This past Sunday, horror appreciators everywhere received the sad news that Hollywood legend Wes Craven had passed away. The horror film master, who had been battling brain cancer, succumbed to his illness in his Los Angeles home on Aug. 30, 2015. He was 76.
The world will remember Mr. Craven as the scream king who brilliantly brought us such classics as The Hills Have Eyes, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.
Here is our tribute to the man, the movies and the legend whose push-the-envelope creativity will always be remembered. Wes, thank you for the thrills, the screams…and the images that helped shape the face of a genre – and still keep us up at night.
Our youngest has a fascination with sea monsters. He’s afraid of them…yet unendingly curious. (A chip off the old ghoul!)
So when we found these fun “hot dog octopus” goodies, we knew we had to try them out.
They were an instant hit with both our kids and since then, we’ve had this whimsical treat often.
Of course, being Halloween fans, Sir David and I “haunted” the recipe up for the holiday, adding murky-looking “seaweed” and sinister rather than friendly faces for the “sea monsters.” We call these Creepy Kraken, after the legendary tentacled monster of the sea that appears out of nowhere to upend ships in sailor lore.
This is SUCH an easy recipe, and perfect for a Halloween party. Here’s how to make your own tasty creatures of the deep:
CREEPY KRAKEN RECIPE
hot dogs – as many as you’ll need to feed your party
Maruchan or other brand Ramen noodles, 3 oz. per 3-4 hot dog “sea monsters”
McCormick Assorted Food Colors (or brand of your choice) – 10 drops of green; 3 drops of red
1 cup water
KRAKEN (SEA MONSTERS)
Cut hot dog in half but only up to within 1-1.5″ of the top of the hot dog, as shown.
Cut the cut pieces in half so that you have 4 dangling “legs.”
Cut two of these pieces in half so that you wind up with 8 legs total.
Boil a pot of water. When a rolling boil is achieved, turn down to medium heat so that you have a simmer to a very low rolling boil.
Place the hot dogs into the water. Cook until “tentacles” curl up slightly, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside, sitting them upright so their curled tentacles will stay in place.
Meanwhile, pour water into a small pot.
Add the food coloring. You should achieve a murky green color. Dip up with a spoon to test the color; you can always add more red for a murkier/browner color, or more green for a more intense color. Add ONLY ONE drop at a time of either color (or other colors of your choice), as color change will happen with very few drops.
Set on high heat, add the enclosed spice packet and bring water to a boil.
Add the noodles. Reduce heat so the water won’t boil over. Cook for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Drain. Do not rinse.
ARRANGING YOUR KRAKEN
Put the colored, cooked Ramen onto a plate (or plates, if you are serving more than 3-4 people and making more than 4 or so hot dog sea monsters; we find about 3-4 fit onto a dinner size plate, more on a serving plate).
Cool the sea monsters slightly in an upright position so their legs stay curled up around them. Now place the sea monsters into the “seaweed” (Ramen). Dot eyes only (no smiling mouth!) onto the hot dogs. Serve.
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You thought you were going to hang out on your couch tonight eating Ben & Jerry’s and watching old Hammer horror movies.
Then the phone call came.
“You won’t believe this – I just got invited to THE Halloween party of the year but I just can’t go alone! Please please please will you come with me?”
Or perhaps your three-year-old is staring up from her adorable clown costume with her lip trembling, asking, “But WHY won’t you dress up too, Daddy? You promised.”
What to do? You have 30 minutes and zero ideas. Never fear: you can pull together a unique costume…and you can use items you already have around the house! Get ready, get set…get into the spirit in a flash with these last-minute costumes.
Put an old lampshade on your head and hang a sign around your neck that says “Life of the Party.”
Wrap yourself in foil and be a burrito.
Get fully clothed and hang a sign around your neck that reads “Nudist On Strike.”
Have a headband lying around? Cut animal ears out of paper, color them, and glue them to the headband, then wear the headband ears on your head, along with an outfit in coordinating colors.
Go through your (or your wife’s, or your roommate’s, or your sister’s) makeup bag. Make yourself up as a slasher film victim or zombie by painting “blood” spatters with lipstick, be undead with dark eyeshadow under your eyes or be Frankenstein with green eyeshadow blended into some foundation (base) and black liquid eyeliner “stitches” on your forehead. Draw lines down from your mouth with eyeliner and draw “larger” eyes by making circles down below your own and be a haunted doll.
Draw an up-and-down pattern in black magic marker around a yellow shirt and be Charlie Brown.
Be a slasher film prom girl or undead groom, or a retro zombie or ghoul by repurposing an old outfit you were planning on tossing. A suit you’ve always hated, a plaid shirt that’s well past its grunge stage or a bridesmaid’s dress you already looked like a horror in anyway are all great choices.
Work with what you naturally have. For instance, if you’re a woman with long, dark hair and you have a black dress or black skirt and shirt stashed somewhere in your closet, do up your hair in braids and be Wednesday Addams. Work out a lot? Shred an old shirt, paint open areas green with green eyeshadow mixed into makeup base and be The Incredible Hulk.
