Celebrating Halloween has fast become a tradition in Japan, with more and more people holding parties for the event.
Traditionally in Europe and the United States, people wear costumes and expel evil spirits while celebrating the autumn harvest on Halloween. In Japan, following the tradition, children wear costumes, go trick-or-treating in town, and adults throw parties.
With this year's Halloween swiftly approaching, Takako Hasegawa, who heads Table & Flower School Seijo in Tokyo and gives classes on table coordination, offers some helpful hints for decking out your Halloween party table in style.
Hasegawa said many women in their 30s and 40s have been attending her classes to learn how to decorate their Halloween party dining table in a sophisticated, cute way. She, therefore, first suggested creating a table arrangement based around an adult women's party.
Hasegawa chose a dark, deep purple tablecloth that looks even more elegant when an organdy of a similar colour with a glossy texture is placed on it.
Next, deftly place a small glass bowl, a small pottery pot and other items on a square Arita ware plate, and the overall look of the space will become chic aristocratic. A candle holder adds much to the table as well, according to Hasegawa.
On the other hand, a table arrangement based around the theme of a children's party is quite different.
"Use all the Halloween colors - orange, yellow, purple, white and black - to depict the child's energetic image," Hasegawa said.
Cover the table with a tablecloth in yellow or orange, and place two paper napkins, each bearing a different pattern, instead of place mats. Place small plastic bowls in orange or black and paper cups with pumpkin and other Halloween motifs. To go the extra mile, decorate the table with pumpkin-shaped pottery pieces, pointed hats, candies and other sweets to make it more lively. For children's safety, use forks and picks with blunted ends.
Hasegawa also suggests the elaborate use of ornaments. Wrap bread and sweets with thin, orange mesh paper and place them on a cake stand to help really accentuate the table.
Ornaments should take up one-ninth or less of the entire table surface to prevent them from getting in the way of dining, according to Hasegawa. To better see the person sitting opposite you, the height of ornaments should be lower than the diners' eye level. After decorating with small items, check the entire balance and modify by adding more or less from the table.
"Halloween items can be purchased at variety stores and ¥100 stores," Hasegawa said. "With items available at these stores, you can have more varieties for autumn dining table coordination."
Handmade place cards
Once you decide to hold a party, why not make place cards by hand?
Fold an orange drawing sheet in half and glue goods or accessories sold at stores around its corners and other places with double-face adhesive tape. Hasegawa recommends felt Halloween items. Write the name of your family member or a guest on the side meant for the front.
"These cards enhance the festive atmosphere of Halloween," Hasegawa said. "As even children can easily make them, making these cards is fun for the whole family."