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Showing posts from 2012

Halloween Wrap-Up

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The storm clouds were brewing but not one drop of water fell on Halloween – even with a 70% chance of rain. We closed up shop at 10pm and at the end of the night 259 trick 'r treaters came by to pick up 4 giant bags of Costco candy. What a great night! Yesterday was the teardown, and Halloween is now sitting in the garage waiting to be sorted, repaired as necessary, and stored for the long winter (and hot summer). Some consider sights like this as evidence of my being a Halloween hoarder, but in my defense, I always donate quite a few pieces to friends and organizations. I hope you had a scary Halloween, and thank you for reading!  The Wicked October Blog is shuttering the doors and windows for the season, but please stay in touch  (and like us!) on Facebook.com/MyScaryHalloween . We cover scary movies & tv shows, weird news, creepy photos, and other macabre things all year long. And please post your Hallowee

Dia De Los Muertos

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Feliz Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead)! This Mexican holiday celebrates the memories and lives of loves ones who have passed. In the graveyards, families gather to pray and decorate the tombstones with  ofrendas , or offerings, of marigolds, the deceased person's favorite food, and toys for children. At home alters are also assembled with pictures, candles, religious artifacts, candied pumpkin, and colorful sugar skulls. Traditionally, November 1st is reserved for the infants and children, and November 2nd celebrates the adults. Born and raised in America, it's difficult to understand this particular celebration of death. We are mainly taught to remember the dead from a quiet distance, while the Mexican culture teaches to embrace and rejoice. And, although it shares the same time period with Halloween, it has none of the scary or macabre overtones. It's a unique celebration, with solemn and dignified under pinnings. To learn more, visit DayoftheDead.com , or chec

Have a Scary Halloween!

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Happy Halloween! It's time to hand out candy, dine on Irish stew as a celebration to Halloween's roots, drink a pumpkin beer (or three), and stay up late watching scary movies. On the docket is Trick 'r Treat , Halloween: Season of the Witch , Cabin in the Woods , possibly Magik Mike, which I'm told is about a coven of warlocks trying to possess a group of women ( someone better not be lying). I hope you have a scary Halloween! Here are some pictures of my haunted house.  

Halloween Eve

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Designed by Dark Hall Mansion The parties are done. The decorations are hung. The haunts are attended. As the march towards the big day winds down, we still have Halloween Eve. It's the last day to really stop, catch your breath, and enjoy the last moments of the season. I use this day to reflect on my own scary Halloween, carve pumpkins, and catch up with old favorites like Charlie Brown. Every season starts with such anticipation then quickly zooms by. So many things didn't get done, seen, experienced, or bought... but, there's always next year. I always say I'm going to start earlier, get done sooner, and enjoy every moment in-between – and I think I'm almost successful. I am looking forward to scaring the kids tomorrow night and going out with a bang – if the weather cooperates (although I have absolutely nothing to complain about). Our thoughts go out to our friends on the East Coast who are getting pummeled by the Frankenstorm. I feel terrible for t

How scary is too scary for kids?

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Last week, Entertainment Weekly published the article " Making the case for scary movies for kids " in their Family Room blog. The writer believes some parents are over-sheltering their kids, asserting that this "can only lead to kids growing up to fear their own shadows. Generation X is raising Generation Ahh!" This comes on the heels of Frankenweenie 's disappointing run which some believed to be too creepy for kids (but it was a beautiful movie!), while Hotel Transylvania  (which was admittedly cutesy) holds on as the #3 movie in America. And in the latest episode of  Modern Family , Claire was boycotted by the neighborhood for being too scary. This is the age-old debate: How scary is too scary for kids? Halloween continues to be viewed as a kid's holiday (as the costume and candy sales will attest), yet aren't kids more resilient (desensitized) given today's accessibility to the internet/cable? Or do we get more frightened as we grow up? We liv

The American Scream

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From the same director/producer of the critically-acclaimed hit documentary Best Worst Movie (2009), The American Scream is an unconventional look at the Halloween cultural phenomenon of homemade haunted houses and the enthusiasts behind the scenes. Filmed in the sleepy enclave of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, The American Scream follows the creative minds behind three local homemade haunts and their passionate - and sometimes harrowing - efforts in igniting their town’s Halloween spirit each year. It airs tonight on the Chiller  channel.

