Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another one come and gone

Well, folks, I can't believe it, but Halloween 2010 has already passed us by. It seemed to come and go so quickly. I was driving by Michael's tonight and I thought to myself how I will miss all the Halloween stuff. I have to wait a whole other year to see it all again, and that's always kind of a depressing thought. I get really excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there's something special about Halloween that fills me with excitement like no other holiday. My Halloween decorations are still up because I haven't had the time to take them down. Tonight, I turned on the orange lights strung around the deck 'cuz I still want to have the feel of Halloween around me. I will be taking everything down in a day or so and packing it all away again until next year. Funny. I almost feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend. Luckily, the Christmas stuff will go up before long, so things won't look too empty. I put one of my faux jack-o-lanterns that I carved this year on top of the dvd player on the dresser. I figured I'd enjoy its spooky glow once more before I put it in storage. I used a pattern from Zombie Pumpkins called 'Patch Master' on it, and I really love how it looks all lit up. I love scarecrows. This one is truly sinister.

Farewell, Halloween. I will look forward to your visit next year!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's All Hallow's Eve

Well, friends (or should I say, "fiends"?), our favorite day is finally here! Can you believe it?! We wait anxiously all year long, hanging in there through the long, hot summer months, waiting for those first signs of Fall to pop up in stores everywhere. It seems an eternity has passed by the time October 31st gets here, and when it finally does, it's over before we know it. The Halloween decorations are up, and the pumpkins are carved and waiting for the first TOTs to arrive. This is the night we all look forward to all year. Somehow, it almost seems surreal to me when the big night actually arrives. I think of all the things I wanted to do, but didn't get a chance to. Ah, well! There is always next year to add in that one decoration we didn't put up, or that prop we worked hard on and didn't quite finish. One thing is for sure: Halloween will come around again!

I wanted to tell my fellow bloggers and Halloween lovers Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Haunted attraction

I discovered a new haunt to check out this year, and I really think it looks like a good one! I love going to haunts every Halloween. It's probably my favorite thing to do to celebrate the holiday. There's just nothing quite like getting in costume (assuming the haunt allows you to dress up) and going with friends and getting spooked by a bunch of costumed characters, scary music, and, if you're lucky, a truly spooky haunted attraction. I didn't make it to any haunts last year, so I'm hoping Callson Manor will quench my thirst for something really spooktacular!

I can't believe Halloween is almost upon us! It's almost like there's a part of me that doesn't want it to get here *too* quickly because it's always kind of depressing when it's over. I think it's mostly the excitement and anticipation of waiting for it...knowing it's coming....and the thrill of getting ready with decorations, costumes, party plans, etc. That's what really does it for me. I love to see scarecrows and pumpkins on porches, and witches crashed into front doors as I drive by peoples' houses. I love the pumpkin patches along the side of the road, with hay bales and scarecrows which seem to beckon to onlookers to stop and pick a pumpkin. What a wonderful time of the year! Let's enjoy it while it lasts. :)

Callson Manor

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Something wicked this way comes..

If you're looking for something truly unusual for your haunt this year (or if you have a truly macabre taste for interior decorating), you should really enjoy '10 Coffin Furniture Ideas: Caskets Couches to Death Desks'. I never imagined there was actually a company that makes all sorts of coffin-shaped furniture for the home or office. Desks, shelves, tables, and even a pool table are among the eccentric items you can order. A home filled with this stuff would make the Addams Family mansion look almost normal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ahhh, pumpkins

I figured that at any day now, pumpkins would start arriving at the nearby grocery stores. Sure enough, I was near a Safeway tonight and spotted the first big batch! Those most famous of all Halloween icons were sitting there by the entranceway in all their bright orange glory, as if waiting patiently to be taken home to be prepared for the big Halloween night. I did not purchase one. Not yet. As tempted as I was, I figured I would wait just a little bit longer, perhaps until October to celebrate its arrival. I cannot wait to bring some home and witness their ghastly transformations from ordinary squash, to creepy monstrosities. I am looking forward to frightening faces glowing in the dark, creating a feeling of menacing delight, as they light the deck and walkway. And that smell of burning pumpkin flesh! One of the most wonderful smells on earth. It is the very essence of Halloween for me. I have already carved a faux pumpkin, and as cool as it is to have some that never rot, it cannot compare to the real thing. Sort of like how convenient it is to simply put up a fake Christmas tree with the lights already strung up and ready to go. Without that Christmas tree smell filling up the house, it just isn't the same. I like to have a few faux pumpkins and real ones so that I don't feel I'm missing out on anything.

