Here's how to curate a stylishly spooky Halloween tablescape - pumpkins at the ready

Hosting a ghoulish gathering? A thoughtfully crafted Halloween tablescape will completely elevate your dining space. Here are 6 expert tips to achieve the look

A Halloween themed tablescape with green candles and autumnal flowers in a pumpkin planter
(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

There's no better way to elevate your dining room than with a beautiful tablescape – ask any designer and they're sure to agree. While any type of table decor is bound to make your evening extra special when it comes to hosting seasonal dinner parties, going the extra mile with a themed table is sure to impress your guests. With that in mind, what better way to celebrate the spooky season than with a dramatic tablescape this Halloween? 

These days, an expertly curated table setting involves a whole lot more than just positioning cutlery in the right place. You'll want to consider your tableware, your napkins, the tablecloth, and your centerpiece – and here I'm just stating the more obvious elements. It might sound like a lot of effort but the results are well worth it, and tablescape falls under the more fun DIY design projects! 

Despite this, of all the holidays in the annual calendar, Halloween is the one that undoubtedly lacks the same classy elegance as, say, Christmas or Easter. Dominated by plastic decorations and kids' toys, preventing your Halloween decor from becoming too kitsch and tacky is a difficult task, but fear not. To help you curate a stylishly spooky Halloween table display that hits the mark, we've asked some expert table stylists for a few words of advice. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through sharing practical tips and guides for all their DIY decor ideas. With Halloween just around the corner, she spoke with tabletop stylists for this piece to learn how to curate a spooktacular tablescape. 

How to create a spooky Halloween tablescape

1. Translate your porch decor to your table 

A Halloween tablescape decorated with real and paper pumpkins and candles

(Image credit: Paper Dreams available at The Conscious )

If you're hosting a Halloween dinner party, the chances are you have themed decorations outside your home, too. To create a sense of flow, continue the same porch decor ideas inside your home bringing the concept indoors. 

Perhaps you've gone for a witchy theme with caldrons, or maybe you've opted for a classic pumpkin look – whichever it is, replicate the same idea at your table. 'I like to scatter ornaments and paper decorations all over the table, whether it be cobwebs, bats and spiders, or other embellishments,' says Simon Thie, CEO and founder of The Conscious (opens in new tab)

While you mostly should avoid tacky decorations, don't be afraid to use a few cult favorites. 'Don’t underestimate the power of fake spiderwebbing,' says Imane Fiocchi, founder of tabletop styling business, Neon Lace Company (opens in new tab). 'Take the time to separate the faux web into very thin strands to make it more authentic.' Drape some faux webs over the back of your dining chairs for a subtle spooky vibe. 

While a few fake decorations help communicate the Halloween spirit, nothing beats natural and organic materials for a more elevated look. Use munchkin pumpkins or ornamental gourds on your table for a fall decor idea

'Simple is always more tasteful so don’t carve faces into your pumpkins as this can look a bit cartoonish,' says James Mellan-Matulewicz, creative director and designer at Bobbi Beck (opens in new tab). 'If you do want to get crafty, you could paint your pumpkins black and white and stencil words like "boo" onto them for a more stylish and clean aesthetic.'

Halloween paper lanterns from Amazon (opens in new tab)
Spooky decor

Halloween paper lanterns from Amazon (opens in new tab)

Scatter a few of these subtle pumpkin paper lanterns across your dining table for a sustainable decoration idea you can reuse each year. Use the rest on your front porch for a fluent Halloween-themed idea that carries throughout your home. 

2. Use a moody color palette

A dark themed Halloween tablecape with gold candles, black flowers and feathers

(Image credit: Stylist: Ronnie Colby / Photography: Dan Walker)

It wouldn't be Halloween without a dark color scheme. Choose moody greys, blues and purples to mimic a mysterious atmosphere. 

'It's always a good idea to begin with a mood and a color,' suggests Imane. 'Look around your dining area for colors to pull from. My dining room has a lot of warmth so I style my spooky ’scapes with bright orange and black.'

