All posts by Sir David

10 HILARIOUS Sayings For Your Tombstone Prop

 

You’ve created the perfect tombstone prop. It looks creepy, decayed and, well…you dig it. But what about that finishing touch?

That’s right: every awesome Halloween tombstone needs a GREAT epitaph.* Fresh out of killer ideas? These 10 sayings will knock ’em dead! Here are our freaky faves.

* An inscription commemorating one who has passed on, particularly as inscribed on a tombstone.

Don’t worry. Where you’re going, you don’t actually need much space.

 

 

 

We’re all for romance…but if she’d read this first, he’d have been the first one to go.

 

 

 

 

He’s undead eight times and counting.

 

 

 

 

Well now, isn’t somebody going to be surprised…

 

 

 

I mean…you unicycle blindfolded across the freeway in rush hour traffic just ONE time and this is what happens. Sigh.

 

 

 

We’ll never forget Frank. I mean Hal. No. Wait.

 

 

 

 

Oh, mann.

 

 

 

…and on…and on.

 

 

 

 

No kid of the 80s could possibly not have this tombstone in his or her haunt.

 

 

 

 

And of course…

We hope so! What’s Halloween without an unexpected visit or two? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

 

Make Your Own (So Easy!) Zombie Costume – PLUS Bonus Vid!

How fast can you pull together a great, authentic-looking zombie costume? Quicker than you can say “one, two, brains!”

Zombie costumes are fun – and they’re SO easy. Why? Because one of the hallmarks of a “realistic” zombie is that it’s very, very imperfect. Everything is falling apart, falling off, torn, rugged, ragged. This means you have plenty of room (and then some!) for creativity with your zombie costume – and it also means you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to get a “realistic” look.

Ready to stagger into that Halloween party and blow the entire room away with your creativity? Here’s how to get zombified!

Step 1: Homework

Catch your favorite back-episodes of Walking Dead...and don't forget to bring snacks!
Catch your favorite back-episodes of Walking Dead…and don’t forget to bring snacks!

Watch the following (or Google or Bing for images) for zombie costume inspiration:

  • The Walking Dead backseasons 
  • Cesar Romero’s Night of the Living Dead series (and the remakes)
  • World War Z
  • 28 Days Later (and 28 Weeks Later)
  • Zombieland
  • Resident Evil
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • I Am Legend
  • Dead Snow
  • Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” Video
  • The Crazies
  • Dead Alive
  • Re-Animator
  • Rec

Step 2: The Clothes

  • In most zombie movies, books and TV series, people are pulled from their normal lives into zombiehood as a zombie Prom queen2 complete (very unwanted) surprise. That means you can take any outfit and zombify it. Businessman, cheerleader, mom in her bathrobe, prom dress: get creative and decide how you want to have “turned” and when and base your outfit accordingly.
  • For the ultimate in economy, visit a thrift store or the Goodwill for fantastic finds (or simply use old clothing of your own). Cut and tear holes and jagged pieces into your clothing. The more torn up and stressed, the better. Fray sweaters; cut off a cuff three-quarters of the way; stretch out a boat neck. You want to look as if you were putting up a zombie clothesterrified struggle just before succumbing.
  • Now take paint (paint is better than makeup, which can smear off onto furniture, your car and other places you just don’t want it) and streak and dot “blood” marks onto your clothing. Acrylic paint is perfect, as it will give a stark, bold color and will dry quickly, but fabric paints will work, too.
  • Spatter red paint for blood spots and smears onto the clothing. Add some brownish-red or dark brown spots for dried blood as well.
  • Can’t get enough gore? Paint green and greenish-yellow onto your duds (brains, anyone?).

Step 3: The HairZombie Costume Walking Dead

Muss it, mess it, half-pull it out of a ponytail, pommade it sideways – your hair, like your clothing, should show evidence of a pre-zombification struggle and, afterward, a life on the run…or, well, on the stagger.

Get some wacked-out (and walked-out) texture into the hair by adding mousse or by overusing dry shampoo and finger-arranging it to stand up, out or at angles (or all three!). For a great effect, add little bits of lint, string and even faux leaves to look as if you’ve been sleeping outdoors and charging through the forest in search of prey.

Add some fun to your top. A bloody bridal veil, a hat, or a good old-fashioned hatchet through the head are all perfect touches for your horror look.

