DIY Spooky Mood Lighting for your Halloween Party

Kill it at this year’s Halloween bash with kooky, creepy mood lighting you can make yourself!

The eyes have it

Let guests know you’re keeping an eye on them! Use a craft knife to cut a half-inch X into a Ping-Pong ball. Slide the “flame” of a battery-powered tea light into the slit. With fine-point markers, draw an eye (preferably bloodshot!) on the opposite side of the ball. Make several pairs and plant them in dark corners.

 Facing your fears

Let a creepy guy scare guests who pass by. Choose a lightweight mask with relatively flat sides. Then buy a wood plaque slightly larger than the mask from the crafts store and stain or paint it. Working from the inside of the mask, tape sheets of colored tissue paper over the eye and mouth openings, so that light shines through. Attach two battery-powered tea lights to the center of the plaque with glue dots (also from a crafts store). Use more glue dots to mount the mask to the plaque, then hang.

Flying flames

Candles can mysteriously levitate with a little bit of black magic—in the form of thin, clear fishing line. Tie a length of it around the bottom of a battery-operated candle’s “flame” (look for a metal loop or simply tie it around the base of the fake flame) and use clear packing tape or hooks to attach the other end to the ceiling.

Uncharming snakes

Slithering snakes on a candle! Use straight pins to attach rubber snakes to wax pillar candles. You can even make it look like one is about to chomp down on the wick. (If you’re having trouble getting it just right, snip the head off the body and pin it to the back of the candle.) Brush acrylic paint on the snakes and pinheads and let dry.

Jarring science jars

In the right setting, white asparagus pieces look like amputated fingers, knotty ginger doubles as mummified bones, and lychees appear to be eyeballs. Fill jars with your creepy body parts of choice, insert cracked glow sticks, and top off with water dyed with yellow food color for added glow. Also try cauliflower (to resemble tiny brains), gummy worms (ground-up flesh!) and more. You’ll never look at food the same way!

– By Taryn Williford; Photography by Aaron Dyer


The invisible battery-boosters built into these accessories let you off your leash (um, power cord) so you can roam if you want to. –Morgan Gibson



Powerbag Sling’s compact backpack can juice as many as four devices at once. When the bag isn’t in use and needs to be charged, you plug it in with a power cord. $140, mypowerbag.com




Rach’s newest obsession, Everpurse’s kicked-up clutch, revs your phone while you tackle your busy day. The secret: a magnetic pad that recharges the bag. $189 and up, everpurse.com



Talk, text and stay powered all at the same time with Mophie’s sleek, rubberized Juice Pack Plus. Once you’ve charged it via USB port, the case keeps your iPhone’s tank full. $100, mophie.com




Photography by Levi Brown


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Join our Facebook Chat with Maxwell Ryan


Facebook Chat with Maxwell Ryan

Renovating is tough. Just figuring out where to begin is hard work! So to make it a little easier, we’re bringing design guru from ApartmentTherapy.comMaxwell Ryan, to our “kitchen table” to talk with YOU in a series of Facebook chats.


To kick it off, we’re focusing our first chat on the woes and worries of starting the renovation process and opening it up to any and all of your questions. Is it knowing who to hire and when? Or maybe it’s deciding whether to start your renovation with the floors or the ceiling? Or perhaps you just want to know if gray is really going to look good in your kitchen? Whatever your concerns, now’s your time to tap our expert and get your need-to-know renovation answers. Hope to see you there!


Can’t make the chat? Leave your question in the “Comments” below and we’ll ask Maxwell for you, then post the response afterward!



The Reluctant Renovator

Reluctant Renovator: The “Before” Photos



Reluctant Renovator: The “Before” Photos

We told you all about our editor-in-chief, Lauren Purcell’s, kitchen renovation. Now, take a peek at the “before” photos of her 61-square-foot kitchen (it’s in Manhattan, people!). She shared Instagram pics of the space and filled us in on some of her most troublesome elements.

Kitchen before

 ”The best part about my kitchen now is that it faces a big window in my living room.”

Recycling and garbage bins

 ”I’d like to hide the recycling and garbage bins, but I don’t want to have to open trash drawers with dirty hands. Do they make doors you open with your feet?”


“The faucet has sprung a tiny leak. (Hey, you can’t have sufficiently awful “Before” photos without some duct tape.)”

kitchen before 2

“Nice gaps between the counter and appliances, eh? I dread discovering what’s fallen down there!”


“OK, I have no shame: I’m revealing to the world that I’m using a scrunchie to remind me not to pull the bottom of the microwave handle, which has detached. (The scrunchie is meant to go on a wine bottle, not a ponytail. Does that redeem me at all?)”


“A nonfunctioning oven means two things: lots of sautéing and more storage!”

The Reluctant Renovator

I know a fair amount about kitchens. I edit this magazine. I’ve written a cookbook. I eat. Yet when it comes to renovating a kitchen, I have to admit, I feel completely out of my league. Just for starters: What’s the difference between an architect and a kitchen designer–and which do I need? I find the whole process so intimidating that I put off renovating until the oven finally stopped working altogether. Now that’s urgent. I hear from lots of you who, like me, are beyond busy and have limited budgets. So over the next few months, I’ll share my own experiences as a first-time renovator–missteps, anxiety and all. Follow along as I overhaul my palatial 61-square-foot kitchen. (It’s in Manhattan, people!) I’ll be soliciting your advice, ideas…and sympathy!
–Lauren Purcell, Editor-in-Chief 

But she won’t be doing it alone! Design guru Maxwell Ryan, founder of design website apartmenttherapy.com, will be guiding Lauren through her kitchen renovation.

At first meeting, he laid out his plan for a stress-free makeover. It’s just a matter of dividing the process into steps, so you don’t get overwhelmed,” he said. Here are his first three:

1. Gather ideas from the pros. Walk through your kitchen with at least three contractors, architects or designers. Ask them all the same questions, but also see what they suggest. some will just do what you specify, while others may figure out surprising ways to work with your space.

2. Focus on the floor plan. At first, don’t think about color or details. Just focus on the black-and-white map of where things are placed. Throwing in cosmetic decisions now will only bog you down.

3. Think about your style. Sift through your tear-sheet file or Pinterest board to get a clear vision of what you like. This is when you start to crunch the numbers. You can always swap out appliances, materials and finishes to bring your cost down.

Follow along with Lauren as she shares her progress and everything else, from the appliances to keeping costs down to injecting personality into one of the most important rooms in her home.