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Blue ribbon costumes & a whimsical Halloween mantel

A couple of weeks ago I played with little houses and glitter covered trees
while candles flickered and the soundtrack from Disney's Haunted Mansion
 played in the background.

And I was reminded of Halloween back in the day...
and the year of Home Improvement and the Flower Pot
and first place costume prizes.

I have never really been a huge Halloween girl.
I did dress up when I was younger- and I will save the story about the McDonalds French Fries
and the embarrassment for later....
But when I became a mom, it was different.
It was all fun all the time- and I literally sewed, crafted, glued and pasted their costumes each year.
Even though I was very young and didn't really know much more about
 sewing than how to hem pants-
so you can imagine how some of those costumes turned out.

There was the spider, and the rooster, a seal, pumpkins and Raggedy Ann to name a few.
And there were so many characters and costumes over the years 
and I loved them all...them? Maybe not as much...
But then there was THE YEAR that those costumes won the
 first place blue ribbons.
And I had a moment.

Do you remember Home Improvement?
 We loved it and the boys loved Al and Tim.
So naturally, when no one knew what they wanted to be...

Cutest little handy guys ever.
(And do you have any idea how often my boys comment about how terrible it is that they had bowl haircuts?  They will be horrified to see this photo on here haha)
That same year- my daughter was just 3 months old and Anne Geddes was HUGE...
So I hot glued flowers to a baby hat and put her in a big old pot and carried her around.
And yes, in case you were wondering...
 I wore overalls...
 because I was a flower farmer.

I remember going up on stage at that Halloween event in town and carrying that little flower pot
in my arms  with Al and Tim walking  right next to me
 We wandered around in circles while
the music played 
and the judges judged 
and I was feeling all full of anxiety and worried I might trip
 (and remember, I was wearing overalls)
and then it happened. 
And it was a moment. 
Three first place winners.
And I started to say thank you and do that proud beauty queen wave
 as tears welled in my eyes. 
 I had a whole speech planned, I mean, come on... this was a big moment...
and the kids started pulling on my overalls 
and whining for me get off the stage because
they were DONE.
They didn't want the blue ribbons- they just  wanted the candy.

Oh well.. it was a moment even so... and so
 while I played with little spindly black glittered trees and wax drippy flickering candles 
and those little houses filled with friendly residents on the mantel a couple weeks ago...

I thought about childhood Halloweens
and the thrills of dressing up as favorite characters
and being out late at night with friends and that blue ribbon costume contest.
And yes, there were haunted houses with slightly spooky things sometimes.

But I wanted to style something with the more whimsical
 and fun side of Halloween in mind.

One with a little Halloween village with haunted houses
twinkling trees and flickering candles.

Little 'haunted' houses that had 'residents' with big smiles

mingled with glitter covered leafless trees
and pretty little mercury glass candle holders.

Along with a few bats of course, because, it is Halloween...
and those chunky wax drip candles lit the firebox.

The best part-
 these houses are haunted with friendly ghosts
with no tricks and all treats as the lights glow through the windows.

The other best part?
The houses, candles and little trees are battery operated- so turn them on
and leave them and enjoy without the worry of a real candle causing a fire.
And the candles have Miracle Flame technology- which is a flickering wick
and they look completely realistic.

I also turned the houses around for a different look 

and love that the little windows are on each side.

A seriously simple and charming bewitching and whimsical mantel styling- 
without any of the scary.

I had a ton of fun channeling my inner Haunted Mansion loving girl and playing with these Halloween pieces from Balsam Hill.
You can find them here if you are looking for all treats and no tricks for Halloween decor this year
and they are all on sale this week too- so win-win.

And  all week long- you can stop by and see the other bloggers joining in the 
Bewitching Halloween blog hop 
and see what they chose to decorate with as well.

Tuesday The Idea Room

And enter to win a $100 gift card to Balsam Hill by following the entries in Rafflecopter below- 
and commenting on this post and following on Instagram

And just leave me a note that you did.

Rafflecopter has been having a technical issue 
so I will be adding the entries in the widget to those here for those who are having a problem.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And on a side note...
 with all this whimsical Halloween fun going on...
I am pretty sure I need to re-create those costumes this year
and have a little Halloween party.

