Haunted Mantel

By Kate Riley 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!




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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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…..

  8. 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?

  9. 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!

  10. 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!!!

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

  12. 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. :)

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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 :)

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!


  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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! :)

  27. 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?

  28. 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!


  29. 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.

  30. 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.

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

  32. 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!!!!!!

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