Step 4: The Makeup

  • zombie makeupGreasepaint is the typical, and traditional, makeup to use for Halloween. (It’s also the type of makeup used, in the old days, by stage actors.) Greasepaint works well because it covers so heavily. However, it is just what its name implies: greasy. For that reason, you may want to go with standard drugstore or department store makeup. If you don’t have sensitive skin, shop the dollar bin, your local dollar store or the cheapest brands you can find, since this will (presumably) only be a once-a-year occurrence.
  • Make your base very light. You should look semi-bloodless and paler than your normal complexion. A very, very light foundation is what you’re looking for. However, if you’d like to go as bone-white as possible, you can take even the lightest foundation up a shade in color by adding white liquid eyeshadow base and mixing well. Now dab a tiny bit of gray liquid eyeliner into your foundation and blend well for a grayish cast.zombie makeup woman
  • Smear gray or black liquid or gel eyeshadow under your eyes for a sunken look.
  • For a truly AMAZING zombie look, add dark red eyeliner to the waterline (inside “shelf” line around your eyes). This is the ultimate in a bloodshot/burst blood vessel zombie look.
  • Now go for the deepest blood-red lipstick (or red liquid eyeliner or eyeshadow) for blood spots. Add some dark brown as well for dried/crusted blood.
  • You can “pale out” your lips using foundation with a touch of gray, or make them blood-red (and add more makeup dripping down your chin…but you knew we were going to say that).
  • Make sure to paint some “scars” in various strategic areas for a total fear factor!

That’s it! You’ve been zombified – and are sure to horrify. If you’d like to really get into things and don’t mind zombie makeup 2spending a few dollars more, check out zombie makeup kits with ready-made gory prosthetics (artificial skin/blood/flesh pieces). These generally glue on; try out the adhesive on the inside of your arm 24 hours in advance to make sure you don’t have a reaction to it.

Have fun and be creative with this creepy and fab costume!

Bonus! Watch This “Exposed Bone” Hand Makeup Video Tutorial

We LOVED this tutorial. IMPORTANT NOTE: The technique shown in this video includes the use of latex. Latex is a material that some individuals have an allergic and potentially life-threatening reaction to. If you have or suspect a latex allergy, utilize an alternative material. Enjoy – this look is SO cool!

The COOLEST Halloween Treat Ideas

 

Be “that house” this year – that’s right: the ones kids turn their costumes inside-out for so they can come back for seconds. Here‘s how.

 

Trick-or-treat, smell their feet, give them something good to eat!

Okay, so we’re sure you’re not likely to engage in that second option (can we get an “eeew”?), but as for the rest, we’ve got the goods right here! Keep little hands dipping into the Halloween treat cauldron with these absolutely amazing candy ideas. 

Creature Eyes Lollipops

 

These sugary delights REALLY look like monster eyeballs. At $19 for six assorted pops, these make an eye-popping (you knew we’d go there) impression. Find yours here.

Candy Urine

We know…we couldn’t stop laughing either. Have these gross little goodies lined up on your mad scientist display for your phantasma-tastic party. Each contains sour liquid candy; they run 4 items for $10. Find them here.

Halloween Fortune Cookies

These are a fun twist on the fortune cookies you already know and love. Each cookie is Halloween-colored and contains a spooky-slash-funny fortune. And at less than $9 for 50 cookies, they’re easy on your wallet this Halloween season.

Sour Flush Candy

Here’s one last nod to the “gross candy” idea: dip the “plunger” (lolipop) into the sour candy to coat; then lick. These come in delicious sour apple and are the most reasonably priced we’ve found to date, at $22 for a pack of 12.

Peeps Caramel Apple Chicks

Can we get a YES please? Mmmmmmmmm…these Peeps are ghoulishly delightful. (Caramel apple FTW!) If you can’t find them on store shelves this year, check this site to order. They’re $1.50 for a package of three Peeps.

Hershey’s Candy Corn Bars

The candy corn apparently wasn’t enough, so Hershey’s dipped this treat in white chocolate. (Oh my gourd.) Caveat: you’re NOT supposed to eat the entire box by yourself (oops). 21-count box for $24; order here.

Dia De Los Muertos Sugar Skull Candy

Halloween isn’t the only holiday in mid-fall. Dia de lost Muertos honors the dead on two days – Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 – and is celebrated in Mexico. It’s also growing in popularity in the U.S. Be unique and celebrate “the other Halloween holiday” this year. We found them here.

 

 

A Very Vintage Halloween: Hauntin’ it Old-School

 

Vintage means different things to different people. When it comes to Halloween, “vintage” may refer to the time period the person grew up (say, the 60s or the 80s), a culturally nostalgic time such as World War II or the Victorian era, or simply an “old” look and feel.

Therefore, we’re glad to bring you ideas that cover a range of time periods. You may remember them or your parents might wax nostalgic about them, but either way, everyone loves vintage – so enjoy and make this Halloween a blast from the past!

Biestle: The Cardboard Cutout Gold Standard

Biestle cutouts

Beistle is the ironic name for a Halloween hang-up decorations franchise that you may remember from the 60s, 70s or 80s. The name might not ring a bell – but once you see these traditional cardboard cutouts, we guarantee you’ll be transported into the past.

