Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Old Silver and Candlesticks

Part of the charm of a Victorianesque Hallowe'en is collecting all the little
trinkets that will help set the mood. Before the use of spider webs and eerie
lighting, it is necessary to have the objects to wrap them around or upon which to
cast them.

While the late Victorian Era was well-known for its gaslamp ambience (and who doesn't LOVE the imagery of tall, wrought iron lamps lining cobblestone streets, casting their dancing glow on the stone of old buildings), candles and oil were the primary means for lighting one's way after dusk. One of my favourite accessories for Hallowe'en decorating is the brass candlestick. They come in many shapes and sizes, as do their cousins, the wooden candlestick and the oil lamp. These little gems can be found in nearly any thrift store, and often at yard/tag/garage/estate sales for a
very reasonable price.
While you peruse your local recycling shop and donation center, keep an eye out for
another great little piece of decor that can be just as functional as it is
decorative: The silver (often plated) serving tray. Some come with wooden bits, or even glass, but it is the silver or silver-plating you really want to keep an eye out for. And don't worry if it is slightly damaged. After all, that only adds to your Hallowe'en feeling. (The photo below shows just a few of the pieces I have picked up over the years.)

The uses for these pieces are unlimited. Trays can be used for holding pillar
candles, dried blooms, bits of coloured glass or just about anything you can conjure
up. A nice one, lined with a black napkin or doily, can be used to serve sweets and
snacks. Propped up at the edge of a counter or wall-side table, a lovely, tarnished
silver tray serves as the perfect backdrop to small displays of flowers or candles,
reflecting the soft glow and drawing a bit more attention to your hard work more than
without it.
Candlesticks are fantastic for centerpieces or adding a little light high on shelves
or in dark corners (unless you like your corners dark, and honestly..who doesn't?). A
spooky Autumn wreath can serve as a great centerpiece on a large table when laid in
the middle with a small assortment of candlesticks of different heights. A small
touch of spiderwebbing can be stretched from sticks to the edges of the wreath for an
extra abandoned, haunting effect, but be very careful if using real candles as
webbing is flammable.
I will mention candlesticks several times in posts for the rest of this month as I go
into the use of other design elements. They are JUST that versatile and can be  used
and decorated in so many ways. So while you're out running your errands, drop into a
thrift or resell store and see what catches your eye. If you have walked your house
and begun to consider all the places you can decorate, take a moment to consider
which areas would benefit from a well-placed candlestick or three, and a little
silver tray.
One thing to keep in mind as you acquire your treasures and take them home, eager to
find just the right spot for them: Do NOT polish them. Your haunted Victorianesque
home wants to "keep it real" and the last time I checked, ghosts do not polish silver
or do windows. I know this is probably very bad on my part, but the two weeks before
Hallowe'en give most of us the best excuse to keep certain household chores to a
minimum. Go crazy with the polish and Swiffer on November first, but I assure you,
your guests, both living and .. well.. corporeally-challenged, will thank you for the
quiet charm of tarnished brass and silver.
As an aside: You may also come across other bits and pieces that will go beautifully
with your Victorianesque decor. I stumbled across a wonderful glass juice carafe with
the most ornate silver handle and stopper years back. It is now my favourite piece
for serving warm mulled wine (never mind that it looks like blood, but smells like
heaven). Some of my favourite places to find these goodies are places like Goodwill
and local charity thrift shops. Not only does one find great pieces that can actually
be displayed year round as well as being part of the highlight of a Victorianesque
Hallowe'en, it serves a greater cause, helping fund charitable works, providing jobs
and keeping hard-earned money in the local economies.
All of that said, I am off to replenish my mulling supplies. Until tomorrow... Hope
your October is off to a wonderful start.
Raven =)

1 comment:

  1. I have been collecting some great pieces of the summer! Some were were white or a pale wood, so I have sprayed them a matte black. I am even thinking about keeping a few out all year!!