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    Title Dress Your Table for Halloween

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    By Courtney Lake

    A friend professed to me that he found Halloween’s only redeemable quality as being it gave attractive people an excuse to dress slutty. However, if you have been in San Francisco long enough, you realize that people will take any reason to dress slutty. But, in any case, I think my friend is doing Halloween a disservice by not acknowledging it as one of the best opportunities to throw a “killer” party. With Halloween right around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to share how I set a hauntingly good table.

    Plate Polygamy

    Most people have two sets of dishes lurking in their cupboards; a set for everyday use and a special occasion set. I am one of those abnormal few who have multiple sets of dishes, and am always on the lookout for more. However, I will let you in on a few of my secrets.  I only have three sets of dishes, but a variety of salad plates and chargers. Simply switching out a charger or a salad plate can change the look of a table. Second, all my dishes are large and white, while my chargers and salad plates are bold and pattern-laden. All of the white plates are easily replaceable should they break—heck, they only cost a dollar thanks to my neighborhood dollar store! White plates also act as a great foil to boldly patterned salad plates or dramatic chargers, providing a visual “resting place” for the eye.

    Don’t Toss Your Salad (Plate)…

    Fun salad plates are a lot cheaper to purchase than dinner plates. I follow a personal edict of trying not to spend more than $5 for a salad plate, with most of my collection coming in at around $3 a plate. The added bonus is when I tire of them, I bundle them up and either send them to a charity, or gift them to appreciative friends.

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    Go Au Natural for Placemats & Charger

    For placemats, I like to turn to the hardware store and buy dried moss. If you can find the dried moss sheets, they make a perfect placement, providing texture, visual interest, and the right amount of spooky factor to a Halloween tablescape.  Forgo fresh flowers, and use branches and dried leaves instead. Bundle the leaves in small votives, and light up with an LED tealight.

    Choose a Theme

    I normally shy away from thematic parties, but Halloween is one of the few times I think it is appropriate, if not down right necessary, to create a unifying theme for a party. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, Dr. Seuss and childhood phobias have inspired my previous parties. Have fun with it and go wild…because, honestly, whatever you do, everyone is going to show up as a sexy nurse or a sexy lumberjack anyway!

    Courtney Lake is the interior designer and lifestyle expert behind Monogram Décor ( and its celebrated blog, Courtney Out Loud. His work and writings have appeared on television and in writing including, “The Wall Street Journal,” “The Nate Berkus Show,” “The San Francisco Chronicle,” “Life & Style Magazine,” “RUE Magazine,” “Real Simple,” “This Old House” and “7×7 Magazine.”