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Skeleton Fights!

Skeleton Fights!

My first childhood encounter with skeleton fights, thanks to Sinbad! How do you kill a skeleton?

 

What?? Stop motion!!

 

The most famous skeleton fight.

 

And the creators behind it!

 

I’d say they’re in a pickle.

 

Skeleton battle, Minecraft style!

 

Skeletons vs zombies? If I had to choose sides? Skeletons!

 

Skeletons vs skeletons!? How do I choose?

 

This one’s bloody, but… what’s the word? Epic? Invigorating? Giants vs giant skeletons!

 

I’m so confused.

Spooky Kitchen Stuff

Spooky Kitchen Stuff

corelledishes

Corelle 16-piece Dinnerware in B & W

blackreddinner

Gibson 16-piece Dinnerware Set, Black & Red Flowers

blacksquaredinnerware

Gibson 16-piece Dinnerware Set, Black & Flowers

catdish

Pyrex Spooky Cats 4-cup Storage Dish

I have this… it’s lovely!

anatomymugcoasters

Anatomy Theme Mug & Coasters

anatomysquarecoasters

Square Anatomy Coasters

calaverameasuringspoons

Calaveras Measuring Spoons

wallhand

Ceramic Wall Hand

For assistance in holding your messy spoon or tea towel.

skeletonravendishtowel

Skeleton & Raven Dish Towel

dishtowels

Chambray Tea Towels, Set of 6

vampcoffinsaltpepper

Vampire & Casket Salt & Pepper Shakers

VampireBiteSaltPepper

Vampire Bite Salt & Pepper Shakers

gravesaltpepper

Headtones Salt & Pepper Shakers

I seem to have just figured out I have a thing for salt & pepper shakers.

DOTDsaltpepper

DOTD Salt & Pepper Shakers

newlydeadssaltpepper

Newlydeads Salt & Pepper Shakers

batwitchsaltpepper

Bat & Witch Cupcakes Salt & Pepper Shakers

JekyllHydesaltpepper

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Salt & Pepper Shaker

bridefranksaltpepper

Frankie & Bride Salt & Pepper Shakers

Mortifying Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links, which means I receive payment if you make a purchase using any links. This is to help pay for my domain, and any spooky adventures I may post about in the future.

The Perfect Fake Blood Recipe

The Perfect Fake Blood Recipe

There’s a huge debate amongst theatrical and special effects makeup artists as to which faux blood recipe is superior. Even Scientific American has inserted itself in a lightly scientific approach to developing color, viscosity, and flow.

There are dozens of blood recipes out there in the web world, some more believable than others, but mostly just… not. Most involve some amounts of corn syrup or chocolate syrup and red food coloring, and are entirely edible. Then there’s the famous “Dick Smith Blood“, which is poisonous, as it contains Kodak Photo-Flo. Let’s not go there.

I’ve been a theatrical makeup hobbyist for the last 27-ish years, and never really tried making my own blood until just a year ago. It took me that long to wake up to the fact that the costume shop fake blood is FREAKIN EXPENSIVE. And it doesn’t look that good anyway.

Last year I started developing an online course on casualty and zombie makeup (which I’ve yet to finish), and needed a reasonable amount of blood for my lessons, but the popular corn syrup + red food color thing wasn’t working for me. I needed it to look realistic. I tried several recipes I found online, and they were all lacking one believable element or another. I found most to be too transparent and too pink, or too purple. When I bleed, it’s just red. And it’s not syrupy or transparent. It’s thick, but thin enough to drip. And when it runs down a vertical surface it leaves a red trail, not tiny beads of sticky goo. Also, none that I tried were storable long-term. They all developed mold after a few weeks/months, being largely made of food.

This one at Steve Spangler Science is spot on regarding color, and I’ve tried the recipe, but find it to be too grainy due to the addition of cocoa powder. And, I assume, as above, it may develop mold after a few weeks.

