Why recycle that plastic bucket when you can turn it into a spooky gothic lantern? Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz looked at a cat treat bucket with a carry handle lid and saw ye olde sophistication that anyone can do. Break out the hot water and paints for this fun, family, friendly re-purposing project!
Please note there are some minor flashing lights and flickering photography in the reveal. Thank you for watching!
Yes, it’s November, Thanksgiving, Christmas! 🎃🦃🎄 However after my Halloween Mystery Project turned out to be such a delicious costume, I decided to repeat the process and make a more streamlined seasonal dress. Using leftover black materials from my stash and a thrifted $4 Halloween panel, materials that were once curtains and slipcovers can become an ensemble with sophistication and whimsy! Despite a few late hiccups, adjustments, and design changes on the fly – I won’t call them mistakes! – this unique ensemble came together quickly, is basically free, and feels good!
In true Poe fashion, when we moved to our a new home, our cat jumped behind the dry wall in the basement. Although the walls are finished, the ceiling is not, so he climbed inside the top and we bashed some holes in the wall and removed the sheet rock to free the totally nonchalant little devil!
I’ve since rearranged my Decorating Like Dark Shadows basement craft space and put metal storage shelves under this ruined soffit. Once this year’s Christmas presents started piling up there, too, I wondered if there was a better way to conceal this problem area? Instead of cropping photos or shooting around everything, why not make complete use of the odd overhang and storage inlet? Hanging curtains to hide the tucked away shelving could be expensive for the right hardware, and so much fabric near the plumbing above could be an issue. Enclosing the area entirely in some kind of sliding panels or folding door system would likewise be costly and more intensive than a simple aesthetic fix to ideally match my Gothic Cardboard Window Backdrop. Fortunately, in perusing the Dollar Tree website (as one often does once their Halloween merchandise rolls out) I discovered Halloween “wall murals” in an “eerie stone wall” design. These sheets are about three feet by six feet, similar to printed plastic tablecloths, and probably only meant for one or two brief uses. Similar castle stone scene setters online looked smaller for twice as much money with negative reviews on their poor quality.
Could decorative plastic be hung on a long-term basis? For $1 a sheet, I began hunting at several local dollar stores until I found the stone wall motif – the graveyard, cat, and cauldron, and skeleton styles also available weren’t the ones I wanted, as their designs couldn’t be taped together for one running pattern like stone could. Besides, it matched my Dark Shadows panache! To cover my problem wall, I calculated needing about six sheets, so when I finally found the stone version, I bought all nine in stock! Opening several and laying them out on the floor, I could see they had the width, but about two and a half were needed to cover the wall height. I taped them together and then taped the top across the soffit, letting the plastic drape all the way down to the floor. It looked so gosh darn spooky cute, I decide to continue with a sheet above my Cardboard Window backdrop and down over another ugly metal shelf. Here, however, there was no drywall but wood beams above, so I simply used thumb tacks and made sure there was enough slack for the slightly longer drape. I can lift up any part to access the storage, but by doing the entire area, it looks like I just happen to have a Halloween scene setter on my wall. You can’t tell there is a hidden space with tools, Christmas baking supplies, and holiday gifts – but no peeking!
It’s been over a month since putting up my “eerie stone wall” and there have been no problems yet. If the sheeting does begin to fall, fresh tape and thumbtacks should keep it secure – unless as my husband put it bluntly, the cat decides to do something about it! Thankfully, I only used five sheets, leaving four extra for any rips or replacements. Unless the camera catches a glare from the fluorescent lights, you can’t immediately tell this is just plastic. Was this $9 plus tax the absolutely cheapest way to cover a wall? Yep. Do I expect this to actually last long term? Probably not. Certainly, there are better, proper solutions for this odd soffit, but for a few months of multi-tasking decoration and secret storage, why the heck not?
It’s time to put on the curtains – yes curtains! – beads, tulle, draping, tassels, and bells together to accessorize the Halloween Mystery project! Find out why Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz has been calling this a mystery as the final product is revealed! Not that there isn’t some doubt, mistakes, and craft regrets. Only $7.50 for new ribbon and trim went into this project, which still comes in under $55 in legacy stash and prior thrift finds. When forced to think outside the box and dig deep in your craft closet for patchwork surprises on Halloween, something magical is possible! Roller skates are also involved in full disclosure. Thank you for Watching!
Dark Hallway by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/?keywords=Hallway&Search=Search Artist: http://incompetech.com/
Hot Swing by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100202 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
Spooky Ride by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://www.twinmusicom.org/song/250/spooky-ride Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz peruses a thrifted Halloween Costume Pattern Book for ideas on the extra bells and whistles for the Halloween mystery sewing project! Unfortunately, both welcomed four-legged guests and another unwelcome guest interfere with the construction, accessories, ribbons, and bat trim. Are there too many embellishments? Experimenting with hot glue and lighting surprises may or may not work, too. I’m getting a little sick of sewing, but the mystery’s all coming together wonderfully! Did you guess what it was?
Thank You for Watching! Visit Kbatz Krafts on Instagram and Facebook for more in-progress photos!
Der Kleber Sting by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100612 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
Hot Swing by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100202 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
I Like Peanuts by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Artist: http://audionautix.com/
It’s seams, more seams, and seam some more before ruffles, ruffles, and more ruffles as the tulle hem comes together on the striped orange panels! It’s almost time to find out what this mystery sewing project is thanks to heaps of gathering, questions about making do with short trim or spending for embellishments, and draped Halloween scarves! There are cats involved, too.
Cinematic (Sting) by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org/
Danse Macabre – Busy Strings by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100556 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
Bad Ideas Distressed by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100488 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz continues to utilize every inch of Halloween printed scraps and remnants, sewing some finite areas by hand before a lot and did I say a lot of ironing on the lengthy striped orange panels. Basting, measuring, and math actually lead to a surplus of materials, but a leaky iron and daunting, fraying seams are making a lot more work! Any ideas yet what will this mystery sewing will be?
Amazing Plan – Distressed by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100738 Artist: http://incompetech.com/
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz is ringing in “Haulloween 2021” with a collection of dollar store raids, Goodwill shopping, and thrift hauls! Costumes? Check! Skeletons? Check! French maid accessories and potential for a laurel wreath tiara? Why the heck not?! Put on your spiderweb hats for everyday wear and dive in to these seasonal finds!
For those interested in more Dollar Store Craft Finds and Thrift Sewing Hacks:
Don’t be shy about shopping cheap or letting people know your wish list wants and gift card needs! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz shares some discount craft supplies and Dollar Store finds alongside sewing-related gifts and making good use of a hobby store gift card. What a haul!
What are YOU sewing for Halloween? Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz is putting some old, worn, and miscellany Halloween pants, fabrics, ribbons, scarves, and more to good use in a mystery sewing project! To start, beloved Halloween pajama pants must be salvaged and seam ripped, making the most of every inch of usable material while trying to placate two cats and use the pieces to pattern new pajama bottoms. Every scrap will be saved!
Stay tuned for more sewing vlogs and follow progress photos on our Kbatz Krafts Instagram and Facebook!
Still Enough Gems in Tales from the Darkside Season Four
by Kristin Battestella
The 1987-88 Fourth season of the George Romero produced Tales from the Darkside provides a darker horror bizarre in its final twenty episodes beginning with the smuggled artifacts, Egyptian statues, and golden sarcophagus in writer Robert Bloch’s “Beetles.” Although the premise is familiar, the petrified corpse, gem eyes, and eponymous scarabs create a great atmosphere and ominous warnings – return the mummy to its tomb or suffer the cursed consequences. The unheeded desecration leads to more hysteria, insects, and death throws, setting the mood for the season alongside the dolls, mannequins, and stuffed animals of “Mary, Mary.” These are our lovely photographer’s friends, and the photoshoot trickery for the video dating service calls is weird, pathetic, and sad. A real-life friendly neighbor is too scary – she can’t hide behind any facade and live vicariously in this orchestrated illusion. However, the warped horror escalates once the dummies start talking back. The new owner of an infamous haunted townhouse in “The Spirit Photographer” also intends to use rare technology and mysticism to prove the paranormal to his rational friend. They’ve spent their lives seeking evidence or to debunk, obsessing over life after death and paranormal explanations in an interesting two-hander mixing real science, ectoplasm gadgets, and ghostly images. Some of the supposedly irrefutable photos and phantom wails are laughable, but the eerie messages, stakeout suspense, and deceased drain on the living provide great ambiance. “The Moth,” by contrast, is brimming with rural mood thanks to a humble cabin and spellbooks that won’t burn. Debbie Harry’s (Videodrome) stabbed by a jealous wife and her angry mother thinks she is a wicked girl for the water rituals, broken clocks, branches, and circles in blood. Our daughter intends to come back – so long as her mother captures the moth that comes out with her dying breath. The religion versus the devil, who’s right and sinister, is well-done thanks to counting the sand to keep out evil, creepy conversations, and deadly twists. Writer Clive Barker (Hellraiser) adds holiday melodies, trees, and presents to the underlying menace in “The Yattering and Jack” with angry apparitions, cracked mirrors, and apparent poltergeists. Unexpected family visits escalate the supernatural and pleas to Beelzebub as carols turn to fiery smoke and devilish demons debate the rules found in Job regarding tormenting a good man into admitting evil exists. Tales from the Darkside presents another disturbing December demented–possessed turkey dinner and all.
A horror writer dad videotapes his scary movie adaptation for his squabbling kids while mom’s on a long-distance call in Stephen King’s (Creepshow) “Sorry, Right Number.” Flashing call waiting buttons and desperate pleas for help, unfortunately, leave mom worried. She knows the voice but it isn’t their collegiate daughter nor sisters or grandma. Our husband thinks it was a prank or wrong number, and the family dynamics change thanks to the understandable apprehension. The bad feeling continues in the night with damaged door locks and well-developed suspense that keeps viewers invested right up to the twist. A passive-aggressive bill collector in “Payment Overdue” threatens unpaid folks and enjoys scaring kids who answer the phone with how their parents are going to jail – getting the job done with no exceptions until she receives a raspy call from a supposedly dead claim. It turns out she doesn’t like being on the receiving end of the harassment, and the fearful frustration phone acting isn’t phoned in like today’s television with abrupt smartphone conveniences. A mysterious man delivers the payment from the deceased dialer – an avenging angel forcing our overly confident go-getter to face the chilling pleas before it’s too late. Tales from the Darkside has several similar stories in a row here with devils and telephones, but the excellent turnabouts make for a strong mid-season before a plump lady who’s tried all the guaranteed weight loss gimmicks in “Love Hungry.” Amid talking to her plants and crumbs everywhere, she spots an ad for ‘your weight is over.’ Soon a small earpiece arrives allowing her to hear the painful screams of the foods being ingested. It’s both an amusing and disturbing way to ruin dinner, and it’s amazing no one else has thought of the horror of considering body, environmental, and self-worth statements from the fruit pleading not to be eaten. Now that she has a pair of glasses revealing the food in question, it would be murder to eat them but she has to eat something – leading to hunger, paranoia, guilt, and a bitter finale. Period clothing, spinning wheels, and old-fashioned décor belie the 1692 Colonial Village in “The Apprentice” as a contemporary student applies for a re-enacting job. The magistrate insists on no sign of the twentieth century allowed, but our coed doesn’t take her apprenticeship seriously. Smoking, flirting and telling the puritans to lighten up and not have a cow lead to stocks, hangings, and debates on using so-called witches as a scapegoat to bind a struggling society together. Horror viewers know where this has to go, but it’s a real treat in getting there.
“The Cutty Black Sow” continues Tales from the Darkside’s late superb with trick or treating, fireside vigils, and an ill grandma who doesn’t want to die on All Hallows’ Even. Scottish roots and Samhain lore combine for deathbed delirium about the titular beast and warnings to stay safe inside the stone circle. The young grandson is left to make sense of the ravings, trying to finish protection rites he doesn’t understand in this unique mix of candy, masks, and contemporary Halloween fun alongside old word spells, rattling windows, glowing eyes at the door, and home alone frights. The spooky darkness and chilling what you don’t see is dang creepy even for adults! However, a cranky old wife is unhappy with her husband’s junk in director Jodie Foster’s (Flightplan) “Do Not Open This Box.” She wants new things – including the titular package that a strange mailman says was delivered by mistake. He insists he’ll pay anything for the unopened box’s return, and our browbeating lady sees an opportunity for a reward. While she shows up her friends with ostentatious jewels, her husband only asks to invent something useful to others. Our carrier also has a midnight deadline and a limit to his gifts, and his repossession notice exacts a fiery turnabout. In returning director, Tom Savini’s “Family Reunion” dad Stephen McHattie (Deep Space Nine) does whatever it takes to find a cure for his son – taking the boy from his mother and remaining on the move as chains, snarling, shadows, and howls handle the surprise. Prior torn shirts and accidents send mom to child services; and despite nightmares, pain, and the urge to run free, the boy wants to be with his mother, leading to wild confrontations, hairy threats, and superb revelations even if you already know what’s what. Barking dogs, parakeets, kitchen timers, coughing, and ominous toys also foreshadow the noisy horrors for the babysitter in “Hush.” Her charge has been experimenting in his father’s workshop – creating a noise-eating robot with one freaky suction-like hose. Initially, the primitive gadgets seem hammy and the premise simple, but the accidental activation and broken controller lead to heavy breathing, beating hearts, and some quite disturbing, slightly sexual imagery.
Of course, it wouldn’t be Tales from the Darkside without a few awkward entries including the impromptu champagne and sensitive puppeteer forced into a private performance for a hammy gangster in “No Strings.” Cliché accents, vendettas, dumb shootouts, and sexism litter an already silly premise, and the supposedly scary pantomime is just dull. Yuppies also get what they deserve in “The Grave Robber” – another Egyptian piece with hieroglyphs, explosives, a creaking mummy, and yes, strip poker. It’s laughable in all the wrong ways, and Divine (Hairspray) likewise can’t save the corny jokes, offensive portrayals, and stereotypical visions seeking the obnoxious titular leader of “Seymourlama.” Will these terrible parents sell their indulged son for shiny trinkets? Although disturbing, the attempted mix of satire and sinister misses the mark. Downtrodden scriptwriter Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) also doesn’t believe his innocuous neighbor with a dog named ‘Diablo’ can help him achieve movie-making power in “The Deal.” Hellish quips contribute to the deja vu, for we’ve seen this plot previously on Tales from the Darkside as well as in other horror anthologies. This isn’t bad in itself, just derivative. The shutter clicks and outsider point of view trying to solve humanity’s mystery in “Going Native” is stilted and drab, too. Our photographer regrets joining this bizarre reverse therapy group with dark robes, rage, aggression, and creepy innuendo. It’s all trying to be lofty about the human condition with on-the-nose debates about why we let advertising dictate what we value, obsess with wish-fulfilling television, and use sex to alleviate solitude but everything falls flat. For its time maybe this was provocative, however, it’s run of the mill after better Tales from the Darkside episodes, and the steamy, alienated analysis could have been better explored on Tales from the Crypt. Unfortunately, from Nicky and Ruthie to the bad accents and red hair, the I Love Lucy spoof in“Barter” is just plain bad. A rambling, ammonia-drinking alien salesman gives mom a gadget to freeze her son – providing some peace and quiet amid all her good gollies and household hints. Of course, everything goes wrong, and the attempted parody completely drops the ball as Tales from the Darkside ends with two clunkers. Likewise contending for worst in the series is “Basher Malone.” Its gritty music, seedy crowd, and wrestling cliches are terribly dated alongside some macho, blue lasers, and a masked man coming out of a portal behind the soda machine?
