Photo courtesy of Primitives by Kathy.

A Ghoulish Soirée: Adults embrace Halloween décor By Carly McFadden

As seen in Holiday Shop 2024.

Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore.

Photo courtesy of Primitives by Kathy.
Photo courtesy of Primitives by Kathy.

Dressing up, trick-or-treating and attending wholesalers expanding their spooky collections and parties on Oct. 31 remains a quintessential childhood moment. But adults have joined in on the fun as upscale, elevated Halloween hosting grows more popular — think lavish tablescapes, mystical cocktails, ghoulish charcuterie boards and enchanting dinner parties.

Halloween hosting and partyware is taking up more space in the gift industry, and more Americans are getting involved than ever before. This is reflected by Halloween 2023’s record-breaking consumer spending ($12.2 billion) and participation (73%), according to the National Retail Federation.

“Halloween has always been my favorite. I think in a post-COVID world, people are really taking advantage of any time spent together in real life,” said Nora Napientek, owner and founder of nora fleming. “As adults, the world has been so very heavy as of late that the levity and joy of dressing up for Halloween makes it all the more enticing. We are seeing themed parties as well as traditional Halloween spooky parties.”

Subtly Spooky Collection. Transpac.
Subtly Spooky Collection. Transpac.

Halloween has been on the rise for years, with many wholesalers expanding their spooky collections and introducing unique colorways, design styles and spins on the classics.

“Trend reports have been stating a rise in get-togethers for the past few years, especially gatherings where everyone can kick back and have a good time. Another trend on the rise is a yearn for anything nostalgic. Enter Halloween,” said Veronica Bell, creative director at Primitives by Kathy. “Getting together with friends and family to celebrate in costume like when they were kids is just the sort of stress-free environment some adults are seeking. Elevating the party’s aesthetic away from your average costume party with décor allows guests and hosts to have a truly memorable experience full of fun, fantasy and a bit of scare.”


Photo courtesy of Eid Creations.
Lavish, spooky tablescapes are key for Halloween hosting among adults. Photo courtesy of Eid Creations.

Over-the-top tablescapes are a main focal point of modern Halloween parties. This can be achieved by layering linens, plates and spooky accents such as faux webs, twinkle lights and lace. The main takeaway: More is more.

“It’s texture on texture on texture; you can’t go wrong, nothing has to match, everything just is personal and what you want,” Bell said.

Transpac Brands noted statement pieces — particularly light-up or iridescent décor — adds a new dimension to a tablescape.

“Light-up for us has continued to be something that we’re seeing in different ways,” Lee said. “It might be adding shimmer or crystal finishes with different reflective materials.”

In the specialty retail market, there is no shortage of diningware options for these occasions. Primitives by Kathy offers a mix of reusable and disposable tabletop options, including a retro-themed line of paper goods.

“Consumers are always looking to be more eco- friendly, but sometimes you need the ease of paper plates and cups,” Bell said. “They allow you the opportunity to transform your space but don’t actually take up any space in the home afterward.”

Jack-O'-Lantern Bowl Set. Primitives by Kathy.
Jack-O’-Lantern Bowl Set. Primitives by Kathy.

Wholesaler Eid Creations also offers Halloween- themed, porcelain-inspired paper tableware. The Black with Iridescent Web Design Dinner Plates can be layered with Eid Creations’ solid color placemats and dessert plates for a totally customizable Halloween look that is affordable and doesn’t require storage space in a home.

“In recent years we have seen an exponential rise in Halloween celebrations among emerging adults. This segment of society, which ranges between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, are the largest consumers, accounting for over double the purchases of the Halloween market,” said Rana Bacaloni, founder of Eid Creations. “These young adults are celebrating Halloween with less trick- or-treating and more partying, making spending on decorations grow in popularity.”

For items that can be reused year to year, Primitives by Kathy’s ceramic tabletop collection is stamped with traditional Halloween characters and includes coordinating plates, platters, and salt and pepper shakers.

Primitives by Kathy.
Primitives by Kathy.

Additionally, hosts and hostesses are adopting alternative colorways for their Halloween parties.

“As we’ve seen in decorating trends in general, color plays a huge role,” said Janice Dayon Christensen, president of nora fleming. “Halloween is no longer relegated to orange and black with the occasional purple and green thrown in. We’re seeing pastels, deep jewel tones, even metallics — all can play a part in the Halloween tablescape. We’re also seeing texture — think gauze, spiderwebs, wood, lace.”

In particular, gothic, moody color schemes are en vogue for Halloween 2024.

“We are seeing not just spooky-themed parties but an upscale dark theme party, especially for adults,” Napientek said. “Dark humor, classic horror theme déor, lots of candlelight, velvet and smoke machines. The trend this year is definitely vampire meets Prada.”


Iconography remains an integral part of Halloween parties and décor.

Pumpkin Candle Holders & Faux Terracotta Witch Boot Container.
Pumpkin Candle Holders & Faux Terracotta Witch Boot Container. Transpac.

“Classic Halloween décor is always in style,” Bell said. “Every year it seems one of the icons is trending; this year it is the ghost, but skeletons, jack-o’- lanterns, cats and witches play a large role as well.”

Traditional icons are also being designed in a retro style to add a fresh take to the classics.

“Nostalgic still continues to be a big player,” said Alicon Lee, vice president of product development for Transpac Brands. “There’s that reverence for the past through sentimental, retro and classic iconography with the characters that you typically see.”

2024 is also ushering new Halloween icons that align with the moody, posh aesthetics many are adopting for the holiday. At nora fleming, they expect customers to embrace its spookier minis — and even a few styles that aren’t Halloween specific.

mummy dearest. nora fleming.
mummy dearest. nora fleming.

“We try and have something for everyone, but I have seen an uptick in our less cartoony, more realistic Halloween minis like the monster hand and bloodshot eyeball,” Napientek said. “I can even see our new lipstick mini becoming a classic for a sexy horror party.”

Similarly, Bell anticipates creepy icons such as skulls, skeletons and snakes to perform well at Primitives by Kathy.

“We’re definitely getting into that apothecary, kind of oddity scene,” she said. “That’s where the bugs and the snakes and everything come into play.”

Additionally, celestial-themed Halloweens are on trend this year, with mythical aspects such as tarot illustrations, classic astronomy charts and skulls, all with earth and grounding elements to them.


When planning Halloween displays, consider mimicking the top trends, so customers can see the vision without needing to put in too much thought themselves while shopping.

Large Vintage Halloween Plates. Primitives by Kathy.
Large Vintage Halloween Plates. Primitives by Kathy.

“Have tables set up with real tablescapes so that customers can grab and go without thinking — possibly even set up pre-packaged boxes for a few different theme parties: kids, teens and adults,” Napientek recommended.

From nostalgic fun to utterly haunting, Halloween hosting can be taken in a variety of directions. Displaying that broad scope will not only create fantastic shop displays but engage customers to think about Halloween from their own sense of style.

“Display the different nuances of Halloween — spooky, more traditional, elegant, kid-appropriate,” Christensen said. “This can even be done on different sides or ends of the same table to show customers how versatile Halloween has become.”

Carly McFadden

Carly McFadden is the editorial director of Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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