Friday, October 31, 2014

Rules for Tonight

Season's Greetings!

Click on the pic to see a wonderful short film by Michael Dougherty.

This is Halloween!

Happy Hallowe'en, my Darklings! Click on the pic for a nifty Hallowe'en playlist!

The Haunted House

I heard this the other day for the very first time. I think it catches the haunter's imagination well, don't you?

Click on the pic to watch and listen...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Get Rain in the Middle of a Drought

Seriously. Worst drought in California in years

Lakes drying up. 

The warning that many places in California will be out of water in 18 months or less.

Wells running dry.

Why then, is there rain on Hallowe'en freaking night?! Could it not have waited one more day? Seriously?



A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Zocalo Public Square to write an article on Home Haunting 101. I was really taken aback that a news agency would be interested in lil' ol' me, but there you have it!

After a few back and forths with the editors, the article was born and now published! Hooray!

Please head over there and leave a comment if you can. I'd like to know someone besides my dad has read it! 

And a big, big thank you to those who have inspired me through the years. They include but are not limited to, SpookyBlue, the first guy to comment on my blog way back in 2008, Pumpkinrot, the other Master of paper mache, The Davis Graveyard, incredible Haunters and all around good humans, House Bloodthorn, keeper of Miss Rose, and the House at Haunted Hill, the epitome of great story in a haunt.

I also want to thank you, who read this blog, comment, or lurk, for continuing to inspire me with your support! Thanks, guys. You rock!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just a Reminder

Just a quick reminder that I still have some Dark Candles Collection packs available at a discount on my eBay store! I also have those darling little voodoo string dolls at a discount.

These are going to be pulled out of my store after the 1st, so if you're interested, now's the time to buy!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Haunted Hallway

I caught this over on 'Rot's site. The Haunted Hallway.

How it trips off the tongue: "The Haunted Hallway."
I am so envious of those kids, getting treated to 'Rot's efforts! And a school getting to do an old-school Hallowe'en? Not a "Harvest Festival?" Priceless!
 I love living in California, but the "P.C."-ness of it all sometimes drives me batty. Like banishing Hallowe'en and not letting kids wear costumes.

I find myself yearning for someone to tell "them" all to "go pound sand! We're doing this Hallowe'en thing!"

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!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Week into the Season!

Can you believe we're already a week into October? The best month of the year is just flying by, and it seems we just can't squeeze enough Hallowe'en in.

I've got you covered, though!

I've recently updated my Amazon widget in the right sidebar with many more fun Hallowe'en offerings. From books to DVDs, stories to prop-making, and let's not forget the music. Lots of music! Remember to click on the little arrow or numbers towards the bottom of the widget in order to turn the pages and discover the next row of offerings. When you do click on a product, you'll be helping this blog generate a tiny bit of revenue to keep the Hallowe'en love going!

Oh, and don't forget to check out my ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store for my own Hallowe'en ceramics, and my eBay store has both Dark Candles at a discount, and a number of spooky-themed voodoo string dolls to purchase! Dark Candles is my favorite brand of candles, as the scents are delicious without being overpowering. (I am personally in love with Dark Carnival, and so is Mr. ShellHawk!)

I also wanted to tell you thanks for the support over the years, boils and ghouls! I can't believe this blog has been going since 2008, and some of you have been here since the very beginning! (I am still blown away that the great Spooky Blue was the first to comment on this blog!) 

I hope you're around for years to come!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Night Pics

 So it's the Hallowe'en Season, and you want to go to all the cool haunts and take pictures. Here's some advice, straight from the Haunted Mansion queue lines:


Flash photography ruins lighting effects. Granted, my lighting effects in the picture above are not the greatest, but they still look pretty good to the average viewer. Below, the flash has completely washed out everything. 
Of course, getting people to stand perfectly still while taking a picture without a flash is pretty tough. But if you're taking pics of a haunt without actors in it, it's a great idea to learn how to use a tripod and, well, your camera. (The tripod is key! Get a tripod here.)

I admit, I'm still working on this concept.

Fortunately, someone wrote a nice article about this. Bryan J. Dorr is a photographer and his tutorial here, can help you brush up on taking pics at night.

You're welcome. ;)

Digital photography school has their tutorial, a little more comprehensive, here
Photoshelter has a tutorial here.

Have fun, and take spooky pictures!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Looking for Yummy Hallowe'en Things?

If you're a regular to this blog, you remember the last few years of guest bloggers, blogging about favorite urban legends, their favorite Hallowe'en, their favorite ghost stories. 

So I invite you to revisit those wonderful posts for some eerie and chilling October Country kind of fun. They truly are some of my very favorite, delicious offerings!

Favorite Urban Legends.
Favorite ghost stories. (Love Mike C's post from The Skull and Pumpkin!)
Favorite Hallowe'en memories. (Featuring a post from Pumpkinrot, y'all!)

The Hallowe'en Season is here. Revel in it! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vintage Hallowe'en Cartoons!

Click on the frightened owl for a playlist of vintage spooks and specters!

Welcome back to Saturday morning cartoons!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ghost in the Window

Waaaaay back in 2009, I did a post on the Pepper's ghost illusion. Earlier this year, I made mention of a particular YouTube video, by user 5qu1d, also known as Paul Lasaine, of a ghost in a window, playing piano.
Click on the pic to watch the video.
Paul has experience in the making of illusions, because he does that for a living! Paul's portfolio is quite impressive, and includes some work on the visually gorgeous Lord of the Rings series. I contacted Paul a few months ago to get permission to use his video in a lecture I did over at Scare LA, the big Halloween convention at the L.A. Mart in August. After we emailed back and forth, and after he gave me permission to use his video, he posted a nice how-to of the effect. Pepper's ghost is a relatively simple effect, but you have to get everything set up just right!
Click on the pic for the how-to.
This particular illusion is one which gives you a lot of bang for your buck! People will stand outside your window for hours, watching this! I still haven't done it, but maybe this year? 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Need Some Sound for your Haunt?

Click on the pic for the sounds of a night in a swamp full of--unclean things...
I've posted about The Haunted Gallery Blog before, so I won't go into great detail here. All you  need to know is that J.P. has great, free downloads of his atmospheric soundscapes and does a new project every year. Last year's project was "The Midnight Ride of Ichabod Crane," which was accompanied by some great artwork and photography. It took me back to the old days of listening to scary stories off my old record player, using my imagination to fill in the scariest parts.

If you're looking for some nice atmosphere for your haunt, you really can't go wrong with The Haunted Gallery. Click here for the blog, and happy listening, creeps! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ladies Home Journal Halloween

Ladies Home Journal, October 1905. Image via Behind the Curtain blog.

Happy October, gang! The night of nights is close upon us. Are you excited? :D