The company still offers the decor you remember at rock-bottom low pricing. Find great iconic decorations at Amazon, ebay or at beistle.com.

 

The Candy You Remember: Have a Bite!

wax fangs 2
candywarehouse.com

Mmmmmmmm! Long ago, we settled for stale wax lips, phony cigarettes and “Sips” of pure glucose – and we loved them!

If you think you can’t re-live the experience, think again. Nostalgic candy is big business, and dozens of retailers offer the insta-cavity makers you remember. Try these locales:

monster mashMusic: Step Into the Past to Set a Mood

Nothing transports a person into a specific time or past event like music. Playing the Halloween favorites from your childhood will set an instant mood. Set up a playlist or buy a ready-made CD and rock out at your vintage Halloween party.

A few Halloween song classics include:

  • Monster Mash (Bobby “Boris” Pickett)
  • The Purple People Eater (Sheb Wooley)
  • Love Potion No. 9 (The Clovers)
  • Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
  • Thriller (Michael Jackson)
  • Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
  • Spooky (Atlanta Rhythm Section)
  • Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.)
  • Tubular Bells (theme to The Exorcist) (Mike Oldfield)
  • Devil Woman (Cliff Richard)
  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia (The Charlie Daniels Band)
  • Time Warp (Richard O’Brien)
  • I Put a Spell On You (Nina Simone)
  • Dragula (Rob Zombie)
  • Somebody’s Watching Me (Rockwell)
  • Black Magic Woman (Santana)
  • Witchy Woman (Eagles)

Classic Posters Create a Retro Atmosphere

Classic horror movie retro posters can be had at a steal (as long as they’re repros and not originals). Hang up posters of The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Fly, Dracula, Frankenstein, and traditional Halloween icons such as Elvira, The Munsters and The Addams Family.

Ebay and Amazon carry them, as do big box sellers such as allposters.com.

Vintage Invitations for Your Halloween Bash

halloween postcard
trueghosttales.com

Google vintage Halloween postcards, download and paste text into the body to invite your friends to your amazing Halloween bash.

Don’t forget to tell your guests to come in the vintage attire of their choice, and make this one Halloween that will go down in history!

Decorate Your Car for Halloween

Thought you’d run out of things to creep up on Halloween? Wrong-o, my spooky friend! Have you ever considered decorating your car?

I have. And I’ve used most of the methods described below. If I haven’t, I’ve referenced the appropriate image. Come along on a terrifying little ride with me!

Car Decor Idea #1: Ghost Rider

Every year, come the first day of fall of thereabouts, our fam

"Skellie," our family's very own ghost rider
“Skellie,” our family’s very own ghost rider

ily friend Skellie takes up residence in my car. I drive, and Skellie drives shotgun. We even put a seat belt on him (see pic).

This little trick is hysterical and is obviously very easy to do. Strap in any close to life-size poseable skeleton, zombie, ghost, witch or ghoul so passersby get an eyeful.

Don’t go too gory or too realistic, as trying to figure out what that “thing” is in the front seat could potentially cause a rubbernecking accident.

Car Decor Idea #2: Hunk in the Trunk

This idea is an oldie but continues to be a goodie. Hang an arm or other body part out the trunk. (The old-fashioned way calls for a tie and an “Ex-Husband in Trunk” sign.)

Don’t allow parts to dangle below the level of the top of your license plate. They could get caught on your tires, drag under the car or cause other hazards.

Car Decor Idea #3: Window Clings

Not the artistic type? Use Halloween Window Clings on your car windows. Put them on the inside of the window so nobody can take them! Trust me, these are tempting.

Car Decor Idea #4: Fangtastic

Cut two large crescents out of thick paper and hang on the car grille as “fangs” (the lights are the eyes). Make sure these are very well attached, but do not use any glue or tape adhesive that could damage your paint or grille.

Car Decor Idea #5: Autumn Touches

You can use inexpensive touches like this one year after year.

For the picture of the pumpkin with sunflowers and leaves, I spent a grand total of $2. Each item came from Dollar Tree. Fall touches abound at this time of year, always look good and can be had at a steal.

Also check out your Goodwill, thrift or consignment shops for fall finds.

Car Decor Idea #6: Paint it Up

Use specially formulated car markers or paint on your car windows. Careful: DON’T obstruct your vision. Keep to the perimeters of your windows and dot on pumpkins, witches or a ghoul trying to escape out the side window.

A warning: do not use acrylic paints for this. They’re hard to get off anything, even glass, and you may scratch your windows trying.

Car Decor Idea #7: A Tangled Web

Creepy! And crawly. Photo: Squidoo.com

This idea is so simple and incredibly economical. Pick up a few bags of synthetic webbing — the kind you pull apart to make it look real. Now pull the webbing all over your car.

