HorrorAddicts.net Flashback – Holiday Horror

Our very first episode with holiday horror was Michele Roger’s Santa Claws, way back on episode #13. That episode has been locked in the vault ever since we switched to Libsyn… BUT! We have uncovered the show!

#13 Michele Roger, Santa Claws

There are several other holiday-related shows I am going to post here in case you need some HorrorAddicts.net Holiday fun.

#52 Jack Mangan, Holiday Horror Theme

“Jack Mangan’s Santa Thing is a great read/listen for horror Xmas tales.” ~ Dan Shaurette

#53 Cal Miller, Holiday Horror Theme

“Cal Miller’s Scary Santa is just the thing to make you rethink the big red guy.” ~ Emerian Rich

WWW Challenge Special – Holiday Horror Challenge

 “It never ceases to amaze me how great a job these women do with holiday horror!” ~Rhonda R. Carpenter


From the Vault REPLAY! Morbid Meals – Holiday Spirits

Originally posted on HorrorAddicts.net December 2014

When it comes to the holiday spirits, I’m not talking about the Ghost of Christmas Past, or that chain-rattling spectre of Jacob Marley. No, I speak of something even more frightening: Holiday Hooch!

As the song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” One sure way to stay warm is with a little nightcap. It’s no surprise that many drinks this time of year are heated up. Hot buttered rum, egg nog, mulled wine, just to name a few. Hot apple cider and hot cocoa shouldn’t be missed either.

So in keeping with the intoxicating tradition, I am sharing three of my favorite drinks that will make the season, and your nose, bright. Just stay safe, my fellow Horror Addicts. We want to see you have a prosperous new year.



This drink is one of my own devising. Instead of mundane eggnog, I leave this as a treat for Krampus. When he visits my very naughty children, this tends to please him and he has yet to torture my kiddos. Clearly they have been very naughty if Santa is not only forgoing the coal, but sending Krampus to punish them. I like to think this drink encourages his mercy. They are just children after all, and I believe that children are our future. Oh, sorry. Almost broke into song there. My apologies.



About one quart
Roughly 5 to 6 drinks


1/4 cup (2 oz) Sanguinaccio Dolce sauce (or melted dark chocolate)
2 cups (1 pint) half & half
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 oz brandy or bourbon
3 oz black spiced rum or coffee liqueur


dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder


  • double boiler, or a large pot with a large bowl that sits snug on top
  • medium saucepan
  • whisk
  • blender


  1. First, either prepare a small batch of Sanguinaccio Dolce sauce, or melt some dark chocolate in a double boiler, and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat up the half & half and sugar, over high heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a blender, add the eggs and sanguinaccio dolce (or melted chocolate). Blend on low speed for about one minute.
  4. With blender still running, slowly add the warmed half & half and blend for about 30 more seconds.
  5. Add the alcohol and blend until the everything is frothy, about 2 minutes.
  6. Some people like warm nog. If so, serve immediately. If you and your guests prefer chilled nog, put your blender carafe into the fridge and chill for at least an hour. When ready to serve, put the blender carafe back on the motor and blend for about 30 seconds to combine everything together again and restore the froth.
  7. Pour into glasses and serve with dashes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.


This recipe makes just about one quart, a perfect amount for the average blender. If you want to make a party punch bowl version of this, then multiply by however many quarts your punch bowl can safely hold. Just remember that this is an egg-based drink. It is not a good idea to let this just sit around at room temperature.

I used to make this with Kahlúa, as the coffee and chocolate flavors go together so perfectly. Then I discovered Tia Maria, and ditched Kahlúa like a bad habit. I personally find it to be smoother and less sweet.

However, my beloved wife hates coffee. In an attempt to alter this exalted recipe, I have found that black spiced rum adds a deeper spice to the drink as well as a darker hue to the beverage that is in keeping with a drink fit for Krampus. Of course, for a twist on the horror angle, you could try REDRUM. If you try that, let me know how it tastes.

Finally, let’s address the demon in the room. Yes, sanguinaccio dolce is my traditional chocolate sauce for this drink, and yes, it contains pig’s blood. Of course you can melt chocolate or even use chocolate syrup, in a pinch. I do understand if drinking a small amount of pig’s blood turns you off… in a drink made with chicken eggs. And booze. I have had more compliments on this drink when made with sanguinaccio vs. mundane chocolate. In the end, I leave it up to you.


