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Be Like Mike: Halloween 2018 Edition

With Oct. 31 right around the corner, we’re sitting on our bloodstained little hands NOT to include any spoilers in this quick-‘n-dirty Michael Myers costume tutorial. (We’re not THAT mean.)

Instead, we’ll take what you probably already know, even if you haven’t caught the Halloween 2018 release yet. We’ve got you, boo! Here’s how to grab your own killer gear so you can look just like the 2018 version of Mike.

Enjoy…and stay scary!

The Mask

You’re just not Mike without the mask. Buy the officially licensed one if you’re short on time.

Otherwise, get a standard Halloween makeup kit or use makeup you already have (you may not have the palest colors; we recommend Dollar Tree). Here’s an incredibly cool tutorial:

 

The Coveralls

These are iconic too. They’re a bit cooler-looking for the new movie, partially because they’re more weathered and realistic.

Grab any old pair of work coveralls from your local Goodwill or thrift shop; if they don’t have front chest pockets, draw these on with dark-blue magic marker. (Yes, really. In the dark, it makes one cool effect.)

Turn the collar up in the back and you’re done.

Coveralls look TOO good? Here’s How to Weather Them:

Now That’s a Knife!

Make your own quickie knife with the tutorial below, or simply cut out cardboard and cover it with aluminum foil. CAREFUL: don’t crinkle the foil too much. You want it smooth and super-shiny.

That’s it, folks – so easy! Now grab a trick-or-treat bag and start collecting body parts…err, candy. But first, here’s the trailer we promised you. Enjoy…and have a killer Halloween!

Visit These Totally Haunted Halloween Destinations

With Halloween only a few weeks away, it’s a great time to take a few days off and go on a thrilling adventure. Here are some of the spookiest travel destinations you can visit for a good scare:

Credit: Don Hollycross Photography

Colonial Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA)

This living history museum in Virginia is a popular tourist destination that thousands of holidaymakers and history buffs visit each year.

Here, dedicated actors live and portray daily life as it was during the Colonial period and the American Revolutionary War. And if you doubt the rumors of hauntings at this popular vacation spot, going on a tour with https://colonialghosts.com/ may quickly change your mind.

Credit: history.org

Colonial Ghosts, one of the most popular Williamsburg ghosts tours in the country, says it provides a uniquely authentic experience. Every night, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides lead visitors through the historic streets and buildings of Colonial Williamsburg, sharing intriguing facts and stories about the area. You can learn a lot from these tours—you will also be scared silly.

Colonial Williamsburg played a key role in the American Revolutionary War, and has seen its fair share of battle, tragedy and violence. It’s no wonder that reports of hauntings, ghost sightings and paranormal activity in the area abound. Every story told on the Colonial Ghosts tours is backed by thorough research and credible eyewitness accounts, adding to the spook factor of the tour—ghost stories are so much more terrifying when they’re based on fact.

Credit: wikipedia.org

Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA)

This imposing prison in Philadelphia was once one of the most famous and expensive in the world.

Within its castle-like walls, prisoners were subjected to grueling forms of punishment, including solitary confinement.

Inmates were made to eat, sleep, live and work alone, and had to wear hoods over their heads while being escorted by guards from one part of the prison to another.

Credit: atlasobscura.com

This extreme way of living caused many inmates to mentally break down, and numerous prisoners died during their stay at the penitentiary. To this day, the ghosts of these inmates are said to haunt the prison (now a historic site,) with multiple sightings and frightening experiences being reported.

If you want to get the full spooky treatment when you visit, the prison conducts its own Halloween tour called Terror Behind the Walls, guaranteed to send chills up and down your spine.

Dauphine Orleans Hotel (New Orleans, LA)

Credit: dauphineorleans.com

This beautiful boutique hotel is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and features quaint buildings that date all the way back to the 19th century.

Considered one of the Big Easy’s finest and most luxurious hotels, what makes it so spooky? Local residents and return visitors will tell you: the hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted sites in the city.

Credit: dauphineorleans.com

Guests and employees of the hotel alike have reported numerous sightings and eerie, unexplainable happenings such as footsteps in the night, bar glasses randomly falling off and shattering, and indistinguishable voices.

The ghost of a man dressed in a dark Confederate uniform has regularly been seen pacing the front courtyard, while the spirit of a young, forlorn bride-to-be whose fiance was killed before their wedding is said to haunt the place in her wedding dress.

Fright Kingdom (Nashua, NH)

Credit: frightkingdom.com

Located in a tiny town in New Hampshire, Fright Kingdom is an unexpectedly effective 65,000-square-foot Halloween attraction.

This uber-creepy destination is one of the most elaborate haunted houses in America, with convincing actors and impressive special effects.

Credit: frightkingdom.com

Attractions include Grim, an almost pitch-black labyrinth where the darkness heightens the terror, Bloodmare Mansion and Psycho Circus.

Fright Kingdom is open from September 28 to November 3 from 7am to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7am to 10pm on Sundays.

Lizzie Borden House (Fall River, MA)

Credit: awesomelocations.blogspot.com

The story of Lizzie Borden is one of the most grisly American unsolved mysteries. In 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally murdered in their home with an ax.

Lizzie, Andrew’s daughter, was the main suspect in the case. She was eventually acquitted of the murders, but to this day, the case remains unsolved.

Today, Lizzie Borden’s house operates as a bed and breakfast for curious and adventurous tourists.

It is said that almost everyone who spends a night in the B&B experiences some kind of paranormal activity, from hearing voices in the night, objects being mysteriously moved from one room to another, to the covers being ripped right off you while you sleep. A stay at the Lizzie Borden house is definitely not an experience for the faint of heart.

These are just some of the spookiest places you can visit in America. Plan your trip now and enjoy a chilling, thrilling Halloween weekend you’ll likely never forget.

How to Recycle Your Halloween Pumpkins

 

With Halloween on the horizon, neighborhoods everywhere will shortly be littered with big orange pumpkins. (What a welcoming and awesome sight!)

Credit: “Sad Pumpkin” by Michelle Milla

In the weeks leading up to the holiday, the sight of these happy, silly, freaky or iconic faces will bring joy and excitement – leading up to the frenzy of The Big Day.

However, come November 1, all of those pumpkins will – as if by the wave of a magic wand – magically turn into a nuisance as they (sadly) go to waste.

I mean sure, there’s pumpkin chucking (which always makes my children cry) and we’ve had the happy little accident when “forgotten” gourds took root and produced random giant vines across our front yard…but otherwise, like most families, we’ve just, well, let our pumpkins sit and go to rot every November.

Don’t let that happen this year! There are plenty of options for recycling that happy li’l jack. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of things to do with old pumpkins. Enjoy, and remember – after you recycle your pumpkin, Halloween is only 364 days away!

Credit: Pinterest

Bird Feeder – You can easily turn an old pumpkin into a bird feeder by cutting the pumpkin in half and filling each half with birdseed. Use a string to tie the pumpkin halve to trees.

Not only will the birds eat the birdseed, but they will also eat the pumpkin flesh, maybe even the skin, depending on the bird. You’ll be helping feed local birds and cleaning up your post-Halloween decorations – a win-win post-Halloween!

Credit: goingtoseedinzone5.com

Compost Bin – Not everyone owns and operates a compost bin, but they’re easy to start – and pumpkins ideal for this smart, eco-friendly Muse.

Simply cut the pumpkin up and toss the flesh in with the rest of the compost, which will usually consist of non-meat kitchen scraps and lawn clippings. Over time these turn into rich, nutrient-dense compost/garden dirt.

Credit: extremepumpkins.com

Make a Squirrel Happy – Some individuals will just leave their pumpkins out in open areas for the squirrels to eat. Essentially, when a pumpkin ferments, it becomes sugary and sweet, and squirrels go nuts for the stuff.

If you don’t mind the sight of the critters (we love them – then again, we love bats and spiders, too), they’ll be more than happy to act as your personal clean-up crew for pumpkins after Halloween. (Be warned: fermented pumpkins can make squirrels drunk. If your squirrels are acting oddly, take their keys and offer to call Uber. You’re welcome.)