Fortunately, that Tales from the Darkside introduction is as creepy as ever, and the crawling bugs, icky corpses, gory faces, choice monster effects, and ghostly overlays remain effective. Hellish red lighting, dark silhouettes, nighttime eerie, fog, and thunder invoke horror despite small-scale sets and one-room storytelling. There are often only a few players per episode, too, but the acts flow as conversations rather than relying on flashing editing or visuals over substance. Through the frame views, mirrors, reflective shots, and basic camera ruses accent good old-fashioned corded phones, big cordless phones with those giant antennas, answering machines, long distance calls, operators, and Ma Bell references. There’s big old computers, tape decks, record players, radio reports, boob tubes, and the rush to find a blank VHS for the VCR amid nostalgic antiques, retro lamps, classic tunes, and period piece clutter. The obligatory eighties cool with big hair, excessive make-up, lots of pinks, and terribly glam fashions, on the other hand, woof! Strangely, the Tales from the Darkside DVD Special Features includes two more episodes – odd spin-offs or backdoor pilots that sadly went no further. Wills and flirtations mix with black roses and exotic pursuits in “Akhbar’s Daughter,” for sheer near nudity, steamy silhouettes, and threats about what happen to the last suitor add to the sense of forbidden danger. By day, the tantalizing lady is not what she seems at night – leading to ominous portraits and gross consequences. Instead of wasting time on silly entries, it would have been interesting to see Tales from the Darkside grow into this more mature vein, and “Attic Suite” has a desperate paycheck to paycheck couple contemplating how to get rid of their elderly, costly aunt and gain her insurance policy. Auntie herself wishes she could starve herself to death for them, and we believe how sad and bitter the options are as the dire needs escalate in another serious, demented, and twisted plot. These two extra entries should have replaced the last two clunker episodes, which send an otherwise fine season and overall perfectly demented series out on a cheesy note. Compared to timeless horror series before like The Twilight Zone or upping the saucy Tales from the Crypt after, Tales from the Darkside is steeped in low-budget eighties sinister. Season Four’s eerie goods live up to the series name, and Tales from the Darkside remains watchable with memorable if bizarre vignettes and frightful storytelling.
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz discusses the tools required and $200 budget for the initial plans in outfitting a curbside playhouse as a Halloween cat shelter before assessing the on hand hardware, pallets, and assorted plywood. After a garage clean up and power washing of the playhouse, it’s time for the interior insulation installation (say that three times fast!) The design, however, changes on the go as doubts and deadlines mount – removing plans for interior cleats, dividers, and platforms in favor of possible multi-use as a garden shed. After all, the cats may not appreciate the labor intensive assembly!
Now that the windows are weatherproofed, the base floor is attached, the insulation is installed, and some seemingly daunting setbacks are overcome; Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz works on the playhouse’s Halloween exterior in time for October 31. New color schemes, multiple acrylic coats, and hand painted trim turn the old plastic shutters into faux stain glass spooky to be preserved with a clear top coat finish. House cat inspection and approval required! Next, it’s time to spray paint the roof gloss dark gray and the walls with satin granite to create a tomb-esque look, coming in at $70 for an online order of spray paint and $5 for a comfort grip nozzle. Six cans of each color should be enough, right?
Rather than the initial notion to completely close the interior with a fixed replacement door on the playhouse turned Halloween Cat Shelter, Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz uses found pallets and plywood to make a new working door thanks to a crowbar and reciprocating saw. A smaller cat door is cut out with a jigsaw, and $15 worth of rustic hinges, a door pull, and a lion knocker provide interior access as well as Dark Shadows motifs to match the mausoleum design. With touch ups, trim work, and a total cost coming to exactly $100; it’s time wrap up and add catnip for a feline guest or two! (Unless there’s a rain delay!)
Enjoy the spooky sounds and shadows of the night in this All Hallow’s Eve Eve reveal of our curbside playhouse turned Halloween cat shelter!
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For Halloween I wanted to come up with some fun recipes for everyone’s holiday parties, whether they be Halloween or Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. However, I wanted to find new recipes beyond the old standards. So, here is my take on three new tricks to treat your guests.
Graveyard Guacamole Chips and Dip
It’s the Great Guacamole Graveyard, Charlie Brown! Nah, that just doesn’t have the same ring to it. It does, however, taste really, really good.
16oz can refried beans
16oz can chili with beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken and/or pork
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
3 Haas avocados, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 lime, juiced
1 cup pepper jack cheese
1/4 head of lettuce, shredded
bag of tortilla strip chips (the long rectangular ones)
side of sour cream (optional)
3-quart rectangular casserole dish
3 small mixing bowls
In first mixing bowl, combine the refried beans, chili, and salsa.
In second mixing bowl, combine shredded meat and buffalo wing sauce.
In third mixing bowl, make fresh guacamole by mashing the avocados, then combining with lime juice and salsa.
Layer the ingredients as follows into your casserole dish.
a. First, the beans mixture, then a sprinkling of cheese.
b. Next, the buffalo-sauced meat, then a sprinkling of cheese.
c. Finally, the guacamole, and generously sprinkle on the shredded lettuce.
Stick some tortilla chips into the dip to resemble headstones
Serve with remaining tortilla chips and a side of sour cream, for the gringos who can’t stand the heat.
If you want to add a little extra spookiness to this, find some Halloween-shape cookie cutters, and make your own creepy chips. Use the cookie cutters to cut corn or flour tortillas into spooky shapes. Bake in a 350°F oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until you have crispy critters. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
This of course makes a great appetizer for a macabre Cinco de Mayo, or anytime you want to spice up a dead (man’s) party. Furthermore, this quite frankly is a balanced meal in of itself, worthy of any gruesome occasion.
White Chocolate “Sugar Skulls”
Celebrations for Dia de Los Muertos just wouldn’t be the same without sugar skulls. A new tradition of making skulls, and even coffins, from chocolate is also emerging. Regular sugar skulls take special molds and years of practice (or maybe some meringue powder to help out). They also aren’t eaten when complete — licked maybe, but never eaten.
For our party needs, we’re going to make something a little more edible using white chocolate.
12 oz bag white chocolate chips (roughly 2 cups)
Royal icing, in many vibrant colors, fine tip
Or if you can find them “Candy Writers” which are tipped tubes of pre-colored white chocolate candy.
Heat water in the saucepan over high heat until it begins to simmer, then turn off the stove and place the top pan (or bowl) over the water.
Pour your white chocolate chips into the top pan (or bowl). It will take about 5 minutes for all of the chips to melt.
Spoon your melted candy into your skull molds. Allow the candy to harden in the molds, at least an hour. You can refrigerate it to speed this up but your candy will melt faster later. Wait it out naturally if you have the time.
Carefully remove your candy from the molds. If there are any side bits to break off, use a sharp knife to carve them off.
Decorate with the icing or Candy Writers and allow the your decoration to completely dry. If you are able to use Candy Writers, they need to be warmed up in hot water, but they are the smoothest way to decorate these. Since they are chocolate on chocolate, the decorations will stay longer than royal icing will on chocolate.
You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave, but do this in small batches at 50% power.
Try to smooth the backs of the candy as best you can and don’t let any spread outside of the molds. You’ll have to break off any of these bits and it is hard to do that cleanly.
If your chocolate gets hard on you again as you work with it, it will become less and less easy to melt. The sugars reform bonds that get stronger each time. Turn the heat up on your boiler but only a little bit. If it gets too hot it could burn or seize up.
Also, like Gremlins, do not let your chocolate get wet. This will mess with the fats in the chocolate and then you’ll have nasty little blobs instead of smooth, silky candy. Never cover your melting chocolate with a lid, and do not let your water boil or you could get steam in your chocolate.
Decorating these skulls with your kids is part of the fun. If they are old enough, they could help you with melting the chocolate. That is if you can keep them from licking the spoon.
You can find chocolate molds in almost every craft store these days, like Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s, etc. There’s also Amazon and eBay if you don’t have a local store with a large selection. For folks like me in Phoenix, ABC Cake Decorating Supplies has a HUGE selection of molds, and you can even buy them online. This is also where I found the Candy Writers which were perfect for the job.
If you want to try your hand at making real sugar skulls, the awesome folks at MexicanSugarSkull.com sell molds and provide recipes that make this traditional labor of love a little more accessible to the rest of us.
Blood Orange Sangría
I never drink… wine. Ahem. By itself, that is. I do love a good sangría. This is my personal favorite version that I have made for years, for many an occasion. What makes it a special treat for Halloween? Why the blood oranges, of course. Blood oranges from Florida can be found in stores in October making it the perfect season for Blood Orange Sangría.
1 cup blood orange juice (from 4 medium or 6 small fruit)
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 bottle red wine (like pinot noir or merlot)
1 cup brandy
2 small red delicious apples
1 can cold lemon-lime soda (optional)
large pitcher or punch bowl
Peel and core the apples and chop into small pieces about 1/2 inch to an inch in size. Or if you have one of those wicked spiral slicers, those peel, slice, and core an apple quickly and beautifully. Add these to your pitcher/bowl.
Cut your blood oranges in half and then slice one thin ring from each half. Add these to your pitcher/bowl.
Juice the blood oranges, getting every last little drop. I find electric juicers work best, but there’s nothing wrong with using an old school juicer and some elbow grease.
In the large pot, over medium heat, combine the blood orange juice and the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
To the juice, add the wine and brandy. Stir to incorporate everything well.
Pour into the pitcher/bowl and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour.
Remove from the refrigerator and add the soda. Stir well.
You can make a virgin version with pomegranate juice or your favorite fruit punch instead of the alcohol.
If you want to make this when blood oranges are out of season, try to find Cara Cara navel oranges. They have a ruby pink fruit like grapefruit but they are remarkably sweet.
Pour this sparkling Spanish drink into your favorite glass, with or without ice, and enjoy the best of an autumn harvest. ¡Salud, dinero y amor, y el tiempo para gozarlos!
When one spots a bag of loose Halloween skeleton bones at Goodwill for $5, one snatches it before anyone else! Like an archaeologist on a discovery, opening the bag revealed large femurs, skulls, spines, and bony hands perfect for a towering Pot O’ Bones!
These odd, incomplete skeletons, however, were two different colors, and a brown paint dry brushed gave the bones a cohesive color before a second coat of a yellow and brown muddy added to the dug up and weathered theme. An unused skull meant to go with the collapsed Shakespeare Cardboard Tombstone and a pair of skeleton arm tongs from the dollar store were also doctored with aging paint and tossed into the collection. Initially, a found terracotta pot served as the tower base, but it was too big, requiring more backyard stones to secure the inner cardboard tower roll re-purposed from an upholstery fabric sale. The hole in the bottom of the pot meant a stabilizing stake could run through the pole, but since this isn’t weather proof anyway, the stake and the increasingly heavy terracotta were swapped for a smaller rusted metal pot.
With the stand fixed, the bones were strategically set using semi-adjustable hot glue rather than a mega strong adhesive that doesn’t allow maneuvering. Once the large femurs were in place, the cardboard base was painted brown just in case any gaps showed. More leaves, sticks, or stones as fillers between the angular bones were an option, but two bags of dollar store moss completed the decrepit look. Although one could paint the post and even moss the entire tower before adding the bones, that also creates unnecessary work in spots that might not show. This assembly could be done quickly in a day, but I did the bones and moss in stages and made adjustments. Like a Christmas tree, I keep seeing gaps were there should be less moss or another bone and wasn’t quite pleased. Fortunately, the discarded bottom halves from my 3D Skeleton Frames project provided more bones.
Obviously, long term outdoor use requires different materials, but with on hand paint supplies, found materials, $5 for the bones and $2 for the moss, this was much cheaper than the luxury skull towers online. Bags of bones themselves run between $15 and $30! This same model can be applied to family friendly leaves and pumpkins or more birds and bats morose, and a Pot O’ Bones Tower is perfect for a foyer statement, autumn porch, or cemetery sentry.
It’s the Autumn of Bones for Kbatz Krafts! What’s one to do with the smaller bones left over from my Pot O’ Bones Tower? Why make a morbid little wreath of course!
A dollar store metal frame was wrapped in brown yarn for the base, as I intended to finish off the glued on bones with some twine ties for a rusted look. However, this fourteen inch wreath seemed too big for the angular bones. Unlike more traditional wreath items like leaves or pine cones, the bones didn’t seem to fit with too much yarn and twine showing gaps between the bones. Fortunately, switching to a smaller diameter wreath frame meant the bones could be the star of the design, going off the edges of the round. Gluing onto the smaller wire frame, however, proved difficult with bones teetering on too few glue spots. Thankfully, switching to a nine inch willow wreath finally did the trick! This natural base that didn’t have to be hidden opened up the possibility for more raffia ties and small black branches sourced from more dollar store florals.
An additional bag of dollar store mini bones were tossed into the mix, too – again painted with the same dry brush brown technique as the Pot O’ Bones Tower to take off the new plastic edge while creating a cohesive, rustic look. After trying the bones in different positions and doubting if this wreath was meant to be because none of the arrangements looked right, I realized it was the largest bones that were the most troublesome. Without them, the smaller femurs and mini bones created a much nicer jointed and angular shape. Now that the placement was at last settled, each was hot glued on to the wreath with the black branches adding macabre but natural pop as well as hiding some of the glue globs. The slightly darker raffia loosely wrapped in symmetrically asymmetrical spots also hid the assembly. This bony wreath looks like the branches and ties are what’s holding it together, and a twine hanging loop sets off the natural motif.
Unlike a traditional wreath where any arrangement comes out complimentary, these morbid materials took some trial and error addition, subtraction, and experimentation. Fortunately, this afternoon project packs a demented little punch for a modest under $8 for supplies that were already in the craft closet – except for those extra Halloween season only mini bones! Compared to expensive skulls and florals, this macabre bone wreath is much more fun and affordable.
Way back in February 2019, I posted about a Goodwill Halloween boon on our Horror Addicts.net Facebook group – two lenticulars stuck together! That Mr. and Mrs. were cut out and placed in traditional frames for my Lenticular Gallery, leaving two spooky, empty frames ideal for some breakout three dimensional skeletons!