This is delicious any time of year, but I inevitably get asked to make it during Yule and Christmas Eve parties. I hope it becomes a tradition at your home as well. For us it has been Dad tested, Krampus approved.

Bela Mimosa


This twist on the traditional mimosa is named after Bela Lugosi and features the juice of blood oranges. It has become a favorite for a toast on New Year’s Eve, as well as for brunch on New Year’s Day.



2 oz champagne
3 oz blood orange juice
dash of grenadine (optional)


1 slice blood orange


  1. In a champagne flute, pour blood orange juice and champagne. Add grenadine to provide extra color.
  2. Garnish with a slice of blood orange.


It can be hard to find blood oranges year round, but they are in season during the winter. That makes a New Year’s toast with this drink the perfect time to enjoy it.


“I never drink… wine,” said the Count. I’m sure he would have added, “vithout bubbles.” No? How about this… “Bela Mimosa’s dead. Undead, straight to my head.” Admit it. You’re singing that right now. My work here is done.

Twelfth Night Lambswool (Hot Wassail)


In the Christian tradition, the Feast of the Epiphany is held on January 6, celebrating the birth of Jesus and the visit by the three wise men. The night before Epiphany is known as Twelfth Night, as it is the twelfth night of Christmastide, following Christmas.

For those that might follow an older path and celebrate Yule instead, Twelfth Night follows as well as the end of the Yuletide celebrations. However as Yule begins on December 20th, this means Yuletide Twelfth Night is December 31st, the end of the year.

In both traditions, there is a toast to good health and good harvest, called a wassail (from the Old English wæs hæl, which means “be you healthy”) which was raised with a drink of the same name.

Hot wassail is a cousin of mulled wines and ciders, but is instead usually made with mead or ale. Lambswool is but one ancient version of the drink which keeps the apple pulp in the drink.



750ml (or two 12 oz bottles) honey mead
12 oz hard apple cider
12 oz ginger beer (or ginger ale)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cloves
2 cups no-sugar-added applesauce


  • large saucepan
  • blender


  1. In a large saucepan, combine the mead, cider, and ginger beer. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat to dissolve the sugar and meld the flavors together.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves, then add the applesauce. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour mixture into blender and puree together until the apples form a frothy head.
  4. Serve warm immediately.


Yes, the traditional recipe requires coring and baking six apples (at 250°F for about an hour) then pureeing them. Normally I’m all about the traditional methods and freshest ingredients. However, we’re talking about making applesauce, which you can so easily purchase. For once, I say use the store-bought jar of applesauce. Just get the kind with no sugar added and no funny extra ingredients.


I love a good mulled wine, but I think a hot lambswool wassail may be the best thing to kill the chill of Twelfth Night.


Bell Book and Candle is still Great, Witchy Fun

By Kristin Battestella


We may think all the young adult fantasy books, Potter-esque films, and shows like Charmed have cornered the magic market onscreen, but classics like 1958’s Bell Book and Candle have kept the kooky comedy and witchy situations innocent and fun all along.

Over Christmas, good natured New York witch Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) grows a little tired of her witchy ways and Aunt Queenie’s (Elsa Lanchester) magical games. When Gil falls in love with publisher and upstairs neighbor Shep Henderson (James Stewart), she uses her cat Pyewacket to cast a spell. Shep must fall in love with Gil and thus not marry her former rival and college classmate Merle Kittridge (Janice Rule, 3 Women). While all the love blossoms, Gil’s warlock brother Nicky (Jack Lemmon) assists writer Sidney Redlitch (Ernie Kovacs) in his new book ‘Magic in Manhattan’. Will Shep’s publication of the book expose the Holroyds’ witchy ways and ruin Gil’s romance with Shep?