This article was contributed by the experts at Fright Catalog. Thanks, guys!

Witch and Full Moon on Halloween

Secrets of a Great Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costume

Jealous of your friend down the street who always seems to come up with the most creative and unique Halloween costumes? Looking for the “wow” factor in your Halloween costume this year rather than going as the color green (again)?

If you’re ready to dive into the costume venture of your life and catapult yourself into fame and fortune with the best do-it-yourself Halloween costume in the world (or at least get a few compliments at the Halloween party), there are a few things to consider before you begin.

  1. Consider your audience. Will you be going to a costume party with some close friends, or just trick-or-treating door to door? Do you need to keep it kid-friendly? What are the interests of those around you? Going as the main character in your favorite show to a party where no one has seen it won’t earn you the recognition your efforts deserve. You can save yourself a little trouble by thinking about what your audience will appreciate.
  2. Seek inspiration from the world around you. Be observant as you walk around during the day and ask yourself, “How could I turn this into a costume?” as you look at everyday objects. Inspiration can strike at any time!
  3. Be prepared to put in some time and effort (and maybe a little money too). Even if your DIY costume ends up being relatively inexpensive and easy to put together, you’ll probably end up putting in some hours on this — if not on the actual costume assembly itself, at least in the thought and creative process.

Elements of an Awesome DIY Costume

So, now that you know a little better what you’re getting yourself into, let’s look at some of the characteristics of the most successful DIY costumes. The best DIY costumes are:

  • Creative: In order for your DIY costume to be a hit, you have to be unique in some way. I’m sorry, but the whole witch or black cat routine isn’t going to work here. Think outside the box. Or maybe think differently about the box—cardboard boxes make for some great costume possibilities. (Love Rubiks Cubes? Dress up as one!) Your costume has to be something people don’t see on every other street corner while they’re trick-or-treating in order for you to stand out from the ghoulish crowd.
  • Easily Identifiable: If you’re going for something a little off-the-wall, you have to make sure it’s still in the ballpark as far as recognition value goes. How will people recognize your genius if they don’t know what you’re supposed to be? The most effective DIY costumes are those that others can identify immediately or within a minute or two (for costumes that are more subtle in their meaning). “DIY” doesn’t have to mean “elaborate,” but the costume has to be faithful to what you’re trying to represent in order for people to recognize and appreciate your costume masterpiece.
  • Resourceful:It’s great if you have the money to rent a costume or buy all the expensive supplies for a detailed costume, but generally people appreciate the clever use of readily available resources. Paint and cardboard and a little ingenuity go a long way. How about a clear plastic garbage bag with some colored balloons? Voila! A bag of jellybeans! Use what you have on hand and get creative.

    DIY Halloween Costume King Kong
    Photo: Ericka McConnell/Halloween Celebrations
  • Timely: Capitalizing on current pop culture crazes or current events can score big laughs and lots of “That’s so cool!” comments and pictures with smartphones. For example, dressing up as the lady on the Progressive Insurance commercial has been popular these past few years.

Think of a Theme

Now that we’ve named some characteristics of great DIY costumes, let’s look at some of the categories that they seem to fall under to really get the creative juices going.

  • Technology: Some of the most brilliant/clever DIY costumes I’ve seen fall into this category. For example, what about being a Facebook wall or YouTube channel? You’ll get some comments for sure—especially if you have a marker handy for that purpose. If you have a little tyke in tow, why not outfit their car seat with this iPhone getup? iLove it.

    ipone baby costume
    Image credit: IngaMun on Flickr
  • Food:This category provides some great fodder for DIY costume ideas. I love this DIY deviled egg costume—a food and a pun all in one!

    food costumes deviled egg
    Image credit: txkimmers on Flickr
  • Everyday objects: Salt and pepper shakers are a little bit cliché, but it’s going down the right track. How about Pepsi and Coke cans? Or a washing machine with clothes inside?
  • Puns: Love wordplay? Transform it into a brilliant costume that will dazzle and amaze your friends. Or at least it will make them snicker. Hi-ho the dairy-o; what about the Farmer in the Dell?:

    farmer in the dell costume
    Image credit: Coolest-homemade-costumes.com

One of the greatest things about Halloween is that it provides so many opportunities to be creative, even for the normally non-creative types. So don’t delay—get out there and make yourself a Halloween costume to remember.

About the Author

Emma Rae Curtis researches and writes about everything Halloween, from costumes, to party ideas, to makeup and more.

The Faerie Realm of Angelique Duncan

Angelique Duncan, aka Twilight Faerie, is a gifted Halloween artist who creates a variety of inspiring Halloween objects, such as porcelain faeries, costume accessories, ornaments and decoupage. Her inspiration comes from vintage works and styles, and everything is handmade with loving detail. Through networking with other Halloween artists, she launched Halloween Artist Bazaar to showcase handcrafted works from other artists.

As far back as I can remember Halloween and winged things have intrigued me. I found a certain unconventional beauty in the imagery of autumn and Halloween. Equally so, I have had a fascination with the mythology of fairy tales and winged creatures. While other kids were running, skipping and climbing trees, I was content playing with colors and textures and challenging myself to create what was stirring around in my mind. This usually resulted in Halloween or whimsical imagery.

Ghost Party Hat by Twilight FaerieI always had a natural inclination to create. I could spend hours on end with scissors and construction paper just making things or drawing. Somewhere I along the line I kept making Halloween things. I would, and still do today, have images of a something I want to make rattling around in my head that won’t stop haunting me until I bring it to life.

I read a lot of science fiction and physiological fantasy as a kid. I found Ray Bradbury and fell in love with the stories. The “Green Town” series of short stories spoke to me. The imagery of stories like “Halloween Tree” and “Something Wicked This Way Comes” stuck with me. I read old classic fairy tales and there seemed to be a lot of wisdom in the pages. The illustrations of old books had an influence on me. I have always loved the idea that there is something more fantastic than the everyday world. I think that is where my creative inspiration comes from, the notion that that there could be a world where animals speak, fairies have guardianship over wooded places and Jack O Lanterns have magical powers.

I remember as a kid growing up in the 1970’s when Halloween was a big deal. There were a lot of homemade costumes and decorations. What one could buy in a store was well designed and had a classic quality to it. Holiday decorations were just that, holiday decorations. It was great. There was certain sincerity about the atmosphere surrounding it all. As I got older things became more and more commercial and Halloween like other holidays became more of a mass-produced corporate profit maker for merchandising the latest big movie, television shows and their celebrities. The spirit of the thing has just gotten lost.

This is how I arrived at creating hand made Halloween, holiday and faerie objects. I realized the market for what I create, those who grew up with fantastic stories and faerie tales, our grandparent’s decorations and childhood Halloweens, hence the creation of Twilight Faerie. My business became a way to preserve a history and imagery that was important to me and share it with others. My hours on end drawing, cutting and pasting found a noble purpose.

Jack o Lantern Circle by Twilight Faerie Vinyl Bat by Twilight Faerie

I founded Halloween Artist Bazaar in February 2012. I want to help other professional Halloween Artists promote their works and help them to succeed in their business so they can continue to do what they do. Through Halloween Artist Bazaar the tradition of handcrafted Halloween and fantasy art can be perpetuated. The retail market is flooded with mass produced generic Halloween and holiday goods. It is very hard for self-representing artist and small business owners to compete against the corporate giants when going it alone. It is also become harder for collectors to find unique one of a kind decorations. Gathered together we can help cross-promote each other and promote handcrafted goods. In our own way as a Halloween artist group, we can keep the spirit of Halloween imagery alive and available for collectors who are seeking it out.

The average demographic for Halloween Art is between the ages of 34 to 45 years of age. This tells me, folks like myself are a generation with a particular love of Halloween. My guestimation is that it comes from that common experience of Halloween being a big deal when we were kids. I hope that we can pass the same sort of memories on so that the generations after we are done and gone will have the same appreciation for the history and imagery of the holiday. It would be quite sad to see the tradition of hand made Halloween get lost completely from our culture.

