Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: All Hallow's Tree

Considering we are going for Victorian-"esque" rather than straight historically Victorian themes for our Hallowe'en, we are most assuredly allowed a wide swath of artistic license. In this case, we will borrow from one of the most well-known images of the Holiday Season, the Christmas Tree. However, we are going to borrow the usual corner of the Christmas-celebrant's house for this less-fluffy, and in my opinion, more striking, aesthetically pleasing reminder of those sentinels of the end of Autumn, the barren tree.

It comes as no small surprise that this trend is catching on, at least on a somewhat smaller scale as greeting card shops, party stores and holiday retailers now feature everything from desktop Easter trees, to black, red, pink, blue and silver trees for whichever holiday their patrons can dream up. Thanks to the brilliance of the not-so-Victorian internet, one can shop year round for artificial trees of all shapes, sizes and colours to suit their fancy. For the sake of this piece, I am going to resort to less retail means in the pursuit of a lovely, leaf/needleless tree to stand (or lean) majestically in that magical corner as a centerpiece of your Victorianesque Hallowe'en.
All one really needs are the following:
  • One or several barren, dead tree branches (number and length to suit desired tree size)
  • Matte black paint or dark spray stain
  • Hemp rope or black duct tape to bind multiple branches
  • Christmas tree stand or planter/vase/container large and formidable to support the new "tree"
After locating your ideal branches, strip any leftover leaves, needles or small twigs. Using a garden hose (for large trees), spray down branches to remove dirt, sand, bugs, etc. and allow to dry overnight. Once your branch(es) are dry, spray or brush paint with the matte black or dark stain. If using multiple branches, align to get the look you want from your tree and wrap and bind at the "trunk" in several places as necessary. Paint bindings as well to match. Allow tree to dry overnight again.
At this point, like any other holiday tree, it can be held in place using the tree stand, or if using a large planter or heavy pot, set in place and surround base with sand, gravel or large stones.
Using this same formula and smaller branches or decorative twigs (either harvested from the garden or your neighborhood craft store) it is very easy to create mini-Hallowe'en trees for centerpieces, side tables, window sills, anywhere you wish to have a small reminder of the season and the ominous look of its barren trees.
Trees can be decorated to suit your taste. Use lights, tie bows from seasonal ribbons in orange, black or purple, or hang small tea light holders. Many craft and import stores have begun carrying Hallowe'en ornaments, from small glass orbs in All Hallow's colours, to figures of black cats, witches, ghosts, and on and on.
As you decorate your tree, envision the scary tree limbs of old movies that terrified the inhabitants of big scary houses by scratching windows, tapping on the glass and casting their eerie shadow like spectres' fingers into a poorly-lit bedroom.
I like to perch small black birds or hang silhouettes of ravens, bats and spiders from mine. (I will post photos once I get a chance.)
So there you have it. Rather than compost, a centerpiece or conversation starter for the living or family room. Like most other things posted this month, this same bit of decor can be easily changed up after or instead of (perish the thought) Hallowe'en for more personalized touches to your home. Add a few Autumn leaves, a bit of organza ribbon in burnt reds, siennas, golds and oranges, and loosely string white or pale yellow lights for nice inviting glow.
Now I am off to do a bit more tree-trimming.  Hope the neighbors don't mind.
Until tomorrow,
Raven =)

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