Based upon the play by John Van Druten (Gaslight, Cabaret), director Richard Quine (Sunny Side of the Street) and screenwriter Daniel Taradash (From Here to Eternity) craft a charming look at the power and hijinks of magic and love. We often allude to love being like a bewitching spell in lyrics and poetry. Even though a spell is cast in Bell Book and Candle, we’re never quite sure where the magic ends and the true love begins. The fanciful and fun take on possible love from socially at odds groups-humans and witches-is lighthearted and still enjoyable today. We can make all the modern and hefty allusions we want about mixed romances or stereotypes about practitioners of witchcraft, but it’s nice to just take in a sweet movie with none of those pretenses. There are a few lighting effects, camera tricks, and the proverbial smoke and mirrors, but more than anything Bell Book and Candle allows its players the time and space to show the magical fun.

Yes, Jimmy Stewart (Harvey, It’s A Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Rear Window, Anatomy of a Murder, need I go on?) is a little too old to be a leading man here against Kim Novak, but he’s still delightful as the straight man publisher caught in the magical mix of spells and romance. We believe a charming witch could get Shep all flustered, confused, and tongue-tied due to Stewart’s loveable slip-ups. His mix of enchantment and clueless nonsense when confronted with the world of witchcraft must have been great fun then-as it still is now to the modern viewer. Stewart’s old, and perhaps his performance is a bit Capra-esque old fashioned, but it’s a fun turn nonetheless. As wonderfully fooled as Shep is, Jack Lemmon’s Nicky is wickedly slick. His magic is all in good fun, too, but he can’t resist the spotlight. Nicky’s ill-attempted exposé writing collaborations mix the crazy ambition with the sardonic blend of wit and drama contemporary audiences expect from the late star of Grumpy Old Men and The Odd Couple. In a way, there is a touch of passing the torch between the graying Stewart and energetic Lemmon. Both men handled the romance, seriousness, and comedy of their roles before and after Bell Book and Candle with a style and class not often found in today’s young acting crowd.

Though not as famous as her male counterparts, its fun to see Kim Novak paired with Jimmy Stewart again after Alfred Hitchcock’s suspense filled Vertigo the same year. Novak’s good witch longing for love does take some getting used to after her deceptive dame in Vertigo, but her husky voice and dynamite eyes adhere to the femme and witchy vibe we expect. Her costumes are hip, with mostly spooky black or eye-catching reds- but what’s with the high, almost white hair? There’s not many close ups of Novak for some reason, but the ones we’re given are breathtaking. Fun effects and cat motifs add to Gil’s already enchanting ways, too. We believe her when she says she has the power to get things done, yet we feel for her wishes for normalcy. Likewise, Elsa Lanchester’s (The Private Life of Henry VIII, Bride of Frankenstein, Witness for the Prosecution) Aunt Queenie is great fun as the elder, kooky and mischievous sprite helping with some good natured interference and match making. Comedy maven Ernie Kovacs (Our Man in Havana, North to Alaska) is also a delight as author Sidney Redlitch – an ‘expert’ of modern witches among us who fails to see the warlocks right under his nose.

Part of Bell Book and Candle’s charm is its fun fifties color and style: the cigarettes, quirky music, Oscar nominated high-end fashion and nonchalant, cute effects. The high life of mid century New York is a delightful time capsule, and the pillow talk approach to witchcraft is in a way modern but no less sweet. However, part of this charm also irrevocably dates the portrayal. It’s 1958- the innocence of the post war years would soon be lost. Some of the whirlwind two-week romance is a little too innocent with no innuendo before the quick marriage talk, and even the colorful styles and titled fedoras would be on the fashion outs in a few years’ time. It’s as if the onscreen attitudes and styles are a final fifties hurrah before the turmoil and realizations of the sixties.

Now I’m sorry to say that I don’t know anything about current Wiccan and religious practices; but naturally modern pagans and witches looking for some seriousness and accuracy won’t find it in Bell Book and Candle. While not deliberately offensive, the clean cut fifties stylings goes for the traditional broomstick stereotypes. It’s great if you like films with some witchy fun, but there’s no realistic portrayal here. Classic film fans, however, can also enjoy the similar I Married A Witch (1942) starring Veronica Lake- both films are often attributed as the inspiration for the beloved television series Bewitched. Modern romantic fans tired of the same inane plots over and over will be charmed, too. Youthful audiences who still enjoy enchanting tales like Bewitched or Hocus Pocus can take in Bell Book and Candle at Halloween, Christmas, or any time of year.

Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?

Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?
by Emerian Rich

My favorite holiday song is a French Christmas Carol called “Pat-a-pan” written by Bernard de La Monnoye and first published in 1720. Written way before “The Little Drummer Boy” (circa 1941) it has the same sort of concept. A young boy playing a drum in celebration of the birth of Christ.

“Willie, bring your little drum, Robin bring your fife and come!
And be merry while you play, ture-lure-lu, pata-pata-pan,
Come be merry while you play for the joy of Christmas day.”

Often played as an instrumental due to the awesome drum and flute parts that can be highlighted without vocals, “Pat-a-pan” is most well known by the Mannheim Steamroller version here:

I fell in love with this song in high school choir where we learned the French lyrics which meant nothing to me. Its haunting melody and renaissancy sound always made me feel as if there were some underlying tale, like it spoke of a story without using words. Very few songs can evoke feelings in just the music – without lyrics.

You might be wondering what this has to do with horror. It’s hard to imagine such a benign song conjuring evil images, but one year when playing it around my husband I found out. The ultimate scrooge when it comes to Christmas music, my husband quirked a brow and said, “I kind of like this one. It’s spooky.”

I had to know more!

You see, his vision of “Pat-a-pan” plays out a bit differently than the “Willie, bring your drum” message that La Monnoye thought up. Instead of little Willie and Robin rallying the town into Christmas spirit by playing their drum and fife, his version features another little boy.spooky

Patapan is a little ghost or demon boy who runs around up in the attic. I’m not sure of the extent of evil he perpetrates (hubby wasn’t clear on the deets) but he was sure nothing good could come from it. The thought of the evil minion “pat-a-panning” around up in the attic makes my husband happy (as it would any self-respecting horror addict).

So, I play this shared favorite faithfully every year and grin at my husband’s dark imaginings. I’ll never share the actual lyrics with him and burst his happy twisted bubble—ever.

Now, listen to the instrumental version again and conjure the image of a pasty-skinned, shadow-eyed boy in an old school uniform, haunting your attic.

For those of you curious about the English lyrics, my favorite vocal version is by Mindy Gledhill below.

Have a spooky connection to a holiday carol? Tell us! We can’t wait to share it.

Free Fiction Tuesday?: The Parish by Crystal Connor

The Parish

by Crystal Connor

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness.

It was the middle of winter, the power was out, and it wasn’t coming back on. Father McAllister was troubled. He dipped his finger in the baptismal font and crossed himself. As he walked through the nave, he began to pray.

“My Lord God, through whom strength is made perfect in weakness, I pray to you, give me the strength I need.”

Though there was a town sheriff, the people of Mount Springwalk had always looked to Father McAllister for the law.

It wasn’t an angel that flung the earth into darkness. It was the sun. The geomagnetic storm was the largest ever. Most of the electronics on the planet had been wiped out.

Only the oldest of cars would start, but that was the least of the problems, as all the gas pumps were controlled electronically. No one could make any phone calls, and the Internet was fried.

The records stored at banks, which depend on both power and telecommunication to synch ATMs were forever inaccessible, the money within never again to be recovered. Commerce came to a screeching halt.

Though Christ had yet to return, this digital disaster was nothing short of a technological Armageddon. It was predicted that within a year, the vast majority of world’s population would freeze, starve, or die from disease. Father McAllister began to weep.

His tears were for humanity as a whole, but his heart was breaking for those in his parish. His back was in constant pain from being bent in supplication and his fingers were chapped from the speed with which the prayer beads moved through them.

On the third day of darkness, at the town meeting, the pharmacist was moved to tears when she explained how quickly her inventory would become dangerously low. Young Billy Johnston needed insulin, and dear Martha needed medical-grade oxygen. She breathed more easily in the winter but seasons change.

Father McAllister stopped at the ambry and removed the first of the three sacred oils: the oil of catechumens. He anointed himself with strength and courage.

“You have said, that for your children who have no might, you will increase strength. I am weak. Bless me with a measure of strength as may be sufficient for me.” pleaded the cleric.

