Haunted Mantel

October 13, 2010

Halloween has never been the holiday where I care to decorate all over the house ~ I prefer to save my energy for Christmas!  However, my kids are at an age where Halloween is thrilling and chilling, so this year I’m living their excitement too and getting into the fun, at least on the living room mantel.

I decided to spook up the mantel while they were at school and then tell them our house was haunted with a ghost.  They totally bought it.  Meet our latest visitor ~ this mysterious spirit that now dwells among us.

  ghostly mantel


Making a ghost on the mirror is created with inexpensive washable tempera paint available at any craft store.  It will wipe right off with a wet rag when we decide to exorcise our home.  Great for adding haunted friends to either mirrors or windows this time of year.

The black twig trees were created with broom shaped craft twigs found at Michaels.  I took the brooms apart, stabilized them in floral foam in dollar terra cotta pots, then spray painted them black.

twig tree how to

black twig tree


They’re super spooky in black, but if painted white, they’d make great ‘trees’ for your holiday mantel too!  The chains are plastic but look so cool!  Also found on sale at Michaels. 

I borrowed the cobweb candlesticks with cheesecloth idea from Martha.  I loved bringing out the tarnished silver like you’d see in a haunted mansion.  Our tarantula in residence is under glass.

spooky spider and statutes


These two creepy busts I also found at Michaels on clearance for a dollar each.  They remind me of a Dickens character (Jacob Marley perhaps?) or a resident at Disneyland’s Haunted House.  I spray painted them with gray primer then dusted them with a mist of white for that perfect graveyard color.  Great faces!

spooky pair

black branches


There’s a ghost haunting our house!  I hope he’s friendly.

ghostly reflection

Now we just need to give him a name, what should it be?


Want more Halloween mantel inspiration?

Hop over to Beth’s link party to get spooked!



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78 Responses to “Haunted Mantel”

  1. Love it! What is that chain, by the way? It doesn’t seem to be real :)

  2. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Ludmila! It’s plastic, cool right? On sale for $5 each. My kids LOVE it!!! Again channeling Jacob Marley!

  3. Rhonda says:

    That turned out so cute… I bet your kids love it!

  4. That looks AWESOME! Your kids must have been so stoked when they came home! You’re a fun mom. The chain is truly awesome.

  5. Lori says:

    Great mantle, very fun. I bet the kids were so excited.

  6. I love it! Very cute. The kids must be thrilled!!

  7. ChristineBerends says:

    That’s awesome! You should totally melt the candles down to be all dribbly. But still so very cool! I see so many that are tacky, but this is so suave in the white, a real ‘mansion’ look.

  8. Those mini heads creep me out. Overall, super fun and awesome!

  9. The Nester says:


    I love the chain garland, we have the cheesecloth but oh how those chains would finish it off.

  10. Jaimie says:

    Oh, this is so cute. I’ve never been much for holiday decorating myself, but I think I may get a few pumpkins to carve so the kids know we’re giving out candy this year. Maybe I’ll borrow that ghost idea and paint one on the inside of our glass screen door.

  11. Very scary! I’m sure your kids love it :)

  12. This is so cute! I haven’t been much into Halloween decorating, as I too like to safe the energies for Christmas, but this is cute. Great job, what a great way to surprise/spook the kiddos.

  13. Michiganhome says:

    I really look up to you gals who get an idea and run with it. This totally looks magazine-worthy and TV show-worthy! That ghost is so expertly done, it actually looks like it is coming at the mirror from the other side, no pun intended!

  14. Kate! I love it. What did you paint the ghost with? I love the spider under the glass…oh, c’mon, I love it all.

  15. Vonda says:

    This looks so great!!

  16. Sandra says:

    Wow, it looks awesome! Love every detail.

  17. Sam says:

    I LOVE this!! Oh how I wish I had a mantel!

  18. Renee says:

    OMG, SO cute! I Love all of it.
    You’ve officially inspired me.

  19. Jess says:

    Hello! I’ve been following your site for a while now and have to say that I look forward to seeing what you’ve DIY’d every day! Thanks for being an inspiration!
    Jess of Shades of Sunshine

  20. Layla says:

    Oh. My. GOODNESS!
    it’s simply STUNNING!!!
    Off to share this post, right now!


