Tag Archives: Halloween

A Very Vintage Halloween

21 Oct

This year, we massively scaled down our production. There wasn’t any way we could top last year’s  decorations and we didn’t have enough time to go all out this year. It just didn’t feel like October without a Halloween party though, so we threw together a last-minute vintage party theme. We both adore vintage Halloween pictures and decor and we wanted to have an intimate and scaled down retro bash.

We picked out a favorite vintage Halloween picture for our invite and created our invitation using Pingg. I really used to like Pingg but after I sent out the invitations I noticed that they’ve added way more annoying ads to the site, so I think we’ll go back to Evite if we throw another party.

I found some fun vintage games to play as well. For “Spooning Match,” we  tied two spoons together with a 6-inch piece of ribbon and then had couples race to finish a bowl of ice cream and for “Ducking for Apples,” we tied  apples to fishing wire and then had guests try to finish an apple for a prize.

For the decorations, N spent the whole week cutting out 113 construction paper bats. He then made a papier-mâché moon and we dropped a glow stick into it to give it a nice eerie glow. I wish the pictures could show how amazing the moon looked!

N stuck most of them to the wall and then we hung a few for a 3-D effect.

We placed the dessert table, jam-packed with mini muffins, Italian cookies, caramel apples and candy, below the bats. I bought some spiderweb shaped collage paper from Target and then taped them together to create a table runner to place over the purple table cover. Our awesome Halloween tree served as a perfect centerpiece and some battery lit candles finished off the effect.

For the bar, I made some spiked apple cider from this  Martha StewartShrunken Heads in Cider” recipe. It was okay, but far too much effort for the overall taste.

N threw together an awesome graveyard for decorating the bar. He used an old artist’s clipboard as a base and then he shaped hills using chicken wire. He then papier-mâchéd and covered it all with real dirt to create the ground. For the grass he used, well, real grass. To scale it though, he ground it up in a coffee grinder and then glued little bunches all over the graveyard. The tombstones are all made of card stock and the “trees” are really pieces of a dead tomato plant (damn you Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter!) Anyhoo, I really loved his walnut pumpkins too, they each have their own distinctive features. The “stems” are pieces of twisted paper painted green.

Our good friends Tiff and Joe (check out some of their art in my earlier posts) drew and then hand cut the scaredy-cat, the dancing cats and the rats. They looked killer!!! Here’s Tiff’s scaredy-cat at the base of the bar.

You can see Joe’s dancing cats on the mantle.

N and I created the colorful vintage kitty out of construction paper. N first drew the cat on black construction card stock paper based off of a vintage design we found online. Then we traced and cut out the various pieces out of colored construction paper and layered them on with glue. I love how this turned out. We gave it away as a prize for the best costume.

We got this idea from Martha Stewart’s Halloween Central. Joe didn’t need the templates though and he free-handed the rats. They really creeped everyone out!

For the living room, we just draped white sheets over all the furniture to make it look like an abandoned house. N hung up some banshees from the ceiling and we used candle light to make it feel more haunted.

For the food table, Joe and Tiff suggested this awesome crêpe paper decoration. It really helped to fill up the space and it was just stunning! Who knew crêpe paper could still be such an awesome addition to a party.

For the backdrop to the food table, here are our versions of some vintage looking decorations, again from Martha 😉

Even though our party was way more last-minute and smaller than most years, we had a blast. Happy haunting!

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Creepy Carnival: The Party

10 Nov

Well, our party came and went. Why can’t we have more dress up holidays? I petition we adopt Carnivale too. I had a really great time with my amazing fam and some awesome friends. Here’s the last installment of our Creepy Carnival.

We hung our dolls and bears, from nooses, from the huge tree at the center of the space. My parent’s neighbor saw it before the party and he’s now convinced that we may have some deep seeded psychological issues. You start hanging mutilated dolls and stuffed animals from trees and suddenly you’re crazy. I don’t get it. ; ) We’d wrapped the tree in colored lights first and we have spotlights, installed long ago for party purposes, so the area isn’t too dark.

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No creepy carnival is complete without a strong man cutout and ours is the grotesque “Great  Fausto.” First we took an old piece of plywood and cut out a face hole with a jigsaw. We painted the board, let it dry and then sketched and filled in the figure. Here he is halfway done:DSC_0011

Once he had dried, my hubby sketched and cutout the “weights” for his barbell on thin wood with a jigsaw. Then we painted and attached them to the board with nails.

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For the finishing touches, he painted on the border and sign. I think he came out really great.

