In my mind a good Holiday celebration appeals to and stimulates all senses. The sensory experience of a feast is a huge part of creating memories.
It is also the only way you can separate reality from movies and internet... those appeal only to eyes and ears. You can't feel the softness of a pretty afghan in a movie, you can't taste the delicious looking pie or smell the glorious flowers of a nice decorating photo on the Pinterest. You have to experience that in "real life".
This is very important and a big reason to why you should bother at least a bit and actually do SOMETHING to hallow the Sabbaths.
So, how to appeal and stimulate your sense of sight?
That's really easy. By providing pleasant sights. :-D
How to do that?
Colors, shapes, symbols, structure, light and shadows, composition, balance, the Golden Ratio... all these things that concern good interior decoration and art.
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It might be unusual to think that when you decorate your home for Holidays, YOU ARE AN ARTIST. You are providing the visual impact to manipulate the emotions of the people visiting and living in your home, yourself included. I think this is important to understand. A room is a 3D-painting, in a way. You are inside the artwork and part of it. This is also the reason to why it matters to think about what you and your family are wearing.
Now, Holidays are passing moments, and the decoration needs to be easily changed by the change of seasons. It's always easier to do this with a "blank canvas" - if you have a home with neutral colors and unified style. The base, the furniture and the overall layout, all the permanent decor is to support this style and not fight it. I don't expect you to change your home all together for Samhain - or for any other of the Big Ones - but I want you to think about this and whenever it comes time to change something; a piece of furniture, or the layout of the home, you think about this and go for a solution that makes your home more yours AND easier to decorate for Holidays. :-D
[Yes, I know, I'm Sabbath Crazy :-D As if you didn't know that too, by now :-D]
If you are feeling in any way uncertain of what is your style, what is the "neutral" canvas for you, I suggest you go to Pinterest and start pinning two kinds of pictures. 1) The neutral, non-Holiday, non-seasonal interior design pictures and 2) Seasonal, holiday decorating pictures, that please you. You can review your boards as many times as necessary, and if you only find a couple of pleasing photos, that's fine. (Now, I'm Pinterest Mad, too, so I have more than 2 boards - more than 1 board for the general interior design and 8 boards for Holiday decorating... :-Z) The thing with that is that when you collect pictures that please you, you'll see your taste and style. This is the general interior design board of mine and this is my Samhain specific board. (Not only decorating, but other ideas and some photos that make me think of Samhain and late Autumn).
One can see with one glance that my style is colorful, bohemian, eccentric arts&crafts style. It's not very modern and clean, and I like having clutter around me. It's a bit baroque.
It's not as easy to see what I like in the Samhain board, as there are not only decorating ideas there, but I should have black, white and oranges, a lot of candles and lanterns, and bats in my home for the "perfect" visual impact to set me to mood for Samhain :-)
This, the visual impact, is one reason to why I talk so much about cleaning. I have a lot of stuff, and it looks easily cluttered and untidy, and that doesn't put anyone in the mood for party, on the contrary. That is depressing and stressful, and that is very much the opposite of what we are trying to achieve here. It's easier to be joyful and serene in a clean, uncluttered environment. Also, maybe we all can't buy all the materials and items needed to create the "perfect" holiday, but we all can clean and tidy up our environment. It's also totally OK to bring in some decoration from outside. If you can't afford any extra decoration, bring in the autumn leaves.
One of the most effective and somewhat affordable ways to decorate for Samhain - or any Holiday - is the textiles. It doesn't cost a lot to get a couple of decorative pillows, a blanket in right color, perhaps even change the curtains and table cloth. Have a Samhain "still life", decorate your altar, have a centerpiece on your dinnertable... something, just one little detail, a focal point, that makes you think about the Sabbath and its significance, is quite adequate. You don't need to go all crazy and decorate to max.
Another way to create the Holiday mood is lighting. The more lamps, candles and lanterns you have, the better. You could move a couple of lamps from other places in your apartment to your living room/entertaining area for the mood, if you can't buy more lamps. There is also easy and cheap ways to create new lampshades to create more seasonal decoration details. Also, don't forget color. A simple piece of tissue paper around a lamp or a silk scarf or piece of organdy over a lamp to change the color of the light is a very effective way of creating mood.
Read also this: 101 decorating secrets from top designers
Just remember what is the Sabbath's significance TO YOU. Don't go by what others want, think or feel. Use the Sabbath correspondence lists as advisory, not as musts or shoulds. If you disagree with something, it's OK. No-one can tell you what things and Holidays mean TO YOU. You need to find it out yourself. I would wish you had a Samhain spirit, a clear vision of what Samhain is all about, and that it was good things.
(Also, some people don't celebrate anything at this time of the year, and that's OK too. I know you don't need my approval, but sometimes it's nice to hear that other people think it's OK too :-D)