Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Wow, another dark season is put to rest. I had a wicked time creating this blog and a dreadfully fun Halloweentime. I hope you've enjoyed reading this and please do pass along your thoughts and feedback. If you don't like to post it, email me at

I'm signing off for the year and look forward to more shenanigans next year. Until then, have a feliz Dia de los Muertos tomorrow and Tuesday, and of course, have a happy and safe Halloween Night.

Scary Jerry

Walking Dead

AMC is giving us a fantastic Halloween gift, the new series The Walking Dead, premiering tonight. It's based on a comic book of the same name and deals with a group of survivors traveling across America in search of a new home after a zombie apocalypse destroys the old world. The show was created by Frank Darabont, whose last genre opus, The Mist, was one of the best horror films of the decade. The advance reviews have been very positive so let's hope we get that rare gem: a horror TV series.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Zombie Pumpkins

Only one day before Halloween! If you are like me, your big, sharp butcher knife will be hacking away at pumpkins all day long. (Actually I use a really cool knife from Van Vacter specifically made for carving pumpkins.) And the best choice for pumpkin patterns is ZOMBIE PUMPKINS. For as little as $2 you can download patterns from a library of over 200 awesome patterns, plus the site also carries great t-shirts, tool kits, free downloadable wallpapers, and all the tips you can handle. (You can find a free pattern from Zombie Pumpkins right on the website.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick 'r Treat

With only three days to go, Halloween is thick in the air. Tonight is my annual viewing of Trick 'r Treat, the greatest movie for an early Halloween evening. The atmosphere and visuals perfectly capture the whimsical darkness of Halloween. It is the scariest movie ever made? No. A gorefest? Not at all. But it is entertaining, well acted and directed, and it was made by someone (Michael Dougherty) that LOVES Halloween as much as we do.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rockin' Party Tunes!

The definitive Halloween party song, The Monster Mash, didn't come about until 1962. However, the lead up to this iconic song can be traced from the rockin' doo-wop of the 1950s. Check out The Ultimate Rockin' Halloween Party: American Horror Songs 1930s-1950s for an awesome trip through yesteryear's Halloween novelty songs, including such old school favorites as Purple People Eater, The Blob, and I Put a Spell on You. Thankfully, these are original recordings by the original artists (not those awful "Drew's Hit Crew" re-recordings). Download it from iTunes or Amazon (ahem, $3 cheaper).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cider, the perfect Autumn drink

Autumn apples bring fresh cider in all its glorious form: a glass of unfiltered cold juice, a steaming cup of Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, or a frosty bottle of Woodchuck Fall Cider. All of these are the perfect drink to serve at a party. If you aren't familiar with hard cider and like your booze sweet try some Woodchuck Hard Cider. They carry a variety of flavors  – so jealous of Boston, Chicago and Vermont residents who will be treated to Pumpkin Cider this year (the rest of the country may get it next year if it sells well according to a rep).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Radio

With 5 days to go until the big day, Halloween music is filling every waking hour. If you don't have a large collection of Terror Tunes, don't fret... just log onto They feature 3 different streams of music: contemporary, oldies, and atmospheric. You can stream these through iTunes or Windows Media Player (just download the streaming link and then click on it), or just hear it through the website. They feature very cool and unusual tracks and not just the standard fare. My favorite revelation of the season: "Coney Island Creepshow" by Beat Circus.

