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Showing posts from 2016

Have a Scary Christmas!

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Universal Previews a Dark Universe with The Mummy

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Universal is bringing back it's classic monsters, again, but this time plans to make them dark and "scary" films. First up is THE MUMMY starring Tom Cruise. Here's the just released trailer:

American Horror Story: Roanoke ~ Season Review

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Everything about American Horror Story: Roanoke is off-kilter. From the super secretive theme that was not revealed until the first episode to the excessive amount of teasers trailers to a narrative structure that is both familiar and odd. At only 10 episodes, the shortened season also seems like a challenge for the writers who typically shove many (hundreds?) of plot lines into one season. Then there is an unshakeable feeling that this has been an elaborate experiment. The first five episodes prove that AHS can be scary, linear, and give actors meaty opportunities to stretch themselves in very dark ways. As a show-within-a-show, "My Roanoke Nightmare" is told in the dramatic reenactment/survivor-interview style of shows like Paranormal Witness and A Haunting . We know instantly that whatever horrors lie ahead, these people will survive. It lowers the stakes but also shifts the focus onto the story, characters, and ambience of the creepiest house since Amityville. The h

Halloween Post-Mortem

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Autumn really kicks in October in Northern California, bringing very high winds and rain. I survived mostly unscathed, and although rain was forecast for the entire Halloween evening, not one drop fell over our neighborhood. Our finally tally of  trick 'r treaters: I finally checked a Dia de los Muertos theme off the bucket list, due mostly to my dear friend Britta Peterson of Eerie Elegance who gifted me her gravestone artwork, a ton of flowers and decor first used in her 2015 Day of the Dead display. My approach was more of a Dia de los Muertos meets Halloween so there were jack-o-lanterns throughout plus things like giant spider webs, projected spiders, and orange was the highlight color! The neighborhood also seemed to respond much more favorably to a family-friendly, colorful Halloween display. (Up the block we have neighbor who prefers a guts-n-gore type of display and that rarely goes over well.)  We also hosted a large Halloween party this year – the first

Happy Day of the Dead!

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Have a Scary Halloween!

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Horroray! We've made it to another Halloween! This year I celebrated the afterlife with a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) meets Halloween theme. The full album will be posted soon at MyScaryHalloween.com , but for now here are a few pictures of this year's display, featuring gravestone artwork designed and constructed by Britta Peterson, Webmistress of the Dark (visit EerieElegance.com ). Have a scary Halloween! Scarrry Jerry Editor-in-Mischief

Tlachtga: The Birthplace of Halloween

From the  University College Dublin *: Archaeologists from University College Dublin have completed the first excavations of a hilltop enclosure in Ireland reputed to be the birthplace of Halloween. Using airborne laser surveys and geophysical techniques, before the excavation the archaeologists were able to identify that there are at least two forts on the site -- one measuring 150 metres in diameter which was partly built on top of another, ever larger, fort measuring almost 200 metres wide. "The surveys clearly reveal that the site - Tlachtga, known locally as the Hill of Ward - has several different phases of monumental enclosures and we believe them to be associated with festivals and rituals potentially dating back as far as 1,000BC," says Dr Steve Davis from the UCD School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Ireland. "Given the size, this was almost certainly a key ritual site for many generations." During the three week excavations the archa

The Book of Hallowe'en

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Ruth Edna Kelley wrote the book on Hallowe'en. Literally. According to Lisa Morton in her book, Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween , Ms. Kelley was a 26-year-old librarian who researched the holiday in her spare time while holding a full-time job at the Lynn Public Library in Massachusetts. The book is a scholarly look at the history of America and dives deeply into the regional folklore, celebration rituals, and even a little mysticism, most notably in the divination games where young adults sought to find messages about future suitors in ashes, seeds or other devices. Written in 1919, this book was the first ever about our beloved Halloween. For those who prefer audiobooks, New Paradigm Press Audio has just released a new audio version of the book, read by Oliver Vale (available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes ). The audiobook is a short listen - 2 hours and 31 minutes and well worth an afternoon listen. It's clear the narrator is having a good time with the content, b

Cat Watching Horror Movie

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Tomorrow is National Cat Day (October 29) and I present you with the BEST cat video ever: Cat Watching Horror Movie! https://youtu.be/_kgRFHaNo-Y

Nightmare Before Christmas ~ An Honest Trailer

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Is nothing sacred to those Honest Trailers folks!? No, I guess not. Let the roast begin...

Punkin' Carving Time

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One of my annual traditions is carving pumpkins with my nephew in hopes that the Halloween bug has been passed on. I am happy to report that this year, he asked for scary decorations to make his house like Uncle Scary's house. Yes!!

Our Awesome Neighbors!