Twilight Faerie can be found online at: http://www.twilightfaerie.com/

Her Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TwilightFaerie

Look Berry Sweet as Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake seems to only get sweeter with age. She’s come a long way since her original greeting card days in the 1980’s. Created as a card cartoon, she quickly gained popularity as a children’s doll with her trademark scented hair. She made a few friends along the way with the equally delicious names of Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Meringue, and Raspberry Torte, to name a few. A story subsequently developed around Strawberry Shortcake, her friends, and their pets living together in Strawberryland and they all enjoyed immense fame as an 80’s fad. Not even fragrant hair, however, could keep the Shortcake craze alive and her popularity began to wane in the late 80’s.

Yet for a “berry” sweet girl, she’s tough to keep down! The Shortcake franchise has been revived several times and Hasbro recently put out a new line of toys featuring Strawberry and all her friends. Now, three decades after her birth, you can see the dessert darling in television series, feature films, video games, dolls and adorable Halloween costumes.

strawberry shortcake child costumeWith her revival has come an entirely new look and it’s created a kid-friendly, fun, and pretty costume series for young girls this Halloween. Girls can go as Miss. Shortcake herself in a silk dress with a built-in, high waisted, pink polka-dotted skirt. To match with the strawberry theme, the dress comes with green and white striped stockings and, to top it all off, a strawberry brimmed hat. Good accessories to consider would be a bright pink wig and a strawberry Trick or Treat pail that is as functional as it is fashionable.

Whatever your sweet tooth, there are plenty of choices in her friends’ costumes. Blueberry Muffin, the studious one of the bunch, has an ensemble which features a tiered pink and blue dress with a silk blue jacket attached, fastened with a blueberry detail. Striped green tights are included as well as a headband with matching blueberry detail. Blue would be the wig of choice for this outfit.

Shortcake’s fashionable friend, Raspberry Torte, is stylish in a pink and green, long-sleeved dress with dark pink bolero overtop. She has a striped green belt with raspberry detail, and matching tights and headband. Like her fellow berry friend, she can wear a bright pink wig as well.

Strawberry’s sunny friend, Lemon Meringue, looks positively radiant in a yellow and blue dress with a high waisted skirt, green bow, and lemon detailing. She has brightly coloured tights and a lemon-wedge hair clip. A yellow wig ties the sunshine-fresh feel of this costume together nicely.

If you remember the good ol’ days of Strawberry Shortcake, there are classic costumes available with a striped top featuring a Strawberry Shortcake logo, simple blue plants, and her trademark hat with a plump strawberry in the brim.

Whether your young lady goes as a shortcake, muffin, meringue, or torte, she’s sure to look deliciously adorable in a Strawberry Shortcake themed costume. Indulge in dessert minus the calories!

8 Awesome Smartphone Apps for Halloween

Halloween is such a great event and with the advent of smartphone apps you can enjoy your favorite parts of Halloween everywhere you go.  We tested dozens of apps and compiled a list of the 8 best ones we could find in terms of the most imagination and uniqueness. We hope you enjoy these selections and have a Happy Haunted Halloween!

1.  Halloween Deluxe  ($0.99)

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without scary sounds and this app lets you do that and more.  Opt for the paid version and avoid annoying requests to upgrade from the free one.  This app includes a count down to Halloween, a soundboard, ring tones, music loops, trivia, costumes ideas, and even a option that lets you create your own colored flashlight with the screen.  There are tons of Halloween soundboard apps out there but our recommendation is to ditch the others, this one has it all.

Halloween Deluxe iPhone App

2. imut8r ($0.99)

Our favorite picture altering app, this offering gives you tremendous creative control over altering real photos of you and your friends.  You have dozens of creature choices to model after including demons, zombies, werewolves, vampires.  From there you’ll change skin colors add blood or sores and channel Dr. Frankenstein himself!  When you’re done, save the photos and send them to your friends and family for a spooky good time.

imut8r iPhone app

3. 100+ Horror Stories ($0.99)

You’ll absolutely love this creative application that let’s you tell over 100 of the most popular scary stories in history, but with an added twist.  During your story you can tap the screen when prompted to play an appropriate sound to add extra effect to your story.  Lightning cracks, evil laughs, moans, and more will enhance your terrifying tale and keep your audience on the edge of their seats.

100 Horror Stories app

4. Ghost Radar ($0.99)

For all you watchers of ‘Ghost Hunters’ out there, check out the latest version of Ghost Radar from app developer Spud Pickles.  The creators of this app claim it runs on a proprietary algorithm that interprets QUANTUM fluctuations of intelligent energy.  Some users say the program is just reading simple electromagnetic sources in your immediate environment while others claim they’ve experienced accurate readings of actual objects in the room that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  Either way, you’re bound to get hours of eerie entertainment from this original idea.

ghost-radar

5. Ask the Dead ($0.99)

Get ready to be freaked out with this unique offering from The FORM Group. It’s a digital Ouija board that sneakily uses your phone’s contacts to return answers to your questions. You can totally prank your uninitiated friends or family into thinking you are connecting with the spirit world.  You’ll get a ton of screams from this application, but be careful, you may even scare yourself….

Ask the Dead smartphone app

 6. Pumpkin Xplode (free)

Pumpkin Xplode is one of those annoyingly addictive games like Tetris or Angry Birds (yeah we could have easily added that one here too).  But you just can’t seem to put it down because there’s always the next level to defeat.  Bottom line: if it’s on your phone, you will play it.  It has great graphics and sounds built into the game play.  Thoughtful features include: night mode, saves game on exit or if uninterrupted by a phone call, and for you cheaters out there you have the ability to undo up to 10 moves back.  There is just something so gratifying about busting up pumpkins that makes this our only game of choice for inclusion in this app review.

pumpkin xplode app

7. Halloween Spooky Soundbox (free)

The truth is there are dozens of free Halloween sound boards out there and you’d probably do just fine if you downloaded most any of them.  Why do we recommend this one then?  Two reasons:  Selection and sound quality.  This sound board has 35 sounds to choose from, whereas most other apps you’re lucky to get 20.  Also, the sounds you get don’t sound cheap or “thin”.  In other words, they don’t sound like you made them yourself on an old tape recorder.  You can play the sounds on a loop (which you’ll probably never use) besides that there aren’t really any bells and whistles to this app.  If we could make a recommendation to the developer, it’d be to add a delay feature in a future version.

spooky soundbox app

8.  Footprints (free)

While this is not a Halloween application it certainly the most useful on the list particularly if you are a parent and your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat without you.  You can track your multiple kid’s locations in real time without having to request location status from the people you are tracking.  We’ve seen some apps where users have to “request” location and the person being tracked has to manually approve request on their device.

This app comes with a number of great features built into it.  Two of our favorites are the parental settings which don’t allow kids to disable the tracking feature or delete the application on their devices, and the ability to track way points.  In short it shows you where your kids have been not just where they are at the present moment.  All this is provided by a beautiful interface overlaid on Google Maps.  There is really nothing we don’t like about this app.

footprints app

About the Author:

Chris DuPaul is a huge Halloween buff and the co-owner of the self proclaimed #1 Wonder Woman Costume website on the internet.  He enjoys technology and sneaking up and scaring the crap out of unsuspecting people year round.  For all you ladies out there still looking for costume ideas check out our Sexy Wonder Woman Costume page for outfits that’ll make you the star of the party.

Using Scary Halloween Sounds, Inside And Out

 

Halloween is a scintilatingly spooky time for young and old alike. Whether you go trick or treating, host a costume party or just decorate for friends and neighbors to see, everyone loves to get in on the festivities.

And one way of really amping the holiday atmosphere is with music and with frightening, classic sound effects.

Choosing the right music for your festivities is easy and fun. Here’s how to get that haunting atmosphere – and get those screams!

Children’s Parties

For a child’s costume party, you don’t want it to be too scary. Depending on the ages of the kids, choose music that will make it very definitely Halloween-ish, but still fun.