I bleed a color somewhere in between Pantone 186c and 200c. Yes, I checked. I poked myself with a sterilized pin and compared my own blood with the Pantone formula guide (my husband is a graphic artist, so this was just laying around and was really convenient).

pantonecolorguide

Let’s put the corn syrup aside. I won’t go into every recipe I tried or developed. I’ll just give you the one I really love. It’s non-toxic, so you can ingest a bit of it if really necessary, but I don’t recommend it, as it is not meant to be edible.

You’ll need three common ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white school glue (no specific brand… just get it from the dollar store)
  • 1 teaspoon black strap molasses (any brand)
  • red food color (I used Watkins, you can use anything)

schoolglue redfoodcolor
blackstrap_molasses

Simply mix these all up in a disposable, lidded container. That is all.

It’s fairly thick. If you want it to be thicker, leave the lid off to dry the glue a bit, stirring occasionally to avoid forming a film on top. If you want it to be thinner for, say, blood splatter, just add small amounts of water until you reach your desired consistency.

So far my batch has stored for several months, has kept its consistency and color, and has yet to develop mold.

blood_cup

Here it is on my arm and hand, in the sun and in the shade. I’ll add photos of what it looks like on cloth later.

blood1

blood5

blood6

Don’t accidentally smear this on the side of your house and forget about it. It ends up scaring the neighbors and/or gardeners.

blood2

blood3

Cleanup is a breeze (that is a lie). Being glue-based, it dries. On the plus side, it stays put. If you kept it thick, you may be able to peel most of it off when dry, but I just scrub it off with some warm water and dish soap. Expect some light staining to your skin, which will dissipate after a couple of hand washings, and definitely on clothing.

If you try my recipe, I’d like to see how you use it. Please share in a comment :)

Astrology Costumes for Cosplay or Halloween

Astrology Costumes for Cosplay or Halloween

I’ve collected some of the most interesting astrology-related cosplays and costumes for you to browse. I wasn’t able to find all of the original sources, though I tried. Enjoy.

Aries. March 21 – April 19

AstroAries

via FamilyHoliday.net

AstroAries1

Unknown.

AstroAries2

via Acre Residency

AstroAries3

Unknown.

Taurus. April 20 – May 20

614-02003862 Model Release: Yes Property Release: No Taurus

via Masterfile

AstroTaurus1

via Ashley Selberg Designs

AstroTaurus2

via Lux Cosplay

Gemini. May 21 – June 20

AstroGeminiGradyTwins

The Grady Twins count as Gemini, according to me.

AstroGeminiWitches

Unknown. Gemini witches for the win.

AstroGeminisiamesered

Unknown. The prettiest siamese Geminis I ever did see.

Cancer. June 21 – July 22

AstroCancerCardboardCrab

via The Cardboard Collective

AstroCancerKidCrab

Unknown (believe me, I followed so many dead-end links for this). Kid King Crab!

AstroCancerCrabAttack

via Mylenium. I believe this is from Cirque de Soleil. Giant crab attack!

AstroCancersexycrab

Unknown. If you’re good with EVA foam (I’m a foam crafter myself, aka “foamsmith”, I guess), you could be a sexay crab for your next Under the Sea party.

Leo. July 23 – August 22

AstroLeogirllion

via Wanelo

AstroLeoKidLion

via Pinterest.

AstroLeoSimba

via Mundo Cosplayer – Simba in the tall grass.

AstroLeoCosplay

via Tumblr – Another Simba, ultimately pretty.

Virgo. August 23 – September 22

AstroVirgo

via Pinterest

AstroVirgo1

Unknown. White for virginity.

Libra. September 23 – October 22

AstroLibraVintage

via Pinterest

AstroLibra

via Pinterest

Scorpio. October 23 – November 21

AstroScorpio

It is with stinging sorrow that I literally cannot find any good Scorpio costume ideas. Accept the challenge?

Sagittarius. November 22 – December 21

AstroSaggitarius

via Imgrum

AstroSaggitarius1

via My Beauty Queens

AstroSaggitarius2

via Pinterest Australia

Capricorn. December 22 – January 19

AstroCapricorn

via Pinterest

AstroCapricorn1

via Pinterest

Aquarius. January 20 – February 18

AstroAqua

via Cos Couture

AstroAqua1

via Pinterest

AstroAqua2

via Pinterest UK

AstroAqua3

via Pinterest UK

Pisces. February 19 – March 20

AstroPisces

via Citizen Arcane

AstroPisces1

via Costume Pop

AstroPisces2

via Pinterest

Extra astro bits:

AstroGoldUniverseQueen

Gold Universe Queen by RMQuintiroli at Etsy.

