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Showing posts from October, 2013

Final Count: 348 Trick 'r Treaters

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It took an army of fiends, but we got through the night and handed out candy to 348 trick 'r treaters. That's almost 100 more than last year! During the deluge of souls, I lurked outside to hear the comments, and many people remembered not only our house, but our specific decorations (which I rotate from year to year). I don't know why, but I find that so surprising. This year I added a projection to our front window (my first foray into more technologically-advanced decor) and most people loved it – a few were turned off by the "gore" and a few even passed our house saying it was too scary (while their kids rubbernecked with wide-eyes). Halloween is supposed to be scary! I was asked why I do this and my response is simple: to keep Halloween traditions alive. I want these kids to grow up and remember that weird house with all the scary lights, music and monsters. A few of them will wake up one day and realize that they have a yearning to create and share new

Happy Halloween 2013

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Darkness falls across the land  The midnight hour is close at hand  Creatures crawl in search of blood  To terrorize y'alls neighborhood  And whosoever shall be found  Without the soul for getting down  Must stand and face the hounds of hell  And rot inside a corpse's shell  The foulest stench is in the air  The funk of forty thousand years  And grisly ghouls from every tomb  Are closing in to seal your doom  And though you fight to stay alive  Your body starts to shiver  For no mere mortal can resist  The evil of the thriller (from Michael Jackson's Thriller)

Irish Stew for Halloween Night

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Halloween's origins are rooted in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain and the mythology of the Irish. Special bonfires were lit, and feasts with the autumn's last harvest were held for all to celebrate – alive or dead. There's no better way to celebrate the end of the season that with a big bowl of Irish Stew. It will warm up as you pass out candy (or soul cakes) on Halloween night. (The following was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.) Irish Stew 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into cubes, at room-temp 1/4 cup all-purpose flour Coarse salt and ground pepper 2 tbsp canola oil 1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks 3 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste 6 garlic cloves, minced 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium beef broth 1 bottle of Guiness Irish Stout beer 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, cut in half 1 can (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium beef broth 1 bottle of Guiness Irish Stout beer 1 box (10 oz) frozen baby peas, thawed 1. Preheat a

2013 Halloween TV Specials

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I'm just now catching up on an overflowing DVR. Here are some of the shows you can still catch in the next few days, mostly on the Travel Channel which happens to be a great place for Halloween. What’s With that Really Haunted Halloween House This is Halloween like you've never seen it before. What's With That Really Haunted Halloween House? is a one-hour special of the most frighteningly outrageous Halloween houses in the country. If you think Christmas is nuts, you should see what some people do at Halloween. From Sherman Oaks, Calif., where a producer of The Simpsons spends more than $6,000 a year transforming his front yard into a family-friendly amusement park to Lockport, Ill., where an offbeat couple decorates their yard and garage with things like an authentic hearse and casket, these folks go all out! The last airing in today, October 29 on the Great American Country channel. Halloween Fright Nights Take a spin through North America's scariest

Breaking News: Trick 'r Treat 2

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At Monday night’s special fan screening of the cult horror classic TRICK ‘R TREAT hosted by Legendary Pictures, the film’s iconic character, Sam, and director, Michael Dougherty, stole the show by announcing a sequel during the Q&A session. Other panel participants included two of the film's stars Dylan Baker and Brian Cox, as well as a surprise appearance by producer Bryan Singer. – From the Legendary Pictures website. Read the Entertainment Weekly interview with director Michael Dougherty  to get more information and the possibility of a trilogy!

My Scary Pumpkins

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With all the weekend Halloween parties behind me, I now have a little time to catch up on some of the projects I didn't get to finish – just in time for Halloween! First up is my scary pumpkins. I'm a sucker for plastic pumpkins and acquire a couple every season in hopes that one day they will cover my lawn. These plastic gourds are classic decor, come in a variety of smiles and snarls, and they never rot and cause a stink. From a distance, they look fantastic as-is, but if you are using them indoors with regular lighting or in closer proximity, their plastic-ness becomes quite apparent (and maybe a little boring). However with a little paint and about 10 minutes I transform plastic jack-o-lanterns into color saturated monsters. (I prefer all my colors saturated in case you hadn't noticed.) I use Liquitex Basics acrylic paints because they have a rich, opaque color and good consistency – not too thick, not too thin. The two shades I use are red oxide for the main ridges

