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Showing posts from October, 2014

Toxic Spider Attack 2014

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My theme for my Halloween porch haunt this year is Toxic Spider Attack, inspired by Stephen King's IT (there's a big spider thing behind Pennywise the clown), the 1950's monster movies like THEM!, and because I've been a fan of  The Cure's  Lullaby  since 1989. I've been wanting to improve upon my previous spider display from 2007 , and thanks to Britta Webmistress of the Dark  and Ghoulish Glen I have a new interest in prop building with years of experience and ideas on call. I built the big spider with chicken wire, paper mache, and pool noodles (that was Britta's brilliant idea), with webs made from beef netting (thanks to the tips and resources from the amazing Lynne and Shawn Mitchell of How To Haunt Your House )! Thankfully spiders are one of the few insects that don't completely terrify me, although I didn't like looking in my spider's eyes (I literally had it face the corner of the garage). Here's a few pics with a full gallery coming

Terrifying Old-Timey Halloween Photos

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Happy Halloween!!! Celebrate the darkest day of the year with something really scary. The IFC FIX blog posted these old-timey Halloween photos a while ago that have terrified me ever since my eyeballs befell on them. Years of horror movies have trained to be suspicious of anything that looks antiquated. Sure, it's supposed to be a gentler, more innocent time, but these depictions are clearly sinister. Take a look and try not to pee your pants. Head over to the FIX to see the entire collection (and sources).

How America Trick-Or-Treats

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In the October issue of Food Network Magazine , readers were asked to share their opinions on Halloween candy. The results were somewhat surprising as I always let trick-r-treaters pick their own candy from the bowl, candy corn is 100% amazing, and 26% of Americans are liars because we ALL steal candy from our kids.

Trick-Or-Treat Time Line

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Here's a history of Trick-or-Treating as featured in the October issue of the always perky and fun  Rachel Ray Magazine . This magazine always reminds me of being at your cool aunt's house – you know the one that cooks fantastic un-gourmet food you  want to eat, has a great sense of humor, and always talks about something interesting? Pick up the issue to see a great pin-up photo of Rachel Ray as a witch flying her broomstick!

Spooky Prop Crafting

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Scary prop building (also called crafting by some people) is a sure sign of Halloween addiction. Once you leave the seasonal and discount stores behind, you can really use your imagination and repurpose other's people's trash into cherished decor. And it typically looks way better, costs less, and you can customize it to your blood heart's delight. As a newbie prop crafter (?) the finesse is something that I hope to develop over time, so I'm starting with smaller projects. Make sure you have a good tool kit, well-stocked supply closet, a crate of spray paints, and time to give attention to all those details. And follow directions! Talented prop crafters have forums and blogs to display their fiendish work and share their techniques – and many will be happy to answer questions. Here are some of the projects I'm attempting: Spooky Crystal Ball Candlesticks I love how creepy and classy this particular decoration looks and who doesn't love a crystal ball? Flam

Toxic Cupcakes

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Three years in a row I've won a Creepy Cuisine award at the amazing Eerie Elegance Halloween Party. It was held this past Saturday and you must take a look at the eerie trailer  created for the party. Very fun! Below is my winning entry: Toxic Cupcakes! It's one of my favorite recipes for a Lemon Blueberry cake. I separated the batter adding fewer smashed blueberries and green gel dye to one batch and left the other plain. The green batter went into the cup first then I topped it with regular batter. I pulled up some of the green batter from the bottom with a fork. After baking some of the green batter stained the tops and looked like mold. I then cored and filled each cupcake with lemon curd, and topped it with a dollop of lemony cream cheese frosting. (Citrus is so unexpected in the Autumn, right?) When you peeled the wrapper, you see all the spoiled green cake – gross! (Recipe will be on  MyScaryHalloween.com  site soon.)

The Great Halloween Fright Fight

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ABC loves to set neighborhoods ablaze with ridiculous holiday light displays and now they are also taking on Halloween with The Great Halloween Fright Fight. The one-hour special airs Tuesday, October 28 at 8/7C and features families fighting to the bloody death  for a $50,000 prize for the best Halloween display. The first person to put up one of those blow-up inflatables should be immediately disqualified. For more info, head over to the ABC site  and watch the preview below.

