Even though there was heat advisory out for yesterday, I am already thinking about cold breezes, crackling piles of dry leaves, and jack-o-lanterns. I am researching what to do at Clermont this Halloween. Our Legends by Candlelight Ghost Tours are one of my biggest annual events (and personally, I like it even better than Christmas) so I am already planning decorations, researching ghosts, and looking for new costumes.
I have gotten a lot of inquiries about silhouettes from past years. Cutting out spooky shapes from black construction paper is a surprisingly-effective way to decorate for Halloween and is completely historic (and inexpensive)--hooray! I use it annually to great effect and am working on new ways to make it fun this year.
I've gotten asked several times about where to find these silhouettes, and my usual source is period drawings. You can find great images of cats, bats, etcetera on Halloween greeting cards, which many people have been kind enough to post online. By saving them on your computer, blowing them up, printing them, and then tracing them, you can get a fabulous period illustration. I love this method because you can get the right concept of line, proportion, and style that may look quite different from modern cartoon images.
However, I have to admit that I have a new source too. I don't usually give props to big companies on this blog because I figure they have no trouble being found by the public. But I have to say that Martha Stewart's webpage has lead me to some really great, period-appropriate Halloween crafts.
Not everything on the site is historic of course. Glow-in-the-dark pumpkins and some very modern centerpieces may be pretty--but they can't find their way to my dining room table at Clermont. Nevertheless, there are some really nice silhouettes, and my personal favorite item is these invitations, which look like they fell right out of an emphemera-collector's desk drawer.
Good luck to all my fellow Halloween-lovers out there. If only I could start decorating the mansion now!