If your pumpkins are already monogrammed, trimmed in ric rac, or filled with flowers, what about a classic pumpkin carving party to spook up the house for Halloween?


For a shoot I did with photographer Laura Moss back at House Beautiful, my friends Barry Dixon and Michael Schmidt hosted a great one at their place in Warrenton, Virginia. Barry's a super talented interior designer with a great new book out, so the house he and his partner Michael share is pretty amazing. It's an old, stone mansion with gorgeous grounds that go on forever.


Here's a view out to the back patio. Come right in! Love all the architectural details too. And that pedestal table piled high with pumpkins is so simple and pretty, don't you think?


When we first arrived, the grounds crew had been doing some work around the house, and this shot I thought was great as is. There was something so spooky and beautiful about the branches in morning mist.  


Here's a beautiful bowl of apples together with pumpkins grown right on the property! With all the kids coming to carve pumpkins, how perfect were these for…


you guessed it…Caramel Apples! Our little Ninja Turtle for the day was loving the branch sticks. They're such a simple and sophisticated way to bring a rustic touch to a classic fall treat, don't you think? 


For the parents, there was plenty of food too. Check out the pumpkin soup tureen I made! What an easy way to dress up a holiday buffet. I love doing spoons this way too; I think it adds an elegant touch. And finally, the garden statuary brought a little something ghoulish to the mix, don't you think?


If you're having people over this weekend and butternut squash soup is on the menu, what about miniature southern ham biscuits to serve alongside? Martha makes a great ham for Costco I love. The vintage linen cocktail napkin is part of a set of twelve, each with a different fall leaf. This one I found down in Virginia, but ebay has similar ones that are just as cute!


Check out the party crowd! How much fun were they having? It totally makes me want to go back, only this time I want to carve pumpkins! Those corn stalks were such an easy way to set the mood too. Just tie them to a pair of columns for instant drama.


And so, if you're thinking about throwing a little party anytime soon, pumpkin carving or otherwise, check out the new column with all the entertaining tips! And if you have any more to add, be sure to comment! Happy Pumpkin Carving, everyone!