Life­style ex­pert Jen­nifer Perkins has a ball each year, giv­ing her home over to Hal­loween dec­o­rat­ing.

Flea Market Décor - - Contents - By Kathryn Drury Wag­ner

Learn how this life­style ex­pert has a ball in the fall, giv­ing her home over to Hal­loween dec­o­rat­ing.

“I DO HAL­LOWEEN AS BIG AS I DO CHRIST­MAS,” says Jen­nifer Perkins. Look­ing around her Austin, Texas, home, you might even be re­minded of the film The Nightmare Be­fore Christ­mas, as you will see a joy­ful mashup of Tan­nen­baum-meets-pump­kin patch. Jen­nifer is a writer and stylist who cre­ates con­tent for the DIY net­work ehow and more. She has hosted sev­eral pro­grams for HGTV and DIY Net­work in­clud­ing Style­li­cious and Craft Lab, and is the brand am­bas­sador for Tree­topia Christ­mas Trees. Hal­loween was not a big deal to Jen­nifer when she was grow­ing up, but once she had chil­dren, now 8 and 6, that started to change. “My son has a peanut al­lergy and all year

long we go to birth­day par­ties [where he can’t eat peanuts].” In re­sponse, Jen­nifer started throw­ing epic Hal­loween par­ties. The events, wor­thy of Willy Wonka, in­volved three months’ worth of prep to bake and freeze cute treats—all peanut-free, of course. “I like to blame my son for my Hal­loween ad­dic­tion,” laughs Jen­nifer. “It’s re­ally an ex­cuse!” “I’m not su­per hard­core, but by July I’ve usu­ally firmed up the date for the party,” Jen­nifer says. By Au­gust, the Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions start to come out, and Jen­nifer is in full swing. Luck­ily the house she lives in has two at­tics, one de­voted solely to hol­i­day items, the other to thrifted finds, so there’s plenty of room to stash ev­ery­thing the rest of the year. “Since I work for DIY Net­work and HGTV, I have to get Hal­loween down and Christ­mas up pretty early. It’s like a win­ter won­der­land here by the end of Oc­to­ber. When trick-or-treaters come to the house, they see a Christ­mas tree by the door­way. My chil­dren are sea­son­ally con­fused.” Speak­ing of sea­sonal, she shops all year long for Hal­loween items, es­pe­cially at Round Top An­tiques Fair. Her ad­vice? Think Hal­loween in the spring,

Who is Thayer Cog­gin?

Thayer Cog­gin grew up in High Point, North Carolina, a cen­ter for Amer­i­can fur­ni­ture mak­ing. Post­world­war Ii,he part­nered with de­signer Milo Baugh­man,and the two went on to cre­ate sleek, in­no­va­tive fur­ni­ture syn­ony­mous with mid­cen­tury style. Es­tab­lished in 1953,Thayer Cog­gin Inc. still ex­ists as a com­pany.

as deal­ers tend to mark prices up in the fall. She also sug­gests think­ing about things that aren’t bla­tantly Hal­loween. “Things that are black, white and orange, in the right vi­gnette, it could be Hal­loween. Like black di­a­mond-point glass, I got into it,” she says. “In Good­will and thrift stores, comb the aisles, and once in a blue moon, you’ll find a pa­pier-mâché jack-o’-lantern.” One of her prized pos­ses­sions is her fa­ther’s pa­pier-mâché jack-o’-lantern, from when he was a baby. “It’s la­beled with his name and age (1) … My col­lec­tion is not a col­lec­tion born overnight.” Sur­pris­ingly, Jen­nifer isn’t into dress­ing up in cos­tumes for Hal­loween; she truly rel­ishes the dé­cor and bak­ing. The vin­tage plas­tic masks from the 1960s and ‘70s she col­lects aren’t used for trans­form­ing into char­ac­ters, but rather as art­work. Her kids know bet­ter than to mess with these hard-won trea­sures,


items. That blue pump­kin is part of the Teal Pump­kin Project, a na­tional ef­fort to raise aware­ness about food al­ler­gies. Fam­i­lies place a teal pump­kin out­side their home to in­di­cate they have treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, that are safe for trick-or-treat­ing kids with food al­ler­gies.


from the 1960s and ‘70s. “The hot-pink color of the tree is in a lot of the masks as well,” she notes, so it all ties to­gether. “I made the tree skirt.” In the liv­ing room, the sofa came off Craigslist, while the two paint­ings are J. H. Lynch masspro­duced art. “Those and the mir­ror live there year round. You can’t take your dec­o­rat­ing too se­ri­ously.”

JEN­NIFER ADDED BATS TO HER GALLERY WALL to give it a more omi­nous feel for the haunt­ing sea­son. “I think of gallery walls as or­ganic; they are al­ways chang­ing as pieces are com­ing in and out,” she says. The movie seats are from a vin­tage theater, the...

THIS HUTCH IS USU­ALLY FULL OF THE OUT­SIDER AND TRAMP ART JEN­NIFER COL­LECTS, but at Hal­loween time, it’s a dif­fer­ent story. Jen­nifer dis­plays Hal­loween-themed board games, lunch boxes, even a pen­nant from Salem, Mas­sachusetts.

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