Spooky Halloween Decorations For The Mantel

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The fireplace mantle is a prominent feature in any room you find one, making it a prime spot for seasonal decorating. The timeless, almost mysterious look of fireplaces with mantles is particularly well suited to Halloween-themed displays. Whether you prefer a classic gothic feel or the chill of a run down graveyard, you’ll be able to design a Halloween fireplace mantel that fits the spookier side of your style.

Window Frame Halloween Decor

Dark, neglected windows with shutters banging in the wind make any house look like it’s guarding a dark, frightening secret. These elements can bring that same ominous feeling to your mantle area in a number of ways:

  • Find some old windows at a salvage yard, antique store or even in your own basement. Smudge the glass panes with dirt or remove them entirely. Rough up the wood frames if they look too clean and add some torn curtains or cobwebs. Hang the windows on the wall behind your mantle at odd angles.
  • Hang a collection of weathered old shutters at skewed angles on the wall behind your mantle, or lean a few in front of the fireplace opening.
  • Back an old window with a painting of a scary scene, or with some gruesome photos, and hang it on the wall behind your mantle.

Antique & Victorian Halloween Decor

Give your fireplace mantle an eerie gothic air with these spooky decorating ideas:

  • Vintage fire screens: Replace your modern fire screen with an old fashioned one and perhaps have a fake bloody arm reaching up from behind it.
  • Lanterns: Hang a string of gray or purple paper lanterns over the top of the mantle or display old fashioned free standing metal lanterns on either side of the fireplace. Place black candles inside for an ominous look.
  • Antique and distressed fabric: Try a black lace mantle scarf with fringes, or some torn or stained lace, taffeta, burlap or silk.
  • Scary photos: Display a collection of creepy family sepia toned photos in antique style frames.
  • Vintage memorabilia: Top your mantle with unusual and strange vintage statues, clocks and boxes.
  • Victorian mad scientist items: Arrange a collection of creepy “specimen jars” on your mantel filled with fake eyeballs or other body parts suspended in water. Surround these with vintage test tubes and beakers filled with glowing, green potions. Add some pointy antique style medical instruments to your mantel “laboratory” if you can find them.
  • Victorian clothing: Add some distressed Victorian hats and gloves to your mantle top, or for a really scary display, dress a pair of life-sized skeletons in Victorian wedding clothes and pose them in an eternal embrace in the fireplace cavity.

Halloween Creatures For Your Mantel

To ramp up the scary factor of your gothic mantel decor, add some frightening creatures:

  • Crows: Perch stuffed crows on the black branches of a Halloween tree in front of your mantel or simply arrange them on the mantel itself. For a macabre touch, pose a faux crow to look like it is picking at an eyeball or other fake body part.
  • Bats: Suspend faux bats from the ceiling in front of your mantel or over the fireplace cavity. You might also want to hang them by their feet from a Halloween tree.
  • Rodents: Add a rabid looking stuffed rat or mouse to your mantel top or fireplace cavity. For a more gruesome effect, put out a bowl of “rotting” fake fruit or a fake severed hand, and pose rats or mice so that they appear to be gnawing at it.
  • Spiders: Drape faux spider webs over your mantle and any of your gothic or Victorian items. Add some large hairy spider figures to the webs to enhance the effect.
  • Other insects: Trap replicas of flies, beetles or centipedes in your spider webs or pose them so they look like they’re crawling around your mantel.

Spooky Harvests

Invite the darker side of the fall harvest to your Halloween mantel design. You might want to incorporate some of these chilling touches:

  • Pumpkins and gourds with scary faces carved into them, or painted black and/or gray
  • Crumbling autumn leaves scattered around
  • Wreaths woven with dark purple, black or gray leaves and flowers, covered in spider webs. You can easily spray paint a traditional autumn wreath or garland.

Haunted House Mantel Decor

Turn your mantel area into a haunted village when you display a collection of scary looking miniature homes and accessories on your mantel top or in front of your fireplace. If you can’t find little houses that look creepy enough, paint regular miniatures black or distress them yourself. Add some cobwebs, chains and gravestones and then bring in figures such as ghosts, vampires, skeletons, zombies and witches to live in the neighborhood.

A graveyard display is another great way to give a scary Halloween look to your mantel area. Arrange some tiny gravestones on top of your mantel or some larger headstones in front of the fireplace. Paint or carve some frightening or humorous epitaphs on your tombstones and surround the area with fencing. Line the mantel-top with faux moss from a craft store for an all-out graveyard scene. You might even want to add a hovering ghost suspended by a cord from the ceiling or some body parts that look like they’re clawing their way up from the ground beneath the headstones.

Spooky Halloween Mantel Lighting

To complete your Halloween mantel design, don’t forget to introduce some subtle light. These ideas will help you add enough illumination or shine to cast an eerie glow onto your Halloween décor:

  • Black candlesticks (paint a cheap pair black)
  • A mirror with a ghost painted on it
  • Strings of white, orange or purple lights
  • Large, shiny chains
  • Luminaries with scary faces
  • An antique candelabra
  • Candles that drip blood red as the wax melts (or white candles with red wax dripped on them)
  • A skull lit from within by a candle or light bulb

By combining elements of light, decay, the supernatural and just a delicious touch of chilling fear, your Halloween fireplace mantel will be the talk of the neighborhood.

Last Updated: September 9, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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