Best spiderwebs

Nothing kills my spook-mojo like cheap, inelastic fiberwebs. I spent the extra .50 cents, thinking, in my marketing mind, that it would be better than the cheaper brand (see below), I sprung for BooBatts at Lowes, and have been cursing at myself, throughout my house, ever since. How this product ever passed inspection, consumer tests or the buying manager at Lowes, let alone any retail is beyond me. It tears. It rips. It does NOT stretch. It’s the anti-stretch. It’s like glorified cotton balls packaged together and marketed as “Super Stretch Web.” False advertising claim. If I was a lawsuit oriented gal, I’d join a calss action.

Product review grade: F+. It gets the + because it’s white.

On the other hand, The CelebrateIt Halloween spider web is awesome. No link because the store where I bought it–Michaels— web site is so lame it doesn’t list it as an item. It stretches and holds together, creating the amazing sheer look. I have stretched this stuff five feet, and that’s after cutting it up a bit. LOVE IT.

Yes, it’s actually less expensive and oh, so much better. Grade: A+. The plus is because the price point is $2.49.

Jilted Brides make my Halloween

The final product–but she has windblown hair
need to put a clip in that
The mask- 4 bucks at Goodwill. Looks like Michael Jackson
met up with the joker. Looks like a jilted bride to me

Nothing like writing an entire blog, just to have it lost upon saving. The upside is the mind-popping, blood-vessel bursting anger can now be focused in to an infinitely shorter blog (past readers know I feel of the 5-paragraph-limit ages ago. Maybe this will put me back into recovery. dare to dream).

Step 1- wrap the cotton with
clear tape. Attach the
mask to ensure it fits.

The backstory. I have halloween envy. It’s all my cousin Nancy’s fault. She’s a spooky-time goddess who happens to sew better than anyone I know, and that’s saying something (ok, maybe she is on par with my aunts, but I don’t think they’ve made a 9 foot witch). Hence, the envy.

Step 2-attach the $4.95 wig,
also courtesy of Goodwill

“Go to Fabricland–” Nance starts.

“Full stop,” I interrupt, reminding her Rog sews a hemline better than I do. Nance regroups.

“OK. Right. Go to Goodwill and pick up the witches costume, a wig, some PVC tubing and you’re on your way.”

Couldn’t help myself. It
looked like a size 6, so
I put it on, feeling sort of
gross, like an interloper
on someone’s day of
happiness gone awry

Later that day,  I show up, nary a witches costume in site, but a lovely, armpit stained bridal dress with a three foot rain for the bargain basement price of $19.95. I’m in love all over again, ready to don garters and pumps.

I go home, grab Rog’s disgusting mop, some tape, spraypaint, a few hangers and I’m ready to rock. Here goes the pics. (see, I almost made the 5 paragraphs. We should all thank the buggy-save feature on blogspot).

Step 3- attach the hangers
to the clear tape.
Step 4- attach the bra and undershirt
Step 4- I had to McGyver and use a safety pin,
no bubble gum.

This is right before the paint.
Step 5- use the primer

Step 6- add the reds and the grey

Last call for Halloween

It’s a Saturday night and I ain’t go nobody…oh wait. I’m definitely not a man stuck in a 1970’s doo-loop with Cat Stevens, but it sure feels like it. As ‘the man’ plays Gears of War, P-dog sleeps and I enter on my fourth hour of writing the sequel in my time-travel adventure, I’m burned out. So what do I do? I get spooky of course. And nothing says spooky like a….spooky halloween tree. Ever one to give advice for an party (kids or adults), here’s the 15 minute, $sub-$50 dollar decoration sure to get you compliments.

The raw material. Cowboy tree is
temporarily hitting the range.

Start with a tree. Any tree will do, real or fake. If you have a fake one in the garage (or 18, like my cousin who decorates all of them in different themes for Christmas–yes, she has a sickness), or modify a overgrown fica plant, don’t matter. Just get it. (I started w/the tree I’ve left up all year long in our dining room out of sheer laziness. I did however, try to remove most of the cowboy ornaments, since this is my designated ‘cowboy tree.’ yeah. go on. say it. I’ve lost my way).

Orange lights

Stream it with orange lights that can be had at Target for $3 bucks. I purchased 8 streams last year, this year, 3 were dead on arrival. 5 worked just fine. (side note: I thought I lost my mind in buying so many until I realized I streamed quite a few around the perimeter of my living room on the uplit section).

Gauze in grey and black–
wrapped another line on the bottom
after I took this shot

Get gauze from your party store, or, if you’re going to be totally cheap about it, get some netting, dye it grey or black, rip it up and then start placing it back and forth in random patterns.

