Spooky In YYC: How To Celebrate Halloween In Northwest Calgary

October 5, 2017

Break out the bats, cats and pumpkins—the creepiest time of year is upon us—and we couldn’t be more excited to make the most of it.

Halloween is almost here, and we’re more than ready to start planning for some spooky fun in Calgary.

Decor is a big part of what makes Halloween exciting, and inspiration can be found in countless places, especially for those among us looking for a great DIY project. We spoke with Calgary designer and floral artist Lea Romanowski, owner and manager of Designing on the Edge about the simplest ways to bring the season and holiday influences into your home, with inspiration taken from nature and household objects.

When do you start decorating for most holidays? Is it ever too early?

It really depends on the holiday.

For Halloween specifically, it’s important to consider what decorations are being incorporated—for general Halloween decor I advise about two weeks ahead of time, for carved pumpkins I recommend no earlier than five days to a week beforehand (nobody wants a sad, soggy jack—o-lantern, and cold weather will often cause a pumpkin to decay faster), and for truly ghoulish decor (which might be too scary to keep around in the days leading up to Halloween), I recommend putting up only a day or two before Halloween.

Do you skew more toward Thanksgiving and autumn-inspired decor or more of a spooky, Halloween focus?

While my kids have always loved spooky decor, I lean towards a fall-forward aesthetic—but absolutely love Halloween. When engaged with clients to design for Halloween events and activities, I try to combine the two, bringing together traditionally fall-based decor with hints of classic Halloween creepiness.

What’s your favourite fall or Halloween decor item?

This is hard, but I’d have to say the pumpkin!

It’s ideal for both fall (un-carved) and eventually Halloween (carved). It’s incredibly versatile as a decor piece— it comes in different colours, shapes and sizes, and can serve a multitude of projects. Whether as a stand-alone piece or if you choose to paint it or light it, or use it for other crafts, it’s a clear-cut winner and it’s always readily available in stores (and pumpkin patches).

A bonus for the pumpkin— it can be purposed and turned into edible treats. Whether this is pumpkin seeds or pie, or even dog treats, pumpkin is incredible good for you, and should be present in our lives more often than just fall and Halloween.

What are some easy tips for making a home Halloween-ready? Any hints for how to decorate for a party, either for kids or adults?

First and foremost, I’d recommend Pinterest for parents. We’re lucky to have a wealth of resources at our fingertips through sites like these that curate the most interesting seasonal ideas, and through Pinterest I particularly recommend looking up Halloween-inspired food ideas. Not everybody thinks of it this way, but your food is also part of your decor, and incorporating food as decor is a great way to enhance a gathering while saving money on extra decorations. Spooky-food is a big topic on Pinterest, and it’s easy to find lists upon lists creepy, incredibly creative recipes.

For any Halloween occasion, nothing creates ambience and finishes a setting quite like lighting. Your chosen lighting can make or break the feel of a room or a space, and can transform even ordinary objects into something incredible— for example, tree branches are a favourite piece of Halloween decor, because when they’re backlit correctly they cast incredible shadows.

I also enjoy naturally sourced decor. Alberta is home to numerous hunters, so items like antlers can make for great fall and Halloween decor pieces without being completely traditional.

What do you recommend for Halloween decorators looking for ideas that are less traditional (i.e. skeletons, bats and cobwebs) but instead more contemporary and style-focused?

For dinner parties and adult-oriented gatherings, I’d recommend something a little more subtle than typical Halloween influences— white pumpkins with black decor is very popular. Cameo pumpkins are a great way to play with positive/negative space on white pumpkins and make for a gorgeous addition to homes.

For sleeker, dramatic looks, I love black lacquer candles, which I often rest inside of small, hollowed out pumpkins instead of candlesticks. Another great trick is to take fishnet stockings and spread them over vases and other surfaces—they make very artistic spider webs.

Any simple DIY Halloween crafts or homemade decor how-to’s you’d like to share?

Shadows in the window

You’ll need:

  • Large pieces of black craft paper — as many as you’d like for the number of figures that you want to create.
  • Scissors
  • Candles
  • Tape

To make:

  • Cut out tomb stones, trees, figures, etc.
  • Tape them against the inside of your window.
  • Place lit candles in vases behind the paper figures, flickering light will make figures appear to move.

