The Merrill Manor Takes On Grandin Road's Spooky Halloween Decorating Contest

While Cameron was posing for the picture an unknown thief made off with his beach cruiser.

Since i was little I have always loved neighborhoods that take pride in pulling out all the stops to showcase their best, most creative Halloween or Christmas decor. Growing up in Bakersfield California, it was a family tradition to drive past the Hopple House (  each Christmas to see what new and exciting display they had come up with.

Secretly I have always wanted to be known as the Clark Griswold of my own neighborhood, so when one of my favorite online catalogs, Grandin Road announced a Spooky Decor contest I knew this was my chance to let my inner Griswold out. Using a mixture of random vintage store finds, amazing pieces from Grandin Road, and pulling inspiration from all over I came up  with some of my favorite decorations yet.

I don't know the results yet of the Grandin Road contest but I am keeping my fingers crossed the The Merrill Manor wins the Grand Prize.

Here are some of the images from this year's Merrill Manor.

Looking from the outside in and the inside out.

I wanted to create an entry way that would make the house look like a haunted cottage.

I found the rattan pumpkins at Home Goods and stuffed a strand of white lights into them to make them glow. Much more cost effective than similar ones I've seen at Pottery Barn. The urn is from Big Lots. I spray glued Spanish moss to the top for an eerie effect and added little touches of green moss for contrast. The resin columns are Craigslist finds. (HINT: Craigslist is the best for finding all kinds of supplies and at a fraction of the cost) You can also find the resin columns at Michaels or other floral/craft stores. Not shown on the columns are winding fall foliage that I purchased at Big Lots as well.

One of my favorite Halloween decorations is this Zoltar Spirit Ball. I use it as the centerpiece for my dining table.

I think the plastic legs look a little cheesy so I removed them and instead covered the base in black tulle and placed him on top of a vintage silverplate platter. Much more chic.

Two new additions to the Merrill Manor this year were the Gemmy Animated Buck and the discontinued SPIRIT Headless Bride.

I loved the idea of taxidermy but my two dogs are sensitive to it (or at least I think they are) so faux taxidermy seemed like a great idea. That is how i found Buck. The best part about him, and the main reason I HAD to have him is he moves and sings...wait for it "Friends in Low Places"!!!

Meet Velma and Evander. These interactive talking busts are witty and so fun. No one suspects that the voices from the mantel are coming from them.

I fell hard for these matching cherub lamps. They had shades but they were a little too overwhelming, so I decided I liked them better without. I found them along with the frames and pics at my local Salvation Army.

I like my Halloween decor to feel haunted and more eclectic like Cam and I moved into an abandoned cottage and all of these items were already there.

We usually have our animated witch on the porch on Halloween night. Until then we have her mixing up postions and casting spells next to a collection of crystal decanters filled with moss and other spooky items.

Here is a look at my pride and joy. It is called "Beloved" and i wish I could claim she was my brainchild but I got the tutorial from

With the help of my dad, little brother Matthew, and Cam we created her over the course of a weekend. I was surprised at how easy she was to make. Check out Haunt Project.Com for other really coll DIY ideas and inspiration from fellow haunters.

Using a poseable skeleton and a little bit of wire Cam and I were able to create an "Original Beach Cruiser"

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 Be sure to LIKE Brooke Merrill Photography to see pics of this year's DIY Haunted Horse Drawn Hearse and Madam Sonya Belbin Projection Prop created by the talented Juneau Studios.

Be sure to LIKE Brooke Merrill Photography to see pics of this year's DIY Haunted Horse Drawn Hearse and Madam Sonya Belbin Projection Prop created by the talented Juneau Studios.