Had so much fun creating this, and so thankful to those who were apart of it! To read about it, scroll to the very end for some deets!
This Halloween Styled Shoot is a celebration of October, and captures the unique vintage look of a classic Halloween, while also incorporating modern elements, inspiring any who want to entertain with a themed dinner party for this upcoming spooky holiday!
This styled shoot was inspired by the vintage Halloween styles within the 1920’s up to the 1950’s. I imagined a gathering that would celebrate the intimate mystical fun and haunting enchantment that the spirit of Halloween brings, embracing classic warm Autumn shades of deep orange hues, with bewitching browns and beautiful shades of black, trickled with stars.
Our little lake cabin in the woods surrounded by pine trees and fall leaves, welcomed the haunting, blissful, and gingerly spooky atmospheric intent for the night.
For the table settings, the withering creme-colored papers of old vintage Halloween magazines from the 1950’s, riddled with old spooky crosswords and ghoulish poems, were used as placemats for the plates. A rectangular glass plate resting on each table setting displayed the night’s food menu in white, topped with auburn dried floral accents. These glass plates, along with all the beautiful signs, were written by the talented Calligraphist for the event, Colby Castruita (follow her work at her Instagram @colbycastruita). A bohemian-styled rug with red and white patterns, was placed under the dinner table for an added element. Before the shoot, we dripped trickling layers of candle wax on the candlesticks, to add some character and spookiness, making them look a little more gothic. Classic orange halloween lights were strung around woven black spider webs, and lanterns filled with votive candles lit the way for spritely ghosts, ghouls, and witches.
Costumes for the girls were intended to be a little witchy, with an arrangement of black sheer fabric, velvet material, and floral-filled black prints, while the guys wore an assortment of muted dark browns and blacks with dark velvet sport coats and ties. To embody the Halloween styles of the 1920s-50s eras, I did not have guests transform into a specific character, but rather incorporated the gothic and the darker hued elements of the holiday itself, letting the surrounding colorful details and decor shine through.
The wine bottles were displayed in a birdcage, next to the “Hocus Pocus” chalkboard and pumpkins. A medley of “Midnight Moonshine,” “Broomstick Brew,” and “Monster Mulled Wine,” were the selection of drinks for the night, displayed on a rustic old glass window pane. Broomsticks were placed in the corner to stay for the night, all witches who entered to abide by the no-drinking-and-flying rule.
As the sun went down, we were met with a beautiful duskiness. Candles were lit, wine was poured, thanks was given, glasses were risen, and the sprightly night fun began. When photographing, I wanted to capture the movement and all those little authentic interactions between guests, to create an invitation for viewers to feel they are a part of the scene, almost sitting right at the table with those in the photos. Family-style layout, guests passed dishes and the decanter, and exchanged stories of trick-or-treating pastimes, warmed with nostalgia and spiced mulled wine. The candle flames danced along with the nightly breeze, the autumn chill circling around us. Our laughter and clinking of amber goblets echoed throughout the canyon, along with classic spooky tunes like “Monster Mash” by The Crypt-Kickers, the “Ghostbusters” theme song by Ray Parker, Jr, “Witchcraft” by Frank Sinatra, and “Werewolves Of London,” (45 Version) by Warren Zevon. We had a “cheesemonger” in our midst, our friend Mackenzie using her skills to artistically arrange the cheese board, added with fresh dill and crackers. That, and a mixed green salad, started off the night’s meal, followed by brie and tomato pizza as the main course, served with a mushroom risotto. As for sweets and treats, homemade caramel apples drizzled with chocolate were a delicious mess, while candy corn was available in the small potion bottles riddled around the table.
Under the moonlight and within the trees, we talked into the night, watching the reflection of the orange flickers from the candle flames illuminating our faces, and laughing till our stomachs hurt. It was a night filled with content, joy, fullness, the company of good friends, and a hauntingly good time celebrating the month of October.
After years of wanting to do something like this, I was so excited to see my vision come to life for this Halloween Styled Shoot, and when I look through the photos from the night, I am reminded of not only the exhilaration of being able to design, style, create, and capture this, but an overwhelming thankfulness to the friends who participated, who helped make it what it was.