Thursday, October 30, 2008

This year just sucks, period.

So, I had the party on Saturday. A whopping 20 people showed up, not including my next door neighbor and her party guests who came over for a few minutes. It felt like a lot less people since a few didn't stay long and a couple didn't come til late. I almost felt like I went back in time to the first party I had where only 5 people showed up. It just seemed so danged LAME after the growing party every year. Anyway, I didn't stress out this year, didn't get all upset and end up in a crying spell at 4 pm before the party, didn't rush or yell at everyone. I just did what I could, Andy helped out and did what he could and whatever didn't get done just didn't get done. I just had a "screw it" attitude about it all this year.

I had to work on Friday night/Saturday morning before the party, so I came home from work around 8 am and took a 2 hour nap. The previous mornings I got about 3 or 4 hours' sleep, so I was pretty tired. I had a ton of food, even without doing all the homemade stuff and Jello molds and other things I normally do... which led to a lot of leftovers, so I took some of them to work for my coworkers to enjoy during our lunch break. I really am wishing now that I just canceled the party this year. My BFF and I ended up going next door and crashing what was left of their little party since every one left my house around 11. We played a dice game and had some laughs. I came home around 2:30, stayed up and talked with Andy until about 3:30, then cleaned up the party mess til I was falling asleep standing at the sink at 5 AM. I slept until 7:30 PM Sunday evening, when Andy had to come in and wake me up so I could get ready for work that night.

Since we didn't have many guests and the party just wasn't hopping like usual, we didn't take very many pictures.

This is me with my very best friend Shelly. Pic is dark and blurry, but I find that I look best in dark and blurry, especially standing next to her. :)

This is my other best friend, Ivy on the left, with two of her friends. Ivy was dressed as Ellen Degeneres... the costume was great!

This is our friend Gary's son, Jesus. If he is Jesus, does that make Gary God? Hmmm....
But I LOVE this picture. It just seemed so... perfect.

This is Chip and Cindy, Ivy's parents and our good neighbors that live down the street. Their costume with the body tattoo sleeves and all was a riot. These are two of the most laid back and reserved people I know. Cindy's a school teacher (sorta) and Chip's a lawyer.

This is Daniel the Dork who never freakin' dresses in costume and his beautiful and always perfectly costumed wife, Ashlyn - who even coordinates whatever wonderful dish she brings with her costume! This year, she was the Princess from the Princess and the Pea, and she even made matching individual beds with peas desserts!

Here we have an action shot of Gary and his wife Jackie and the rest of their gang. And all the rest of the crew, including a couple of our very best friends, Catherine and Darryl.

Andy, watching the World Series, he just can't resist.
Chip, Cindy, Shelly and her husband Dave.The rest didn't get photographed. I took a few pics of the food and stuff, but they're on a different camera that I can't locate right now. Andy and I were zombies, in case you were wondering. :) I didn't need a whole lot of make up with the lack of sleep and all. Next year, the invite list will be pared down some. Three strikes rule is in play now, and those who haven't attended in the past 3 years of being invited will be eliminated from the list.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like ... HALLOWEEN!

I am finally making some forward progress here at the Dead End. It's been a slow moving ride though as I still really just don't feel like doing any of it, but I know that if I don't get it all done, I'll be miserable and I'll regret it. So I plug along. My work schedule kind of puts a kink in things, but that's something that everyone else deals with too, so it's not a big deal. The hardest part is that I can't really work on anything that requires noise or being outside since I'm awake at night and sleeping part of the day when I'm off from work. If I'd gotten started sooner, I wouldn't be in this predicament! Anyway, I got all the invitations out save one or two that need to be hand-delivered. Kinda went simple this year:

Got all the gossamer up on the walls, webs up, most of the stuff that needs to be hung. Today we got the big stuff down from the attic and got the crypt put together. I set up most of the tombstones and 3 lights as soon as it got dark. So far, this is all we have:

Later today, I'll set the columns, arch and fence up, and get the FCG set up, as well as the beef netting webs on the house. I started to do them today, but I realized I had to clean up the hedge and trim back some limbs before I could get the ladder in there. I also plan to get the PVC set up in the back yard around the pool deck for the lights to be strung up and set up the assorted clay and ceramic stuff I have collected over the years for candles. I think I may stick some fake fall colored flowers in the flower pots around the pool too since I really don't have the time or money to plant live ones right now. Anyway, it's finally starting to look like Halloween (on the outside) so now people can stop asking me if I'm okay. :)

I've also been working on the website, adding new pages and stuff. All that stuff can be found on the home page or on the "In The Works" page for other stuff.