Unfortunately, these frames had to wait until skeletons the right size were found. An expensive often $60 or more full size skeleton would be too big, I needed two, and was only going to use the upper torso anyway. Dollar Store twelve or sixteen inch skeletons or mini skeletons garlands were cheap, but entirely too small. Eventually, two three foot skeletons found at Big Lots for $30 fit the bill, and their bottom halves went toward the Pot O’ Bones Tower and a small Bone Wreath – maximizing the price in multiple projects. As backers for the frames, purple damask Halloween paper place mats from a clearance ream with a variety of creepy styles were glued onto cardboard cut to size and hot glued in place, creating a sturdy structure to anchor the skeleton toppers.
Of course, these His and Hers Bones needed some flair! A red rose from the floral stash and a stringy Dollar Store princess hair headband were perfect for her, and a $2 clip on boys tie from the Salvation Army Thrift Store worked for him. These accessories were red to match the DIY candles to be in their skeletal hands – tall paper towel rolls done again like the T.P. Candle Bunches. A mini top hat for my bony fellow, however, was easier said then done. To buy one seemed more costly then it was worth, so the shapes needed for a mini hat were cut out of black scrap fabric and sewn together. A matching band cut from a piece of the adjustable neck on the boy’s clip-on tie set the hat off, and stuffing the top with some plastic bags gave it some padded structure. This jaunty skelly hat didn’t have to be perfect, but the brim, unfortunately didn’t sit right on the skull. Despite double fabric layers, it flopped on his face and bunched in the back, both limp and stiff in all the wrong places! Fed up, I cut the brim off the main top, resorting to a protractor and a cardboard piece painted black so the brim could stand at a firm angle. After all, “A hat’s not a hat ’til it’s tilted!”
At last with the accessories hot glued in place, it was time to likewise set the torsos in the frames and position their arms and candles for a fun leaning display above the mantle. Though inspired by $3 Goodwill luck, the total cost here was under $40 for both pieces, which is still cheaper than most of the breakout Halloween wall art seen at exclusive online retailers. Not just for Halloween, these skeletons work with year round bone décor or as a Day of the Dead buffet backdrop and can be customized by the whole family with other holiday themes and interchangeable accessories. I may just put some Santa hats, a beard, and spectacles on mine come December!
I’m not a painter, but spotting assorted size canvases at the Dollar Store inspired me to get my spooky art on with a little multi-dimensional Halloween décor! Often shadow boxes or keepsake frames are designed inward with elaborate motifs and objects that you can’t see unless you’re up close. These, however, are certainly noticeable, oh yes.
A $2 Goodwill Halloween craft paper block became the canvas backdrops – assorted patterns with damask skulls, spider webs, orange harlequins, and purple owls fittingly named “Dark Shadows.” Clearance Halloween paper placements also backing the 3D Skeleton Frames provided bats and candy corn designs for the larger canvases, and rummaging through my craft stash provided plastic lizards and scorpions, mini pumpkins, bone parts, weird looking potpourri pieces, and small holiday signs tossed into the potential pile as three dimensional art. Laying out my canvases, creepy papers, and morose objects helped match the right designs, bugs, and canvas sizes – eliminating patterns and items that clashed or didn’t fit while creating stand alones or series themes. Using papers and canvases both horizontally or vertically added variety, and now it was finally time to wrap each canvas like a present, folding the corners around the edges and hot gluing the the paper directly on the plain backs. The medium size canvases were a little larger than the square craft paper, so two pieces were seamed together – tape tested to carefully match the paper’s pattern before gluing down the line.
The small signs were only painted on their fronts, so they received some matching black or orange paint around the sides before being centered and glued on the large canvas fronts. The hangers on the back of these signs were removed, too – reused on the backs of the medium canvases now likewise redressed in proper batty fashion. When folding my wrapping too tight, the paper ripped on one, but Kbatz can roll with the punches and glue on more bat bling to fix anything! Not all the canvases nor patterns were perfectly square, however, and some uneven corners or abstract crooked have to be gotten over quickly. The square paper just came to the end of the smallest canvases, so their edges were painted black and the inside rim of the papers were lined with black marker to match the black and white backgrounds. Two red coats gave the bugs a unifying pop, and that foam mini pumpkin was cut in half and touched up around the edges before they were all mounted. Although the larger canvases can be hung themselves, the smaller ones are flat pieces probably meant for a tabletop easel display. A fitting orange yarn could anchor this small trio in a rustic, ladder style banner; but after taping the yarn on the backs, adjusting the placements, gluing the yarn in place, and securing it all with more masking tape, this attempt at hanging art looked totally terrible!
Between the weight of the canvases and the forward leaning objects, the series was no longer uniform as one leaned one way or titled the other. Recovering these canvases in fun prints and using zinger toppers is a family friendly project, but this looked like bad child art that mom has to stick on the refrigerator nonetheless. After getting some aggression out tearing off the yarn, necessity took over in the form of cardboard plucked right out of the recycling. I hadn’t yet used the last place mat pattern, a fun geometric Halloween design, and now it wrapped the cardboard as a new backer to a row of canvases. Though cute, it felt plain. Looking about my craft studio again for more trash to make treasure, I found the black frames removed from the new pictures for my Lenticular Gallery. They weren’t quite the right size for this wide series, so I cut the frames and re-squared them around the new artwork, again taping and gluing the surround in place. You can see the seams of this frame if you look closely enough, and I’m not sure if I totally like it. More creepy crawlies or traditional Halloween webs and creepy cloth drapes would hide these flaws, but all that seemed too busy. Fortunately, this canvas turned cardboard art does hang nicely with its orange yarn swag.
This Halloween Canvas Art was a lot of fun thanks to the craft inspirations and found affordability. For $7 I have five new Halloween displays – even if they didn’t all go as I expected. It also seems like a lot of materials and steps went into these, but having the craft basics to do this makes it wonderfully easy for a fall family night or an at home classroom project. Have a newspaper, special gift wrap, or small memento mori you want to save? Sentimental items or morose shockers make you an artist here!
I was going to wait and do this project as a morose February Valentine, but after my His and Hers Three Dimensional Skeleton Frames, I was too excited about this Love is Love Skeleton Wreath!
Despite dollar store skeletons in hand, part of the delay here was originally seeking an oval frame – two skeletons, a few roses, an ornate black surround, goth splendor, fin. However, new thrift frames went to the latest additions in the Lenticular Gallery, and the large wreath frame dismissed from the Mini Skeleton Wreath now took center stage. The floral stash provided red flowers, purple pop, and black leaves, but when I came upon my feathers drawer, I knew this was destined for rainbow flair! The black elements were ditched in favor of green leaves and green feathers stolen from a St. Patrick’s Day boa to go with the abundant orange, yellow, blue, and light purple feathers. Wrapping the frame in red tulle also found in the craft stash provided a solid base for hot gluing the red flowers and green leaves around the top half of the frame. Next came the skeleton couple, who were surprisingly cumbersome folks! The legs were removed, but an arm on either one was also displaced so their rib cages and skulls could be glued together. Without so much surface area on their little bones, it took a lot of hot glue pressed and held in place until the skeletons set. Rather than distinct hair or hat, this hugging, universal, eternal couple was glued as is to the bottom of the wreath with their arms bent and glued in place for more love and support.
The rainbow spread was arraigned and laid out before the purple flowers were glued along the bottom to finish the frame coverage and hide the skeletal ends. Working from their center across helped keep the assorted blooms semi-symmetrical before the orange, yellow, blue, green, and light purple feathers filled in the gaps. The red flowers already stood out with goth glam, leaving no need for red feathers, but the two different purplish shades became the requisite indigo and violet. Being one who prefers black or dark aesthetics, I didn’t have more colorful rainbow motifs, but that’s okay. Using what was in the craft stash required more outside the box thinking, and by eliminating black accents that would scream Halloween, this colorful goth décor can be hung up for fall, February, or Pride. At $3 for the frame and skeletons and maybe $7 worth counting flowers and feathers cost, this done in a day whimsical wreath is affordable, unique, sentimental, and fabulous!
Who doesn’t love a Halloween T-shirt? But what’s one to do once your frightful favorite gets too small, stained, stretched out, or ruined? Never fear Kbatz is here to help you turn discarded October shirts into fresh Fall pillows!
1) Be brave and snip snip! Once you’ve selected your T-shirt retirees, cut off the sleeves and necklines, leaving the front and back of the shirt as your new pillow fabric. If there are out of the way soiled spots or extra bottom length, consider cutting those, too. We want to save the fun Halloween designs, so the prints we’re preserving dictate the size or shapes of the pillows. Many will be straightforward squares, but others with wide across designs can be smaller, lumbar sized pillows or a left logo becomes a memorable mini. Go with what your facade allows. Do remember though, that the pillow fabric may seem big when ironed flat, but consider how much room there will be once it is a stuffed three dimensional object. Give yourself a few inches of room or seam allowance to keep your Halloween swag centered. You don’t want any fun phrasing running off the side!
2) Turn your fabric inside out and get sewing! Your two “good sides” should face each other, pinned or basted in place with a quick stitch. Go around your material perimeter and sew three sides closed. The biggest mistake you can make here is getting carried away and sewing the whole pillow closed, but that’s totally fixable! If you are going to use a pre-made pillow form to stuff your new Halloween cover, leave the bottom completely open. If you are using other stuffing means, then you can sew the bottom partway if you desire – just leave enough for your arm to do the fillings. Matching thread works best on your final stitching, but if you need help seeing your basting stitches and want to use a zany color, well that’s fine, too. Try using pins or chalk marks if you need guidelines while you stitch. When hand sewing, a basic running stitch will suffice, the smaller the stitch the better. There is, however, no formal or right way to do it! This is just a pillow. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. That’s no cheat, either – this is basic sewing for you and the kids to practice and have a good time. When you’ve done your three sides, turn the pillow right side out, make sure your design isn’t off the edge, unsightly, or crooked. If you have to break in a seam ripper and do a side again, that’s no problem.
3) Know your T-shirt or tool needs. T-shirt materials are often stretchy knits, so if you are sewing on a machine, check your thread, tension, or stitch, for a zig zag setting may be better on some fabrics than a straight line. If you intend to use your Halloween pillow year round or expect it to earn a lot of bed or pet rough and tumble, reinforcing your seams with more than one machine pass provides strength compared to a quick hand stitch line for an October occasional. As your handling your fabric – especially if it is already something older, stretched, or delicate, be careful not to tug and pull against the machine and create any uneven bunching. Knowing my machine gets tension issues with thicker fabrics, I sewed a former Halloween sweatshirt turned pillow by hand, first with a basting stitch and then going back around with a nicer, straight line finish. If you have trouble hand sewing, use a thimble or consider your needle size or thread weight if your thread keeps breaking or you poke your fingers. Remember this is a great way to learn some sewing basics if you’re interested in advancing to more ambitious projects.
4) It’s stuffing time! How you stuff your pillow is entirely up to you – soft, firm, overstuffed, whatever your comfort needs. A tired throw pillow can be revitalized as new Halloween innards, store bought pillow forms come in a variety of sizes, and natural or organic alternatives are available, however Poly-Fil is probably the most fun. A seasonal pillow that isn’t for sleeping or bedding use can be stuffed firm with plastic bags, disused towels, or fabric scraps, especially if you are light on real Poly-Fil or want to spread it around in combination with other materials. Heck, even dryer lint! My Halloween pillows were for decoration, so an outer layer of Poly-Fil smoothed the shape but within the interior of the pillow were plastic bags and recycled denim insulation from food deliveries. Don’t want to admit you are cheap and calling it recycling (like me)? As a pillow flattens with use or as you purchase proper stuffing, one can always refill or change a pillow later. The more advanced seamstress might even add a zipper closure to the pillow bottom so it can be continually stuffed with more fabric cabbage. Who’s going to know what’s inside the pillow anyway?
5) Don’t toss the leftovers! Remember those cut collars and excised sleeves? Use ’em for that stuffing! The sleeves from the T-shirt pillows on our game room bean bag became Stuffed Pumpkins, and long sleeves can become arm warmers. That extra shirt bottom can become its own plain practice pillow or be folded over to make a mask. Two of my Halloween shirts had small vampish designs, so I made these masks instead of pillows. Initially, they were way too big for my face, but I went around the edges again and folded the sides to make a channel for the ear elastics. I think I was overcompensating in trying to preserve the Halloween statement by trying to shape the mask to the design, which turned out to be unnecessary. Maximize every inch of your materials when possible. Get into outside the box thinking habits and ask yourself, “What else could this be? How else can this be useful?” Use these scrap materials to practice more easy sewing projects!
Halloween pillows are one of the most popular October items today. Toss one in any room and your decorating is done! Even when they aren’t super elaborate, however, designer seasonal pillows are pretty expensive. If we don’t even spend $25 on a bed pillow used every day, why are we spending just as much on some kind of beaded burlap decoration? For the same price, you can buy the Poly-Fil for two or three homemade Halloween pillows – and you get to control the comfort, use, style, and sentiment. Preserve a bemusing T-shirt as a Halloween pillow and get the whole family involved in the sewing skills and stuffing fun.
Every year Milo’s Halloween decorations grew more elaborate, ambitious, and horrific. Milo’s yard had become so scary during the month of October that all the neighborhood joggers and walkers rerouted their familiar paths to avoid that peculiar house until November came and the terror was put away for another year.
Halloween night was especially dreadful, so much so that none of the adults would come within a block of Milo’s yard. Only the children were brave enough to go, and yet still, only the bravest would return, their faces ashen white, their eyes deep pools filled with dread. And the children who weren’t so brave, the ones who were called The Lost, the ones all the neighbors whispered about during the months that followed Hallow’s Eve, they seemed to somehow disappear; they would enter Milo’s yard and never return as if their own fear kept them trapped there forever. But, everyone knew that Milo had the best candy. There was no candy like it anywhere else in the whole neighborhood, and no one could ever figure out where it came from. It was beyond delicious. It was legendary. It was worth the risk.
Milo checked his watch – it wouldn’t be long now. He surveyed the yard and smiled far and wide at his creation. Gargoyles leered from every corner of the roof. Phantoms hoisted on unseen wires and pulleys flew back and forth above the headstones, zombies, witches, and ghouls that filled the front yard. Lights burning orange and purple lit the scene. Two meandering rows of glowing skulls illuminated a path that weaved its way through the yard to the front door. Wireless speakers hung hidden in the trees, waiting to come to life and proclaim their fearful song.
Milo hurried into the house. He powered up the six fog machines. Three minutes later dense fog began to fill the yard. Excitement and anticipation filled Milo’s soul. He pressed the play button on the stereo. As his favorite haunted house tape echoed out into the gathering gloom, Milo sat in the dark of his front window and waited for the trick or treaters to arrive.