UniverseVintage

via Tumblr.. I say she’s Miss Universe.

Sweetly Dark and Ominous: The Music of Derek and Brandon Fiechter

Sweetly Dark and Ominous: The Music of Derek and Brandon Fiechter

Mortifying Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links, which means I receive payment if you make a purchase using any links. This is to help pay for my domain, and any spooky adventures I may post about in the future.

I originally discovered Derek & Brandon Fiechter during a search for creepy carnival music. I go through phases: creepy carnival, creepy circus, creepy theremin, creepy this, creepy that, creepy creepy, and Weird Al, REM and Beck for the sunnier days. Digressing, I’m so grateful to have found this dastardly and brotherly (I assume – I can’t seem to find much about them aside from residing in Indiana) duo. They really know how to delightfully darken a mood. From creepy dolls haunted carnivals, elven music to ambient space music, I think they’ve got everything covered.

Please enjoy listening to a bit of their genius…

You can buy Enchanted Ballroom here.

I believe Dark Cemetery is my somber favorite, but to choose would be stifling… wouldn’t you agree?

You can buy Creepy Amusement Park here.

It’s Time to Desecrate Your Goth Garden

It’s Time to Desecrate Your Goth Garden

Blue-Rose-Wallpaper-1080x607

This is the first in a series of Goth Garden posts. To keep your goth garden amongst the living, you must commit to continual change. Plants live, plants die, and some plants come back from near death if you tend to your black thumb. I won’t pretend to know your climate and what lives and dies in your zone at various times of year… that would be up to you. But I will give you ideas to mix and match in your garden to make it spooky, eerie, or even somewhat disturbing. Some of the best ideas aren’t even plants, and will survive anything short of disaster. And that’s what we’re going to start with!

Mortifying Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links, which means I receive payment if you make a purchase using any links. This is to help pay for my domain, and any spooky adventures I may post about in the future.

vampirebusttosacna

Nosferatu the Vampire Bust

I don’t know about you, but I’d be damned with giddiness to perch this fanged savage at my garden gate. Problem is, I don’t have a garden gate. But when I do (and I will), this is going to attract creepers and invitees alike to my twisted garden lair. He serves as a warning that chances of survival are bleak.


veiledmaidenbusttoscana

The Veiled Maiden Sculptural Bust

This gloomy beauty is eerily melancholy. If you have a faux (or otherwise?) cemetery included in your goth garden, the Veiled Maiden will induce feelings of dread as she welcomes your victims guests to the afterlife.


skeletonraven

Crazy Bonez Skeleton Raven

batskeleton

Crazy Bonez Bat Skeleton

skeletoncat

Crazy Bonez Cat Skeleton

No goth garden is complete without deceased wildlife. Especially deceased wildlife that looks pissed off. This sinister trio may (we can hope) induce anxiety in that beastly little deer that keeps chowing down on your black elderberry.



HantedMansionApron

Disney’s Haunted Mansion Hostess Apron

This is what I would choose to do my ghastly gardening in! Who out of their right minds wouldn’t want to cosplay as a gardening ghost host? Your neighbors will think you’ve lost your marbles, but you can respond by smothering them with kindness.


hauntedmansionplaque

Disney’s Haunted Mansion Plaque

When hinges creak in hidden garden chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the trees… Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still… That is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight! Grim garden ghosts come out to socialize!


rubyredmonardabeebalm

Ruby Red Monarda (Bee Balm)

I shan’t leave you without an ominous flower. Blood red and solemn, this Ruby Red Moranda glooms in the summer and the fall.

Ghoulish Gardening to You, Foolish Mortals.

