Book Review: Halloween with Matthew Mead (2012)

I must admit: I am one of those goths who very desperately wants to decorate my house with Halloween related stuff all year ’round.  I’m not saying that I’d like super cheesy decorations (I’m saving those for the actual holiday), but little touches of  spoopy spooky, creepy, and plain old weird would make my home feel more like a home. Bf and I are getting our own place soon, and we (along with our future roommate) are all rather excited to begin the decorating process – and, luckily, we all share similar tastes in decor!

This is adorable and you cannot convince me otherwise. (Source: http://www.michaels.com/lemax-spooky-town-collection-wandas-wicked-cupcakes/10408797.html)
This is adorable and you cannot convince me otherwise. (Source: Michael’s)

So imagine my surprise when I walk into our local dollar store and see a copy of Halloween with Matthew Mead directly in front of me. I was taken with its orange and black cover (complete with a purple monster cake(!!) and cute candies), and it quickly found its way into my cart. I couldn’t wait to get it home so I could thumb through it and start putting together ideas for our eventual new place.

What I found was, well, helpful on the whole! But in true nit-picky fashion, I have a couple of minor issues with it; that said, here’s what I think, in case you’d like to pick this up for yourself and your own spooky household.

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Pages from Halloween with Matthew Mead

Pros:

  • Full color pictures of the crafts, recipes, and ideas the book presents. The craft pictures in particular are often in enough detail that you can get the gist of how it was put together (which is an important point that I’ll return to in a moment).
  • Lots of home decor ideas. I’m a complete beginner to this kind of thing, and the book provides a wide variety of DIY ways to re-purpose household items. In addition, many of the crafts are simple (or simple enough), and not intimidating to folks like me who are new to DIY projects, crafting, or decor.
  • There’s also a variety of themed ideas to work with, each theme getting between 8~12 pages of coverage. They range from child friendly to more mature looking (read: not cheesy) decor, which should satisfy most.
  • There’s recipes in the back of the book for making the more involved food, as well as some templates for the crafts, which was a nice touch.
Not very promising...
Not very promising…

Cons:

  • The biggest problem with the book is that many of the crafts rely heavily on an online component which no longer exists. I didn’t realize upon purchasing it that it was published in 2012 – near as I can tell, there are no dates anywhere in the book. Many of the crafts direct you to holidaywithmatthewmead.com for project printables, which in turn redirects you to matthewmeadstyle.com… which led me to the screenshot above. Many of the projects were cute, and I was really looking forward to getting the templates, so this was a huge letdown for me. I recognize that the book was printed a few years ago and that websites grow, change, or outright disappear over time; it’s the internet, it happens. If Mr. Mead is going to actively sell the book through his website, however, he should maintain those pages that the books refer to. It’s very disheartening.
  • There are a lot more recipes that can be found throughout the book, but they’re scattered oddly throughout the pages. If you can’t remember which theme a particular recipe was from, you’re going to be thumbing through the entire thing trying to find that one page. It would have been easier to perhaps end each ‘chapter’ with the corresponding recipes, for cohesion’s sake if nothing else.
  • This is a minor point but: there’s a full 12 pages dedicated to a circus party theme. I don’t know if this is a new thing (or if many people really think this way and I’m an outlier), but when I think Halloween, I don’t think circus. It’s filler that could have been used towards almost any other Halloween related thing. Give me 12 pages of, say, a Witch theme instead!

Despite my gripes, it’s still a solid book that provides a lot of fun home decor and party theme ideas, and I learned a lot from it. At worst, it’s 144 pages of cute Halloween pictures with craft ideas and recipes; it’s definitely a coffee table book that I’d leave lying around for visitors to thumb through, and I’m definitely going to be incorporating some of the ideas in my own eventual home. I wouldn’t pay full price for it (MSRP is 14.95 USD/16.95 CAD) because of the missing online content, but since it was purchased for $1+tax, it was a big steal.

Overall, recommended. If you find it, give it a shot.

Are you into spoopy home decor all year long? What are some of your favorite home decor books (both spooky and non-spooky)?

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Author: Amethyst

Just a geeky goth who has a lot to say about very little of importance.

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