The photo above features last year's Halloween mantel. I was pleased with how it turned out--a nice balance of heights, shapes, and colors. At $6, the large (real) pumpkin was by far the most expensive item. The spider web bowl was more interesting propped on a plate stand than it would have been lying on a table. I didn't replicate this vignette this year because our pumpkin is roughly the size and shape of a beanbag chair!
Here's the other half of last year's mantel. I framed a collage that my daughter made and flanked it with framed scrapbook cutouts. As you may recall from this post and this post, I'll frame just about anything and pass it off as "art"!
One of my favorite tricks is to use nested jars to create a "customizable"candle holder. This idea can be adapted to almost any season, theme, or occasion. To create a striking fall candle holder, use leaves as filler. Start with two jars of equal height, one narrow enough to fit completely inside the other. Place one jar inside the other, and then slide some fall leaves into the space between the two nested jars. Add a tea light candle inside the central jar. Light it. Voila!
Here's an "aerial view" of the nested jars and candle. Probably overkill for instructional purposes, but I loved the contrast of the rough stem and smooth glass:
Pages from an old book are a great alternative "filler" (yes, this is a page from the book that I used to make this old book photo frame). For impact, imagine grouping a bunch of these guys of different heights. To make this more "Halloweeny", add a silhouette of a black cat, hat...or bat!
If you don't have long matches or a wand style lighter to light the candle in the jar, you can use an uncooked spaghetti noodle. Light the end of the noodle with a match, and then use the noodle to light the candle. The noodle may be slow to light, but this is a good thing if you value your eyebrows!
This post has been linked to Primp Your Pumpkin at Fox Hollow Cottage, Fall Festival Friday at The DIY Showoff and Halloween Show and Share Day at Just a Girl.