I don't have long to wait now. My craving for all things Halloween will soon be satisfied.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Carving patterns

If you're into carving jack-o-lanterns as much as I am, then you should really enjoy this site that I ventured upon some time ago:

When it comes to patterns to choose from, Zombie Pumpkins definitely takes home the prize. There are many different categories to pick from, including characters from movies, TV, cartoons, and bands. You do have to pay for most of them, but you're given the choice as to how much you want to pay for however many patterns you want. I didn't think the prices were at all bad, however; especially when you consider how incredible they are. The best part is you don't have to wait for a pattern book to be shipped--you just pay, print, and get ready to carve! You can even submit your carvings and they will post them on the site. My favorite category is 'Grinning Jacks'. I'll definitely be carving some of these evil new creations this year, and will happily share them! ;)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Halloween magazines

They started showing up in grocery stores and magazine aisles a month ago. I was very impressed with Martha Stewart's Halloween magazine last year, and I've been anxiously awaiting it to come out again this year. Well, yesterday my wish came true! It isn't the cheapest magazine ($9.99), but if you love Halloween like I do, it's definitely worth the money. There were some really great decorating ideas that I had never thought of or seen before. One example was instructions for how to make spider egg sacs using a foam egg, a white nylon stocking, and plastic spiders. It truly looked like a big egg sac about to burst with tons of baby spiders...creepy! There were also instructions on making your porch look like it's been taken over by giant spiders, with webbing covering everything except a tiny slit for an entrance. There are tons of great recipes, too, of course, as well as costumes for kids and adults. It's a pretty thick magazine, and I had a lot of fun looking through it and getting new ideas.

In the check-out aisle, I also grabbed a little Betty Crocker booklet called Fall Baking. I couldn't resist buying something with grinning jack-o-lantern cake pops on the cover. The booklet is loaded with delicious-sounding recipes that I am already dying to try. Some that really caught my eye are the Trick-or-Treat Cheesecake, Gingerbread Cupcakes, and tons of different flavored cobblers. I am really looking forward to making (and enjoying!) these little goodies.

My favorite time of year is finally almost here. Halloween and Fall are showing up everywhere, and the weather should soon be cooling off with Autumn's arrival. The leaves will soon be turning their gorgeous colors of orange, red and yellow, and pumpkins will be popping up on porches and walkways. I already have a Fall and Halloween banner hanging in my yard to welcome the season! Very soon, that smell that I love so much--raging fire pits and wood stoves--will fill the air. I am already filled with excitement!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Halloween festivities

It's almost never too early for me to start searching for local Halloween events. Last night, I decided to do such a search, and I was quite surprised at what I found. I came across at least several haunted houses I hadn't heard of before. I plan to check them out this year. Here is a short list of what I stumbled across:

Callson Manor

Run by a professional animatronics prop designer, I was very impressed (at least) with the website. They claim they are not your average haunted attraction with teenagers running around in ski masks. I love that there is quite an in-depth backstory behind the haunt. The creators really went to extremes to make a great site, and came up with an intriguing legend. There is even a great video to go along with it to really peak your interest.

Fright Planet

This one looks a little like a more typical haunt you might find, such as Gyro's World of Terror, but it still looks like lots of fun.

I'm excited to be finding some events for this year when it isn't even September.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

'Spirit Halloween' superstore

Halloween is truly on its way: I spotted the first 'Spirit' store yesterday just down from Michael's! I figured I would see a 'Spirit' banner some time soon, but I was surprised to see it coming this early. I figure it will probably be opening in the next week or so. You can bet I'll be one of the first ones there!

I bought my first Halloween goodies of the year at Michael's. I couldn't walk out of there empty-handed! They are almost completely stocked up with Halloween stuff (and I even saw one aisle that had a few Christmas things!). As usual, I was tempted to buy one of practically everything, but seeing as I have a budget, I just bought a few little knick-knacks to begin with. I got a couple more black, iron spider candleholders to add to the three I got last year, as well as a pack of black LED tea lights, a small bat to hang from my rearview mirror (yes, I even like a touch of Halloween in my car!), and a bottle of Pumpkin Spice oil. I burned it when I got home, and couldn't believe how delicious it made the kitchen smell! If anything will put me in the mood for Fall/Halloween, it's the wonderful scent of spicy pumpkin pie. I saw a candle called 'Halloween', and also the usual autumn-scented candles and potpourri. I want to fill every room in the house with that scent. It's heartwarming.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I went into Michael's today to see how much more Halloween stuff they had out, and I was very surprised at how much there was since I was there a few weeks ago! They have tons of Halloween banners out, skeleton candle holders, creepy candleabras, ghoulish picture frames, stickers, kids' Halloween projects, window clings, and a whole aisle of the Spooky Town sets. I was quite impressed at how much was now on the shelves. If I wasn't broke, I'd have bought a few little knick-knacks at the very least, but I don't get paid until the 10th. You can be sure that one of the first things I'll be doing is starting my Halloween shopping. ;)

On another note, our super awesome Halloween store, Evangeline's Costume Mansion, opens its doors this Sunday!! I look forward to this all year long. I can't believe it's already that time, and believe me, I couldn't be more excited to go back!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Halloween store to open in a few weeks!