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As a yard haunter, nothing brings me more joy than seeing our community respond to our Halloween display. I always wonder if people think we're nuts, obsessed, or crazy. It's so awesome that they love it and took the time to write us a handcrafted card. Wow! 

Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016) ~ Review

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Having a theater background, I am accustomed to seeing different productions of a show from different companies. For me, remakes of films also fall into this category, although I'm not suggesting that remakes are necessarily needed. When  The Rocky Horror Picture Show was announced on Fox, I was incredibly nervous. This is not an ideal musical for a primetime network, and let's be honest, no one could ever fill Tim Curry's heels in the iconic role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. I've spent over 30 years with the beloved original and have memorized every intonation, nuance and cadence. To my surprise, I found the new production to be fun, energetic, vividly candy-colored, and incredibly strange. If you're going to remake a turd, might as well polish it up. The biggest concern was the original's lascivious nature, suggestive humor, weirdness, and unapologetic queerness. Moving this to a major network during primetime was inevitably going to tame down the production w

Music for Halloween 2016

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Now is the time to get your playlists ready for that epic Halloween party next week! Here are some recent discoveries that I love: Now That's What I Call Spooky These mixtapes from BoJo in Tennessee are just what you need: a great collection of songs from a variety of artists, each track sure to please someone . Best part is that you can download them for free! Find them at https://bojospookymixtapes.bandcamp.com/ . Halloween at High Noon: Decayed The purveyors of original, sinister ambient music is High Noon Records and we all look forward to their Halloween collections. This it's called Decayed and features some perfect background music some of it quite dance-y for your haunted house. Espectrostatic: Silhouette Alex Cuervo of Espectrostatic calls his music "horror movie music" and his latest collection definitely echoes the work of John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi with a deep punk/garage aesthetic. It is absorbing, and a must for Halloween fans.

Pumpkin Goods at Sprouts

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Sprouts , a health-y food supermarket with 240 stores in 13 states has gone gourd crazy. It appears to be in direct competition with Trader Joes (in Northern California at least) for the most pumpkin products offered in store as witnessed in the Fall 2016 circular (below). I have been working my way through all the products. Some are winners (Pumpkin Molasses Barbecue Sauce, Maple Pumpkin Butter), some are in-te-res-ting (Pumpkin Spice Salsa, Pumpkin Vinaigrette), and some are downright questionable and someone should be fired (Pumpkin Spice Kale Chips, Pumpkin Pasta Sauce). I love Sprouts and the site features plenty of recipes, tips and tricks. Two of the biggest winners for Halloween parties are a simple soda float punch, and a twist (with very authentic preparation) for horchata, a sweet Mexican rice drink. Pumpkin Witches Brew 1 bottle Sprouts Sparkling Pumpkin Spices Apple Cider 1 container Sprouts Organic Cinnamon Pumpkin Ice Cream 1. In a large bowl, add desired amoun

Halloween at the Checkout Lane

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You're standing in line at the grocery store and waiting for a sweet, old hag to thoughtfully fill out a check. The pumpkin spice gelato is melting onto your pumpkin spice donuts, and then your glance over to the magazine rack that lines the aisle. Halloween magazines – everywhere! Okay. There's a lot of cutesy, cheesy stuff and none of it's your scary style but they're fairly fun for your October coffee table or breakfast nook. Here are some of my better recent finds: Make: Halloween This special issue of Make magazine features some pretty nifty projects, but be warned that this intended for serious tech junkies. Many of the projects come with warnings of death (due to electrocution or projectiles) but makers around the country rejoice. The project that I most want to try is the Ultimate Fog Chiller for low-lying fog. It ramps up the cooler concept ten-fold and requires low-tech and only 6 materials.   100 Best Pumpkin Recipes From the edit

Get Ready for Pumpkin Carving

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'Tis the season to hack away at pumpkins with sharp knives! Make your life easier and carving more fun with a miracle product by Sulky called Stick 'n Carve . Download a pattern, print it out onto the special sheet, stick it on your pumpkin and carve with ease (no more poking holes to trace a pattern). The sticky sheet can be repositioned and removed easily, and for more intricate patterns, you can rinse off and dissolve the sheet away. Since these tacky sheets stick to just about anything, I use them on foam for lettering for tombstones. Order them in packs of 3, 10 or 24 and right now they are 20% off at Sulky.com  using promo code "Scary20". In need of a wicked pumpkin pattern? The best site for everything pumpkins is ZombiePumpkins.com  where you can find unique downloadable patterns from monsters to kid-friendly designs, along with detailed tutorials, carving supplies (including the Stick 'n Carve sheets), and really cool tees. Every year the the

