Thursday, October 28, 2010

Inspired Halloween Spreads: Study's Mad Scientist Lab

In the home stretch to Halloween now and I'm trying to plan my attack on the interior and buffet spread. (Nope, I haven't done a thing yet - I have a very busy Saturday ahead of me.)

So what better time to share a few inspiring spreads that others have managed to pull off beautifully? And if you have others inspiring ideas, don't forget to leave them in the comments. I need them!

STUDY Logo

I'm so excited to share what John and Andrew, the dynamic duo behind STUDY shared with me this week. They were kind enough to send over some snaps of their mad scientist party from last year. I'm in love with the whole look. Not only did they pick a fun concept and really commit to it, they created a fabulous backstory (hello? we are kindred halloween spirits!) to go along with it. Rather than me going on about it, I'll let them give you the deets.


STUDY Halloween Party 2009STUDY's Halloween 2009STUDY Halloween Party 2009
STUDY's Halloween 2009

As you probably gathered, we're big proponents of the "themed" party. Last year we decided to go for a mad scientist theme, but we didn't want to just go for generic laboratory with crazy-looking specimens lying around. Our process always starts with, who's the person we're trying to tell a story about?

Last year that person was a brilliant scientist who - after years of not receiving recognition from his peers AND a botched love affair that may or may not have ended in murder - has holed himself up in his crumbling manse where he continues to conduct his increasingly deranged experiments… in between still holding dinner parties for fellow mad scientist cohorts.

The living room acted as our scientist's own living room, but also his de facto lab where he keeps specimen jars, x-rays and anatomical charts.


STUDY's Halloween 2009

For the mantle we purchased a few oversized jars, filled them with cabbages and twigs submerged in water, and backlit them with two florescent blacklight bars. Your average highlighter glows under blacklight, so to achieve the glowing jar effect we cut open a few highlighters and drained them into the water we used to fill the jars.

STUDY Halloween Party 2009


STUDY Halloween Party 2009




STUDY Halloween Party 2009

If you want to try this out it's important to wear gloves and protective clothing as this tends to get everywhere. When draining the highlighter's filament, have a large bowl of some kind under your tap and keep the water going at just a trickle.

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

The x-ray boards were made by taping actual x-rays to the back of our bookcase doors with black electrical tape and then emptying the cases and placing two lamps inside each. Our bookcases allowed for this setup, but you could also use battery-powered lanterns and then you don't have any cords to worry about.

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

X-rays are also fairly easy to come by at medical surplus stores and on ebay, but try not to get too freaked out when you realize that you're holding in your hands another person's real medical drama. Adjacent to the living room, our scientist has his formal sunroom, where he can look out and spy his next victims guests.

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

The chandelier was made from a typical brass chandelier you'd find lying around any Salvation Army. These are easy to find at thrift stores and really, the wonkier the better since you want it to look a little "off".

STUDY Halloween Party 2009


We spray painted the chandelier and a few twigs black, then affixed the twigs to the chandelier with black electrical tape. Everything got another coat of spray paint. Black tapers were secured to where the sockets would have been and further secured with wire. We should caution that if you do use candles, this thing has to be watched at all times. You could also use battery-powered flicker candles and then you've got nothing to worry about.

Our theme continued into the hallway where the incandescent bulbs were replaced with florescent blacklight bulbs.

STUDY's Halloween 2009

Surprisingly these were the absolute hardest items to find. There were some some sort of shady storefronts online that sold florescent blacklight bulbs, but they were usually overpriced. We ended up finding them in, of all places, a Walgreens. They even let you check each store's inventory online!

The bathroom became the aviary, where our mad scientist studies birds that fly in from time to time. The story goes, he didn't intend to have an aviary, but when a tree began to grow up through his tub, well, he just went with it. All the better for us.

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

The "tree" growing in through the tub was from a huge branch that blew down onto our garage the previous summer. Dried leaves filled in the bath, string lights were roped along the branches and fabric birds were wired to the branches. The overall effect ended up being not so much scary, but more magical and made us want to live there forever. We're still sad that the tree had to come out, but bathing sort of necessitates that.

Finally, the dining room is where the mad scientist lays out a spread fit for a deranged academic. We used cheesecloth, lots of inexpensive brass candle holders spray painted black and black tapers to bring the whole look together.

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

STUDY Halloween Party 2009

Halloween 2009

There was a lot of prep time involved in bringing this party to life, but it was also a ton of fun every step of the way. Most of all, we whole-heartedly advocate throwing your own mad scientist-themed shindig in the near future.

37 comments:

  1. Love the thought that went into this. You're right...parties are much more interesting when you give them a backstory. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. What a spectacular job they did!! I forgot about highlighters!!! And I love how they incorporate the whole home. Very impressive and the theme is fantastic!