Happy Monday everyone.

I am the Brand Ambassador for Balsam Hill but all stylings, opinions, 
and those cute little Al and Tim & flower pot costumes are my own. 

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  1. Oh, dear, that little flower is just scrumptious! The Home Improvement guys are cute too, but it's hard to compete with a baby.
    Halloween is just starting to take off in France. A couple of people in our village decorate a lot but just for the day. It isn't a weeks-long thing like in the U.S. I have been big on homemade costumes, and one won first prize--a headless kid. It really was horrifying. The next year we got hold of latex and did a zippered face, but it wasn't cool to win two years in a row. But it was very fun to pick out a great costume and work on it together.

  2. Oh yes, your post brings back a host of memories. Staying up late at night making costumes were some fun times for our three sons. Toy soldiers, raggedy Andy, The Gremlin, clowns, cowboys, etc. Great memories! Our grand-kids still like to get out those old costumes and play with them. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  3. Baby in a pot! We loved watching Home Improvement, fun series and your boys are so cute! I love your Halloween mantel, especially the bats, a fun spookyness:). Yes, I would love to hear about the Mickey Ds fries story!
    Kathleen in Az

  4. No kiddos yet but I've started to add some Halloween fun with small touches - candy corn and a small copper jack-o-lantern. They make me smile. Hopefully I'll have some little ones to dress up one day. :) My favorite costume was Dorothy and my little brother as the scarecrow.

  5. As I have gotten older, I find myself just wanting to do the pretty pumpkin thing and all the beautiful fall colors with a little coastal thrown in. So...I let my fair skinned brunette girl decorate her room with my Halloween decor. That is kinda her thing because she is all Pastel goth and bohemian! She is going to have fun with the bats, ghosts, and a few cute witches! Love Balsam Hill. Thank you Courtney for your beautiful blog! Even though I'm a seaside girl, I love anything French!!

  6. The mantel is Lovely as always. Those kiddos r too cute & I can see why u won. Thanks for sharing. Waiting on the fries story. ??😉

  7. Your costumes are wonderful. Well done. I love the Halloween cottages too. Precious.

  8. Oh, Courtney, I loved your Halloween Costume story. Your kids look absolutely adorable in those photos....they grow up far too fast. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your magical Halloween decor. xo, mb

  9. Oh what a wonderful story!.....The treasured memories...I can just envision you carrying the flower pot!...Love, love the mantel...and those drippy candles are the best! You do Creepy Halloween so elegantly!

  10. Courtney I'm DYING over those cute costumes!!! Brilliant!!

    I'm loving your Halloween mantel and hearth! It's lovely and enchanting! Well-done!

  11. Beautiful simple mantel, I love your styling, such an inspiration always!

  12. Courtney-your sweet memories and your delightful Halloween mantel have tugged at my own mother's heart...thank you for inspiring me my friend ox

  13. I love the Haunted Mansions!! I love your Instagram,and all things French Country!! X0------

  14. I love the Haunted Mansions, your Instagram, and all things French Country!! XO----

  15. I remember those Anne Geddes babies! Halloween was so much fun as a child. I hope one day I have kids of my own to share the fun with!

    Already follow you on instagram. (@victoriaallisonjewelry) ☺

  16. your homemade outfits are too cute!! I used to make my kids outfits also. one year they were all pumpkins they all wore orange and I did the iron on appliqué and paint embellishments. Love the mantel and the houses,too cute.

  17. I love Balsam Hill and have ordered a couple of times from them. Very fast delivery.

  18. Stunning decor! I love everything

  19. That little village is wonderful. Love your mantel... and your blog. Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. I subscribed and shared on Facebook!

  21. I was just remembering the year my eldest won his classroom costume contest in a very last minute, thrown together, pirate costume (long before Jack Sparrow!) Your story reminded me of the puffed-up chest feeling of being an award-winning costume designer. A wonderful feeling indeed!!
    Love your site and thank you for the giveaway!

  22. I absolutely love the houses and the way you have them on the mantle. Especially with the bats flying behind!!