And speaking of the web pages, someone - wait, no, TWO someones - decided to burn my and other haunters' webpages and content to CD sets for sale on ebay. It ticked us all off, but the auctions have been reported and removed. It's not the first time, and certainly won't be the last, but it's prompted me to make a few changes on how I do things on the website. I won't ever take down my content though. The whole point of having the site is to share with other haunters. I just want to make sure that people know WHOSE content is being shown. ;-)

And speaking of "WHOSE"....... I was folding some Halloween t-shirts at work, and I got to looking at one in particular that has a picture of a mummy on it, and the caption says, "Whose your mummy?" That darn pet peeve of mine reared its ugly head and I hollered at one of the supervisors and asked who the heck authorized the sale of a grammatically incorrect t-shirt! I can understand a typo or grammar/spelling errors in a written ad or something that is not a big deal, but the MAIN QUOTE on a t-shirt being MASS distributed????? Aye yi yi! I can't believe that no one caught this before it went to print (either that or they're all just ignorant). I realize most people won't even notice it, but that kind of stuff just makes me shake my head in wonder. I know a lot of the t-shirts are made in [insert third world country here], but the designs are concepts by English-speaking artists.... there is just no excuse. (For those who actually DON'T get what the error is, the proper usage is "Who's" which is the contraction of "who is" -- not "Whose" which is the possessive form of who, like "my" or "your" or "their". You wouldn't respond like this: "My your mummy!" You'd say, "I'm your mummy!" That's basically the error made there.)

Aside from all the Halloween prep and things irking me out of the blue, things are going okay. I still love my job. My sister works with me now in the same department, which is actually kinda cool. It takes some of the load off of the other 3 of us and keeps things running smoother on the days I'm off because she's totally nit picky like me and takes good care of our sections.

So, that should catch everyone up for now!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mmmmmm.... beeeeeer....

As I was walking some opened food merchandise to claims, I passed the "great wall o' beer" in the back room, and something caught my eye: a pumpkin. I had to back up and do a double take. Sure enough, there was a case of beer there that had pumpkins on the box! I decided I must have it. So yesterday, I picked up a 6 pack of Blue Moon's Seasonal "Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale".

I saved it all day, waiting patiently for prop-building time, when it would be most needed and useful. Now, it's been a while since I've had a beer, so I was really looking forward to this. I LOVED it. It's a good brew, with a hint of pumpkin and spices. Went down really easy and didn't leave a bad aftertaste. I've never even tried any of the fall seasonal beers before, so I have definitely been missing out. It's a good companion to the other tools in my propmaking arsenal. :)

More info on Blue Moon's fine beers: Blue Moon Brewing Co.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mmmm... chocolate

So, I'd like to start off with saying "THANKS" to PumpkinRot, for posting his blog on the fall editions of Hershey's Kisses and making me want - no, NEED them. I finally bought some today after work, and just had a little taste testing.

The Candy Corn Kisses are pretty good. They taste like a mixture of white chocolate and an almost "butterscotch-y" flavor. I like them, but not as much as I love regular Kisses. They're a nice change though from the usual fare and I hope they stick around for many future fall seasons.

The Caramel Apple Kisses are another story. The chocolate just doesn't really "go" with the fake apple flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of Jolly Rancher's "Green Apple" flavor, mixed with a runny caramel. I didn't care for them at all. I'll probably put them in a candy dish and let the kids eat them all.

I also picked up a bag of Peanut M&Ms in the Halloween colors.... ALWAYS a good thang to have on hand!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hellraiser, and some other stuff...

If you can believe this, I never saw the movie, "Hellraiser". So when I had nothing better to do this past weekend since I was off work, I stopped on the Encore channel that it was playing on and gave it a watch. Interesting movie. Sadistic, dark, strange. I liked it. I missed the first 15 minutes of it, but I got the main idea of the movie as it wore on. I also found it a good source of inspiration for some new props. I really liked the winged demon at the end of the film. I can see one of these gracing my haunt (on a smaller scale for storage, of course).

Photo source:

I also watched "Mommie Dearest" again. I LOVE that movie. It's sad that it is a true story based on Joan Crawford's daughter, Christine's memoirs, but it is a GREAT movie. I can't tell you how many times I've watched it, and it kind of creeps my kids out that I like it so much and that I recite phrases from it often. On a Halloween-related note, I really sort of thought the scene where she goes nuts over the wire hangers and dirty bathroom was a good spot for some prop ideas. Joan's (Faye Dunaway) face with the night cream on it and her hair pulled back was just frightening and would make a great prop for a hag. :)

"I told you... NO WIRE HANGERS..... EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

image source:

As for the rest of life right now, I'm just sort of drifting with the ebb and flow of sleep and work. I love my job. I don't care for the cattiness of some of my coworkers, but I really don't have to WORK WITH them, so it's all good. I'm training with an intelligent and wonderful woman and she is a lot like me in her work ethic, so she and I will make a good team. My sister also works there on the 3rd shift in a different department, so we get time to catch up on breaks.

