Sunday, October 31, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Well, here we are, my fiendish friends! It's finally Halloween, the best holiday of all!

What are you doing to celebrate tonight? After hosting one killer Halloween party last night, I am ready to relax today before handing out candy to the kiddos in the PM followed by watching spooky movies and carving more pumpkins.

I'm quite sad that this post will conclude my 31 Days of Halloween extravaganza (ok, and a little relieved...it was A LOT of work!!!), so with that I leave you with some spooky Halloween-themed videos that are just perfect for this, our most hallowed holiday:

A cool fan-made Trick 'R Treat trailer:

"The Monster Mash" with a bunch of cool horror movie clips:

Betty Boop's Halloween from 1933:

Cool Halloween music video set to Nekromantix's "Trick or Treat":

Disney clips set to Henry Hall's "Here Comes the Boogeyman":

A beautiful interpretation of "Danse Macabre":

Saturday, October 30, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: Halloween Party Prep

Hello Ghouls and Boils! Happy Hallow's Eve-Eve!

I am busy prepping for my party tonight, so this will be a quick photo post as I'm pressed for time.

This year the theme is "Unhappily Ever After" and my apartment is being turned into a fairy tale castle..with a dark twist. More photos will be posted soon, but for now here are photos, taken over several weeks/days, of the party preparations!

Severed Finger Cookies

Castle walls

Pumpkin lights

Witch's pantry

 Jack-O-Lantern Sandwich Cookies

 Three Little Pigs in Blankets

 "Mirror, Mirror on the wall..."

 Porch lighting

Spooky portraits

Ready to party!

What are your plans for this evening? 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: History of Halloween


Halloween's rich history all started with the Celts' traditions. Their Samhain was a fall harvest festival that marked the switch from autumn to winter. It was on this magical night that the Celts believed the veil between our world and the spirit world was thinnest. They believed that this allowed ghosts and evil spirits to roam the Earth on the night of Samhain.

These beliefs, as well as the traditions of the Romans and, later, the Catholic Church, all contributed to the wonderful holiday we now call Halloween.

Check out the videos below for an informative overview of our favorite holiday!











Wednesday, October 27, 2010

31 Days of Halloween: My Halloween Traditions

 
I cannot believe Halloween is just days away! Though I am excited for the big day, it also makes me melancholy as Halloween season will be ending soon. *Sniffle*

It's around this time that I start to panic a little as I contemplate if I've done everything in my power to truly revel in all the season has to offer. I have certain traditions I follow every year for Halloween season (though my to-do list seems to grow every year), so I've made my list below of all my must-do's! Things are looking pretty good this year, as I've completed everything on my Halloween to-do list! Check out my Halloween list below:

    1.) Read and watch Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree - I usually start reading the slim novel as early as July/August, when the Halloween bug first starts to bite, followed by watching the cartoon (usually via YouTube since its never been released on DVD and I don't own a VHS player). Haven't watched it yet this year? I posted the cartoon in its entirely HERE, so go and enjoy!

    2.) Play Halloween Jenga or other Halloween-themed board games - This is a yearly tradition that my boyfriend and I do every Halloween season!


    3.) Visit a pick-your-own pumpkin patch - I prefer Tanaka Farms and I try to make a trip there multiple times in October. I usually go opening weekend at the end of September with my boyfriend and then make another visit with a group of friends in early October. I looooooove pumpkin patches!

    4.) Take a stroll through Roger's Gardens to ogle their amazing Halloween displays - Roger's Gardens is an amazing high-end nursery here in Orange County and their Halloween displays are truly spectacular. Check out this year's visit HERE!


    5.) Watch Halloween cartoons (this ties into #1) - This time of year brings out the kid in me, so I always love watching cartoons and Halloween-themed kids' movies in October! Must-see's include It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Nightmare Before Christmas and Garfield's Halloween. I have a big list of kid-friendly cartoons/movies HERE.