  21. Awww, you’re a good Mommy. My kids always loved Halloween decorations too and they are only young for a short time. Love that you made a friendly looking ghost.

  22. I love it! Very spooky-chic :-) Tris further reinforces another downside to living in Florida…no mantles!

  23. You should name the ghost Marley the Mystical. ;-)
    LOVE the whole mantel. I do more fall decor, but this is just too cute!

  24. Rebekah C says:

    Love it!

    About that mirror…..I think I have the same one, but in black. Did you get it at Homegoods? Did it come in white, or did you spray paint it? We’ve been considering spray painting ours…..

  25. Kimberly says:

    This is so gorgeous! I love that you didn’t even use typical fall colors, but it still screams Halloween! Here is an unrelated question though – what paint color did you use in your wall?

  26. Charity says:

    I love the way your mantle looks! I am more into the fall decorating then the Halloween, but this is pretty cool. Your tempting me!

  27. Oh gosh all of these fab halloween mantels make me wish w’d celibrate that holiday here. Bot yours is the one that might inspire me to my own private halloween partying!!!

  28. Carri says:

    Very cool!! I love decorating for fall but always fall short when it comes to Halloween. This is great!

  29. Julie says:

    Have I told you I ADORE you? Yes, I think in every comment I make! My girl and I are headed to Michaels tonight for orange candy melts (for pumpkin cake pops) so my list just got a bit longer. :)

  30. Oh, I just love the spray painted twigs. My husband is gone on business right now, but we are going to decorate with our Halloween village when he returns. I can hardly wait!!!

  31. Love it! The kids must be very happy. And you got it up in plenty of time to enjoy it and not feel like you have to take it down the next day…I should learn from you :)

  32. It looks great! I’m with you…not big on decorating for Halloween, but I’m sure I’ll start adding some small things as my kids get older.

  33. Allison says:

    I think you are Martha! It looks fabulous and how fun for your kids. Everything you do, Kate, is amazing – so clever, creative, fun and gorgeous!

  34. Erin says:

    I love everything! Best Halloween decor I’ve seen yet!

  35. Karena says:

    I love your mantel!! Great Halloween decor withought overdoing!!

    Art by Karena

  36. Lisa says:

    wow! so cute and creative!!

  37. Christine says:

    ooo! Spooky. I love that chain!!

  38. Beth says:

    Shut up! This is so great!!! I love everything about it! The ghost in the mirror, the bats, the chain garland. It’s perfect. Thanks for linking up girl!

  39. Hi Kate…Love your mantle…my 5 year old was peaking over my shoulder when I was reading this post, and he LOVED it. He’s been asking if we can do the same thing ever since!


  40. ahhhhhhh! This is the best halloween mantel I have ever seen!!! You did so great!!! I love EVERYTHING! I really love the spider in the apothecary or APOTHE-SCARY jar! hahaha. Sticking with the white and black look perfect!

  41. That mantle is spooktacular!

  42. Liz says:

    Love it! you did an awesome job!!

  43. LadySmith says:

    This looks absolutely amazing. Halloween, but not cheesy halloween, very nice!
    Did you have any inspiration? a photo? or did you just chip away and put everything together after your michael’s visit? I’m impressed.
    Saving your energy for Christmas, can’t wait to see what you do at that time of year!

  44. Barbie Jones says:

    I am always in awwweee when you post pics of your home and projects! They are always so breath taking! I love this mantle! This is one glamorous display!

  45. Tammy says:

    Love, Love, LOVE! Since I’m nowhere near creative, I look to your posts for inspiration and they never let me down. I can’t wait to see what you do with the mantel for Christmas. Thank you!

  46. So I totally want to paint a ghost on my mantel mirror now. I’d have to rearrange my whole Halloween setup but it looks so great. And so spooooky! My kids would LOVE it! Your Halloween mantel is fab. I love it all!

  47. Alyssa says:

    I don’t usually decorate for Halloween, but those busts and spider under glass are making me wish I did!

  48. Sue says:

    This is good, very good! Your kids must have gone crazy when they saw it. The heads do look like they should be singing in the Disney Haunted House!

  49. Mike.S says:

    Awesome job! You’re kids must be absolutely thrilled. It’s memories like these they’ll look back on fondly when they’re older and Halloween has lost a bit of its magic. Keep up the great work!

