Sunday, November 30, 2008

Haunted Tales of Youth

Ok, I admit it. I was a strange child. When I was in grade school and our class got to go to the library I would always pick out a book on one of two subjects: Halloween or magic.

One of my favorite books, that I somehow talked my mother into buying for me, was The Haunted House and Other Spooky Poems and Tales edited by Gladys Schwarcz and Vic Crume. I own the 1970 Scholastic version - the cover exploding in autumn colors around a Victorian style house that is most assuredly haunted. The back cover of the book states:

Here are chilling, thrilling tales and poems...ghosts, witches and evil creatures of the night. You'll shiver and shake, quiver and quake, at their ghastly moans and chuckles.

With a description like that, what's not to love?

The book features wonderful tales of ghosts and hauntings. My favorite was the Velvet Ribbon by Ann McGovern. I don't want to infringe on any copyrights so I won't post the story here - you'll have to pick up your own copy - but let's just say if your bride wears a velvet ribbon around her neck all the time there is probably a good reason for it.

I still have this book in my possession and despite the number of times it's been read it's in pretty good shape. The pages have yellowed and the cover is worn but the tales inside are still endearing. It's cold outside today so maybe I'll just curl up with a blanket and revisit the haunted tales of my youth.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ghoulie Girls Quick Project

I'm all for fancy props. I love animatronics, pimped bluckys and hand made tombstones but sometimes I get the itch to create and need it to be fast and easy.

Several years ago I was searching for just such a project. I wandered around my garage trying to find something I could put together quick. I spotted a rather plain and uninteresting corn broom and had a light bulb moment.

The hardest part of this project is locating a corn broom. Mine was old but you can pick one up a new one at Lowe's for under $10. While you're there grab some orange and black spray paint, 1" painter's or masking tape and surgical weight gloves.

Paint the entire broomstick orange. Let it get good and dry (a few days may be necessary). Once dry assemble several small strips of tape - just enough in length to go around the broom. You're going to start at the base of the broomstick and wrap your first piece of tape. Then, butt the next piece of tape against the first and wrap it around. Continue until your entire broomstick is wrapped.

Now, remove every other piece of tape so that the orange paint shows through. Spray over the orange with the black paint. Let it dry and remove the tape.

Wearing your gloves, spray black paint into one palm, rub your gloved hands together and lightly pat on the bristles for an aged look. Repeat this aging over your paintwork on the broomstick.

So simple even a zombie can do it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Dear Santa....

Ok, I realize that today is only the first official shopping day of the holiday season but I figure it's never too early to let Santa in on what I really want for Christmas. Besides, since my list is somewhat "abnormal" I want to allow him plenty of time.

So, let's get this letter started...

Dear Santa,

I realize that you're very busy this time of year so I'll get right to the point. Enclosed please find my Christmas list. You will notice that in order to save you time I have included pictures, stores and pricing. (See, despite what you've heard - I am a very good ghoul, err, girl.)

Jack the Ripper Poster from Madam Talbot's Victorian Lowbrow - $12.95

Eyeball Light from Grandin Road - $49

Burlap Scarecrow from GrimVisions on Etsy - $50

Jack Black Root Beer and Treats from Simply Classic Gift Baskets - $55

Frank and Bride from Gothic Rose Antiques - $2500

Kinnitty Castle in Ireland - 18,000,000

Warmest regards,
The Ghoulie Girls

P.S. I understand the castle may be a bit over-the-top so I'm sending a cc of this to The Great Pumpkin - just in case.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Turkey

Ahhhhhhhh Thanksgiving. One of those few days of the year where the only places open are convenience stores and K-Mart. It's also the day before Black Friday which means after you collapse from your Tryptophan laden turkey dinner you can peruse the sales fliers and organize a plan of attack on that Christmas shopping list.

At this very moment there are people laying out their ads, making lists, comparing prices and organizing their relatives for their assault on holiday shopping. Strategies are being laid out and if you don't have one by the time you get in line, well, then you're an amateur.

I always had a strategy. I talked to employees as they entered the building to find out where the items I wanted were located. My list was ranked, taking into consideration scarcity, best price and "must haves". I focused on one store only and there was never a time I wasn't one of the first 5 in line. This is commercialism in it's finest hour.

If this is your first venture into the Black Friday arena here a few tips we've picked up over the years by watching the pros:

* Don't go too early. Wait until about 20 minutes before the store opens and stand off to the side. Once the doors open everyone who's been waiting for 2 hours will be so focused on getting in that they won't notice that you cut in line in front of them.

* When the doors open don't walk - run! If you drop your keys, purse, coat - keep running. The only time to stop is if you drop your list.

* If someone grabs what you want promptly yank it out of their hands and whack them over the head with it

* Don't let someone's cart stand in your way - hurdle it. Really, you can make it.

Personally I no longer go out on Black Friday until at least 10am. These days there's rarely a deal that makes me want to stand in line at 4am freezing my nether regions off and getting acquainted with people who'd rather kill me than lose the chance to get a bargain.

See, Halloween isn't so scary after all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Guns, Roses and Glitter

I'm an extremist. When I get a vision of how something should be done there's just no talking me out of it (just ask Tracy - she'll tell ya). I call it Axl Rose syndrome. (Pure waste of talent and it's about damn time he got the new Guns N Roses CD out.)

