Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What is Missed?

So someone from an internet news agency contacted me to write an article about haunting your house, and it looks like the Sacramento Bee may also run it! Yay, me!

One of the questions they wanted me to answer was: What do you miss most about your childhood Hallowe'en?

Since I was little during the 1970s, it was pretty easy to remember the fun things about those days. Planning your costume for a month in advance was huge! Bags of handmade treats from your neighbors, because you were pretty sure they weren't going to try to kill you with them. Actual trick or treat bags, not pillowcases. Running around at night with your friends instead of being taken to a bouncy house (not that bouncy houses were invented back then!) or the abomination that is trunk or treat!

I can also distinctly remember the Hallowe'en carnival we had at my grade school.

Yes, folks. A Hallowe'en carnival! Not a harvest fair or festival. A real, live, honest-to-God Halloween Carnival! Pre-politically correct b.s. re-naming of a holiday to make the killjoys happy. (I hear that the Harvest Festival is under attack, too, but there you go. Give the two or three people who are offended an inch, and they'll chew your damn arm off.)

I went onto Facebook and asked the question of a number of folks. Here are their responses:
  • The smell of those masks from the '70s!
  • Being able to eat treats that were homemade by neighbors.
  • The thrill and fun of being out trick r treating with your friends on Halloween night
  • My entire family gathering at my grandmother's old house all day to dress it up and then put on the biggest yard haunt in Venice CA.
  • I miss spending days figuring out what my costume was going to be.
  • The butterfly feeling in my stomach as Halloween approached. Also riding my bike through piles of leaves.
  • The plastic masks and aprons.
  • All the plotting, planning, and negotiating that went into deciding on a costume and, then, having a gigantic bag of candy to show for your efforts once the evening ended.
  • I miss 2 nights of trick-or-treat and it going later than 8:00.
  • I also miss the Imagineering products: Scar Stuff, Vampire teeth, blood etc...
  • Egging houses
What do you miss about your childhood Hallowe'en? Please leave a comment!

Sunday, October 19, 2014


A little Halloween pumpkin adorableness. Click below.
It's like Cousin It is speaking! So cute!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tales of Witches, Ghosts and Goblins

Back in my day, TV was called, er--records?

Yes, that was how a kid got her fright on! Click below to listen to the master!

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Last of the Season

 I've worked hard this season, always running to catch up because I got a late start due to my foot surgeries preventing me from getting into my studio for the first half of the year. Those of you who are regulars of this blog will know that in fact, I worked too hard, which is why I have a nice case of tendonitis and a torn ligament in my left shoulder (in addition to arthritis, which the doctor tells me is "normal for your age." Really? I'm only 29!).

That being the case, my thoughts of making a bunch more jacks have fallen by the wayside for now. I simply must rest my shoulder, and hope the damage isn't permanent. The physical therapists are both looking concerned, but I heal well (the balance for being such a klutz), so I hope to surprise them with a full recovery! 

So below, you're seeing the last jacks of the season, fresh from the Raku kiln and waiting to be scrubbed so their white glaze and black crackle can be seen to best advantage. I'll be selling these at my Open House tomorrow.
I also finally finished my commission of plates for that sweet couple from Colorado, and I plan to get those shipped out this morning, before I dive into the rest of the setup and cleanup I need to do for my Open House. They wanted spooky and creepy, and I think I managed that, while pushing my painting technique to develop more nuances in the decoration. Decorating with glaze is not the same as painting with acrylics or watercolors, that's for sure!
I'm racking my brain, trying to guess exactly the right ways to wrap these so they arrive in one piece! A box within a box will be the first step, that's certain!

Off I go! Have a great weekend, kids!

Tales of the Frightened

I love Boris Karloff, and I'm so very disappointed I missed these chilling stories when I was a kid. They're so well-written, and of course, well-read!

Are you one of the frightened? Then click on the pic and settle in for an hour of so of terror...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

4th Annual Open House!

ShellHawk's Creations 4th Annual Open House is this Saturday! Wow, where did the time go?

I fired off the last jacks of the season just now, in preparation for Saturday's afternoon festivities. This afternoon, cleaning and tidying up, plus a trip to the store to stock up on supplies for Thirsty Thursday. (We test drinks for the party tonight and decide which ones we want.)

Afterwards, I'll put the rest of the Hallowe'en offerings up in the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store, which will be temporarily closed so nothing is inadvertently sold twice. Can't wait!