I spent $8 bucks on the a scary stream of ornaments. This skeleton string was from the local party store. It featured all kinds of ghouls, but also less frightening things like pumpkins.

spooky ghouls

The time it took eased my mind, released the tension in my fingers and gave me a renewed sense of vigor to go write about the taking and giving of souls through divine intervention (sorry. I have to be vague or the movie studio will freak). In any case, ghoul on. All the while, sing…It’s a Saturday night, and I aint got nobody…and channel your inner Cat.

Trunk or Treats: the free, fun family activity

For the last few years, I’ve avoided bringing up the Trunk or Treat phenomena to Rog, he of the “I-won’t be-caught-dead-in-the-church-parking-lot,” until we drove by one last year. It happened to be on the right, in the lot of a new Baptist church that resembles a modern red barn, with big beams, metal siding and really cool downlight that shines on the empty space formerly occupied by berries. (I have no problem with Baptists btw. I just wish they could have left the blackberries, since a local family of bears–mamma and 2 cubs– feast roadside year after year).

In any case, the Trunk or Treat was packed. For those uninformed, it’s a kid-version of a tailgating party, where everyone gets dressed up, and the car, or “trunks” are decked out like a Macy’s Day Halloween party gone spooky. Seriously. Men in particular, go nuts putting in coffins with sounds, grey cloud-like mists billowing from half-cracked doors and twirling lights. The lighter versions feature graveyards or ghouls, all with candy in every direction.

“What’s that?” Rog asks. I reluctantly tell him, waiting for him to spew some evil on the notion of trick or treating at a church. “That looks great!” he says, wondering aloud why we weren’t going. Before I have a chance to kick myself, he then says, “too bad your church doesn’t do cool stuff like that. I’d actually go.”

Wha….??? I don’t know who I want to kill first. Him for saying such blasphemy, or me for being too chicken to ask him.

At that point, I take off my gloves and give him the low-down on Trunk-or-Treating parties, finishing with “all the churches have them. Even schools and non-profits!” Around here, nearly every high school, junior high school, church and sometimes even community centers have the things. It’s particularly popular when Halloween night falls on a school night, and the parents don’t want to be out late. Furthermore, the haul of candy one recieves is HUGE. Some of these fallafal-selling-big-box-churches have lots the size of the Seattle Seahawks stadium, and are probably more full to boot! Making a trip around the safe confines of a TorT, especially when you know the folks, is awesome.

This year, Halloween is once again on a school night, and I just got the invite for our TorT on Saturday, 10/29, 5:30-7:30 (family friendly times indeed, thereby leaving the rest of the evenings to be enjoyed by adults). I for one, am very excited. I’ve started mapping out the neighborhood TorT’s, determined to hit every station with the zeal and enthusiasm of hitting the high-density suburbs for the highest candy yield. No, wait….this is for the kids……the kids…

Little luxuries go big

Majestic she-dog channeling her inner turtle

There I am, lounging in my world of hot wetness (the tub), a nightly ritual after the kids are in bed and my body is healing from a bruising fitness splurge and what do I do? Read an article about how people are spending what money they do have. Unless your in the class of inheritors of billion-dollar ultra wealth (Fortune latest edition), you fall in the category of the unwashed masses, where luxury isn’t a quarter mil on a wine collection, but blue Chanel nail polish  (Wall Street Journal 2 days ago).

I’m content that I’m not in either category until I get to the middle of the Fortune piece (sorry, it’s not on line unless you subscribe), where it says the biggest splurge (of little items) are….pet halloween costumes.

A never-before seen turtledog

I blush, though in my own defense, I’m already hot, for I believe bathwater should rival an overheated hottub as a means of taking off the top epidural layer without the scrub. Two wks ago, about the time I wrote my blog on getting the right spookytime acroutements for the home, I picked up a $14 turtle outfit for my pitbull.

“The indignity she suffers!” said my mother, upon seeing my iphone pick of P-dog in her gettup. I think it’s great. I mean, it’s far better than little miss sunshine from last year. The way I look at it, the ever elusive land dwelling turtledog has been found.

As my mother says, “oh, the indignities P-dog suffers!” Good thing
she channels Jane Austen and has a great deal of forebearance

Halloween Happiness

You know it’s fall when Costco is selling Christmas paper wrapping and ornaments. Am I the only person that thinks Christmas in September is evil? You have company. The golden sheen on the halo above is that it used to be July. At least the departing CEO Sinegal came to his senses and pushed it back two months. (see readers. I can be grateful for the little things).