“The Monster Mash” has always been a big hit with the kids. So are funny tunes like “Purple People Eater” and classics such as “Ghostbusters.”

For sound effects, use soundtracks of different scary noises such as witches cackling or bubbling cauldrons. Even the sound of the wind blowing and creaking doors is enough to make the little ones get goose bumps.

Adult Parties

Halloween Party by RaviN
Halloween Party by RaviN/Flickr

For an adult party you can go for a much bigger “creepy” factor. For instance, if you have an organ in your house or a piano that could use some tuning, put it in a secluded spot and have someone play strange music very loudly.

You can also use recorded CDs. Have them playing throughout the party. How about an adult-scale Halloween music mix? Or truly chilling sound effects?

You can get some friends in on the sound effect action, too. Have people hide throughout the house and occasionally let out a blood curdling scream. They can also be outside the house by a partially opened window, or behind trees to scare people as they approach.

For party music, try a compilation that includes “Dragula,” “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and other rock classics.

Outside The House


Scary house, by Ali West/Flickr

Perhaps you want to have a haunted walk. It’s easier than you think – it all starts with the perfect setting.

Whether there are lots of trees to walk through, or a deserted path, make sure the sounds are there. An owl hooting, yowling cats, and don’t forget the chainsaw. And of course, nothing makes your hair stand on end like being alone in the dark and hearing a chainsaw start up behind you.

Creepy laughter is always good in this setting as well. Ghosts moaning and the howling of wolves will keep you watching your back.

Set up speakers throughout the yard if you have a walkway where people walk to your house. This can be done for trick or treaters as well. It makes the advance to your door much spookier.

Sometimes the unexpected can be scarier than playing what your guests expect. For instance, a solemn flute player slowly playing a dirge on the flute, or maybe a record that just keeps skipping and skipping. The footsteps of someone running through the woods screaming and out of breath will make anyone move a little faster toward safety.

The options are endless to how you can incorporate the perfect music into your setting. Just look around you and think what would make it super scary to YOU, then have fun with it.

Jonathan McDonald is a choir director and loves to write content for holiday sites. He recommends www.christmassongs.org as a great reference for all Christmas song lyrics, including funny Christmas songs.

HOT 1970s & 80s Costume Ideas

There are certain eras that are so distinct that you can’t help but identify them at one glance.

When you think of the 70s and 80s, there’s no disputing just how iconic they were. Much of this is due to the fact that these decades included outrageous and envelope-pushing (go outrageous and envelope-pushing!) costumes and attire.

If you’re looking for unique and fun Halloween costume ideas, this era is simply the best – and you may even still have a piece or two in your closet! Here are out favorite tips on rockin’ it oldschool this Halloween (plus links in case you’re short on time).

Big Hair, Bright Colors

heavy metal rocker blonde wig

70s fancy dress outfits such as polyester pants, ruffled shirts and wide collars are distinctive of the disco era. However, the one that most people tend to remember the most is the hair. In the 70s and 80s, you are talking some seriously big hair.

Tease up your bangs and make them big and stiff with plenty of hair spray. They should look like an extension of your body when you’re done teasing them up! Then make your entire hairstyle big—the bigger the better! For some reason in these eras, the big hair was in and it reigned supreme.

(Tip: Short on time and/or hair? Grab a wig and go!)

Another element that will bring your costume to life is lots and lots of bright colors. 70s and 80s fancy dress costumes are all about crazy, bright fashion, and so embrace wherever that appears in your wardrobe. Neon works well.

If you have any gummy bracelets or the ability to pin your pants, then you are in for a real treat embracing this fun fashion era!

Embrace Your Inner Madonna

80s Diva Madonna costume

If there is one thing that many people tend to remember about this era it was the introduction of a pop icon.

Madonna made her entrance into the pop scene around this time and the world of music was never the same. So this lends way to the perfect costume idea to celebrate this wonderful and super fun period in time.

Get out your black lace gloves as your iconic starter piece. You need some ratted-out big blonde hair and if you can’t accomplish that on your own, go for a wig.

Then get out your lace dress, tight miniskirt with a bright vibrant top, or some other flashy but vibrant outfit and wear it with great confidence. American online retailers such as Amazon carry outfits like this. If you live in England, you can purchase these pop dresses at Fancydressball.co.uk.

Be sure to top of the look with lots and lots of accessories—try out your big bright pink bow for the hair, then get out lots of cheap but tasteful chain necklaces, and of course loads of neon gummy bracelets help to complete this look.

Nothing Like Old School Rappin’

Who didn’t love a little old school rap back in the day? This costume is simple enough to pull off and it’s actually comfortable so it works quite well.

Here you can simply pull together some big oversized pants and a sports logo sweatshirt, preferably Adidas, as it was so big in this era. Then get a “gold” chain or two to wear around your neck because that was such an identifiable, though silly looking, part of these decades. You want to be sure that you have a hat that you can turn backwards and of course load on the gold chains for good measure.

This and the other costume ideas will take you back in time and help you to remember eras known for lots of fun!

Silhouette Party Invitations

 

The following is a guest submission that’s eerily beautiful. Create your own spooky silhouettes with the instructions below.

Silhouettes have the uncanny ability to be classic and elegant or creepy and dark, depending on the subject matter and the skill of the artist.

What’s so cool about Halloween silhouettes is that they can be both creepy and classic at the same time. This makes them the perfect centerpiece for an elegant Halloween invitation!

While silhouette clipart is can be purchased on disk or for download, creating your own silhouettes is surprisingly easy. All you need is a digital camera and photo editing software.

Getting Started

For an invitation, tall and narrow silhouettes work best, but don’t stop short at faces in profile. Look around your house and yard for images that would suit a silhouette. A leafless tree or a side shot of your porch, a witches hat hanging on a coat hook.

Import your photo into your photo editing software and use the magnetic lasso tool to select only the parts of the photo you want to remove from your silhouette.

Be sure to keep in as much detail as possible, crooked little branches and curvy doorknobs add interest and depth to your finished image.  Delete the background from your photo and use your paint bucket tool to turn the remaining parts black.

dark and stormy tree
The dark and stormy tree
Select areas of the background with the Lasso or Magic Wand tool
Delete the selected background
Finish everything up

Once you have a basic silhouette, it’s time to add it to your invitation. Decide on the finished size of your card and size the silhouette to fit. Most silhouettes will look best if the bottom of the image extends to the very edge of the card.

Add your party information using the text tool, centering it in the remaining space on your card.

Done! Wait for that flood of RSVPs, and you have a party waiting to happen!

silhouette Halloween party invitation

Halloween party invitation

6 Creative Uses for Halloween Coloring Pages

Halloween coloring pages offer a fun, simple and inexpensive way to keep children entertained for a few hours. Whimsical ghosts, goblins, and jack-o’-lantern grins can be fun to color or paint, and kids always love coloring activities and craft projects.  It’s possible to find free Halloween-themed coloring pages online, which you can download and print, or you can purchase cheap coloring books from your local dollar store. There are several different ways of using coloring pages at Halloween.   Here are a few ideas of things your kids can create.

1.       Yard Decorations

It’s actually quite easy to print a coloring page to any size that you need. If you will like a six-foot tall black cat guarding your house after dark on October 31st, it is fairly straightforward to create. Many stained-glass or quilt pattern websites offer free pattern enlargers that can send your choice of coloring page to the printer in pieces, which can later be taped together into a very large design. Children can decorate these separate sheets, glue them to poster board, and add a stick to plant in the yard.

2.       Invitations

Halloween party invitations are always fun to make. You could get your kids involved by getting them to color your invites.  Another idea is to ask each guest to decorate their own invite for judging at the party. With each Halloween invitation you send, you can include a coloring page for a mask, a pumpkin, or other Halloween-themed items. When guests arrive with their decorated invitations, they can be displayed as decorations at the party for everybody to enjoy.  You then can ask your guests to vote for their favorite.  Make sure you have some candy or some sort of treat available to give to the winner.

