Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Standard and Required Reading For Everyone

Fascinating read, some information that I didn't know and some inspiration from one woman who helped changed the course of our beloved holiday.......

The History of Halloween

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Trunk or Effing Treat

Trunk or %$#@&;*!!! Treat

Ok, I'm strong, I can do this without cussing.  Probably not.
Trunk or treat is a fairly new concept in which people go to a parking lot either in a church or a shopping center and open the trunks to their cars, decorate them, usually cute or (shudder) educational, and provide a safe, well-lit area for children to come, heavily supervised, to get candy.
Whew, I did it, I really got through an explanation of THAT DAMN ABOMINATION THAT IS AS STUPID AS IT IS LAME!!! 
Looks like I didn't get through it after all but I don't care!  I despise the concept and the underlying watering down of Hallowe'en, I have seen one where everyone's cars were lined up and each trunk was an educational thing on different countries.  You learned about the country and got a treat that was representative of the country.  GOOD LORD PEOPLE, THESE KIDS GO TO DAMN SCHOOL ALL THE TIME, AT LEAST LET THEM HAVE A LITTLE INANE FUN FOR A DAMN CHANGE!!!  I would have had Australia and given the little nippers Vegemite and told them, "Now, you learn from this, trick or treating means sugar and chocolate, trick or damn trunking or whatever the hell this is, means learning more crap and getting lousy crap to eat.  Now go be a little bastard until your mom and dad lets you go to a couple of doors and get something to rot out your teeth and don't let me catch you near a car trunk again. Happy damn Hallowe'en kid".
Do I make myself crystal clear?  I don't like Trunk or Treat.
The other thing is Fall Festivals, Harvest Festivals, Family Festivals, and the like. I grew up going to a Hallowe'en Carnival at my elementary school.  You could tell when it was October 1, advertisement signs were hung in the lunchroom from strings like garland. We got to wear our Hallowe'en costumes on Hallowe'en and I believe the Friday night before we had the Hallowe'en carnival. Every classroom had an event and you bought tickets to each event. You could go fishing in which you cast your line over a movable blackboard with cutout fish adorning the front and when your line gave a tug, you reeled in a toy!  Or you could visit the witches' house and feel a bowlful of worms (cold spaghetti), dead men's eyes (peeled grapes) or bowl of blood (ketchup).  Maybe you had the hankering to find out what the future held by visiting the fortune teller (who looked suspiciously like one of the fourth grade teachers) or walk through the haunted house (ignoring the Patch the Pony posters and desks lined up to make a path through horrors of volunteers jumping out with rubber masks in the blacklight).  I fail to see where I am, or anyone else that went to our school has been mentally scarred or turned out to be a Satanic priest because of Hallowe'en carnivals.
Then came the 80's where suddenly Hallowe'en was suddenly the devil's birthday and the grand and glorious crusade of imposed righteousness stripped us of Scream in the Dark put on by Campus Life Ministries, Savage House Haunted Hayride hosted by Methodist Youth and a host of other VERY good quality haunted houses.  Lies permeated about Hallowe'en and the deep evil that it imposed on our children that we must protect.  And I bought into it, for about 1 year and I was miserable that year. 
Never, ever, ever again.

Long Live Hallowe'en!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Meh Seance Cookies

Made planchette sugar cookies with a cutter from Spirit.  The cutter is cool but the recipe leaves a little to be desired.  Needed a bit more sugar and to ditch the almond extract.

Oh well, that's what I get from straying from Betty Crocker.

Man, who mated with an orangutang in my family tree?!

Hallowe'en Reflectors for that Hallowe'en/Other Holiday Decorating

As promised, here's a tutorial on some cool Hallowe'en reflectors...

This project is one of the many that I have put off for YEARS, which is unfortunate not only because I'm an expert procrastinator but also for the fact they came out great.

First of all, you need some tin reflectors off of the eBays.  They look like this...

They come in all sorts of different sizes and types and it doesn't matter if they are rusty or not, you're going to be painting them.  The good thing is that they were not that expensive when I got mine.

Next, you need a base coat of spray paint, to match whatever color glitter you want.  If you want black glitter, you need gloss black paint (although, you do realize that black doesn't reflect light).  I used orange but I tried silver too (didn't work too well).

