Sunday, November 30, 2008

Halloween, I mean, CHRISTMAS presents

Shopping for Christmas presents can be traumatic, although I do love shopping on "Black Friday." (Something about the name just appeals to me.)
Don't worry, though. I'm here to help with another installment of Christmas gift ideas for those of us who find cute, rosy-cheeked anything more horrifying than the entire Stephen King catalog.
Amazon has these great Skel-a-Mingos on sale right now. I can just see these little cuties on SpookyBlue's lawn, right next to the Chapel Hill Witch. I have them on my Amazon wish list. They also have a set of 50 "cocktail demons" to hang off the side of your little black vodka martini. For those of us who are duct tape enthusiasts, there's The Original Duct Tape Halloween Book.

The Victorian Trading Post has a lampshade that I used for a mantel scarf for Halloween. Everyone loved it. There's also a vintage style witch painting on sale for $99.














Grandin Road has a genuine witch's broom (only $9!) for the gal who has everything. On sale, of course. And there's a glitzy set of velvet pillows ($11 each) for your dark boudoir. The prices there are pretty good right now, as I feel Grandin Road is overpriced the rest of the year.
















Remember your artist's supplies. ASW Express has an Iwata pistol grip airbrush available for $275.
Have fun shopping!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bloodsucking Fiends

I have a shocking confession to make. Here it is: I have an odd sense of humor. Been that way since I was a kid. You can imagine how popular I was in junior high when I was the only kid in school quoting Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Christopher Moore, it seems, shares my sense of humor.

Bloodsucking Fiends, A Love Story is a witty take on the vampire legend. Moore addresses the question, "How come all vampires are old and rich?" The answer is, when they're first made, they're not. Made in the modern day, with modern values, they wind up learning the lesson they should have before they died: Money isn't everything.

C. Thomas Flood moves to San Francisco with dreams of becoming a famous writer. He finds lodging with five illegal Chinese men, meets the Emperor of San Francisco, and secures a night-shift job at the local supermarket, where he can bowl frozen turkeys with the best of them. Enter Jody, and the vampire. *Dramatic music swells*

Read this. It's a holiday weekend, and you know you need to hide from your in-laws, anyway. And then, pick up the sequel, You Suck. These books are full of engaging characters and are great stories that suck you in and grab you by your funnybone.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Grande Illusions

Tom Savini. One of the biggest names in horror, not just for his amazing make-up effects, but also for acting, stunt work, directing, and special effects supervising. The guy does it all.

His credits include the 1978 classic zombie film by George Romero, Dawn of the Dead, the 1985 follow-up,Day of the Dead, and Creepshow (1982). Who could ever forget the gun codpiece in the 1996 hit, From Dusk 'Till Dawn? And the list just keeps on going, because he has several projects in post-production right now.

The man is 62 years old, and he still can scare the crap out of us. In an age where Hollywood (and our culture) worships youth and throws away our most experienced workforce, the fact that he is still "allowed" to be active is a miracle. Thank goodness for miracles!
Tom Savini's passion for make-up effects sprung from the 1957 film, Man of a Thousand Faces. His 1983 book, Grande Illusions, a Learn-by Example Guide to The Art and Technique of Special Make-up Effects, is now in its sixth printing, and has introductory essays by both Stephen King and George Romero, and a forward by Savini, himself.

Savini takes you through ten of his movies and their makeup effects in a clear, step-by-step progression. Lots of pictures, each phase carefully laid out. Funny enough, the only book really out there at the time Savini started, was Dick Smith's book, which I blogged on here. Having come from a dental background and having mixed my share of alginate impressions, I particularly enjoyed the section about making fangs. Just remember to brush your teeth before you take impressions, because you would not believe how icky it is to see last night's dinner in an impression. (I'm a girl. I can say icky and still feel cool.)

For those who are interested, Tom has a sixteen-month make-up effects program here. Maybe you'll be inspired to be the next Tom Savini, and my blog will be about you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful


Thanksgiving is a day away. It's our day to give thanks for what we have and gorge ourselves into a food coma.

Here are two people I'm thankful for. We went for cocktails Monday night and they came up with the brilliant idea of going to Apple Hill the next day, do some wine tasting and grab a pie. We had a blast, and since girls talk about, um, interesting things, we were cracking other people up along the way. I'm glad we could spread some Holiday Cheer.