Unfortunately, and luckily for Billy, his diabetes was type two. The doctor calmed the pharmacist’s fears by explaining that Billy should be OK now that his access to high- fructose corn syrup and chocolate was cut off, and Martha would be ok too, because no more cars, combines, tractors, or factories meant no more greenhouse gases. And whether you believed in the science or not, he challenged everyone (but mostly Fred), you couldn’t deny that the air already felt cleaner. With an involuntary deep breath, everyone silently agreed.

There were others at Mount Springwalk’s town meeting. The mayor from the neighboring town of West Fortbury and his wife were in attendance as well.

There was a problem. The teenaged and young adult population of Mount Springwalk was mostly girls, whereas in West Fortbury, they were boys. “If we wish to survive beyond the winter,” the mayor suggested with a flushed face, “we need to let nature take its course. After the laughter stopped, the direness of their situation settled in.

Their concerns were for more than just the children. They had no more water. The mayor explained that their high school science teacher warned that drinking reclaimed water from snow was dangerous but no one believed him until people got sick.

Mount Springwalk had a creek with enough semi-fresh mountain water to share.

The new housing development on the other side of Main Street had been completed last year, but due to the economy, 80% of those homes remained unoccupied. More importantly, all those homes were built with wood-burning fireplaces. With a yea or nay vote, it was decided that the entire populous of West Fortbury would be relocated. On the ninth day of darkness, Mount Springwalk, Father McAllister’s parish, would be the home for 2,100 residents.

The canned meat and fish would only last three months, while the charcoal for the grills would be gone in three days. Rita LaRowe, the owner of the general store, said that she had enough canned goods to ensure that every family, including the newest members from West Fortbury, would be able to have one can of vegetables or one can of fruit to go with one meal for the next 18 months.

One can of vegetables for an average family of four. The well from which Father McAllister’s tears flowed was self-replenishing.

The pastor once again thanked God that the woods surrounding them had game – deer and pheasant – and that the Emmit girls were so sinfully accurate with an arrow. The three of them liked to call themselves Amazonian goddesses. Father McAllister voiced his concerns about the paganism but was more than grateful for the meat.

Two years ago, the Anderson and Copper families tore down the fence that separated their properties, and together planted a large vegetable garden. The Amish, who descended upon Mount Springwalk with heavy quilts on the eve of the second frozen night, promised to show the community how to can food if they made it to the spring.

Though Father McAllister was hurt that the Amish, whose way of life was not devastated by the storm from the sun, refused to integrate his parish within their community, he was more than thankful for their blankets and the promise of knowledge.

The loyal servant of God once again thanked the Lord for the creek.

His congregation was able to use that water to flush the toilets and, after boiling it, to bathe and cook with.

The charcoal wasn’t really a problem either, as the stronger men in the community began to harvest the alpines around them and deliver bundles of wood to the residents as if they were the morning papers. If they could just get through the winter. Please, dear God, Father McAllister prayed, grant us another spring.

“When I am tempted by evil, deliver me by granting me the power to overcome it. When my daily work is too hard for me, give me the strength to be able to do it.”

He prayed as his lit the first candle flanking the ambo. Fighting the perils of winter was the biggest obstacle his parish faced.

Until last night.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? John the Disciple once asked.

The Godless people of Brunspark had shown no pity. They crossed the boarder of Mount Springwalk with guns and pitchforks and fire.

Though he had not known it then, God had answered his constant prayer for strength by sending him the men of West Fortbury.

From the moment the Fortburys, as they were referred to by his original parish, arrived in Mount Springwalk, they began to fortify the town.

After adding what they had brought from their store and private pantries to Rita’s inventory, they began boarding up the windows of the general store and pharmacy from both the inside and out. All the weapons from the gun store were moved to the sheriff’s house, and they began patrols of the woods and water.

Armed patrols.

The pastor was alarmed at how quickly even the youngest Fortbury could become rowdy and belligerent. Father McAllister now understood the reservations felt by the Amish and wondered if his quiet and polite parish seemed just as barbaric in the eyes of their leaders as the Fortburys seemed in his.

“If my burden oppresses me beyond my bearing, lighten my load, that my strength may be equal to it. You have helped many; I beg you to help me.” The second candle was lit.

The town of West Fortbury was a military town with generations upon generations of veterans and at least two alleged war criminals. Those who did not fight abroad brawled in the bar.

