The traditional colors of Halloween are orange and black, as in big orange pumpkins and spooky black cats.

In fact, there’s a bit of history to that combination. Many ancient cultures, including the Celts, celebrated departed ancestors around the end of the harvest season and often incorporated the color black, which symbolizes darkness and death. Orange, meanwhile, is associated with the bounty of the harvest and is the most common color of pumpkins. The two colors eventually came together as the celebration of Halloween became more popular in North America.

But we’d like to suggest a different color combination for Halloween: black and white. Stylish and sophisticated, it reminds us of all those classic horror movies that we often tie to Halloween. A combination of black and white also pulls in so many other images associated with Halloween, including spiders, bats, witches, and skeletons. Plus, this combination makes any accent colors, including a bit of orange as well as purple and chartreuse, pop even more.

Wondering how to do a black and white Halloween? Wonder no more. We think our tips will inspire you, and as you know, we know more than a thing or two about mixing black and white.

  • The theme will have its greatest impact if you take it over the top. You don’t have to do an entire home in black and white, but pick a spot that gets a lot of attention and go all out. One spot to consider is the dining room, especially if you plan to host a spooky soirée.
  • If the space has a fireplace, decorate it from top to bottom. Start with the hearth and place a classic urn like our Cheltenham Thistle Urn filled with branches that have been spray-painted black. Top the mantel with a variety of candle holders in various heights along with black and white Glow by MacKenzie-Childs candles. Then, finish the fireplace with lots of simple black construction-paper bats taped to the wall above the mantel.

  • As for plates, we’d like to suggest you start with our versatile Sweetbriar chargers. Using black ribbon, create an eye-catching spider’s web on the charger and top it with a Courtly Check Enamel Salad/Dessert Plate. In next week’s blog, we’ll show more variations with the charger to keep that bit of style going throughout the holiday season and into the new year.
  • You can also enhance your chandelier with black and white ornaments that you hang from the arms. Another option for dressing up a chandelier is to hang black and white crêpe paper streamers, taking inspiration from the Bogie Books that were published from 1912 to 1935 by Dennison Manufacturing Co.
  • Serve black and white Halloween food, too. Some ideas: chocolate cupcakes with white frosting that are decorated with black icing to look like ghost faces and spiders’ webs, deviled eggs that are garnished with black olives, and apples dipped in caramel sauce that has black food coloring mixed in.

Finally, let’s toast a black and white Halloween with a spooky signature drink. Here’s a recipe for an Easy Black Widow Cocktail that can be adapted for a non-alcoholic version.

 Easy Black Widow Cocktail

Grape juice
1½ ounces vodka
Soda water
Ice cubes
Fresh blackberries
Purple cake decorating sugar for rimming the glass

To rim glass, dip edge in grape juice and then in purple sugar. Add ice cubes to glass and fill one-third with grape juice.

Add vodka and fill glass the rest of the way with soda water. Adding more soda water and less grape juice lightens the drink in color and separates the liquids into layers. To finish, add two or three fresh blackberries and garnish with a plastic spider.

To make a non-alcoholic version, leave out the vodka and add more grape juice. If you can’t find purple cake decorating sugar, you can make it by mixing equal parts of red and blue food coloring with granulated sugar.

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