Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, bizarre but charming, movie inspired our Halloween Decorations this year. The 1993 stop-action film tells the tale of Jack Skellington, The Pumpkin King, who is bored with his life in Halloween Town. The story unfolds when Jack discovers a hidden door to Christmas Town and decides to take over the celebration of Christmas with spooky and unexpected results. My youngest child, Alec, has always been fascinated by all things quirky and macabre, so, it is not surprising that this weird and wonderful little film is a favorite. I agreed on this theme for our Halloween Decorations because I thought that Jack Skellington and the other inhabitants of Halloween Town would strike the perfect note between scary and lovable. I think this important because it appeals to older kids while not being too frightening for little trick-or-treaters.
If you regularly read my blog, you may remember that this summer I published a tutorial on How To Embellish Chinese Lanterns which I made for a dinner party post I entitled Dim Sum On The Deck. With this in mind, we decided to also use the inexpensive and versatile battery operated lanterns for our Halloween decor. These white paper lanterns make excellent “Nightmare” jack o’ lanterns because many of the characters from the movie have ghostly white faces. Using Jack, Sally, and other citizens of Halloween Town as the models, it was very simple for my talented kid to draw their stylized faces on the lanterns with black Sharpie marker.
White craft pumpkins of different sizes got the same treatment. We hung the lanterns in the branches of the tree by our front door and then arranged the pumpkins on either side of the door.
To further amp up the spooky atmosphere, and because ravens have long been associated with evil, we decided to land a flock (called a conspiracy) of the carrion birds on our front porch. We began by placing life-like feathered ravens on a few bare branches that we foraged from the woods behind our house.
Next, we hung strings of chipboard ravens with glowing eyes in front of the windows on either side of the door.
Lighted strands of caged ravens add an eerie glow to the potted evergreen on the left side of the porch. On the front door, we placed a wreath with black leaves and branches which provides yet another perch for a foul fowl.
The final touch to our exterior “Nightmare Before Christmas” Halloween decorations was a raven “not welcome” mat.
We decided to decorate the foyer as well so that when we open the door to trick-or-treaters, we can keep the creepiness going. We used command strip picture hangers to adhere a colony of dye cut bats to the staircase wall.
We also hung a few 3D rubber bats from the chandelier. The finishing touch to our interior Halloween decorations was a bunch of spider webs draped all along the staircase banisters. Although, I have to confess that my lack of interest in dusting, could just as easily account for the cobwebs!
Beyond carving jack o’ lanterns, I have never done much Halloween decorating before. However, I have to admit that Alec’s idea for creating our very own “Nightmare Before Christmas” turned out great and was really fun to put together. In fact, I now consider myself to be a Halloween decorating convert. And if you ring my doorbell on October 31st, don’t be surprised if you catch me singing:
“Tender lumplings everywhere
Life’s no fun without a good scare
That’s our job, but we’re not mean
In our town of Halloween
Everybody scream, everybody scream!”
“This is Halloween”–The Nightmare Before Christmas