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  3. Design Love9:23 AM

    What a fantastic party! You did amazing! I would love to attend a party like this.

    Cindy

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  4. Wow that is amazing! I can't believe all the time and creativity that went into that party.

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  5. I can't get over these- amazingly creative people!

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  6. PhillyLass9:29 AM

    My mind is officially blown. That is some amazing party planning! Please tell me these folks do it professionally?

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  7. Amazing! I would love to attend that party!! That tree in the tub is gorgeous too... I probably would have tried to shower around it for a while haha.

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  8. That party is totally down your alley! I LOVE THE JARS! Good for them for finding the lights at Walgreens!

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  9. holy hotness, that is unreal!!! I want to be at that party for sure.

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  10. Last year, I was so inspired by your decorating and creativeness, that I decided to throw a big bash as well! I cannot wait to see what you come up with this year! The bathroom is awesome!

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  11. That tree is GORGEOUS! Very unexpected.

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  12. OMG - so much inspiration!

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  13. could you imagine guests using the bathroom for the first time that night and walking into that? WOW. WELL DONE. i love all the details. especially the leaves in the tub! how cool is that.

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  14. This is great. They definately decorate all the way, just the way I like it. There are several ideas that I will have to remember for next year's party. I hope you were able to fix your costume.

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  15. Whoa. So much inspiration! Fun stuff.

    Kelly

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  16. This is unbelievable! I can't imagine the amount of time that the attention to detail must require, but the end result is magnificent!

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  17. This is great! So creepy.

    I included you in this post today of my favorites for Halloween decorating:
    http://simplifiedbee.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-favorite-frightful-halloween.html

    Thanks for continuing to inspire us and Happy Halloween!

    xo,
    cristin

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  18. Looks great!
    FYI anything with quinine will also glow under black lights. So you can also just pore some Canada Dry Tonic Water into glass containers. I think it will glow a little more blue instead of green.

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  19. Wow, this is over the top.
    What a labor of mad laboratory love!
    Alcira

    thenerochronicles.blogspot.com

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  20. This green glow looks really great!;)

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  21. Wow, thanks for all the positive feedback. We worked like dogs to make all that happen, but it paid off big time. We still have to take a master class from Stefanie on the art of the perfectly themed invitation though ;)

    John
    www.studyllc.com
    studyllc.blogspot.com

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  22. I second that!

    Andrew

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  23. I wish I had the resources! I would make the time!

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  24. This is the kind of PARTY i like to go to...how cool is that tub filled with leaves...wow! The clean up was probably a HASSLE..but such a neat thing to do for guests! They'll be talking about that party for a loooong time i bet! :))))))

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  25. wow you guys went all out! I love the tub!

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  26. RebeccaNYC10:38 PM

    Just one question...do you have a team come in afterwards and clean everything up? this is just an insane amount of "stuff". WOW

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  27. Wow- they are your Halloween BFFs!! I can only imagine how long they labored to pull that off- but I can tell they really enjoyed it. And I'm sure their guests did too.

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  28. I guess I would continue your carn-evil theme with the food, as much as possible. Maybe set it all up like a concession stand with one of your awesome signs (and maybe signs for each food item). "Creepy Concessions?" You could do popcorn with bright red candy drizzled in it (you know, blood). Lots of stuff on sticks, like the lady fingers (I've seen done with chicken, cheese, cookies, etc.). Put them on a stick and they are carnival food. Maybe candy apples with a black coating (I'm sure you've seen the pic). Peanuts with bugs crawling out. I'm just brainstorming here. I'm sure whatever you do will be great!

    This party looks amazing! Can't believe they put a tree in the tub!

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  29. Damn! You seriously went all out! Love it and the highlighter lights are fantastic!

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  30. Wow, that's amazing! I especially love the bathroom. For some reason, Its mesmerizing!

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  31. Wow! What an amazing transformation of your home. I love love love the tree growing out of the bathtub. Can't wait to see what you do this year!

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  32. Genious!!! Another couple I'd love to be friends with!

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  33. Looks amazing! I absolutely love that tree in the bathtub!

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  34. this may be the most AMAZING halloween party decor i've ever seen. i am SO inspired!

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  35. Anonymous9:36 PM

    holy moly!! awesome awesome!!!!!! Do you do themed christmas parties too?

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  36. you guys are my heroes.

    looooove everything!!!
    xoxo,
    lauren

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  37. AHhh! This is perfect. We decided on our Halloween party theme the other week... Mad Scientist! I was planning on transforming our bathroom (like I do every year--nothing as crazy as tree growing in the bath tub though)! Love the ideas and extra touches. I LOVE the xray idea and using highlighters to add a fluorescent glow to large jars. Thanks so much for the inspiration. 

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