My Scary Party

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Many Halloween parties will be happening today and I hope you're better prepared than I am. I've been busy working on decorating the porch, the house, and strategizing a rather large menu. I'm hosting a cocktail hour then party crawling (guests and all) to the even bigger party of Britta Peterson, Webmistress of the Dark . I'm using my party to catch up with some friends I haven't seen in a while, share some good food that I now rarely get to eat, and to get ready for the main event. Here's my invite and menu. The invitation features original artwork by UK artist Shane Oakley   who graciously allowed me to use his witch in altered form on this invitation.  Visit his site for some fantastic comic strip art and illustration – much of which is available for sale!  Thank you so much Shane, and Happy Halloween!

Laboratory of the Zombie Pumpkins

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Cool pumpkin patterns are a rare breed but luckily, Zombie Pumpkins continues to be the best destination for patterns year after year. And to keep things fresh, every year a new theme for the site is introduced – that's a lot of work. This year it's the Laboratory of the Zombie Pumpkins complete with an electrified logo. Here are a few of my favorite patterns for 2013. Memberships run from $2 (for limited downloads) to $20 for the whole catalog, VIP patterns, and a donation to charitable organization. While you're there, visit the The Shocking Shop where you can pick up a sturdy pro pumpkin carving kit with a variety of blades (not like those cheap plastic kits from the grocery store), the Stick 'n Carve transfer sheets featured yesterday, and even a great looking glow-in-the-dark shirt with the current theme. 

More Halloween Music for 2013

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Trying to keep up with Halloween music is like herding bats. Here's a couple more gems that escaped my last list of new haunted holiday music plus a few recent discoveries from last year. Nightmare Night by Dark Asylum Dark Asylum had created some unique orchestral terror music including some pieces that use actual EVPs and sounds of real exorcisms. Eek! That's some freaky tunes. And as an avid Halloween enthusiast, they makes it a point to give away the previous release when a new one comes along because they want to make sure home haunters always have access to creepy music. Now that is spirit. The latest album is called Nightmare Night is a great listen throughout with the track "Bones" and "Night" as a particular standouts. The new album is available to download for  $7 at Bandcamp . Monsters of Legend by Midnight Syndicate Midnight Syndicate has been making Halloween music since the 1997 and their music is a staple for many haunted attrac

Matthew Mead's Halloween Spooktacular

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Matthew Mead's Halloween Spooktacular is one of the best Halloween entertaining books of 2013. At 256 full-color pages, it is also one of the largest. Silly, spooky, sophisticated, kitschy, country, vintage, charming, funny, ghastly, grotesque there is something for every taste, for every kid and every adult. This is a really fun and must-have book for Halloween fans, crafters and bakers. My favorite chapters are the "Remains of the Day"(skeleton inspired) featuring some white chocolate dipped candied apple skulls, and the "Poltergeist Party" (vintage graveyard setting!) featuring a ghostly lantern with old spooky photographs (included in the downloadable templates). It's such a shame this didn't get a hardcover pressing since it will be referenced for many seasons to come. The book is available at Amazon  and there's a shorter "market checkstand" version available at your favorite grocery store. Visit Matthew Mead's site for more

Stick 'n Carve: A Pumpkin Carving Must Have!

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It will soon be pumpkin carving time and while using a professionally designed stencil is essential, transferring those patterns onto the pumpkin via the traditional methods can be time consuming and frustrating. Gravefully, Sulky has introduced a revolutionary product: Stick 'n Carve. You print out your pattern on the special sheet, peel off the backing, then stick it onto the pumpkin like a sticker. You can easily carve right through the lead and acid-free material with ease and the material does not shift, lift or misalign. Super easy and quick since it eliminates one entire step. What makes this sticky paper incredibly unique is that you can reposition it, it peels off the pumpkin easily, and for thin areas with very intricate/delicate cutting, you can rinse and dissolve the transfer sheet with warm water. It's literally Halloween miracle! See the video tutorial below and order these at ZombiePumpkins.com , Uncommon Thread , and ShopJoya.com . YouTube Link