Chase Cabrini stood with his parents and little sister at the top of the hill, just up the street from Milo’s house. “You know we can’t go with you, son, it’s just the way it is,” Landau Cabrini said to his oldest boy.
Chase had just turned eleven and was teetering on the edge of adolescence and the loss of childhood wonders. He looked up at his father. “It’s alright, dad, I’m not scared.”
Landau looked down at his boy. His eyes filled with empathy. He knew the kid was full of shit.
“Alright, son, we’ll wait here for you,” Chase’s father said.
The small family stared down the street toward Milo’s yard. Horror music wafted up the hill, carried along on the ever advancing fog. Chase took three steps before he turned back and glanced at his family. He grinned and then trotted away and disappeared into the mist, his black vampire’s cape flying in the wind behind him.
The fog seemed to clear a bit as Chase neared the house. He could hear odd, unearthly voices underneath the music, inside the fog. He felt eyes on him. His shoes hit soft earth. He was there. He was in Milo’s yard. He stopped and took a breath, taking in the sweet aroma of the fog. A cool wind chilled his skin. He gazed into the fog and saw the lighted path that led through the cemetery and to the front door. Chase felt his nerve start to shrink. The door suddenly seemed so far away. His dad was right after all; he was totally freaked. “Shit…” Chase muttered to himself. He stood still and listened and hoped to hear the reassuring voices of other children coming down the hill but there were none. He was all alone in Milo’s yard.
Peering through the fog, Chase saw the front door creep open. He choked down the lump in his throat and began to walk.
The front door seemed impossibly far away. His ears burned hot with fear. His eyes watered. His hands trembled. Leaves crunched under Chase’s feet as he walked the path. He felt fingers and hands brush across his back. Strange creatures beneath the gloom breathed hot breath onto his legs and nipped at his toes. Chase’s eyes darted around, searching for the monsters hidden in the fog. Two zombies lunged at him, one from either side. An ancient black cat tore at his pants leg. A coffin lid moved and a mummy rose up into the fog. A sudden banshee shriek tore the air behind him. Chase jumped and bolted straight for the door, his heart racing out ahead of him. He tripped and stumbled on to the porch. He looked up and there was Milo, standing in the doorway, staring down at him with a devil’s grin. Chase straightened up and cleared his throat. “Trick ‘r Treat,” he squeaked out.
Chase held out his trusty plastic pumpkin bucket. Milo smiled and dropped a handful of candy in. “Why don’t you go ahead and try a piece now?” Milo asked the boy.
“Sure…!” Chase said, his face beaming with eager joy as he reached into the pumpkin.
At first bite, the candy didn’t seem all that special, but then something happened. The flavor changed. The chocolate coating somehow seemed indescribably delicious. Chase felt a wild euphoria sweep over him and he cooed like a baby. His eyes went limp and numb.
“This is delicious,” Chase said through a full mouth.
“Good…” Milo said. “Have another.”
So Chase stood on Milo’s porch and ate another and another and still one more. And Milo dumped more candy into the plastic pumpkin bucket. Chase’s feet felt light. Pure happiness flooded through him. He couldn’t feel the porch beneath him. He looked down and saw that he was floating. He began to laugh and Milo laughed along with him. Chase dropped his trick or treat pumpkin and flapped his arms. He felt his teeth grow into sharp fangs. He drew his cape up around him and floated out into the fog of Milo’s yard.
“I love it here!” Chase exclaimed. “I never want to leave!”
“And you’ll never have to!” Milo said with a huge smile. “You can stay in my yard forever and ever and have all the candy you like.”
“I’m a real vampire now!” Chase shouted as he perched on the limb of a withered old tree, enshrouded in fog, and waited for the next trick or treater to come by.
‘Tis the Autumn Season! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz shares a recent Halloween Thrift Haul aka a “Haulloween” because that’s what I get for filming on October 1 Harvest Moon 2020 at 2 a.m. when the pumpkin brain turns to mush. This show and tell includes Halloween clothing, pajama bargains, and affordable name brand baby costumes that can be re-purposed when the child grows as well as supplemental gothic shoes and accessories.
Fashionable gloves don’t have to be expensive, and fun items like tiaras and veils add to the craft stash mayhem! Second Hand shopping is an affordable necessity for alternative year round finds to be altered or to suit retro, vintage, or sophisticated needs. It takes a little luck and getting to know your local shops, but the second half of this video features bargain corset analysis, weighing the pros and cons of cheap costume quality, taking in larger lingerie styles, problematic zippers versus proper closures, and taking apart $5 corsets for the learning what not to do examination guilt free. The cat gets involved in the shenanigans, too.
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Is DIY Decoration and Halloween How-To really worth it compared to the expensive store-bought accessories? Does your project hold up compared to “the real thing”? Can you fix what’s broken in a weekend? Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz makes minor repairs on a DIY Cardboard Coffin alongside therapeutic painting techniques and positive Halloween philosophy.
Day Two of the Halloween DIY repairs continues for Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz with hot glue guns and some Frankenstein sewing to fix an Oversize Pumpkin Ottoman before the finishing touches on the DIY Cardboard Coffin and the reconstruction of the fallen Shakespeare Cardboard Tombstone. Not everybody can go and purchase everything new, new, new all the time – especially with recycled, unique projects like this!
Is masking tape good enough? In today’s buy, buy, buy mentality we often forget a lot of things need regular cost saving tune ups. Minor, expected maintenance on Halloween DIY Projects is realistic, affordable, and just as fun the second time as Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz waxes on morbid reading recommendations and faux stone painting tricks as the repaired Shakespeare Tombstone is finished.
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For our Original Kbatz Kraft How-Tos or More Halloween DIY:
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz puts together the finishing touches in the Dark Shadows inspired basement including draperies, vintage artwork, and sconces with a focus on the multi purpose desk, workspace, and mobile sewing area. Bonus jewelry making storage, sewing machine tips, and notion organization!
With a creepy lenticular gallery, medieval tapestry switcharoo, glam lampshades, illuminating accessories, and an unimpressed cat, Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz completes the Dark Shadows redecoration journey with a little gothic fortitude and a new appreciation for tackling large room projects during a pandemic.
Ever wanted to create a spooky gothic gallery wall but held back over fears of it looking terrible and wrecking your walls in the attempt? Kbatz is here to help you organize and assemble an affordably morose statement piece!
1. Pick a unifying theme. Look at what you have or conceptualize what you have in mind and how your frames and accessories go together. Make a list or drawing or digital template with photos of your intended space. Be it all black frames, all-round frames, bats everywhere, black and white portraits, horror movie posters, decorative shelving for spooky knickknacks, or in my case, a lenticular photo series – something in either subject, style, or structure must visually glue the collection together. Without a purpose to the series, the gallery can get messy or cluttered, feeling catch-all rather than eye-catching. These are pieces that you have accumulated over time to display, not just things that have been put on the wall as they happen. The gallery can’t be so busy that the eye has nowhere to relax. These lentiuclars are a common subject in dark frames anchoring the visual flow.
2. Although that doesn’t mean everything has to be the same. Once you have a foundation to follow, then you can shake up your gallery with some personality. I have dark frames – mostly black, but a few dark brown and some with metallic trims. The shapes and sizes also vary between larger plain portraits and smaller ornate frames with accessories between each. When you succeed in having a soothing overall scheme, adding a few spots of something similar but different within the cohesive theme gives the eye a place to focus. Rather than a mental puzzle, witty standouts let guests notice the entire thing as well as the special composition of the whole, and an usual sconce or accessories that match make for fun and inviting conversation pieces even if they are slightly scary objects!
3. Groupings maximize both the overall and the statements. Even in a series of commonalities, items hung and displayed without rhyme or reason can be overwhelming. Make sure the scale of your items matches the space and place sets within the series. You don’t want items that look too big for the wall or pieces so small they are ignored. However, a lot of small together can make one grouping to balance a solo large accessory. Hanging like items together or creating invisible lines among the frames – such as making sure the tops or bottoms of frames are level across the wall – trick the mind into pleasing organization even if artwork is scattered high or low as in a stairwell for example. My gallery has three or four items in groups with a break between the vignettes so one can take in a section, visually rest, continue the set, and let the eye flow with the larger traffic pattern into the room.
4. Practice your layout. What if that painting should be higher or your straight row of accessories ends up crooked? You can’t wreck your walls with a lot of unsightly holes as well as making more work for yourself with the subsequent touch-ups and corrections – especially if you are a renter or can’t fix the paint. Physically test your vision by tracing the shapes of your items on newspaper or another handy scrap like cardboard or packing paper and use these placeholders to adjust your arrangement. Find out what pieces don’t fit, which go together, and what to place where. Be sure you have enough space and start in the center rather than an outside end. You don’t want to run out of room! When you are ready to hang your gallery, make sure you have the right tools on hand – the proper wall anchors for heavy medieval armor, adhesive strips for smaller frames, the right size nails for your structure. Hammers and levels go a long way, too!
5. Galleries don’t have to be expensive to look great. Black frames can be pricey or tough to find, so I had to find smaller frames from the dollar store, old fashioned thrift pictures for under five dollars, and unused frames from family members spray-painted black or touched up with dark acrylics. Consider your style and project time in what your budget allows and remember to calculate any tools or supply costs. Maybe you can buy all new matching frames or can have a special piece custom framed. If you are artistic or in no rush, you can browse thrift stores or yard sales for some alternative do it yourself materials. You aren’t being cheap by being resourceful – you decide where to compromise your vision or hold out for the style you want in accordance with what’s affordable to you. A formal family portrait gallery in my stairwell cost forty dollars, but my lenticulars cost less than ten and they certainly make people take notice!
These days many may not have the extra space or means for elaborate artwork, formal accessories, or large focal point displays. However, by carefully assembling a spooky wall gallery with themed, affordable finds and an eye for detail, any dark heart can find a blank spot to make your own.
Have you ever hung a table picture frame and been so annoyed by the little stand in the back interfering against the wall that you’ve ripped it off? No? That’s just me?
I looked at these little picture backs with my cheap and spooky mind and thought, “Gee, they look like coffins!” But what could I do with them to show off their unusual shape? Some kind of cemetery diorama like the ones we used to make in school would be decorative but not necessarily useful. Would it be more efficient if this little cemetery was displayed openly on a serving tray? Kooky yet functional! Rather than cheap plastic or a Halloween themed platter that would be flimsy or too cutesy, I found a great old fashioned tray at Goodwill for $2. This chipped and worn cream with gold scroll work was going to become brown for that earthen look – the paint known as ‘nutmeg’ strikes again!
Obviously I could not repaint the entire intricate scroll design but went over some of the vine motifs on the corners in lime green paint for a creepy brier look. Of course, this lucked upon step was time consuming and took a few coats of both the green paint as well as the surrounding brown. I am not an artist, but I am a perfectionist, and some of the brush strokes are apparent if you take a closer look. After three or four coats, I could convince myself real creepy vines and cemetery dirt would have imperfections, however there are probably better stencils, brushes, and skills if you are intentionally going for an elaborate Halloween design. Although this paint doesn’t specifically say it glows in the dark, the lime is bright enough to do so – another fun bonus!
Despite already being dark, I painted the frame stands turned coffins black, hiding lingering sticker marks on the back while the brush strokes became fitting faux wood grain. I wanted a simple ‘R.I.P.’ in white to emphasis them as coffins, but the white paint picked up the marker tracings, leaving the phrase, well, peach. Maybe one could excuse it as a touch of Halloween orange, but I didn’t like it. When I started to go over the letter again with the brush I used for the black paint, I ended up with another ‘happy accident’ just like Bob Ross says. The darker dry brush picked up some of the surface texture – aging my peachy R.I.P. Like vintage erosion. Whew!
At last, my little coffin family was ready to go on the tray, staying upright with some basic glue and tape. After touching up the bottoms of the coffins with more black and covering the rest of the tape lines with my trusty nutmeg, I glued some green moss around the bases. This covered my imperfections and base support with a final spooky mound, and if you look closely, I used green glitter glue sticks in case any of the glue shows. Naturally, one should not put food directly on this kind of painted tray nor use it for a lot of grabby trick or treater hands. True artists would probably also use some sort of glossy sealant to protect their designs, but for me, a shiny top coat didn’t go with the graveyard mood.
Of course, one doesn’t have to make a three dimensional cemetery tray. Kids can spend a fun October weekend painting much simpler platters and gluing on an array of bugs, spiders, fake fingers, toy eyeballs, or anything that fits your Halloween theme. This idea works perfectly as a fun centerpiece whatever your inspiration and style, obnoxious picture backs or not.
I told myself, “Kbatz, no more cardboard tombstones!” and had actually been recycling several of the boxes that came my way. However, when one long, slender, perfectly coffin sized box happened upon my doorstep, I could not ignore it!
Granted, this was only the oblong base for a Cardboard Coffin that suddenly landed in my lap, and I needed to make the graduated, angular top to complete the silhouette. Cutting another box open to adjust around the top of my long box took some trial and error – centering as best possible, taping the flaps down to close the front, then reinforcing all the seams with more masking tape. After the front was loosely in place, I laid down my delicate shape and traced the top onto another piece of cardboard to be used as the backing piece. One could leave portions of the coffin open, but that can seem like parts were missing and this needed the structural support as well.
Although, one flap on my top box was indeed missing. I thought about cutting another piece of cardboard to wedge it closed, but the Bob Ross happy accidents continued once I decided to leave it open for some creepy hands to pop out. I have some Dollar Store skeleton hands intended for making coffins out of old pallets in yet another get to it someday project, but when looking for the skeleton hands I found monster fingers I had picked up at Goodwill for $1. Because these are singles rather than a jointed boney hand, I could spread them further apart to cover the opening as well as let them really stick away from the coffin for total scary effect!
Before I could break the monster out, however, I had to paint my cardboard coffin. Using the same technique as my DIY Tombstones, I graduated and varied different brown and black acrylic paints in marbled streaks with darker old sections and lighter, seemingly worn corners. After a few coats of blending for full coverage, my cardboard was really starting to look like a coffin! Should I paint on a big R.I.P.? Add claw streaks from my monster nails? I chose to leave the coffin plain otherwise, but a real artist could add monster eyes or pre-made ripped open monster decals. They do make ’em!
Now it was time to hot glue in my green monster fingers, spacing them out with Dollar Store moss to fill in any remaining gaps. It didn’t take long at all and the creepy long fingers set off the entire piece. Who has time to notice it’s really just a holey, tape together piece of cardboard? Since this wasn’t a coffin for the dead with a skeleton hand and more a buried monster break out, I picked up some Dollar Store chains to go around the box, adding visual balance while hiding some trouble spots. You can buy foldable fabric and cardboard cutout coffins in the Halloween store, but for their borrowed time breakable, store bought faux seems over priced at $25 or more. Then again, seriously sophisticated Halloween folks can get elaborate here with sound effects, motion sensors, or lighting – spending for a prop that will certainly scare as well as last if you have the right materials and know how. Naturally any cutting is best left to mom and dad and kids would need help in holding everything together as it is assembled, but this can be a family friendly project customizing what scary zombie arms or fun tails and toes to expose.
