Thrifty Halloween and the Orange Evasion


I am not the biggest fan of orange. In high school, we were “the Tigers” and our colors were, yes, orange and black. This meant things like orange band uniforms. Orange school jackets. Orange gym clothes.

Now picture that I have red hair. A tall and clumsy teenage girl with red hair in a bright orange gym uniform is not exactly inconspicuous. One’s lack of athletic ability cannot slip under the classmates’ radar when you are day-glow in your entire person. It’s pretty much the equivalent of entering Jurassic Park with a couple of raw filet mignons tied around your neck. You are ASKING for trouble.

It does not endear a person to the orange.

Add this to my mother’s fondness for Early American decorating in harvest colors, where shades of orange, avocado and marigold lit up every room, and you can imagine my worldview has been a bit like the inside of Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife’s domicile…
If, you know, Pete had a bit of a 70s retro-Colonial bent.

The thing is, avoiding orange for Halloween and Thanksgiving decorating is not the easiest thing to do. And so I find myself using my comforting friend Purple, and my buddy Blue to help me compensate for the necessity of the less-appreciated shade.

I have also almost conned myself into believing that I don’t decorate with orange at all. It is “amber.” Or, in a very slippery moment, “topaz.”

(I’m in marketing professionally, so semantics like this help me get through the day.)
But thrifting this year really came through for me in terms of creating a harvest look for fall while practicing a reasonable orange evasion.

A few weeks ago, I found these marvelous Imperial Grape tumblers in blue carnival glass for just $0.99 a piece at my favorite Salvation Army store.


This was followed by recent adventures in the Pottery City Antique Mall, in East Liverpool, Ohio, where I managed to pick up a set of six more glasses, PLUS a pitcher, for $30—more pricey than the average thrift, but a lot of pieces for the money. I’d also grabbed four amber Carnival glass goblets (yes, I know they LOOK orangish, but humor me) for $8 at Vivian’s in Columbiana, Ohio.

And then this very Friday, I struck gold at the Salvation Army again. Beams of heavenly light and a chorus of angels didn’t QUITE erupt as I entered the store and saw the grape-patterned Carnival centerpiece bowl and matching lidded candy dish that went with my set….

But it was close.


And there WAS a brief moment of thrift-induced hysterical laughter in the car.

So I’ve been noodling around with my new goodies to pull together a Halloween-acceptable look that is more harvest than haunted. You can see the centerpiece bowl in action here, filled with some brightly colored beaded fruits I sometimes use for Christmas displays. The plates are my great-aunt’s Haviland Limoges in a pattern called Aquitania.



In addition to some shiny purplish-blue curtain sheers I’m sneaking in as a makeshift tablecloth, I’d added a little embroidered tablecloth and some embroidered napkins (thrifted at a quarter a piece!) to enhance the sense of abundance.

I’ve added similar pieces to the mantle—this is the beloved candydish of Friday, along with some of my more harvest-looking Victorian whiteware pottery.




And here is my new friend, a papier mache boy in costume, who just tickles me to no end. I don’t think he’s old, but he looks it. And he was $5 at the L&L Fleatique in Adamsburg, Pennsylvania.

I love his sweet little face.


Other inexpensive ways of carrying the Halloween and Harvest theme through without over-oranging myself have been through some cute signs I’ve picked up at Michael’s and Big Lots-- like this one on the front door…


In the kitchen...


And on the door to my attic... (Reads “Ghost in the Attic: Antiques and Books”-- and yes, there ARE a lot of books up there! )


Lastly I got these fake pumpkins in white and green. I’m not really happy with them here in my entryway-- I probably need to move them to somewhere in the diningroom-- but this gives you an idea, anyway.


So while I know I’m probably in the minority for not caring a lot for orange, it is possible to decorate for the autumn holidays without relying TOO TOO much on, er, amber... topaz... or um, marigold.

If you missed last year’s more spooky holiday decorating, you can see that by clicking here.
Otherwise, have a happy Halloween, a great week, and I’ll see you again next Monday when I think we’ll talk about my latest decorating swap!

2 comments:

J Middour said...

I really love that blue carnival glass...that really was a great deal! Congrats!

Thrift Shop Romantic said...

J Middour- Hey, thank you! I probably will trot it out for this coming fall/Halloween as well.