Halloween Pumpkin Cartoon Character coloring page3.       Party Favors

Halloween coloring pages can be made into fun party favors. For instance, there are paper baskets that can be colored and folded into shape to hold fruit or candy treats, which kids will love making. The baskets will hold their shape better if the sheet of paper is glued to a lightweight cardboard backing first.

4.       Fabric Stencils

If you are looking for imaginative ideas for Halloween crafts, many craft stores sell crayons that color in lines that will work as an iron-on transfer for fabric. Children will love the idea of coloring their own Halloween pictures that can then be ironed onto an old T-shirt.

5.       Window-Painting Templates

Coloring pages can be taped to the outside of a window for a child to copy onto the inside of the glass with washable poster paints. This is a fun way to decorate your home for the exciting Halloween season.

6.       Moving Pictures

Young children will enjoy coloring a very simple shape that can be glued to a cardboard backing. This shape can then be cut apart and put together with an office brad that will allow parts to move.

Halloween coloring pages are a great resource to remember for all types of holiday needs. These handy lined drawings can be used with crayons, paint or markers. With our modern printers able to enlarge or shrink these coloring page shapes, they can be used in a wide variety of ways that can add to your yearly Halloween fun.

This article is courtesy of HalloweenPartyIdeas.org, which offers lots more Halloween party ideas for kids, including games, crafts and food.

Planning a Memorable Star Wars Party

The fancy world of the Star Wars series is a perfect party theme for all types of celebrations. Birthdays and Halloween are two main occasions to infuse life to the most popular visualized characters of the entertainment world. Organizing a Star Wars theme party is not at all expensive as considered by many people. Here are some ideas that can help you become an appreciated host of a Star Wars party.

Decide the Venue

You can decide to organize Star War Costumes for a birthday party in the garden area if it is a late evening party. This will help you have the natural effects of night and space for your party theme. However, you don’t get much scope of decoration in a garden area party. So, you can prefer to have the party indoor.

Design Invitations

Invitations for a Star Wars party can be easily designed at home using black cardboard paper and gel pens. A good idea is to obtain the print-outs of Star Wars clip arts from the internet and paste them on the invitations. The invitation should say something like ‘Welcome to the Galaxy’ and ‘Come and Wish the Young Jedi Who Was Born to Be the Chosen One’. Also, attach the party details to the invitation.

party venueDecorating the Venue

You can obtain Star Wars party decoration kits from a reputable online store like Celebrate Express. Or, you can use some simple ideas to bring in the effect. For example, cut the stars from the aluminum or tin foil and hang them from ceiling using wires.

You may also collect stones from the garden area and paint them lime green. Scatter these stones here and there to create an alien planet look.

Plastic glows available at online stores can help you create the right environment for the party. You can also use hoses and PVC pipes to decorate the doors and the walls as they create the right look of the space. Play the Star Wars theme music to enhance the party. If your child possesses Star Wars toys and figurines, you can use them too for the decoration purpose.

Party Costumes

Star Wars Party PackMake it compulsory or simply request the party guests to dress up in Star Wars costumes (or create them yourself). You must also obtain Star Wars costumes for yourself. If it is a birthday party of your child, the Jedi Costume are perfect ideas for him or her.

Foods and Drinks

The craze of Star Wars series has inspired the food and drink suppliers to come up with preparations inspired by this fantasy world. Yoda soda, Galactic pizza, Sebulba sun chips, Skywalker salsa, Wookie cookies and many more ideas can be used to arrange the food for the Star Wars party.

If it is a birthday party, the attraction should be the Star Wars theme cake. You can choose and order a Star Wars cake at an online store or learn how to prepare one at home.

Star Wars Cupcakes

Party Games

No party can complete without playing games and a Star Wars theme party has unlimited game ideas. Pass the Droid, Starship Relay, Light Saber Training; Restore the Galaxy, Keep up the Meteor, Destroy the Death Star and many such Star Wars game ideas are popular for the parties. You can learn about them from the online resources.

Party Favors

The Star Wars party favor bags may contain things like glow sticks, Star Wars stickers, Star Wars figures and toys and candies. You need to depend upon the online party stores to obtain impressive party favor bags for the Star Wars party.

Just like other theme parties, you must start preparing for the Star Wars party few days in advance. You can take suggestions from people online who share their experience of Star Wars parties on the web. A well-organized Star Wars party will be remembered by you and the party guest for many years.

How To Plan and Execute a Memorable Star Wars Party is a Guest post by Lea Jones who is an online freelance writer and also the owner of a Star Wars Costume online store. In this post she’ll give some tips about Executing Star Wars Party for the upcoming Halloween 2010.

Halloween Fun and the Plus-Sized Child

There are endless varieties of Halloween costumes for babies, children, teens, and young adults. It doesn’t matter if you’re the type of parent who is more conservative (those cleavage-showing costumes which have no place in your daughter’s closet or under your roof at all), or if you’re a bit more liberal with what your children are allowed to wear for Halloween (a vampire with a blood red pentagram patched into your teens forehead wouldn’t bother you at all), there is literally something for everyone on Halloween.

One of the best things about Halloween is that it is one of the few holidays where you don’t have to spend a dime to participate; Your child can make a decent Halloween costume with various things lying about your home, or in your closet. However, finding costumes for plus-size kids can be a little more difficult than finding costumes for the average sized child. This is because many Halloween shops only offer “one size” costumes, many which will not fit a plus-sized child.

Halloween pumpkin and child

Over the last few years, many new costumes on the market come in a variety of sizes – most of these will be found at large, online Halloween stores where they can afford a much larger selection. Thus, if your child is looking for the latest Disney costume, chances are good you’ll find your child’s size online.

Costume Ideas

The all-time number one costume for the plus-size child, that is Halloween themed and an absolute classic, is a good old Halloween Pumpkin. There are many creative ways to go about making a Halloween pumpkin costume. A simple one is to get a bright orange piece of fabric – cut it in a circle making a small hole for the head in the center and using a draw-string at the bottom, around the thigh or knee area. Many costume shops sell Pumpkin-costumes that are large and simply need to be “slipped” on.

Princess or other fairytale costumes are easy to make. Simply buy or wear an existing fancy gown, add a crown, a wand, and shoes. Add glitter to your child’s face, slip on some velvet gloves, and viola, your child is ready for the ball! For Alice in Wonderland, cut out an image of her “usual” look (blue dress, white body apron, black hair bow and white stockings) and look for those items in a clothing or second-hand store. Have her carry a bag with a teapot on it while trick or treating!

Superheroes are also a popular costume idea, and can be easy made with regular clothes. Find an extra-large spandex shirt, Iron a superhero emblem to the front, and stuff some shirts in the arms to make impressive, superhero biceps! A mask completes this heroic effect!

Anything with a mask is the next great option – everything from a werewolf, vampire, and celebrity masks can be easily found in any costume shop. Throw on some clothes but the Internet is where this method of finding a mask really shines. Around Halloween time, eBay is a cornucopia of Halloween costumes, and you can most likely find either a brilliantly made costume mask or even have one custom-made for you through an eBay vendor.

If you can’t find a witch costume in your child’s size, you can easily make it at home, or with a small shopping list.

Necessities:

  1. A long, black wig (purchased from any local Hair Shop)
  2. Green camouflage face paint (purchased from Wal-Mart or a dollar store)
  3. A black dress, available for around $10-15 dollars. This is such a common item around Halloween – they’ll have it in a variety of sizes.

In wearing the black dress of choice, next apply the face paint, and then finally the wig. Behold, you have your very own Wicked Witch of the West! An innocent Halloween costume that is sure to impress, regardless of age, size, or budget. Wicked Witch masks are common at Halloween time as well. In combining these two methods, the plus-sized child has the perfect costume for Halloween fun.

An overweight child shouldn’t have to be restricted from the same Halloween fun that all children enjoy. Just like any Halloween costume, the only limit to what can be done for a Halloween costume is the parent’s or the child’s imagination. For everyone, especially children, imagination is a limitless thing!

Mary Williams of WeightLossTriumph is a freelance writer providing tips and advice for consumers. She often writes about reviews for online weight loss diet plans.