Be sure to leave the windows clear enough so you still have a good view of traffic on all sides.

I’ve seen bags of cobwebbing let go for less than half a dollar in post-season sales, so if you plan on doing this next year, go shopping in early November and check the clearance racks.

Car Decor Idea #8: Ghost Antenna Topper

This is another easy and very inexpensive project. Take a foam ball and a small square of white fabric. Place the fabric over the ball and pin in with very small, headless pins. Draw eyes and a mouth on your ghost in magic marker.

You can alternatively make a pumpkin antenna topper. Use orange fabric. Gather the fabric around the styrofoam ball from the bottom; tie at the top for the stem. Draw eyes, nose and a mouth using magic marker.

Car Decor Idea #9: All Up in Your GrilleHalloween Car Skulls

If your grille has space (and if you won’t be impeding the flow of air), add cool Halloween decor.

You won’t be wanting to use glue, but you WILL want a tight fit so that your decor items won’t wind up all over the highway, so choose pieces that fit exactly or can be cut to fit exactly, without  moving around.

A Word About Safety

You knew this was coming, didn’t you? We’ll say it anyway. Objects that obstruct your vision, objects that dangle/wave in the wind, that aren’t fixed securely or that look too realistic can be real driving hazards. Don’t cause an accident. Be smart about your Halloween car decor choices.

Have fun being the creepiest speed demon in your neighborhood this year.

The skeleton in our closet ... urr, car
The skeleton in our closet … urr, car

Steampunk Costume Ideas

While it’s inching its way into the mainstream in super-cool techno/throwback style, steampunk is still uncharted territory for many. If you haven’t experienced the joys of this phab and very sexy trend, grab some goggles, a long duster (coat) and something mechanical and let’s get punk-y this Halloween!

The Steampunk Recipe:

  • 1/3 whimsical Victorian past
  • 1/3 clunky, adventurous future machinery (if oil fuel was never invented)
  • 1/3 punk mayhem, anarchy, and unrest
  • 1 generous helping of corsets, bustles, petticoats, and vests
  • 1 scoop of flying machines, clockworks, optical apparatus
  • 1 sprinkle of Final Fantasy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing, Wild Wild West, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, anything 60s James Bond, Mad Max, and Sherlock Holmes (the Downey version, of course)

steampunk costumeKeep in mind that this recipe is only the starting place. Like any good formula, variations on a theme can produce magnificent results! T

You in? Let’s get started with these tips and ideas for becoming your Steampunk fantasy:

Steampunkize” a familiar character…perhaps one for which you already have the “ingredients.”

For example, dress like a historical figure gone futuristic such as Steampunk Honest Abe. You need a top hat, beard, black coat, and a few Steampunkish trappings like a pocket watch, goggles, and old typewriter keys for buttons. Spray paint an old vacuum cleaner hose gold or silver and affix it to a similarly colored small backpack to mimic a futuristic jet pack.

Makeover a favorite past persona. Do you love old Westerns? Burlesque? Explorers a la Lewis and Clarke? Take a basic costume such as this burlesque outfit and add Steampunk flair with suitable gadgets like vintage gauges, brooches, and clocks. Add a hat adorned with clockworks or googles for the perfect Steampunk touch.

steampunk watchWork from a favorite item. Have a beloved corset? Own a killer bowler hat? How about an old watch you can glue gears and kewl stuff to? Know where to get a debonair handlebar mustache? If so, you’re halfway to your Steampunk dream. Browse the web for inspiration and consider what items you already have that can be dressed up with a little help.

Peruse your local thrift and antique stores for more inspiration. Afterall, this is a movement made of creativity, and customization is key!

Steampunk cowboy costumeStill having trouble with your Steampunk costume design? Check out these ideas for inspiration:

First, raid your local thrift store or shop online for Steampunk accessories. Depending on which look you want, gather a variety of metal gears, buckles, clock faces, and brooches. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for old lace or leather gloves, garters, and handlebar mustaches (always a plus for the fellas).

Steampunkers love to include images of octopuses, owls, and peacocks. Jewelry or other gear that reference those fantastical creatures is a major plus!

Aeronaut:

  1. Get a basic flight costume.
  2. Wear an aviator helmet and glasses.
  3. Put a Steampunk touch on this great costume with vintage metal pilot’s wings, affixing several old brooches to your belt, and distressed leather gloves.
  4. Add a futuristic jet pack:

 

  • Spray paint a small cardboard box or backpack and various hoses gold
  • Attach these hoses to the box along with two straps, which you can create with old belts or rope

Mad Victorian Scientist:

  1. Wear a vintage suit or dress under a white lab coat.
  2. Add futuristic over-the-coat shoulder plates by affixing small portions of scrap metal or spray-painted cardboard pieces. Or buy an industry rubber apron.
  3. Attach a stopwatch to your lab coat pocket and wear a monocle.
  4. Carry an old cane and an outdated medical book in your lab coat pocket.

