specimens-potions-halloweenHalloween Glass Bottle Displays
Halloween is the one time a year where everyone can get away with putting their strangest collectibles on display. So, take full advantage — light up those squishy little Halloween specimens in glass jars, fill the potion bottles with colorful liquids adorned with vintage label designs, and top off the apothecary jars with edible candy sweets and/or gruesome appetizers to indulge your guests in an unforgettably strange Halloween party.

Potions, elixirs, and specimens have been bottled up since the middle ages, as one of the earliest ancient medical practices to be able to easily distinguish and dispense pharmaceutical mixtures in both healing and poisonous forms.

Bottles, jars, beakers, and vials can be attributed to countless scary stories and strange lore inclusive of visions of Witches conjuring up creepy concoctions in the kitchen, to a Mad Scientist’s secret laboratory with frightful preserved body parts and experiments while creating mere doom boiling over…

Wooden Apothecary Cabinet
Halloween, specimen jars, potion bottles Traditionally, apothecary cabinets were created to store herbs and roots to keep each separate from another. The ingredients were used for filling medical prescriptions, but are now commonly used to organize jewelry or small trinkets.

An apothecary chest or cabinet can help create a convincing Halloween display by including the historic element behind dry ingredients along with your bottles of liquids. If you prefer an authentic aged look, you can distress an old cabinet by scuffing up the wood with sandpaper and digging a few small scratches into the corners and sides. Place on a vintage style table with your bottles, add a few creepy elements such as fake bones and body parts, then cover in cobwebs…

halloween-specimen-jarHalloween specimen jars are fun and easy to create.
Just add water and food coloring to your specimen in the jars, and mix mostly yellow with a few drops of green for a pickled appearance, so to speak.

Some popular specimen objects include:
Cauliflower – for brains.
Grapes – for eyeballs.
Dried Full Apples – for heads.

Plastic rats and body parts are also good float-in-a-jar Halloween props. Here’s a few more scary specimen specialties for inspiration:

Making Canned Halloween Monstrosities
Round out your mad-science lab.
Specimen Jar Candles
The specimen-jar candle looks like it came straight from a mad scientist’s laboratory.
Dave Lowe Design Specimens & Jars
Scarily creepy specimen jars.
Halloween Specimen Jars – WebSpinstress
Specimen jar filling ideas.
Graveyards and Specimen Jars
Jars with food coloring and water.

Potion Bottle Recipes and Labels
Halloween Potion Bottles can be filled with:

* Colored Water – Use dark green, red, purple, orange, and black to make them spooky.
* Glitter – For magical potions that need a little sparkle.
* Dish Soap or Shampoo – Creates a foamy appearance.
* Food Items – Cooked white rice and dry potato flakes make creepy bug parts.
* Other small trinkets that may fill the curiosity of what “Eyes of Newt” and “Dragon’s Breath” are supposed to appear as…

Potions and Spell Bottles
Unique potion and spell bottle tutorial with clever fillings…
Witches Kitchen Display
Amazing display of Witches Kitchen items, plus a glowing bottle and label aging tutorial.

Glass Apothecary Jars – Vintage Glass Storage
Apothecary jars are the perfect serving solution for Halloween parties to allow guests to help themselves. You can alter the height, shape, and style of the glass jars to create a sweet collection of treats, while creating a display decorative enough to open your own creepy candy shoppe.

I created a few basic candy jar labels here if you prefer to label your jars, along with a few candy ideas to fit each theme: WebSpinstress Halloween Printable Jar Labels.

You can also use glass apothecary jars to store strange specimens, capture all of the cookies, or hold party favor bags.


Corked Vials by Tim Holtz Idea-ology, 9 Glass Bottles, Various Sizes, Clear
9 Assorted vials used to hold small objects or elements, with sizes that range from 1-1/4 to 2-7/8-inch tall.

Boil and Trouble…
Which specimens will you be squishing into jars this Halloween?


raven, haunted, Halloween A perched raven on spooky branches is an iconic Gothic and Halloween symbol, representing everything from death, a bad omen, or a complete void, to being as fulfilling as defining solar elements and used as prophetic messengers.

Ravens are a magnificently curious and mischievous creature that boasts rich, dark plumage and black eyes that plunge through the deepest layer of your soul to easily capture true intentions…

Over the past several years, I have scribbled out/shredded/deleted hundreds of handcrafted raven reflections, attempting not to incorporate these dark feathered shadowy images in the traditional “birds perched on branches” or “stuck in a cage” style, while instead trying to devise an additional tier of emotional perceptions complicating where they are located, and why they exist there. These raven silhouette forms are enhanced with gradual depth and textures in the background to offer an eerie appearance at night, yet shifts through moods depending on the time of day, lighting involved, and additional visual surroundings.

