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Gilding the Halloween pumpkin: creepy chic decor

If you prefer a contemporary decor style, you aren't interested in rustic jack-o-lanterns or homespun stuffed witches when Halloween comes around. But fear not: This season you'll find lots of ghoulish yet glamorous pieces to fete the occasion.

Modern Alchemy's Memento Mori collection includes a set of beautiful black porcelain plates etched with silver skulls. There also are sleek, ebony skull candles to provide drama on a beverage bar.

Send invites using their elegant skull-printed stationery, or check out websites like Graphics Fairy (vintage clip art) and Living Locurto (bold, colorful designs) to make your own.

Z Gallerie's got skull goods, too — glitter-dusted in black or silver for display, plus glossy black mini-candles and little metallic spiders to scatter on a buffet. There's also a wonderful wood-finish, hinged skull made of resin that holds a wee clock; it's got an antique look, but would be a great counterpoint to more modern decor.

Each Halloween, Pottery Barn presents a new wall mural, screen printed with a suitably ghoulish image. This year's version is a cool black-and-white photograph of an iron gate opening into a mist-filled graveyard. Resembling a horror movie still, it would really turn a party space into something unique.

You're well on the way to creating a super spooky room with a few of the retailer's black feathered crows; add a set of life-size black cat wall decals from Domestic and 5.5 Designers, and get out the fog machine.

Grandin Road has a fun Halloween collection that includes dancing brooms and life-size green or silver glittery skeletons. Thick velvety tasseled cords evoke the Opera, and phantoms seem to fill the eye sockets of shiny chrome skulls.

The early 20th century was really the golden age for Halloween in the United States. Wealthy families returned from their summer mansions to the city, and lavish Halloween parties were one of the ways they launched the winter society season. While balls and galas may not be your speed, there's lots of inspiration online for chic and sophisticated Halloween festivities.

Check out Pier 1's website for party ideas like Nightcap on Elm Street and Vampire Dinner Party. Celebrations.com suggests a Victorian themed party, or an all-white Ghosts and Ghouls bash, among other ideas.

Get the festivities going with a set of vampire or poison-themed old-style beverage labels, dramatic black candlesticks and black flocked trees from Grandin Road, and some mini lights or ornaments. A blood red or inky black feathered wreath adds surprise as a centerpiece.

Set the table with Pier 1's purple spider-webbed table runner and fiercely fashionable animal-print serveware. Boris Karloff's Frankenstein visage is emblazoned on a set of beverage napkins from Z Gallerie — perfect for a scary movie party theme.

Halloween has a split personality. The kids-and-candy crowd revels in a rambunctious night of trick or treating, but for grownups a little too old to knock on doors, there are lots of fun ways to mark the macabre evening with style.

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Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 83,000 sales agents working in approximately 3,100 offices in 50 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services as recently seen by being the first national real estate brand to create an iPad application and the first to fully harness the power of video in real estate listings, news and information through its Coldwell Banker On LocationSM YouTube channel. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in specialty markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.
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