Rocky Horror Glee Show

I've loved the Rocky Horror Picture Show since my Austin midnight movie days, and now GLEE is having a Rocky-themed Halloween episode. I'm not sure how to feel about this since my guilty pleasures rarely meet one another. Strike one against Glee is not casting a male in the Dr. Franke N. Furter role (the whole theme of subversion and perversion goes right out the window). I will withhold judgment until seeing the episode tonight, but they are going to work hard to redeem themselves. By the way, according to Perez Hilton, John Stamos was going to play Dr. Frank but the network vetoed the decision. Hear the demo of Stamos singing Sweet Transvestite on Perez Hilton. (Glee airs tonight on Fox, 8pm ET/PT)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Witch Finger Cookies

You must have sweets for Halloween and there's nothing better than a gruesome cookie. Wilton, the supplier of cake decorating supplies, has introduced a "Witch Finger Cookie Pan". I've made witch finger cookies for years (my recipe is available here) and one of the challenges is having the cookie spread too much while baking and thus distorting the finger shape. This pan will help contain the cookie and ensuring the shape remains un-mutated. You can find it at Michaels and Sur La Table, or anywhere Wilton products are sold.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creepy Cocktail from Everyday Food

With 6 days to go, party planning is in full swing for our annual Halloween party. My focus this week will be on very bad things for Eerie Entertaining. First up are 2 things that make me happy: Halloween and booze. Combine the two in a dreadfully colorful cocktail and you have a fan for life. Thank you October issue of Everyday Food! (If you haven't, you must get a subscription today – it's only $12 for a whole year!)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror

The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror XXI will air on Sunday, November 7 (Fox, 8pm ET/PT), a full week after Halloween of course. This year's tales of terror include "War and Pieces", "Tweenlight" and "Master and Cadaver". If you want to own all 21 Halloween episodes, you can start by downloading iTunes' first two collections for $9.99 each (presumably more collections will come out in subsequent years):

Treehouse of Horror, Collection 1

Friday, October 22, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2: Review

The highly anticipated sequel to last year's scariest movie opens today!!! And... it's just okay. The formula and scenes were repeated too closely, and the movie felt like a flat retread. The first hour was unbearably dull and a missed opportunity for actual storytelling (18 scenes of a pool cleaner, really?). I expected something more ingenious and crafty. There were a few very good scares, and I liked the slow unveiling of Katie's backstory (I'm guessing the inevitable part 3 will head into exorcism territory). But unfortunately, it all sounds so much better on paper than it did on the screen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Food Network's Halloween

Halloweentime is creeping into TVs everywhere. First is a recap of the new 2010 Food Network shows of note (check listings for airtimes):

Chopped: Fright Bites 
The mystery baskets are filled with treats for the remaining four competitors; daunting piece of meat in the appetizer round; a scare in the entree round.

Good Eats: All Hallows Eats
Alton Brown puts the ``trick'' into classic Halloween candies with these three twists.

Giada at Home: Halloween
Giada hosts a pre trick-or-treat party in her backyard.

Mexican Made Easy: Day of the Dead
Favorite dishes prepared to remember loved ones that are lost.

Kid in a Candy Store: Tricked Out Treats
Peanut butter and chocolate classic morphs into a pumpkin in Hershey, PA; a candy so sour that its almost illegal in Mexico; candy filled cemeteries.

Guy's Big Bite: Guy's Ghoulish Goulash
Spicy goulash over creamy polenta; garlic-infused vampire cocktail; pumpkin creme brule.

Semi-homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee: Renaissance Halloween
Sandra is heading back to the Middle Ages cooking up a Renaissance menu full of tasty treats.

Paula's Best Dishes: Hallo-Deen
Monster mash dip; crunchy crab cake spiders; sweet corn and butternut squash with fresh basil; upside down pumpkin filled chocolate cheesecake.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bio Channel: The Inside Story

The Bio/History Channels are airing some great specials. Set your DVRs now (check your listings for specific times).

