Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I have had the good fortune of connecting with many haunters. Some I chit chat with online on a regular basis and some I get the wonderful honor of visiting with via phone. I've never met any of these ghouls in person but to do so would be akin to meeting a rock star.
This week was a banner week. I've had two brief brushes with greatness when I exchanged a couple of quick emails with Bones of Haunt Style and Ghoul Friday author of the upcoming book Brains vs. Coffee. A phone call with Chris Baker of Haunt Cast and another with someone I consider to be a good friend and a very talented entity, Scott Stoll of Stolloween, were icing on the cake.
Perhaps we should change our name from Ghoulie Girls to Ghoulie Groupies? There are so many we admire in the business of haunting. But, and here's the kicker, one thing we find to be almost universal is the willingness to share.
It's rare to find a haunter who won't go out of their way to offer advice, share techniques or provide direction. You would think there would be a lot of competitiveness but from what we see from the cheap seats it is exactly the opposite. Through the haunt community runs a vein of appreciation for others of like mind. No haunt is unworthy, no question is silly and everyone is welcomed into the community. Haunters truly are a most generous bunch.
So, to those of you haunting the season know this... We Ghoulies think you rock! We thank you for the information you provide, the photos you post, the insight you share and the friendships you offer. May you have a most haunted Halloween season!
Monday, August 24, 2009
Martha Stewart just sent us an email. Yes, we're sure that it was sent by her personally since we spoke so favorably of her in our post yesterday. She's invited us to enroll in her Halloween Party Workshop. Billed as "8 Weeks of Fun" featuring unique party plans, decorations and more. And - by signing up we will automatically be entered to win one of three Halloween prize packs from Martha Stewart Crafts. Care to join us?
In other news... one of our favorite ghoulies, Boo2U, send us this link to aid in our quest for creative Halloween ideas involving hair gel - Fountain Blood. Why not whip up a batch today?
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming...
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I love her ideas (though rumors abound that they are not all her own) but I find it absolutely impossible that anyone could be this creative, organized and put together. I often mumble to myself that she's only so together because she has a huge staff and no hubby or kiddos to trip over. Then I mumble in jealousy how I'd love to have a huge staff (or at least a wife's wife to do all those mundane chores for me).
How lovely it would be to spend a day at the garden store chatting up the experts, picking out plants, urns, furniture (with no real budget to speak of) and then send my garden team to pick it up. I could then have my kitchen staff prepare me a nice English tea and blueberry scones while I bark out directions on where things are to be planted and placed. (No, No, No! I specifically said to use the striped umbrella with this set of chairs!)
This Halloween season Grandin Road has teamed up with Martha Stewart, as evidenced by their catalog I received the other day. I always look forward to the catalog for inspiration but this year it's Glitter Mania, or is it Glitter Gone Wild or Giddy for Glitter. I swear the woman has glittered everything within an inch of it's life and slapped a nice pricey price tag on it.
I love her glitter. The colors are excellent and it's nice and fine. It's what I used on these pieces I was working on last Fall that gave me fits. And that brings me to the point in this badly written entry which is this... if you're going with a sparkly Halloween theme, do it yourself!
Martha jumped on the glitter train last season and this year she's milking it for all it's worth. I love the look but I think even if you purchase her skeleton ($79) and her glitter (check pricing at Michael's) you can do it for less than $149! And glitter Jacks from $49-$69? Pfffttt!
Make your own. Trust me on this. Martha doesn't have a thing on you!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The good news (if there really is any) is that one of my many obligations caused a brain spark and I remembered a haunting trick from several years back.
It began as I was cleaning out the theater Green Room at my oldest son's high school. Why was I cleaning this room? Well, my fiendish friends, this is what happens when a drama program is cut and you open your mouth to get it back. Yep, yours truly ended up the Drama Director. [Note to self: super glue lips shut]
This room was a wreck. I brought in lawn and leaf bags and went to work. Tattered fabric - trash. Ancient makeup - trash. Old, gross vat of yellow hair gel - trash - WAIT! Hold the hair gel! (This is where my memory kicked in.)
Several years ago I created a simple haunt in our garage for my son's Halloween party. One section was a mad scientist's laboratory for which I had gathered an assortment of odd shaped glassware and other oddities. I wanted something besides liquid in a couple of the jars and I found the perfect solution at the Dollar Store - a tub of clear hair gel (also available in green, yellow or blue).