To avoid the stereotypically gaudy Halloween colors like fluorescent orange and lime green which risk feeling tacky, use a conceptual fall theme instead. 'Think more burnt oranges and deep greens,' says James. 'Fill glass bowls with leaves collected from outside, use conkers or pine cones around candle bases and homemade wreaths using sticks and deep red berries.'

3. Make use of candles

A Halloween tablescape with paper pumpkins, candles and foliage

(Image credit: Paper Dreams available at The Conscious )

Halloween is all about atmospheric, ambient lighting. For a spooky table that would put the Addams family to shame, use elegant vintage candelabras to set the mood and turn off your overhead lights. 

'I’m a big fan of eating by candlelight. In my opinion nothing is better at creating ambience than a warm, natural glow – and this lends itself perfectly for Halloween where candles play such an important role in creating an eerie low-light aesthetic,' says Simon. 'I love to dress the table from end to end with tea lights and lanterns.'

For a child-friendly option, scatter strings of battery-operated fairy lights across the table and around your dining room. 'Simple fairy lights will look subtle and haunting when used amongst your Halloween decor,' notes James. 'Drape black voiles around windows and thread fairy lights around them, or fill glass vases and place them alongside your pumpkins.' 

LED string fairy lights from Amazon (opens in new tab)
All about the ligh...

LED string fairy lights from Amazon (opens in new tab)

These batter-operated string lights will bring atmospheric lighting to a ghostly Halloween dining table. Curve them around your decorations and around the bottom of vases to cast spooky shadows across the space.

4. Use eclectic tableware 

To replicate the feel of an old haunted house, use an eclectic mix of tableware rather than a dinnerware set. Uniform and matching crockery will look too organized for a spooky setting while a random mixture will help set an odd and peculiar feel to the dinner table. 

'Mix and matched crockery also helps to add variety and interest to a table by showcasing the breadth of different glassware and ceramic styles,' says Simon. 'Opt for colored glassware in fall shades like brown and orange for that real wow factor. I think Halloween is the time to be a little more daring with tableware.'

Imane agrees. 'I love to use vintage tableware and unique accessories – they always spark immediate curiosity conversation,' she says. 

An autumnal themed dining table tablescape with candles and red details

(Image credit: Magnet)

6. Don't forget flowers

A Halloween themed tablescape with a pumpkin planter as a floral centerpiece

(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

Floral arrangements are the staple of table settings. Not only are they visually beautiful and at times bring gorgeously sweet scents to your table, they also add height and therefore a clear focal point to the space. To be in keeping with the seasonal theme, choose fall flowers in shades of red and orange. 

'Just because it's a spooky season it doesn’t mean the flowers can’t be gorgeous,' says Imane. 'I buy white roses and spray paint them lacquer black with floral spray paint, then I arrange them in bud vases down the center of my dining table instead of a runner.' 

For an extra seasonal floral idea, why not try a pumpkin planter, like the one shown above? 'Paired with black tapered candles, pumpkins, and faux crows it creates a spooky, albeit gorgeous, tablescape,' adds Imane. 

What is tablescaping, and why should I opt for it? 

A Halloween tablescape with succulent pumpkin planters

(Image credit: Jaclyn Bridges )

Simply put, tablescaping is all about designing and decorating your dining table so your table setting is aesthetically pleasing and thematic as opposed to merely practical. Think wedding table setting or Thanksgiving – it's all about table decor that wows your guests, and Halloween is a great t timeor a fall tablescape.

'Tablescapes set the mood for any occasion and give guests a glimpse into the soul of the hostess,' says Imane. 'They are perfect for a holiday occasions because the season itself offers a theme to work from and it's a natural time for gathering.'

A tablescape at a Halloween soirée will instantly make your guests feel more welcome by demonstrating your effort as a host. Not only that, but it will also act as a great icebreaker and talking point for guests to admire.