The Most Popular Retro Halloween Costumes (2004-2008)

Some people choose Halloween costumes that are classics and have been around forever and will continue to stand the test of time.

Other people choose a trendy Halloween costume related to current events, politics, or popular characters of that year. (And this is a matter of taste. We’ve done it ALL and loved every one!)

But nothing dictates Halloween costumes more than which blockbuster movies were released that year! Here is a list of the most popular Halloween costumes of the past five years.

2004 – The year 2004 was all about Spiderman, with 2.15 million children dressing as their favorite superhero that year. Not just for the boys, Spiderman was also the top men’s costume of 2004. The Spiderman trend was due to the release of the movie Spiderman 2 that year. Little girls went with the classics that year with princesses and witches being the top costume picks. The most popular women’s costume for 2004 was Paris Hilton.

2005 – 2005 was the year of Star Wars thanks to the movie Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith being released that year. The most popular costume for men and boys was Darth Vader or Chewbacca, for women and girls it was Princess Leia or Princess Amidala. Little girls that year also took to the classics with fairies and Barbie being close behind the Star Wars costumes. For little boys in 2005 Superman was the second most popular.

2006 – In 2006, because of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean 2, the  most popular costumes were pirates. For men and boys the top costume was Captain Jack Sparrow which was just ahead of Superman and Darth Vader. For women it was also a pirate costume that was the most popular, followed by Marie Antoinette-style 18th century “Elizabeth Swan” gowns. Little girls once again stuck with the classic fairies and princesses that year.

2007 – This was the year that Spiderman 3 was released, making the black Spiderman costume the most popular for boys and men. Captain Jack Sparrow was also still a popular choice for both as well as Shrek. For women that year many chose a sexy police officer or villain themed costume. Little girls in 2007 chose Princess Fiona as the most popular costume choice followed by fairies and princesses once again.

2008 – This was Iron Man’s year as it was the most popular Halloween costume for men and boys, followed by the Dark Knight. For boys, Harry Potter was also a popular costume in 2008. For men, due to it being an election year, political costumes were hot. Woman this year were dressing as classic witches and cats. For girls in 2008, Hannah Montana was the costume to have followed by the ever popular princess and fairy.

This post was contributed by Kelly Rockey, who writes about Halloween costumes over at StarCostumes.com.

How to Survive Halloween With Your Pets

Halloween can be a frightening experience for your dog or other pets. From the constant ding of the doorbell, to the many people out and about, and all the little hands that inevitably reach for him, there are many things aside from ghouls and goblins that can frighten your pup. Compound that fear with the reality that some dogs are skittish or anxiety-ridden, and well Halloween is right up there with fireworks and thunderstorm.

Instead of dreading the day, use the challenges. With the proper training you can have a very festive Halloween – complete with matching costumes for you and your pup!

Ding-Dong, Trick or Treat!

A dog wouldn’t be a dog if he didn’t bark when the doorbell rings. But on Halloween when your doorbell rings 50 times, well… it’s not so cute any more. This is the ideal time for a little in home dog training:

Get your dog to sit calmly while you open the door and tend to your trick or treaters.

pumpkin-and-dogOnce the doorbell rings, before answering it, make sure your dog is in a sit and stay position. As you open the door, keep your eye on your pup to make sure he doesn’t get up. If you are not sure about your dog’s reaction put him on a long leash. Your dog should be in your vision but not directly in front of the door. Chances are that the first few times will not be successful but your dog will get the picture. And when he does, click or reward him with treats or praise!

If your dog is confident and doing well, you can allow the trick or treaters to offer your dog some of his favorite snacks. Keep a few handy by the candy dish and when some willing children come to your door, give them a treat, parents permitting. Let them calmly put their hand out and allow your pooch to approach them to take it.

Tips to Help Your Nervous Dog on Halloween Night

If your dog is easily frightened of new people, then he might just be especially frightened of new people with masks on too. Matter of fact, your dog might also be afraid of yard decorations that stick out of the lawn and make noise!

  • It’s important to not force your dog into confronting his fears. If he’s afraid and hiding let him. You must remain calm and in a steady voice reassure him and talk to him as if nothing is wrong. The more even and calm you are the better chance you have at calming your dog down.
  • A trick .. so to speak that can help is to put a tee shirt on him. It mind sound silly but you will be amaze at how it can calm your dog down. You can use this on thunder and lighting nights as well.
  • Take your dog’s mind off the noise and what else is going on out there. This is the perfect time for some in home dog training. Practice sit, stay or lay down with a lot of treats. Even if your dog knows all the commands by heart, practicing something familar is comforting. Go for tasty treats like pieces of ham, sausage or hot dog. If your dog is playful combine the training with some play time.
  • Anxious and skittish dogs really calm down with classical music, massage or energy work. Simple dog massage techniques, touch or energy work can help nervous dogs relaxed and calm down.

A short note about candy … they are a no no for dogs.

It goes without saying that candy should not be given to a dog – ever, but just to reinforce the message, candy is terrible for dogs and chocolate can be fatal. Please keep kids treat out of their reach!

Catherine Potin is the editor of HappyDogConnections.com and offers free online dog training tips and resources from various experts so you too can understand and train your pooch better. From basic dog training to solving behavior issues, you will find solutions to get better result and create a deeper bond with you dog.

One-of-a-Kind Halloween Pumpkins – Exciting Themes to Carve Your Pumpkin

You’ve picked the biggest, roundest, most orange pumpkin in the patch. The table is covered with protective newspaper. Armed with an array of cutting implements, you stand over your victim, prepared to create . . .yet another snaggletoothed face.

Isn’t there another way?

Traditionally decorated pumpkins – usually consisting of two round or triangular eyes, a nose and a mouth with just a few teeth – are a fun and familiar pick. But there’s more than one way to dress a naked pumpkin. Try something brand-new this year for a look that’ll make your house the best Halloween pick in the neighborhood!

For the Birds

You Will Need:

  • One small or medium-size pumpkin
  • Decorative black-feathered birds
  • Decorative pumpkin tendrils
  • Black spray paint
  • Glue gun (with one stick glue) or instant-bond glue
  • Cutting or digging tool
  • Paint or glitter if desired

This idea is eerie, yet deceptively simple. You will need a small- to medium-size pumpkin (pie pumpkins work great!) A pumpkin with a slightly flattish bottom is ideal; the fruit should be able to stand upright without being propped up. Purchase decorative blackbirds, ravens or crows and decorative pumpkin tendrils (curled strips) from your local crafts store or flower shop. Buy a small can of black spray paint from any retail store.

Spray paint the tendrils black; allow to dry. Glue the crows to the outside of the pumpkin, arranging them so that a few are “pecking” at the pumpkin’s skin. Attach the tendrils to the stem of the pumpkin with glue. Decorate the rest of your pumpkin in paint or glitter with a catchy saying if desired.

Slithering Snakes

You Will Need:

  • One medium or large pumpkin
  • Novelty rubber or plastic snakes
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Battery-powered pumpkin light

Turn your pumpkin over and carve a circle into its bottom, slightly smaller than the circumference; remove. (Alternatively, you can cut a top out of your pumpkin; however, cutting the bottom creates a seamless look and prevents the pumpkin top from falling in as it shrinks over time.)

Scoop out seeds and pulp and scrape carefully.

Turn the pumpkin right-side up and carve eyes, nose and a gaping mouth. Try for a frightened or disgusted expression on your pumpkin’s “face”. Place your light source securely in the pumpkin’s bottom. Because any added materials can pose a potential fire hazard, we recommend a battery-powered or electric plug-in light rather than a burnable wick candle.

Place the carved top over the cut bottom, then situate the novelty snakes so that they are slithering out of the eye sockets, nose and mouth. Sit back and enjoy the reactions!

Eerie Black-and-Orange Pumpkin

You Will Need:

  • One pumpkin (any size)
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Black spray paint
  • Halloween stencil, if desired

Spray paint your pumpkin black; allow to dry completely. Carve the pumpkin, using tips shown above (see “Slithering Snakes”). Be careful not to nick the spray-painted skin; if you do, just cut a bit farther outward, or touch-up carefully with more paint or a black magic marker.