A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Inside Story, Part 1 & 2
A documentary about the imaginative horror franchise includes interviews with directors and cast, deleted footage, behind-the-scenes clips, and photos. 
Biography Channel, 10/20 & 10/21

Halloween: The Inside Story
John Carpenter scares audiences with the film Halloween.
Biography Channel, 10/25

MysteryQuest: The Return of the Amityville Horror
The Amityville Horror was perhaps history's most famous haunting. Nearly every known form of paranormal activity was experienced in this Long Island home. Could the spirit have returned? There are eerily similar phenomena occurring in a new location. MysteryQuest investigates using new technology built specifically for their investigation as they try to prove that these demonic spirits not only exist but that they've taken over.
Bio Channel, 10/27

Modern Marvels: Halloween Tech
The celebration of Halloween has become a $6 billion economic powerhouse; the annual Halloween Haunt at Knott's Berry Farm; the production of monster makeup, masks and costumes; carving pumpkins; making fake blood; haunted house.
History Channel, 10/29

The Real Story of Halloween
From its roots as a pagan holiday honoring departed souls, to modern traditions of breaking rules, pushing boundaries and wearing disguises, All Hallows Eve remains a time for people to deal with their own mortality. 
History Channel, 10/26

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Scary Masks

Scary masks at Halloween are a essential. They fill huge walls at the store and apparently someone buys them because they keep making more every year. I've only ever seen them used at haunted houses – I can't remember any of my friends wearing them to parties or on Halloween night, mostly because you can't eat or talk in them. Nonetheless, I love them. Here are my favorite masks for 2010:

Rotting Jack

Blasted head (ick)
Freako the Clown

Monday, October 18, 2010

How to Haunt Your House

It's about two weeks to go until Halloween and the time has come to get your yard haunt in order. (I worked on mine over the weekend and I will be posting pictures soon.) If you have never set up a display THIS is the year to do it. To get inspiration or some how-to's check out two great books: How to Haunt Your House, Book 1 & Book 2 by Shawn and Lynne Mitchell. Both of these volumes feature full color layouts throughout, step-by-step picture tutorials, and great resources for finding materials. They are available at Amazon and you find useful info on their website

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Paranormal State is back

Ryan and the rest of the Scooby Gang are back for more ghost busting. Paranormal State gets some interesting cases but every episode seems a little rushed at a scant 22 minutes. They've also run into several controversies with allegations of sensationalism, heavy editing, behind-the-scenes drama, and outright hoaxing (unlike Ghost Adventures, they don't seem to catch much evidence on tape). Nonetheless, the show is entertaining, the cast is engaging,  and the show is perfect for this time of year. The premiere of season 5 airs tonight on A&E. For more info, visit the A&E site.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Monsters on VOD

More and more independent movies are being released via your cable providers Video-On-Demand (VOD) service. For the price of one matinee, a whole living room of friends can see a first run movie without the texting/talking jerks that fill theaters today. Movies like Anti-Christ, Human Centipede, Splinter, Trick 'r Treat, and Rec 2 have all made their premieres on VOD. This month, we have the opportunity to see Monsters before it opens in theaters October 29.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Halloween Statistics

More Halloween statistics (from

11.5% of people that will dress up their pet for Halloween.
(I love my pets, but I wouldn't dare place a witch hat on my black cat. My crazy sister-in-law however dresses her dog in all kinds of ridiculous costumes and forces us to put a picture of the mortified dog on our fridge.)
50.1% of people that will decorate their yards for Halloween.

(I'm surprised by this – in our neighborhood we only have 3 houses that haunt their yards. At Christmas almost ALL the houses decorate at least a little.)

40.1% of Halloween shoppers that will dress in costume.
(I love Halloween and seeing creative costumes, but I don't like getting in a costume. Weird, right?)
Consumers will spend an average of $20.29 on candy. 
(I easily spend  over twice that since I'm one of the 50% of people who decorate the yard for Halloween.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Soul to Take

The reviews for My Soul To Take said "dull, joyless, and formulaic", and that writer/director Wes Craven made his worst film ever. Even so, I was willing to give the creator of Freddy Kruger a chance and catch a matinee (after all genius is often misunderstood). BUT to my shock, the film only opened in 3D (which means the greedy studios deliver a subpar experience and the theaters charge a ridiculous upcharge). Oh, hell no. Seriously? Onto the Netflix queue!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Halloween Storage Bins

I know its not time to start thinking about stowing your Halloween stuff, but Target has their Halloween Storage Totes on sale for $5 this week (until Saturday, October 16). Get them now before they run out or you'll have to store your wicked decorations in... regular totes! Oh the horror!

