Several years ago, I purchased a copy of Eerie Elegance to review for my Halloween site. Upon looking at the publication information, I realized that the author lived 5 minutes from my house. Clearly fate wanted to bring us together, and this year I had the honor of joining her Scream Team. Over the course of four months, we worked tireless hours to bring her vision for her 20th annual Halloween party to life. The theme was Nightmare Before Christmas (in honor of it's 20th Anniversary) which long-time readers may know is my favorite movie of all time. Before we get to all the pictures, videos, and behind-the-scenes madness, Britta, Webmistress of the Dark shares some insights about her Halloween.
Halloween is the most creative holiday. Not only are creative costumes a must, but so many varieties of decor can work for Halloween themes...and even better when you have fun making your own!
What are must-have essentials for your Halloween decor?
Candles and candleholders. I've moved more to LED flicker candles now, since California Halloweens are still too warm for as many real candles as I'd like, plus are safer with so many guests milling around.
What is your flavor of Halloween?
Whimsical gothic spooky style. The Haunted Mansion, the Addams Family, Edward Gorey and Tim Burton are my favorites. Spooky and often unsettling, but nothing too bloody or terrifying.
What's the best advice for a Halloween novice?
When people see the elaborate decor and parties I do, they are overwhelmed and don't know where to start. I remind them that I started with humble beginnings myself, and my collection has grown gradually over the past two decades. I would never be able to start completely from scratch and do the same level of parties I do today. Select some projects you can do well and start building your collection, and leave yourself room to grow.
Do you make your own props and why?
I really enjoy making my own props. I am happiest when I am creating something, so having a reason to create new decor, props, and costumes is why Halloween is my favorite time of year. I often find something pre-made that I can transform into a new creation, like using plastic cauldrons & skull funnels to make my Frightful Skull Fountain that spews bloody red punch!
What do your friends and/or family think about your Halloween interests?
I am very lucky to have creative friends who complete my party with their Creepy Cuisine and fantastic costumes. I love being a venue for them to express their own creativity! My family has never really been Halloween fans and my mother just reluctantly attended her very first of my Halloween parties, but they support me completely. No one else on my street decorates for Halloween, but especially when the castle walls started going up, several neighbors have stopped by and told me "We look forward to what new things you'll do for Halloween every year."
Do you have a Halloween party? If so, what is it like?
Yes, for the past few years I have transformed my house and yard into Castle Brittahytta, with faux stone walls inside and out, gargoyles and owls arranged in displays, candles everywhere, spiderweb lace curtains and pillows, homemade ancient spellbooks, glowing laboratory libations in the steampunk study, everything in my style I call Eerie Elegance. However, this special year the theme was all The Nightmare Before Christmas and was several years of preparation. This year was also my 20th Halloween party in a row and I had a record year with over 80 guests!