Raid the garage or attic. If you have kids, great! You probably have accessories that will fit you even though they were originally purposed for children. For instance, cat or mouse ears will probably fit on your head; match these with a same-color simple outfit (black for black cat ears, gray for a mouse, pink for a pink bunny, etc.). Even if you don’t have children, you may uncover some fantastic finds – old clothes that are past their prime and now have their own naturally spooky look; pieces of old costumes from that last Halloween party you went to in 2003.
Have autumn/Halloween leaf decorations up (or stored in your garage)? Tape them all over autumn-colored clothes such as yellow, orange, red or brown and be a tree.
Find torn up old duds and a hat you were about to toss and be a scarecrow. Add circle cheeks and other scarecrow face decor with makeup if you’d like. If you have hay or straw decor around your house, stuff a little into your wrist and pants cuffs.
Grab an old black suit jacket and an empty Dos Equis container, paint on a beard and mustache if you don’t already have one and be The Most Interesting Man in the World.
Put some lemons in a bowl and write “LIFE” in marker on an old t-shirt. You are now life, handing out lemons.
Put a kerchief on your head. Wear a plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pair of jeans with the cuffs rolled. Put on lots of red lipstick. Voila – you’re Rosie the Riveter.
Know someone who wears a uniform to his or her job and is willing to “loan” it? There you go: instant “costume”!
Put black tape in a stick-figure formation on a white shirt and pants, tie a smiley circle around your head and be a stick figure.
Have a lot of black in your closet? Put on a black shirt and black jeans and safety-pin a full black skirt to the back of the neck of the shirt and to each cuff of the shirt. Spread your wings, and you have an instant bat costume.
Take dozens of Post-It Notes and write “Hello, my name is…” with a different name on each. Post them all over your shirt. Your costume? Identity thief.
Roll up the sleeves of a black or silk screen t-shirt, draw “bad boy” or “bad girl”-style tattoos all over your arms and upper chest and be a biker.
Last October, a friend and I went Halloween candy shopping together. As I tossed bag after extra large-size bag of candy into my cart, my friend stared at me.
“Do you really need that much candy?” she asked.
“I don’t want to have to run out again at nine o’clock at night for more candy for the stragglers,” I explained.
“Oh,” she waved away, “it’s always the older kids who come later. I turn them away. Kids over 10 really shouldn’t be trick-or-treating anyway.”
Okay, it’s not like I’ve never heard this type of comment before, but…et tu, Brute? My own friend, one of the “trick-or-treating age police”?
You see, I have the opposite opinion. On that spookiest night of nights of the year, anyone…I repeat, anyone who comes to my door (including, one year, the UPS delivery man…nope, not kidding) gets a treat and a cheery “Happy Halloween!” Every knock and doorbell-ring, full stop.
I know I may be unusual. But here’s my reasoning.
They’re Still Kids. Really
You may look at a “little” monster with the cracking voice and suspiciously five o’clock shadow-appearing lip and think, “That kid is just too old for this.”
Here’s the thing. Yes, their bodies are changing (at irregular rates – so that “youngster” could be 16…or he could be 11 and very tall for his age). Yes, they’re getting pretty savvy (or think they are). Sure, they’re X amount of years from legal adulthood. Roger that.
But think back. Even when you were “legal adult” age – 18 – exactly how mature were you? Now go back from there. At 16, 15, 14, were you skimming the Dow Jones each morning just to keep a heads-up even though you were pretty confident that your conservative stocks weren’t about to tank any time soon? Or were you thinking, “Wouldn’t it be hilarious right now if I sat on my brother’s head and farted?”
Come on. The teen years are still kid years…I don’t care what anybody says. And as the song (sort of) says, kids just wanna have fun.
We complain that kids grow up too fast nowadays. Then we strip the childish fun times from them. Err, huh?
Halloween ISN’T Just for (Little) Kids Anymore
First of all, “American Halloween” as we think of it today – with tiny children innocently going door-to-door in cute costumes, holding Mom’s hand – is an idea that didn’t really take root until the mid-20th century, after World War II. (Before that, “trick” or treat meant just that, including some dangerous tricks that were literal vandalism – and farther back than that, it was primarily grown-ups who caroused on Halloween Night at a local gathering.)
But rather than bore you with history, I’ll just say this: there’s been a movement during the past two decades or so back toward grown-ups being “allowed” to celebrate Halloween, complete with fantastic costumes and go-all-out parties.
So, here are your options: 1. Be an adult. Dress up, eat, drink and carouse. Have a fantastic time you’ll talk about for weeks. 2. Be a very, very young child. Dress up, get lots of candy. Have a fantastic time you’ll talk about for weeks. 3. Be a tween or teenager. Sit at home on Halloween night hoping a halfway-decent movie comes on.
Is that really fair? And how much sense does it make, really – “Sorry, Junior, but you’re too old AND too young to have fun”?
Of course in-betweeners feel left out. And since attending the grown-up party with alcohol and sexy-everything (sexy pirate, sexy nurse, sexy librarian, sexy accountant) costumes is probably out of the question, what say you just let the poor kid go out trick-or-treating?