On August 1st, the largest Halloween store in northern California will open its doors! Located on the second and third floor of an old, historic building, The Costume Mansion is always the first one around to invite visitors to begin their Halloween shopping. I am always amazed that the Mansion opens so early every year, but it is always a very exciting time for me. They have practically everything a Halloween lover could dream of--costumes of almost every kind, props, decorations, music, jewelry, etc. What makes it even more fun is that the place itself is old and creepy enough to be the star location in any horror film. It is kept like this year-round, although the Costume Mansion is officially closed most of the year until the 1st of August. You can still visit the Mansion during the off-season if accompanied by an employee. It's exciting to know that I can return to my favorite Halloween store in just a few weeks. One thing is for sure--it's never too soon!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Update on Michael's!!

I just wanted to report that I was back at Michael's today, and I am thrilled to say that I saw the first official signs of Halloween! Yessiree, Michael's has the first of its Halloween decorations- a whole bunch of cool ribbon! They had some with skeletons, spider webs, black cats, and some that are just orange and black. I think I'm going to buy some this year and use them on tall vases that I want to decorate for Halloween. I figure I'll get some black and orange candles, or even a large LED flicker candle, and then get some black, dark purple, and red flowers, maybe a crow or some spider webs, some moss, and whatever else might look a bit gothic looking. I think I might even make a couple of wreaths to hang around the house.

I'm so happy that Halloween stuff is already coming out! I can't wait to get started on making some new, exciting things!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Halloween fun

If you're waiting anxiously for Halloween like I am, and you'd love to find some fun, Halloween-related things to do to while away the hot, summer months, then check out the following sites. 'Haunted Bay' has some cool sound effects, music files, puzzles, and other things to play around with to satisfy your Halloween cravings. Be sure to scroll down to the audio files and listen to 'Tain't No Sin to Take Off Your Skin (and dance around in your bones)', a popular Halloween tune from the 1920s! I also love the classic 'Peanuts', 'Haunted Mansion', and 'Beetlejuice' themes.

If you enjoy doing mazes and word searches, then check out this site:

I love doing Halloween-related stuff even when it's still a ways off in the distance. It sort of brings it a little closer to home while I'm waiting for it to finally arrive.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's official: Fall has come early at Michael's!!

I went into Michael's today, still expecting to find nothing but the usual (boring) things you always find during the summer: flowers, colorful banners, summer-style arts and crafts, party supplies, and of course, 4th of July decorations. As I walked in, however, a wonderful sight caught my eye: flowers and plants in beautiful Fall colors-red, orange, and gold! As I walked over to that part of the store, I also found pumpkins (pumpkins!), bows and other fall-themed decorations, and even black crows. I couldn't believe it! One of my fellow Halloween Haunters on this site had told me she had already seen the first few signs of fall at a Micheal's near her, but I didn't expect to find several aisles completely filled up before the end of June! I certainly didn't expect to find pumpkins (not the tall ones for carving that you find for Halloween), but pumpkins, nonetheless. Nor was I expecting to find those black, plastic crows that are commonly used in Halloween decorations. It seems incredibly odd that we have not even celebrated 4th of July, and yet Autumn is already arriving. Needless to say, I, for one, am excited. For an autumn/Halloween lover like myself, this helps break up the seemingly neverending, dull, hot days of summer that I grow so tired of once the temperature gets much over 85 degrees. It's always a relief to me to see Fall finally showing up, as it means that not only are the cooler, colorful days on their way, but so is Halloween.

