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Goth and glitter. Bones and ornaments dusted with lime, ebony, orange or purple sparkle. Startling images on dishware and textiles.

These are just some of the ways retailers and designers are playing up Halloween's theatrical vibe this year. Even for a holiday that's by definition a study in over-the-topness, there are standards to be kept.

With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, parties will be plentiful. Go beyond the traditional "monster mash" bash with's fun alternative themes, such as True Blood, Wicked or Dead Rock Stars. The site's party planners suggest using orange roses, twisty branches and lots of black and white dinnerware to set the stage - fashionable dining table decor at any time of year.

As for that iconic symbol of the season, the pumpkin, look no further than the pages of the October issue of Martha Stewart Living. The magazine's crafty stylists don't disappoint when it comes to weird and wonderful carving ideas; this year, there are templates for snakes, feathers, goblets and entire eerie vignettes. If you're handy with a pencil and a linoleum cutter, inspiration awaits.

Kim Cook, Associated Press

, Eerie elegance

Martha Stewart has created elegant tablescape chandeliers, skulls and skeletons encrusted with colorful glitter, as well as a grinning pumpkin clock, and stacked black jack-o'-lanterns, ready to light the walkway, at The e-retailer also has a glass bowl cupped by spooky, bony hands, a darkly handsome lighted willow tree, and ebony LED candles dripping faux wax (right).

. Chilling tothe bone

Dress a sophisticated Halloween table with Pottery Barn's life-sized crow candles and a photoprinted skull cocktail set.Placed on a black table runner printed with spiderwebs and bedecked in hand-beaded spiders, ghoulish goes glam.


Halloween resources This forum offers party and decor ideas from experts and registered contributors for Halloween and other occasions. Halloween ideas and craft templates galore.