The looters of Brunspark were unprepared to face a force with prior military experience and were now being held as prisoners in the barn. The men hung naked from the rafters and had been swinging there all night. Father McAllister understood their anger, God knew he did, but he reminded the members of his parish of the freezing temperature and suggested that they be clothed.

Even though there was a sheriff, the community of Mount Springwalk looked to Father McAllister for the law.

The former mayor of West Fortbury explained that terrorists, both foreign and domestic, did not get to enjoy the protection of the Geneva Convention. The sheriff agreed.

Father McAllister stepped up onto the ambo, comforted that from this elevated state, he would be nourished by the word of Christ. His silent prayer intertwined with his tears.

It was then that God whispered into Father McAllister’s ear.

“Gentle shepherd be at peace.”

The breath of the parish leader froze in his chest. Just as Gideon, Moses, Noah, and the others God had called before him, he was doubtful that the voice he heard was divine.

“Hesitant warrior, I am the Lord your Go. It is I who upholds your right hand and says to you do not be afraid; I will help you.” Father McAllister’s right hand rose above his head. He fell, trembling, to his knees. His vision was blurred with tears of gratitude.

“The wrongdoers, the thieves, and the covetous, will not inherit this kingdom that I have reserved for you. The wicked peoples of West Fortbury have built a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Father McAllister’s heart shattered for he knew the sins of Sodom were not sexual sins but sins of selfishness.

“Weep not,” said the Lord. “You are washed, sanctified, justified in the name of my son, your Lord Jesus Christ.”

Father McAllister could not carry a note in a bucket, but as he knelt weak with joy and overcome with comfort before his savior, the priest broke out into an old Negro hymn he had heard as a boy while walking past a black Christian church.

Until I die, I am gonna serve the Lord anyhow…

The rhythmic way in which the worshipers used their clapping hands and stomping feet as instruments sounded like the beating of African drums.

At eight years old, Father McAllister, just Joshua at the time, had never been inside a church. But that was the first time God had whispered into Father McAllister’s ear, and Joshua walked down the aisle of that church and was baptized: his first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship.

“I will deliver you from this domain of darkness,” God continued, “and transfer you to the kingdom of my beloved son. Let him who steals steal no longer; from the town of Brunspark, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Send them to stand before me so that they may be judged and sentenced.”

His tears were no more. His fervent prayers had been answered. He had been told what to do. Like the ancient Jewish leader marching toward the Promised Land Father McAllister knew that his parish would remain safe, as he would be more than able to defeat any enemy that dared challenge the army of the living God.

Armed with faith Father McAllister rose with Christ – and marched from the cathedral with the unbridled power of the word of God.


I got so much feed back from this story that I pulled it from the anthology (not really but figuratively) on the back burner with the goal of expanding this story. I got the opportunity a year later when another author (Lori Titus) and I joined forces to co-write a book. That didn’t happen, but what did was we created one universe and then wrote two stand alone books that takes place in that setting, in a town called Fates Keep, Mt. Empyreal. My version is called: In the foothills of Mt. Empyreal The End is Now  and the reviews can be read here:


Outré Gifting: What DO you Buy those Odd People in your Life?


We here at HorrorAddicts.net plan to gather up at least a couple of gift lists detailing some lovely swag for the more unusual people in your life this season but I thought I’d first take a moment to write some general thoughts on how to even approach gifting for the more outré people you know before you head out for the upcoming sales. Try to be as thoughtful with what you don’t buy as what you do.
You can post this article to your FB timeline, the photo above to Instagram or Pinterest if you have some people in YOUR life who might just need a little direction or post in a group if you have  friends who may need rescuing from the “Normie’s” mad cycle of seasonal giving.

Some people really do find it difficult or frustrating to buy holiday gifts for the more alternative people in their lives. Whether they like to give handmade, specially purchased items or want to go the ‘gift cards, snacks and booze’ route, here is a handy Guide to help navigate the waters safely. This is one place where Google and Amazon are likely NOT going to be your friend because when I searched ‘Goth gifts’ (as Norms are likely to do), oh the CRINGE!


Q. Which Holiday do they celebrate anyway?
A. Doesn’t matter and you really don’t need to find out, honest. ‘Happy Holidays’ and a winter tree, snowflake or abstract squiggle on the card works for everyone even if they do not formally ‘celebrate’ a specific winter holiday. A home-printed, hand-cut or drawn black snowflake card if they are Goth should bring a wry smile. BUT…If they say they do not celebrate and do not gift, please respect that and resist the temptation to spill your holiday spirit over onto them. That’s a gift in itself.
Q. Are they vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo? Food allergy, Fair Trade, ethically grown, locavore? So confusing…
A. Doesn’t matter, if there are any food questions or issues, do NOT buy them food unless they ask for it and if they do, buy EXACTLY what they ask for or just get something else entirely. Ditto for anything made with animal product of any kind. Just avoid it. Perhaps they like booze or tea?
Q. Do they drink? (Booze, Tea, Coffee, special sodas with natural extracts and cane sugar only?)
A. Buy their favorite…we often hoard it and don’t treat ourselves as often as we’d like to. Having extra means we can enjoy it more frequently and we will think of you when we do! This goes for any consumable, if they buy it for themselves as a treat, they will probably like to receive some more. Do they hang out at a local coffee shop or tea room? Buy them a gift card!

A handmade card with a gift card, certificate or e-code in it is almost always appropriate, providing you get a gift certificate/card they can actually use.
For Gift Cards, if you can find out:
Their fave online shop(s) (often Indie with a bewildering array of Mysterious Items BUT… usually easy enough to buy E-gift certificates. If you don’t see the option, call or email the shop, they will often accommodate you.)
Their fave Etsy shop(s) (and if they take Etsy Gift Cards)
Where they shop most locally (it might be an independent grocery store, food co-op, natural foods shop, piercing and tattoo place, game shop, book store, bead and hobby shop, fabric store, art supply shop )
Where they like to eat locally. A gift card to a favorite eatery is always a nice indulgence or why not invite them out, ask them to choose the place and catch up on your friendship? That is more in the spirit of the season anyway.
What charities, shelters, help programs, Indiegogo, crowdfunding, art coop projects etc. do they currently support? Where do they volunteer or already donate? You can often easily donate in someone’s name to help a special cause or event that is near and dear.
Example: I’m currently hoping more people will help support Paradiso, and help bring a Lolita event to Kansas City in 2016 and in future years. A gift donation to this would be simply divine! I’ve posted about it on my social media along with supporting WWF so it’s pretty easy to take a look and see what your friends have supported and give a gift donation in their name.


 Aside from the biggie mentioned above about not ‘forcing’ people to participate in holiday activities, I will speak more personally here and give some scenarios I am confident I can advise on:
If we are ‘into something’ or collect something, please don’t presume to know what sort of thing within the genre we will like. It is often very specific and includes things you will not know about and usually excludes many things you would mistakenly buy, then we are stuck with the items because….gift.

Example 1: I have a friend who is into Anime, and specifically loves vintage anime…bigtime. 1) His collection is so big I’d likely duplicate if I did not ask him specifically what to buy, 2) If I bought him something from CLAMP (very popular but he does not like them) he would wince more than a little and have to keep it because it was a gift 3) often the series he buys are quite expensive, are a pre-order and we aren’t the level of friends that exchanges that expensive of gifts so I wouldn’t want to make him feel obligated…
Solution: It would be easy enough to find out from his girlfriend where he likes to order his anime from and give him a gift card. Chances are he has a back-list and there is always a pre-order coming up so a gift card of ANY amount will lighten the final bill. It’s personal enough that it shows you know what he likes and took the time to find out where he likes to get it but allows him to choose for himself.
Example 2: I love a certain artist’s work…but only some of it, I am very particular about the prints I like and wish to add…the rest is really nightmare fuel and I don’t want to collect any at all…
Example 3: Several of my friends follow and wear Lolita fashion. I do too and I often THINK I know what they might like as far as an accessory gift but just as often, they are VERY particular about everything they wear and if I got them a Lolita accessory, they would of course wear it to show me they appreciate my gift…but they may not like it at all!
Solution: Find out what kind of sweets or booze or tea they like or get them a Lolita magazine and let them do the choosing for their very individualistic fashion view. It’s also a big part of the fashion to put together the perfect ensemble with carefully chosen accessories. Solution: an Etsy gift card I can use at their shop or in any Etsy shop that honors them.
Also do not be tempted to ‘improve’ or ‘help’ us by giving ‘normie’ clothes to ‘wear when you aren’t wearing your Goth things’, or give us something like a hair salon or manicure gift certificate unless we ask for it! ‘Tis NOT the season for hints, subtle or not! Yes it’s judge-y, and yes we will judge you for judging us.