Future cowgirl/cowboy

  1. Invest in a cowgirl/cowboy costume or put together your own outfit with a short leather or denim skirt/distressed jeans, a brown or black leather vest, and some rugged boots.
  2. Accessorize with a cowboy hat, lasso, and toy gun (plus holster!) Note: as a Steampunker, your weaponry is now known as a “raygun.” No pistols here!
  3. Add that Steampunk touch by affixing machinist goggles to your hat and various vintage accessories to your belt of sleeves.
  4. Customize your toy gun with metal gears and spray paint it gold or silver for a futuristic look.

Go forth and steampunk!

The Queen Mary Houses Guests…AND Ghosts

What’s going on at the docked Queen Mary? Plenty – and it’s all coming from long-deceased guests who never checked out, according to reports. Visitors report thumps, childish giggles, and heart-stopping apparitions.

Read on for a history of the ship, info on the annual Dark Harbor attraction, plus loads of spine-chilling ghost sighting tales to keep you up at night.

*

Long Beach, CA is home to creepy haunt, hotel and carnival Dark Harbor aboard the famous Queen Mary. What’s the story behind this mystery ship and its haunted reputation? Read on…and shiver.

Why is the Queen Mary Haunted?

When the Queen Mary sailed on her maiden voyage in 1936, she was the second largest cruise liner in the world, with almost twice the tonnage of the Titanic. Famous personalities from American actors to British royals were often seen enjoying its first class amenities while crossing the Atlantic from Southampton, UK to New York City.

The ship also saw service during World War II, but reverted to a passenger ship until 1967. The ship sailed to Long Beach, California, where it’s been a combination museum, hotel and tourist attraction ever since, with over 1.5 million visitors per year.

But all hasn’t all been smooth sailing aboard the Queen Mary. Crew are said to have seen 49 deaths onboard the vessel during its years of operation – including those of innocent children.

And while tragic all by themselves, the stories don’t end there.

A (Very) Extended Stay: Ghosts Roam the Queen Mary

Queen Mary HauntingsThe chilling part? Some of these visitors are said to have never checked out. The ghosts of the Queen Mary are so famous, signs have actually been installed within the ship to point out where ghosts have reportedly been spotted.

So, what are some of these stories that would make this ship one of the world’s foremost haunted attractions? Let’s take a hair-raising peek into the unearthly goings-on aboard the bloody Queen Mary.

The Grey Ghost

In World War II, the ship was painted grey as camouflage, and due to that and the fact it held the world record for speed at sea, it was nicknamed The Grey Ghost.

To avoid torpedoes, it sailed in a zig zag pattern, and once sliced through an escort warship that went off course, sinking it rapidly and drowning 338 of her 439 sailors.

Forty years later, a television crew accidentally left an audio recorder running overnight in the exact location where the collision happened – the tape played back sounds of pounding hands on a metal hull and noises of drowning sailors.

The Crushed Crewman

In 1966, a young seaman named John Peddar was crushed to death in the depths of Engine Room #13 during a drill. To this day, visitors report sightings of a young man in coveralls wandering around.

One story goes that a visitor felt something brush across his face while visiting the room, and later his wife noticed a streak of engine grease on his face. You’ll find dozens of such stories, with ethereal touches that have left their impression on frightened (and thrilled) visitors year after year.

Ghostly Swimmers

According to insiders, there have been several reports of ghosts in the first class now-empty swimming pools aboard the ship, including bathers in 1930s era swimsuits. Visitors say they can sometimes hear the sounds of splashing, and many have seen wet footprints on the tile.

In the second class pool (long since converted into a theater), a little girl named Jackie is said to have drowned, and visitors can sometimes hear her calling piteously for her mother.

They’ve also heard Jackie’s innocent laughter and singing in the first class pool and have witnessed her shadowy form clutching a tattered teddy bear.

Little Spirits in the Playroom

The ship includes a children’s playroom and nursery, where  visitors may hear children laughing and playing. In 1991, one passenger on a guided tour heard the sounds, but could only see the usual toys, games and books on the display. Then the doorknob began rattling, and the terrified tourist heard the sound of the door being kicked.

The woman quickly went to catch up with the rest of the tour group, but felt her purse and shirt constantly being tugged along the way. It seems someone needed a play companion.

A much darker spirit is that of a little infant named Leigh, who tragically died a few hours after birth (though not without the doctors trying in vain to save his innocent life.) Some ship guests can still hear the last wails of the baby while passing what was once the third-class playroom.

The Woman in White

A “regular” ghost seems to reside in the ship’s first class lounge – a beautiful woman in a white evening gown is often seen dancing alone within the shadows.