eHow Spark’s Spooktacular Spark Contest

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Creating a DIY costume? Hosting a Halloween party? Transforming your home into a haunted house? Upload your Halloween projects to eHow Spark and enter for your chance to win an American Express gift card up to $200. eHow Spark is a social sharing tool, where you can get inspired, manage your projects, and share your accomplishments.Contest details here: http://www.ehow.com/blog/spooktacular-spark-contest/ . Deadline is November 1, 2012. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Cocktails

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This is Halloween weekend 2012 which means that all the parties will be happening tonight! Celebrate with one of these ghoulish cocktails. The Cider Spider Martini The inspiration for this came from a swanky cocktail bar in Vegas. However, I switched the bourbon and added fresh cider to cut down the strength a touch. The recipe calls for real maple syrup, and because of it's intense sweetness, a little goes a long way! 1 oz Knob Creek bourbon 2 oz unfiltered fresh apple cider 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice (must be fresh) splash of maple syrup to taste two shakes of lemon bitters Place all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake violently and strain into a prepared glass (rub a lemon along the edge of the glass, then dip in maple or raw sugar). Garnished it with chunk of black-colored ice. The Bloody Rita I love the bloody margaritas you see this time of year, but typically the blood is made with corn syrup - yuck. I make a fresh cranbe

Zombie Pumpkins!

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With less than a week to go before the big night, now is a good time to get started on your pumpkin carving. Hopefully you've selected your perfect pumpkin(s) and are ready for inspiration. Head over to ZombiePumpkins.com for the best and most unique pumpkin patterns. A low-cost membership gets you access to 294+ patterns that you can instantly download, print, and carve (and, no, your email will not end up on some horrible spam list). This year's frightful theme is Age of the Zombie Pumpkins and it features a terrifying winged jack-o-lantern mascot. (Also make sure to check out their shop for an assortment of shirts, stickers, and pumpkin carving tools.) www.ZombiePumpkins.com To keep your pumpkin fresh for the next five days, give it a dunk in a bleach solution! Mix 1 tsp bleach to 1 gallon cold water, dunk the carved pumpkin for at least an hour, turn upside down to drain until dry. Pour some of the solution into a spray bottle and mist the inside dail

Halloween Light Shows

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I love the trend to "decorate" a house for Halloween with light shows! Here are some of my favorites.  This first video features a perfect background and a series of "RIP" tombstones in the foreground. LOVE IT (although the song is terrible): This video features a simple yet INCREDIBLE projection - created with just one very powerful projector, careful placement, and lots of creativity: Even if you don't have a house to decorate, how about a series of pumpkins?

Freshening up the Halloween Playlist

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With Halloween party weekend quickly approaching, it's time to take another look at that playlist you dust off each year. You know the one that begins with the Monster Mash and ends with Thriller.  It's true that the heyday of novelty Halloween songs has long past us, but the last few years have seen a trickling of fun releases. Below are some suggestions for freshening up that  Terror Tunes  collection (almost all are available on iTunes). If you like Monster Mash (Bobby Pickett), try...  The Ghoulie Hop  by Counting Crow If you like Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.), try...  It's a Haunted House by Brian Asselin & Eric Disero If you like Something in My House  (Dead or Alive), try...  Zydrate Anatomy by the cast of Repo! The Genetic Opera If you like Pet Semetary (The Ramones), try...  Buried Alive by Creature Feature If you like Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival), try...  Dr. Demon and the Robot Girl by Captain Clegg &am

Mockingbird Lane

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So the guys behind Pushing Daisies have rebooted  The Munsters  as a new series called Mockingbird Lane . They toned down the stylized makeup but not the overall feel based on the teaser below. After spending a reported $10 million on the pilot (which is 43 minutes long) and the brass at NBC has decided not to pick up the series after all, but as treat, they are airing the pilot as a Halloween special this Friday, October 26th. This is probably the one and only chance you'll get to see this so set your DVRs now.

