Thrifted Items for a Halloween Tablescape

How to Thrift a Halloween Tablescape

It may be the start of September, but Halloween is right around the corner.

This time of the year is great for thinking about the upcoming holidays as thrift stores start putting out more holiday-related merchandise. And rarely does one ever find everything they need during one trip to the thrift. 

So if you plan on putting together a secondhand Halloween tablescape, I suggest you start planning ASAP.

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to do just that, then I’ve got you covered with this blog post.

How Do I Start Planning a Thrifted Halloween Tablescape?

There are two ways to plan a thrifted tablescape:

  1. You put together a color scheme/theme prior to shopping.


2. You create a color scheme or theme as you shop.

For a Halloween-themed tablescape, I find that my process is actually a mix of both strategies.

Because the overall theme is Halloween, I know I’ll likely work with a lot of black. You don’t have to work with black if it’s not your thing, but you want to select something (a color, motif, etc.) that you intend to use prolifically.

Now, some choices are better than others, especially if you intend to acquire your items secondhand. But keep in mind that you can paint or dye decor and linens.

So, I suggest having a rough idea of what you want to create. This conceptualization can have some colors, dishware, glassware, linens, etc. BUT, I advise you not to be so set on finding EXACTLY what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you’ll end up very disappointed.

Create a List of the Types of Items You’ll Need

If you know you want to create a tablescape with a tablecloth covering your table, then you’ll need to add it to your list.

The list will help you stay focused on what you’re looking for. I find that I tend to get both excited and distracted when I enter a thrift store, so a list definitely helps me stay on track. 

And if there’s a number of things you need to search for, the list will function as a reminder. Especially as you consider that you may have to visit the thrift store several times over the course of a month or so. 

Keep a list. Seriously. They work.

Creating a Halloween Tablescape with What You’ve Got

With a general idea of what you’re going for, I’d recommend taking stock of what you already own.

If you’ve been thrifting for years as I have, you probably have all kinds of stuff lying around or stored away in your garage or a closet. Before you go crazy buying more, I suggest taking inventory of what you own.

This is where your list comes in handy.

Need a tablecloth? Go through the tablecloths you own (if you do). If you don’t, ask yourself:

Is there anything else I own that can double as a tablecloth?

Large bolts of fabric can potentially be used in this scenario. If you know you don’t have anything to use, then you’ll definitely need to buy one later when you go shopping.

My additional tip here is to go through any of your large collections. 

I find that I often forget I own a particular china set or glassware when I have large collections. This is because some sets end up getting more use than others. And so those that I don’t use often end up forgotten.

If you’ve got pieces that can potentially work for your tablescape but the final count isn’t enough, I’d still keep them in mind. You can potentially mix and match different items later if you don’t find something to your liking as you thrift.

What to Look Out for When Shopping for a Thrifted Tablescape

Shopping List to Use When Thrifting

Tablescapes can be created in a variety of ways. Therefore, there isn’t a set list of things you NEED to have. 

However, I’ve created a list of things you may want to look for. These things can help you add interest to your table by adding various textures and layers to your design.

  • Tablecloth
  • Tablerunner
  • Napkins
  • Napkin rings
  • Chargers OR something to layer between the plates and the table/tablecloth
  • Plates (2-3 if you intend to stack ‘em – includes dinner plate, bread plate & dessert plate)
  • Cutlery
  • Drinkware
  • Vase for flowers OR some other centerpiece
  • Servingware
  • Decorative items (candlesticks, knick-knacks, etc.)

Some tips that I like to keep in mind when shopping secondhand are:

  1. Curtains/drapery can be used as tablecloths or table runners depending on their size. So make sure to measure the size of the table you intend to use and keep this measurement in mind as you shop. And bring a tape measure too!
  2. You don’t need complete sets of items to make it work. If you intend to seat 6, you can buy a set of 4 dishes or drinking glasses for the middle 4 seats and use a different set of 2 for those seated at the head/foot of the table. Or you can alternate the dishware so that every other person has a different dish.

How to Thrift for Halloween Decor

Now, I get that not everyone is into a Hocus Pocus-like Halloween theme, and not all of us want splatters of fake blood around the house either.

So when it comes to thrifting for Halloween decor you may want to use on your tablescape, what do you use? And can it all come from the thrift store? Or will you inevitably have to buy something at retail?

Honestly, that depends. I think you can find the vast majority of what you’ll need secondhand, but there will always be one or two little things that you’ll find are hard to come by.

For me, I found one of these little things to be candles. I don’t know if it’s just the stores I shop at but their candle selection isn’t the best. I’ll find taper candles on occasion, but they are often not the types of colors I use.

Black candles in particular are very niche outside of the Halloween season, so I bought mine at a retail store several years ago. As long as you store them well, they should last you a couple of years.

But on a broader note, depending on your color scheme or theme, you may be searching for decor items in colors or themes that are not commonly found.

A pastel color palette would be an example. Lavender pumpkins aren’t a dime a dozen, so this is where you’ll need to get creative. Faux pumpkins are prolific at secondhand stores, so grab yourself some paint or napkins so you can decoupage them to reflect your style.

Here are some things you should keep in mind as you go hunting:

  1. If color is the only thing keeping you from purchasing an item, remember you can paint it.
  2. Don’t see things exactly for what they are. Maybe you want a pumpkin topiary, but those may not be easy to come by. BUT, you do run into numerous foam pumpkins. You can stack them in increasing sizes to create what you want.

And that’s all I’ve got for you this time. Hope you find it helpful!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *