Many of us love to bring the spirit of the season into our everyday lives by decorating our homes inside and out with festive symbols. Though many of these items can be store-bought, when you craft something to represent the season and bring its energies into your home, you can bless and imbue them with more power as you make them. As our New Year and most sacred sabbat, decorating for Samhain with handmade crafts brings a little extra power into your celebration.
The Smells of the Season
Some scents evoke the season like no other. Filling your home with the scents of the season helps keep you in the feelings and energies of the season. Save your incense for spells and rituals and use these crafts to stimulate your olfactory nerves instead.
Waste not, want not. Use leftover kitchen scraps or yard cuttings to make your own potpourri for the house and let the scents waft through the area. Fallen pine needles and cones, cinnamon sticks, star anise, leftover orange peels, even dried leaves can combine to create a lovely potpourri. Show it off in a clear glass bowl or really let the smells spread by choosing a container with small holes throughout. Bless the potpourri as you assemble it, focusing your intention on the renewing energy of the season.
Pumpkin and Apple Candles
Use the symbols of the season as candles to bring in both the visual and scent aspects at once! Hollow out a small pumpkin or large apple. Attach your wick to the center bottom. Melt soy wax (you can use paraffin, but soy is better), add in color and scents for the season, and pour into the hollowed-out pumpkin or apple. Choose scents that not only go with the season but whose properties align with the energies you are trying to bring into your home. Let the wax harden, trim the wick, and you are all set!
Honor the Ancestors
Samhain is a time to reflect on those who came before us and honor their place in our own stories. Ancestor altars are a big part of many traditions this time of year, from Wiccan Samhain to Dia De Muertos celebrations. In addition to the traditional shrine to your ancestors, you can bring them into the celebrations in a few different ways.
Decorate a cloth with the names or photos of your ancestors and use that for your altar. Use it only on Samhain or only with spell work dealing with ancestors or keep it there all season as a way to draw on their energies or powers and continuously honor them.
A portable shrine to your ancestors, it also makes a great gift when Yuletide comes. Gather photos, letters, certificates, news stories, pressed flowers, and more to create a scrapbook of your ancestors. Use the month leading up to Samhain to create it, drawing on the power of the season to guide you in connecting to your ancestors.
Tools of the Trade
The Wheel of the Year has made a full rotation and begins again anew at Samhain. Thus, it is the perfect time for some refreshed tools for your practice!
As the veil between worlds thins, having a scrying mirror to open a window to the spiritual is a powerful tool. To make a black mirror, you’ll need a picture frame with glass not plastic, black paint, a thick black cloth (like velvet), and a silver paint marker. Paint one side of the glass. Cut the fabric to the same size as the glass and place it next to the black paint. Put the glass into the frame with the unpainted side out. Secure the back. Use the silver marker to add any symbols or sigils you would like to heighten your clair-senses. Use your mirror at night, getting moonlight or candlelight to reflect in the glass. Focus on a question or situation that you’d like some guidance on. Focus strongly on the question, then clear your mind as you look into the surface of the mirror. Write down images, shapes, or anything else you see.
Book of Shadows / Grimoire
Many think of a Book of Shadows as an unchanging spellbook. But it doesn’t have to be! A great way to create a library of spell work is to create a new Book of Shadows each year, using it as a kind of diary to document how you observe each sabbat, the spells and rituals you work on throughout the year, changes you notice in your feelings, powers, and energies and more. You can look back through the year and see how you have grown in your craft. You can get a large notebook and decorate it. Or, for maximum power and energy, craft your own using fabric, string, and paper. There are several tutorials online to help you do this properly, as it is a pretty intensive process. But once you see the results, you’ll be glad you made the effort! Making your own allows you to truly customize it for the year. You can cleanse and bless it at Samhain to prepare it for the year.
General Home Décor
Bring in the spirit of the season with decorations around your house that highlight the symbols of the sabbat.
Combine autumn leaves, small pumpkins, cinnamon, apples, and more to create a gorgeous wreath that evokes the season each time you pass it. Charge and bless it to have it be a protective charm for your home.
Coat fallen leaves in melted candle wax and lay them on grease paper to harden. Use them in wreaths, on candles, on your altar, on your mantle, and more.
Creepy Crawlies and Spooky Specters
Would Samhain be Samhain if we didn’t have something to show off the scary side? You can use pinecones, toilet paper rolls, and other found objects to craft ghosts, spiders, bats, and more to amp up the fun of Samhain.