I'm thankful for these two for making my move from my hometown of 39 years easier, and making me feel like one of the girls.

Thanksgiving is also a time I'm thankful for what I didn't get, or don't have anymore.

I'm thankful that I divorced husband #1 and #2, so that when Mr. ShellHawk came along, I would be available and know the difference between being married and being happily married. Another bonus: I topped my personal best in "length of marriage." Personal best never made it past three years; it's four and a half, now. Whoopee! (I'm also glad I chose NOT to go to my local pub that night and went to the one in Santa Monica to meet a friend for dinner, because I met him in Santa Monica and never would have if I'd gone to the other place. I'm also glad that when he left his ex and he had a choice of turning left to L.A. or right to Oklahoma City, that he chose left.

I'm thankful for the jobs I didn't get in this job search I'm on. I found out later that one doctor has a reputation of being verbally abusive to his staff (And what a shock! They're underpaid, too!), and I would have had to work Saturdays (and be away from my hubby) for another job. I hate working Saturdays.

On that note, I'm glad I got downsized from my last job, because of the stress that shouldn't have been a part of the job in the first place. And I get to work on other projects so maybe I won't have to go back into dentistry, if I'm lucky.

I'm thankful I don't live in L.A. anymore. For more reasons than I can count.

I'm sure you have your own list. Take a moment to reflect on what you got, and didn't get.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear Reader.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ghost House Underground

Do you remember when you were a little kid and it was report card day? Do yo remember dreading the words, "Has potential, but needs to learn to focus."?

You know where this is going, right?

Ghost House Underground is a series of (so far) eight independent horror films brought to you by the makers of 30 Days of Night (which I liked) and The Grudge. I picked them up at the video store yesterday because I hadn't heard of them and thought I'd give a couple of them a shot.

Dance of the Dead is a film that has pretensions of being a teenage Shaun of the Dead. They really should have studied both comedy and the zombie genre a bit more. Plot: A town that is next door to a nuclear power plant suffers a zombie invasion due to a long-term leak of said power plant into the local cemetery and the town. And it happens on prom night.

Review: Slow, not very funny, and the zombies moved too fast. Oh, did I mention they are hypnotized by live rock music? Sort of like the yodeling in Mars Attacks kills the Martians, only rock music isn't deadly to zombies. Has potential, but falls short.

Dark Floors. I was really hoping this would be better, and at first, it was. Then they ran out of imagination. Then, it was painful to watch.

Plot: An autistic little girl is in the hospital for yet another battery of tests by the clueless medical profession. Dad gets tired of it and decides to take her home from the hospital that very night. They get stuck in between floors and when the doors re-open to (of course) the sixth floor, strange occurrences occur. Blah, blah, blah. The very end of the movie felt random to me (No spoilers. If I had to sit through every grueling minute of this, so do you, my dear reader.), and the idea formed in my head that the writer pulled it out of his little Finnish shorts.

Maybe I'm too harsh on this one. It's a good movie for night of friends and cocktails. The monsters and the gore are impressive, as are the visual effects. And, anyway, don't we all suffer from the idea that we can write better horror? It's easy to criticize when we haven't trotted our dreck out there for the world to see.

I will rent the others. I am looking forward to the next generation of horror film makers; their birth, their evolution, their new take on the old story. I look at these films as student films, showing great potential. When these students pull focus and get a few years under their belts... Well, watch those bat wings unfurl, 'cause these guys are gonna fly.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Well, it's got SOME rat in it.


Another short post today. Got the stuff off to Goodwill and got the T-Day shopping done, now getting ready for drinks with the ghouls. I mean, girls. Heh.

But the good news is, Haunted Props knows what a girl's favorite word is: SALE!

Wooo-Hooo! Rat-in-a-bucket on sale! Hooray!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Necromance

Ahh, the Holidays. A time to offend people by saying, "Merry Christmas." (Oops! Did I say that out loud?) A time to say, for the umpteenth year, "I really need to save for this all year." A time to shop and wear out that plastic.

But where can the gruesomely inclined shop?

If you're ever in the L.A. area, specifically around Melrose Avenue, the place to go is Necromance. I met Nancy, the owner, a few years ago while working at my dental office in Encino, and was very impressed by her. We struck up a conversation about her store, and I bought a couple of gifts from there as a result. (I always try to support small business.)

