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....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Resuming intermittent countdown

I must admit to being disappointed that I won't get to do all the things I wanted for this year's Halloween celebration, but there was no way to predict illness.  The party must be postponed until next year, and the prop-building will be minimal.

On a rare break from the hospital last week, I put up a few more items in the house (more to cheer myself up than hubby), and got a little bit done yesterday.  It's become apparent I need MORE STUFF.  I did order one of Shellhawk's jack-o-lanterns (can you spot it?) and tonight ordered some of Bean's baby jack-o-lanterns. 

Here are a few inside photos:

On the TV in the guest room

On top of the china cabinet in the dining room.  I bought the styrofoam wig heads to corpse, but won't have the time.  This reminds me of the "Wicked" posters.

Gotta love that creepy cloth--all of $1.00 from the Dollar Store. I went back and bought the last 5 packages, but haven't put them up yet.

The skull's eyes light up at intervals when you press a button.  Dumb, but fun.

I didn't realize how much I would like the brass candlestick look.  Got it at a yard sale this summer along with the twisty black ones, and I think I'm gonna keep my eyes open for more.

Gargoyles also from the dollar store. If the organ were in better shape, it could really be effective.

The fall tablerunner and potpourri will come off this weekend.  Got the "bleeding candles" from Spirit, who left my "glass grabber creatures" out of the shipment.

I need to print out some labels and rearrange this a bit, but it shows promise in my kitchen.   hehehe.

 I'm finding it difficult to get much done, unfortunately. Maybe after some of these doctor appointments have passed....

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Winner

I won!  Mr. Macabre was giving away 250 custom greeting cards and I won them!  Woohoo! 

This year's Halloween party had to be scrapped, as hubby was in the hospital for a week and still needs a liver biopsy and there just isn't time over the next two weeks to finish around the house, much less plan and "execute" a party, so this will be perfect for next year!

Thanks, Mr. Macabre!

Keep your fingers that all goes well over the next two weeks and I can get the yard done and photos taken!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blogging Hiatus

Had to put DH in the hospital--will resume this blog in a few days, hopefully with some Halloweenish items! 

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Tip of the Hat

This is the week I really miss Albuquerque--during the annual Balloon Fiesta. I miss the chill of the morning air, the scent of roasting chiles, and the sight of hundreds of balloons adorning the unbelievably blue skies.

Here's a salute to the Festival:

I don't know where the above two shots were taken.  But THIS one is definitely in NM:
New Mexico PhotoJournal: October 2005 (Oct. 30)

Posted using ShareThis

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Countdown Day 4

Remakes would be more enjoyable if you hadn't seen the original.

War of the Worlds, Halloween, The Stepford Wives--three I remember off the top of my head that boasted far better originals than the remakes. The Day the Earth Stood Still has been one of my all-time favorites. ("Gort! Klaatu barada nikto.")

I have resisted seeing the remake with Keanu Reeves, though I hear he does a good job with crappy material. Oh, and just saw the remake of Children of the Corn --also a disappointment. I wanted to kill the bitchy wife myself.

However, ttonight I watched the latest (3rd) remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Invasion with Nicole Kidman was tolerable. Jeremy Northam, who was terrific in The Net, was no more believable than Daniel Craig. But the little boy was adorable and I appreciated the maternal aspect--a watered-down Aliens mom--but a mom, nonetheless.

I mean, what's scarier than someone wanting to kill your child?

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Do you remember when you first became enamored with Halloween and all that it entails? I've tried to remember (and when you're 50-something, there are a lot of memories to cull through!),  and two incidents jump out at me.

The first occurred when I was about 6 years old, or thereabouts. My parents had put me to bed, and were watching a scary movie on TV.  Unbeknownst to them, I had sneaked into the hall and was watching it, too--until a commercial came on and Mother got up for something.  Busted!  She tucked me back into bed, admonishing me to go to sleep, and shut my door.

Sleep didn't come for a very long time, and when it did, it was full of nightmares about oddly-acting people with strange marks on their necks. My parents, seizing the opportunity to make a point, told me the nightmares were from watching movies made for grown-ups.  I knew better.  It was because I hadn't seen the ending. My imagination filled in the gaps for me.

Did you figure out the movie?  It was 1953's Invaders from Mars.

It was years before I got to see it again--and I found it satisfyingly spooky.

The second incident happened in the fall of my second grade year.  We'd moved to Dallas after school started, and I was new to the class and a little shy. There was to be a school show of some sort, and auditions for a witch were held in my class. I was an unlikely candidate, being a chubby little thing with wavy blond hair, but I tried out anyway.  It was almost certain the part would go to another aspiring actress, a slim little girl with long black hair, and indeed, it came down to the two of us.  However, what I lacked in looks, I made up for with attitude and cackle.  I got the part, much to her chagrin.

It was only a small skit.  My lines will be familiar to most of you, though I don't remember anything more than this:

I was hooked forever.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Halloween Love Story

Countdown to Halloween has started, and I was fortunate enough to find it in time to participate this year. It's going to be difficult to tear myself away from all the participants' blogs, but if I don't, there'll be nothing to post.

Mr. Macabre posted a question several days ago, dealing with spousal support for Halloween enthusiasts. As I stated there, hubby indulges me, but doesn't really get into it all, probably due to his disabilities.  But there was a time....

In the late 1960s (probably before most of you were born, children), DH was a youth and music minister of a Baptist church in Alabama, where we both grew up.  I had met him not long before my 15th birthday, when he was a student at a local University and came to help out one of his fellow students  (my choir director) by singing in the youth choir. I was hopelessly smitten, but as there was a 4-year age difference, our friendship was more of a sibling-type relationship.

My senior year in high school, DH planned Halloween "socials" for 3 different church youth groups, and recruited two of his cousins and me to help. One of them, Steve, was really into theater and the arts, and did a great job transforming DH, Bill, himself and me into a vampire, corpse, wolf-man, and lady vampire, respectively.  I remember it took Steve hours to individually apply clumps of hair to his face and hands.

DH wrote the script for us, and though the storyline is long since forgotten, what I do remember is a lot of teeth-baring and discord among the characters, and some improvisation when we couldn't remember our lines.  After the final social, when we weren't quite ready to give it all up, we drove around awhile, scaring other drivers at stoplights (I told you Steve was good) and stopping at a 7-11 for some Slurpies and photos by the store's proprietor.

Within 2 years we were dating, and in 1971, I married this blue-eyed, dimpled vampire.  Our first Halloween, he positioned the huge stereo speakers out in the bushes by the front porch and played the only 2 record albums of spooky sound effects we owned.  We turned off all the lights in the house, and I sat just inside the open door, dressed all in white, under the rays of the blacklight, beckoning ToTs to come, come.  The shivering was real--it was COLD that night--and very few children ventured up the sidewalk, let alone came to the porch for candy.

Years passed, we worked, moved, and moved, and moved across the country and back again, endured a catastrophic illness and financial quagmires, and Halloween pranks and events took a back seat to trick-or-treating with our daughter.
Specimen jars

Now we are older, still loving scary movies, living in a great neighborhood with increasing numbers of children, and there's a plethora of information and how-tos out there.  Halloween has ascended to a whole new level of technique, finesse and fright, and it's exciting to discover and try them. DH humors me and even makes a suggestion now and then.  I think there may still be a bit of vampire lurking behind those blue eyes and dimples...