I still have no interest in Halloween or doing anything for it, and now the time crunch is here. I'm giving myself until next Monday, and if I have not gotten the itch to get something done, I will just go ahead and start decorating and setting up inside the house. Usually it's all done by now. It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to get it set up from start to finish (the interior) under time constraints.

I'm also struggling with keeping up with emails, forums, and blogging... so if anyone has sent me comments or messages, bear with me. It's taking me a while to get back to everyone. I'm not ignoring people, just have a lot to adjust to and it's gonna take a while.

I think that's about it. Catch y'all later!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Child's view of a cemetery

I recently took my 11-year-old daughter, Taylor, to one of my favorite cemeteries with me to take some pictures. I was going to go alone, but she actually asked me to go, so I figured I'd hand her a digital camera and see what she thinks is photo-worthy. We've done this before with cheap film cameras, but I still haven't gotten those developed. Anyway, we headed to Old Hickory Grove Cemetery in Green Cove Springs. This is what she saw through the lens.

And this is what I saw... She really got into it. She learned to discard the ones she didn't like or that turned out blurry. She learned to get close-ups and different angles. She basically mimicked me and is a quick learner. Now she wants to go into wildlife photography when she gets older. She did spend a large amount of time taking pictures of flowers, insects and dead rabbit carcasses... :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Halloween Decorating and Party Planning

I have collected a few books over the years that I pull off the shelf and peruse quite often throughout the year to get some inspiration. I love looking at the pictures and descriptions on each page, drinking in each one and letting it swirl around in my mind for a while.

Lately, I've been feeling some burn out. Lots of things I want to do, things I plan to do, things I need to do... but I have NO motivation at all. I've started things, only to leave them collecting dust after only a few minutes of starting. I will walk out into the garage with the intention to work on something, only to just sit there staring at it and not DO anything at all. Normally by June or July, I have several new projects completed. This year I have nothing, except that one batch of tombstones that I gave away.

So, I decided it was time to pull the books out and hopefully give myself a little spark of "something" to get back into the swing of things. I scanned the covers of the books that I love to look at the most, and a few pages of each. If you like Halloween books, these are definitely worth buying. I got most of them from

One of my absolute FAVORITES out of my collection, is "Halloween - A Grown-up's Guide to Creative Costumes, Devilish Decor & Fabulous Festivities", by Joanne O'Sullivan. This book has it all... really cool, beautiful costumes you can make yourself, simple and elegant decorating ideas, party theme ideas with matching invitations, stories, history, and recipes. The section I loved the most was for the New Orleans Voodoo Cocktail party.

The book is very well written and artfully laid out, making it an excellent choice for Halloween party planners. I highly recommend it.

Another book that I look through MANY times during October while planning the party is "Halloween Treats - Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family" by Donata Maggipinto. There are so many delicious recipes in this book that I find it really difficult to decide which to try. GREAT photographs accompany the recipes and instructions and many of the crafts are perfect for children to help with.

"Halloween Parties: How to Throw Spook-Tacular Soirees & Frighteningly Festive Entertainments", by Lori Hellander, is an awesome source for some fresh and contemporary party ideas. There are several different themes included and it's loaded with recipes and ideas.

From cute and slightly country to spooky and cool to vintage and beautiful... "The Big Book of Halloween, Creative &Creepy Projects for Revellers of All Ages" has it all! I LOVE this book by Laura Dover Doran. There are lots of great ideas for Halloween decorations for both inside and outside the home. She mingles scary stories that would be perfect for sitting around a campfire with wonderful snippets of history, myths and quips. Loads of pictures grace this book with personal stories from other people, their traditions and festivities surrounding Halloween. Recipes, costume tips, and even some do-it-yourself prop instructions are all in there. This is definitely another must-have for Halloween lovers.

Jill Williams Grover's "Scary Scenes For Halloween" totally delivers some spooky goodness for Halloween. I've used MANY of the ideas from this book over the years. Ideas for children's AND adult food and decorations are included and the photos are just wonderful to look at. Some really neat and simple prop instructions are mixed in with some candy displays that will TOTALLY wow the kids and adults alike. This is the first Halloween book I ever bought for myself, and I am completely in love with it.

Below are some of the other books I have and look through often. Some of them are super, some are so-so, but all are great for ideas in some way or another.