Because I had to open the top box and tape the angles back together, this coffin was slightly flimsy and top heavy. Maybe the cardboard should actually look more like damaged wood with jagged edges, and there are probably more sturdy materials to make your own DIY Coffin. I also dislike the noticeable seams upon closer inspection and even for a coffin getting bent out of shape by the monster inside, the proportions are still a little askew. For an on the whim project, however, this came together quickly in a few days with only paint drying delays. Using found materials and basic supplies that cost under $12, I now have a fun, spontaneous Halloween showstopper.
(It’s amazing what you can do in a day without internet service, and apologies to the workmen outside my house that afternoon who may have looked in my front window to see an upright coffin in the center of the room, you know, just chillin’.)
You can listen to the step-by-step instructions on the finale show audio below, but here are some pictures to help you along your way.
Audio for Season Finale, #176 Halloween Special
Gather your items:
1 styrofoam pumpkin
Bunch o’ straight pins
At least 126 fabric squares, 3×3 inch, alternating colors – one of them being green. They should be ironed into triangles
Stitch gauge (or a ruler and piece of cardstock to measure the stitches)
If you quilt them properly, all the ends should be down and hidden. However, “punking” the design is also encouraged, like this last picture where E.M. Markoff went for a more artsy, rough-around-the-egdes look.
Like The Rolling Stones said, sometimes when you want a little morose, all you need is a hefty coat of black paint. A $4 grab bag of bowl filler from our trusty Mr. Goodwill helped me prove this theory as traditional balls and gourds became rustic orbs and goth glam. Shiny brass or holiday gold candlesticks and sconces likewise become sophisticated, useful pieces year-round, and Dollar Store frames turned into expensive-looking conversation pieces.
As discussed in my Re-purposed Black Topiaries project, painting floral items black is more involved, but worth the spooky look. When I picked up another holiday vase filled with pine and poinsettia greenery for $3, out came the flowers and everything else was spray painted black – tacky gold base, leaves, stems, and all. Touch-ups were needed for some of the smaller needles, but now I have a black floral base that can change with the season. After some cream and blush color flowers on the empty picks for the summer, it’s all black flowers for Halloween, red for the holidays, purple for winter, and white for spring. Customizing fake flora displays at the craft store can get pricey, but for $5 including spray paint, I have not just one one of kind centerpiece, but five.
Perhaps everything all black all the time would be too much for some, but one or two black accent pieces can be classic or rustic to suit your décor without being expensive. After last year’s Spooky Bottles and Tea Stained Labels, black paint came to rescue when I wanted to add more creepy jars to my shelf. Saving a few unique bottles from the recycling, painting them black, and wrapping rustic twine around the tops adds a touch of mystery to any apothecary. Have anything broken and useless lingering in your garage? I took apart the base of a damaged silver lamp, removed the wiring and painted the pieces black for a few more goth candle holders.
When my mom gave me this little lantern house – bought for pennies at the thrift store – I was tempted to keep the tin look. However, it felt a bit too country amid the rest of my décor. So I painted it all black for a fun light not just for Halloween, but something that can be used year-round. For those fearful of bigger crafts and projects or those hesitant to go bold and expensive with dark, sophisticated colors, painting smaller items black is a can’t go wrong, affordable touch for any room or season.
Trees are changing color, leaves are falling on the ground – it’s the perfect time to break out my DIY Cardboard Tombstones for a little spin in the backyard. You know, just to keep the neighbors talking!
As I detailed in my How To DIY Cardboard Tombstones Video, this type of cardboard graveyard is really only meant for one night of wow during Trick or Treating times or Halloween itself rather than all October long. I had purchased a spray sealant expressly for paper crafts but didn’t like the way it looked on a few tests, and after being stored as a faux stone wall in my basement, three of the earliest stones had chipped paint and needed touch-ups. One thing, however that I didn’t anticipate was how heat may effect the boxes. Fortunately, only the Shakespeare (which was made from taped together corrugated cardboard which I said not to do in my video) needs structural repair after warping in the sun during my photoshoot. If you live in a place that is always hot and sunny on Halloween and intend to have cardboard tombstones outside for more than a few hours, you should probably research what tape or glue and supplies may be better. By keeping these from getting wet, storing them delicately, and expecting to have minor repairs, one can probably get a few seasons worth out of this cardboard graveyard or eventually retire damaged ones and paint more boxes into tombstones anew. That’s not bad for $50 in supplies making twenty big headstones, columns, a fountain, and a unique gateway compared to $20 or $30 for a generic store-bought kit of small, breakable foam headstones.
For a final touch, I hot glued moss on a variety of nooks, crannies, and corners on each of the headstones. I had used green paint on several already for an aged patina and didn’t want to overdo it and cover them all up, but a hint of realistic greenery also hid any imperfections. Remember, though, that some faults are okay – embrace the crooked box or the ripped corner for that two-hundred-year-old spooky look! Although I left my graveyard plain rather than go overboard on accessories like blood for Dracula or tentacles for Lovecraft, those with know-how can add color lights, sensors, sounds, motion effects, and go plum buck wild for an entire haunted house tour through the cemetery. I certainly intend to keep my gateway ready for more spooky photography scenes.
It took me off and on about five weekends to do these, and so long as you leave any cutting or hefty painting to mom and dad, a family doing a few at a time can probably make a good dozen in a few weekends, too. Recycle and get the whole family to embrace their inner Halloween Picassos!
Why paint just one box gray when you can make use of all your cardboard boxes for an entire DIY Graveyard?
Check out Yours Truly Kbatz in My Latest Video for details on the pros and cons of making your own Cardboard Cemetery!
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz gets a little BATTY in showing how you, yes YOU can make your very own Customized Cardboard Tombstones for the BEST Halloween Haunt in YOUR Neighborhood! Also featuring Giant Pumpkins, Scary Basements, and One Pesky Feline.
Thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our Video, Podcast, and Media Coverage!
1.) The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Offers Scare-Fans a Backstage Look with Dark Hour: A Look Behind the Screams
Tickets Available for October 11, 18, 25 and 31, 2019
[Long Beach, CA] – The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Southern California’s most terrifyingly authentic haunt, will once again resurrect the legendary ghost stories from the infamously haunted ship September 26 – November 2, 2019. Returning to the 10th annual Dark Harbor by popular demand, the wickedly exclusive backstage experience Dark Hour – A Look Behind the Screams! offers thrill seekers and haunt enthusiasts a special inside glimpse into the spine-chilling event.
On select nights, brave fans are invited to mingle with the signature monsters of Dark Harbor for photo ops and conversation while indulging in devilishly delicious hors d’oeuvres, meat selections, and spellbinding specialty cocktails are available for purchase. Attendees are invited to go beyond the regular guest experience and enter the ghostly realm of the creature creators during a Q&A session with the producer of Dark Harbor for insight into fan-favorite mazes, lead monsters, and world-famous ghost stories.
Following the VIP cocktail hour, a private escort will lead Dark Hour guests to an exclusive patio to witness a behind the scenes viewing of the Dark Harbor opening ceremony. Upon watching the ceremony from a monsters view, attendees can test their fears with Evil Express passes to all six mazes including the newest maze, Rogue. This hauntingly terrific ticket is only offered on select nights, October 11, 18, 25, and 31, from 5:30 – 6:45 pm, Dark Harbor opening ceremony starts at 7:00pm. Dark Hour tickets are for guests 21+ only and are priced at $180 per person. Very limited tickets are available per night, and thrill-seekers are encouraged to purchase tickets before they run out.
A Dark Hour – A Look Behind the Screams ticket includes:
GA + Evil Express Admission into Dark Harbor event and all mazes
Admission into Dark Hour from 5:30 – 6:45 pm
All Main Cast Photo Opportunity
Hors d’oeuvres & Body of Meat to Enjoy
Q&A Session with Producer of Event
Behind the Scenes viewing of opening ceremony
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is celebrating a decade of freakish fun with more frights than ever before and an all-new maze for the 2019 season. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, Evil Express, Dark Hour, Ultimate Scream, and hotel packages available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.
2.) Spooks and Spirits Presents: “Monster Movies for Music” at the Historic Observatory Theater on Oct. 20
Experience Live Music Performances, Special Screening of Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, Horror Artists, Zombie Flash Mob, Monster Make-up Demonization’s, Silent Auctions, Surprises & More Benefiting MusiCares
[San Diego, CA] – Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins 18+ are invited to “scare for a care” this October with the first-ever “Spooks and Spirits Presents: Monster Movies for Music” on Sunday, October 20. Jam-packed with frightful-fun all night long, San Diego’s Observatory Theater will be overcome by the Halloween spirit with Zombie Flash Mobs, a special movie screening, live music performances, Halloween costume contests, silent auctions benefiting MusiCares, and much more still to be announced. Tickets are available now at www.monstermoviesformusic.com.
“As a fan of horror films and someone who has leaned on music to survive this thing we call life, it’s my honor to organize an event that can make a true difference for music people in times of need,” shared Steve C. Rowin, Founder of Spooks and Spirits. “I hope this event will not only bring the music and haunt communities together, but that it will also inspire all of SoCal to enjoy the seasonal festivities, have a few scares, and give back to those in need.”
The inaugural Monster Movies for Music will ooze with spooky themed activities including monster make-up demonstrations with Christopher Olsen of Backstage Artist SD, horror art showcases, and a horror fan silent auction. Face your fears and sleep with one eye open after watching the classic cult movie Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses or dance along with the living-dead during the San Diego Thriller Zombie Flash Mob.
Don your creepiest Halloween costume and enjoy live music performances including popular Rob Zombie tribute band “Zombiewood.” Event-goers are encouraged to arrive in their finest “Captain Spaulding” attire as San Diego’s newest horror Halloween event attempts to set a record for most people dressed as the notorious Rob Zombie character. More devilish details and sinister surprises are still to be announced.
3.) 3rd Annual Haunted Little Tokyo Returns to Downtown Los Angeles
This October, enjoy month-long frightful-fun with pumpkin patches, Halloween-themed films, trick-or-treating, a costume contest and block party
Little Tokyo will transform into Haunted Little Tokyo for the third year on select nights throughout the month of October with more spooktacular fun than ever before. Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins of all ages are dared to experience Little Tokyo like never before during the month-long Halloween festivities ranging from a family-friendly pumpkin patch, live entertainment and spooky sounds, interactive ghostly games, free Halloween movie screenings, ‘haunted’ walking tours, and all culminating in a frightfully fun block party and costume contest.
Go Little Tokyo invites thrill seekers of all ages to join in the bone-chilling fun as the heart of Downtown LA oozes with spooky themed-activities, evenings of unforgettable family-friendly entertainment and special events throughout the frightful season. On Saturday, October 26, bring your friends to downtown Los Angeles’ biggest Halloween block party and costume contest and stay for the local food vendors, music, and games. Monsters and Halloween fear junkies are encouraged to slither into their best costumes and mingle with monsters.
Navigate a Spine-Chilling Journey of Chaos & Dread in Dark Harbor’s NEWEST MAZE
Sink to Never-Before-Seen Depths of the Historically Haunted Ship, including Door 13 & the Boiler Room
Test the Waters with 23 Nights of Terror September 26 – November 2
Brace for impact as The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor releases a storm of fear like no other in the all-new maze: Rogue. Dark Harbor’s newest maze will take guests through the frightening voyage that nearly changed history. Sparking the creation of the Hollywood blockbuster The Poseidon Adventure, the 95-foot wall of blackness sent waves of panic through the marine community and re-defined science as we know it.All who dare will grasp for air as they plummet with fear, clinging to survival in the newest, spine-chilling maze.
As the tale goes, while transporting American troops during World War II, the RMS Queen Mary became known as the Grey Ghost. During a stormy December crossing from New York to Scotland, the famed ocean liner was broadsided by a monstrous force of nature: later classified by NOAA as a “rogue wave”.
Dark Harbor attendees will roll into the tide of this historic moment by becoming fully immersed in the panic and chaos of Rogue’s impact with deafening water effects, complete darkness, floor to ceiling seafoam, and even experience the feeling of being capsized. All those aboard will hold on to dear life, as the Grey Ghost attempts to keep herself afloat.
In addition to the announcement of the all-new maze, the producers of Dark Harbor announced at Midsummer Scream, on Sunday August 4, for the first-time ever, Dark Harbor guest will have access to never-before-seen depths of the Queen Mary. In one of the newly re-imagined mazes onboard the historic ocean liner, attendees can now walk through the infamous Door 13. Dubbed one of the most haunted areas on the ship, legend has it that an 18-year old crewman was crushed to death by Door 13 in 1967, and now Dark Harbor guests can walk-thru the iconic location. Guests can also venture 6-fathoms below sea level submerged in the notorious Boiler Room to indulge in the newest secret bar offered at Dark Harbor nightly.
Southern California’s most haunted Halloween event will welcome MORE scares than ever before with the season’s most authentically frightening experience available. Dark Harbor tells the truly haunted, historic tales of the Queen Mary through the infamous spirits of Captain, Chef,Iron Master, Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry, Scary Mary, Voodoo Priestess, Ringmaster, plus hundreds of their bloodcurdling henchmen await to tempt your fate.
Live your nightmares aboard the Queen Mary with newly-intensified returning mazes Feast, B340 and Lullaby.Circus and Intrepidprove even more twisted and darker than before with new immersions and even more twisted scares for the 2019 season.
With Dark Harbor’s disturbingly creative minds, 6 mazes, 13 bars, fire shows, aerialists, sliders, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sinister Swings, Panic! 4-D Experience, zombie DJs, Barrel Room Tastings, R.I.P. Lounge, and much more, Dark Harbor 2019 is certain to be a freakishly fun time.
The annual haunt opens its gates on September 26 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, Evil Express, RIP Lounge Passes, Creepy Cabanas and lodging packages available. Dark Harbor is offering a 40% discount on general admission for select nights until August 5 at 11:59pm with promo code SCREAM. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.
Does your family love those on the go and drinkable yogurts? Do you purchase bulk six or eight packs weekly only to rinse and toss the bottles in the recycling bin without a second thought to your penchant for horror décor?
One day the label was partially peeling off my drinkable yogurt, so I pulled it off all the way, as you do. Suddenly, it wasn’t a convenient snack but a blank white slate. I saved it for some more spooky bottle projects – painting it ye olde and putting a creepy label on it as seen in my Spooky Bottles and Tea Stained Labels fun last Halloween.