Neat as a pin, and with a variety of neat gifts for those of us with darker desires, Necromance is a fun place to browse for hours.

The skeleton card holder will run you around $37.00, as will the Theda Bara cardholder. There are black parasols, Odd Fellows secret society pins, coffin flasks, old skeleton keys, walking sticks, and stuff for the etymologically inclined... It's all here.

And if you don't know if your sweetheart wants the coffin purse or the metal child's skeleton purse, you can always get a gift certificate. Online, too. How easy is that?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Halloween How-To

Mr. ShellHawk has been rumbling a little. Muttering, muttering, under his breath, "Storage. Garage a mess. MY garage. MY workbench, Precious..."

O.K., maybe not the "Precious" part.

In the period of insanity that is pre-Halloween prep, Mr. ShellHawk was told by my sister-of-the-heart who lives across the street (as she waved her martini glass at him) that the Garage of Doom is now the "Woman Cave." He took it well, and with characteristic indulgent humor. The fact that she made a martini for him might have had something to do with that, but hey, I'll take it where I can!

So today, while he's out playing paintball with said sister's hubby, I have decided to attack the garage and try to instill some kind of order on Chaos.

It's also "displacement activity," which is a fancy term for doing something that is viewed as work and therefore constructive (virtuous) in place of other things that you're trying to avoid. For me, that's the Stewie issue.

I'm still delaying the removal of Stewie's arms and possibly head for storage. Will there be reprisals from Stewie and his little brothers, Brian and Peter? Maybe the muttering in the Garage of Doom isn't Mr. Shellhawk, but the three of them plotting... You see my dilemma, don't you?

We do need the space, period. Mr. ShellHawk has this insane dream of parking his car in his garage. I ask you, fellow Haunters, will the madness never end?

Note, by the way, the large waders sitting on the Mighty Dodge. And the spreading stain of transmission fluid beneath it. (Someone "rebuilt" the transmission only a year and a half ago, before I drove the Dodge to Northern California and our new home. Don't get me started on all the "repairs" I've paid for that have turned out like this.) The large waders, thankfully, aren't mine, and are one of the numerous items that need putting away. I'm undecided on the transmission fluid slick. Any donations to The Mighty Dodge Restoration fund will be appreciated. (Kidding. A little.)

Note the crows on the workbench. Some of their beaks melted off in the rain and I need to repair them before I put them in storage. They got a bit mushy, so I can't just glue them back on. Any suggestions from a taxidermist or stuffed thing rescuer/rebuilder will be appreciated!

Since today will be a busy day, cleaning and organizing the Garage of Doom (which will involve a trip to Goodwill to get rid of my 50 gallon fishtank) I'll make this a quick post.

Go here for the Halloween Technology Roadmap. Lots of good project info.

Alright. Here I go. Aww, man! Where are my gorram work gloves?!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Making a Monster

Those of you who are monster movie fanatics (denizens of Dorkistan, perhaps?) will surely recognize Dick Smith's name. For those of you who don't, Dick Smith is one of the godfathers of monster makeup and makeup effects. His career spans 50+ years, he has an academy award under his belt for Amadeus, and is responsible for some of the most iconic faces in the horror genre, including charming little Megan from The Exorcist.

First published in 1965, Dick Smith's Do-It-Yourself Monster Makeup Handbook in now in its fifth printing, with an introduction from the also-legendary Rick Baker (Hellboy, The Ring).

Dick takes you through each effect step-by-step, and there are plenty of clear reference pictures. He also has an appendix of makeup supply you may need. This book is easy to read, easy to understand, and very likely to help scare the crap out of the darling little kiddies at Halloween. If you have children of your own, you'll be able to make them up into some pretty cool little monsters. I guess their outsides will reflect their insides, then. Heh.

You can find a copy of it at http://www.monstermakers.com/, a site which is also worth a surf for monster folks like ourselves. You can find Dick Smith's official website here. You can take a basic or advanced course in monster makeup from his site, too. Explore, people!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In Your Own Backyard

Some days, I really believe that we have too many choices. Too much on the to do list. Too many outside forces telling us to look, well, outside, for satisfaction. Too many people that tell us where we are isn't pretty enough. So we spend our time (note the word, "spend") frantically searching, searching, searching. For what? Whatever advertising tells us we need. In that search, we miss the simplest things. The sunrise. The chance to watch your spouse sleep. The two seconds it would take to actually listen to what your child is telling you. For that child, childhood.

