Autumn & Halloween Decorating Advice from Designer Derrick Walker

Last year, we sat down with Interior Designer Derrick Walker for some decorating tips for the holidays. Now, we went back to the source for some fun Halloween party planning and fall decorating advice. Check out Walker Design Studio online: Website | Facebook.

Liberty Park: Are there any trends this fall for interior design and decorating?

Derrick Walker: The trend that you see in the industry continues to be simple and chic using everyday items found around the home to decorate — a result of the tough economy for the last few years. I love this centerpiece that David Tutera posted on Facebook using carved out pumpkins as flower containers. It’s a grown up way to bring in that Halloween vibe without having a typical jack-o-lantern, especially if you don’t have the time or patience to do it.

LP: Halloween used to be a children’s holiday, but more and more adults are getting in on the act with costume parties and big bashes out at local bars. What is your advice for making Halloween decoration classy, but without a lot of fuss?

DW: I tell clients to go big. It’s so tempting to fill your shopping cart with every little goblin or spider web from your local party or event store and cover everything in sight. Instead, I would advise to get big props or decorations and create a scene, or a vignette. Decorate your foyer as a scary cave with simulated rock and low lighting.

LP: What’s your favorite fall cocktail for Liberty Park residents who want to get in the spirit with an adult Halloween party or holiday-themed get-together?

DW: You can’t get more quintessentially Halloween than candy corn. Try a Candy Corn Martini. Mix it up ahead of time, before your party, and have the real candy corn garnishment on the drink table with the martini glasses. Keep it simple for your guests. If you can afford a party bartender, you can Taylor the sweetness to each guest.

Candy Corn Martini Recipe
3/4 oz Absolut® vanilla vodka
1/2 oz creme de cacao
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps
2 oz orange juice
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder

First, ring 6 oz Martini glass with orange juice then with cocoa powder. Pour 1/2 cup of ice into shaker, then spirits, and orange juice. Shake vigorously and pour into glass. Garnish with orange peel twist and 3-4 pcs of candy Corn skewered on a plastic sword. From

LP: What about something for the kids? (Or adults who want to act like kids.)

DW: For a party treat for kids or grown ups — instead of store-bought Halloween chocolate candy — try these Caramel Apple grapes. You can label the platter “Dipped Swamp Lizard Eyeballs.” They are tasty and actually taste like Caramel Apples. 

Caramel Apple Grapes
1 cup caramel bits
2 tablespoons heavy cream
handful of seedless green grapes
1 cup salted peanuts, crushed

Poke toothpicks into the tops of each grape; set aside. In a small pot over medium-low heat, combine the caramel bits and cream. Stir until melted. Reduce heat to lowest setting just to keep warm. Place the peanuts in a shallow dish and dip the grapes into the caramel sauce and then roll in the crushed nuts. Place on a plate to set. Repeat until all the grapes are used. From