Speaking of Target, was anyone else really disappointed with their Halloween merchandise this year? It was so uninspired, the wrong color (pink gravestones, really?), and very limited. I'm guessing the recession is to blame.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pop Quiz: Halloween Consumer Spending [ANSWER]

Pop Quiz Answer: Here is the list in order of consumer spending in billions (YES, billions): 

d) Candy = $1.8 billion
e) Decorations = $1.6 billion
b) Adult Costumes = $1 billion
a) Children's Costumes = $0.8 billion
f) Greeting Cards = $0.3 billion
c) Pet Costumes = $0.2 billion

Friday, October 8, 2010

Martha's Macabre Ideas

The October issue of Martha Stewart Living is on newsstands now! I love how they take something ordinary and nice (like a vase of flowers, wreath, baked goods) and transform it into something utterly disturbing yet sophisticated. Check out the simple genius of this "Wriggling Wreath" and "Deranged Arrangement", or the truly nauseating "Fungus Tart".

And this Sunday, October 10th is the premiere of her new Halloween special Tricking and Treating with Martha Stewart on the Hallmark Channel.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkins: The ugly truth revealed!

The Associated Press reported on a growing trend in the pumpkin business: the uglier, the better. Consumer demand for warty, disfigured pumpkins is on the rise for Halloween. "Anything that's ugly or weird or unusual, it just sells like crazy," said Randy Graham, who grows 40 pumpkin varieties near Champaign, Ill. Read the full article on Yahoo News...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Fireplace

The indian summer has overstayed its welcome. Since we can't start a cozy fire yet, how about this fantastic idea for decorating a fireplace with carved pumpkins resembling fire? This idea came from the October issue of Country Living magazine – check out their website for other great entertaining ideas and recipes.

I'm thinking of recreating this with a series of artificial pumpkins, typically on sale at Michael's (40% - 50% - 60% off!!!) for the rest of the month, and fill in the area around it with fall leaves and maybe some hay. No real candles, of course.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pop Quiz: Halloween Consumer Spending

Every year I shell out tons of money for Halloween and if you are reading this, you probably do the same. The National Retail Federation (the world's largest trade association that tracks all kinds of consumer sales & statistics) has come up with a chart of what consumers are buying this Halloween.

Pop Quiz: What do you think is making the most money (extra credit if you can order these from top to bottom):

a) Children's Costumes
b) Adult Costumes
c) Pet Costumes
d) Candy
e) Decoration
f) Greeting Cards

I was rather surprised by the ranking of the list above. I'll post the answer later this week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Food Network Magazine gets in the spirit

The October issue of Food Network Magazine promises "Halloween Fun!". I found some great recipes including a sweet potatoes with creme fraiche and caviar (gross looking and delicious), pumpkin waffles, and the MOST AMAZING looking Caramel Apple Cake I've ever seen (better than mine). The recipe is available online, but the pictures in the magazine will simplify this somewhat complicated cake. Also in this issue, is a how-to on using dry ice, which will be a great effect on my witch buffet.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let Me In: Review

The Swedish horror film, Let the Right One In, was a great film. Brooding, dark and disturbing, the film took the vampire genre in a very different direction. The American remake, Let Me In, which opens this weekend, builds on the bleak tone, adds deeper levels of emotion (due to the astounding lead performances), throws in some very violent attacks and the result is an absolute masterpiece. It is a haunting movie that will stick with you long after you leave the theater.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Scary Theme Song

It's October, which means it's time to start blasting terror tunes. This year, has been cursed with its own theme song – a wonderfully dark composition that evokes memories of old-time horror films. My Scary Halloween is a trip through the midnight woods into a deserted mansion where trouble arises and brings demise to a struggling traveler. Download the free MP3 from the Terror Tunes page.