Where was I? Guns N Roses, Axl, extremes - oh yes! Being an extremist is akin to being a perfectionist only worse. I graduated from perfectionist a long time ago. I have tons of over-the-top ideas bouncing around in my grey matter but when it comes to getting them completed, well, that's another story. Even little projects can cut me off at the knees if I don't see them coming together as I envisioned.

Take this past Halloween for example. Simple project. I wanted a black and white theme in my dining room for the season. My centerpiece was to be skulls covered in black and white glitter (eerily elegant). Simple enough right? Uh-huh.

I sat down one evening with the best of intentions. I had my skulls, assorted other bones, glitter, glue, newspaper - I was ready. I covered my first skull in black glitter and set it aside to dry. Now to bang out a white one. "That doesn't look right" I thought but I kept going. Looks a little gamy. Finally I grabbed the bottle of glitter and took a good look. It was the palest, pale, pond scum green - it wasn't white at all. Uggggg!

Well, you see where this is going. No white glitter, late at night.... project on hold. And, as of today, it is still on hold. Now, probably no one could even tell it was green unless it was right up against something stark white but since I knew it was green that was all she wrote. I think I need an intervention.

Well here's what I've accomplished so far:

Maybe you can try your hand at this and actually finish it. As for me, I'm off to pick up a copy of the new Guns N Roses CD.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Every so often I get a hold of a word and chew it until all the flavor is gone. My current word is freaks. My neighbor - the inspiration.

About 10 days ago I pulled into our subdivision and what to my wondering eyes did appear? My neighbor had their Christmas trees (yes - that's plural - trees) up and lit. Freaks. 24 hours later the festival of lights had oozed it's way to the exterior in a billion gigawatts of glory. Freaks. There ought to be a law that you can not turn on your holiday lights until Thanksgiving evening. For crying out loud I still have pumpkins in my yard.

Tonight as I passed the freak show that was akin to a landing beacon welcoming extraterrestrials I thought "thank God they don't live right across the street". But as I crossed town I found, to my dismay, that the freakiness was contagious. I lost count of the number of houses displaying Christmas lights. What? They can't wait another 48 hours??

During my drive of lights I flipped through my XM Radio (which reminds me - send complaint to XM/Sirius. I mean really - Octane over SquiZZ ? It's 6pm where the hell is Grant Random? The execs need an ID check!) and found that freaks were taking up arms nationwide. There were now [gasp] holiday channels playing nothing but Christmas music 24/7.

Just when I thought I couldn't take another Hallmark moment I pulled up to the stop light and saw the most beautiful sight. A tiny house with one of those huge, hideous airblown turkeys and orange icicle lights. Hallelujah! The world had not gone mad! I was not alone in holding on to the last vestige of Autumn!

As the light turned green I took one last look and felt a bit less Grinchy. After all, I was on my way to meet the hubby and buy new Christmas lights. Freaks.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thrill of the Hunt

What do you get when you cross an early Thanksgiving visit home with an old high school friend that is auctioning off her store antiques? It's what I call a "Halloween Score".

Jeanise and I go way back. Don't even ask me how far as I like to think I'm still 2o-something. We share a love for old stuff but she's much better at sniffing it out, so, when I realized she was having an auction on the same day I'd be home for Thanksgiving I thought it was a bonus.

After scarfing down the Thanksgiving feast I headed out to the auction which was already well underway. I perused the trailers loaded with miscellaneous vintage wares faining disinterest (no sense letting anyone else know I might be on to something). My eyes caught a glimmer of old orange and black - bingo - vintage Halloween. Now we're talking my language! I casually made my way around the trailer and eyeballed the paper mache Jack O' Lantern - hmmmm tiny and in bad shape. Next. The pan style noisemaker. Dang - already have that one. What else? That's when I saw them!

I placed myself close to but not in front of my target and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Why is it that when I zone in on one thing the auctioneer takes his precious time getting to it?

Finally. The box is moved to the center of the trailer and the prizes are laid out before the crowd. The bidding begins. I bid. Ack - competition! I bid again - she bids - I bid....back off lady these are mine! What's this? She bows out? Ha! She must have sensed she didn't stand a chance.

The contents are carefully placed back in the box and presented to me. Inside lay 5 vintage composition dolls in various degrees of decay. Like a protective mother I wrap my arms around the box and stare lovely at my new pets admiring their cracked faces, missing limbs and disintegrating clothing. Faces only a Halloween fanatic could love.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prepare to be blogged

Fifteen years ago we hosted our first Halloween party. I still remember sitting on the living room floor with tiny ghost invitations filling them all out by hand. We painstakingly planned a haunted menu, bought books and magazines for inspiration and we scavenged every shop in town for spooky decorations. We agonized over every detail of our scavenger hunt and sewed our fingers to the bone on our costumes. We had a great time but as they say - we've come a long!

Today the Halloween parties are more elaborate and have grown to the point that they can no longer be held at home. It's not unusual for a past guest to ask "When's the party and what's the theme?" so they can get it on their calendar and start planning their costumes. Nothing is more exciting than knowing people look forward to the annual event.

We love the season and there's rarely a conversation between us where Halloween is not brought up. We thought a blog would be the perfect fit to share our obsession with other Ghoulies.

And so it begins...
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