When it comes to taking a theme and running with it, you’ll find that at the top of our list of favorite ways to celebrate. If your big day falls near October 31st, there’s endless opportunity for a holiday theme that doesn't involve a black-and-orange color scheme or painted pumpkins.
We know what you’re thinking, and, yes, it is possible to send "Happy Halloween!" vibes out into the world in a stylish way that will leave your guests oohing and ahhing over your tasteful, fall celebration. The secret? You don't have to go overboard on a theme to embrace it. Instead, focus on details that are special to you (whether that's your gown, table centerpieces, or both!) and put a subtle spin on them by saying goodbye to ghosts and goblins and hello to inky hues, inventive cocktails, and florals fit for the season.
Read on for 20 more ideas that will take your Halloween-inspired wedding from spooky to spectacular.
Choose the Right Venue
Everyone knows that when it comes to a good party, it’s all about the venue. Opt for a location with an old-world feel, perhaps with wild or overgrown landscaping that will serve to emphasize the Halloween theme. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, The Hollywood Castle is an example of a perfect backdrop for a moody and mysterious celebration. Bonus: This real wedding was inspired by Harry Potter, and while not exactly synonymous with Halloween, the details—from the venue to the favors for guests—are a study in keeping a theme elevated.
Consider Alternative Attire
When it comes to your wedding day look, why not go full gothic? A dark gown, a black birdcage veil, and even layers of tulle in deep shades of gray can make for an unexpectedly romantic look.
Is there a shade more perfect for Halloween than burnt orange? Your bridesmaids will be a striking sight in this autumnal tone with dresses like these.
Add Edgy Accessories
A taste of Halloween right on your sleeve! A gift from the bride, this groom’s gold skull cufflinks were a tribute to his affinity for all things dark and gothic, and a little touch of his own personality and style at this Tuscany destination wedding.
Dress Your Squad in Cheetah Print
Outfit your bridal party in a break for the norm with cheetah print! The pattern play will complement the fall tones of a late October wedding. Bonus: They are definitely be something your 'maids will want to wear again.
Build a Pumpkin Backdrop
Nothing—and we do mean nothing—says "Happy Halloween!" quite like a pumpkin. A display of pumpkins like the one would make for a perfect photo opp for guests. This wall installation was a part of the children’s pumpkin patch at The Highland Springs Ranch & Inn, the venue this couple selected for their big day.
Play With Props
Since jack-o’-lanterns are arguably the cornerstone of Halloween décor, there’s no reason why that can’t translate in one way or another on your wedding day. Consider using them as props for a guest photo booth or even for a snap or two during your couple's portraits.
Use Fall Foliage
“This wedding occurred two days before Halloween, so I was happy the bride leaned toward a color palette and wedding design that reflected late October,” says floral designer Julie James. Here, the combination of pumpkins and harvest-inspired florals makes for a striking altar for the ceremony. We especially love this arch, which features a variety of blooms including antique burgundy hydrangeas, thistles, maple tree branches, orange roses, burgundy hanging amaranthus, and Queen Anne's lace.
Make It Glamorous
A break from the traditional orange pumpkin is a welcome invitation to the unexpected. Choosing a palette of cream pumpkins—shown here with varying sizes of pumpkins painted in white and gold and elegant taper candles—takes a Halloween-inspired concept from creepy to chic.
Take a Seat
Hay bale lounge, anyone? A glamorous, yet effortlessly cool tribute to fall hayrides, this welcome party lounge seating sets the tone for a weekend full of wedding festivities centered around the month of October!
Have Fun With Favors
People naturally think of costumes when it comes to Halloween, but you don’t have to go full masquerade to sprinkle in a little costume change for the wedding!. A hat bar, like this one created by Lavender & Rose Weddings, is a fun alternative that would allow guests to pick and choose as a nod to the high point of the holiday.
Serve a Spooky Cocktail
Don’t forget cocktail hour! It's the perfect time to add a touch of Halloween for your guests to enjoy while they sip. Many of our favorite fall-inspired libations include seasonal flavors, such as apple, cinnamon, and maple, and spirits like bourbon, scotch, and apple brandy—take your favorites and create your own.
Bring On the Drama (Skulls Included)
Black linens, moody florals, a flower-donned skull are all expert ways to add a hauntingly perfect touch of drama. Here, the elegant floral arrangement, featuring shades of merlot, black, and deep green, is a study in stunningly dark design that will keep your guests wrapped up in the spookiness of it all.
Consider Black Candles
Candles are always a necessary element of an elegant tablescape. Moody and unexpected, black taper candles are a subtle nod to a Halloween-inspired design.
Put Pumpkins Front and Center
There will be no mistaking your inspiration when guests arrive at their tables strewn with pumpkins and the like. Playoff the vibrant hue by incorporating a mix of more modern tones and touches, as shown here with the black-and-white color palette, modern chargers, and gold accents. The finishing touch? Glassware, such these amber goblets from Fancy Tables, in a warm shade that acts to tie the look together.
Don't Forget to Look Up
Spanish moss, forever a favorite, has a natural sort of otherworldly essence that can take any reception design from basic to beautiful. A hanging installation of moss coupled with lanterns and string lights sets the mood towards spectral, but only in the best way.
Toss the Traditional White Cake
This geode-inspired cake is the perfect inspiration when it comes to dessert for a spooky celebration—not to mention it's absolutely exquisite! Serve up a flavor befitting the season, such as pumpkin spice, to take this design to the next level.
Put It in Writing
What else can say it best? This neon sign is perfectly on-theme and an even better testament to the lifetime of love ahead! Pro tip: Place it behind your head table or in a photo-ready space for maximum exposure.
Want to take things to the next level? Check out our roundup of the most haunted wedding venues in the US!