First of all, I have an advanced degree in interior design and graduated with honors from my school so what I say goes because I have a piece of paper that says I have good taste.
Tee Hee, I've always wanted to say that. Actually, Mrs. Macabre reminds me on a more or less consistent basis that the only taste I have is in my mouth. It is true that I do have an advanced interior design degree and I did graduate with honors but it's also true that I can't decorate for myself to save my life. I say this to stress that there is no good or bad taste, there is only different and I'm going to show some ideas and different ways of decorating macabrely, or at least I'm a'gonna try to...
Dining macabrely could mean something like (and rest assured that if I step on any toes, I sincerely do not mean to) a plate from a Spirit store shaped like a skull or a Frankenstein's monster's head (and I do have the skull plates myself), a plastic cup or wine glass shaped like a mummy from Michael's and something like a cauldron in the middle of the table with dry ice bellowing smoke from it with some small plastic spiders scattered about. And you would be right, that would indeed signify the season and be very Hallowe'eny. But there's more. I had an assignment in college to design a restaurant around a movie theme. The example that the professor gave of a "C" grade was Superman (the very first Superman movie. Yes, I'm old). Green crystal chandeliers, blue and red accents, a poster of an aerial view of the Manhattan skyline would buy you a "C" grade. He didn't give an example of an "A" project (the B@*&%$#@!) but we got the drift. Give the flavor of the supernatural without "sledgehammer symbolism".
Let's start from the ground up, what do you eat out of? Right, a plate. When you think about plates, what do plates do? Right, they hold food. I was taught that your plate shouldn't distract from the presentation of the food, unless you make some of my dishes and you will need all the distraction that you can get. Ok, most plates of finer restaurants are plain white but since I eat out of white dishes everyday (paper plates), we will compromise with a simplistic design. I found some dishes that I love and collect:
These are Casa Yalos Murano and technically they are chargers, which are just over sized plates for pretty. If you serve different courses, you simply change out a clear glass over plate (found at most any party supply store or restaurant supply), keeping the decorative charger at the place setting.
But you say, "I can't find these dishes! You outbid me on EBay every time!" to which I reply, "Yes, I do and will continue to do so to the best of my ability." But get creative, make something personal, make your own. Pick up a charger blank at a crafts/hobby store or get a glass charger and reverse paint it with the design you want. The sky's the limit! Paint a set of Jack Skellington faces with different expressions on each, a simple stylized skull, a pumpkin, anything!
There's something else you can do to make it all the more magical...Uranium Glass. Also called Vaseline Glass, this is glass that has usually around 2% uranium up to 25% uranium in it. A ghostly bright green in color, this glass is perfectly safe to eat or drink out of.
However, put a black light on it and the real magic happens...
Quite ethereal, isn't it? Think of the fun you can have with a set of these. But remember, take a portable black light with you to an antique or rummage store before you buy; many people simply do not know what is and isn't Vaseline glass and if it doesn't glow, it's not much use to you if a ghostly tablescape is what you're going for. Ebay always has skads of Uranium glass for auction and Buy It Now also.
These are just some ideas to get you started, to get you thinking outside the coffin and by far, not anywhere near a conclusive or definitive list.
More Macabrely Dining...