Paint the reflectors with the gloss spray paint, both sides.  I paint the backs, let them dry and then paint the "good side".  

Be patient and let the paint cure for however long it takes (usually 24-48 hours).

Next comes the fun part...spray them with glitter!!!  I have tried the Krylon and the Rust-Oleum brands and I have to say that I like the Rust-Oleum better personally.  However, I have had some trouble with spraying the product out; the can has a tendency to clog.  I have had luck with short bursts of spraying instead of one long spray and immediately turning the can upside down and spraying a bit to clear the nozzle.  The glitter is orange, the carrier spray is clear so that is why we painted the reflectors orange.  You may have trouble finding this color, I did and had to order it on the ebays or Amazon, I forget which (note-I have noticed that a LOT of my eBay purchases are being shipped via Amazon so check the price before you order something, just a heads up).

Next, spray a coat of clear sealant on the reflectors.  Not only will this protect them from flaking and dulling, they will look all the more shiny and shiny is a good thing!

This is what I used, available from your local (hopefully family-owned) hardware store, worked wonderfully.
Now, once they are all dried and pretty, you can put them on your C9 light strand! If you can use LED, more power (or less in this case) to you, I couldn't find any orange LED C9 light strands so I bought some orange C9 bulbs online and used them.  I would much prefer LED not only for the energy savings sake but also for the heat, standard bulbs put off a lot of heat and can melt cords and other stuff if they are touching them.   Most C9 cords have 25 bulbs to them BTW.  So there you have it, don't put off this project like I did for 4 years (yes, it was 4 years), go ahead and make something pretty!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

My Traditionalist View of Hallowe'en

I'm a Hallowe'en snob.  I admit it.  Sure I respect chain saws, demented killers with hockey masks and possessed clowns/babies but as for me, I stick with Hallowe'en being the one night of the year where the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.  Doesn't mean I get the whole alien autopsy thing for Hallowe'en but if that's your thing, go for it. I'm just an old fashioned witch, ghost, cemetery and haint sort of guy.

Kind of disappointed in the current offerings of the season.  Usually I lickity split it to Target but there is woefully slim offerings.  Same goes for Walmart and the rest of the retailers I've been to. Even Spirit was low on thing that are unique and off the beaten track. I try to find stuff that is a bit gothic, Haunted Mansion stuff and if I'm lucky, that I can incorporate into my decor year round.

I'm currently in a 1920's-1960's retro Hallowe'en mood.  You can never go wrong with a tried and true Biestle skeleton or Denneson crepe paper witch. But those things are going for the big bucks on da eBays.  Don't even think about getting a paper mache pumpkin under 100.00, it just ain't going to happen.

Luckily, we are children (and adults) of the digital age and if you hunt a little, you can find some pretty groovy stuff.

World Market has this fabulous repro jack that I had a fit over and at 19.99, it isn't too bad of a deal.  Wouldn't put a candle in it but an electric tea light or drill a small hole in the back or bottom for a C9 bulb is easy.

Actually looks better in person, Here's the link

And some simple and elegant candelabras to display year round....

Here's the link to these beauties
They do have some repro paper cats and stuff but if you want to find the mother load of Beistle cut outs and stuff (and they have some freebies too!!!!), go to the source!

Too many good things to show so just follow this link and get your credit card ready!

Lastly, I am a little late but I did the door last night...
Will go into detail on the old fashioned light reflectors next post.
Lantern with hole drilled and led nightlight, pretty darn cool!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

When Preconceived Notions Meet the Rocks of Reality-My Kid and Hallowe'en

Where to freaking start?!  We just finalized the adoption this year but he has lived with us 2 years as a foster child so that means 2 Hallowe'ens together.

You ever hear something so out of the ordinary from your normal consciousness that you have to process it?  That happened to me when I found out my kid, who will now be known as Little Icky (for Ichabod Macabre) had never been trick or treating.  His idea of it was just get in the car, go to the parking lot and get candy from people with their trunks open. 


