The skulls I bought new at Michael’s Craft Store years ago. They’re ceramic and hold tea-light candles.

Skull candle holders

What do I look around for when shopping for items that are Halloween-ish or have a harvest theme to them?

  • garden pots
  • candlestick holders
  • string lights
  • statues or heads
  • pictures
  • books
  • vegetables – pumpkins, dried corn, squash (think about decorating with nature – usually free and can be composted or eaten when you’re done)
Halloween mantel
My mantel all finished and ready for Halloween!

By using what I have around the house and garden, buying second-hand items, and splurging at the end of the season when decorating items are on sale, I can decorate my house or mantel for very little cost. The decorations I did purchase new are ones that I can use for years to come.

What’s your favorite way to decorate for Halloween?

Go Gingham related links:

Homemade Halloween decorations – sewing tablecloths for Halloween transforms a room quickly
How to sew a Harry Potter cape complete with wand pocket
A little wine cozy sewn from an arm of old dress shirt – that was turned into a paint shirt!
What every room needs: a tissue box slipcover
Toilet tank slipcovers – I know this is wrong but I couldn’t help myself
Pretty lanterns – perfect for a backyard or a wedding celebration
Using nature to decorate your home – frugal and fancy decorating

6 thoughts on “How to Decorate a Mantel for Halloween

    1. Thanks, Michelle! It’s easy to decorate with what you already own but everyone needs a little reminder – including me! – of how to find things around your home. Happy fall decorating, Michelle.


  1. People routinely buy additional Christmas items and store them from year to year sometimes forgetting that the same can be done for other holiday decorations, just don’t go overboard on spending. As you said, be creative with things you already have in your home.


    1. So true, Karen! I think the trick is having a spot to store things. I have a kitchen cabinet that is too high to use for everyday kitchen stuff and use that for my holiday breakables. Halloween, Easter and Christmas items are up there and as long as I remember that I put them there, it’s all good. Thanks, Karen.


  2. Halloween decorating is this weekend. I can’t do too much with my mantel. It’s only about 4″ wide. One thing I’m going to do is get out all of the half-burned candles and put them in the candlesticks. I might find some that have red wax, and then drip them down the sides of some of the white ones. We’ll see. The mantel will be cleaned off. The windows will be washed. Some of the tables already have their fall cloths on them. I’m thinking about tea-dying some cheesecloth for the mantel, or maybe dying it black, and then tearing the heck out of it. Sometime, I’ll have to have you come over and see my storage. It’s a corner in the garage. Everything in clear plastic boxes, or carefully labeled. That way, I’ve not misplaced much of it. There are, however, three of those “funkins” that are in boxes somewhere down there …….. oh well, that’s another story!


  3. Great looking mantel, Sara! Good tips for making it all come out well too. I love using what I have around the house in new ways. Recently, I have not been doing much seasonal decorating in my own home, but I love seeing what other people do! Yours looks great!


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