Halloween Three-Step Tip #4: The Potion Master’s Apothecary


I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach.” 

— Severus Snape

Thanks in no small part to the acting genius of Alan Rickman, Snape is one of my favorite Harry Potter characters, and it would be so cool to have access to his potions closet to force the rest of the world to do my evil bidding….I mean to bring peace on Earth.

Even if I can’t have his, I can certainly create my own.

This is more of a “decor” hint than a full-fledged craft, although there is a bit of crafty creativeness involved. On the upside, the mechanics are so easy, it’s, well, spooky. On the downside, it is highly addictive. I find myself looking for opportunities to build up my little wizard’s pharmacy throughout the year, and I’ve got my kids hooked, too (someone keeps stealing my eye of newt).

Step 1: Gather some bottles and labels. Novelty labels are getting almost too-easy to find, almost to the point of cliche, but if used right with other things, can look pretty cool. All the standard seasonal haunts (no pun intended) have some ready-made self-adhesive ones  — Spirit Halloween, Party City, Michael’s (or other) crafts stores — but the endless sea of the internet can help you dredge up some even more wild ones, especially some vintage labels for actual products such as Witch Hazel or bed bug powder. If you like you can pour a little water colored with a drop or two of food coloring in some or add old feathers, seeds and other things that would go well in a potion.

Step 2. Find a place to arrange them. Lay them ins sort of a huddled mass of creepy potions with bottles of different shapes, sizes colors and contents together. Don’t place them too neatly, but more like a shelf Professor Snape, Dr. Frankenstein, Marie Laveau or any number of good ol’ fashioned witches might keep tucked away in their classrooms, labs or kitchens. On a fireplace heath, along a kitchen bar, on an entrance table in the foyer, or just hidden in little collections throughout the room.

Step 3: Here’s the fun part: accessorize! Get some antique medical or kitchen utensils, Halloween knick-knacks, Day of the Dead sugar skulls, bird models, etc. It also looks good with a sparse amount artificial cobwebs stretched over it. Add some “mood lighting” by placing glow sticks, small “no-flame” tea lights or glow sticks behind them.

Hey, it’s done! Instant conversation piece that can be added to each year as you find new labels and bottle shapes.

And who knows, maybe you’ll concoct a little liquid luck in the process?

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