With my work cut out, I quickly did a dia de los muertos makeup job and headed out with him into the night, teaching him to say "trick or treat" and "thank you", which houses you go to and which ones you pass up and to make sure to compliment any and all decorations.  Overall, he made a pretty good haul and I took the customary 20% candy tax.

Year 2

"I want to be Spiderman."

I took a deep sigh and went through my head on places I could find accurate fabrics and accessories. Over the years, the fabric industry has narrowed and a lot of the companies have quit making good quality costuming fabrics or the prices have become astronomical but if it's out there, I could find it.

"Dang it kid, you're only giving me 2 weeks for this and......."

"They have it at Spirit"

..............long silence.

"Beg pardon?"

"The one I want is at Spirit."

The reality was slowly dawning upon me...rejection of my talents. 

"Kid, you do know that I am a costumer, an expert in sewing and and an accomplished tailor.  I can make you anything in the world, ANYTHING."

"This one has web shooters."

"If you want to be Harry Potter, I'll charge your wand with real magic! How about  D'Artagnan?  I'll forge you a real sword!  Please, how about Lucifer?  Huge black wings?  Dracula?  Silk cape?  Anything, this is Hallowe'en, the best night of the year!  You have a master at your disposal!  Let me make your costume one that people will talk about!"

"They have a 20% discount coupon."

"We are quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant sound...our home has no boundaries beyond which we cannot pass. We live in music, in a flash of color...we live on the wind and in the sparkle of a star!

And you want to trade it all for a half acre of crabgrass."


I know how you feel, I so know how you feel.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Dang, it's been 5 years.

My how time flies when you're having fu.....

It's been a lot of things but fun definitely hasn't been one of them.  As you can see from my previous post, I have been recently fired and that was going to be the start of a new blog as my new life as a househusband.

But you know, I can't stay away from Hallowe'en.  It's my passion, my life and it actually gets my sorry rear out of bed a lot of days so I owe it to Hallowe'en and myself to keep this continuing.  Is blogging a thing anymore?  Is it all Tumblr and Instagram and Facebook now?   I have no idea. I hope that there are some of you still out there.

During my length of absence, I had (failed) back surgery (4 screws and 3 rods plus a synthetic disk), we adopted a kid (a boy who just had his 12th birthday), was a manager of a health food restaurant, and got fired from a company out of retaliation for reporting harassment, and a couple of other things. Probably something else in there I did but that's the highlights. I haven't decorated much at all since 2011; I couldn't lift more than 10 pounds without excruciating pain so I let it all slide.  And while it slid, I slid with it.  It actually felt like a piece of my soul was gone, and yeah, I know that sounds hokey but it is true.  Hallowe'en was and is a part of me.

                                    Old, Gay and Gray

When you look into the mirror and the person on the other side looks like a FaceApp pic, you know you're in deep poo poo.  I have to tell people that mentally, I am about 22, physically, it feels like 104 1/2.   After I was fired, I was pretty (very) depressed, I felt like a failure so I did what any rational, logical person would do...I pulled out my Tarot deck.

Never really gave much credence in Tarot until I had a reading from a voodoo priestess in New Orleans and except for one or two small things, she nailed it. I have always been somewhat (very) interested in the occult, I have seen and experienced a LOT of weird stuff that can only be defined as paranormal.  Whether the Tarot is paranormal or a good way to gain insight in yourself by what you read into in a draw of some cards, I don't know but it works for me.

This was my very first spread and it said this: 
Inverted XIII swords:  I have been limiting myself in my creativity and not cutting myself enough slack
Upright queen of swords:  I need to get my butt in gear and focus.  There is someone nearby that is going to be helping you on a new endeavor and you need to remain clear and focused. (This one is eerily correct)\
Upright VII Pentacles:  In the long term, there will be fruit to the labors what I am doing.  Just persevere and everything will work out.

Daaaaaaaang, right on the money.  I suddenly felt better.  I had hope again.  

I was by myself one night last week and I decided to ask a pointed question: Where am I right now?  I shuffled the deck 3 times and cut them and drew the card....
The Fool.
To those unfamiliar with the Tarot, this is a very important card, the first in the deck.  This one said to me that I'm starting over, I'm on a new adventure and basically today is the first day of the rest of your new life. 

I'll take that any day....