Treehouse of Horror, Collection III

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The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror, Collection III is available to download now on iTunes (six episodes for $9.99)! Unfortunately this is a strictly digital release so no DVD (unless you purchase each of the individual seasons on DVD). This was spotted on the terrifyingly terrific blog HalloweenAddict.com ~ THANK YOU for the heads up. (Note: if you are buying only specific episodes, please be aware that iTunes mislabeled episodes 3 and 6). 

The Witch's House

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Beware the Witch's House in Beverly Hills, CA! The Spadena House was built in 1921 to house dressing rooms and offices for a Culvert City studio. It was moved to its present location in 1934 and converted to a private home. With its pointy, lopsided roof, tiny windows and stucco with a distressed paint job this landmark building even features an intentionally overgrown garden and a moat-like pond. Photo by Keri Kilgo

Winchester Mystery House Fright Nights

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The Winchester Mystery House Fright Nights is the San Francisco Bay Area's BEST haunted attraction – yes, even better than the Pirates of Emerson! First off, the attraction is located on the grounds of the legendary Winchester Mystery House , a real mansion in the heart of San Jose where much paranormal activity has been documented. This sprawling house has been the subject of several documentaries, a Ghost Adventures special, and even an upcoming movie. Its bizarre history and that of Sarah Winchester is mind-boggling. (I can personally attest to its being haunted. When I last visited the house, a door in the ballroom opened in front of my eyes. The docent confirmed that the door in question is kept locked. Creepy!) The haunted maze, called Curse of Sarah Winchester: Resurrection , features over 100 live actors and is built around the periphery of the house. Every imaginable detail is thoughtfully produced. Scene after scene introduce us to fully realized visions of mayhem or

Paranormal Activity 4: Review

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Paranormal Activity 4 is such a waste of time, and you should avoid at all costs – but you probably already knew that. Same tired formula, with a bland tween cast and almost zero scares. The freshness, tension, and crazy ending that Paranormal Activity 3 delivered is completely undermined by this underdeveloped "story" (can it even be called a story?), and characters that have no development or personality. The story goes absolutely nowhere, is incredibly dull ( literally someone left the camera running and called it a movie), and then there's the completely implausible twist with the kid. OMG WHATEVER. This is a paycheck-filmmaking at its worst and clearly meant to be a money-grab. The biggest disappointment in horror films in years and certainly the last nail on the coffin for this franchise. Never again.

American Horror Story: Asylum

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American Horror Story: Asylum premiered tonight and already, this is a very different show. The pace was absolutely chaotic and shook the viewers into letting go of season one and jumping right into this new chapter. And it is incredibly ambitious: how will they tie the zealous nun, evil scientist, lunatics, monsters in the woods, and probably most surprising of all – aliens – into a coherent story is anyone's guess. This show continues to be a horror movie fan's dream come true (but clearly not for everyone else as early reviews have indicated). And as we guessed back in February when the very first teaser poster came out,  Asylum's location is inspired by the infamous and very real  Waverly Hills Sanatorium  (complete with the tuberculosis and death tunnel).

AtmosFearFX & Eerie Elegance

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For you techies out there that want to take your decorating to the next level, check out AtmosFEARfx 's DVDs. These feature dreadful animated scenes that are meant to be projected on to walls or windows with an impressive selection that features zombies, classic movie monsters, and my favorite, blood-dripping walls. You simply pop the DVD into a player, connected to a projector and let the terror ensue. You will need all the tech hardware (like the projector which your IT department may let you borrow if you ask nicely), but you can also just play it on a large screen TV. They even have a couple of options that you can run through your iPhone. Eerie Elegance also features a cool spectral video called Ghost in Chains which you can download for $5. The effect can be enhanced with fog which really furthers the misty, wispy feel of the moaning ghost! (While you are at it, pick up a copy of the excellent Enhanced Eerie Elegance , a must-have book featuring recip

Target Halloween Bins

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Dedicated enthusiasts know you MUST store your Halloween treasures in orange bins which are only available for very limited time (strangely a week or two before Halloween). This is the week to run to Target and load up on storage bins at only $7. The clear ones make it easy to see through, but they tend to crack easily (especially after baking in an attic all summer long). I have the opaques shown below and they have survived a 12 foot drop!