Give a Friend a Spooky Book: 9 Eerie Favorites

Give a Friend a Spooky Book: 9 Eerie Favorites

wallpapereerieautumn
It’s nearing summer, and if you’re like me, that fills you with dread. Not the good kind of dread, but the ready kind of dread. At least if you live in a state where the weather can top 100°F for days in a row, and you’re a delicate flower petal who wilts in the heat. All summer long you pine for autumn, with its crisp breezes and the best holidays ever.
There’s a need that has to be filled for those of us who count the days ’til autumn… a psychological need to line up one’s neurons with reminders that dreaded summer will not last foreverrrrrr. I equate autumn with eeriness, and if you’re reading this, you quite possibly do as well. So, what better to caress the hope and make the wait tolerable than to sink one’s brain into the eerie world we hold so dear? Books! Spooky ones!
I’m asking you to read something that reminds you that fall is just around the corner on the grand scale of time, something spooky or eerie or dangerous. Pick up something from an actual bookstore… not an iBook or a Kindle. You want something you can curl up with in bed that won’t keep you awake with obnoxious blue lightwaves. You want to flip pages and smell paper. I want you to fall asleep reading your spooky book every night. And when you finish it, I want you to give it to a friend. Because you have some extra love for those friends who covet autumn as much as you do, and you want to show it.
Here are 9 of my personal favorites to get in the mood…
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife – Mary Roach
I’ve given this one before! It’s not scary, but it is spooky, and it will leave you wondering and quite possibly believing.
bookspook
The Shining – Stephen King (far more disturbing than the movies)
The lawn animals. What? They didn’t show that in the movie? I was seriously stressed out.
booktheshining
Darkly Dreaming Dexter – Jeff Lindsay
How is a butcher of humans just so likable? Admit it… you can relate to his mindset.
bookdarklydreamingdexter
Ghost Story – Peter Straub
I admit I haven’t read this one, but if it’s scarier than the film you’ll not be sleeping.
bookghoststory
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Oh, Dr. Montague… why did you have to play this game? The house is hungry.
bookhauntingofhillhouse
The Thief of Always – Clive Barker
I read this when it was released. It’s been a long time. Good ol’ Clive normally writes for adults, but this one’s for children, though adults are allowed as well. I think I’ll read it to my kids. They could use a good, fantastic mind game.
bookthiefofalways
Where are the Children? – Mary Higgins Clark
You’ll keep your children on a leash.
bookwherarechildren
Creepshow (the comic book) – Stephen King
My mom tried to jack my comic book because she’s the Stephen King collector. Nope! Not quite as creepy as the film, but way more fun. If I give this to a friend, it’s going to have to be a newer copy, as I’m pretty attached to mine.
bookcreepshow
Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice
In fact, read the entirety of the Vampire Chronicles. Pass them along one by one.
bookinterviewvampire
Fireflies

Fireflies

firefliesinflowersandgrass

I’ve been fascinated by fireflies since I first saw them near Houston, Texas when I was 7 years old. My aunt Joan took me out to her backyard acreage for a treat, not telling me in advance what I was going to see. That was ::cough!:: 40 years ago, so I may not remember details exactly, but I vaguely remember sitting on a 3-person canopy swing with my mom and Aunt Joan at dusk, and being fascinated by the little light show that was starting to twinkle and blink. I don’t think there were many, which isn’t surprising since fireflies mostly reside in the eastern states, but there were enough to start a lifelong love. I was enamored!

I’m worried, as I keep reading that firefly populations are dwindling, and may one day be nonexistent. It hurts my heart. I’m a native Californian, and although we supposedly have a smattering of fireflies somewhere in this state (don’t ask me where, as I’ve never seen one here), I’ve longed for years to live in a place where they’re common. I’ve heard we have glow worms – which, again, I haven’t seen, but they don’t really count because they don’t illuminate fields like runaway Christmas lights.

Some theories as to why fireflies are disappearing are development, light pollution, and pesticides. Development replaces firefly habitats with homes and businesses, obviously. Light pollution prevents mating by dulling the signals male and female fireflies use to find one another (the loneliness!). Pesticides just plain kill them (thanks, Monsanto).