    6.) Bake Halloween treats - I love baking, but especially Halloween baking! This year I've made some yummy vegan sugar cookies, pumpkin bread and other odds and ends. I haven't baked as much as I would have liked to, but this weekend I'm all set to make all sorts of ghoulish goodies for our Halloween party...and I can't wait!


    7.) Carve pumpkins - This is a given. Pumpkins just make me happy and I love carving them. I usually pop on some Halloween movies, drink some pumpkin spice coffee and get to carving several times during October.

    8.) Buy pumpkin everything - I can't resist any vegan food item that is pumpkin flavored or pumpkin shaped!


    9.) Buy new Halloween shirts - Target usually has the best and least expensive Halloween tees, and they are usually the first Halloween-y items that grace their shelves. I have a huge stack of their Halloween tees from over the years and I like wearing them year-round.

    10.) Visit stores - This is another obvious one, but another must-do for me! My list includes the Halloween Club (they are open year-round and I usually go the last weekend of August), Ross (they start putting out Halloween stuff in July), T.J. Maxx (they had so much cool stuff this year! Again, they start putting out stuff really early), the Dollar Store, and, of course, Target. I always have to restrain myself from buying everything, but I usually go overboard anyway.


    11.) Watch Halloween-themed horror movies - Notice how I stressed "Halloween-themed"? Since I watch horror movies all the time, I make a special effort in October (and the months leading up to it) to watch mainly Halloween-themed horror. There are tons of these flicks out there (both good and bad), so this isn't hard at all. It annoys me when people watch any old horror movie for Halloween. Anywho, there are tons of horror flicks that take place on or are about Halloween, and you can check out some of them HERE, HERE and even HERE!

    12.) Create a Halloween mix that I can listen to in my car - You can check out this year's list HERE!

    13.) Host our annual Halloween party - Planning this event takes up most of my October, but I have so much fun with it! This year the theme is "Unhappily Ever After" and I can't wait to share with you how it turns out! Previous years we've done Carnival Noir, Dia de Los Muertos and Haunted Forest themes.

    What are your Halloween traditions that you must do every holiday season?

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010

      31 Days of Halloween: Carving Pumpkins

       My first jack o' lantern of the season!
      I carved this one way back in September.

      I looooove carving pumpkins! Nothing gets me in the Halloween spirit more than gutting an orange gourd and carving a face into it (ok, sounds kinda morbid when I say it like that). Of course there are those that have never carved a pumpkin (Egads! How has life been worth living for these people?!), so I've compiled some handy videos below for those in need of some jack o' lantern assistance.

      From your basic how-to on carving pumpkins to carving with power tools to master pumpkin carvers' artwork for inspiration, the videos below should put you on the right track and get you inspired to carve in no time! 

      A basic how-to on carving pumpkins:

      Another how-to video with much more entertaining hosts:


      Carving pumpkins with power tools:

      Master pumpkin carvings collage:

      Photo montage of jack o' lanterns from the  Extreme Pumpkins books (buy book 1 and book 2):

      What are your favorite pumpkin carving methods?

      Want more pumpkins? Check out the best pumpkin videos HERE

      Monday, October 25, 2010

      31 Days of Halloween: Halloween Makeup Tutorials

      It's almost time, kids! Halloween is nearly here, so I hope you've got your costume all squared away (for costume suggestions, check previous posts HERE and HERE).

      However, if you're like me, you've got your costume all thought out, but only have a vague idea of what your makeup will look like. Well, you're in luck, because there are lots of great online tutorials to guide you in your makeup application! I've included ones I really enjoy below: 

      Trippy Corpse Bride Tutorial

      Rag-Doll/Zipperface Tutorial

      Vampire

      Zombie


      The Exorcist

      Little Dead Riding Hood

      Scary Bloody Skull

      Sunday, October 24, 2010

      31 Days of Halloween: The Artwork of Jasmine Becket-Griffith

      I recently discovered the artwork of Jasmine Becket-Griffith and was left speechless! Her lowbrow pop surrealism style reminds me of a mix between the art of Mark Ryden and Lori Earley. However, her artwork still feels unique and confidently stands on its own.