However, after using pre-cut foam letters on this year’s Cardboard Tombstones, there were a lot of filler pieces left over – the inside of the O, triangles within the A, pop-outs from Ps, Bs, and Rs. Rather than seeing these little black stickers as trash, my horror brain saw the inner O as an open, gasping mouth. Eureka, these little throwaway pieces could be the faces for a ghostly white yogurt bottle. Immediately I chugged down some more yogurt just to save the bottles, sticking the letter bits on the plain white surface. Varying the eye shapes and the angles of the O mouths looked cute, but trying some other shapes for the mouths didn’t look right and it was nice to leave them matching in some way. What then was I to do with a bottle that looks like a ghost? I don’t have any white décor, and even painted the Dollar Store battery candles from a stark white to a more aged, cream color…
Since they are marketed as a purely Halloween item, I buy up all the battery candles once they arrive at the Dollar Store in the fall. I told the checkout lady I used them all year and all over my house – which I guess might be strange if I was stocking up on the ones that have the red blood drips on them. The plain white ones, however, come in a removable black base and are perfect for sitting in the window sill as well as candelabras or sconces where drafts or smoke detectors are impractical for real candles. Putting the candles inside the ghost bottles didn’t work, nor did sitting them on top with the cap removed, but putting the black base on top of the cap fit perfectly!
Now, I had a use for my ghost bottles as ghost candlesticks! Lo, though they still seemed incomplete. A candle stuck on top of a bottle, big deal. I thought I could wrap some twine around the base to create something rustic just like the Halloween décor you see in the store. Ironically, wrapping the connection in plain old Dollar Store twine was one of the most difficult and time consuming tasks in all of my Kbatz Krafts. Rather than gluing one end to wrap wrap and then glue the other end, the curved base forced me to glue as I went, wrap more than one area numerous times for full coverage, and cut or glue pieces in extra layers. I’m pleased with the result, but what I expected to take an hour took an entire evening, a lot of glue sticks, and somehow a bit of back pain.
Cute and rustic aren’t really my style, however, I had the materials to make something fun and went where the spooky appeal took me. It’s tough for Horror Addicts to find some of the décor we like, and if then only around Halloween. By necessity we should look at generic objects in a potentially unique way. These yogurt bottles could be painted orange with pumpkin faces used as a fall vase or green for monsters with fun objects on top. Kids can learn about recycling by saving their own bottles for a personalized craft – so long as adults handle the tedious twine gluing!
British Horror Documentaries, Brilliant! By Kristin Battestella
This quartet of documentaries and informative programming has plagues, queens, holidays, and witches – all with a little across the pond flair.
The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague– Purdue Medieval Literature Professor Dorsey Armstrong hosts this 2016 twenty-four episode lecture series from The Great Courses Signature Channel, beginning with early feudal nobles versus peasants, religious society and church control, and urban growth in the medieval warm period before a changed Europe in 1348 with plague reducing the population from 150 million to 70 million. Onscreen maps, notations, and timelines supplement the disturbing first-hand accounts, despairing eye witness testimonies, and Old English translations of outbreak terrors – focusing on the human response to pestilence while dispelling misnomers on The Black Death’s name and symptoms. Some victims writhed in long-suffering agony while others died within a day, drowning in their own blood thanks to bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic bacterium. Ebola virus comparisons are specific and gruesome alongside scientific theories on bacillus causes, tuberculosis similarities, Blue Sickness inconsistencies, and Anthrax possibilities. Prior Justinian outbreaks, Asian beginnings in Kaffa, and Italian trade route migration spread plague while fleas, rats, and gerbils transmission, weather patterns, and even extraterrestrial origins are debated. Entire villages were ravaged with hemorrhagic fever contributing to the scourge’s spread on poor, crowded, malnourished people fearing the judgment of God, wearing creepy masks, and carrying fragrant herbs to curb the smell of mass shallow graves and dog-mauled bodies. Despite illiteracy, wills and documentation accumulate – although journals have blank spaces and abrupt ends because the writers died. Vacancies increase while religious orders decrease since those ministering to the sick die, yet crime declines as thieves won’t even enter a wealthy but plagued home. Avignon pilgrimages bring devastation and Walking Dead comparisons as Florence’s valuable textiles are burned. Prostitutes are often cast out – not for transmission worries, but to purge sin from a city. Orphans and widows become dependent on the patriarchal society, and artistic guild become charitable necessities. Flagellant movements fill the religious gap while England’s unexposed island population leaves London with no place left to put the dead. When only the 103 heads of households are marked dead in the census, one can conservatively deduce the number of dead was probably quadruple that 103. In a town of 1,000, what if the average household number was seven? Ghost ships arrive in Norway, and grim reaper folklore expresses Scandinavian fears amid whispers of children being buried alive to appease angry gods. Primitive remedies and bloodletting rise, as do tales of monks and nuns going out in style with debauchery and hedonism or gasp, dancing in town-wide festivals. An entire episode is dedicated to antisemitism and Jewish persecutions, a depressing and violent response on top of the plague, and the callous church using the pestilence as an opportunity to remind people it was their sinful fault may have helped spur later reformations. Of course, lack of clergy meant the church accepted anyone for ordination, leaving priests who didn’t know what they were doing when the faithful public needed help most. Outside of nobles losing their privileged status, most classes were ironically better off post-plague with memento mori artwork and danse macabre murals flourishing amid literary masterpieces and dramatic analysis inspiring the early renaissance and the likes of Chaucer. Economic booms re-establish trade as the aristocracy marries into the merchant class and peasants revolt for more power, changing the world for centuries to come. While lengthy for the classroom itself, these half hours are jammed packed with information, documentation, and statistics keeping viewers curious to learn more. This is a fine accompaniment or a la carte for independent study – an academic approach rather than the in your face, sensationalized documentary formats permeating television today. The Great Courses Channel is worth the streaming add-on for a variety of informative videos, and this macabre selection is perfect for fans of horror history.
Mary Queen of Scots: The Red Queen – Scottish castles, ruinous abbeys, and highland scenery anchor this 2014 documentary on that other devout catholic Mary thorn in protestant Elizabeth’s side. The narration admits the similar names are confusing, but the voiceover meanders with unnecessary time on Mary’s parents James V and his French wife Mary of Guise amid Henry VIII marital turmoil, perilous successions, and religious switches. Opera arias interfere further as we stray into Mary Mary quite contrary rhymes, earlier Robert the Bruce connections, Tudor rivalries, French alliances, and the possible poisoning of infant Stuart sons before finally getting to Mary being crowned at nine months old in defiance of male inheritance laws. Rough Wooing tensions and early betrothal plans with Edward VI lead to isolation at Stirling Castle before a pleasant childhood at the French court, but a princess education and marriage to the Dauphin in 1558 ultimately send the young widow back to Scotland as regent in 1561. Catholic unrest always leaves Mary on unfriendly terms with Bess alongside John Knox reformations at home, misogynist rhetoric, and a nasty marriage to her first cousin Henry Stuart. The need for an heir, murdered lovers, adulterous pregnancies, revenge – loyal nobles take sides as the Catholic baptism of the future James VI divides public opinion. Men with syphilis, suspicious gunpowder accidents, marital traps, and final meetings with her year-old son begat possible kidnappings, a new marriage to the Earl of Bothwell, revolts, imprisonment at Loch Leven, abdication, and rumors of stillborn twins with unknown fathers. It might have been interesting to see scholars contrasting bad girl Mary with her marriages and male interference versus Elizabeth The Virgin Queen rather than the all over the place narrative. Bess holds Mary captive in various English castles for eighteen years until religious coups, forged letters, an absentee trial, and the final treasonous Babington Plot. Mary goes out in style with symbolic red despite her botched beheading, with an ironic final resting place at Westminster Abbey beside Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. This rambling hour confuses itself and repeats anecdotes in what should have been a tighter, more informative focus. However, such superficial storyteller basics can actually be a good classroom compliment with additional materials.
Witches: A Century of Murder– Historian Suzannah Lipscomb hosts this two-part 2015 special chronicling the seventeenth century persecutions and torture run rampant as witchcraft hysteria spread from James I in the late fifteen hundreds through Charles I and the English Civil War. 1589 Europe has burn at the stake fever thanks to the Malleus Maleficarum belief that witches were in league with the devil, and contemporaneous sources, books, and confessions help recount violent techniques and sexual aspects that may not be classroom-friendly. Innocent birthmarks or moles on maids and midwives were used and misconstrued until naming names and pointing fingers snowballed into deplorable jail conditions, hangings, and conspiracy. Postulating on why the innocent would confess is addressed alongside the details from the North Berwick Witch Trials – including garroting and even the smell of burning human fat. James I’s own Daemonologie becomes a license to hunt witches as the 1645 then-normal rationale that witches have sex with the devil escalates to extreme Puritan paranoia. Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins takes the law into his own hands via body searches, sleep deprivation, and agonizing deaths while unknown medicinal ills or causes were conveniently mistaken as evidence for witchcraft accusations. Names and faces are put to the exorbitant number of accused while on location scenery from Scotland to Oxford, Essex, and Denmark add to the prison tours and suspenseful trial re-enactments. Here specific facts and detailed information happen early and often rather than any hollow paranormal herky-jerky in your face design. Community fears, social cleansing frenzy, and things done in the name of good and God against evil and the Devil at work accent the timeline of how and why this prosecution became persecution run amok. Instead of broad, repetitive sensationalism or the same old Salem talk, this is a mature and well presented narrative on the erroneous impetus of the witchcraft hysteria.
You Make the Call, Addicts!
Halloween: Feast of the Dying Sun – This recent documentary hour intends to set the holiday straight with the Celtic origins of season, adding sunsets, cemeteries, Samhain bonfires, and end of the harvest celebrations to the spooky voiceover for heaps of atmosphere. From Scottish identity guessing games and the belief that the dead visit the living to trick or treating as beggars pleading door to door and souling for small cakes, tales of how our Halloween customs came together are detailed with banshees, hidden fairylands, and ghost sightings. It’s great to see Druid practices, pre-Tolkien fantasy ideals, and Victorian fairy beliefs rooted in daily culture rather than Halloween as we know it as October 31 and done. Brief reenactments add creepy alongside authoritative, folklorist interviews, but the campfire storytelling narrative is often too abstract, meandering from one spooky specter to another with only vague, basic minutes on Celtic arrivals in Britain, early sacrificial offerings, standing stones, and ancient sites. The facts jump from 4,000-year-old yew trees to otherworldly portals and fairies capturing mortals for liberating dance rituals – crowding intriguing details on the special power of nine or magic number three and church absorption of pagan practices. The generic Celtic talk drifts away from Samhain specifically, as if today’s generation needs hand-holding explanations on witch hunts, the origins of bobbing for apples, and the medieval transition toward All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day. The rough timeline tosses in New World changes, Victorian gothic literature, and horror cinema fodder as we both laud Halloween with parades and an American commercial revival yet continue to misconstrue witchcraft and occult hallmarks of the season. This can be spooky fun for folks who don’t know a lot about the history of Halloween, however, it will be too swift and superficial for expert viewers. It’s easy to zone out thanks to the random storytelling style, and the intended pagan history would be better served with a longer or specific, multipart documentary. Except for some wanton fairy queen sexy talk, as is this is neat for a teen sleepover or party background where rather than attempted academic, the tall tales can be casual fun.
Due to the number of high-quality submissions the Death’s Parade Film Fest will be holding a virtual festival October 3rd from 7PM – 8:30PM in Sansar two days before the festival at the Towne 3 Cinemas in San Jose. So, what is Sansar, you say? In a nutshell, Sansar enables user-created 3D spaces where people can create and share interactive social experiences like comedy shows and film festivals, create and play games, have conversations in VR and much more. The Death’s Parade Film Fest is proud to be the first virtual horror film fest!
The view inside the theater is spectacular. You won’t need a virtual headset to enjoy the festivities, but the headset will enhance the experience. Logging into Sansar is made simple and with ease. The folks at Linden Lab want to get you into the world as effortlessly
The theater is decked out in Halloween affair, and we are arranging the program. The plan to is keep the duration within 90 minutes, and pack it with any many horrific selections as possible. We wish to thank the good folks at The NightmareCloset for sponsoring Death’s Parade – Sansar. It’s going to be crazy!
When macabre aficionados such as ourselves are looking for unique wares, it pays to shop at your local thrift stores, Goodwill, and charity shops. One of a kind donated items and inventory rotate regardless of season – meaning not only can you get Halloween items in June, but you can also find other holiday items to take from trash to sophisticated treasure.
I’m always looking out for florals, wreaths, or other stems to cut up and Kraft, and I stared at these Christmas style fruit bowls and toparies for quite some time wondering how I could Halloween ’em up, so to speak. Spray painting the fake, dated brass bases was an obvious choice, but the glittery fake waxy fruits of yore were not paintable. For $2 a piece thanks to the Goodwill half off tag, however, I could go with the gothic glam of red apples, purple grapes, and gold pineapples.
At home, I took the bowls and trees apart, sorting the fruits in bags to assure I was putting the right stems back into their correct topiary. Yes, the bases would be gloss black, but I decided to spray paint the leaves black also to further contrast the fruits. It took multiple coats for as much full coverage of the leaves as possible. Of course, the styrofoam core absorbs a lot of spray paint, and the fabric leaves certainly needed touch ups after drying for a few days. Fortunately, regular black acrylic craft paint did the trick for any of the green undersides remaining, although when totally dried, some of the leaves looked more gray than true black. Rather than more coats that may not have any better result, however, that touch of gray adds a black, but old, aged, memento mori style.
There was actually a full size fake tree in the store as well, the kind that retails for $100 green and more for autumn or black tree varieties. Even for $8, the based was damaged and there were just too many leaves to spray paint once, twice, three times, or touch up every single one. After seeing how these leaves took to the black paint and touch ups, I’m glad I passed on that big, leafy tree!
Certainly nothing was going to be in the exact same place when it came time to put the assorted fruit arrangements back in their rightful spots. It took a bit of sticking here, having to remove a pick there and arranging to make sure there weren’t too many pears or apples in a row. All this pick and play, however, did get a little messy. Glittery bits and bobs got everywhere! Be sure to line your table or floor with some paper or plastic and keep the vacuum or broom handy.
This isn’t a family friendly project, more something for the Victorian florist indeed. It also takes a bit of luck in finding the right floral nothing to make into gothic something. However always keep an eye out for holiday greenery you can take for a Halloween spin. For two toparies, two fruit bowls, and a few cans of paint, I paid under $12. My cheap self was ecstatic to see the original price of the tall toparies when I peeled the Goodwill sticker off the bottoms: $24.95 each!
