The Halloween Alliance Newsletter
October 20, 2009
From the Editor
Halloween is almost here! Do you feel the goblins and ghosts creeping into your peripheral vision? Perhaps visions of bats dancing in your heads? If you have children, you hopefully have had time to build some crafts like a haunted gingerbread house or bats
made from egg cartons. If not, perhaps you have a nice, lazy weekend in a few days? If not, try to at least spend a half hour sometime this week walking outside, admiring the leaves changing hue and the season deepening into autumn. That always gets me into a cheerful, ghoulish mood!
Here at Halloween Alliance, we have a variety of talented Halloween artists and decorators writing their ideas for projects, and new ideas will continue to be published every day, sometimes twice a day, leading up to the Big Day. With a week and a half to go, we still have upcoming articles on advanced pumpkin carving techniques, Halloween chalk rubbings you can do with your kids, quick scarecrow set-ups from Sarah Briggs and more! Also, one amazing artist named Liz Bradley shot a video of her method to create a haunted two-way mirror for your haunt and/or party, which you can read and click on below.
If you still don’t have a costume, you can still order online. The safe cut-off date to order from Buycostumes.com in time for Halloween is around next Wednesday, October 28th, though overnight shipping is available up to October 30th.
Thanks for your continued subscription to Hallowzeen, and I wish you a fun, safe and successful Halloween 2009!
Editor, Halloween Alliance
How to Build a Haunted Two-Way Mirror
By Liz Bradley
Also known as a one-way mirror or a transparent mirror, it is a piece of glass that has been coated with a super thin layer of metal. It is placed between a darkened room a lighted room, which allows a person in the darkened room to see through the glass, but a person in the lighted room to only see his own reflection. Mirrors like this are usually used for security purposes. Police use them in interrogation rooms so that they can see the suspect, but not vice versa. Cameras can be hidden behind them to catch shoplifters, and news programs employ them in the form of teleprompters.
If, however, the lights in the darkened room are turned on, the mirror becomes transparent on both sides. This is how we can produce ghostly images in mirrors for our haunted house!
By David Lay
Do I have a weird imagination or what? Just call me cheap; I’ll do anything to create fear and trembling for as little money as possible: Case in point – my wife was spreading hay from weathered bales in her garden, and after taking the twine off the bales, she threw them on some metal T-posts she had sticking in the ground nearby. I looked at these and saw potential for a cheap haunt… Viola! Garden Wizards! I don’t think she could have arranged them more perfectly.
If you have some lonely posts standing around, simply grab some old twine and arrange into hair and flowing robes. They don’t look like much in the day, and they won’t be the focal point of your haunt, but if they are ever so slightly in the peripheral vision of your trick or treaters, the play on light and shadow, plus a little bit of wind could just make it look like a couple scowling beings are hovering nearby…
Gather Round For a Spooky Story
By Tamara Doehring
A lesson in the history of Halloween coupled with the sounds of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and stories sets the scene for people to make up their own stories or share a real one.
As a former high school English teacher whose favorite holiday is Halloween, I used to love the days when Halloween fell on a school day. My students always enjoyed our Halloween tradition of listening to Edgar Allan Poe, talking about the history of Halloween, and telling ghost stories. When my daughter was old enough we did the same thing at home with her friends at a sleepover.
First, set the mood. Use candles or colored lights and drape the typical Halloween decorations around the room. Cobwebs, spiders, pumpkins, glowsticks all add to the scene. Find an audio version of a Poe short story or poem. Some I like to use are The Black Cat, The Raven, and The Tell-Tale Heart. After listening to the stories or poems, put on eerie background music. The CD Very Scary Music is a great collection for this purpose.
Next, tell the listeners about the history of Halloween. Explain how it was first a Celtic festival to commemorate the harvest of the year and marked the start of the winter season. They believed that on the night before, the spirits of those who had passed that year would walk the earth. Kids also like the story of the Jack-o-Lantern which comes from the Irish myth of Stingy Jack who tricked the devil.
After listening to Poe and sharing the history, tell the group it is time to share their own stories. The trick is that the other listeners have to decide if the story is real or fake. Almost everyone has a scary story to share. The trick to making up the story is to make sure it is believable. You can also do circle stories. One person starts with a line and people continue to add lines.
Whether you do this in a classroom or with a personal group, everyone will have a great time while learning a little something, too.
Maximizing the Effect of Your Fog Machine
By David Lay
There’s no way around it: Fog machines are cool. The nice thing about them is it doesn’t take much to create a creepy, scary scene. What makes something scary is not what you see, it’s what you barely see, or see just in a flash, or maybe don’t see at all but you think it’s there. Fog hides things so that you don’t see things clearly, or enhances light so that it gives objects a mysterious depth, like extending it out into the space around it, and hence makes it perfect for a good haunt…
Learn how to make a creepy scene with your fog machine
A Grave Matter: Building a Halloween Cemetery
By Melanie Henson
It’s scary. It’s terrifying. It’s blood-curdling. It’s…a week before your big Halloween bash and you don’t have a single decoration yet! Never fear: help is here, and in a hurry. Here’s how to haunt your own front yard or indoor party area with these chillingly good graveyard scene ideas.
Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to grab a hold of is a set of eerie cemetery tombstones. Don’t worry if these don’t all match; different sizes and textures add to the spooky effect and will make your grave scene more believable…
Continue reading about building a Halloween graveyard for your haunt
Witches Brew on a Broomstick
You will love serving this delightfully cheesy brew instead of the same old Mexican cheese dip. And the crunchy breadsticks for dipping allow your guests to stir at the cauldron and pick up the pieces of flesh and bone in this warm, rich concoction with the distinct flavor of autumn. Serve this in a hallowed out pumpkin for a stunning presentation!
Ingredients to gather for your brew:
- 1 package of chipped beef, chopped
- 1 can of condensed mushroom soup
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 chopped green pepper
- 1 chopped large onion
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of ketchup
- 1/4 pound of shredded cheddar cheese
To make the brew
Sauté the chopped onion and pepper in the melted butter. Add the condensed soup, Worcestershire sauce, chopped chipped beef, and grated cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are thoroughly combined, stirring constantly.
Pour into a heated dip server, or serve in a hallowed out pumpkin. Serve with crunchy breadsticks or tortilla chips. Yummy!
Happy Halloween, everybody!