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The carnival booths were a little tricky. They were constructed using two 8 ft. beams of scrap wood wood horizontally and three 6ft. beams vertically, to form a frame. Then we attached two 3 ft “legs” to prop up the frame and attached metal spikes to the 3ft. legs to secure into the ground. I forgot to take a picture pre-decoration, but I think it’s pretty obvious from the picture anyway. The tricky part was trying to attach the wood with screws. The wood was so thick that none of our drill bits could insert the screws. So first, we had to drill a hole and then insert the screw. So we sat there on the grass, with an extension cord and two drills, switching out the plugs each time, forgetting it to do it at other times wondering why the drill wouldn’t work. We were almost done with two of them when my dad walks up to us with a power strip in hand. Yeah. Can you hear the circus music? I think I was useless for a good five minutes from laughing so hard.

Once we assembled the booths, a little creaky and uneven, but erect, we had to decorate them. Our first idea was to staple butcher paper onto the fronts and paint that. So we attached the butcher paper and it looked horrible. Luckily we has some blingy red fabric and we attached that over the butcher paper. Unfortunately, the blingy fabric was see through and it still looked pretty bad. By this point, we were a little tired so we gave up for the day. The next day, I brought along some red fabric. We attached the solid red fabric (we used small nails and duct tape for that btw) and them draped the blingy fabric across it. Success!!! For a finishing touch, we installed multi-colored rope lights around the visible parts of the frame.

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We hung the prizes around the borders, set up the games behind them and we were the proud owners of carnival booths!

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We created a mini graveyard:

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And here’s a last minute idea for holding the cotton candy and caramel corn. We took a long branch, creating a “tree” with a plastic pumpkin on top and then attached shorter branches using hemp rope. Clothes pins tied to rope and dangling from the “branches”  served as dispensers, I guess you could call them, for all the goodies.

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The gift bags were filled with carnival tickets, to play games and for a raffle, beads, to hand out to the person with the best costume and glow-in the dark bracelets for fun. They could also be used to stash some candy to take home.

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I think my biggest disappointment was the dessert bar. I’d really wanted to create risers, but didn’t have the time, so I kind of scattered everything around last minute. The crows hanging out in the background are silhouettes made from black construction paper.  The jars (moved here because someone was looking at one) were my specimens from an earlier post. The tree in the middle was store bought (on sale, hee hee) years ago. I printed out pictures of circus “freaks,” two small copies of each, spread rubber cement on the back of one copy, placed a 6″ string of black yarn on it and then  placed the other copy over it, creating a double sided ornament. The looked pretty creepy hanging from the tree.

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Here’s a picture of our Grimsley. I think every single guest took a picture with him. 🙂

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We’d also hung streamers around the dessert bar and had over a hundred balloons hanging out all over the place, but, I forgot to take pictures…oops (I have to get better at that!)! There are a few more pics I need to yoink from friends to post and I’ll try to do that soon. Can’t wait for Halloween next year…

Pumpkin Carving Patterns

26 Oct

I’m carving pumpkins for the party and I found this site for pumpkin stencils. They’re not exactly horrifying, but they’re definitely fun and kid friendly. So far, I’ve carved the skull and am planning on trying the night scene next. Happy carving!

DLTK Halloween Pumpkin Carving Patterns.

Update: Check out our pumpkins, I think they came out great! What a pain though. We actually had to do two batches because our first molded after just 2 days! That was disappointing. We’d kept them in a relatively cool dry space, but whatever, damn you mold!!! 🙂

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I think carving into the skin in much easier than the traditional method. It may take a little (or a couple hours) longer, but I’m twisted like that so I didn’t really mind. Here’s what I did:

First, I printed and pinned the picture and some text to the pumpkin.

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Then, and here’s the painstaking part, I poked mini holes all around the picture so I knew what to scrape later.

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It’s a little tough to see but this is what it looks like after I’d finished poking the crap out of the poor pumpkin:

Creepy Carnival 065And finally, the scraping. We used general wood carving tools (way better than those cheap and cheesy kits) and scraped the outline first to get a better idea of the basic shape. Once the outline and details were finished I scraped some more pulp on the inside to create thinner walls for a better glow.

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All done!

Creepy Carnival Update; Specimen Jars, Gruesome Bears and Demons, Oh My!

15 Oct

Well, our projects are creeping along now!

A couple of days ago I finished my specimen jars, not bad huh?

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The cost was – free! (I sound like such a cheapskate huh?)  Well, I really did have all the elements at home, so why go out and buy stuff, right? So, I found some old jars  and sprayed the lids black. As I’m sure you guessed I used red and yellow food coloring for the water in the jars and filled them up about halfway using warm water. Then, on to finding stuff to put in the jars. This part got a little interesting and I really began to realize how much easier it was coming up with ideas for specimen jars when I was five!

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Sun dried tomatoes packed in oil for the “Coagulated Virgin’s Blood.”

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Dried limes for the “Hobgoblin’s Testicles.”

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Wild caperberries for the “Demon Embryo Sacs.”

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Dried (and now re-hydrated) cranberries for the “Faerie Hearts.”

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Globs of dried hot glue for the “Carnivorous Ectoplasm.”