All About Ouija

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This weekend's Ouija movie has been getting terrible reviews: uninspired, dull, bland, bloodless kiddie show, lazy, routine – and that's just from my mom. Just look at the bland, unfinished official U.S. teaser poster (on the left). It's like they aren't even trying. At least the U.K. got a much more interesting poster (on the right). So sad that this and the re-release of Saw are the best Hollywood could muster for a scary Halloween. Imagine if someone made a real movie about the ouija, the rise of spiritualism in America, and made it scary?! Every experience I've had with a ouija board has been terrifying. When I was in high school, a bunch of us played with a board that we found on the street. The board started moving quickly and, yes, on its own. Lights flashed, the wind suddenly blew crazily on a still summer night, and board kept saying it was tired of hearing all the pigs screaming. We ran home after WE heard a pig squeal directly behind us. 

Pumpkin Rugelach

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If you've never tried Rugelach it's kind of a mini crescent roll with a tart and creamy pie crust pastry. The filling is typically super sweet apricot jam, or cinnamon sugar and nuts. It's a very satisfying three-bite dessert. Imagine my wicked delight when Food 52 came up with savory pumpkin rugelach with sage, walnuts, and parmesan cheese. (You could easily take this recipe back to the sweet side by making the dough and substituting pumpkin butter for the filling, but this sophisticated savory version is delicious.) I will warn you that the cream cheese-based dough is notoriously difficult to work with so do not event think of skipping the required chilling time. Work quickly, and if possible, work on a cold marble surface. If it starts getting sticky, put it in the fridge for 20 minutes. Make sure to visit the Food 52 site , sign up for recipes, tips and how-tos, and access to their online store Provisions which sells one-of-a-kind gourmet kitchen supplies. While you

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror MARATHON

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FXX will host a 12-hour marathon of The Simpson's Treehouse of Horror starting Sunday, Oct 26th at noon. Time to fill up those DVRs with unerasable content (say sayonara unwatched The Good Wife ). In case you miss it, they will also be airing themed mini-marathons all week. Here's the schedule: MONDAY, OCTOBER 27 (8pm – 11pm) Theme: “Twilight Zone” “Treehouse of Horror I” (Season 2) “Treehouse of Horror II” (Season 3) “Treehouse of Horror III” (Season 4) “Treehouse of Horror VI” (Season 7) “Treehouse of Horror VII” (Season 8) “Treehouse of Horror XV” (Season 16) TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28 (8pm – 11pm) Theme: “Movie Spoofs” “Treehouse of Horror V” (Season 6) “Treehouse of Horror X” (Season 11) “Treehouse of Horror XII” (Season 13) “Treehouse of Horror XIX” (Season 20) “Treehouse of Horror XX” (Season 21) “Treehouse of Horror XXII” (Season 23) WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (8pm – 10pm) Theme: “Classic Monsters” “Treehouse of Horror IV” (Season 5) “Treehouse o

Halloween Music 2014

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Many of us will be hosting (or attending) Halloween parties this weekend so it's time to consider the music for the spooky party. While you can rely on the old standards (Monster Mash, Time Warp, etc.) I recommend setting the atmosphere for different areas of the party. The entry way is a good place for sinister instrumentals as well as rooms like the kitchen and bathroom where guests spend quite a bit of time. Below are some of favorites for the 2014 season, plus our recommendation for a reliable, streaming radio station. Espectrostatic: "The Daemonum EP" This Austin-based group released a fantastic self-titled debut last year and will be coming out with their sophomore album in a few weeks. In the meantime, they have given fans a free five-song EP to tide them over this Halloween. Download the album on their Bandcamp page . Sam Haynes: "Ghost Stories" and "Spine Chillers" This UK artist has had a prolific year with two new albums this yea

Halloween Cakes

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Looking for an eerie dessert for your Halloween party? Below are two quick ideas for decorating a simple store bought cake. If you are a baker, of course you can make the cake yourself! These techniques are fairly straightforward and if your skills are like mine, sloppy cakes are perfectly acceptable on a trick or treat party table!  Say It With Cake posted a great tutorial on making their Bloody Halloween Cake using candy melts and food coloring. There's red velvet inside their cake. You can stick any number of accessories into these cakes includes a handy knife which you can later use to cut the cake! Since my theme this year involves toxic waste,  I'm adapting this design using white chocolate ganache tinted with green food coloring and green cake inside for a Slime Cake!  or  The Cake Blog posted this fantastic Cobweb Cake, which was incidentally featured on the cover of the October issue of Country Living. The secret to making the cobwebs? Melted marshmall