Clean Up with Halloween Soap

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Who doesn't want to wash their hands with vampire blood? Bath and Body Works finally brought their wicked Vampire Blood hand soap to their stores this year in a pretty cool bottle. Don't worry, it's not scented like nickel and regret. It has a clean plum scent and even though it's red, will not stain everything pink. This joins their other Halloween scents which include Purrfect Pumpkin, Ghoul Friend (berry) and Web of Lies (apple/citrus). However, if you want a great pumpkin scented hand soap and would rather not deal with mall parking lots, visit your neighborhood Target for the Method Pumpkin Clove hand soap. It's cheaper, has a classy bottle design, and the scent is like washing your hands with pumpkin pie – but not in a weird way. Ok. Maybe it's weird. But I find this soap much easier on the skin. For a more sophisticated line of bar soaps, head over to Villainess Soaps . They carry one of the most unique lines of products including my favorite soa

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

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Winning 2016 logo design by Tony Barney  The San Francisco Bay Area officially kicks off Halloween with the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival , now in its 46th year! The two-day event is this weekend and features local artists, crafts, a pumpkin weigh off, pumpkin carving demos, costume and pie eating contests, live music, and of course everything pumpkin to eat from pumpkin mac-n-cheese to pumpkin craft beer and cocktails. This year a 1910-pound pumpkin took top honors in the 2016 Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off. The gourd was grown by Cindy Tobeck, an elementary teacher from Washington who will take home a $11,460 prize ($6 a pound). The world record stands at 2,232 pounds but a reported pumpkin weighing 2,624 pounds was grown in Belgium. Photo credit: KGO-TV

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror 27

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Set the DVR now for The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXVII (27), airing October 16 on FOX.  This also the long-running series' landmark 600th episode!

Trick 'r Treat Digital Decoration

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Fans of Michael Dougherty's cult classic Trick 'r Treat are in for wicked scare. AtmosFX has teamed up wth the director and Legendary Pictures to bring you the Trick 'r Treat Digital Decorations. There are five scenes with the mischievous and deadly Sam, formatted for TVs, windows, doors, walls and their floating "Hollusion" material. This new release is the culmination of a passion for Halloween and  a friendship that began when Dougherty and the founders of AtmosFX worked together as MTV animators in the 1990s. After purchasing a digital decoration, he realized the connection, and soon met in Los Angeles to begin a collaboration. "It's a dream come true for the three of us," Dougherty said about bringing Sam into people's homes and haunting their yards. Scenes are available to download at AtmosFX.com , $40 for the entire collection or $8 for individual scenes – all in HD. Take a look at the preview below. (BTW: Fans of Krampus , Dougherty

AtmosFX Holiday Digital Decorating Kit ~ Review

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Once you understand the basics of digital decorating, finding the best gear is the next challenge. For the average consumer AtmosFX's new Holiday Digital Decorating Kit will be a great and easy introduction to projectors. It offers the basics you'll need to get started but don't expect a lot of quality. At $189.99 it's fairly priced for all that you get, but keep in mind that another $100 would get you a much better projector. You'll need a dedicated window (or doorway) with about 13-15 foot clearance in front of the projector, and it will need to be dark. Here are some more thoughts on this product: Pro's This kit has everything you need to get started for under $200: an LED projector, SD Card, tripod, and projection material along with a handful of projections to get you started.  The projector is very lightweight, small, black (most projectors have white casings), and has an onboard player (you won't need a DVD player or other source although it do

Digital Decorating: A Primer

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I started digital decorating a couple years ago and after some trial and error, I've figured out a pretty easy way to take Halloween decor to a new level. Be forewarned that the following is expensive, but it as an investment. Once you use it a few years, the price is amortized and you don't feel like you've spend hundreds of dollars on something used once a year. There's three basic factors to consider: the projector, the video, and the screen: The Projector You'll need to invest in a quality projector that will run anywhere from $300-$1000 dollars. Epson makes some of the best reviewed projectors that are bright, colorful and long-lasting. The gamut runs wide so be prepared to get what you pay for since many cheap projectors give cheap results. Throw refers to the distance the projector needs to be from the screen. The closer to the screen, the smaller the image. The further from the screen, the larger but often dimmer and less detailed image. Most project

U.S. Postal Service Gets the Halloween Spirit

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Available now from the U.S. Postal Service are Jack-O'-Lanterns Forever Stamps . These are the first Halloween-themed stamps issued by the USPS, although it is a little remiss of them not to include at last one sinister Jack. Not all pumpkins smile and traditionally they are meant to scare off the wandering spirits on Halloween night. Typically, I use about 3 stamps a year so a booklet of 20 will last me 6.66 years. Coincidence? I should stockpile a few of these for sending out Creepmas cards this holiday season.

Martha Stewart Halloween Decor 2016

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Looks like Martha Stewart is not quite done with Halloween yet. Available exclusively at Home Decorators this year is a limited but exquisite line of vintage apothecary-inspired Halloween decor. The best part is that it's all 20% off and free shipping right now. Take a look!