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This year, forego the plastic skeletons and orange-and-black crepe paper for a creepy-chic scene worthy of Poe himself

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GO FOR SHOCK VALUE Update the palette with vivid shots of an of-the-moment colour. This year, runwayinspired electric blue is a perfect complement to traditional Halloween orange.

Michael Crichton for The Globe and Mail/michael crichton The Globe and Mail

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WEATHER THE MOMENT Use serving vessels made of weathered or burnished metals for an appropriately eerie feel. Haul out the antique candelabras for added drama and interest.

Michael Crichton for The Globe and Mail/michael crichton The Globe and Mail

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DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK When styling your spread, amplify the gruesome: Serve caramel pears impaled in the “neck” with a fork; have blood-red wine, ruby-red port and bubbling ciders on hand.

Michael Crichton for The Globe and Mail/michael crichton The Globe and Mail

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TAP YOUR SPINES Scan your bookshelves for ancient-looking hardbacks to use as hair-raising props. Taxidermy, real or faux, makes a suitably unnerving accent.

Michael Crichton for The Globe and Mail/michael crichton The Globe and Mail

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