I globed the hair gel into a glass and shoved squishy eyeballs into the goo. Then I topped off the surface with a bit of faux blood. Here's a couple of pics I managed to scrounge up.
I think this gelatinous goo might work well in other areas of a haunt. Let it drip off a tree or smear it on walls and allow it to drip down. I do know that it looks pretty sinister in a mad lab setting from a 4th grader's point of view. Plus it has the added benefit of being heavily perfumed making your haunt smelly good and it will be at the ready should your Bride of Franky character's hair start to fall.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I think I have an obsessive personality. If you've been following us for anytime at all you know that I have a thing for vids and music. I can't help it. ::sigh::
Tracy tolerates my obsessions probably because they mostly tie in with Halloween. God bless her dark little heart.
I'll be brief today as it's Friday and I know you are all planning hot date nights, parties and all the fun, wild things I left behind in my youth. For those of you staying in and scampering to finish props and other haunted goodies I've got some dark/haunting tunes for you. (First two vids provided just for the music - there really is no vid for these.)
Johnny Hollow - Alchemy from Dirty Hands
Amon Tobin - Bloodstone from Foley Room
Still dark but going to pick up the pace a bit with this one as I don't want you falling to sleep at the prop. I so miss Skin (she's my age and looks just too damn good) and the boys but she's been working on a solo career (though I hear SA is getting back together).
Skunk Anansie - Charlie Big Potato from Post Orgasmic Chill
P.S. If this last one brings you visions of Warrick Brown (yum, drool) from CSI you are not hallucinating. The song was featured in Table Stakes (Season I Episode 15).
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Het Spookslot is the main show of the Haunted Castle ride in the Dutch theme park Efteling. From what I can gather it is a ten minute show in an indoor graveyard setting housed in the largest theme park in the Netherlands. In other words it's the Dutch equivilant of Disney's Haunted Mansion.
The park opened in 1952 and the haunted walk through attraction has been running since 1978. Reveiws are mixed on the scares and animatronics but the setting and music (Danse Macabre) appear to make up for it.
I don't care about reviews. One look at this place and I'm hooked! The setting is awesome with excellent architecture and I just love the lighting. Someone definitely knows what they're doing here.
So now, how to go about convincing the hubby we need to head to the Netherlands???
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Nevertheless, I may be in the minority... or not. I know that I sell a lot of gory stuff (and I thank those that purchase it) but I think there are a lot of DIY prop builders out there that tend to lean away from a full fledged blood bath. That is not to say that a severed head or a fountain running red couldn't end up in my yard haunt but Ed Gein in all his gory glory is not welcome. I don't know why as I get a kick out of going to haunts of this sort but for some reason I don't tend to add this type of prop to my own scenes.
To each his own right? Well sometimes I need to get out and see how the other half lives so I'm stepping outside my comfort zone to seek out the gory haunting goodies out there.
I don't think anyone was harmed in the making of this Bag of Flesh from Haunted Props but I could be wrong. Don't hold me to it. Gives a whole new meaning to making your skin crawl eh?
Skinned bear anyone? From Fright Props comes this menacing menagerie of mucus and muscle (say that five times fast).
Got guts? Well I know where you can get some or at least where you can find out how to make some. Halloween-Haunted-House has the great foam (pun intended) how-to (if you've been hiding under a rock and didn't know how this was done).
Comical but still disgusting is this bloody bucky guts creation by Back Yard Butcher Props.
Well, I'm completely grossed out so I'm outta here. But before I go I leave you with one last sick and twisted bloody goody from The Horror Dome. For those of you who desire a full size human carcass your wish is my command.
Just goes to show you can find nearly anything on the web.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The list features the 12 best haunts across the country. Top of the list is Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary located in Philadelphia. This is the real deal! The Penitentiary was completed in October 1829 and closed in January of 1970. It is a National Historic Landmark, is known by the acronym ESP, once housed Al Capone and the haunt takes place behind 30' prison walls. I really don't know what could be more creepy.
The prison is owned by the city of Philadelphia and daytime prison and museum tours are available. For the Halloween season five haunted attractions come to life at the prison. They also offer Family Nights which is the same show but actors are on the look out for kids who can tell the monsters to "be good" if they are too scary.
Not to surprising is that there have been reports of hauntings within the prison. The site has several videos of shows you can view including Most Haunted Live (Travel Channel), America's Ghost Hunters (TLC), Ghost Hunters (Sci-Fi) and MTV's Fear which explore some of these sightings.