The Book of Life: Review

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I can't believe it's taken this long, but I'm happy that there is finally a movie about Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican cultural holiday celebrating loved ones who have passed on. The Book of Life is not a perfect film and perhaps a little oversteeped in pop culture, but it's highly entertaining, stunningly beautiful, and a good primer on "Day of the Dead". The plot is a fairly straightforward love story of two boys in love with one modern girl and her pet pig. Throw in two guardians of the afterlife, including La Muerte modeled after the famous La Catrina icon, who can't resist a good bet and deadly highjinks ensue. Of course, the animation is the real star. The Book of Life is visually striking and features some of the best animation I've seen in a long time, and it embraces the love for Dia de los Muertos that Nightmare Before Christmas has for Halloween. I loved that all the characters look like wooden folk art toys straight from a Pixar fil

The Art of The Book of Life

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The new film The Book of Life  is visually stunning, and all that vibrant and colorful Dia de los Muertos imagery certainly screams for a behind-the-scenes look. The Art of the Book of Life released last week is a beautiful, hardcover book featuring concept drawings, character studies, a foreword from Guillermo del Toro, and running commentary from director, Jorge R. Gutierrez. Like many Art of books, it concentrates on the inception and development of each of the main characters from early drawings to the final computer rendering with few stills from the actual movie. There's also a very interesting synopsis of the three lands in the movie and the break down of the colors and the shapes used for each: Land of the Living (sepia, squares), Land of the Remembered (green, circles), and Land of the Forgotten (grays, triangles). Graphic artists, illustrators, movie lovers, and day of the dead aficionados will love this book.  With such a vibrant holiday, one has to wonder why this is

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

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Living in the San Francisco Bay Area I have all-too frequent access to Schulzies Bread Pudding . It's like an ice cream parlor for bread pudding with an extensive selection of flavors served in scoops and finished with various toppings and sauces. Interestingly, some of the flavors are served hot and most are served cold. Cold!?! Yes I know that sounds odd, but it's incredibly creamy and almost like ice cream. Every year in October Schulzies makes several batches of The Great Pumpkin, and if you've never tried pumpkin bread pudding you are missing out. If you have a Trader Joes nearby, they carry a Pumpkin Bread pudding in their frozen section that's incredibly good. The Baking Bites  site debuted a very simple and delicious 5 Minute Pumpkin Bread Pudding in a Mug  last week. This is very similar to the Chocolate Cake in Mug with that Autumn flair. Visit the site for other recipes like Pumpkin Bread Pudding , Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Cookies , and Pumpkin Cupcakes

The Strain, Season 1: Review

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The Strain 's first season concluded with more of whimper than a bang, but it consistently delivered geeky thrills, wormy gross outs, and the potential of an ensemble that harkens back to the early days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – BUT it hasn't quite found its voice. The tone is all over the place from scary, to comic booky, to family drama, to thrill ride with big dumb guy. It's not as serious like The Walking Dead which makes it more lite entertainment, but often comes across as slightly silly when it should be scary. It doesn't help that the main villain is called "The Master", and looks like the goofy Bat Child from the National Inquirer mixed with Jabba the Hutt (see below). The story revolves around an ancient vampire-like race that has been plotting a take over the world (cue: evil cackle) by disabling the internet! Without dependable communications, information about the abnormal humanoids attacking New York spreads much slower, and the m

Wreath Inspiration

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A wicked wreath on the front door is like a warning to visitors of the horrors that lie inside a Halloween fanatic's house at this time of the year. There's also something wonderfully macabre about reinventing a holiday classic into something much more frightful. At first, designing a wreath  seems simple but I've found it to be somewhat challenging to make them look just right.  Keeping it simple is the way to go. Start with an inexpensive grapevine wreath from the craft store, spray paint it black, and, if desired, stick a scary object in the middle (a raven, spider, severed hand). Done! Last year, The Queen of Halloween gave me the courage to attempt my own wreath (the one with the crow below) and let's just say my results were graded as "E" for effort. I tried again this year with my toxic spider motif, and had slightly better results. Maybe the sophisticated crafting required for "wreathery" is not my forte. For some real inspiration o