Monday, December 7, 2009

Halloween at Christmas

One of the blogs I subscribe to on my Reader is Our Best Bites.  Today they had a blitz of Christmas ideas--and this is the first one up:

It may be corny, or it could be fun--who knows?  Cute idea, though.

Oh, and then there's this:
Just for you, Frog Queen!

And, from the same artist:

For the guys:

Another gift idea:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Got Nothin'

I'm afraid postings here are gonna be lean(er) for the next few weeks.  I am a Halloween nut, but I'm also a Christmas nut. What can I say?  They run neck and neck for my favorite holiday.

And I just can't blend the two. 

Unless I get something really cool under the tree--like my first Bucky skeleton!

Otherwise, see you folks in about a month.

Friday, November 13, 2009


This weekend, it all gets packed away. Finally.

Of course, it has to come down first:

the black curtains throughout the house,  the creepy cloth, the (previously) bloody shower curtain,

the foam pumpkins,

the various and sundry items that have become so much a part of the decor, I almost don't see them anymore.

Most of it has been residing in various piles in the garage, waiting for a relatively warm, uncommitted offday to sort it out and pack it away.... somewhere. 

I seem to have acquired more than I thought.  For the first time, some of the garden/outdoor items are going into the crawl space.

Hmmm.  Maybe it'd be easier just to set things up down there next year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


A co-worker who knows a little of my love for Halloween was telling me about the Forest of Fear he and his wife went to the weekend during their first anniversary celebration the weekend before. They went through a corn maze, a 'Forest of Fear', and a Haunted hayride, and he told me of some of what they saw.

I pulled up PumpkinRot's site on the 'puter to show him some photos of his haunt, and look what I found:

At first I thought it was my site and wondered how I'd clicked wrong, and then realized what it was and I was very uncool.  I squealed.  Quasi-fame does that to me. 

In the words of Chris Baker on Hauntcast: I am not worthy.

Thanks, Rot! You made my night!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Whys

Some photos of the yard and the best compliment (s) ever.

(You'll note the lack of rain in the pictures--I stole some advice off someone's blog [can't remember whose] and left everything set up til tonight. Then I relit everything and took pictures at my leisure. Good advice!)

I had some who wanted to walk around the yard and take photos of their children with some of the objects. Some folks told me they come by every year because this is their favorite house. I had some teens gathered round with flashlights--didn't even come to the door for candy--just looking at things. ( I always give them candy if they come to the door, no matter how old they are. They get a bigger loot if they made an effort to dress up, paint their faces, or even wear masks, but always something, because these kids will be our future Haunters.)

All the while, I'm feeling like a hypocrite, because there are so many of you who have wonderful hand-built props and amazing staging and I'm such an amateur.

But you know what made my night? A little boy, maybe 3 years old, in his little prisoner's outfit with a black and white striped shirt. Young enough that mom had to hold his hand to help him up the steps and hold his bag for him because he couldn't manage both.

When they got to the porch, she prompted him "Now, say 'Trick or Treat!'" Instead, he looked up at me and said "I wike your house."

I'll live off that for months.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In the Midst and in The Mist

The rain has gone from a drizzle to a steady, candle-snuffing precipitation.  The bush-shaking monster is in a continuous roar from the movement of the plants in front of it. 

J-Man has long gone to watch TV in the bedroom, tired of having to stop the movie over and over again while I calm the dog and answer the door.

Nox Arcana is playing  only to the night --ToTs are few and far between now.  The spotlights are still on, and the tiki torches are putting up a brave front, but they may have to give up the ghost soon.

The Mist is on TV, I have a stack of more DVDs to watch, and I'm on a sugar high from dipping into the candy cauldron. (I forgot to eat supper.)


Happy Halloween, All!


It's been raining for 15 straight hours now.  Half of my yard haunt is unfinished: Farmer/Hatchet man is still a PVC frame, the cornstalks are drooping again, 3 tombstones and a column still need to be water-proofed, as do Samara's hands (she who will be coming up from a big black flowerpot instead of the well that didn't get built),  no jack-o-lanterns have been carved yet, and it's doubtful the finishing touch of cobwebs will be distributed.

It's a wet, soggy, bare mess right now.

On the slightly positive side, I did get the tombstones carved, and finished painting them at 2:30 this morning.  They aren't what I'd planned, but they'll have to do.  If I get a chance to make the green-paint-dryer-lint "moss", maybe that will help.  Then again, maybe the paint will just run.

No, I didn't carve the Viking ship--just the epitaph. 

This one was going to read "Don D. Cade", but I realized all three tombstones would be for males, so I changed it to Dawn instead.  A little harder to sound out, but maybe people will get it.

I know you can't read this one--but I'm hoping the ToTs will be able to.  It reads: "Ye who walk o'er me will wish you'd died 'fore me."  They will have to get close to read it--and that's the point.

I'd hoped to drape this one with the fake green "grape" cluster lights and place it at the end of the driveway, but now I'm not sure.

Sigh.  Maybe things will dry up slightly.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Theater

To belatedly celebrate our anniversary, DH and I went to see "The Woman in Black" at our state theater.  Talk about a haunting!  I was on the edge of my seat almost the entire play, both with the storyline and with studying the lighting and visual effects. 