It will probably be a while before I can justify to the hubby the need to swing over to Philly for the Halloween season to check out this haunt so if you get a chance to go be sure to give me the scoop.
As for the other 11 haunts rounding out the top 12? Well, you'll have to check them out yourself on Haunted Attraction Magazine.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Our kids have always had original homemade costumes. Don't misunderstand - I don't love to sew (neither does Tracy) but I do love the creative process. Until I got in the Halloween retail business my sons had never had a store bought costume. Years ago when my youngest demanded to be Spiderman I gave in because I didn't really want to remake what was so readily available. He came around though and last year he insisted on an original wicked jester creation. (Mom wins!! He's the one on the right.)
I know I'm on a movie roll lately with this blog (and I apologize I will try to be more original with the next entry). But - I especially love movies that showcase characters in strange and wonderful costumes woven into a twisted tale. Just such a movie is on the horizon - Alice In Wonderland.
I never miss a Burton movie and a movie that features Burton, Depp and Bonham Carter?? Be still my heart! (Sorry for the ads in the vid - this one is hard to get as they keep shutting it down so watch it quick!)
The time is drawing near for the ultimate costume excuse of the year, Halloween! As a retailer who markets "off the rack" costumes I know this may sound strange but - be original. Take some time to dream up something unique and bring it to life. Perhaps take a cue from Burton - take a classic and create something twisted.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Desperate times call for horror flicks.
Many years ago I read somewhere that when times get tough the horror industry comes alive. I guess taking a detour out of reality and watching teenagers get hacked to bits makes us feel better about our real life woes? Apparently these are really desperate times because there has been a slew of horror, haunting and dark movies recently and more are in the loop.
Last night I actually had a rare evening with nothing on the agenda. Hubby was going to settle in and watch the Chiefs (it's too early for football!) so I decided I'd hit RedBox and grab The Haunting In Connecticut.
"Based on true events" is the beginning caption. Actually, inspired by real events would have been a more accurate account. The movie is very loosely based on the real life supposed haunting of a rental house and it's tenants, the Snedeker family.
The Snedeker's moved into the rental to be closer to a Connecticut hospital when the drive from New York got to be too much for their son plagued with cancer. Unbeknownst to them the house's previous life was as a funeral home.
I remember this in the media in the late 80's and a book about the haunting titled In A Dark Place by Ray Garton was released in the early 90's. If you follow this kind of thing you are familiar with the controversy surrounding this story. Here's a brief rundown of some of the scuttlebutt...
Now before anyone jumps down my throat I'm not taking sides in the matter. I couldn't really say whether there is any truth to the story as I was not there. I can say that based on reports from the family, the author of the first book (a new one is coming out soon by the mother Carmen Reed Snedecker) and the Discovery Channel episode on this haunting that the movie is not remotely close to the original story. And, it wasn't supposed to be a factual account type movie so that's Hollywood for ya.
Actually the movie is pretty good if you like this kind of thing. I was especially impressed with the acting of Virgina Madson (the mom) and Elias Koteas (the son).
So if you haven't seen it you might want to give it a go but take that whole "based on true events" thing with a grain of salt.
P.S. If you are the curious sort like me and want to learn more about this haunting run a web search on Carmen Snedeker, Carmen Reed, Ed and Lorraine Warren or Ray Garton for starters. This is a hot topic among ghost hunters groups and there is quite a bit of interesting discussion out there.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I love to be organized. This doesn't mean that I am organized it simply means that I love those brief moments in time where I feel organized. Hence the need to have a yard sale every couple of years.
When the mood strikes me I barrel through the house at ninety to nothing chucking item after item into boxes in anticipation of clearing out junk and making a few bucks while I'm at it.
Last Spring Tracy and I had just such a moment and we both gathered up treasures and trinkets, large and small and organized another of our house cleaning events. Two households that when put together could rival a small city in terms of junk. We ponder our poor purchase decisions, have our "what was I thinking when I bought this" discussions and mark things to sell (we are cheap!). Little did I know that here, a bit over a year later, I would regret an item I sold for pennies on the dollar.
What was this treasure you ask? A Roomba. I purchased this marvel of household cleaning when they first hit the market. I used it couple of months and then promptly went out and bought a Dyson. It sat here unused for several years and I was anxious to turn it loose on some other poor unsuspecting victim. Big mistake!
