Monday, November 19, 2018

Yip Yip!

Click on the pic to see what happens when the Yip-Yips ride an elevator at Dragon Con in 2016.

Just cracks me up!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ten Years? Wow.

I started this blog ten years ago on November 3rd, 2008.

I can't believe it.

And I can't believe all the changes the decade has wrought. Births and deaths. I started out happily married, and now I'm recovering from an ugly divorce. I became part of a team of crazy Hallowe'en podcasters when I joined Hauntcast. I built a giant scarecrow and a pottery studio.

Most of all, I met you.

And that has been such a big blessing!

When things were silly, happy or sad, you chimed in with more giggle-worthy anecdotes, love, and support. I've had the honor of meeting with many of you in person, and you're still in my life on a pretty regular basis, even though some of you don't even live in this country.

And your talent! My God! I never knew how much talent was out there in the Hallowe'en community until I started this blog! Pumpkinrot, Spooky Blue, The Davis Graveyard, My Ghoul Friday, The Art of Darkness, and just too many others to name.

They were all my morning coffee klatch. I looked forward to their new creations and their processes. I looked forward to seeing their new puppies and their link dumps and their new creations. I was constantly amazed by their ingenuity.

And they - you -inspired me to do better, to be better, to reach down inside of myself and really learn my craft.

I wouldn't be the same person without you. And I humbly thank you all.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Messing Around With Something New

 I came to a realization through therapy recently:

I hadn't had real live, actual fun, creating art for a long time.

I know that sounds odd to people who have been following this blog for a number of years, but it's true.

Looking back about nine years, I realize I started selling my ceramic art too soon. It wasn't really ready for public distribution, but I had a reason: I was told I needed to bring in money. Not just needed, though. I had to make money at it.

It wasn't an unreasonable request, even though it wasn't framed as a request. More of a threat, honestly. But even so...

Practically speaking, making art costs money. Making ceramics costs an inordinate amount of money, and that's no exaggeration. The clay, the raw materials, glazes, brushes, the potter's wheel, the plaster table, the banding wheels, the cost of firing, the kilns, for God's sake! All of it costs money. Much more than most people realize.

My ex never let me forget how much it cost, and was relentless in driving me to make money at it. I didn't realize it, but it slowly started to suck the joy of creating art down the drain.

Again, he was right in that what I did should have paid for itself. It was the constant moving goalposts which ultimately made it less joyful and satisfying for me. It was, "You need to sell over here," and when I did, it was, "You're never home!" And on and on. Classic crazymaking behavior.

Situations like that make the act of creating new and interesting art difficult, and the art you love to create becomes an anchor around your neck. Uninspired and uninspiring.

Losing my studio put a stop to everything, and the next year was taken up by both the aftermath of the divorce, processing the Jerry Springer/Real Housewives nature of it, and unexpected serious health challenges. My surgery made it impossible for me to lift anything over 15 pounds for several months. For someone as active as I am, it was sheer torture.

Looking back, that forced break from art helped to clear space in my head for something new.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to connect with a local ceramics studio and start making ceramics again. This time, though, I'm primarily making for myself. I'm trying new techniques, pushing old boundaries and above all, giving myself both time and the permission to make crappy art. I'm in a place where I can learn from a teacher or several teachers again, and that spurs my growth and makes me eager to get to the studio on class nights.

Which brings me to going back to drawing, something at which I have become extremely rusty!

One of the goals I have is to re-engage in making fine art in addition to my Halloween wares. I've had a sketchbook around for a while and hadn't gotten around to using it, so I decide to bust it out and just start sketching ideas for both fine art and some new Hallowe'en things. Some of it is absolute garbage, as is to be expected, but some shows promise. Like all muscles which are achy from disuse, I anticipate my drawings will get better with practice.

In order to stretch a little more, I got a set of watercolor markers. I've never worked with watercolors, let alone brush pens, but it's been a fun, loose way to get back into drawing. Again, I'm giving myself permission to make bad art, and that's freed up my head tremendously!
Merging what I'm learning from playing with drawing and watercolors with my interest in working with acrylics is going to create some new, and above all, fun, things.
I've made it a goal to use one page in my sketchbook every day, and for the most part, I've been able to do it. It's odd to be working in watercolor when I've never done it, but the results haven't been terrible.
It's not earth-shattering or groundbreaking, but it's a step in the right direction. It's part of rediscovering and reclaiming who I was before I allowed things to go sideways and let someone else determine my worth. That's a mistake I will never make again.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Scary Stories!

Click on the pic for a scary story told by Lucas the Spider!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Spooky Rhymes and Riddles

Pinterest is such a wonderful resource for all things spooky, I must say! I get notices of "Pins we think you might like" and from time to time, I get that, "Hey! I remember that!" sensation.  I can't believe I had forgotten all about this little treasure from Scholastic Books.