One Dark Halloween Night

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My name is John Kohlbrenner, author of One Dark Halloween Night . I am here to talk to you about Halloween and my ebook for Kindle. Halloween is the second most popular holiday in America, yet it barely has any fictional mythology to it. Yes you can say any scary story fits this holiday, but what is the definitive Halloween story? You could say it’s The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, but the book while very good, is a kid’s history lesson on the holiday. Or John Carpenter’s Halloween which is a well-made serial killer movie but utilizes Halloween merely as a backdrop. So there's a void out there needing to be filled. I hope my novel will help fill that gap. The story is about a young boy who discovers that monsters are real and enlists his best friends to help save his town from the dangers of Halloween night. The ebook is now available at Amazon . Check out the video preview below and find out more at  OneDarkHalloweenNight.com . YouTube Link John Kohlbrenner a gradua

Carrie (2013): Review

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Remakes aim to modernize dated films with state-of-the-art effects, updated casts, and fixes to the warts that marred the original. Of course, when remaking a classic you have to find a different angle to approach the same material, otherwise what's the point. On the surface Carrie has a lot going for it. Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore bring serious acting chops. Director Kimberly Peirce has helmed the acclaimed Boys Don't Cry and Stop-Loss . The screenplay is more faithful to Stephen King's novel, following it almost beat for beat. Yet the movie is just okay and lacks an emotional resonance. You have to feel something (compassion, pity) for Carrie because she is victimized, but this Carrie is not the unknowing wallflower. There's a strong, defiant edge right from the start that makes full empathy for her character feel artificial. Perhaps Chloe was not meek enough to play Carrie? Or maybe these stellar actresses weren't given fully developed charact

Are you Drawn to the Dark?

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Hello, Boils and Ghouls! My name is Chris Kullstroem. I'm a writer from Connecticut and currently conducting a global research project on dark-themed events around the world. Venturing into new realms, I'm dedicating the next two years to looking at haunted attractions, tour companies, character groups and other themed events, and the creative ways they're serving the people of their communities. This project is for my next book, "Drawn to the Dark: Enhancing Community Health through Dark-Themed Tourism." The Halloween focus of my writing began with a series of articles I wrote for Halloween websites back in 2007. I wanted to give adults ideas on how they could create unique Halloween events based on their own particular interests, skills and imagination. The articles soon grew into a series of books, entitled Making a Monstrous Halloween (McFarland, 2009), Monster Parties and Games (McFarland, 2009) and Deadly Roles: Interactive Games of Murder & Myster

Glow-in-the-Dark Nightmare Before Christmas Tee

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Tee Fury is offering the best Nightmare Before Christmas tee I've seen all season – and it glows in the dark! For only $11 this can be yours but act fast: you have less than 24 hours to buy it (10.16.13).  If you are unfamiliar with Tee Fury, they offer a different design every day and it's only available for one day. The design is then retired and typically not offered again. Occasionally, some tees are offered "After Hours" for an additional 6 hours but the price goes up. Hot sellers rarely make the After Hours and often sell out in select sizes. Visit TeeFury.com to order right now!

Toy Story of Terror

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ABC premieres the new special  Toy Story of Terror tonight. It's Pixar's first official foray into horror and it's reception will likely inform the development of the long-gestating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) -themed feature film. Kid-friendly horror animation has often scored with audiences ( Hotel Transylvania) and critics (Monster House, ParaNorman, Frankenweenie ) and this seasonal special will likely bring in audiences by the millions.

Halloween Icon Mash-Ups

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In making a demon witch prop for my yard haunt this year, I've inadvertently started a heated debate with some of my ghoul fiends. The argument arose over whether I should "pick a lane" and either make a demon  or a witch, but by merging two icons of Halloween, I am bringing disorder and dishonor. After some brief research on my favorite mask shop ( Trick or Treat Studios ), I came across these Halloween mash-up masks that seem to combine at least two big concepts. It seems to me that mash-ups when done right are quite spectacular. (Don't even get me started on Steampunk which is the very definition of a mash-up.) Frankenstein meets Skeleton: Leatherface meets Clown: Dia de los Muertos meets Zombie: Ghoul meets Pumpkin meets Candy Bag

Nightmare Before Christmas Tees

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Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Nightmare Before Christmas by wearing one of these snazzy new tees from the NeatoShop – the best place for so many cool gifts for the whimsically inclined. Each shirt runs $14.95 and ranges in flavors from classic to creepy to mash-up. Get the tee Get the tee Get the tee Get the tee Get the tee Get the tee