  50. That looks amazing!! I need to get in the holiday spirit… Thanks for showing a way to do it so affordable. So stylish and attainable!!

  51. Great fun!! What a lot of effort.Your kids must love you lots for this!!!

  52. Love the black & white theme! Looks amazing!


  53. Michelle says:

    So cool and creative. I’d name the ghost Boo Radley, but that’s just me =)

  54. Wow. Great job! I love how you threw the decoration together and used your talent in the process. :)

  55. jane says:

    Okay, love the projects. Went out to Michael’s to liberally borrow (steal?) your idea with the black straw, but I am not a d-i-yer so and I’d love a little more info if possible. For instance, did you use one bunch of broom sticks for both or two? I didn’t realize you bought the green floral foam and I bought the white styrofoam – will that work or should I exchange? And finally, did you spray paint with glossy, semi-gloss, or flat? Thanks so much!

  56. I’m like you. I go all out for Christmas, and Halloween has never been my thing. But, with this mantel — I could definitely get on board! Great show of talent :)

  57. Elizabeth Hunt says:

    So nice. Know the kids love it.

  58. The chains are my favorite part! I love the contrast between that and the delicate cheesecloth. :o)

  59. LOve the mantel! I’ve just posted about mine this week too. I love Halloween. My FAVORITE ride at Disney is the haunted mansion. I could go on it all day and never tire of it. The busts are so cool and love the spider in the jar!

  60. Oh my God! That is so awesome. I just found your site today and I love love love your style. I normally don’t decorate for Halloween but boy this is really gorgeous!

  61. Melissa :) says:

    Amazing! My children love Halloween. Me? Not so much. Ok, I HATE it. But, I appease the littles. :) Your mantel is precious & I love how you kept the decorating for Halloween in one location. Brilliant! :)

  62. I am at the spot too where my son is so into Halloween. I have done a few things to enjoy the season for him. I made him a creepy cave sign for his door that he thinks is pretty cool. It is so much to experience Halloween through the eyes of a child isn’t it?

  63. Centsational Girl says:

    Hi Jane ~

    I used one ‘broom’ per pot. I cut off the wrap, then trimmed the bottom with garden clippers so it was the proper height, then wedged in into the foam that I hollowed out with scissors. Next, I fanned the branches out and broke off other twigs here and there and wedged them in the floral foam to make it more like a tree/bush.

    You should be fine with the white floral foam since the paint will cover it. You can also use moss, but that’s an added expense. You’ll need 2 or 3 light coats of spray paint in a well ventilated area. I used Valspar’s black in satin, so spooky!


  64. Michelle says:

    I wish we celebrated Halloween here in Aussie! Love your mantel looks awesome :)

  65. Anny says:

    What an adorably grown up way to celebrate the season!

  66. That is so fabulous!! My boys would be in heaven!!!

  67. That is so fabulous!! My boys would be beside themselves!!!

  68. Laura says:

    Bob is a good name for a ghost I think. Super cute! Love the chain…love your site!

  69. Annessa says:

    Awesome! I don’t care for decorating for Halloween…it seems so messy. But, you’ve really made it fun and beautiful…thanks for the inspiration.

  70. This is by far one of the most visually pleasing Halloween displays I have seen this year.

  71. Erin says:

    What a cute idea! So sweet of you to do that as a surprise for your kids. I bet they were just delighted. Not so into Halloween myself. I loved the holiday as a child but it’s just too spooky for me now! I’m sure when my kids are a bit older, we’ll get more into the spirit as well.

  72. elz says:

    Fun. I love the ghost and the twigs. Might need to hit up Michaels to add to our display…if there’s anything left!

  73. How fantastic! Kate, it looks incredible. You’ve inspired me to kick my decorating up a notch!

  74. marielle says:

    I love this Kate…I too saw the Martha Halloween magazine and loved it….

    WHERE CAN I FIND CHEESECLOTH?!?!?!? I have looked everywhere!!!!!!

    I also made some cute candy corn branches…however…left it outsiide and they melted in the rain and then had ants crawling all over…FAIL!!!!!!

  75. Only you could make cobwebs, ghosts, and bats look so classy on a mantel!!

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