Many people appreciate handmade gifts very much, anything you will make. But many do NOT so…how do you REALLY know? They will ASK you for it if they really want it and TELL you they love handmade. Many people use the reasoning ‘I am making my gifts to give so that justifies my spending on my hobby all year to do so’…yeah, not so much a thoughtful thing to do when you think about it!
I am going to go out on a limb here and do a Public Service Announcement that may not be popular, hence another ‘alternative view’…
“Hey Aunt Sadie, we love it that you keep up with your knitting practice, we respect the fact that you have mad skills and make many items but unless we ASK you for a(nother) knitted (insert that thing you make), please STOP using your giiftees as your excuse to support your yarn habit.” PLEASE TAKE A HINT.
I like handmade from some people ONLY and I have let them know beyond a doubt by either buying some of their items or by my not-so-subtle wheedling…for the rest of the people who might randomly gift me something they make…I like Absinthe….and little cheeses…and indie cosmetics.
Also, if your friend or family member makes things, DO support their creativity by shopping with them if you have friends who do like receiving art, crafts or items made by someone they know or a family member. Yes, it’s almost conflicting advice here but giving handmade/handcrafts, local artist gifts are a subject that needs to be more thoroughly researched if you wish to navigate it correctly so just be prepared to do your homework. Or buy booze. There’s always booze…

Buying for your alternative poppets and Dear Ones need not be an arduous task if you can play detective with even a little sensitivity and when in doubt, please do ASK or go the safe route with a known good gift. And finally, remember that not everyone ‘alternative’ automatically likes Hot Topic… (though some of us still do!)

Addicts, do YOU have any horrible gift stories? I’d love to hear about them so we can all have a good laugh over them now that they are hopefully safely BEHIND us and look forward to better gifting and holiday plans THIS year! Comment your stories below.

Thirsty Humans, Hungry Ghosts!


A Lookbook of Spooky Cocktails and Nosh with the Dead

from The Japanese Gothic & Lolita Bible







Layered Drinks 



Angel’s Kiss


¼ oz Crème de cacao (white)

¼ oz Sloe Gin

¼ oz Brandy

¼ oz Light cream


Pour carefully, in order given, into cordial glass so that each ingredient floats (layers) on the preceding without mixing.

Serve immediately.

recipe courtesy of Cocktail Wikia



The Vampire’s Eclipse

The Vampire Eclipse is a special treat created just for you by the count himself deep in the castle’s lair.  The Count worked feverishly to capture the essence and magic of the suns eclipse.  A dark river of grenadine rests on the bottom of the glass, while repelling the suns burst of orange energy, trapping a cherry between day and night.  The light rum entombs this moment forever.

The Vampire’s Eclipse
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce orange juice
1 ounce light rum (Bacardi)
1 maraschino cherry

Gently pour grenadine in shot glass first.  Then slowly pour in the orange juice (pour down the side of the glass to avoid mixing your layers).  Slowly lower the cherry through the orange juice to rest on the grenadine.  Lastly, add rum pouring it down the side of your glass.

Original recipe developed by Chad of The Slow Roasted Italian 





In Japanese Buddhism, two such creatures exist: the
gaki and the jikininki.

Gaki (餓鬼) are the spirits of jealous or greedy people
who, as punishment for their mortal vices, have been
cursed with an insatiable hunger for a particular
substance or object. Traditionally, this is something
repugnant or humiliating, such as human corpses or
feces, though in more recent legends, it may be virtually
anything, no matter how bizarre.

Jikininki (食人鬼 “people-eating ghosts”) are the spirits
of greedy, selfish or impious individuals who are cursed
after death to seek out and eat human corpses. They do
this at night, scavenging for newly dead bodies and food
offerings left for the dead. They sometimes also loot the
corpses they eat for valuables. Nevertheless, jikininki
lament their condition and hate their repugnant cravings
for dead human flesh.