If you've never seen it, you have to go first chance you get. It's a two-actor play within a play, with both men playing multiple parts.  These guys were so good, there was no doubt which role they were playing at any given time.

The play is based on a novel by Susan Hill and was adapted to the stage by Stephen Mallaratt.  Do NOT google the storyline--some of the sites tell you the whole story as opposed to just a synopsis, and that would ruin the experience. 

The Woman in Black is in its 21st year at the Fortune Theater in London--where it is reported to be haunted by a woman in black.  She was first seen mid-performance by the actors, appearing in the wings after a break-in at the Covent Theater. How appropo!

I feel a theme for next year's yard haunt coming on....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


My tennis shoes and socks are wet and my toes are cold.  I've been out trying to position the lighting and decide what else I need before Sat. The tombstones are not out, there are no jack-o-lanterns yet, the tiki torches aren't lit, and I haven't done a trial run with the fogger. I'm going to change the kitchen window and Samara is not ready, nor is the ghostly person I decided to make at the last minute (a little eye-rolling, please).

But boy, do I like the effect I'm getting here:

I'm thinking I need another red spotlight a little closer to the "X", but so far, the creepiness is just what I want. There are tiki torches on each side of the X that will be lit Halloween night.  (Dry run tomorrow night.)
 There is some rearranging yet to be done, but this is the woodpile left from taking the tree down.  Remember?

I moved it to the left of the stump right next to the driveway, and the 'barrow of bones is on the right as you're looking at it.

Big Lots had a lot of their summer stuff marked way down back in September, and they had these tacky-looking "grape" lights with a couple of grape leaves at each "cluster" along the strand.  I bought two red strings and two green ones.  Then I took one of the red strands, unclustered them, and spread them out underneath the logs.  It's hard to see here (I must learn to master night photography!), but it looks like glowing embers when you're right there. 

Maybe this will help you picture it a little better:

I realize the lights are all blurry, but now you can see where the woodpile is. 

I was going to add the second strand of red lights to the woodpile, but now I'm wondering if maybe I should encircle the base of the "X" with them instead, or just rely on the one red spotlight and the tiki torches on either side which will be lit that night.

Any opinions?  Suggestions?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's a Conspiracy

Four days to Halloween and it's raining--AGAIN!  AAAGGGHHH!

I'm about to throw my hands up in surrender.  These hands:

Or maybe these:

Things I've learned while making my first papier mache props:

   1.   Plan the position of the fingers before starting and if possible, plan the use for the hands.  Fingers too close together make it difficult to wrap glue-soaked paper around.
   2.   Using a telephone book is great for layering with paper, as you can alternate between white pages and yellow pages to know which layer needs more, er, layers.
   3.   Never let the yellow layer be your last one.
   4.   Take your time.
   5.   Don't wear vinyl exam gloves while building papier mache props, even if you're allergic to latex.  They don't fit and dexterity is a joke.  Just go ahead and get your hands all gluey.
   6.   The jury is out on using paper towels as your final layers.  I hate working with it, as the paper towel pieces tend to roll up on the edges.  On the other hand, I do like how they look as they're drying.  Time will tell.

I used a universal wood-burning type tool to carve the letters on my foam tombstones, wearing a mask, of course.  They didn't turn out too badly, but I cannot find any of my paintbrushes.  I don't think I got rid of them, but where are they?  I wanted to paint the letters so they'll stand out, but it's too wet and cold to make a run to the hardware store.

Besides, the local hardware store has a few corn stalks left, and I need some more.  The frame to the yard windmill (which I have never finished putting together) is great for attaching the stalks to, but it looks rather bare right now. 

And droopy.

And the big "X" that I made with the black-painted PVC pipes and cornstalks?


I don't know if the stalks got too wet and overloaded the pipes or if the sand in the big flowerpot they are sunk into, shifted with all the water. At any rate, I need more, dry cornstalks.
Even the 'barrow of bones is suffering:

It's a plot, I tell you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No photos yet


Worked last night, and now I'm off until next Tuesday. I spent some time in the yard after waking up, and have the cornstalks up,  along with the tiki torches.  It was hard to get much done, as the neighbors and dog-walkers had to stop and chew the fat, while I chomped at the bit.  (How's that for mixing metaphors?)

I'm not one for cutesy stuff at Halloween, but I did stumble upon some plastic pumpkin lights on stakes at a yard sale.  A drainage ditch runs under the edge of my driveway, and as there are no street lights, I don't want anyone tumbling over the side, so I rigged those up in a hurry along one side of the driveway.  Just gotta make sure no one trips over the power cords. The other side is much more of a drop-off with little ground to make use of.  I'm not sure what I'll put there to prevent accidents. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be hard rain all day and most of the night, so it'll be inside preparations only.  I need to put another layer on the paper mache hands for Samara and the spare hands, and it's time to get the dremel wannabe out to carve the tombstones.  Maybe some pumpkins will get carved, too. 

I need more time!

(Photos here are from years past) (And no, that's not me.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day Whatever-This-Is

And the Countdown to Halloween continues....

I don't know how or when I came upon this site, but I have already spent an hour there and could spend another without getting through it all.  Free paper "toys", seasonal music, weird art and photography--it's a fun site to peruse.  I'm really diggin' some of his artwork. 

Take a stroll....