I suppose in a way I almost love the days shortly before Halloween arrives even more than Halloween night itself. The reason is that I love that feeling of complete excitement as preparation begins. I love it when it's finally time to look for new fall and Halloween items to use for decorations, going on that search for the perfect, carvable pumpkin, and making plans for the big night. I love seeing homes decorated with skeletons and witches, tombstones, and ghouls popping up out of the ground, orange and purple lights, and porches glowing with jack-o-lanterns. It is such an exciting thing. Seeing the first fall decorations in the store today gave me the first tiny sense of anticipation. It is already within me. Fall is on its way. The proof is there. The best part is that if they are already putting Fall out on the shelf, then Halloween can't be far behind. How I love this time of year!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fall has returned (if only temporarily)

It may be only June 9th, but here in northern California, it seems as if Autumn has decided to pay us a little visit. It has gone from the high-80s back to the low-to-mid-70s in just two days. The sky is clouded, and the sun's rays are shining through only a few small openings. I am loving the cool, gentle breeze coming through the window behind me. I'm enjoying it while it lasts because I know that in just a matter of days, those 100-degree days, so typical of this time of year, will be here.

I purchased a packet of pumpkin seeds yesterday. The store had some for 'Competition Size'-100-pounders! I couldn't resist trying them. I've always wanted to have my own little pumpkin patch. Maybe this year I will get my wish.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Halloween art

I was looking through one of my October '09 magazines ('Country Living': 101 Halloween Ideas) when I came across something that I thought was very cool. A picture of an art print titled 'Girls Night Out' had bright orange pumpkins in the foreground, a full moon hovering over a presumably haunted house, and several witches gathered around a fire, immediately caught my eye. It was an ad for the artist Will Moses, whom I had never heard of before. I rarely see art prints that are Halloween in nature, so I got on my laptop and quickly checked out the artist's website. The above print, I was happy to find, is available in poster size, and there are several other Halloween prints available as card collections. I love the thought of poster-size images of Halloween decorating my walls all year-round, and 'Girls Night Out' is a must-have. It makes me long to live in a big old house with a pumpkin patch and gnarled, old Oak trees surrounding the backyard. Every Halloween night, I would dress in my favorite costume and invite family and friends over and light a big bonfire in the middle of the pumpkin field, and party and celebrate all night long! Halloween scenes like these are exactly the kind of Halloweens I envision mine to be.

Will Moses' Halloween

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Haunted shows on The Travel Channel

It's as if October suddenly passed by the summer months and decided it wasn't going to wait any longer! This evening, I discovered one spooky show after another on The Travel Channel. I remember watching most of them the weeks before Halloween, and now they are showing them again. 'The World's Creepiest Destinations' and 'The Most Terrifying Places in America' are among the shows being broadcast tonight. I am surprised, considering it is only mid-May, but I also love it. I have been curled up in bed watching just like I did shortly before Halloween's arrival last year. The shows, along with the unusual fall-like weather we've been having lately, really make it seem as though October were here. I am loving it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Halloween Bonfire

Bonfire on Samhain
(Courtesy of

As I was driving home from work one night last week, I was surprised to see a rather large bonfire high up on a hill overlooking the dark, windy road I was driving along. It was just after 9 p.m. and I could see and smell the smoke as I approached the lower hillside. I could see the tips of the flames almost licking the spindly branches of the oak trees overhead, and I suddenly felt a surge of excitement rush through me as I immediately thought of Halloween. It was the last thing I expected to find on my way home at such a late hour of the night. I slowed down slightly as I approached the side of the hill to get a better look. I wanted to stop my car and walk up the hill and really take it all in. I wanted to feel the warmth of the fire surround me. My imagination went wild with images of costumed partygoers dancing and laughing around the fire. I imagined music playing, and the scent of burning oak, along with brightly burning pumpkins. I wished I had a camera with me to capture the scene. Even though it is far from October, the sight of a roaring fire in the pitch blackness, and the smoke that permeated the chilly night air made it feel as though Halloween were near. It was wonderful.
This sight reminded me of an article I had seen some time ago on the Haunted Bay website about the ancient tradition of Halloween bonfires. It had a picture of an awesome bonfire lighting up the night, with a full moon glowing in the background (see picture above). I wanted to jump into that picture and join the small crowd of onlookers. I love the idea of gathering around a huge bonfire on a cool Halloween night. I didn't realize this was actually a tradition on Samhain going back years. It was believed that the fire would ward off any evil spirits.
I decided that one of these years, I am going to have myself a bonfire on Halloween. I have never been able to do this before, but somehow it seems as though it would be the perfect way to top off a Halloween celebration. Maybe I'll even dance around the fire in my costume, singing praises to the Harvest moon, as they did in ancient times. That sounds like my idea of a perfect Halloween night!
To read the full article, go here:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Halloween twice a year!

