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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Making Heavenly Souls

on October 22, 2013 - 3:42pm

I'm still adding finishing touches to the these souls, but so far I like how these simple props are turning out. 

They still need proper lighting and a bit more cheesecloth, but overall I've achieved the effect I wanted with little cost.

I only had $30 to soend on this year's projects. It's a drop in the bucket compared to past years. Luckily I had picked up the paper mache masks on clearance last November. All I needed to buy was the cheesecloth. 

5 packages of 15 ft lengths of cheesecloth. 

Budget spent.

Everything else I had around the house including:

  • paint
  • wire
  • paper towels
  • paper towel tubes
  • tape
  • black tissue paper
  • glue & glue gun
  • invisible thread
  • those packing pillows of air. I have no idea what they are officially called. It's literally a square of air. 

These would look nicer with more cheesecloth, but I think I did ok. Besides, these are not 'really ghosts, they are souls in my mind. For some reason I don't think souls have arms even in a physical manifestation, and that saved on material.

I've taken a few pictures of the process I made up as I went along. Are there better ways to build them? I am sure there are, but this worked for me and my limited resources. Let's jump into the quick how-to.

Revival Poster

on October 21, 2013 - 11:38pm

While I don't feel Heaven would promote itself to recruit souls at the end of the world like Hell would (in my imaginings, anyway), I do think they would offer their own itinerary. 

Luckily, I was able to find a vintage publication advertising a revival by John Rice, the man who wrote the book that inspired this year's theme.

I've printed it out and attached it to the official sign-up-in-Heaven's-good-book I put together. 

Pictures of that soon, but in the meantime, click the photo if you want to see the large original image of the revival ad. 

 

Enticing Souls to Hell

on October 19, 2013 - 9:19am

What if Hell took a tradeshow approach to entice souls to choose the fiery pits for their eternal stay? This is what I asked myself when I read a theory that souls actually must choose hell instead of just being cast down (as I was traditionally taught in childhood). 

What could Hell possibly offer that might sway spirits to their side? In a very tongue-in-cheek way, I came up with a list. I thought about not only traditional sin, but items various churches or religious institutions across the Christian bodies have banned or decried sinful.

And I've started to build a basic booth for my Halloween party theme of "Judgment Day: the Last Revival".

First thing is books (as seen in the sample here). I chose Harry Potter, To Kill  A Mockingbird, Astrology, and Darwin's Theories.

Next I played with the idea of recreation: trips to Vegas, Horror Movie Nights, and classic cartoons for the kids (and the kids in all of us). 

Theme for 2013 is "Judgement Day: The Last Revival"

on October 18, 2013 - 4:27pm

It looks like I may indeed get the house decorated in time. It's a theme that's been waiting to be brought into being since last year when I spotted this book, When Skeletons Come Out of the Closets by John R. Rice.

Here's a description of this collection of sermons:

"When Skeletons Come Out of Closets was preached in a red hot revival service. Preacher - here is the way it's supposed to be done. Christian - there is water here if your soul needs an oasis. Seeker of truth - if you are worried about life after death, about how to have peace with God--here is the answer from God's word, the Holy Bible. 'Everybody that goes to hell gets exactly what he deserves. He walks up to the ticket window and pays his own fare to hell -- in wages! But everybody that goes to heaven rides on a free pass.'"

John Richard Rice was a Baptist preacher born in Texas in 1895. He wrote more than 200 publications, apparently selling 60 million copies of his work. He had a radio show called  the Voice of Revival that aired on 69 stations in 29 states, broadcasting his evangelical sermons to folks at home.

 
I have always been intrigued by old fashioned American tent revivals.  They always seemed like such intense spectacles, full of extreme spiritual enthusiasm, and a little frightening to behold as a big city Catholic girl.
 
When I saw the book online, I did some research. Not only did I learn about Dr. Rice, but I actually found a recording of him (note: link works in Chrome, but not in Firefox) talking about what happens when the skeletons come out of their closets at the time of judgement. And it's a frightening story, far more terrifying than any horror movie.
 
I was instantly hooked. My next theme was picked before I had even had that year's party. 
 
I started to brush up on my Revelations knowledge and the various theories about Heaven and Hell that are held under the Christian umbrella and its different houses. 
 
I toyed with the idea of doing a frightening end of the world spin, but wanted to play more with Judgment Day and revivals.Besides, there's so much that can be done with Revelations on its own, it really demands more time than I have.

Hell No: The Sensible Horror Film

on October 15, 2013 - 11:29pm

The horror movie I've been waiting for.

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Neon Halloween and Disney Souveniers

on October 14, 2013 - 11:59pm

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. I'm thankful for Halloween. 

To show just how thankful I am, I spent a bit of time decorating my office. 

The best part of decorating my office is that unlike the rest of the house, I feel like I can decorate any way I like. I don't care if it matches a theme or looks artistic or spooky. It's about what makes me smile. And this year, that's Disney. And neon.

A friend picked up some neon signs on clearance last year and was kind enough to send a box of them my way. I was excited to break them out and light them up. 

You can see in the picture on the right the first glimpse of Disney. While waiting for some vegetables to roast, I passed the time cutting out some Mickey Bats which are ridiculously cute. 

The last thing I need or can justify buying is a stuffed animal, but on my vacation I could not resist the Frankenweenie plush. 