Garbage bag spiders

You’ll need:

  • Two different garbage bags
  • Glue or tape
  • Fluorescent paint
  • Cardboard tubes (from paper towel rolls or gift wrap).

To make:

  • Fill garbage bags (with leaves or newspaper)—one will be larger and will be the spider’s body, the smaller will be the head.
  • Attach head and body with glue or double-sided tape
  • Paint eyes, fangs, and any other details with fluorescent paint.
  • Paint carboard tubes with fluorescent paint
  • Attach cardboard tubes to garbage bag-body as legs.

Lea’s words of wisdom on Halloween decor— don’t worry if you’re not intro the scary parts of Halloween, enjoy the season in your own way. When it comes to decorating, take inspiration from fall and nature and have some fun with it. It’s great to have a reason to decorate your home, take holidays as a chance to create something that makes people look twice.


If you’re not sure where you should be spending the days leading up to October 31, fear not, we have some ideas for you— including our own event October 6th at Save-On-Foods’ Panorama Hills location where we’ll be celebrating the season with a host of fall-activities. From family-friendly haunts and classic horror homages to seriously frightening haunted houses, Northwest Calgary is one of the best places celebrate the season and offers something for everyone.

Fun – Pumpkin Rhapsody At University District

In honour of the announcement of our first Rental Building, we’ll be hosting a festive, family-friendly afternoon of pumpkin artistry with caricature artist Janey Luc-German. Make sure to stop in for a host of seasonal surprises and giveaways!

When: October 29th, 12-5 pm, www.myuniversitydistrict.com
Cost: Free!
Where: University District Discovery Centre, 4410 University Avenue NW

Spooky — Halloweekends at Calaway Park

YYC’s favourite amusement park just got a little spookier—Halloweekends at Calaway park are underway!

For some family-friendly fun, venture to Calaway Park for some seasonal festivities, including a stroll down Hallo-Street… if you dare! Offering countless Halloween activities like face-painting, costumes and seasonal treats, Calaway Park promise a spooktacular good time this October.

When: September 9 – October 9 11 am – 6 pm, http://www.calawaypark.com
Cost: $33-$30, Children under two get in free.
Where: 245033 Range Road 33

Creepy — Classic Horror at The Plaza Theatre

There’s no better time than Halloween to resurrect some of our favourite oldies, especially when it comes to classic films.

This Halloween you can relive the magic of spooky movies past— The Plaza Theatre in Kensignton is offering a number of cinematic classics over the month of October.

On Friday October 13th you can catch Friday the 13th — a spooky coincidence indeed!

October 17th will feature a nostalgic return to the 80s with Ghostbusters. Costumes are encouraged, slime optional.

October 27-31 will also bring the return of Plaza Theatre tradition, Halloween viewings of cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In addition to costumes, many movie-goers also bring a variety of props for use during the show, which you can learn about here.

When: October 13-31— see event pages for details and timing.
Cost: $10 – $15
Where: The Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Rd N.W., http://theplaza.ca


Scary — Haunted Calgary

This haunted house in Rocky Ridge is Calgary’s biggest, and it has been scaring us every Halloween since 1987.

Haunted Calgary offers hands-on experience for youth and adults looking to build skills in areas such as: construction, architectural design, theatre, set design and costuming. In past they’ve partnered with numerous agencies like Calgary Alpha House Society, Girl Guides of Canada, and the University of Calgary to provide job-training experience and resume-building opportunities as well as service projects.

This year’s theme is Hollywood Horrors—an homage to classic spooky flicks. Haunted Calgary offers low scare options during daylight hours for fear-averse visitors, and full scare options for those feeling a bit braver. The best part of Haunted Calgary? The proceeds from visitors support the Oops-a-Dazy Rescue and Sanctuary Society and Calgary Food Bank.

When: October 27, 28 and 31, 2017 6 pm – 10 pm (low-scare runs from 2 pm – 4 pm.)
Cost: By donation. Suggested donation $10 per person and a canned food item.
Where:222 Rocky Ridge Bay N.W., hauntedcalgary.com

How will you be spending the days leading up to Halloween? Make sure to share your seasonal activities with us by tagging your photos with #UDLiving and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

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