Check this out:
What the hell?! Why didn't I think of that?! Even before I noticed the name of this clever contraption, Broomba, I could see how it was done. Uggggggggg!
Grandin Road's Halloween email hit my inbox a few days ago and I finally had a moment to take a peek. I wish I hadn't. Now I have to scrounge around and find a Roomba. Hmmmm, might have to take in a few yard sales this weekend.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The alcohol industry has to be one of the most creative when it comes to ads. I mean who doesn't look forward to the Budweiser commercials at Super Bowl? They never miss an opportunity to entice you to include their brand at your next St Patricks Day party, Christmas gathering or New Year's celebration. Halloween is also among their target holidays.
Sometimes I hate the brand but love the advertising gimic. Several years ago I conned a local liquor store into selling me their Coors Light inflatable pumpkins. (Bleech - Coors Light!) I also convinced them to part with this full size Miller Lite Halloween standee:
Our game room is decked out to the gills in advertising for this particular vice but I'm always on the lookout for more. During a recent scout about the web I stumbled into Smashing Apps and found some wonderful Heineken ads. I like Heineken beer but I really love these ads. (If you know where I can get copies of these in print let me know!)
UPDATE: Shadows sent us links to two more of the Heineken posters we hadn't seen so we're adding them here. Thank you Shadows!
Monday, July 6, 2009
In this life both of us are the quintessential "soccer" mom (though neither of us have children that play soccer). We're married with the standard 2.5 children (Tracy has three, I have two - do the math). We work, taxi kids, cook meals, do laundry, etc., etc. Yet we're drawn to the darker side. Perhaps an escape from a routine that revolves around things mundane?
I love cemeteries - always have. What is morbid and eerie to some seems utterly peaceful to me. Wandering around a cemetery reading headstones curious as to how these souls lived and died probably would give some (cough *husband* cough) reason to have me committed. But I figure since I'll spend more time below ground than above it I might as well get familiar. As they say, memento mori.
Time does not always allow an on site cemetery excursion but there are plenty of resources online. Several months ago I stumbled upon Dark Destiny. I must warn you before you visit - if you love old cemeteries you can waste some serious time at this site.
Quote from the site:
...To the uninitiated a Cemetery conjures up images of almost identical headstones set out in symmetrical rows, for the modern day Cemetery this wouldn't be too far from the truth.
But step back through time to the Victorian age and you'll find vast gardens of the dead. Mausoleums, tombs and catacombs aplenty, still shelter thousands of ornate coffins with their Victorian inhabitance over a century into their eternal slumber...
(Gardens of the dead?! OMG - I think I just drooled on my keyboard!)
Loaded with photos of tombstones from over 20 cemeteries in England, including the Magnificent Seven, it's a visual delight. You can even download a photo slide show from most of the locations. In addition to the photos there is a history on each cemetery, stories on any myths associated with the location, notables buried at the cemetery and what bus to take if you're so fortunate to visit in person.
Whether your passion is cemeteries in general or if you need a little tombstone inspiration for your haunt this site can not be missed. But - don't blame us if you get lost and don't remerge for several hours.
Friday, July 3, 2009
We blog in batches. Yep, the secret is out! I know, I know, you thought we popped in here in the wee hours of the morning with a coffee IV to bang out our blog. This is not possible because I am NOT a morning person and Tracy is usually at work somewhere between 4:30-6:30 am. (freak)
Another secret... we don't finish one blog and go to the next. We grab pieces here and there and fill in until the blog is complete. I can't even count the number of half written blogs we have. Some are awaiting pictures, witty commentary (ha!) or some other little thing.
In an effort to clean up some of the chaos behind the scenes I was going through these half written blogs and trying to get them finished up. That's when I came across HowCast.com that I mentioned yesterday which then led me to VideoJug.com.
Now many of you know my fascination with vid sites. (Yes, yes - I'm in a 10 step program) So, when I came across these sites I completely forgot I was finishing up old blogs and started watching vid after vid after vid. (I can't help it. It's like eatting candy corn - can't eat just one.)
I came upon a video titled Monster Painter so of course I had to check it out:
Now, these are basically presented as haunted yard art. However, I thought some of these might be fun to add to walls in a haunt maybe with a strobe light. Perhaps try them with glow-in-the-dark paint? Or do the white on black and cast a black light over them.
