Rustic Halloween Mantel Decorating Ideas

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Though gore and guts might be your first thoughts when it comes to Halloween decorating, there’s no reason you have to stay dark and morbid. If your home is decorated in a country, natural, colonial, lodge or vintage style, you can keep your look going with Halloween decorations that play up the rustic feeling.

A country Halloween focuses on the more natural, harvest aspects of the holiday, incorporating themes like:

  • Crows
  • Pumpkins
  • Bare trees
  • Black cats
  • Autumn leaves
  • Cobwebs

When it’s time to bring the Halloween decorations out in your country home, your fireplace mantelpiece should be the star of the living room. As a natural focal point, the mantel already draws attention, so make it the highlight of your holiday.

Play Up A Country Harvest

A rustic Halloween is filled with the color of autumn, pumpkins and just a few creepy touches to keep the spirit of the holiday alive.

  • Start with a base of faux autumn leaves, spreading them across the mantel.
  • Set several pumpkins on the mantel, sticking with an odd number for the best appearance. Choose pumpkins of different sizes and shapes. Don’t set them in a row like soldiers, but group two or three to one side, a larger pumpkin in the center, and a pair of smaller pumpkins on the far side.
  • You can leave the pumpkins plain, or use black permanent marker to draw jack-o-lantern faces with creepy grins.
  • Perch a black crow or two on top of the pumpkins, and let a black cat figurine slink between the gourds, peering out from behind the largest.
  • Tuck several large pillar candles into the scene. Black candles will set the mood nicely, or stick with orange if you prefer more color.
  • Finish the scene with a rustic cloth banner tacked up on the front of the mantel. Attach burlap or calico rectangles to a length of twine, and decorate each rectangle with the letters to spell out a saying such as “Halloween”, “Beware”, “Watch Out”, or “Trick or Treat”.

Candle Night

A mantel filled with lighted candles is very dramatic at a Halloween party, or for trick-or-treaters to peek at when you open the door to pass out candy.

  • Set a length of small picket fence or other architectural trim propped up on the mantel so it leans against the wall. You can paint the fence black for drama, or leave it natural if you prefer.
  • Stick with candles in shades of orange, black, yellow and gold. If they are in holders, keep those in natural colors, or matte metallics.
  • Fill the mantel with a variety of candles in different shapes, colors and sizes. Tall tapers, fat pillars, short tealights, keeping the taller candles to the back, the shorter in the front.
  • Don’t line the candles up in a rigid row, but stagger them, and create small groupings and gaps between the groups. There should be a natural flow to the display, not a harsh line.
  • Position a few miniature pumpkins in between groups of candles, to add interest and reinforce the Halloween theme.
  • Create a swag along the front of the mantel with long strings of beads in Halloween themes. The dollar store or craft shop should have a selection of Halloween beads in shapes of skulls, pumpkins, bats or cat faces.

Creepy & Country

If you want to make your country Halloween display a little bit scarier, it’s time to add the spiders and bare, creepy trees.

  • Start by spreading a black, Halloween lacy cloth runner along your mantel to serve as a base.
  • Set a pair of Halloween trees on the mantel. You can probably find a small, bare branch Halloween tree at a craft store, or make your own by painting twiggy branches black, and standing them in heavy jars or stands.
  • Wrap a string of orange lights around each tree, wrapping up around the trunk and through the branches.
  • Stretch plenty of faux cobwebs between the trees, making a thick mass of webbing in the center of the mantel. Sprinkle the web with large spiders, with an especially large spider figure in the center.
  • Add several electric tealight candles to the display, tucking the candles beneath webbing to add glow, and along the front of the mantel for drama.

Happy Halloween

Use wooden craft blocks to spell out a Halloween message along your mantel, and scraps of Halloween fabrics to create a banner.

  • Look to your local craft store for chunky, large wooden letters that are thick enough to stand up on their own. Purchase the letters to spell out “Happy Halloween”.
  • Paint the letters black and orange, following your own preferences. You can alternate colors, or paint all the letters orange, then splatter with drops of black paint, or paint the wood orange, then outline with black.
  • Purchase a variety of scraps of Halloween-themed fabrics. Cut the fabric into long triangles, and then use glue to attach the base of each triangle to a length of ribbon, twine or rope. For best effect, use enough fabric triangles so they overlap each other slightly, creating layers of fabric.
  • Attach the fabric banner to the front of your mantel with tacks.
  • Spray paint two bricks or small shoeboxes black. Let dry.
  • Set the bricks in the center of your mantel, positioned towards the back.
  • Center out the letters of the word “Halloween” towards the front of your mantel, and stand the letters of the word “Happy” on the bricks. Position the letters to get the spacing just right for pleasing effect.

Halloween is one of the best occasions of the year for crafting, decorating and having fun. Don’t miss this opportunity to bring some of your love for all things rustic and country to your Halloween décor.

Last Updated: September 20, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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