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Oriental Trading Company: Delivering Crap Worldwide

on August 7, 2008 - 6:55pm

Black fake treePretty, isn't it? I mean, not beautiful, but not bad either. That's the image of the tree on the Oriental Trading Company website (don't look for a link. You won't find one here).

The description reads "Black Leaves Tree. Set an eerie Halloween scene with this painted wooden tree! Featuring silky, midnight black leaves, this elegant yet spooky tree makes a ghostly decoration for a haunted house."

Now, I know it's going to be cheesy looking (anything with fake leaves usually is) but I've jazzed up cheesy before. And since it was marked down about 40% off the original price, I won't care if it's a bit corny.

Keep in mind they used the words 'painted' and 'elegant' to describe the tree. The adjectives should have been 'splintered' and 'craptastic'. But I'm jumping ahead.

Three Ghoulish Cheers For Young Haunters

on August 6, 2008 - 10:26pm

young girl in bloody straight jacketWho says the youth of today have no determination or ability to plan ahead? Back when I was neck deep in work and this website was in shambles, I got an email from a young woman (we'll call her Emily the Strange) who said she was looking for Halloween theme ideas...in May (you're making me look bad in front of the other haunters, Emily).

Miss Strange was kind enough to send me pictures and descriptions of her haunt to use on my theme page. I'm finally at the point where I can do this (a mere 3 months later). But I wanted to make sure I gave Miss Strange her dues and salute her with her own blog post. Besides, it looks like the girl has no pupils in that picture. How gruesomely gorgeous is that?

Emily has been haunting her friend's yard for the past two years. Last year, under a pair of raging red eyes glowing in the upstairs window, they created a Demented Hospital complete with an i.v. bag (made by a pop bottle filled with water and food colouring which ran down a slim rubber tube) hanging next to a victim...er...patient, waiting to get her leg sawed off by the "crazy zombie doctor" (not just a zombie doctor...a crazy zombie doctor...the worst kind of doctor possible) as she screamed in pain.

Awful Edible Roasted Fleshworms & Bleeding Heart

on August 6, 2008 - 8:02pm

sausage wrapped with bacon that has a mouth and teeth
Ever wonder what it would take to make some of your friends queasy? Have I got a dish for you.

On imakeprojects.com you'll find not one, but two versions of this recipe (one with regular bacon, one with prosciuttoto) for Roasted Fleshworms.

Basically, pork tenderloin is wrapped with prosciutto and roasted. Dried spaghetti is broken into pieces for teeth. A slit is cut in the stomach area and chili is used for the...uh...guts.

One version is pretty straight forward while the second has you freezing the meat before you cook it. I understand his logic but question his process (there's got to be better ways to solve his dilemma. Read his post and you'll understand what I'm talking about).

A Tutorial: Paper Mache - The Ghoul Friday Way

on August 5, 2008 - 10:47pm

I've been asked a few times in the past if I have any tips on creating props using paper mache. I decided it was time to create a tutorial. In fact, I will be adding a collection of tutorials to the 'Horrific How To's' section in the next few weeks.

If you're interested in learning about a basic approach to paper mache, making simple mache casts of objects, and getting some advice from someone who has worked with this medium for a few years, I invite you to read Paper Mache - The Ghoul Friday Way.

I will announce any new tutorials as they are created. Hope you enjoy it!

Naoto Hattori, Artist

on August 4, 2008 - 9:16pm

Skeleton in a dress with a tree growing out of it. Woodland creatures nearby
Naoto Hattori is originally from Japan but has lived, studied and worked in New York for several years now. He went from graffiti tagging under bridges to creating company ads.

Hattori often gets hired for CD cover designs which suits him fine since he's a music fan and feels at home in the scene. You can also catch a glimpse of his art (perhaps only a fleeting glimpse) on snowboards and skateboards (keeping close to his graffiti-roots?).

What I like about him as an artist is that one picture can be soft, welcoming, almost disarming despite the gruesome undertones. The next can be completely in your face, pushing you back in your chair.

Hattori paints whatever fancies him; whatever pops into his head. You might say it reveals a darker side to him, but the man makes a good point about the public and his art:

Ghoul Friday's Wish List: Witch Lamp

on August 2, 2008 - 8:53pm

Lamp in the shape of a witch leg
Someone was talking about Grandin Road on a forum. Being Canadian, I'd never heard of the store. My first impression is Martha Stewart meets Pottery Barn with a hint of (overpriced) IKEA. They have some nice items for Halloween but it's way above my price point ($40 for a wreath. $100 for a lamp).

However...

If I were to create a Christmas wish list, I might have to put this little item near the top. Yes, it's borderline hideous but it reminds me of A Christmas Story ("the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window"); the beloved major award with a Halloween twist.

I especially like the skull at the very top.

Someone needs to tell my beloved Yetch that I've been eyeing this. And reassure him I'd put it in my office.

Too Late to Taste Flesh

on August 1, 2008 - 5:02pm

plate of brown stripas of tofu
For any freakish foodies out there, I am the bearer of bad news: your one legal chance to taste - or at least experience the taste of - human flesh has come and gone. The dark window of opportunity was briefly open between May 2005 and June 2006, and we missed it.

Mind you, if the idea of tofu turns you off even more than human flesh, you didn't miss anything.

The product was called Hufu (human tofu). It was the "healthy human flesh alternative", made to mimic the texture and taste (secret ingredient: teriyaki sauce) of human flesh and targeted at - get this - anthropology students studying cannibalism.

The End of Halloween?

on August 1, 2008 - 11:19am

pumpkins with a question mark above them
While lurking on Facebook, I came across one group's topic that asked the question "Is Halloween Dying Out?". Posters were quick to confirm this, citing sexual predators and political correctness (for example, kids no longer dressing up at their schools) as key causes. In my opinion, they missed the mark somewhat.

Halloween is not dying out, just evolving. Though there are rampant reports of a steady decline in trick or treaters, more and more people are throwing Halloween parties (for themselves as adults but especially for their kids). Instead of going door to door, the children meet up at one house to celebrate the holiday together. There is also an increase in community events that families attend. One stop trick or treating, so to speak. No fuss, no muss.

Shakespeare's Land of the Dead

on July 30, 2008 - 6:07pm

Actor dressed as Shakespeare with a zombie behind him

For those of you in the Minnesota area who've ever said to yourself "I need more culture, but Shakespeare is so...1608", now might be the time to attend some theatre.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival has a wide lineup of shows to choose from, but I'd probably try to see a production by Walking Shadow Theatre Company entitled Shakespeare's Land of the Dead.

Imagine London, 1599. Interior scene: Globe Playhouse. While Shakespeare is trying to launch his play, he's suffering from a few distractions including a plague that is turning his fellow Elizabethans into the walking dead.

Peek-a-boo Plant: First Prop of 2008

on July 26, 2008 - 6:56pm

plant with eyeballs instead of flowers
The first prop of the year, and it isn't even for me. I'd started making it for a friend last winter, and the poor little thing has been sitting in my office unpainted ever since. I finally took the time to finish it this afternoon.

She's made from styrofoam balls, acrylic paint, bathroom tissue mache, a stick, some moss for the base and an old pot. You can make one just like it using the same technique I did (see Carnivorous Plant in the Horrific How-To's section).

Basically, it's styrofoam balls stuck on wire and attached to a stick. I then dip toilet paper in a glue/water mix and cover the wire with it (creating leaves and eyelids). Wait for it to dry completely. Then start layering different shades and colours of paint.

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