Last week on the Disney Channel was 'Halloween in April'. I discovered this about halfway through the week, unfortunately. Nonetheless, it was exciting to see that Halloween has become popular enough that even a major company like Disney would devote an entire week to Halloween shows! It occurred to me that we are now about halfway until Halloween's arrival. It almost seems like October around here lately. The weather has been more like Fall than Spring, raining a lot, and so chilly that we've been wearing sweaters and jackets again. I love it when I get a taste of October and it's still a few months away. If only the stores were filled with Halloween goodies, and porches cluttered with grinning pumpkins!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A few of my favorite things (from past Halloweens)

Halloween village

"Left Behind" ('09)

Another of my carvings, The Headless Horseman.

One of my carvings from '08. The blurriness is from the flash being turned off.

Grinning Jack

Halloween plug-in

Spider lamp

Haunted lamp

Sunday, January 31, 2010

It almost seems like Halloween time

Some of my favorite shows on TV are 'Haunted History', 'MonsterQuest', 'Scariest Places on Earth', and 'Ghostly Encounters'. I've been catching a lot of these shows lately, and every day and every night I search the TV Guide channel to see when they will be on. They seem to be showing them so much lately that it almost seems like it's the Halloween season! I remembered watching these shows almost every night in the days leading up to Halloween. I looked forward to them every night. I love it when shows like these come on when it isn't even Halloween time. In some strange way, it seems to satisfy my Halloween yearning. Today, there was even a special show on about Vlad Tepes, a.k.a. Dracula.

They will be repeating a 'Haunted History' episode at 1:00 a.m., and I have every intention of staying up to watch it (or at least trying!). It was about haunted places in New York and the surrounding area. I only caught a bit of it this afternoon when it was on, and I'm looking forward to watching it all the way through. I have never been to the east coast, but I'd really love to. It is, after all, where one of my favorite spooky tales takes place- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I can't wait to visit many of the world's supposedly haunted locations.

I think I'll go grab a little shut-eye before my favorite show comes on!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A little Halloween treat for late-January

Shortly before this last Halloween, our local newspaper published a bunch of recipes sent in by readers from the surrounding areas. I think there must have been at least two or three whole pages that were devoted entirely to making Halloween drinks, appetizers, and desserts. I was so excited when I saw this that I saved the newspaper so I would have the recipes handy to make for the following year. One of the recipes that sounded especially good to me was a Pumpkin Dip, which won third place in the 2009 Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin and Harvest Festival. I love dips, and I love anything pumpkin, so I figured this would probably end up being a new favorite. The combination of pumpkin and cream cheese made me think it probably tastes a lot like pumpkin cheesecake- definitely at the top of my list of delicious desserts! No, it isn't pumpkin season, but I'm missing Halloween and longing for a taste of it, so I decided to give this one a try. Being the health-conscious person that I am, I did buy the reduced-fat cream cheese to try. I have used the reduced-fat kind in things before and didn't think I noticed much difference. Below is the recipe, if you care to try it for yourself. Let me know if you make it, and what you think!

Pumpkin Dip

2 cups canned pumpkin
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cups powdered sugar
Gingersnaps or sugar cookies

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Beat until well blended. Add sugar and beat until smooth. Serve dip with gingersnaps or sugar cookies.

Per 1/4 cup: 208 calories; 28 g carb; 10 g fat.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Halloween musings

Almost four months have passed since our favorite night of the year. Christmas has ended, and All Hallow's Eve is a long nine months away. I sit here listening to the haunting music of Nox Arcana, on a cold, windy, rainy night near the end of January with thoughts of Halloween occupying my mind. I miss it; long for it even, and so I decide to search the Web for more images, stories, or poems to add to my already huge Halloween collection. It doesn't take long until I come across something that my eyes immediately become fixed upon. A simple typing of the word "Halloween" into a search engine, and dozens of dark images pertaining to Halloween appear on my screen. I am searching for a new muse, and almost immediately I have found one. He sits atop his black steed as the moonlight creeps steadily through the twisted branches of a haunted forest, illuminating an ancient gravestone. A victim of the Horseman, perhaps? He waits there for the next one to come along, surrounded by stillness, his large gloved hand gripping the scarred end of his sword. His horse, one leg raised as if ready to lunge forward at the urging of his immortal master, chomps anxiously at his bit. He knows that at any moment the race will begin and he and his dark rider will once again be off in pursuit of another helpless soul.
And so they wait in the blackness, quietly, a thick fog dampening the fallen leaves, with only a glowing pumpkin to light the way. Its twisted grin and glowing eyes a reminder to all to beware, for it is Devil's Night. It is October 31st. His rampage begins.
The Legend of Sleepy of my favorites. I look at this picture and I want it to be October 31st all over again.