Your best look for this ghoulish gourd is a traditionally scary carving; try a frightened black cat, sinister tombstone or a witch flying past a crescent moon. Carve freehand, or use a Halloween stencil. When lit, the black will contrast spookily with the pumpkin’s orange insides.

Black Widow Web

pumpkin-spiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Will Need:

  • One pumpkin (any size)
  • Carving tool
  • Scooping tool
  • Black paint or black permanent magic marker
  • Novelty toy spider
  • Crafts glue

Because you won’t be carving or cutting into this pumpkin, it should last quite a while if kept outdoors in cool to cold weather. Draw or paint a spider’s web on the outside of the pumpkin; using the stem as your point of reference, paint lines out, down and back up again at intervals from the stem center. Now paint lines vertically at intervals, connecting the web.

Use your crafts glue to attach the spider to the web. You’ll be sure to startle (and delight!) any trick-or-treaters that come to your door.

Haunted Ghost Cake (with real flaming eyes!)

Boo! What is a Halloween party without a little haunting and some magic? This ghost will surprise and delight guests of any age when you turn off the lights and let the flaming eyes dance and dazzle. It will be spooky!

Not only is this cake simple and fun to make but you will find yourself using this very easy chocolate dump cake for all of your recipes. It is almost as simple as a mix, yet it turns out a moist, rich chocolate cake that will have everyone asking for more!

Ingredients

For the Halloween cake

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For marshmallow frosting

  • 2 egg whites (reserve shells)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of light corn syrup

Utensils

  • Pastry brush
  • 1 13x9x2 inch baking pan
  • Large mixer bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Rubber scraper
  • Toothpicks
  • Wire cooling rack
  • 16×12 inch serving tray or breadboard covered with aluminum foil
  • Ruler
  • Wax paper
  • 2 sugar cubes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Sharp knife
  • Spatula
  • 1 string of black licorice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Prepare baking pan

Rip off a piece of wax paper a few inches greater than the size of the pan. Use a knife or half of your kitchen shears to trace around the bottom of the pan. Cut the wax paper along the traced out line.

Grease the sides and bottom of the pan with shortening. Lay the wax paper on the bottom of the pan.
Grease the wax paper. Sprinkle some cocoa (not what you have measured for the recipe) in the pan and shake the pan until the cocoa covers the bottom and the sides (you may also use flour, but the cocoa is better for chocolate cakes).

Into a mixing bowl, dump boiling water, butter pieces, cocoa, sugar, flour, eggs, salt, baking soda and milk mixture, and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes. Pour into greased baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife comes clean and cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.

Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then completely on the wire rack before frosting.

To make the marshmallow frosting

Beat egg whites and salt with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar, about 1 teaspoon at a time beating until smooth and glossy. Continue beating and add corn syrup a little at a time, beating after each addition until the frosting peaks. Fold in vanilla. This recipe makes enough to cover a large cake.

Assembly

After the cake is cool, measure across one short edge and mark the center with a wooden toothpick. Measure 4 inches down each long edge and mark with picks.

Cut the cake between the center wooden picks in a curve to make a rounded top for the ghost’s head. Slide the cut corners down the sides to about the center of the cake. Turn the corners so the cut sides are up, to make arms that look as if they are reaching out to you. Attach the arms to the sides of the cake using some of the frosting (or royal icing if you have it handy). Frost the cake with the spatula. Use the round end of the spatula to make peaks in the frosting to give the ghost a spookier look.

Place the 2 egg shell halves you reserved round sides down on the cake for the eyes. Place one sugar cube in each shell half. Make a mouth out of licorice string.

Just before serving, pour ½ teaspoon of lemon extract over each sugar cube. Light the eyes.

Remember to turn off the lights- it will be spooky!

Boo!, Not Boo-Hoo’s – A Parent’s Safety Guide to Trick or Treating

Next to their own birthday and Christmas morning, there’s little that kids anticipate as anxiously as Halloween.

And why shouldn’t they? With fall carnival rides, pumpkins to carve, huge quantities of delicious, sticky goodies, and a few thrill-giving scares, Halloween has all the makings of a childhood favorite.

Kids have their own priorities (“What should I go as? How much candy can I score in one night?). But as adults, it’s so important to also consider Halloween safety.

A few reminders about protecting our kids can help guarantee that this is a Halloween everyone in your family will want to remember for years to come.

The Real Spooks on Halloween Night?

According to reports by US Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Halloween Safety: Safety Alert” and another by the University of Michigan Health System, “Expert Offers Tips for Picking Safe Halloween Costumes” on Halloween safety, the three primary dangers relate directly to costume choice. Children are most likely to be injured on Halloween by tripping and falling, receiving a serious burn, or being involved in a pedestrian accident. Due to the large numbers of children who will be out trick-or-treating after dark and wearing dark clothes, our kids are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night out of the year. Keeping these very real dangers in mind can help us make simple and smart choices to keep them safe. Here are some tips to avoid them.

Safety First When Choosing or Making a Costume

When it comes to avoiding a traffic accident, we cannot be careful enough and we have to give our kids every opportunity to look out for themselves. Avoid buying hard, plastic masks. Most of these masks cover the whole head and leave only small openings for the eyes and mouth. Besides making it harder for the wearer to breathe, these masks often cover the ears and block out peripheral vision. This seriously impairs the wearer’s ability to notice approaching traffic and limits how they can respond in a truly dangerous situation.

Instead of masks, try face paint! From pirates to princesses, from Christmas Angels to Santa’s Elves, from Indiana Jones to Dora the Explorer, there are endless costume ideas out there that involve no masks at all.

Make sure that motorists have every opportunity to see you and yours. Choose bright colored costumes, costumes with sparkles, lights, or glitter. If the preferred costume is dark, make sure to add reflective tape to increase visibility. Wear white sneakers with reflective highlights or add reflective tape to shoes. Also, pass out flashlights to your party and make sure the batteries are good.

Even Halloween Ghouls Need To Look Both Ways

Finally, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Talk to your kids about traffic safety. The magical feeling of Halloween night can create a sense of invincibility, but that won’t protect them from an oncoming car. Remind them to look both ways and only cross at corners (young trick-or-treaters have the bad habit of dashing right across the road). Discourage older children from riding their bikes as they might crash into walkers or put themselves at greater risk by riding in the road. Dangling costumes might also get caught in bike gears and cause an accident.

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

Before the big night, make sure your child has a wide range of motion in their costume. Let them try on their costume before Halloween and let them play in it. Kids will love the opportunity to dress up ahead of time and you’ll get a chance to make sure that they can run and play safely in their disguise. It’s also a good idea to have your kids trick-or-treat in their tennis shoes rather than having them wear costume shoes that might be uncomfortable or dangerous. Especially our little girls who want to be fairy princesses for the night are best off in comfy play shoes, not high heels.

We say don’t run with scissors for a reason! Falling down with or on something sharp can lead to a serious injury. While no Captain Jack Sparrow is complete without a sword and no Hermione Granger is complete without a wand, these should not be stiff or sharp objects in your child’s hand. Make sure that all your child’s accessories are made of a soft and bendy plastic and have rounded edges.

Finally, it might be a good idea to have a talk with your posse about trick-or-treating etiquette. Remind them that there’s plenty of candy for everyone, so there should be no need to run or shove.

Fiery Jack-O-Lanterns – Not a Laughing Matter

Avoiding Burn Injuries:

When you check out your child’s mobility in their costume, also take a look for any loose fabric that might be dragging the ground. Be certain to hem edges or fringe that might catch a low flame like a jack-o-lantern candle.

Also, when picking a Halloween costume, don’t forget to read the label! Even if your child is convinced that they’ve found the one, don’t take it home without first checking to make sure that it will keep them safe from burn injuries. The costume should say that it is either “flame resistant” or “flame retardant.” According to the experts, 100% polyester is the safest choice. Avoid 100% cotton which burns quickly and doesn’t allow adults enough time to respond to a child in distress.

