Summer decor ideas for your inner goth
By Ed Ghost, Staff Writer
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: every day can be Halloween. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to agree — worth mentioning are the big box retail stores and their paltry month-and-a-half of spooky season wares. So, what’s a ghoul to do when we’re still in a pandemic, but summer is fast approaching and it’s prime do-stuff-outside weather?
Well, why not take the party inside this year and completely re-decorate your house in a way that would make Lily Munster blush and Morticia Addams go green with envy? We all know spring cleaning is a topic looming on social media everywhere. With the ever-popular decorating hacks on TikTok and Pinterest, it’s virtually impossible to not have the “throw out everything I own that does not spark joy and start completely from scratch” itch.
Anyone who knows me knows that from the moment I bought my own house, I began turning it into a spooky spectacle. I have a giant Creature from the Black Lagoon statue leering over one of my toilets and my hand-towel holder is a literal witch-hand — get it … hand-towel?
One of my spare rooms is filled with real skeletons and antique funeral ephemera. I’ve also got a black and white striped bathroom affectionately known as “the beetle-bathroom” after the Ghost-with-the-Most himself, Beetlejuice.
Now, my darklings, I am ready to become the goth Marie Kondo I was always meant to be. Let the darkness inspire you and let me share some cheap tips and tricks to make your house more spooky at any time of year.
Revamping old furniture
Have an old piece of furniture you want to spruce up? Paint it! This one’s a given, but there are some really cool spooky options to consider when customizing old furniture. My first recommendation is to sand everything down, and then to use spray paint — not acrylic. Try not to use anything you might need a brush for. Hardware stores usually have wood-friendly spray paint, and the furniture would only need to be topped up with a finisher.
This is where the fun really begins. I gave my best friend some of my old skull-patterned wallpaper scraps, and she put them on the drawers of her side table. Now, she has a one-of-a-kind dresser that totally stops everyone in their tracks. Add some custom skull or bat dresser knobs that you can get on Etsy, and you’ve got a totally unique piece of furniture that costs you mere pennies compared to something new.
There’s also no need to break the bank on full rolls of wallpaper if you’re only covering a small surface area. Most shops will give scraps for free, or charge a small amount for samples. If you do want a full roll of wallpaper and you don’t want it to be permanent, some shops make temporary adhesive wallpaper that’s easy to remove, just make sure you know what you’re doing!
Print out cool photos
Want a house full of spooky portraits and spectacular art? Print them! But remember, don’t steal from artists. They deserve to make a living.
There are plenty of cool pictures of x-rays, zombies and movie monsters just waiting to adorn your walls. You can easily check out the resolution on your computer to get the size you want, and stores like London Drugs and Staples can print professional photos for an affordable price. If you need a frame, every dollar store has cheap frames in almost every size — and the best news? Most of them come in black.
Tie-dyeing old clothes and fabrics
Speaking of black, if you have some cool clothes that you don’t want to part with but they’re just not goth enough, then that’s good news. It’s very cheap and incredibly easy to dye clothing at home. All you need is a big pot, boiling water, some fabric dye, a place to wash your articles of clothing, the clothing itself and around 25 minutes to spare for the process. Be mindful of the fibre content and what the fabric is made of. It’s dependent on what dye you need to get and how the colour will turn out.
If you have black clothes that aren’t just creepy crawly enough for you, don’t fret! If you’re like me and patches are your jam, then just go patch crazy on whatever you want!
If you’re not keen on sewing, fabric paint is your new best friend — especially on denim. Just doodle a few spider webs here and there, and maybe a cool design on the back and you’re good to go!
Spider webs also look good on shoes. There are plenty of tutorials online on how to properly paint and spruce up an old pair of shoes to better fit your current aesthetic.
Antiques, antiques, antiques!
There’s no one way to be goth. There are witchy goths, pastel goths, cyber-goths, trad-goths, kawaii goths, deathrockers and more. One thing I’m sure most of them can agree on though, is that thrift stores and antiques are your friends.
You can find almost anything if you look hard enough. It’s not uncommon to find beautiful pieces of baroque or rococo furniture for under $100 on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji.
Old Halloween decorations are practically being given away during every month that isn’t October. At antique stores, it’s easy to find old pieces of reasonably priced taxidermy. A hidden gem in Calgary is The Iron Crow. You can usually find vintage Victorian photos in most of these shops. They give a really haunting vibe to your abode.
Other items you can find are old candelabras that look like they’re straight out of a vampire movie, universal monster memorabilia, strange clothes from bygone decades, parasols and hats that Lydia Deetz, the Beetlejuice queen herself, would scream over. You name it, they sell it — and it’s usually for a steal.
There are a million and one ways to live your best spooky life — all you need is to get a little creative, start keeping an eye out, and don’t listen to anyone who says “Halloween is over”. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, and whatever your aesthetic is, happy haunting!