The creator of these "critters" (as they are called) offers 10 varieties that are available via download (Hey! No waiting!). The prices are reasonable especially since you get a PDF file and you use the same "critter" many times.
So, if you don't have enough on your Halloween to-do list you might want to check this out at MonsterPainter.com.
Sorry, gotta run! I just did a Halloween search on Google videos and it returned 352,000 results. I've got a lot of watching to do....
Thursday, July 2, 2009
A recent vid watching frenzy on howcast unearthed these fun Halloween bits.
Plagued by the undead? Well follow the tips in this vid to rid yourself of those pesky vampires once and for all!
Maybe it's because it's so freaking hot here but this vid on how to do fx frozen makeup caught my eye. This would be great on a corpse in a meat locker type setting.
Man, all this vid watching made me thristy! This last vid shows you how to impress your Halloween guests with a Flaming Zombie drink.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Over the past several years there's been a movement afoot bringing to life a whole new genre of dolls - the creepy kind. Maybe it started with the Living Dead Dolls or Chucky from Child's Play but now the creepy doll selection is bursting at the seams.
About five years ago I had the good fortune to stumble upon Zosomoto on ebay, aka Jodi Cain of TatteredRags.net. I just had to have one of her hand stitched rag dolls and managed to snag this little wicked witch.
I recently stumbled upon Jade Perez's New Age Dolls. Below is her Nurse Betty creation. I can imagine a character like Nurse Betty overseeing the patients in an asylum - she's that creepy!
I'm only scratching the surface of the creepy doll artists out there but I want to squeeze in a couple of doll inspired creations.
And for the truly over-the-top creepy doll project check out this collection of Toddlerpede's on Inventor Spot. This one is sure to give me a few nightmares!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I am, however, the owner of one pathetic, lazy and absolutely spoiled beagle by the name of Newman. Newman hails from North Carolina. My oldest son and husband found him online on a Humane Society website and he was about to be put down.
Enter mom - the savior of beagles named Newman in NC. Because my "boys" were absolutely set on having this particular dog I called the Humane Society and inquired about getting this dog to Kansas. Let me tell you, this was no easy feat.
First of all, Newman needed to be "fixed". (Ya know, the whacking off of his maleness.) $$ [cha ching].
Then I had to purchase a crate. $$ [cha ching]
Then I had to purchase a plane ticket, but animals can only fly in cargo and it was summer and it was hot so the flight had to be in at night. $$ [cha ching]
Then I would have to drive to the airport and hour and a half away to retrieve him. $$ [cha ching]
So, the night of Newman's scheduled midnight arrival I packed my then 6 year old son into the car at 10pm and off we went. To pick up his new dog.
It was a dark and stormy night. No - really it was. There were some terrible lightening storms and my hubby was calling every 10 minutes to see if we were ok. (freak)
We arrived on time only to find that the flight was delayed due to storms. The flight would be in around 2 am. Ok, back to the car to listen to the radio and rest a bit.
2am - no flight - no dog. Flight has been diverted....to Dallas/Fort Worth. Back to the car.
3am - no flight - no dog. Flight was actually diverted to....Houston. Back to the car.
5am - the eagle, errr, beagle has landed!!
Our family loves this mutt and, as far as I can tell, other than the ability to do absolutely nothing useful - he is without fault. (Here's the mutt, without costume and few years younger)
And here are some pets decked out in their Halloween garb:
Even a white kitty will look wicked with this witchy cat costume found on TheCat'sMeow:
Snuzzy.com offered two great pets in costume. A miniature version of Harry Potter's Fluffy and a puny pirate:
If you have a pet with an attitude that won't let you dress him up then pop over to Feline Fido Pet Designs and pick him up a festive Halloween collar. We also found a great selection of doggie costumes and collars at Trendy Puppy.
Hmmm Newman may be getting a makeover.
Monday, June 29, 2009
My youngest sister sent me an email the other day that showcased some amazing sand sculptures. I suppose she was surfing the web in an effort to stay cool (no waves for surfing here in Kansas). Always thinking in the Halloween mode I wondered if anyone had taken the opportunity to combine this art form with Halloween. Needless to say, I was not disappointed:
This first one (posted by serakatie on flickr) is Charlie Brown's Snoopy resting on a pumpkin:
This one came up in a google image search:
And finally, a Hellraiser's PinHead sculpture found at Oddee.com: