Skip directly to content

Blog

Party Stores: My Saturday Shopping Adventure

on September 27, 2008 - 11:13pm

Devil mask and coins
Ever since I read about the arrival of the Spirit Halloween Store chain making its way north into Ontario, I was determined to visit. As a Canadian, I'd read post after post on forums from American haunters who make Spirit sound like a holy ground. A trek out to Mississauga was in order.

The Amazing Party Store is another haunter haven that I've been meaning to hit. Every year, CityTV News does a series of spots from their place at Halloween. Since it's on the way to Mississauga, I decided to add it to my list of destinations for the day. Yetch was kind enough to accompany me.

My first impression of the Amazing Party Store was promising. Countless spectres and ghouls hung from the ceiling. The shelves were fully stocked with items, and there were a number that I hadn't seen at other party stores. I was excited.

Creating Faux Wooden Boards with Cardboard

on September 25, 2008 - 1:09pm


Greetings Ghoulies. Just letting you know that there is a new tutorial on painting faux wooden boards on cardboard on the site. It's cheap and simple - anyone, and I mean anyone, can do it.

It's a great alternative to using real wood or, in some cases, styrofoam. Mind you, the same painting technique can be used on pieces of styrofoam (as you'll see in the tutorial).

With this technique, you can create boards for windows, full crates, or simple backgrounds. Cardboard isn't great for any area that is open to the elements (water + cardboard = bad), but inside it's fantastic (and did I mention free?).

Speaking of fantastic, I came across a sign made from foam board that was wonderfully crafted by a haunter in Maryland. Since we're on the topics of tutorials, I'll give you his as well. He was kind enough to share it with me when I asked for details.

Cake Ideas from the Wicked Little Cake Company

on September 24, 2008 - 8:35am

Bleeding Heart Cake
In my fair city there is a talented baker who runs the Wicked Little Cake Company, which started up in January of this year. Jaime, the Chief Wicked, uses fondant and cake batter like a sculptor uses clay. She can create almost anything you can dream up, including this bleeding heart cake.

Most customers have been family and friends, but with some more exposure, I imagine business should pick up for this independently run one woman baking machine.

I asked Jaime what she digs most about her craft:

I really like the jaw-dropping 'that's a cake?!' aspect of making sculpted cakes and trying to figure out how to make cake do things I never thought possible. Plus I've always liked playing with food - bonus if I get to play with other people's food!

Monster Korner Vintage Hobby Shop

on September 23, 2008 - 11:48pm

gumball machine prizes
I was playing around on flickr when I came across toyranch's account. It's a fun collection of vintage (1940ish-1980ish) toys and ads of monsters and Halloween. For example, there is an entire album dedicated to monster gumball toys (pictured right).

There are two other pictures that caught my eye (more, actually, but these were my favourites). Scanned from the Amazing Figure Modeler Magazine (issue #38, to be precise), here's a photograph that makes me wish I could step back in time. The caption beneath it reads:

Rich Palmer ran the nation's largest volume hobby shop in Parsippany, New Jersey. Aurora hired him to organize its Monster Customizing Contest in 1964. Aurora received national television attention when the CBS Evening News visited his shop. Walter Cronkite and Palmer held a conversation in the "Monster Korner" of the store. Big Frankie occupies the top shelf in the Monster Korner.

My Board Game "Soul Snatcher"

on September 22, 2008 - 1:23pm


A few years ago, I created a board game to play at one of my parties. It's acrylic paint on canvas (3 feet x 2 feet).

I made the playing cards to be shaped like toe tags, and even made little simple figurines to use as player pieces (these are currently in a box in the basement, so no pictures right now, sorry). I'll probably pull it out this year for my party.

In case anyone wanted a closer look of any of the pictures posted, I've uploaded larger images as well. Just click on the image you want to see and a bigger picture will load in a new window.

Zombies in Condoland

on September 21, 2008 - 9:45pm


At sundown on October 4th, a Toronto condominium construction site is being taken over by zombies. And you can be a part of it.

Modern zombies are mindless monsters who are undead: neither dead nor alive. They travel in groups, hungry for humans. People who are bitten are infected and transformed into zombies themselves. Because they are dead, zombies look terrible, and usually move slowly and awkwardly. They are incapable of communication, and have no individual personalities. Zombies are metaphorically associated with the working class and consumers.

Condos are apartments, some luxurious, which are rising in popularity in major North American cities. Some can be found in convenient clusters, often in areas which artists and other less wealthy groups have helped to establish as safe and/or hip. People who can afford the expensive housing units are flocking to condos in droves, like zombies.

The Creative Genius of Dave the Dead

on September 19, 2008 - 1:46pm

Lawrence
When it comes to haunters, I have a small group of personal favourites. Of those few, there are only a handful whom I would say I admire. Dave the Dead would make that short list.

I pause when I call him a haunter, because really Dave is an artist. His approach to monster making is unique and his attention to detail should be envied. He starts with the most basic materials and lovingly turns them into creatures to be coveted by ghoulies like me. Lawrence, to the left, is a perfect example of this.

Dave can be found on Haunt Forum where he inspires everyone who stumbles across his work. You can do a search for all his posts to find his 'How-To's and attempt to recreate his masterpieces.

If you already hate him for his talent, let me give you more fodder for the fire. Dave is very supportive of other haunters, giving advice to anyone on the forum who asks. He also donates some of his projects to groups in his local community. And he's humble about his talent. Jerk.

Russian Politicians Seek to Ban Halloween

on September 19, 2008 - 11:02am

Russian Flag
When Canadian politicians spend time and money on issues that seem irrelevant, I always think they have too much time on their hands and have lost their sense of purpose. Not sure if banning Halloween and Valentine's Day would be considered high priority in Russia, but I'm going to assume there are more pressing issues that should be dealt with.

An article from USA Today reports that:

The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, will consider a measure this month to guard students from what the government considers destructive Western influences, such as the two festive celebrations that are growing more popular in Russia.

Nothing Says Halloween Like SLÄTTHULT

on September 17, 2008 - 6:42pm

Picture Frames
Not that I needed another excuse to shop at IKEA, but on my last trip to the great Swedish empire I found these: a collection of peel and stick picture frames.

I'd seen it on CityTV being promoted as a 'back-to-school' item, but wasn't really paying attention. It wasn't until I saw it in person that I recognized the potential for haunters.

It's a flat peel and stick item. You place your picture on the wall with the frame over top. When you're done, you simply peel it off (leaving no holes in the wall as opposed to using real picture frames). Not sure if prolonged use will take paint off or leave a residue, but it seems fairly harmless. Will let you know after Halloween this year.

You get over 20 full frames and a smattering of the corner sets in a package (that's less than a dollar a frame). The largest one is almost 2 feet in length and they all are very beautiful.

Tick Tock Goes the Halloween Clock

on September 16, 2008 - 4:40pm

13 hour clock
How I wish there were 13 hours in a day, at least at this time of year. I'm behind, ladies and gentlemen, and trying to make up for lost time.

I'm going to be adding a collection of articles in my Halloween Party Planning section. Hopefully, by the time October hits, all of you will be armed and ready to tackle the season.

The first article is "My Maniacal Money-Saving Manifesto". It details my shopping traditions while I share some tips for when you're out and ready to drop some cash on items for Halloween. The second is based on an earlier blog post about how to store your props.

Pages