I have to make a conscious effort to slow down sometimes, because I'm just as guilty of most other people of being a "human doing," rather than a "human being." Even though I'm unemployed, my days just fill up. Job search, housework, yard work,
cooking, and last, usually, are things I want to do. My various art projects (many in different stages of incompletion), watching the sun rise, calling my 99-year-old grandma, touching base with old friends who are now far away.
A couple days ago, I caught the sunrise. It was worth getting out of bed for.
Yesterday, as I was doing, doing, doing, I noticed the little Japanese Maple in my backyard. The leaves have turned already, the rain hasn't yet come to knock them down. I've been admiring the colors for days. I realized if I didn't get out there to take a few pictures soon, the leaves would be gone and I'd have missed the chance to capture the beauty in my own backyard.

Now, the light wasn't ideal in the photographic sense. It wasn't the fabled "golden hour" (which wouldn't have done any good anyway, because my backyard is in shade by sundown), and in all honesty, I'm not a photographer and I don't have the slightest idea how to set an f-stop. Whatever that is. (I suppose I'll have to read a book sometime soon, if I'm to be posting pictures with this much regularity! In my spare time, of course...)
I just see pretty things, and I try to see them everywhere.
Especially in my own backyard.



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trick or Treat Prank

Great prank here. I will let this stand alone today. We should all be this imaginative!

Enjoy!

P.S. If you click on "White Lines" on my Shaun of the Dead review, you'll actually come up with the scene I mentioned. The clip had been removed from YouTube, and now it's back. Hooray!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bones

I took these the other day on my play date with my husband.


We ran across this cow carcass on the ranch I mentioned in a previous blog, taking pictures on the way out. I think my honey was worried his friends would think I was odd to take pics of this even though I told them it was research photos for later.


I imagine the turkey vultures made short work of this one.





I find the bleached color fascinating. I always have this picture in my mind of bones yellowing with age, but I guess since they're in the sun, they bleach just like everything else.

This will make great reference for the '09 Halloween display.




Monday, November 17, 2008

Haunted House 101

I think there are many different layers of Halloween enthusiasts. There are your top-notch professionals who work in Hollywood and make their living in the Industry. Most of us don't live in their Universe. Most of us don't have their budget, but in our heart of hearts, we want to BE them.
There are people like me, who like to build props and stick 'em in the yard with a suitable murky atmosphere to show them off.
There are those who love rosy-cheeked scarecrows and any cute pumpkin they can lay their hands on. Their skeletons have ingratiating, harmless smiles. Their yards are, dare I say it, adorable. (The very thought gives me chills. Yeesh!)
Then, there are Haunters.
These are people I admire. They may, but probably don't, have a huge budget. They recruit actors. They spend time thinking about what their theme for the coming year will be. They get it all down on paper, drawing and discarding designs with an abandon that can only be matched by Paris Hilton tossing aside another inconvenient pair of panties.
In the fantasy of my mind, they are Organized.
Enter Jerry Chavez, whose book, "Haunted House Halloween Handbook," proves my theory about being Organized.
In this book is everything you need to build your own haunted house except the elbow grease needed to do it. Jerry includes budget projection worksheets for you to copy, tips on mold-making, design, security, sposorship, even an index of theatrical supply companies. If you have questions about producing a medium-sized haunted house, Jerry has it covered. While the instructions on prop-building may not be as in-depth as you may wish, there are clear illustrations to go from, and heck, we all know the websites we go to for prop-building info, anyway.
If you are the kind of haunter who is willing to put many hours into your next haunt, this is the book to get. Amazon has it here. I read the reviews carefully before I bought it, and I wasn't disappointed!
Happy Haunting!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Romantic Comedy. With Zombies.

My husband and I are getting old. We can't seem to sleep past 7:00 a.m., even on weekends. So when we get up, the coffee gets made and the t.v. gets flipped on for awhile. How long depends on what we have to do that day.

This morning, after my sweetie got done with watching a DVR of Lydia's Italy, he said, "You can watch whatever you want."

"Really?"

"Sure."

Enter Shaun of the Dead, baby. Those of you who know zombie movies, know this movie. For those of you who haven't run across this movie... Where the heck have you been?

Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, the 2004 release earned $3.3 million on its opening weekend, even though it had only a limited release in the U.S. Since then, it seems, Shaun of the Dead has enjoyed a cult classic status. I discovered this movie in the trailers of another movie I had rented (which also featured a trailer for Cannibal! The Musical, but I haven't been able to nab that one, yet.). I can't believe I missed it when it came out. I'm just glad that I watch trailers, sometimes.

Essentially, the story is about Shaun (Simon Pegg), an appliance salesman, who lives with his two flatmates, Pete (Peter Sarafinowicz) and Ed (Nick Frost). Shaun's main interest in life is to go to his favorite pub, the Winchester, every night, much to the dissatisfaction of his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield). After Liz dumps Shaun, Ed takes Shaun to the Winchester to drown his sorrows, leading into one of the funniest scenes ever in the zombie genre. The song "White Lines," will never be the same for me.

I won't go into the plot any further, but be assured that the comic team of Nick Frost and Simon Pegg will keep you laughing in this great send-up of the traditional zombie movie, or shall I say, movie about the "mobile deceased?" Pegg recently called for a return to zombie values here.

By the way, if you like Nick Frost, you can see him in a series of vignettes called Man Stroke Woman here. Those in the know, will know that Frost and Pegg teamed up for another send-up (this time of the buddy action flick) in Hot Fuzz. Great double feature for Sunday morning.

For tips on surviving a zombie attack, click here. And stay away from bloody, slow-moving people.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fall Images


It's been good weather for taking pictures, lately. It seems the rain came for the express purpose of messing up my carefully laid plans and effects for Halloween, and then disappeared, mission accomplished.

This is the view of the full moon a few nights ago from my front yard. My neighbor came over to drop something off and pointed it out to me. I love how the fading light made the windows of the houses on the hill look slightly afire.


My husband kidnapped me the other day to get me out of the house. As it was a sunny, comfortable 75 degrees out, I went. He took me to a site his company is monitoring for a rare salamander (long story), and this oak tree is on the property. I would guess it's at least 150-200 years old.


What's special about this tree, is that it's become a storage unit for the woodpeckers to keep their acorn stash. I'd heard about this, but never seen one in person.
The woodpecker will peck a hole in the tree, and then cram an acorn into the hole. This tree had thousands of acorns stuffed into it. Some of them had been there so long, the bark had started to grow around them.

In fact, when we poked around the dead branches lying at the foot of the tree, we found that by peeling back the bark, we could see how many acorns had been swallowed up by the tree. One branch had at least 20 acorns inside it.


It was a lovely day. I'm glad I took a break from painting and organizing to go out and play. After all, there are always things to do around the house. They're not going anywhere. And when you're on your deathbed, are you going to say, "Gee, I wished I'd cleaned the house more."? Or will you regret all the things you could have gone out and enjoyed?

Jeez, I hope not!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Opportunity Regained

This year has been one of introspection for me. I suppose it has something to do with turning 40, looking back and asking (in the words of the Talking Heads), "How did I get here?"

Mind you, I love my life. I have a great husband, a beautiful home that is not being foreclosed on, and aside from having gotten laid off in the beginning of October, no stress. There are many people who can't say that, and I'm grateful that I can.

"How did I get here?" was more of a "Gee, I haven't done a lot of what I thought I would." I started to think about how the lack of a plan gave me a lack of results. I also reviewed the "missed opportunity" file in my head, and started working on my "flat forehead syndrome." You know, the one you get when you smack your palm against your forehead and make the "duh" or "d'oh" sound.


For instance, I knew Tony Bennett's piano player, Ralph Sharon. I had always wanted to play piano. Did I ask if he would teach me? No. Opportunity lost. I lived not too far away from artist Mike Vosburg (Wiki link) and if I had asked, he would have tutored me in art. Did I ask? No. Chris Mankovsky, faux artist. Did I ask? No. Izzy Mankovsky, her husband and cinematographer. Didn't ask. My DAD, for crying out loud! Did. Not. Ask.

What a freakin' idiot.

So when I found out my last boss' spouse had a bronze foundry, and was teaching a weekend class on sculpture, I decided to change my history and go. (I won't give you the name of the foundry, because, honestly, I'm still miffed at getting laid off, and I almost didn't get unemployment. Petty? Maybe. I'm not sorry, though.)

In August, I took a weekend away from building Stewie and went to my first sculpting class. I learned a bit about the lost wax process, and after lunch, we were given some wax and told to have at it. Any help asked for was given, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it and my teacher.