"In the Know"--A ShellHawk's Nest Tradition

Click the pic for a ShellHawk's Nest yearly October tradition!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Here's a quickie guest post from a costume mayven!
It’s tough to find a truly “original” Hallowe’en costume--so why fight it? Instead, step into a time machine and follow the below guide from Personal Creations. Illustrating the past 25 years of popular Hallowe’en costumes, it includes longtime favorites like Spiderman and Spongebob Squarepants, as well as some newer ideas. What piece of pop culture will shape your ghoulish get-up? Experience all the nostalgia with the full infographic below and be sure to share it via Personal Creations.
Popular Halloween Costumes of the Last 25 Years

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Screw You, Pinterest! Or, Hallowe'en Pinterest Fails

Oh, yes it's the Hallowe'en season, and Martha Stewart-esque aspirations are making your heart all aflutter and your mind race with endless possibilities and visions of the admiring and envious looks you'll get from your neighbors over your amazing execution of Hallowe'en everything!

Where to go for that perfect Hallowe'en-themed baby picture idea? The perfect spooky cake? The perfect trash bag spider web? 

Pinterest, of course!

You scan the pages of ideas for hours, re-pinning like one gone mad, until at last! You're ready!

And then this happens.
Pinterest vs. Reality. An epic battle taking place, even as you read this.
Beware, my dark darlings. Beware.

Other Pinterest fails are here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Haunt Lighting

My haunt lighting sucks. I admit it.

I throw it together. I never adjust it. I always feel rushed, whether I am or whether I'm imagining it. And if I'm not rushed, I'm tired. I generally work twelve to fourteen hours a day during the season, and I wipe myself out. (This year was the worst, because I found out my chronic shoulder pain is a torn ligament, arthritis, and tendonitis, so everything takes. More. Time. Yay, me.)

I really need to work on the concept of balance! Have I mentioned this before? ;)

Anyhow, I vowed this year would be better. Not perfect, since I don't have a job right now and therefore don't have the income for all those nifty can lights and bling I really want, but definitely--better!

I am stepping up my game, because I won't be embarrassed by my lighting. Any. More!

Since I did a "Haunting 101" lecture at Scare LA this year, I decided it was time to knock off the "do what I say" thing and start to put my knowledge into practice. It's hard to do with commissions awaiting completion and dumb things like laundry needing to be done, let alone all the work needed to post my work on Etsy, but dedicating an hour or two to making the lighting better is not going to kill me.

So, like many of you hard-core haunters, I went back to the Skull and Bone lighting tutorial, a.k.a. the haunter's Holy Grail of lighting.

The thing I really twigged to when reading this well thought out article, is that haunt lighting is not necessarily as much about lighting as it is about creating shadows.

Creating shadows. Key thing in a haunt, since, you know, it's supposed to be creepy.

I was relieved to see that like me, he had to deal with The Street Light From Hell. I have one that I've been glaring at for years, unable to pull anything together to just dim it down a little bit. (And I don't think the City of Folsom would be willing to help out with this one, pesky street light for the likes of me!) I've thought of making a large, old-school version of the Beistle favor boxes (which would make an amazing street light, in my opinion!), but did I mention that whole "time crunch" thing? And the fact that the street lamp probably throws off a ton of heat and I haven't figured out what I can put up there that won't catch fire? *sigh*

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Skull and Bone had to completely re-do his lighting because his city had replaced the old street light with a much higher wattage one, so his old lighting scheme didn't work. He actually opted to add more light, rather than less, in order to combat the light pollution from his demon street light.

In this picture, he actually allowed the street light to do the lion's share of the work, and added LED tea lights. (You can also get LED candles with a remote for a very reasonable cost.)
I think this effect is pretty scrumptious.

This year, I have decided to use blue floods almost exclusively. Blue light makes things cold and appear to be farther away, while red light not only warms things up, but brings them closer. I also purchase a few LED pin spots from Darklight, which throw out a shocking amount of light for such tiny things!

One of the things he mentioned which piqued my interest was Electroluminescent (or EL) wire. EL wire is sort of like the rope lights you find at Home Depot, and they look fairly easy to use. I hear they're cool, temperature-wise, as well. I ordered from Amazon Prime, so I would get them in time, and am going to try them out this year to see what they can do. It's relatively inexpensive (I think), so why not? I ordered blue, to stay in keeping with the blue floods and unify the house. We'll see how it mixes with the floods and the yellow Street Light From Hell. I'll probably switch to red floods for Stewie and the area closer to the house. I'll likely also put some jack-o'-lanterns out by the tombstones for a nice contrast to the blue lighting. If not that, then I'll add some LED candles like those shown above. We'll see what works better.

Anyway, I would strongly encourage you to look at the Skull and Bone lighting tutorial, and really take the time to sit down and read it from start to finish. There are many gems in there to be had for someone who's looking to step up an old lighting plan, and he just updated it in January of this year to reflect some of the new technology available to us which wasn't available back in 2007, when he first wrote it.

And above all, kids, have fun!