However, that’s not the point of this blog. It’s spiders and witches and all things sugary. Time to consider breaking out the halloween items, but first, you MUST get on line and get that costume, for you or your little one. If you wait any longer, most of the stores will already be out of your size. I’m not kidding. I went to get an outfit for my 20 mo old and was dismayed to learn the majority of items were gone. out of there.

Remus in the cemetary. Can you spot him?

The Spooky-time checklist.

I’m melting…..!!!

She, the adorable woman she is, laughs at my “spookytime” comments. You see, Halloween is almost my favorite holiday. What can be bad about it? No arguments over eating with the Indians about invading their country or religious wars regarding when and where and why (or if) Christ was born. Halloween was really the first great marketer’s invention (don’t get me started on what I consider ‘invented holiday’s’, becuase I’m too busy having fun). One can get dressed up for no reason, eat candy galor (again, sans a good reason) decorate the house like an 8 year old and be as just as nutty. I LOVE IT!

Let’s get at it.

  1. Costumes. Adults and kids. You know what I love? Unique costumes. Thx to the whole movie-world interaction, I’ve learned that the people ‘in the know’ don’t buy, they rent. Who knew? Many theatres loan out the coolest costumes by period to vintage shops. Its about $80 or so, but well worth it. You definitily won’t show up wearing the same maid outfit as 10 other women.
  2. Kids costumes….I’ve purchased from a number of boutiques over the years (and yes, also from costco) but my this is one of my favorites. High quality and cute. The orange and black butterfly was so cute, I got it for my daughter—for Easter!
  3. Pictures. I love Shutterfly for managing my photos. please, don’t hack the site. I also have my birth pics up and they are gnarly.
  4. Wall hangings. My clock is one of my favorite acquisitions. Last year I wrote abt my 2 yr’s worth of begging a store owner to sell me the clock and finally, my pleas wore her down. She caved and I got my witch clock.
  5. Signs for the path. For a children’s bday party, I had a spookytime path. Along the way, I had path signs and different pick-em ups (e.g. candy in a coffin or eyeball rubber balls in a cauldron etc). Signs are great, though they are mostly cheap pain on foam boards. Don’t leave them out in the rain. The melt faster than the wicked with of the East.
  6. spooky-time plates. I’ll admit I’ve gone nuts in this department over the years. I won’t bore you. Suffice it to say that Target and boutiques each have cool stuff to offer. Even Sur La Table has gotten in to the act. Mix it up with nice and kitchy but never trashy.
  7. Little houses. Now, I confess. I thought the little granny-time houses were silly until Rog told me he never wanted children with me (yes, it was rude, but he got points for being honest). In any case, it was @9 yrs ago, and since I figured kids weren’t in the stars, I subconsiously started nesting, buying all sorts of kid-friendly things. It was my inner mother coming out. Then one day, Rog came home and did a ‘what the…” in awe at all the spooky-time houses I had scattered about. Further, my cat took his place in the cemetary, probably because his brother cat died (note the RIP sign). Now, 2 kids later, the houses have evolved in to entire spooky-time communities. Go ahead. Say it. I’ve lost my way. Department 56 is the only way to go.
Swinging Skeleton for $60 is awesome

Now–as a sub-set up, I’ll give you a tip. If you too, decide to get lost, take a tip from me. Place your communities in places where they show off. I place a series in each of my fireplaces. In one is the Shipwrecked Series, featuring huge lighthouses and other nautical, zombie themes. On the main floor, I feature the more family-friendly spooky time Carnival Series, although one could argue the Skeleton Carousel is a bit much. But hey, I just wrote a book with some zombies, so I can be hypocritical. In my bedroom, I go for the 19th Century Jack the Ripper series (ok, that’s really not the name. It’s all old-school London. My creative license got the better of me.

Most of the items have noises to be turned on or off, rotate (like the Swinging Skeleton), blink or glow or something. It’s awesome. Do yourself a favor and buy a bunch of AAA batteries while your at it.

Remus (aka ‘Fats’) in the cemetary.
“Don’t disturb my tombstone ‘yo”

Oh, and I should mention, the economy has taken a toll on Department 56. Their on-line stock is soooo lame now, and the majority of retailers in our area, at least, no longer carry the line. One local Hallmark store told me it was because Dept 56 required at least $15K in sales per quarter (or was it year?!) In any case, it was a very large number. Idiotic marketing decision I say. Thus, not a single retailer now carries the line any longer. What a drag…but just as well. I needed to stop the madness. On the upside, lots and lots of folks are hocking these high-quality items on ebay and Craigs list. Just take and look and you too, can be making your own Spookytime.

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