Halloween decorations have moved far past crepe paper witches and foam pumpkins, with many design-minded folks looking for upscale, unique items that can be woven into their regular decor.
They want their witches and jack-o’-lanterns to complement, not scare up a distraction from, the rest of their interior design.
To that end, several Modesto home decor stores are stocking more and more Halloween wares that can be tucked into well-styled rooms to evoke the season’s fun, whimsical feel.
And it’s not too late to spook up your house for Halloween – in fact, some regional shop owners say a lot of people wait until a week to 10 days before the witching hour to add stylish spiders, black cats and jack-o’-lanterns to their decor.
Many decorate in early September for fall, then tuck in their Halloween-specific items as Oct. 31 approaches. No matter when ghosts begin haunting dining room centerpieces, the season continues to be a boon for area home decor stores.
“We’ve had a really good Halloween season this year,” said Chandra Cunha, owner of Mulberry Lane in Modesto’s McHenry Village. “It’s been one of our stronger Halloweens.”
People are ready for the season to change. I think they’re going to ignore the weather this year.
Mulberry Lane owner Chandra Cunha on demand for fall decor despite a particularly warm October.
Mulberry Lane specializes in vintage decor and its Halloween selections are no different. Among some of the top sellers are lines by designer Bethany Lowe, whose nostalgic works harken back to Halloweens of decades ago with a folk-art feel.
At Keller’s, also in McHenry Village, the large window displays offer ghoulish and whimsical takes on Halloween. It’s been a popular season for years at the store, where they go all out with a variety of decorative items.
“We’ve sold so much out of the window this year,” said Joyce Keller, “more than we ever have before.”
In fact, just about all of the store’s automated Halloween wares are gone, including a motion-sensor witch’s broom that would begin sweeping and cackling as people passed by it – catching Keller by surprise more than once, she said, after closing time when the lights in the store were low.
But there’s still plenty more to be found at Keller’s, from small accents pieces to large show-stoppers.
Because Halloween is on a Saturday this year, some store owners believe more people are planning parties that aren’t focused just on little trick-or-treaters, creating higher demand for home decor with ghoulish fun and special surprises.
At McHenry Village’s Portico, they don’t go too heavy with Halloween since most of their customers are looking for permanent pieces with long-term use. Also in the Village at Farmer’s Daughter, there’s a small but festive Halloween display of wares.
Many people go all out to decorate their homes for fall beginning in September with upscale items that can remain in place through November.
The At Home furniture and decor store at Dale and Pelandale avenues in Modesto also specializes in Halloween pieces that can be woven into a home’s regular decor.
Among the selections in that vein are stretched canvas wall art reproductions by Darren Gygi. Store co-owner Pam O’Brien said many customers buy his works – available in three sizes (one by special order only) – to create regular gallery displays, then switch out certain pieces to match the changing seasons.
At Home has several of Gygi’s reproductions for Halloween that can be worked into more permanent displays, adding a touch of the season while still keeping in line with a room’s general look.
Like other store owners in the area, O’Brien said customers are looking for both scary and non-creepy, more whimsical Halloween wares that carry more flair and uniqueness than what’s found at larger chain retailers.
“It’s gotten big over the years,” she said, “and we’ve branched out to find things that aren’t in big box stores.”
With Halloween just over a week away, now might be the best time to grab your decorative pieces – some stores are offering discounts as they prepare to make room for the even bigger season of Christmas.
Meanwhile, don’t expect much progress on pilgrims – Thanksgiving decor continues to be an also-ran in the holiday retail sweepstakes.
“Thanksgiving, that poor guy,” O’Brien said. “It’s just overshadowed.”