After a day and a half, I had my very first sculpture. I picked it up as a finished bronze two days ago. While it won't be in the Louvre any time soon, and I can see numerous things I would change if I had the skill and experience, I'm still really pleased with the way it turned out. More than anything, I'm proud of myself that I changed my habit of letting opportunity slide by without a peep.

I don't know. Maybe it's turning 40 that made me ask. Maybe I've worked through whatever issue it was that held me back. Whatever it is, I have tangible proof that I can change, even at my age.

I give you The Water Woman.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Making Stewie, Part 2

Yesterday, I began part one of how Stewie got built. I gave credit to Spookyblue for the design, and I want to mention today that he was very patient about my e-mailing with questions. Thanks, again, Spook!

On the left is a pic of the beginnings of Stewie's hatch. I stuck some foil over the hole I cut in his head and began the first of many layers of shop towels and glue to create the flap that would cover it. My first layer was just Elmer's glue (bought at Lowe's in a big jug) and water, and from there on it was shop towels and carpet glue.

At this point, Stewie had been papier mached with newspaper strips and a mix of Elmer's glue and water. I had added his ridges and bumps, some vein/vines on his chest, and a wicked grin. Now for the next step: carpet glue and shop towels.

For those of you unfamiliar with "corpsing" techniques, SpookyBlue has a great tutorial here. I want to stress how important it is for you to tear all the sharp edges off your shop towels before you use them for this. I spent an hour or so just tearing edges and creating different-sized strips before I even opened up my carpet glue. I also bought several boxes of latex exam gloves to protect myself from the sticky carpet glue.

I laid down two layers of carpet glue and shop towels, taking a toothpick to the tinier areas around the corners of his eyes and mouth to poke the shop towel around the edges. I seem to remember a lot of cursing and grumbling while I was going through this phase, as the carpet glue really does stick to everything. I went through a lot of gloves because eventually, the glue would start drying on the gloves and creating strings that would stick my fingers together. It was also the week we had 100+ degree weather, and I'm pretty certain that had an effect on the drying time of the glue.

After each layer of carpet glue and shop towel, I took a 2" chip brush (known in the industry as, "cheap brush") and painted a thin layer of carpet glue over Stewie's entire form. This is an important step, as it will prevent the texture of the shop towels from messing up your paint job (and cover up the "made" look, as opposed to creating the illusion of "grown in Hell's pumpkin patch") later on. I love chip brushes. They're perfect for this task, because once they get too gummed up, you toss them.

Once I finished that, it was time to add the stalk. I really wanted it to look very "root-y," and I needed to add some counter weight to Stewie's forward lean. I made the main stalk out of chicken wire, and after some thought, added a second chicken wire stalk down his back as a counter weight. After that, I added rolled-up newspaper wrapped in duct tape, and taped rolled-up paper towels wrapped in duct tape to the ends of those, so I had a gradual reduction in the thickness of his roots.

I added arms, made out of PVC and screwed to his shoulders. For "muscles," more newspaper. I was starting to run out of time, so after I made the hands and got them screwed on, I added several different sizes of plastic tubing to create more vine-like details on his arms. All these details got the shop towel/carpet glue treatment again. And once again, two layers, with a brushing of carpet glue in between layers.

The hands took a while to make. My husband suggested really long, root-y fingers. I had started the pumpkin patch in the front yard (alas, too late for the pumpkins to be ripe in time for Halloween) and thought this would be a great way to tie him in to the suggestion that he had grown there. Wrapping each separate finger took forever, and my fingers were sore from the duct tape attempting to yank my skin off and from wrapping each finger so tightly.
After that, it was all in the paint job.

I used exterior house paint, getting a couple of gallons of "oops," or mis-mixed paint at Lowe's and OSH in different colors for my primer and my first sponged-on layer of green. Unfortunately, nobody had the decency to make mistakes in the shades of orange I needed for my final two layers, so I had to go to Home Depot and get two quarts mixed of two different shades of orange. I chose a darker orange for my first orange layer, and then an orange several shades lighter to dry brush the highlights in. I also added a little glow in the dark paint, though it didn't show up all that well. After all that dried for a couple days, I added two layers of clear waterproofing sealant, some black feathers in his mouth to suggest he eats his crows instead of scaring them, and the terror of the pumpkin patch was done!