Stolloween's Wrought Iron Fence

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The  incredibly talented folks over at Stolloween have been posting tutorials for making great Halloween decor, including this Faux Wrought Iron Fence. The best part is the clever and safe trick to make the pointed ends, which inevitably some sugar-crazed trick 'r treater will try to climb. Faux Wrought Iron Fence Tutorial While their Etsy shop is closed for this season, check back next year (around June-July - add it to your calendar NOW) for their incredible selection of papier mache pumpkins.

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2012

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Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood, CA is one of the best produced horror attractions. This year they are featuring a Walking Dead Terror Tram, a Texas Chainsaw maze, a Silent Hill maze, the creepy La Llorona Maze, plus scare zones, shows and modified rides. Take a look at these fun walk-through videos. '

Sinister: Review

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Sinister is trying to follow in the footsteps of last year's incredibly divisive Insidious (which I found scary, and appreciated the old-school vibe and practical effects). Sinister is going for the same feel, but the tone is pitch black, full of muted dread, and very grim images (like a family dangling from nooses). Sinister works on a subconscious level, has an incredible score, and Ethan Hawke as a scream queen was an audacious choice. Yet it's not an enjoyable film and never quite reaches critical mass to be scary. Ultimately, the plot stalls and the writers don't really know how fully develop the interesting mythology they created. And even though this is a horror film, the characters do implausible things or over/under react unrealistically. The director approaches this as a family drama (but doesn't develop the characters) and relies on the trappings of a horror film (but doesn't develop the plot). The camera annoyingly lingers far too long on eleme

Autumn Hard Ciders

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Autumn apples are the best, and there's no better way to enjoy the apple than in a wonderful crisp hard cider. And it seems cider is taking off as an alternative to beer or wine as more manufacturers are getting in the game: Ace Cider , based in the Sonoma (wine) County has been making cider for 15 years and most commonly served on tap around Northern California. Their unique blends include a pumpkin cider that's very pumpkin-y but has a slight aftertaste. Woodchuck Cider is made in Vermont and this cider house rules! Their incredibly nuanced and rich flavors are hard to beat and for a limited time they have an incredible Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider that is incredible difficult to find outside of the Eastern states. If you are willing to buy it online and pay the hefty shipping fee, you can find it at Lueken Big Town Liquors . New on the national market is  Angry Orchard . Their apple ginger cider is easily their best tasting offering with spicy notes and a smooth fini

2012 Costume Shopping Guide

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For those of you who will continue hitting the snooze button on costume shopping until the absolute last minute, HalloweenCostumes.com has got you covered. In fact, standing out this Halloween doesn’t have to be a labor of love. It’s quicker and easier than you’d think, especially when you consider doing your Halloween shopping from the comfort of your home. To help you out, here's an overview of the star-studded, funny, scary and trendy lineup of top 2012 Halloween costumes! Top Costumes for the Kiddos 1. Superhero Costumes - Last year, superhero blockbusters popped up more times than Robin could say, “Holy [insert topical word] Batman !” in the Adam West days. That’s right; once again Hollywood has blazed a trail for a host of winning superhero costumes. 2. Girly vs Creepy and Everything Between - An interesting new trend in popular girl’s costumes is the melding of “creepy/cute” and everything in between. All across the spectrum, from ultra-creepy looks like gothic

Twisted Cakes

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Debbie Goard is a macabre artist as her book Twisted Cakes illustrates. I have never seen such a wicked collection of confectionary in my life and DEFINITELY not for the faint of heart. Through full color pictures she shows you step-by-step how to recreate these fiendish cakes, the recipes for success, a rundown of the necessary tools and even full-sized templates stuffed in an envelope in the back. This is a must-own for Halloween enthusiasts. (Even if you are not a baker, at least you can show your baker friend how to make you a twisted cake for your Halloween party.)

Digital Dudz: Interactive Costumes

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Many guys really hate wearing costumes, so here's a perfect solution for tech geeks who hold their iPhones close to their heart. You can order a specially designed shirt from  Digital Dudz , download an app, tape your phone to said shirt, and create an interactive element on that shirt. In the sample below, this poor soul's eyeball twitches around with a tap or a squeeze of the earphone remote.