On one tour, a little girl, who had never heard of the sighting, kept pointing and asking about a “woman in white.” Nobody else saw the apparition, but the girl insisted she was there, and continued watching it dance.

A Lonely But Playful Girl

In 2000, a hotel service member was vacuuming the carpet in the Exhibit Hall when the temperature suddenly dropped. Turning around, he saw a little girl sucking her thumb and floating in the air.

The child then stretched her arms out, as if wanting to be picked up. Her eyes appeared to be glowing. Terrified, the crew member fled and reported the incident.

A few weeks later, while leaving the Grand Salon on R Deck, another cleaning crew member was pushing his mop and bucket. The bucket suddenly jammed, so the worker checked to see what was stopping the wheels. He felt a presence, and turned around to see a little girl in a white dress and white hat sucking her thumb.

As with the other sighting, the ghostly child was floating in mid-air and oddly, appeared to have no legs beneath her wispy gown. She floated away into the Grand Salon, where the doors had mysteriously shut (they were normally kept open). The doors swung out so powerfully, they knocked the employee to the floor. As he struggled to get back up, the worker heard the girl’s chillingly playful laughter recede in the distance.

The next day the worker checked the (open) doors, and realized they were much too heavy to be swung shut by one person.

Cabin B340

Cabin B340 Queen Mary hauntingsCabin B340 has had so much paranormal activity, it’s now closed for rentals.  Previously, guests sleeping in the room were awakened in the night by lights turning on and off, water gushing suddenly from faucets, and covers being pulled off the beds. Other guests have heard an angry voice saying “Get out!”

There are two famous stories involving this cabin. The first is that in 1948 it was used as a holding cell for a deranged man who had been threatening his family. When the family visited later, the man flew into an inexplicable rage and murdered his 5-year old-daughter.

The second story involves a crew member who was murdered in the room in 1937; guests say that his ghost still resides there.

The Piano Player

One evening, a mother and daughter staying aboard the Queen Mary for the night were waiting for a friend to join them. The night wore on, until at at close to midnight, the daughter decided to sit at the lobby’sgrand piano, which had been constructed especially for the Queen Mary in the 1930’s.

The lid on the keyboard was down, but suddenly a tinkling, eerie melody emerged from  beneath it.

Both the daughter and mother heard the spooky tune. The two wisely decided to wait for their friend on deck instead.

The Dark Harbor Haunt

Queen Mary Dark Harbor EventMany people would list the Queen Mary as among the top world destinations for hauntings. To celebrate, the ship puts on a frightful Halloween bash every year. It features 7 mazes and attractions, as well as a complex for live entertainment, food and cocktails.

To enter the haunt, visitors must first pass through a 220 foot long, fog-shrouded tunnel of shipping containers containing ghouls and monsters. They then emerge at “Hell’s Bells Tower,” a 33-foot tower made of shipping containers and which shoots flames into the night sky.

Throughout the mazes, pyrotechnical and other spooky special effects keep visitors spooked and their skin crawling. Such attractions include “Containment” where the ship’s infirmary gets a bit sick, “Submerged” where it feels like you’re sinking (the ship almost sunk once due to a rogue wave on choppy seas), and “The Village of the Damned” where creatures attempt to make you their permanent residents.

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is not to be missed for hardcore Halloween fans. Get more info here – and remember: don’t visit any area of the ship alone after midnight!

Carnival Arcane Review

With the approach of Halloween comes another new tradition: the release of a new album from horror masters Midnight Syndicate (Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka.)

Their albums – Carnival Arcane is their 14th – fill the air with Gothic dread, ambient sounds and creepy instruments. If “things that go bump in the night” had a soundtrack, Midnight Syndicate would ring through the echoing halls upon their midnight entrance.

Each album the artists release tells a story in music, a “soundtrack for the imagination” filled with haunting melodies, sound effects, shrieks, groans and the occasional lyrics, all fitting the theme of the album.

For instance, their studio album “The 13th Hour” has the listener journeying through a sinister and Gothic haunted house. The album begins with the house looming in the mist, and subsequent songs makes it feel like we are stealthily creeping from one dusty, decrepit room to the next, until at last, we realize we are not quite alone … and that this presence is not friendly.

A Masterful Tradition of Chilling Tunes

Your Ringmasters, Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka

Carnival Arcane continues in this grand, masterful tradition of storytelling with music, but is even more ambitious than all others in the depth, grandeur and creepiness of the music. It delivers a well-researched and accurate representation of what it would be like to visit a slightly shabby, sinister circus from the Victorian era.

The album owes a lot to the novel “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (at least that’s the impression this offer had), complete with nightmarish rides, a sense of foreboding and sinister characters.

We’re introduced to the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival, a traveling circus with a sinister past. The album begins with the arrival of yourself, a “mesonoxian” visitor (a very cool archaic word meaning midnight.)