Again, make sure you talk to your kids about keeping an eye out for jack-o-lanterns or other flaming decorations. Reminding everyone, including yourself, to be vigilant is the best protection. Even better than a flame resistant costume is not having to rely on that label at all.

Enjoy the Boo! Avoid the Boo-Hoo!

Keeping the dangers in mind can only lead to a safer Halloween experience. Make sure you set a curfew for older kids and plan a route for trick-or-treating with your youngest. Don’t let a careless and avoidable mistake spoil the life-long memory of a fun Halloween! Happy and safe trick-or-treating!

About the Author: Angela Lytle is a self-employed mother of four and publisher of Christmas-Decorations-Online.com, a website featuring holiday decorations from artificial Christmas trees to outdoor Christmas lights.

Wish to Patent Your Halloween Project?

Scary Halloween Patents

When decorating for Halloween, folks often realize better ways to do things or better ways to make products that they use in games, parties, decorating, etc.

This is often a fleeting idea brought about by the frustration of dealing with a poorly thought out product or method. The idea may start with the thought “Why didn’t they build it like this” or “This would be a better way to do it.” These fleeting ideas might be golden opportunities that fly away and never return unless acted upon. Halloween and other holiday products can be big sellers!

As a Halloween enthusiast, you have insight into the needs of a person decorating, planning parties, organizing games, etc for the holiday. You likely have ideas for new products or improvements in existing products that could make you money and improve the safety, efficiency, and enjoyment of people celebrating the holiday. You can protect these ideas by getting a U.S. patent.

Unfortunately, obtaining a patent can be an expensive process. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fees for filing, searching, and examining a patent application are available here. You have to pay filing, searching, and examination fees right off the bat, then an issue fee if your patent is approved. If you pay a patent agent or attorney to prepare and prosecute your patent (as opposed to doing it yourself), you could be out thousands of more dollars. However, a good patent on a useful product can pay off in a big way.

Some random examples of patents for inventions related to Halloween are:

Publication or Patent Number

Title

Inventor

Company or Person that the patent or application is assigned to

6,904,612 Weather and climate adaptive Halloween costume Spongberg; Rod Chosun International, Inc.
D491,485 Decorative Halloween pumpkin Kumar; Sanjeev Hosley International Trading Corporation
6,619,810 Halloween treat carrier including glow-in-the-dark material, pumpkin decorating kit, and method for decorating a pumpkin Kramer; Bruce Elliot Not Available
D430,817 Halloween trick or treat artificial tree Salandra; Anthony J. Not Available
5,662,328 Halloween board game Pecoy; Cyrilla Dianne Not Available
D480,984 Halloween decorative item Trappani; James Atico International USA, Inc.

You can view these patent applications and more by going to the patent office and searching either issued patents or published applications (some of which have not issued into official patents yet). Search the titles, abstracts, or specifications for “halloween” to get a good sampling.

The company you work for may demand that you assign your invention to them . . . especially if you develop the idea on their time and they make related products. Also, unscrupulous goblins are willing to steal good ideas and capitalize on them. Therefore, you have to be very careful about when, where, and how you develop your idea and whom you talk to about it. Don’t even tell your jack-o-lantern about it unless you have a confidentiality agreement!

Taking an idea and protecting it with a patent can be an expensive process but it can pay off in a big way. Even if you don’t get any direct financial compensation for your patented idea, it can be very satisfying and your name will be recorded as an inventor at the USPTO for as long as they exist (Abe Lincoln’s patent #6,469 for “A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals”, on May 22, 1849, is available in the online database!) Plus, the patent plaque will look good on your wall and your product may make the lives of celebrators just a little easier and/or safer.

By: Danny R. Graves, Patent Agent, MSEE, PE
615-513-9200
301 Clearview Drive
Springfield, TN 37172
http://www.ipexamine.com/

Author Bio: Danny Graves is a patent agent, engineer, college instructor, author, and inventor with two U.S patents. He was a finalist for the 2001 Charles C. Gates Award for Excellence. He has dealt with numerous holiday related inventions including some relating to glow-in –the-dark items, toys, and yard decorations.

You’ve Got the Right Stuff – An 80s Theme Party

 

LOOK THE PART: It’s easy to find iconic pieces without breaking your Halloween budget. Click to get this costume.

Over thirty years later, you may no longer have to fight for our right to par-taaay, but that doesn’t mean you should stop! Throwing an 80s theme party is a fun way to be nostalgic, whether it was for your teen years or your childhood.

While you may still be reserving judgment on the collective wisdom of mullets and shoulder pads, these iconic fashion statements make for easy to find the perfect 80s costume.

Read on for totally tubular ways to hang with your dudes and dudettes at your very own 80s theme party.

GO NEON: Your party says “80s” the minute you hang something that’s, like, totally blinding. Click for info.

80’s Party Decorations

When it comes to the 80s, you have a few popular directions for your decorations.

  •  80s style is a combination of neon colors and those classic geometrical shapes. Get some neon bulletin board paper and cut it into bold geometrical shapes (triangles, circles, lines) and hang these from the ceiling and around the room.
  • Drape some lace. Do up your living room like a Madonna video with lace and red roses. Totally rad!
  • A third is one we like to call ‘Solid Gold.’ Premiering in the early eighties, Solid Gold was a popular television program that featured dancers breaking out to hit songs. Like a hangover from the 70s, the original set was all about beige carpets and gold and black accents. You can channel that Solid Gold look into your party room with black and gold decorations.
  • Add a touch of authenticity by decorating the walls with posters from bands like Duran Duran and Wham! You can easily make these by printing poster images large-scale at a local print shop.

Like, Totally Don’t Forget the Atmosphere, Dude!

To add to that 80’s flavor, play DVDs of 80s music videos and movies quietly in the background.

Simply throw on a Devo video, start up the dry ice, rent a few inexpensive laser lights and you’ll turn your living room into a certified time machine!

Party Activities

  • 80s Karaoke: Rent a karaoke machine and encourage guests to sing their favorite song from the era of new-wave and glam metal. In minutes, you’ll have guests belting out Depeche Mode, The Clash, and Def Leppard.
  • Guess The Hair: Print off a few pictures of classic 80’s hairdos (Mike
    HAIR’S TO YOU: We totally feel a metal ballad coming on.

    Score from A Flock of Seagulls, David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, Robert Smith of The Cure, Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, or Sid Vicious’s mohawk) and blank out the faces. Award a prize to the party-goer who can guess the most mystery hairstyles.

Wall of Shame: If your guests are older, ask them to bring a picture of themselves in the 80s or send one in advance by email. Pin each picture to the wall and offer a prize to whoever can match the most party-goers to their 80s counterparts.

Rubicks Face-Off: Set up a few easy-to-solve Rubick’s Cubes (take a new cube and only shift it a few times). Stage a Rubick’s Cube competition with prizes for the fastest solver.

Drinks and Refreshments

While it’s hard to make a theme menu based on the 80’s, you could set out a few classic drinks that were hugely popular at the time, including wine coolers, Jolt Cola, Fresca and Tab.

While you’re at it, throw some Nerds, Pop Rocks, Big Chew bubble gum and other novelty candies that hit it big in the 80s in bowls around the room.

1980s Costumes

Stop! It’s partytime. Click for this costume.

You can dress up in full 80s garb with items from your own closet! An oversized sweatshirt with the neck cut out, stretch pants, white pumps and leggings will turn you into

Flashdance while a pastel blazer, t-shirt, and pleated khakis will transform you into Miami Vice. A leather jacket, tight jeans, and chains will make you a punk rocker.

Another costume option is to dress as a specific 80’s icon like Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Pat Benetar, Madonna (circa Like a Virgin), Tammy Faye Baker, or even Magnum P.I.

Whether you base your costume on a famous person or a general 80s style, you can get creative in your own closet or buy costumes from online retailers, including wigs of classic 80s hairstyles and mullets.

Party on, dude. And remember – stay gnarly!