      I was overjoyed to find that she has done some Halloween-themed paintings and thought I would share a few with you! Links will lead you directly to the painting's product page. Please note, all images are copyright Jasmine Becket-Griffith.




      I like to call it the Steampunkin!











      My personal favorite!!

      For more info on Jasmine and her wonderful creations, please visit www.strangeling.com!

      Saturday, October 23, 2010

      31 Days of Halloween: Favorite Vegan Halloween Candy and Sweets


      I have a notorious sweet tooth and am pretty much stocked up year-round for any kind of sugar shortage. However, with Halloween being my favorite holiday, I take special pleasure in gobbling up sweets this time of year! It may appear that vegans would have trouble finding any treats this time of year, as candies are filled with nastiness like gelatin (ground up animal bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, etc.), milkfat, eggs, carmine (or Natural Red 4, made from beetles), rennet (enzyme from cow stomachs), pepsin (another stomach enzyme), lard (pig fat), E 904, E 120, 901, 904, 542 (all are from animals), or even just sugar that is processed with charred bone fragments (info from Vegan Nutritionista).

      However, it's actually quite easy for vegans to enjoy delicious candy not only this festive time of year, but also year-round! You can find a complete list of vegan goodies over at PETA and VegNews, as I will only be posting my personal vegan candy favorites here.

      Without further ado, here are my favorite vegan treats for Halloween:


      Go Max Go Vegan Candy Bars - Oh my goodness, I am in love with every single one of these candy bars! Since going vegan I've missed eating Snickers, Almond Joys, Milky Ways, Three Musketeers, etc., but these delicious veganized versions save the day! My personal favorite is Mahalo, which mimics the chocately-coconutty goodness of Almond Joys. I usually keep these on hand year-round for my constant chocolate cravings. If I actually got any trick-r-treaters and could afford it, I would definitely hand these out on Halloween!

      Sweet and Sara Smores - Need I say more? I raved about these treats here and here, so imagine these would be amazing treats for autumn...especially if you pop the smores in the microwave for a few seconds! They will surely ward off the autumn chill! Plus Sweet and Sara make an assortment of other gourmet vegan treats, so check out their site!


      Candy Corn Dots - Nom nom nom! My sweet sister bought these (and the bats and ghosts kinds too!) for me last Halloween and they were so tasty I've been thinking about them since July! They are a great substitute for the gelatin and honey-filled regular candy corn.

      Twizzlers - These are pretty much my staple snack, especially for sneaking into movie theaters! And their blood-red color makes them a terrific treat around Halloween.

      Cracker Jacks - Does it get much better than this? If you are looking for a sweet and salty snack, you can't beat Cracker Jacks! Man, these have been around for a loooong time and looks like they'll be sticking around even longer.


      Oreos - Tasty, tasty deliciousness and I love their orange filling when Halloween rolls around! Surprisingly, yes, these are vegan.

      Sour Patch Kids - I love my sour and sweet combos. This pick is especially great for Halloween because they sell the individual packs that can be passed out to trick or treaters (or hoarded year-round, like I do!).

      Swedish Fish - Delightfully chewy, I think these are every dentist's worst nightmare! Despite that they get stuck every which way in my teeth, I love these treats!


      When it doubt, I just whip something up myself. I love baking and am quite handy at making vegan cupcakes, cookies and other treats! If you want to try your hand at baking vegan, I highly recommend Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar!

      What are your favorite vegan treats?

      If you like baking vegan, what cookbooks do you like to use for sweets?

      Friday, October 22, 2010

      31 Days of Halloween: 13 Alternative Halloween Songs

      You know those Halloween songs that come out on those cheap-o comps and crowd the check-out counters of Halloween stores? You know, the ones that are filled with the usual holiday standards of “Monster Mash” or “Thriller”?