Initially these pieces looked old, sentimental, and eighties faux expensive. There was a time when this kind of artificial style was everywhere each December. Store bought autumn topiaries, Halloween trees, and festive fall bowls today are often very expensive, too – a luxury item not easy to find or cost effective to make. By shopping alternatively for older seasonal items with an October eye, you can save heaps of time and money without sacrificing on the dark, sophisticated décor.
Why paint just one box gray when you can make use of all your cardboard boxes for an entire DIY Graveyard?
Check out Yours Truly Kbatz in My Latest Video for details on the pros and cons of making your own Cardboard Cemetery!
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz gets a little BATTY in showing how you, yes YOU can make your very own Customized Cardboard Tombstones for the BEST Halloween Haunt in YOUR Neighborhood! Also featuring Giant Pumpkins, Scary Basements, and One Pesky Feline.
Thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our Video, Podcast, and Media Coverage!
Orlando’s Newest Haunt, Dark Horizon: Point of No Return
Announces 2019 Haunted House and Attractions
Experience GhostShip, Vodou, and Murder Island
Four Bars, Three Haunted Houses, Two Stages with DJ, Aerial & Fire Performances, One Exclusive RIP Lounge, Plus Panic! 4-D Experience, Hundreds of Monsters and More!
Tickets available now at DarkHorizonOrlando.com
Digital Creative of Dark Horizon’s Vodou Haunted House
[Orlando, FL] –August 9, 2019 – Florida’s history is coming back to haunt you as Dark Horizon: Point of No Return makes its debut in Orlando, Florida October 4 – November 2, 2019, with the first-ever West Coast-style haunt in the East. Brought to you by the award-winning creators, producers, and directors for one of the most terrifying haunts in the world: The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Dark Horizon is pleased to announce three gruesome haunted houses, two death-defying live entertainment stages, multiple immersive bars, private party Bootlegger Bungalows and more.
Dark Horizon emerges in Orlando with much anticipation, to feast upon fears, fray nerves, and curdle the blood of its daring visitors. The haunted attraction is divided into different zones, each highlighting pieces of Florida’s dark history, myths and lore. “We really like to dive into local legends and history,” shared Charity Hill Co-producer for Dark Horizon.
The Port is akin to one of the late 1700’s pirate ports in what is now Florida. This zone features the Bootlegger Bungalows, Walk the Plank Pub & Pier, Siren Stage, Dark Horizon Gift Shop, Shark Bites and the entrance to the Marketplace and Panic! 4-D Maze Experience. The Port is also home to the haunted house, Ghostship, a disease-infested, loot-filled vessel adrift on the high seas. This phantom tall ship is filled with deranged and decaying seamen bound to wreak havoc in Dark Horizon’s Port. Will you live to tell the tale or will Captain Killigrew, the most feared female pirate in history, and her derelict crew be your demise?
Escape the clutches of one of Florida’s first serial killer’s, Edgar “Bloody” Watson in the haunted house: Murder Island. Known as a hotbed for murderers, ancient creatures and bizarre tales, thrill-seekers will come face-to-face with the brutality that shadowed the 10,000 islands in the late 1800’s turning it into a shallow grave for at least 57 of Bloody Watson’s sugar cane workers. Murder Island is in The Glades Zone, a virtually lawless land, home to the VIP Storm Cellar, Outpost Pub and Gator Grub.
Experience Sacred Circle Stage and Shelter Patio in The Village. This area is under the enchantment of Mambo Cècile and the haunted house: Vodou. The high priestess has awakened the ancient Loa Agwe, spirit of the water, so proceed with extreme caution through the foggy bog to the underworld Volikan.
For those looking to elevate their experience, Dark Horizon offers an air-conditioned R.I.P. Lounge (or VIP Lounge), called the Storm Cellar R.I.P. Lounge accessed only by a coveted key. This experience includes two complimentary cocktails and grants access to a premium full bar featuring Moonshine Tastings. This key must be used in combination with an event admission ticket, and is for guests ages 21-years and older. Want to skip the lines? Expedite your entry into the event and all the haunted houses with a Fast Fright Ticket (starting at just $74 per person). Or, enjoy nearly instant entry into the event and all the haunted houses with an Evil Express Ticket (starting at $94 per person). Looking for a high-class VIP experience? Spring for the most exclusive experience at Dark Horizon with the Ultimate Scream ticket. This privately-guided and curated experience is extremely limited and available on select nights. Fast Fright and Evil Express Tickets are limited nightly and prices vary depending on date.
With Dark Horizon’s disturbingly creative minds, 4 bars and Bootlegger Bungalows, 3 haunted houses and scare zones, 2 live stages, 1 Panic! 4-D Experience, and hundreds of Monsters, Dark Horizon is certain to be a screamin’ good time.
Dark Horizon opens its doors on October 4 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online with Happy Haunting Hour, Fast Fright, Evil Express, Ultimate Scream tickets and Storm Cellar R.I.P. Lounge keys available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.darkhorizonorlando.com/.
Why spend heaps on battery operated candle sets when you can save your paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make your own DIY Halloween candle clusters? Recycle, craft, and help the planet!
Of course, the reason it took me so long to do this project was because I thought there was a technical aspect to the candles – running wires from each light to a bottom base or arduino breadboard with a smartphone remote or toggle switch. To the at home computer hobbyist such advanced lighting schemes are no problem, but regular ole me had no idea how you could glue drips around a tea light yet be able to use its on off switch. Fortunately, our own illustrious horror hostess Emerian Rich made the simplest observation that there must be a shelf inside the roll to hold the candle. Huzzah!
Armed with such wisdom, I traced circles onto a piece of cardboard, cutting them out and trimming each to fit a roll before taping and gluing them inside at the tea light depth. Next I bunched my two clusters together with ten tiered rolls cum candles each, varying the designs so they are symmetrically asymmetrical rather than matched or mirror images. By stacking or cutting rolls, I could make the tiers taller or smaller, taping and gluing the rolls as needed. Rather than spray painting everything Halloween black, I chose red paint for year round décor. I debated painting all my rolls and going around their rims with the glue drops a la wax motif before gathering them together. However, I suspect that would mean I was painting in unnecessary hidden spots or stuck with glue in places that didn’t fit.
On to my trusty glue gun, I added globs of glue drips around my rolls – long drips, short lumps, globby pieces in all the nooks and crannies. Obviously, this is part of the candle look, but once hardened, the glue also added stability to the bunch and the rolls became quite sturdy. This is a time consuming detail that took a day to dry before touch ups, and in addition to clear, I used red and silver glitter glue sticks, hoping they might add a sparkly touch. For more realistic attention to detail, I also did a glue ripple around the bottom of the bunch. After Round One, I could see spots that needed more waxy drip effects, so I did another layer of glue globs to conceal any problem spots. At first, these looked really bad, obviously cheap, and barely held together. It’s not as simple as it looks – oh Etsy, glue drips and toilet paper rolls make tea lights look like big candles, yeah Pinterest!
Indeed, with different textures, thin cardboard, glue, and tape, these clusters needed several coats of paint. The more I painted and glued, fortunately, the more they really started to look like candles. The tea lights themselves also needed several paint coats. Rather than buying red that had a red light, I chose the white tea lights for their realistic glow. Originally, I wanted to do these bunches in an aged off white or creamy color. After seeing how many coats it took of red, however, I’m super glad I didn’t choose a light paint where all the tea lights could illumine every T.P. imperfection. For my final coat, I added a drop of darker paint called ‘Berry’ – last used in my Spooky Spellbook DIY – to the red base. I painted both clusters in this slightly darker hue, not worrying about every little crevice, resulting in an antique, realistic look. Now instead of obvious recycled materials, that a la wax dimension is what you see first.
For something more substantial than a plastic tray or no base at all, I picked up two silver plated trays at Goodwill for $2 each. Both clusters actually fit on one larger tray – a classy centerpiece that fits in right through all the holidays. Overall, this project took about four days with the drying time between coats as the biggest hurdle. One should also make sure the tea lights still fit as you add your gobblely glue trim. Some became snug and need to be wedge in gently. After the ins and out to turn them off and on, a few have chipped, so expect touch ups if you are going to repeatedly poke and prod at the candle lights. The 8 ounce red acrylic paint was $4 and a pack of 24 tea lights was $8, both from Amazon. So for around $16, I have two stylish, unique candle clusters compared to at least $20 for one from Spirit or gasp $80 at Pier 1 – neither of which appear to be available online this season. Of course, with store bought battery candles, once one burns out or there is a remote timer problem, they often don’t work anymore. When one of these goes bad, I can just change the tea light!
Though not necessary a family friendly project, one can customize these faux candle clusters – creepy face designs, blood drips on white candles, go huge by using tubes or piping instead of towel rolls, or dozens of individual rolls can become an entire room of Harry Potter floating ceiling candles. We all certainly use enough T.P.!
Last Halloween, I shared a video on how to make ‘Puffed Stumpkins.’ This How-to on making your own stuffed pumpkins out of recycled materials was squishy fun for the whole family.
This summer, I again found myself with more stuffed pumpkin making supplies – plenty of plastic bags, recycled denim padding from organic food shipments, and an orange felt-like remnant on sale for $2. When the material seemed too tough for smaller pumpkins, I went big. Instead of a lot of cute little pumpkins the more the merrier in a patch, I cut my material into more realistic large pumpkin sizes.
The preparation is the same, sewing a gathered bottom closed before stuffing and gathering the top and adding twine seams and leaf toppers. I used green Dollar Store twine and cut up floral stems for the leaves, continuing the true to nature look with green accents. A $5 bag of driftwood bowl filler at Wal-Mart provided for realistic stems compared to the curly, glittery pipe cleaners on my smaller jazzy pumpkins. Some of these gnarly bleached pieces I painted brown – a fall color fittingly called “nutmeg” – to go on my previous pumpkins, too, while others I left white to be a contrasting stem on some of the mini black pumpkins.
Two of the four larger pumpkins seemed crooked or wobbly, so I glued them together with more leafy accents between them since stacked pumpkins are popular but expensive. These can be amid the patch or set up on a nice stand when all total these cost less than $10. Of course, since I had more felt fabric, I made one, BIG pumpkin. Charlie Brown size. Big enough to sit on it!
I packed this largest pumpkin pretty firm with plastic bags, but I still wanted a leaf topper even if you could sit on it. Enter my trusty friend Goodwill and the half-off color tag with several sets of green cloth napkins, some as cheap as four for fifty cents! I sewed two together and stuffed it with one layer of the recycled denim batting, making a chair cushion to go on top the pumpkin. After tacking the corners down, I now have a fun “green” piece of extra fall seating for pennies compared to the cost of a generic designer poof.
Then again, I also had an old sixty inch round orange table cloth that looked like it could be an even BIGGER pumpkin ottoman and plenty more recycled denim to fill it. Since this was already round, I didn’t have to sew the bottom closed but gathered the edge as much as possible before giving it a good old stuffing. Had this been a stiffer fabric, a drawstring closure might have been better, and it is also possible to build a square frame inside for a properly firm piece of furniture. This basic gather and stuff method, however, anyone can do, no matter how tiny or huge the pumpkin!
This giant pumpkin poof, though, did take a lot of stuffing, and one might pay hundreds to buy this much polyfill and foam. All the plastic bags I had gone to the outer layer with the gathers creating the pumpkin seam-like squat around a center recycled denim core. Because this pumpkin was shorter and wider than my firm pumpkin poof, I sewed eight green napkins together for two oblong padded leaves on top. After tacking the corners down, I found end pieces from a beige table runner in my fabric stash and sewed them into a stem shaped throw pillow as a piece de resistance.
It would cost a hundred dollars or more to make something like these with store-bought materials and much more to buy ottomans in this size – not that you can get a pumpkin-shaped ottoman in stores! Not everyone may have the recyclable materials to do this, but I hope this gives you an idea on how to make good Halloween use of plastic bags or excess packing supplies when you do have them. Though giant compared to the mini, instantly stuffed pumpkins, these are still kind of small for adults. For imaginative kids, however, these poofs are a Cinderella loving dream.
Inspired by having extra tea stained pages from my Spooky Bottle Labels project, Old Kbatz here decided to make a Spooky Spell Book. Not having some of the right materials, however, led to some time consuming mistakes.
First I selected a book to decorate. Many bibliophiles and macabre folks love the idea of these often expensive stacks of creepy looking books but none of us really want to damage a book to make one! You can go to a local library sale of thrift store and choose an old outdated encyclopedia or reference book. However, even after purging my books for a move, I still had several cookbooks I wasn’t using.
This one was large enough on the front to do the design I had in mind on the outside and I intended to stick my tea pages in the middle of the book. In theory, it’s still perfectly usable as a cookbook should I ever need some kind of hamburger recipe that can’t be found online. I sketched out my wording with a marker and then traced over the lettering with Tacky Glue. Maybe the hot glue gun would have been quicker, but Tacky Glue allowed me a little more time with a toothpick as I perfected the letters. If you’re doing this with the kids, it might be easier to paint first and then make some lettering with a more friendly glue and some glitter, however I didn’t want this to be sparkly glam, just an old innocuous book with a goofy plastic scorpion I glued on the front.
Once the glue was dry, I colored over the white glue with black marker so it would stand out more as I painted the rest of the book. It was okay if I got some on my letters or scorpion, because I intended to go over them at the very end with a final coat of black. Using red paint, I went over the book cover. Unfortunately, the red paint peeled and chipped off as it dried, and another coat did the same thing. I wondered if there was a sheen to the book that should have been sanded first or if it was the paint itself. I liked the contrast of the bright red with the black, but this poster paint kept peeling and never had good coverage. I debated doing a third or fourth coat and having to go buy some kind of artist spray sealant. By time I did all that, I could have just bought a spooky spell book!
The next day, I let all the red paint chip off and decided to try using a smaller tube of acrylic paint I had called Berry Wine. I did small sections on the back of the book and let them dry – sticking and with better coverage! I like the aged, deeper color more than the bright red, but I thought because I had a smaller quantity that there wouldn’t be enough for the book. Instead, the acrylic paint covered more and went further without all the terrible peeling. After a few coats of the berry paint dried, I went over the lettering and scorpion with one coat of black. Lesson learned: I’m not an artist at all, and knowing which materials work together and having the right supplies to do a project is paramount.
Now I was able to work on my interior pages. At first I was going to trace assorted ye olde symbols, but that is also out of my artistic area of expertise and I didn’t want anymore mistakes. Instead I wrote Macbeth quotes on the pages in colored pencil making slightly oldeth calligraphy style lettering before going over the wording again in brown marker. Here I was careful of the order I wanted for the pages and which quotes I wanted to be showing when the book was opened flat. I also didn’t use both sides of the pages or use the marker when they were stacked together lest any ink bleed through. It was back to the Tacky Glue as I made a line down the left side of the pages one at a time, gluing them together to be inserted in the exact middle of my cookbook. I trimmed the right side of the pages so they wouldn’t stick out as much and made a line of glue on the inside of the book to insert the pages.
