As the weather slowly turns and leaves change color and begin to fall from the trees outside our windows, it occurs to us that it’s time to begin thinking of the upcoming holidays. Among the holidays during the Autumn season is of course, Halloween. To ensure your Victorian era dollhouse doesn’t lose its period authenticity, here are five helpful tips to keep in mind as you design your perfect Victorian Halloween.
1. Remember the Ghosts: During the Victorian era, ghosts were present on Halloween and October 31st was a time to be afraid. Nightfall meant darkness and quietness as the distractions of modern technology had not yet become available. Candles, gas-lit lanterns and moonlight conspired to create eerie shadows on the walls and the dead leaves danced like delirious spirits in the dark landscape. Neighbors lived far apart and Halloween was a time for mischievous pranks.
Halloween Decorating Tip #1: To instill a sense of loneliness and darkness, be sure to have plenty of dollhouse candles or miniature gas lamps on display in your Victorian dollhouse.
2. A Move Towards Family and Friends: During the late 19th century, there was a movement to change the focus of Halloween away from ghosts and witchcraft to celebrations among friends and family. These early celebrations focused on celebrating the harvest, where neighbors could share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.
Halloween Decorating Tip #2: Have your dollhouse resident host their own festive harvest party. Include other 1:12 scale dolls as party guests and embellish your dollhouse with traditional Victorian harvest items such as miniature wheat and bread, dollhouse fruits and vegetables and miniature bales of hay.
3. Decorate with Gothic Styles: The Gothic styles from the early 1800′s still remained into the Victorian era. Halloween is the perfect seasonal holiday to utilize this style. Since electricity had not yet been invented, candlelight was prevalent and items such as candelabras and lanterns were used to play with the shadows to highlight the use of the Gothic style in Halloween decorations.
Halloween Decorating Tip #3: Mix the Gothic style into your dollhouse by adding Gothic elements with dark colors, wrought iron and aged stone elements. For example, consider swapping existing dollhouse pictures for Gothic-inspired wall art to help bring a mystical layer into your dollhouse.
4. Don’t forget the Jack-O-Lantern: The traditional carved pumpkin is a symbol of Halloween and has been so for centuries. It originated as an Irish myth, but has become synonymous with Halloween.
Halloween Decorating Tip #4: Make sure to include miniature dollhouse pumpkins and carved Jack-O-Lanterns in your Victorian era Halloween scheme.
5. Make it a Formal Affair: While informal harvest parties became popular in Victorian times, many party goers preferred a more formal celebration. Indulgent dinner parties included silver, china, and tablecloths. Delectable foods including roasted meats, fancy breads, pies and salads graced the elaborate dining room tables of the era. Beverages such as wine and cider and desserts including elaborate sweet cakes were also common at such celebrations.
Halloween Decorating Tip #5: Your Victorian era Halloween scene can mimic an indulgent dinner party with elaborate dinnerware and prepared foods. We encourage you to look at some of the miniature food dishes crafted by Small Wonders to help bring a scene such as this to life.