DIY Dollar Store Rat Place Card Holders and a Halloween Tablescape (plus a bit more Halloween)

As I said when I showed you my friend Tracy’s fabulous Halloween house tour, I didn’t do a whole lot of Halloween decorating myself this year. We usually come up with a big theme and at least do a display in the dining room (like last year’s Decomposing Composers, or the Camp-o-Ween theme from 2015)….but this year inspiration eluded us and things just didn’t come together. Ari, inspired by a recent literature assignment, did suggest “The Great Batsby,” which actually sounded pretty awesome, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to pull together a display of bats dressed in Jazz Age clothing in the time we had left. Maybe next year.

We did put out our perennial outside Halloween guys:

And I tossed some Halloween stuff on the dresser in the foyer. I’m especially fond of (and Abe is especially fascinated by) the terrarium full of skulls:

And then my family came over for dinner the other night, and I took advantage of the opportunity to set a Halloween table with a spooky/haunted wedding theme, because I still have the fake cake from our Miss Havisham/Great Expectations Halloween a few years ago. You never know when you’re going to need a fake wedding cake, so it’s good I held onto it.

I already had the little rubber mice to gnaw on the cake from last time, but I added a couple of new GIANT RATS from Dollar Tree. I was in there the other day, and I really, really wanted to buy some giant rats (especially after seeing some in my friend, Cassie’s, awesome Halloween tour the other day, but I couldn’t think of anything to do with them. So it’s entirely possible I concocted the idea of bringing out the cake again and setting this table just so that I would have an excuse to buy rats.

And I wanted to buy LOTS of rats, so I came up with the idea of having them hold place cards. Because nothing says Halloween and creepy decaying wedding feast like a plastic rat staring up at you from your dinner plate, wearing a tag with your name on it, right?!

Handy tip if you decide to try this yourself: if you go the Dollar Tree and buy eight plastic rats, everyone at the store is going to want to know what you plan to do with them. I had to tell the story of my planned place cards three separate times. It was surprisingly crowded at the dollar store that day.

Ready for the tutorial? (affiliate links ahead; if you buy something after clicking one of my amazon links, you pay the same, but I get a small commission. Thanks for supporting Boxy Colonial!)

Step one: buy rats

Step two: tie name tags to rats

Step three: put rats on plates

I used a scalloped circle punch like this one to punch circles in cardstock, then wrote the names all fancy-like in cursive with a gold Sharpie paint pen. Then I punched a hole in each and used some black and white bakers twine to tie them around the rats’ necks. Incidentally, I think if had to pick one random crafty item to keep around my house for last minute projects, it might be black and white bakers’ twine.

I love these rats. I want to have a Halloween dinner every night now. Maybe I’ll just recycle them for the Thanksgiving tablescape. Give me one good reason not to!

When my brother saw the table, he assumed we were not going to be eating at it, since I had actually made it look nice. I guess I usually throw an underwhelming family dinner.

I thought my mother might be horrrified by the rats, but she just said, “your table looks nice.” If I’d gone with snakes, I would have gotten a much different reaction, I think. She hates snakes.

But snakes don’t stand up on their hind legs and stare at you with their beady little eyes while telling you where you should sit for dinner.

Aside from the rats and the wedding cake, there’s not a whole lot to this table. I threw it all together in about fifteen minutes, trying desperately to finish up before everyone showed up for dinner. Gold chargers, white plates, black napkins, a whole bunch of brass candlesticks, and a few pieces of green glassware.

(Excuse any of the rest of the dining room that you spot in these photos. One of the reasons I was having trouble getting excited about Halloween-i-fying my dining room this year is that I’m so ready to paint and otherwise redecorate in here. State of flux. Also, we need to find another way for Abe to display his many, many original works of art, other than masking taping all of them directly to every wall in the house)

And there you have it, my quick and dirty, last minute Halloween table!

Make these DIY Dollar Store Rat Place Card Holders for your Halloween table! Tutorial at #dollarstore #dollartree #halloween #halloweencraft


DIY Dollar Store Rat Place Card Holders and a Halloween Tablescape (plus a bit more Halloween) — 7 Comments

  1. I thought I would love the terrarium full of skulls better than anything, until I actually saw the rat sitting up on the plate all cute and plastic. They’re adorable.
    Some snakes can sit up, half coiled, poised to strike, holding place cards in their fangs, but the rats being all black are better. I want to run with this theme–bats hanging upside down from the ceiling with names printed on their wings? Small skulls holding place cards in their plentiful teeth? Even smaller skeletons holding the cards in their hands? (Seated, not standing.) Pity I never have company around Halloween. Please try to live out my fantasies.

  2. Lol I love that you explained to everyone at the dollar store what you were going to do with the rats. And they turned out amazing

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