It took a little experimentation to figure out what would work, and I’ll admit that most people probably don’t have wild caperberries or dried limes hanging around. Details.

For the labels, I used Power Point, mainly because I like that I have tremendous creative control and few formatting issues. That and I’m too lazy to figure out how to do it in Word. Microsoft Clip Art had all the designs I was looking for, just type in “swirls,” “flourishes,” or “decorative elements” and you should get some pretty cool designs. I recolored some of them too.  The Blackladder font Arana Muerta’s Witches’ Kitchen suggested worked out great. I tried to use her tutorial, but I was too impatient to let the ink dry for more than 10 minutes on the plain paper and the ink kept running during the tea soak. Luckily, I had a few sheets of antiqued paper from Michael’s so I used that instead and skipped the soak altogether. I had to do a few test runs on plain paper to determine the right size for the jars and the “Faerie Hearts” label is still a little too big, but I accidentally printed that on my decorative paper. Since I’d run out, I was stuck, but it doesn’t look bad enough for a drive to Michael’s. Then I sprayed all the labels with some matte clear coat for acrylic paint and cut out the designs. Using a glue stick, I carefully coated the backs of each label and stuck them on the jars.

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Demon Embryo Specimen JarCoagulated Virgin's Blood

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We also finished decorating the bears and it really was a bit tough coming up with ideas on what to do. Plus, it feels a little creepy ruining the cute bears, but hey, it’s all in the name of Halloween, so I guess I’ll just have to bear through it. (Yes, I know, that was horrible.) I’m kind of worried they look a little too similar, but there’s really not much else I could think of other than tearing them, bloodying up their faces and bodies, burning their fur and painting their eyes. We even re-sewed a couple with yarn (thread was invisible on their fur) and decapitated one. That sounds so bad. So here are our gruesome little bears:

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And my hubby created some shadow demons, or demon shapes cut out from the cardboard that was behind some old framed posters he didn’t want, painted black. There’s a  big white wall in the space and with some lighting adjustments, these should come out really great. He’s planning on making three more and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

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I forgot to post this last time but we found these decorations at the Dollar Tree to give away as prizes for the carnival games too.

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Phew, now on to this weekend, we still have A LOT to do.

Harrowing Halloween Labels and Specimens

11 Oct

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with searching for great details to add to our Creepy Carnival Halloween party this year. The devil’s in the details, as they say, and to spook up our bar and food tables, vintage labels and specimen jars will do the trick.

I really liked the Martha Stewart poison labels she featured last year and you can find those and some new ones at Grand In Road.

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But I also perused the web and found these awesome inspirational labels. Some of the designs are free and will definitely save you some time and $$$ The tutorials will also keep the designs from looking sloppy. I’m planning on premixing a signature drink and displaying them in old wine bottles with some creepy labels at our bar.

Here are some samples pictures from the sites I’ve found with links below the pics.

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Spookshow’s Vintage Halloween Labels

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Love Manor Vintage Halloween Labels

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Chronophobia Vintage Halloween Labels

Shadow Manor even created a Doom It Yourself Poison Label Generator, so you can add your own text to these vintage labels!

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Specimen jars aren’t just for the kiddies anymore. Some specimens on risers will elevate our dessert bar to Halloween standards 😉

Arana Muerta’s Witches Kitchen is a great guide on creating your own concoctions and it features a great little tutorial on how to make the labels. I Make Projects features some really fun ideas on what to use as specimens.

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Happy Doom It Yourself-ing!

Creepy Carnival Sneak Peek

9 Oct

I’m so excited that we decided to throw a Halloween party again this year. In the past we’ve done some really fun themes. One year we had a “Dead Man’s Pirates Party” where my hubby designed and made a big walk-in cave out of paper mache and a dungeon out of wood. Another year we did a “Halloween in New Orleans” complete with a creepy graveyard and tons of Mardi-Gras masks. This year we are going to have a “Creepy Carnival.”

My hubby is also a diy’er, and this is hands down his favorite holiday. So he’s already planning some great budget friendly projects that I’ll be posting as we go. (Yikes, we only have a little more than 3 weeks!) We’ve already run a muck at the Dollar Store and bought a bunch of creepy looking baby dolls and stuffed bears for decor. For the dolls, we let them soak in tea and coffee to give them a weathered and dirty look.

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They look creepy just sitting in the bucket, yuck! Then we painted them with some leftover acrylic paint and burned a few.

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For the bears, we’re trying to give each one a distinctive look, but it’s harder than it looks as you can see from the pictures. So far,  for one, we burned and painted him (I had old oil paint laying around so we used that) another one was slashed and resown, minus some stuffing. For the zombie looking bear we pulled out some stuffing, painted the eyes white and made his fur look wild by cutting it in random spots. We haven’t completely finished with the bears but here’s a little sneak peek.

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This weekend we’re going to try and tackle some more projects so hopefully I’ll have an update soon.

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