Halloween Staging

Tricks for making window and in-store displays a treat.

Q: How can I make a creative Halloween display without a lot of work?

A: With just a white sheet and a large pumpkin, you can do wonders. Cut a large crescent moon from cardboard or foam-centered board to use as the background, and paint it black. To make a ghost, crumple newspaper into a medium-sized ball, drape with a sheet and suspend it in front of the moon. To make this ghost appear to fly, attach lengths of fishing line to each corner of the sheet and tack to the ceiling or a nearby wall. In front of the ghost, place the biggest pumpkin you can find, or group a bunch of medium and small pumpkins.

    These large graphic shapes of contrasting colors—black moon, white flying ghost and orange pumpkins—are excellent for attracting attention, especially that of drive-by traffic. Best of all, this window display doesn’t require merchandise; the Halloween elements are all that are required.

    With a little more elbow grease, pumpkins can be carved into fun jack-o’-lanterns. Or you can use faux jack-o’-lanterns that look every bit like the real thing. Either will add a festive look to the sales area without requiring additional displays.

Q: I want to stand out from the crowd. How can I make an attention-getting display without typical Halloween items?

A: Supersize it! Choose one Halloween element and make oversized props. Many Halloween items can be supersized. Candy corn, a traditional Halloween treat, can be constructed from white foam-centered board. Large green or yellow cat eyes, also cut from foam-centered board, can also be unusual props. Fun, colorful, supersized props can highlight a variety of products or florals.

Q: What can I do for a traffic-stopping Halloween display?

A: Try this impressive “Bride of Frankenstein” idea.
    Imagine a dark and eerie space crawling with spiders; wispy cobwebs shrouding a crude coffin placed on faded rose petals; a shadowy, hulking figure dressed in black gazing at the victim; light from the dripping candles of a gilded candelabrum casting a ghostly glow on the victim’s ashen face—all a contrast to the beaded lace bridal gown on her body. The bridal train, spilling out onto the floor, touches the corner of a cobweb-covered white satin guest book.

    Although this display sounds more appropriate for a haunted house than a retail shop, it was used in a bridal shop window several years ago. Such a departure from the usual bridal displays stopped just about everyone who walked by, and the owner says she still gets new customers who say they came to her shop because they remembered the window.

    Displays such as these call attention to your store in ways that make it memorable. The Bride of Frankenstein display, for example, is an eye-catching way to feature off-season bridal products—bouquets, altar and table arrangements, attendants’ flowers, accessories and more. It’s a great way to ensure that your bridal products and your store will be remembered when wedding season rolls around.

Q: How can I do a Halloween theme throughout the store without spending a lot of money?

A: With just a little effort, you can create scary creatures for in-shop displays. Fabric, wood dowels and plastic masks can become scary monsters, fairy princesses, crazy clowns and more. To make a generic Halloween creature, tear 2 yards of inexpensive cotton fabric into 2-inch-wide strips of varying lengths. Drape long and short strips on a dowel suspended horizontally from the ceiling to form the monster’s body and arms. Create a “head” of crumpled paper on which to place the mask, and add a wig of yarn or shredded newspaper. Attach the head to the body with pins. Although it may end up looking lopsided, your creature will have personality.

   All sorts of creature variations are possible simply by choosing appropriate fabrics and masks. For example, skeleton masks, used with torn gauze or muslin, make mummies, ghosts and other nether world entities. Clown masks atop strips of red, yellow and black fabric make fun, comical creatures, and shredded strips of inexpensive tulle will turn pretty masks into fairies and princesses.

    With Halloween just around the corner, do something different for your store. Be daring, and reap the rewards.

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