With Halloween fast approaching, houses across the country are beginning to be adorned with fake cobwebs, rubber skeletons and plastic headstones. As a holiday that's considered (at least in its modern iteration) mostly for children, it's understandable that our decorations tend to be on the less subtle side of things.
However, if you want to celebrate the tradition without the mountain of plastic, look to the origins of the holiday for inspiration. When it began life as a pagan ritual, firelight, seasonal foliage and other natural offerings were at the centre of the festivities, and these all make for a wonderful rustic feel in your home, and not a drop of fake blood in sight.
The Gaelic pagan festival which Halloween originated from had many variations and iterations, but all marked the end of the harvest season, in preparation for the cold, dark winter period. In 19th century Ireland, people lit candles for the dead, and bonfires were a common feature, believed to mimic the sun's power, holding back the winter with its warmth and heat.
Modern convenience means we don't dread the winter as much these days, but there's nothing that beats the warm glow of candlelight, and it can even feel a little spooky in the darkness. Go for a simple melange on a tray, or hang some in your window to guide trick-or-treaters your way. Hanging brass sky lantern, from around €27, and Oskar candle dish, from around €36, Rowen & Wren.
Focus on foliage
Although flowers may be thin on the ground at this time of year, autumn more than makes up for it with the other natural treats it gives us. Simply go for a walk and see what you can find to fill your house with. From brown, dried ferns and seed heads, berry-laden foliage, conkers and acorns or gnarly, twisted branches, you can find a huge array of things to create a seasonal display. Stoneware vase, around €40, Bloomingville.
As ubiquitous as turkey at Christmas, there's no denying the fun of carving out a Halloween pumpkin. However, there's more options out there than the recognisable orange varieties if you want something a little different. Try specialist fruit & veg shops like The Fresh Market and farmer's markets, and look out for options like Patidou or Blue Pumpkins for their incredible colours. They'll also be able to advise you which varieties taste the best if you're planning on making use of all that delicious inside, too.
And if you need a little black and orange...
For that classic Halloween colour palette, you needn't turn to the plastic-heavy decorations that seem to take over at this time of year. These beautiful satin napkins will complement any Halloween-themed table with their autumnal hue, without going over the top. They also have the added bonus of not being solely 'Halloween' napkins, and so can be used throughout the year. Similarly, these bat silhouette garlands provide a simple nod to the celebration, and are something that kids will enjoy too. Satin jacquard napkin, €22.99 for a pack of four, Zara Home, and Bat Garland, €8.11, Etsy.
Featured image: Rowen & Wren