Gooseberry Patch: A Ghastly-Good Halloween

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This year's Gooseberry Patch Halloween book offers more than 200 family-friendly recipes with a healthy dose of country charm. I love the small-town traditions that this series evokes – simple recipes, decor ideas and costumes without the slightest hint of pretentiousness. Every page captures yummy edibles that truly make you want to dive right in.

Halloween Books

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There's been quite a few Halloween books published this year, and I'll be adding some reviews of the notable releases. Artful Halloween by Susan Wasinger Ms. Wasinger is crafter who believes in handmade projects and has put together a good-looking book. It does seem to lack some overall cohesiveness, as the projects seem somewhat scattershot (kitschy stitchery, dimestore costumes, elegant decor and table settings, pumpkin non-carving). I'm not certain what audience this is ultimately aimed at since most crafters choose a particular medium to work with. Nonetheless many of the 31 projects are appealing, and like most successful crafts books, it will inspire the reader to explore. Halloween Treats by Annie Rigg This is cute, pint-size book offers a "greatest hits" collection of recipes for now ubiquitous treats like severed finger cookies, meringue bones, cobweb & mummy cupcakes. The photography is beautiful, however, the recipes have only been mi

Chicagoween's Franken Plaza

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Daley Plaza is at the heart of downtown Chicago and during October it transforms into Franken Plaza for Chicagoween, a citywide celebration of Halloween featuring aerial entertainers, fire dancers, pumpkin arts, and more. They even dye their fountain orange! I love the way the natural light gives the wading pool all kinds of colors from crimson to purplish depending on the time of day. If only more cities put this kind of effort into Halloween! Thank you Heather for this great pic! © Russell Bassman via Flickr

A Haunting

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After being cancelled four years ago, Discovery is bringing the series "A Haunting" back to life! The new 5th season premieres next Friday, October 12 on their Destination America channel (formerly the Plant Green channel). The Discovery network also owns Animal Plant which cancelled "The Haunted" series. That series painfully and absurdly worked animals into the main story. I suspect that the production team behind both shows was the same, and Discovery finally came to their senses.

V/H/S: Review

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While the found footage horror movie genre has been relatively exhausted, V/H/S is an example of how to do it right – and a perfect film for a dark October evening. This anthology film offers five short stories, blending many sub-genres that will appeal a broad spectrum of dedicated genre fans. The project was conceived and produced by Brad Miska, the editor-in-chief of horror website  Bloody-Disgusting.com , and directed by a six up-and-coming horror directors. There is a definite retro vibe running through the movie (most obvious in the title) and some of the segments give the impression that these directors grew up on the same kind of horror that I did (influences of David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, Dario Argento, and Stephen King are clearly present). Unfortunately, the efficiency of storytelling leaves a little too much to the imagination, and the acting is less than spectacular, but nonetheless, it's entertaining and satisfying. The film has been available via VOD for a f

Frankenweenie: Review

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I absolutely loved Tim Burton's Frankenweenie - his best film in years and an all-around great time at the movies. It was beautifully designed in the way that only Tim Burton can do, unexpectedly touching, and loaded with references to classic horror movies. Definitely won't give anything away, but will say the third act had the kid in me jumping with delight. It's an instant classic!

Halloween on TV

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The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXIII Program your DVRs now and don't miss this 23rd installment featuring "The Greatest Story Ever Holed", "UNnormal Activity", and "Bart & Homer's Excellent Adventure". Sunday 10/7 on FOX Halloween Wars Elaborate Halloween displays are created by five teams consisting of pumpkin carvers, candy makers and cake designers, who are competing for a $50,000 grand prize. Sunday 10/7 on the Food Network Halloween Crazier Unique Halloween activities around the country are spotlighted. Included: an abandoned mental hospital that became a haunted attraction in Spring City, Pa.; a zombie-infested 5K race in Darlington, Md.; an underwater pumpkin-carving contest in Damariscotta, Maine. Sunday 10/07 on the Travel Channel Halloween Tricked Out Halloween displays from across the country are visited. Among the highlights: a West Virginia man who carves 3000 pumpkins; a New Jersey