The atmosphere is cold, and in the distance we hear the arrival of a locomotive – the wheels squeak to a halt, and the sounds of the circus rise from the night air in a slow, haunting chorus of introduction.

Already, we feel a sense of something shady and macabre, but we must go forward – who know what wonders await within? Besides, the aggressive ringmaster (voiced by Jason Carter – aka Marcus Cole on Babylon 5 and a bit part as a demon on Angel) promises us the horrific instruments of lobotomies, freakshows, the big top and a grand carousel you’ll never forget.

Ambient, Spine-Tingling Effects

While we voyage through a variety of acts, we can hear the ambient sounds of excited visitors, strange laughter, elephants and the squeals of horses.

From a menagerie of strange creatures, a forceful hawker ushers us into Madame Zora’s tent, where we are read our fortune with a flourish of deep atmospheric music, curious whispers and a sense of dread. Through Dr. Atmore’s Elixers and Good Humour and Fortification (cheerful circus music and applause), Alura the Snake Lady (Middle Eastern mysticism) and Arcane Wonders (Victorian music boxes), we have a sense of the wide musical range Douglas and Goszka have put into this album – far beyond the Gothic melodies of previous albums.

The middle of the album begins the transformation from fantastical wonders and big top adventures to something far more sinister and dangerous – you begin to realize and witness the fallen grandeur of the Lancaster-Rigby circus.

From the chilling and even sad music of the freakshow, we go on a carousel ride from Hell – beginning with the usual cheerful carousel melody, it quickly degenerates into an abomination of madness, ghosts and ghouls until it explodes in a crescendo of what must be broken horses, snapping electricity and injured victims.

Going Deeper Within

Carnival ArcaneWe journey deeper into the carnival, where all the Gothic and Victorian horrors begin to close in on us – mad clowns, screaming children, horrific laughter as we’re lost in the hall of mirrors, a ghoul chasing us in the shadows, where we run, panicked, into a dreaded labyrinth, and finally collapse in a claustrophobic room of barking mad laughter.

The carnival then closes (perhaps a bit too hastily … before the Victorian-era authorities witness the mayhem), and we are left listening to the grunts of several circus performers entering their boxcar after a long night, trying to stifle their mirth and drunkenness. One performer talks to another in a conspiratory whisper “So, what’s the next town at?” A cold wind blows through the air, and music from a Victor gramaphone echoes off in the distance.

With its wide range of atmospheric sounds and natural transitions from one track to the next, this could easily pass as a movie soundtrack for a grandiose horror film.

Midnight Syndicate have definitely pushed their musical boundaries, and the mix of ambient carnival sounds and atmospheric composition blend perfectly, successfully transporting you to their fantastical world. It fits perfectly as the chilly atmosphere of a home haunt, and no doubt you will hear it at some amusement park, where their music is often played.

This is an essential album to add to your horror collection, and powerful mood music while celebrating Halloween … or to add a touch of sinister magic before going to a modern circus.

 

Sir David’s Window Witch Silhouette Template

What’s that peeking out of that window? Is it…can it be?? A WITCH!

Dress up your windows this Halloween with a life-sized silhouette to peer out at trick-or-treaters and frighten the neighbors. It’s so easy! Here’s how. (Psst! No time to brew up your own wicked silhouette? Check deals out here!)

You’ll Need:

  • Window-sized sheet of black paper
  • Sharp scissors
  • Chalk and pencil
  • Witch template
  • Ruler
  • Clear, double sided tape

Directions:

  • Look for a picture of a witch silhouette (or click and save the template below.) Print it out. This will be your template. Using the ruler and pencil, draw equal lines to create a grid, about one inch squares or smaller. Count the number of lines horizontally and vertically. There will be ten down and seven across if you spaced them out an inch.
  • window halloween witch template
    Right-click to download.

    On your large black sheet, calculate how large you have to space out the lines to fill. For instance, if your sheet is four feet long, each line will be spaced out a bit more than 4 inches (no need to make it exact!) The basic idea is that you’ll need the same number of rectangles in roughly the same proportions to those on the print out.

Next…

  • Look at the line in each grid square of the silhouette, and draw it large in the corresponding larger rectangle on the sheet. Once the entire witch is transferred, cut out carefully.

And Finally…

  • Attach to the inside of your window using double sided tape. The effect of this witch is greatly enhanced by placing it in a window where curtains can be drawn to provide better contrast between the witch and the background. Done!

window witch silhouette

How to Throw a Pirate Party

 

 

Yar going to love these hot costumes from Amazon – or get our fast hacks below.

Avast, matey – so ye be wantin’ to throw a pirate party, eh?

Well then look-ee no furtharrr! Whether you’re celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19), hosting a pirate-themed Halloween party, or throwing a pirate’s birthday bash, we’ll cover it all!

