As many know, the Victorians loved decorating with very nature-based themes.
Wallpapers were designed with curling leaf-like swirls, images of urns and cabbage
roses, all inspired by the desire to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside. Large
homes had solariums and green houses that assisted aspiring gardeners with a safe
haven for more tropical plants as well as providing them a green sanctuary during
colder winter months.
These are excellent places to start in creating your haunted Victorianesque
Hallowe'en home. A large silk floral arrangement in dark colours, indoor palm trees
and Autumn-hued brocade sofa throws not only give your home a richer, more inviting
appeal, they set the stage for a somewhat Poe-esque backdrop when reading horror
stories by firelight or enjoying your favourite old black and white scary films. A
very light application of spider webbing and you are at the threshhold of truly
haunting your Victorianesque home.
This brings me to the next stage of haunting your home with foliage. And if you are
someone with the proverbial "brown thumb", fear not, this time it may be to your
benefit. Keeping in mind that the idea is to have a haunted Victorianesque home,
let's go back to earlier postings about the ambiance you are attempting to create.
That grand old Victorian home that has fallen into mild to severe states of disrepair
(your choice) is going to show signs through more than spider webs or leaves on the
porches and perhaps the floor (this works wonderfully on wood floors and clean up is
Granted, I would never recommend ANYone put cracks in their walls or start peeling
back their wallpaper (again, your choice, of course), but there are other signs of
wear and tear that can be done with the use of dried/dead or silk plants and vines.
As any old house faces abandonment, it is once again slowly adopted by Mother Nature.
Stone walks become cracked as small weeds and plants part the stones and push their
way through to see the rain and sunlight. Fences and porches become overgrown by
untended bushes and untrimmed vines. And occasionally those vines find shelter and
new places to spread out and thrive by pushing through partially-open or cracked
windows, vent work, attic openings and separations in the wood under old eaves.
To speed the process and invite Autumn-y Mother Nature into your haunted home, use
dried or silk vines along window sills and ventwork. Be sure to attach one end at a
corner or opening while letting the other end trail off. If you have a piece of
furniture near the "entry point", trail your vine along the top or down to wind
around a leg. In older houses with floor vents, trail the loose end along baseboards,
and if you wish, tack low against the baseboard or wall as if growing upward with a
mind of its own. As you can tell, there are plenty of places you can use this
effect: Windows, vents, doors, transoms. Use your imagination. And use small or
directional lights where you wish to draw just enough attention to them.
Now back to what I said earlier about cracks...while I do not recommend taking a
hammer to the plaster and drywall just to decorate for Hallowe'en, this is one place
where black spider webbing (found at any party/craft store this time of year) comes
in handy with just a SMALL dab of light use rubber cement. A few strands secured in a
few places can look quite a bit like a crack because they will cast a slight shadow,
giving depth to your affect. Then they are easily removed.
So hoorah to all the gardening-challenged. Get out there and find prime spots for
your twigs and potential compost. I am off to remember what I was going to write
Until then, Stay Spooky!