This website can tell you more about the disappearing firefly, and how you can help populations in your area (unless you’re in California, eh?) recover: Firefly: Enigmatic, Enchanting, Endangered

If you have leaf litter in your yard, keep it rather than dumping it. Set aside a space in your yard for it, or start a compost pile. Same with rotting logs, where some species of larvae develop.

Turn off the outdoor lights so the little sweeties can locate each other and get it on.

Avoid chemical pesticides. They’ll eventually kill you, too.

Protect wet areas like streams, ponds and lakes from chemicals, and consider adding water features to your property. If mosquitoes are a problem, look for firefly-safe methods of controlling them, like mosquito larvaecides.

Avoid firefly bits and pieces by not over-mowing your lawn. Give them time to develop and mature between mowings. Also, consider plantings of long grasses, a preferred habitat.

And, please, spread the word. If there’s anything worth getting activist about, it’s these sparkly little beauties! Talk to your neighbors, talk to your city council, make informative fliers, or even host an information-packed firefly party at which everyone requires a light-up hiney (hey, just an idea)!

All that said, my family is considering a move away from firefly-free California (for many reasons) to an area where they still somewhat abound… perhaps central Indiana. And while we may try catching them in jars just for the experience, we will indubitably set them free in hopes they’ll go make more!

And here I’ll leave you with a magical video…

Carved.

Carved.

A few days ago my family and I went to RISE of the Jack-O-Lanterns at Santa Anita Park. What we expected wasn’t what we got. We expected more ambiance, mood lighting, something moody and spooky. What we got were dozens (they advertise thousands) of intricately sculpted pumpkins – which were indescribably AMAZING – thousands of jack-o-lanterns that appeared to have been chopped into by 8-year olds (wondering if these were donated by schools?), and some incredibly bad lighting. At $26 per adult admission and $22 for kids under twelve, this was incredibly disappointing. The flood lights they used to light the parking lot should have been directed away from the pumpkin displays, not toward them. This caused a need to shield one’s eyes when looking at the displays, squinting to see the details, unable to enjoy that beautiful soft, orange glow that makes a pumpkin a jack-o-lantern.

I’d like to see RISE again, but elsewhere. I have to assume that the east coast shows are more ambient and not industrially lit (fingers crossed).

While there we met Joseph Yakovetic (who I JUST NOW found out is a Disney artist) who pumpkin-sculpted for Team Spell Binders on Food Network’s 2015 Halloween Wars. He was the highlight of the show and was a pleasure to speak with and learn from. He demonstrated his carving techniques and spoke of the properties of carved pumpkin flesh: how once carved it tries to “heal” itself with a protective layer of hardened sap-like substance, preserving itself as best it can.

This is Joseph, and that evening’s project…

IMG_2829 IMG_2825

That inspiring man gave me a bug, an itch to learn some carving techniques myself… and I bought some giant pumpkins right then and there! RISE had GREAT prices… $5 for one pumpkin, or $12 for three, no matter the size. We walked out with three. And by “walked”, I mean “huffed and grunted while laboriously dragging three 30-40 lb pumpkins to the car”.

I wanted to make these…

IMG_2819 IMG_2792 IMG_2782 IMG_2767 IMG_2822

I have a good start so far, attempting my first one today, this day before Halloween. I’ll upload photos later to show you how well I did, or how crummy. I just don’t know how this is going to turn out. I think I can, I think I can…

This also inspired me: a life-sized zombie made of pumpkins. Swoon…

If you get the itch, too, please share. I would love to see your creations!

Spooky Style

Spooky Style

Spooky Style was created because I Adore Autumn. A native of California, I don’t get to see the seasonal changes they’re gifted with on the east coast, the colors and weather I long for. I’m freakin’ jealous.

It also exists because I Love Halloween. My friends share Halloween stuff on my Facebook year-round because they know. I’ve had a pile of bones (faux, promise) sitting in a basket in my dining room for almost a year, trying to decide what to do with them. A lamp?

FullSizeRender-2

I should mention I’m crafty. I like to make stuff. In various ways. You’ll see.

And, hey… I cook. This could get interesting.