Keep reading for cool tips on pirate invitations, decorations, costumes, and mighty-fine high seas menus – including one kick-A watermelon boat you’re just going to HAVE to have.

 

Pirate Invitations

 

Start incorporating your pirate theme right from the very beginning – with your invitations. You can make great invitations at home, like a hidden treasure map or a pirate’s hat.

 

 Treasure Map Invitations

To make invitations that look like treasure maps, print the directions to your party in rhyme and include a small, hand-drawn map that you can photocopy onto the invitations.

Once that’s done, make the paper look yellowy and old by crumpling it and staining it with tea. Roll up the invitation and either tie it with string or, if you’re hand-delivering the invitations, stuff it in a bottle.

Pirate Hat Invitations

If you’re using a thicker card stock, you can also get away with cutting your invitations out in classic pirate shapes, like a pirate’s hat that attendees can wear. (Tip: Pressed for time? Sketch a quick pirate’s hat, write party information in the white spaces, and copy for guests.)

To make a pirate’s hat invitation, start with black card stock or construction paper. Fold a rectangular piece of paper (8.5 x 11 is fine) in half, bringing together the shorter sides.

Turn the corners down along the crease, lining them up (like you’re making a paper airplane). Then fold up either side’s bottom edge to create your brim.

You can make a chin string by punching holes in each side and running elastic or thread through the holes. Print your invitation details, including date and time, and glue it to the pirate hat.

Pirate Theme Decorations

Raise the skull-and-crossbones flag, because you’re throwing a pirate party!

Decorating for a pirate party can be as simple as throwing down some black and white striped cloth over the tables, or as elaborate as turning your entire living room into the inside of a galleon. Some affordable decorative suggestions:

  • Purchase inexpensive fishing nets from your local hunting or gaming store. Drape these from the staircases and ceilings. For an added touch, wrap a few fake skulls up in the netting before you hang it.
  • Scour your basement or local garage sales for old trunks that could double as treasure chests. Fill these with party favors, or even an ice cooler filled with beers (now that’s a treasure!)
  • You KNOW you need a black flag. Fly it above the party table, in the dance area if you have one, or outside to tell guests, “Yar, the party be in here!”
  • Buy metal buckets from your local hardware store and fill these with snacks or, again, more iced beer.
  • Use an old sheet (you can “age” it by lightly dying it with yellow food dye and carefully burning the edges) and stakes from the hardware store to make a sail and mast for the front lawn or even the front room.

Hearty Eating and Drinking

No party is complete without a full refreshments table. Keep your menu pirate-themed by serving pirate drinks and themed treats that are also tasty. Here are some great snack suggestions:

  • Hollow out half of a watermelon to make a boat shape. Fill it with fruit or dip and plant a little sail and pirate flag in the middle. Alternative HOT idea: try out your artistic skills and carve a watermelon shark instead.
  • Pick up inexpensive pirate topper toothpicks and insert into frothy cupcakes.
  • Serve up roasted chicken and turkey legs or jerk chicken for a real island swashbuckler’s dining experience.
  • watermelon.org

    Fill a metal bucket with chocolate coins and mark it “Treasure,” or gummy worms and mark it “Fish Bait.”

  • Make coconut balls and dip them in black food coloring to make them “cannon balls.”
  • Serve a lot of rum (Captain Morgan anyone?) drinks, beer and, of course, some non-alcoholic Pirate’s Punch for those who don’t imbibe. A classic pirate’s drink is Grog – dark rum, a teaspoon of sugar, cloves, lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of hot water. Serving it in a hearty mug completes a true tradition.

Pirate Costume Ideas

Amid the death-defyin’ frenzy of putting together your pirate party, don’t forget your own costume!

If you’re not a tailor or creative in your closet, a number of online retailers sell pre-made pirate’s costumes that include wigs, hooks, boots and all the accessories you need to put together a pirate’s outfit. But if you’re feeling creative, check out Pinterest or Google for quick ideas. Here are ours:

  • Hunt for treasure in your own closet! Or check out Goodwill or your local consignment shop.
  • Cut yoga pants jaggedly across the bottom. Instant pirate pants.
  • If you have a white shirt, cut an old shirt of any alternating color into wide stripes. Glue onto shirt with fabric glue.
  • Take an old leather or vinyl belt you won’t be wearing anymore. Cut off the buckle and tie closed.
  • A bandanna gives you an instant pirate look. Red and black are both traditional.
  • For a pirate wench, any wide “hippie” style skirt will work. hitch it up and pin it on one side to the knee, or go super-saucy and hitch it all the way up to the waist. Wear boyshorts underneath if you’re a bit shy!

Grab a phony parrot, pin it to your shoulder and you’re done! Now, walk the plank!