Nonprofit Halloween by Design teams up with We Are Blood to elevate their mission to bring immersive experiences through the arts.


Photos by Creative Focus Video

Halloween by Design is the brainchild of Lurleen Ladd. What started as a way to recapture the Halloween spirit she adored as a child became a passion for art and design that has taken Austin by storm. Ladd took some time out to talk about the work she does and her Halloween favorites.

What inspired you to start HBD in 2018?

I was always a kid who loved Halloween and continued the Halloween party tradition with my own kids and our party became an annual favorite. I decided to throw one final party in 2017 and went all out on decor. A funny thing happened. People wanted to drop by my house just to take a tour of the decor. Out of that experience, Halloween by Design was born. I created an immersive Halloween experience that was more “spooky chic” than super scary. The center of that experience is art and design.

What do you want Austinites to know about the mission of HBD?

HBD strives to curate and create unique Halloween experiences through art, music, film and food. My personal mission has been to delight our guests. I hope that our events create a little magic for adults and kids alike. And as a founder of a nonprofit, I understand that fundraising events can be challenging. HBD is here to help local nonprofits raise money and have a blast with the Halloween season.

How has it been navigating the past few years with shifting the normal event structure?

We, like many other businesses, have become very flexible. In 2020, we shifted to a drive-in movie venue so that the event could continue and be compliant with COVID restrictions. This year we had to make decisions based on an ever-changing landscape of venue availability, material sourcing and safety concerns. We shifted to online activities, like the decor challenge, and worked to establish our brand as the source for local Halloween events and info. Happily this year we also made connections with We Are Blood to help increase donations, had a pop-up event at The Boat and will be hosting a livestream concert featuring amazing outdoor decor as well as live music. 

What is your favorite scary (or Halloween) movie?

I am not a scary movie lover, at all, so my favs are more fun than scary. I have to watch Young Frankenstein and The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown every year.

You’ve got an hour to dress for a costume party. Who/what are you?

I just finished a doing a segment about last-minute costumes. I loved the one with taped Smartie candies on a pair of pants. I could then be “Smartie Pants.”  My family would totally agree on this for me! I also have loads of old costumes around, so it could be anything. My dream costume of the moment is Carmen Miranda with A LOT of fruit on my head!

Favorite Halloween candy?

Come on, Reese’s cups are the very best! Weirdly I don’t even like peanut butter on it’s own, but those little foiled gems are tasty, especially out of the freezer!


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