This was a spur of the moment project that took several days longer than it should have thanks to my painting errors. It looks great now that it is complete, and once I realized which paint worked best, I was able to make another spellbook that took less than a day. Although I had gotten rid of several old Writer’s Market editions in my move, I still had a beat up hardback 1997 edition on my shelf that was thick enough to do some spine wording. Again I sketched my letters and traced them in glue. This time I used a green marker to make the lettering stand out, for I was painting this book with black acrylic paint that covered in less than two coats. For the letters, I wanted a contrasting yellow, however, the yellow paint and green marker have blended together to create a creepy looking color. I may go over it again to make it more golden, but I kind of like the icky look. This book I can also use again if I wanted, however I’m tempted to use it as the base of a spooky cloche – but that is another Kbatz Kraft!
Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again to show our Horror Addicts Community how to make your very own Spooky but affordable cloches for Halloween or year round macabre décor!
For us alternative folks, it really pays to shop at thrift and second hand shops to find off the beaten path accessories. I lucked into finding two actual cloches, one large and one small, at two different Goodwill stores. The smaller cloche was $1 and already had the orange floral décor inside, so I put a fun orange spider from a Dollar Store party favor pack inside, keeping the orange theme for Halloween rather than something more realistic like a black spider.
The larger cloche was $3 – a steal when more elaborate Halloween cloches in stores cost $10 or more for whatever generic creepy is inside them. This actually had an unusual Good King Wenceslas doll inside that looks slightly creepy itself. I don’t trust him, so he’s going right back inside a homemade Christmas cloche! Once he was out, I put a Dollar Store skull on a pedestal inside and used hot glue to surround the skull with glittery Dollar Store branches and stems. I originally wanted to fan the branches all the way around, but obviously, the glass lid has to fit over the design, so the branches became a more compact bunch with smaller pieces in front going inside the skull’s open mouth for full effect.
Naturally I intended to have a bat perched on top the skull, but it was too big for the glass and I used a plastic ant instead. Next I used Dollar Store moss to cover the pedestal base. Some of it sits where I need it, but other places I again hot glued strategic moss in place. As this is a three dimensional glass display, the back must look just as nice as the front. I planned a realistic spider below in front to create visual balance. However, I found the large stick inside my moss bag and went with it as a perch for a bug from my spooky favors assortment. I could have gone outside and used natural leaves, moss, and branches, but I’m quite pleased with how this cloche came out. It looks like a skull was once preserved, but it’s as if something grew around it and died – a pleasingly morose display I might keep out year round!
In addition to these two lucky finds, I also saved several large party mix plastic barrels to make homemade Halloween cloches. Truly, the most difficult part of all these DIY crafts was getting the darn labels off these jugs! Fortunately or unfortunately, the most expensive thing in all these projects for my wallet and waist was eating these snacks! Instead of trying to fit everything through the jar opening, I cut the top off so I could turn it upside down. The edge didn’t have to be perfect because I would cover it with moss, but I did get cut doing this. It’s official, I’ve bled for HorrorAddicts.net! I put a Dollar Store glow in the dark skull on top of more natural green moss with glittery green branches and added glow in the dark spiders. My base for this was a simple plastic plate, and it is a little flimsy compared to the wood bases of the real cloches. In the future I might get wooden plaques available at the craft store or natural rounds. One can set a homemade cloche on something fancy like a silver platter or cake stand, but obviously we’re not permanently gluing the base with those.
To cover the lingering label lines on my jar, I strategy placed more moss as if it was growing up the outside and top of the cloche complete with a glow in the dark bat as the piece de resistance. My idea here is that this was something alive but now overgrown. Naturally, the cutting and hot glue are not family friendly crafting, and different materials can be used if a child has any allergies. Since this is fairly lightweight, I wouldn’t put it where kids or pets may knock it over or keep it out year round – and be warned the moss may attract real spiders and the like! I quite like how this cloche turned out, however, side by side with the real glass cloches, you can tell it is plastic and homemade. Then again, in cutting off the tops of two party mix jugs and putting them together, I ended up with a bonus orb which, as I posted on our Horror Addicts.net Facebook community, I was unsure how to use.
I debated using bloody drips to make it look like something bloody escaped or filling it with spider webbing like there was something cloudy and unseen inside before filling it with assorted plastic bones. I glued brown ribbon on to cover the jar rims and seams and then tied rustic yarn around it for an apothecary style, adding a ‘Do Not open until October 31’ tag and leaving off the top lid. My theory is that something was alive inside, but opening it early turned what was within to bones. Although that might not be immediately apparent, the beauty here is that it was a free bonus project that can be changed next Halloween.
By being thrift savvy and using affordable materials, I have several creepy cloches providing the most bang for my Halloween buck, and I hope you have some ideas for your own one of kind cloches, too!
Halloween is MY favorite time of year, and I’m willing to bet it’s yours too. So, if you’re trying to trick your less-spooky friends and family into a month-long binge of Halloween TV, this list is a good starting place.
zwaremachine, terror trax, russell, 13 movie clip quiz, sinister creature con, ray wise, twin peaks, reaper, halloween plans, handing out candy, crocheting ghosts and pumpkins, live reading, octopus literary salon, oakland, mercy hollow, e.m. markoff, jonathan fortin, anniversary, horror magazines, life the worlds most haunted place, history channel, jack the ripper, parade, frankenstein, kbatz, halloween crafting, pumpkin cat house, how to tea stain for bottles, video of how to make stuffed pumpkins, milk bottle skulls, more coming, craft door hanger, necklaces, pasties?, decor, drinking word: skull, curse recap, black cats, ladder, gallows, say your wish out loud, cursed places, queen mary, winchester, season 14, 2019, next great horror writer contest, ghastly games, daphne, kittens in a blender, kitten mafia, author tip, mercy hollow, jeffery, ein, music review, nox, diana, writing chamber, how to scare your readers, lionel, interview, luke spooner, keiran, odds and dead ends, shutter, ha news, jesse orr, kill switch, quoth the raven, annabel lee, emerian rich, kbatz, batty for bats, campfire tales, comet tv, hushaween, midnight movies, headless helga, deadmail: jeff, missing audio, sarah, non-horror costumes, cat ears, workman’s outfit, plumber, edgar allan poe, mary shelley, jane austen, heroine in the castle with candle, cowgirl, make it bloody, church costumes, lydia the seller of purple, larry, cheap costume, ghost, dollar store, zombie, tea and brown eyeshadow, jil, lamest costume, playing card, greeting card, miss peppermint candyland, two headed monster, nun costume, ice queen, snow monster, abominable snow munchkin, sinister creature con (see below), dalton, kim, jeremy, stephen, karyn keene, voodoo doll watching you, 27th zombie and costume run, in san jose, dreamteamevents.com, evil dead musical, jason, edward furlough, voltaire, scarela, tarot visions 1:05 podcast, rose, jaymi, tarot, death card, curses, scammers, halloween, pumpkin pie chai, david bowie tarot deck, lionel, cannibal creek, jon athan, movies coming soon, halloween 2018, jamie lee curtis, suspiria, goblin, overlord, fantastic beasts, anna and the apocalypse, the possession of hannah grace, phantasm, the silence, eli, maze, the prodigy, happy death day 2U, the turning, the turn of the screw, us, pet sematary, hellboy, la llorna, the intruder, godzilla, new mutants, grudge, it 2, zombieland 2, are you afraid of the dark?, terminator, train to busan, theresa braun, heirloom
This Halloween, tune in to COMET TV as they bring you the horror classics that will send shivers down your spine. Before Buffy, before Edward, and before a certain Count, there was Nosferatu. The classic Vampire film, which is followed by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The original Phantom of the Opera.
Sure to send you to another world, COMET TV brings Space: 1999 and Babylon 5 back for classic spacey adventures! Every day you can see Babylon 5 and Space: 1999 has back-to-back episodes on Saturday and Sunday evenings! Talk about out of this world!
So you can’t sleep? COMET TV has the solution with cult classic midnight movies airing Mon – Fri! You can pencil in Night of the Creeps, get sucked into Vampires on Bikini Beach and do your best to escape The House on Haunted Hill!
And CHARGE! has the classic series CHiPs! Join Ponch and Jon as they cruise the freeways of Los Angeles solving crime… Back when you could cruse the freeways of Los Angeles!
To usher in the spooky happenings of October we want to give your readers the chance to win the COMET TV and CHARGE! October Prize Pack!
What you win:
1 – Limited Edition Nosferatu Shirt: Only available via this promotion, this creepy T-Shirt is sure to make your neighbors and friends shriek with envy! AHHHHHHHHH!
1 – COMET TV Blood Bag Water Bottle: I would like some Type-A Negative please. No matter what your flavor, this novelty water bottle is the perfect thing to fill up for an on the go refreshment.
1- COMET TV Stargate Magnets: Show off your spacey side with these super fresh Babylon 5 magnets. Perfect for any new recruit looking to sign up for new spacey adventures!
1 – COMET TV Midnight Movies Blood Splattered Candy: Do you have a bit of a sweet tooth? This candy assortment will give you that sugar rush you’re craving! There’s Ghost Poofs, suckers, bugs, lizards and more!
2 – Exclusive CHARGE! CHiPs Ticket Memo Pad: Do you see someone breaking the law and you just have to sound off and tell them? Is someone’s parking THAT bad you want to be like… Dude come on? Now’s your chance! Write them a little note, and maybe mention that CHiPs is heading to CHARGE! as well!
Giveaway open to the US only
How to win:
Post on your favorite social media platform, your favorite silent horror movie with the tags #horroraddicts #comettv #hushaween
And don’t forget to tag us on Twitter and Facebook!
YOU DON’T NEED A SUBSCRIPTION TO WATCH THESE GREAT MOVIES…
THEY’RE AIRING FOR FREE ON COMET!
Hushaween (Halloween Marathon)
This Halloween tune in to COMET as they bring you the silent horror classics that will send shivers down your spine. Before Buffy, before Edward, and before a certain Count, there was Nosferatu. Catch the classic Vampire film, followed by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Phantom of the Opera.
Halloween night October 31 starting at 10/9 C
at 10/9 C
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
at MIDNIGHT/11 C
The Phantom of the Opera
at 2:30a/1:30 C
So you can’t sleep? COMET TV has the solution with cult classic midnight movies airing Mon – Fri! You can pencil in Night of the Creeps, get sucked into Vampires on Bikini Beach and do your best to escape The House on Haunted Hill!
Weeknights at MIDNIGHT/11 C
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
COCKNEY VS. ZOMBIES
VAMPIRES ON BIKINI BEACH
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS
HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
THE RAGE: CARRIE 2
House of the Long Shadows (1984)
Four horror masters team up for chills, thrills and comedy! Join Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and John Carradine as they head to a seemingly deserted manor. One by one the visitors are picked off, and trapped in the giant estate! But who could be the killer?
Friday, October 26 at MIDNIGHT/11 C
Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
You’ve heard of Carrie White, haven’t you? Well, don’t worry because she’s not here in the sequel to the classic, instead we get Rachel who inconceivably is Carrie White’s half sister. And… She’s also telekinetic! Say wha? It’s up to Sue Snell to try and save her from succumbing to Carrie White’s fate!
Wednesday, October 24 at MIDNIGHT/11 C
Who has the money to buy all those fancy potion bottles and apothecary accessories in stores? Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz is here again to show how YOU can make some customized, old fashioned labels and aged Halloween bottles for your spooky display.
First, let’s focus on making the creepy labels, Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog and all that. I made up some Shakespeare inspired labels with a few clip art pictures and printed them. Of course, stark white printer paper doesn’t work for our aged apothecary, so we need some tea staining.
I brewed a pitcher of tea – using a few ginger flavors that I don’t really like, which actually left the paper with a nice spice smell! I dabbed the steeped tea bags all over the pages, soaking them to different degrees. Some of them I went over several times to darken them more, or to make even more aged lines and stains. You probably did this as a kid to make some kind of old looking paper, and it is totally effective for Halloween décor!
You can see I stained the whole pages, rather than cutting out all the labels first. Cutting them would have left a lot of paper to waste, and by staining the whole piece, it gave me scrap paper that was also tea stained after I cut out my labels. Now I have extra if I want to hand write some tags and do something else fancy!
I left my pages to dry, and in fact, had enough tea left over that I went ahead and stained some more blank pages, inspiring me to make up some kind of old fashion spooky spell books – but that is another Kbatz Kraft!
Once my labels dried and I cut them out, you can see some of the places where the ink ran. For some of them, it did ruin them as too illegible, but for others, it was just a little old touch that added unexpected character. Most of these I intended as labels, but a few others I planned on making tags to tie around my bottle necks.
Well, what bottles, do you ask? You can go to the thrift store or dollar shop and get some plain or unique bottles, but really, if you save some of your household bottles, you can recycle them into something spooky. I’ve spent the last few months saving anything unusual looking – from medicine bottles, shampoo, and bubble bath to wine, bug spray, and candle jars.
I still have some spice bottles and stained paper left over, and initially planned to match specific bottles with labels before wondering if I should mass theme everything by spray painting them all a uniform gloss black or old fashioned brown. Instead, I took each bottle one at a time, using craft paints in several colors and foam brushes. Some bottles were already nice colored glass and I just went over them with a bit of dry bush to dab an etched, age glass kind of look. I’m not an artist and it took me some trial and error do overs on some before I was happy, but others I simply had to paint the whole bottle one color to cover up a label, more stark white, or an ugly bottle cap.
Once my bottles were painted, I began matching them with labels. Some shapes and sizes I had in mind didn’t go together and I ended up switching them around. Some labels became tags, and other labels that were too big ended up with the written label on the bottle as well as the matching picture as a tie tag. It maybe wasn’t as I had intended, but a happy accident as Bob Ross says, as the bottle colors, assorted labels, and extra tag ties created more variety in my little apothecary collection.
I’ve mixed the bottles I made in with some fancy bottles as well as other wine and soda bottles that I had put on other store bought labels. I’ve put them all across the top of my refrigerator, giving my kitchen a bit of a Halloween double take. By not being overtly all black typically Halloween looking from a far, guests get a little WTF when they are up close and see Tooth of Wolf, Baboon’s Blood, or the eyeball I put in one of those amber medicine bottles!
In addition to collecting the bottles and making up some of the labels in advance, this took me about a weekend. I spent a couple evenings painting the bottles with acrylic paints, then a Saturday doing the tea staining, and a Sunday using tacky glue and yarn for the labels and tags. This is family friendly or classroom safe Halloween fun as well, just perhaps messy with maybe the adults handling the hot tea or any strong smelling paint or glue.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can recycle what you already have and print out something to make look ye olde without having to spend a lot of money to look potion proper. Heck, I may just leave my bottles out year round!