In our house, the gallery will be on a red wall. A wall painted in a vivid color has always been something I wanted to do, but I've been intimidated to take that step. Lucky for me, the previous owner of the house was less timid and painted the main wall of the room we now call the library a perfect red. While not all of the rooms in this house were painted to my taste, we did luck out with two: the library, with it's broad, red wall; and the guest bathroom, which is quite orange. Eventually everything else will be repainted, but not those two.
Some of the following I already own, some of it has been wished for, and some others are just links I'd like to share.
The pictures with the green wall were from our first Halloween party, several years ago. "Aunt Sarah" and "Constance" are lenticular prints. You've probably seen similar images on DVD covers and in-store displays. When the technology is applied to portraits, and hung on a wall or framed on a table or shelf, they become something else altogether.
You don't want to fill a wall with these -- just one or two, nestled in with some real portraits (you don't have to know the people - more on that later). It doesn't even have to be expensive. We've purchased 5x7" prints for under $10 locally, and they can be purchased online for as little as $14.95, including shipping (depending on the company).
Imagine that you walk by the portrait of Sarah here (left), and a bit of movement catches your eye. You look again, and it's not the same portrait anymore.
"Aunt Sarah" was the my first big Halloween décor purchase. I bought a gaudy frame (well, really, an ugly framed print with a sturdy, gaudy frame (less expensive that way)) and hung her in my dining room. I surrounded her with some old family portraits and some creepy looking ones of my husband and I that he Photoshopped. She startled our guests... and then I left her hanging on the wall for 3 years. She was that cool.
This is Constance. I won an 8x10 version of her a couple of years ago from Haunted Portraits, and she looked fabulous in our gallery last year! (I took pictures, but they didn't turn out. Will definitely make sure to get some good ones this year.)
One item on my long-running ("splurgie") wish list is one of his Ghost Portraits.
I don't own anything from Lewis Barrett Lehrman's Haunted Studio, but one of his prints has been on my wish list for quite some time. (I like many of them!)
If you have the cash, Lehrman will create a print of your house, haunted. How fun would that be? Personally, I don't like the shape of my house (on the outside), so I'd be content with one of the existing prints. But if I had a differently-shaped house (and the $), I'd be all over this option!
Your own gallery
You can nestle one or two "zingers" in among your regular family photos, or you can keep going with the theme and frame regular (color, black & white or sepia) photos (of your family, or ones you buy at an antique store). More options:
- Dig through family photo albums for old portraits or pictures of yourself or other family members in Halloween costumes, copy/enlarge and frame.
- Remember how I said the pictures didn't have to be of anyone you know? Download these free scans I've uploaded: Boy and Girl, then print & frame. (Not spooky, just old.) I don't know who they are, either. They were a gift from someone that knew I was looking for portraits like this.
- Hit up antique and thrift stores for old portraits. Bonus if you can find one already framed. I'm still kicking myself for not buying one we found that had human hair (probably the subject's) added to a portrait.
- If you have some Photoshop skills, take an ordinary photo and add some "orbs" or ghost-like shapes. Like these:
Finally, for the end of part 1, you might want to check out Uppercase Living* (Fall 2009 catalog, p. 138 ff) for more permanent applications. The vinyl rub-ons can also be applied to sign boards, etc., and stored (I have a small one (a gift) that I'll be adding to the glass of a framed piece of fabric or paper). I've had my eye on the wall-sized tree myself, but would be nervous about screwing it up! They seem to sell via reps and home parties only, and their online catalog isn't search-able (and it makes a sound every time you turn a page (ew)), so it may not be worth the hassle.
*I'm a little hesitant about sharing this because, while the company doesn't appear to be opposed to selling Halloween items, the one representative I encountered announced that she was skipping those pages because she hated Halloween and didn't understand why anyone would want to decorate for it. Turned me right off. Saved me some money, though.