And the best part? We used items found at our local dollar store and saved a bundle on a truly creepy, authentic-looking prop. Read on to find out how to transform ordinary candles into lighting with a creep factor in just 5 minutes (really!).
Step One: Gather Your Supplies
You will need:
one or more white candles; either burning wick or flameless/battery-operated
a red candle with a tapered end
decor items to surround your bleeding candles, if desired
a surface that’s easy to clean up; put down newspaper or a disposable sheet
Step Two: Safety FIRST
Although this tutorial is super-simple, please remember that you’re utilizing flame. Keep flammable items away from the area you’re working on. Do not allow children to do this craft on their own.
If you’re using plastic battery-operated (flameless) candles, remember that plastic can be very toxic if melted. DO NOT touch the flame of the melting candle to the plastic of your battery-operated candle. Hold the flame at least 1″ away and drip downward.
Step Three: Melt the Red Candle Over the White Candle(s)
Take the red taper candle and light the end. Now, holding it at an angle so you don’t accidentally light the wick on the white candle, drip red wax down onto the white candle. Try to have this look somewhat random, as if “blood” were flowing down the candle.
Step Four: Allow to Cool Completely
The wax should cool quickly, but some may puddle up near the wick. Allow the candle to cool upright.
Step Five: Add Decor
Now that you have some creepy candles made, you can simply place your bloody candles on a table or around your Halloween party area, or if you’d like, arrange them to look spooky.
Get creative. Add pumpkins, spiders, moss, leaves, cobwebs, or whatever strikes your fancy. (Just make sure to keep flammable items away from the candle flame.) Here, we used Spanish moss and a scrolled candle-holder.
Enjoy – this one simple prop will add awesome ambiance to your decor!
Halloween has long been a time for pushing the envelope and exploring topics that would otherwise be taboo.
With that in mind, it may not be so odd that Spirit Halloween has announced it will launch a Caitlyn Jenner costume for the 2015 season.
No surprise that a controversial subject is being capitalized on by a major retailer – but is it acceptable? The internet is blowing up with disagreements on the subject, but Spirit is standing behind its choice.
“Caitlyn Jenner has proven to be the most important real-life superhero of the year,” said Trisha Lombardo, the company’s PR manager, “and Spirit Halloween is proud to carry the costume that celebrates her.”
But is that just so much fluff to cover a nastier motive: humiliating a group that’s already behind the 8-ball a far as mainstream public opinion?
“There’s no tasteful way to ‘celebrate’ Caitlyn Jenner or respect transgender people this way on the one night of the year when people use their most twisted imaginations to pretend to be villains and monsters,” Vincent Villano of the National Center for Transgender Equality told the Huffington Post in a statement.
Other outspoken opinion pieces agree, including Huffpost Gay Voices. This article on the subject is up to 899 strident comments and counting, with input running from respectful disagreement to verbal fur- and fist-flying.
Meanwhile, some individuals are pointing to a long history of lampooning public figures on Halloween – not with hatred, but in the spirit of fun and self-expression. “What about when we’d dress up as presidents, or when men dress up as women routinely on Halloween for the last 100 years? Or any other thing that *might* offend someone? Seriously, everyone is offended by EVERYTHING. It needs to stop,” claimed poster Jessica Harris-Breeding in reference to the Huffpost Gay Voices article.
It’s a tough call. Halloween is about expressing oneself, after all – and poking fun at celebrities who otherwise seem untouchable.
Where to draw the line between self-expression and intolerance hiding behind a mask? Like Halloween itself, that question will probably remain controversial for some time to come…with freedom being the call from both sides.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? Sound off below!
The noise is coming from inside the phone…Heads up! Apple is haunting your iPhone with a host (or is that ghost?) of ghoulish apps, including new versions of your favorite prickly picks. And don’t be too scared, at least of the price: every one of these chilling apps is free.
Many of these apps are available on Android, so check the Google Play store to see if your phone supports any of these chilling choices. Click on the images for more info. Enjoy!
1. Corpse Cam Photo Editor
Freaky! Convert selfies into something a little more horrifying. Version 1.5, with 13 new “masks” to virtually try on.
2. Ghost Radar: Legacy
Ghostbust your house (and your friends) with this paranormal activity detector. Translates detections into words and numbers to give “real-time” communication with the energies around you.
3. Halloween Wallpaper & Background
More than 100 new wallpapers have been added to this much-loved scaring season app. Share wallpaper to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more.
4. Halloween Sounds Pro
Freak out your co-worker in the next cubicle and even send a second set of sounds remotely via Bluetooth with this creepy audio collection. 15 spooky sounds and a terrifying soundtrack.
5. Gun Zombie: Halloween
This app is free for a limited time only, so grab it now! Mow down monsters with your choice of 38 weapons and receive rewards for ridding the world of evil.
6. Ghostbusters Paranormal Blast
Blast and trap ghouls in high-res 3D. Includes the much-loved Slimer, haunted librarian and Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
7. Halloween Pumpkin Smash
Smashing! Annihilate gourds when you’re bored and challenge yourself to either arcade or survival mode. Click on matching pumpkins and shake to “explode” them. Oh so satisfying.
Get your Halloween on. All year long.