      Aren’t you sick to death of hearing these, year in and year out? I mean, these overplayed songs are almost becoming as bad as Christmas carols! It’s not that I don’t love the old classics, but I think it is high time people got some fresh blood circulating through their iPods!

      So, like last year when I listed 13 Songs to Haunt your Halloween, I present to you a whole new list of alternative Halloween songs.


      1.) “Halloween in Heaven” – Type O Negative (available on Dead Again)

      "The dead they got that morbid beat
      It goes deo deo
      They dance upon decaying feet
      With their black toes, oh no
      Heaven, limbo, and hell
      Purgatory oh well, oh well

      Halloween in heaven
      It's Christmas in hell
      Halloween in heaven
      Oh well, oh well"


      2.) “When You’re Evil” – Voltaire (available on The Devil's Bris)

      "And it's so easy when you're evil
      This is the life, you see
      The Devil tips his hat to me
      I do it all because I'm evil
      And I do it all for free
      Your tears are all the pay I'll ever need"



      3.) “Orange and Black” – God Module (available on Let's Go Dark)

      “All the leaves have died
      All the faces on the pumpkins come to life.
      He’s coming home tonight.
      There’s no where in the world that you can hide.
      From the shape hiding in the closet.
      The monster under your bed.
      There’s no way that you can stop this.
      It’s Halloween and you’re dead.



      4.) “Night in the Lonesome October” – Calabrese (available on Traveling Vampire Show)

      “Like a bat in flight
      Mortals go to hell
      We're already dead
      Hypno eyes will turn
      Virgin minds will burn
      Taste of blood tonight”



      5.) “Trick or Treat” – Nekromantix (available on Return of the Loving Dead)

      “Trick, Trick, Trick or Treat
      Open up your door and give me what I need
      Thrill kill Halloween I'll show you something
      That you've never seen”


      mmmm...Davey Havok deliciousness! 

      6.) “Michael” – Son of Sam (available on Songs From The Earth)

      “I've been waiting patiently for this day to arrive and
      I have spoken not a single word,
      Now hand to hand my voice shall be heard


      No Michael, not this time,
      I've been waiting for oh so long, oh so long”



      7.) “Spook City USA” – Misfits

      “See the ghosts as you drive past graveyards
      Spook City U.S.A.
      Deathly souls in American graveyards
      Spook City U.S.A.
      Here is where I'll die for sure”



      8.) “The Halloween Dance” – Reverend Horton Heat (available on Halloween Hootenanny)

      “You do the step with the Psycho knife
      You push a shopping cart like a Stepford wife
      You stoop like a hunchback of Notre Dame
      Now you’re doing the Halloween dance”

       
      9.) “Autumn” – Bella Morte (available on Where Shadows Lie)

      “When summer fades to silence
      When winter's still a dream
      And solemn sleep to you is blind again
      And the Autumn comes with amber eyes
      Pale as the night
      To enthrall your soul”



      10.) “No Costume, No Candy” – Swingin’ Neckbreakers (available on Halloween Hootenanny)

      “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat
      No costume, no candy”



      11.) “A Minute to Midnight” – God Module (Magic in My Heart Is Dead)

      “I want to hang you on the wall like a Halloween mask
      Do the things to you that you’re afraid to ask for
      I knew you in the leaves and the pumpkins and the trees
      Down on your knees in the cemetery”


      12.) “October Skies” – Glis (available on Nemesis)

      “As rain falls from October skies
      I chase on into the night
      Haunted by visions of past lives
      As rain falls from October skies”


      13.) “Kiss the Blade” - Combichrist (available on Kiss The Blade)

      “A glint of steel
      In the night in the night
      Darkness will arise

      Behind a mask
      A godless child
      A force that never dies” 

      Listen to this playlist on 8tracks!
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