You can't leave Disney without a set of Mickey Ears. I am pretty sure security tackles you to the ground near the exit if you are earless. I decided to pick up the Jack O'lantern Mickey ears made more adorable by the fact that you can lift the stem of the pumpkin top to reveal Chip and Dale inside.

But the coolest thing is easily the Haunted Mansion Hourglass.

Making Halloween Decorating History

on October 11, 2013 - 3:13pm

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours painting some paper mache skull masks. In doing so, I've broken a personal record for Halloween prop making. 

Which record I've broken is yet to be decided. 

It's either: a) The latest I've ever started working on a Halloween party theme, or b) the earliest I've ever started on a Halloween party theme, if these don't get used until next year. 

Where on earth did the last two months go? 

I think I may have also set a new record for amount of colds caught in a single year. 

And I find myself on October 11th with only this to show for my party decorations. This afternoon, in between prepping Thanksgiving dinner for my mother and her household, I sat down to brainstorm a list of prop/decoration ideas that I might be able to complete in two weeks.

Two...weeks...

I usually start prep in late July/early August. "Behind schedule" for me means "I didn't get started until September and man am I panicking!".

This is two weeks before I would normally host my annual gathering. It's epic. 

I still have tomorrow's Bazaar of the Bizarre to vend, and Sunday will be my first completely free day.

I think by midweek I will know whether these skulls will make their debut this year or next. 

So start placing your bets. 

Will Ghoul Friday create a brand new theme in time for a party, or will she have to pull out decorations and just...you know...decorate. Like normal folk. Like it were Christmas. 

So...WEIRD...

Side bets for breakdowns optional. 

Ok. I need to tend to some roasted potatoes. 

Happy Gobble Gobble Weekend, my Canadian compadres. 

 

 

 

Severed Town Serpent Witches: Custom Figure

on October 10, 2013 - 9:20am

My most recent custom piece was an absolute joy to create and both myself and the new owner thought she turned out pretty cool.

He gave me a fantastic back story to pull inspiration from, which always makes the task of bringing someone's vision to life much easier.

The story serves as the theme for his home haunt. Here is his tale (posted with permission):

"In the late 1800s, the town of Severed was in financial peril. The once booming mining town was suffering because of one man, Jonathan Miltz, the owner of the mine.

Miltz was a gambler and had lost most of his fortune, forcing him to put his floundering mine up for sale. A day after it was put on the market, twin sisters rode into town, bringing their traveling snake show with them. Apparently the show was very lucrative as they immediately bought the troubled mine, as well as the town theatre so they could set up their show in a permanent  location.

The Manjula Sisters reopened the mine and began hiring all the men back who had lost their jobs. Everyone in the town was happy again.

But it was short lived.

Workers at the mine began disappearing and the sisters claimed they knew nothing of their whereabouts. The town's newspaper reporter, Jacob Wheeler, started to dig into the twin's past and what he found was shocking. It turned out the sisters had fled Salem during the witch trials and had come to Canada after being wanted for practicing witchcraft. This was all the townspeople of Severed needed to hear to start their own witch hunt.

The sisters were dragged from the mine where they were hiding and taken to the town square to be burned alive. As the flames rose around them, one of the sisters stood on the other's shoulders, and with her dying breath placed a curse on the town, turning all the women into Serpent Witches. These newly born witches of Severed hunted down the town's men. Once they had disposed of every last man, the curse was lifted.

Or was it?"

My job was to create a figure of one of the women from Severed after she had been afflicted with the curse and transformed into a Serpent Witch. With such a rich back story, I wanted to make sure I gave a nod to elements in the original tale and imagine the history of the woman I was to create. Here is my tale and some additional pictures.

Autumn Harvest Witch Lantern

on October 7, 2013 - 4:33pm

Taking a break from posts about the happiest place on earth, today's focus is an Autumn Harvest Witch Lantern I just finished. 

I've had some lanterns kicking around the house for a while now. In fact, I've been slowly accumulating them for a couple of years with plans to create various sculptures and scenes that would go inside. 

Recently I finished a witch custom figure for a fellow haunter, and decided to present her inside a lantern (mainly to keep her safe during display because she's fairly fragile). I will post those pictures soon.

Once I sent that piece off to its new owner, I said to myself "Ok. You need to start your lantern series".

Here is the first creation of what I hope will be multiple lantern incarnations. 

She holds an LED candle in a glass candleholder nestled in her lap. 

It's a varied mixed media piece, ranging from clay and fabric to twigs and moss, standing 10 inches tall.

Luckily she's ready for the Bazaar of the Bizarre this Saturday, Oct 12th. I won't have time to complete another this fall, but perhaps over the winter I'll get started on a second lantern. 

Happy Halloweeining, folks! Hope you enjoy the set of pictures below.

Halloween on Main Street in Magic Kingdom

on October 5, 2013 - 9:48am

When you walk into the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in the fall, it's like walking into Halloweentown.

Autumn colours are splashed down Main Street in banners, leaves and wreaths. Pumpkins are perched on rooftops, windowsills and peeking out from store window displays.

Halloween is everywhere.

It's in the shape of the themed baked goods, from Jack Skellington cookies to pumpkin confetti on muffins. Bags of candy have Disney characters trick or treating on the label.

If the entire park was decorated this way, I'm not sure I would have left willingly.

And if you think the collection of pictures posted below are cool, wait until you see my night shots during the Halloween party.

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