And that's exactly what happened with this book: Spooky Rhymes and Riddles, by Lillian Moore.
 The rhymes are delightful, but the illustrations (done by Ib Ohlsson) are such old-school Hallowe'en goodness! I was entranced by them as a kid. 
And after I saw it on Pinterest, I had to order a copy of my own. It's not in pristine condition, but I don't really care, honestly!
With illustrations of this quality? No. I don't care that it's not absolutely perfect. This is sheer Hallowe'en spookiness with that all-important touch of sweetness and innocence from childhood!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Hallowe'en!

Today is the day! I hope all of you have a spooky, safe and wonder-filled Samhain!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hear the Monsters

Click on the pic for a lovely bit of Hallowe'en/Winchell's nostalgia from 1976!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Batty Pumpkin!

From the Facebook page of Pumpkin Sculpt U.S.A., I give you the Flying Fox Pumpkin!

Their description:
Here's our pumpkin version of a Flying Fox, a type of fruit bat. It's 7 feet tall and weighs over 500 lbs. It hangs from the rafters using a carefully engineered support of metal rods and wood.
Absolutely off-the-hook work! Wowza!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Creepy Hallowe'en

 Art by Sam Heimer. Visit his shop here.

Monday, October 22, 2018


Abandoned. You can imagine the opulence, even as you take in the decay time has wrought on these places, once vibrant with lives being lived.
Someone slept in this bed. Someone who has long since passed away. There's his jacket, left behind as a reminder of its former owner.
More pictures of beautiful abandonment at Niki Feijen's website.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Listen! Did You Hear That?

Face it, you need some wonderful aural candy, from music to stories, for your Hallowe'en.

Click here for some great tunes and stories by the masters, and click on any pic to see if you can purchase for yourself!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Hallowe'en Reading

This time of year, when the night grows longer and the days cooler, when the wind starts to moan down our chimneys, it's time to curl up in our warm abodes and read a good book.

Or a hundred and nine of them!

I've pulled together a Pinterest board containing a number of books on Hallowe'en and horror. Some are prop-related. Some are party ideas or pumpkin-carving ideas.

Many are straight-up horror and ghost stories for those chilly Fall nights.

If you explore the board and find something you'd like to read, click on it and it'll take you over to Amazon so you can purchase it.

Click here to go to My Scary Bookshelf.

And happy exploring!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Hallowe'en Costumes, Anyone?

More costume shenanigans here, at Bored Panda.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Legend of the Scarecrow: A ShellHawk's Nest Tradition

Click on the pic for a charming short film!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The 31 Club

One of my Hallowe'en traditions is to purchase Halloween at High Noon's latest album, a treat I look forward to every October!

Their latest offering came out a couple of days ago: The 31 Club. Exactly what I needed to get me in the mood for the best time of year.

See the rest of Halloween at High Noon's catalog here

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

You Left the Bodies but You Only Moved the Headstones!

Click on the pic for a clip.
Poltergeist. The classic from 1982, not the remake. You know my disdain for remakes, right?
I feel that it's still one of the creepiest, most atmospheric movies ever made. At the very least it's in the top twenty, even though a couple of the practical effects look a little cheesy when compared to modern CGI. But overall, the movie and its effects still hold up.

As an aside, it's interesting to see the difference in storytelling style from then to now. Poltergeist is still frightening and creepy, relying on the masterful buildup of tension rather than cheap startle scares. Stephen Speilberg, Michael Grais and Mark Victor took time to tell the story, to develop the closeness of the family before the crazy paranormal events changed everything for them, to see the sweetness and innocence of little Carol Anne before she was spirited away to the Other Side.
What was interesting in terms of the story is that they waited until nearly halfway through the movie to introduce a major influencer in the story: the riveting Tangina, a talented clairvoyant brought in by the paranormal investigative team who are helping the Freelings get to the bottom of their terrifying problems.
Click for Tangina's captivating monologue.
She's the very definition of small but mighty, showing courage in the face of what is, quite literally, all Hell breaking loose.

What floors me is that I now work for the guy who worked on the visual effects for this film.

This film, which is a large part of why I love horror and haunting!

Life is a funny old thing, isn't it?

Be sure to take time to watch Poltergeist this month, to set the creepy mood for you and a few of your closest friends!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

All-Seeing Eye

This reminds me so much of Stranger Things.

Artist unknown.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Chateau D'Amour

Artist unknown.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Abandoned in Detroit

It looks like it's going to crumble in on itself at any moment. It must have been gorgeous in its heyday.

Found on Reddit.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The BEST Halloween Playlist!

Click on the picture of my handmade jack-o'-lanterns for a marvelous Hallowe'en playlist, filled with spooky nostalgia!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

New York Hallowe'en

Looks like New York may just do a thing or two for Hallowe'en!

I'll have to add it to the bucket list East Coast Haunt Tour, when that happens!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

In Our Haunted House

Click on the pic for one of my favorite goofy Halloween tunes!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Behind You!

Keep looking. Glance over your shoulder. Behind you! There!
Artist Brian Coldrick creates creepy, single-panel horror stories to chill your bones in an instant!
I think the one above is particularly germane to our times...

Follow Brian's Tumblr here.
Support his Patreon page here.
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