They are meant to be included as part of my Gothic Haunted Forest Bedroom Theme, however, we placed them in the living room in frames first, and now no one wants to take them down… So here’s one of my natural spooky Halloween displays this year with ravens, black floral features, pumpkins, branches, feathers, and potions, on an amber and golden leaves setting:

The raven art is completely reversible, and one forward and one reversed image must be purchased to get the same look as featured above: Raven Posters.

Of course, there was a little additional WebSpinstress Halloween humor hiding in that display, just in case you happened to miss it…

Here’s a very close look at my dancing skull specimen creature – who is handcrafted with love from the finest materials available – the skull shifter knob from my dearly missed 3000 GT, a small driftwood piece from one of our many visits to various Boston coastline hideouts this Summer, and one of the very few leaves we collected that is fully preserved from the nasty Fall fungus this year.

What a special little guy he is! :-)


There are many sinister species of bad botanicals and poisonous plants. They creep around hiding in the shadows, waiting to grab your legs with their vicious vines, and threatening to prick your last drop of blood with their thick thorns to feed their sinfully soiled souls.

The fierce and frightful Flora World is far from fictitious, and truly (quite curiously), just wicked…

Carnivorous plants capture their prey with trapping mechanisms such as pitfall traps or pitchers, flypaper, snap traps, lobster-pots, and bladder traps. The Venus flytrap is the most recognized and cultivated carnivorous plant, but unique species such as the Cobra Lily are famed as a pitcher plant with a very apparent serpent’s head and sneaky snake-like abilities.

Poisonous plants are toxic predators for producing magnificently bold-colored blooms and boasting delicately deceiving petals of doom. Nightshades such as Mandrake, Belladonna, and Nicotiana contain alkaloids that range in all pains from pleasure to death, though Hellebores are absolutely heart-stopping. So, if handling these varieties, please be cautious and don’t skip a beat.

Some wicked plant species do no harm at all, yet still “leaf” an impression that “stems” fear into others. The Black Bat Plant is also known as the devil’s flower, bat-headed lily, and cat’s whiskers. It’s one of my favorite tropical black flowers that includes the dark and curious appeal of both bats and cats, and they are also very visually dramatic – thus inspiring the beginning of my new series of Gothic botanical prints, pictured to the right:

So, the next time you Blog like it’s the end of the World, alarming others of the upcoming brutal Zombie attack, it might be a good time to plant a few new seeds and collapse civilization by withering them away with those pretty little Petunias you thought were safe to grow in your window box this year…let the Angel’s Trumpets sing!

For further evidence, be sure to reference real-life accounts of the wicked, wild, ways of the plant kingdom: Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

It’s an intoxicating compilation that’s a definite must-have for garden lovers of botanical atrocities that aim to strangle, paralyze, poison, and derange the minds/bodies of their caretakers.


Display all of your creepy concoctions, potion bottles, and squishy jar specimens in groupings together to create a realistic spooky setting – one that’s captivating enough for the most inquisitive of minds to sort through.

Natural exhibits of morbid curiosities (such as dried sea specimens, bones, and preserved botanical varieties) can complete an arrangement of curiously creepy intricate findings, allowing your guests to speculate what your strange collection is manifesting.

Some of the spookiest specimen acquisitions are from early Victorian science and medicine practices, including various species of entomology, botany, lepidoptery, etc.

Here’s a few ideas of what specimens to capture, and how to include them in your Halloween decorating this year… Halloween Specimens and Curiosities


specimenjars, specimen jarsTo create your own specimens, you need a good assortment of clear glass containers. Use canning jars, potion bottles, apothecary jars, wine bottles, or rinse out the spaghetti sauce jar from last night’s dinner. The concept is simple – refill the jars with colored water, add a slimy and creepy specimen, and embellish with labels, paint, and twine.

Wilton makes a Halloween drink-coloring dye set with green, orange, red, and black already mixed for you, available at your local craft store. Hard-boiled eggs, cauliflower chunks, mini skeletons, and light-colored creatures work well in dark colored dyes for the added appeal of not being able to distinguish clear details apart from each specimen.

I found a very inspiring display of potion bottle specimen jars arranged on an antiquated bookshelf with a full tutorial included. Create your own Witches’ Kitchen this Halloween for a unique party theme that will have your guests brewing and bubbling over (with anticipation, I mean. I certainly hope you don’t plan to stuff them into the cauldron…).

Use vintage-style potion bottle labels for added authenticity, such as this beautiful set from the talent behind Love Manor: Bottle Labels.

For more apothecary jars, potion bottles, and specimen jars ideas, visit my complete list here: Halloween Apothecary and Specimen Jars