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Little Red Souls

on October 23, 2013 - 11:43pm

It looks like the heavenly display is close to finished, so tonight was dedicated to getting 4 of the souls who chose Hell hung in the dining room.

Instead of using cheesecloth, I re-purposed the fabric from last year's Twin Peaks Black Lodge red waiting room. Folding, pinning, and hanging each one into various forms, I tried to get some interesting shapes and hints at stance and mass. 

I think they'll look pretty cool under proper lighting.

I still have 6 more to get into place. Hopefully that will be completed tomorrow night. 

Getting into that stage where it's about last minute final touches. A layer of material here. A sign there.

Some of it is still not quite right, but those should sort themselves out.

Sunday night is the big reveal.

I still have to grocery shop and put together the menu that goes along with the theme. 

And then there's that pesky work thing that always gets in the way.

But for now, it's time to sleep. 

 

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.

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.

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. 

 

 

 

Roman Bust Progress

on October 23, 2012 - 2:12pm

Finally dove in and sculpted the hair. Decided to go super cheap and use Crayola Model Magic. I was concerned it wouldn't adhere to the paper mache but my fears quickly vanished once I got going.

It's interesting to see the progression from start to finish, don't you think? 

Sure, she's no Venus, but I'm pretty happy with it considering I had no idea what I was doing. 

Sculpture Progress For Black Lodge Theme

on October 20, 2012 - 12:08am

To simplify my life this Halloween, I picked a theme (Halloween in the Black Lodge - a Twin Peaks reference) that would not involve a lot of large scale prop building. There would only be one big one. Sounds simple, yes? I mean, I usually build numerous props for a theme, so one should be a breeze.

There's a statue seen in the Red Room/Black Lodge on the series.

A very famous statue.

In fact, one could argue besides David, the Thinker, and Atlas, it's probably the most recognizable sculpture ever made: Venus.

It's one thing to create something from your own imagination, or a symbol known by people. But I mean...it's freakin' Venus. Not only do I have NO experience sculpting humans (the closest I've come is my Witch in the Woods but she was a character, not a realistic sculpt), but I am not a famous master Roman sculptor!

I decided right from the start that I would NOT be aiming to recreate Venus. That would be stupid. And drive me to drink. 

Instead, I would aim for generic white sculpture of a woman with Roman qualities.

If you missed my last post, check it out first. 

Got it? Good. Now onto my current progress.

Misgivings Day Project: Paper Mache Bust

on September 14, 2012 - 9:47am

I've been working on casting a form from a mannequin (don't we all have mannequins hanging around?) using paper mache. It's the first prop for my Halloween theme this year, and probably the one that will take the most time. 

Thought I would share the process so far. 

Miss Mannequin gets covered in tinfoil. To help keep the tinfoil in place without actually attaching it to the form, I've put tack adhesive putty on spots around her body (especially around the facial features). I want it to stay in place, but I want to be able to remove the tinfoil and paper mache form fairly easily when I'm done.

Covered Miss M with a layer of newspaper using watered-down white glue. Basically, I rip newspapers into strip, coat them in the glue/water mix, and smooth them over the tinfoil. For a more detailed explanation of my technique, check out my tutorial

Since she is so large, for the first layer I used fairly big pieces of newspaper for the torso. After it was completely dry, I added a second layer of more traditionally small pieces. The smaller pieces tend to give a smoother finish and allow you to work around angles. 

Full Story for Halloween 2011

on October 28, 2011 - 10:32am
A creature of darkness tired of working for death. He sought an existence the opposite of the world he knew.
 
Love.

But what is it? How to attain it? The living held the secret. So he studied their literature and observed their courting behaviour. He understood he needed a fiancee to shower in gifts (including the key to his heart). And in order for her to love him, he started gathering all the human elements of love: lips for love's first kiss; an ear where sweet nothings are whispered; a tongue that professes love; a nose to breathe in pheromones; fingers that caress; eyes to stare longingly; a brain for daydreams and romantic thoughts; a heart to give to her, and an extra in case the first should "break".

He found a house in a quiet neighbourhood which conveniently had a wife living in it. In his limited understanding of human custom, he grasped she couldn't marry him if she already had a husband unless he was given something called "divorce papers". He created a crude version with a simple statement and added his own wax initial (a gesture to make it official) though by that time, the marriage was technically over since the man no longer lived (better to be safe than sorry, he thought, apparently divorce indicates an ending to love while death has strange lingering romantic thoughts surrounding it).  

Another Day, Another Painted Prop

on October 26, 2011 - 3:41pm

A very quick peek at the last of the large prop makeovers this year. 

After this, I hope to start snapping some official images of every character in its place and tell the story of this year's theme.

We have here a 6 ft hanging ghoul with a blue complexion. His detailing is pretty wonderful for a hanging prop which is what caught my eye. That and his almost gleeful expression which works well in my story (coming soon). But blue isn't what I'm looking for, so it was time to give him a quick paint job.

For the record, this prop could easily be taken out of the box, hung up, and with a good spotlight be ready to go. I just needed him to look a little different. Plus, I wanted those eyes and teeth to pop.

All I did was paint black around the eyes and mouth (image below, left). Then I used dark brown to paint the deep creases and shadows (below, middle). And finally, light grey/beige and white dry brushed highlights (with white for the eyes and teeth).

Corpsing A Skeleton: Part 2 is Done!

on October 21, 2011 - 1:35pm

 

Here she is!

Isn't she perty?

Finally got to finish her today and I've written up the second part of the how-to with some close up images for you to get a good look at the subtle changes that make a huge effect. 

I can't wait to get her dressed up for Halloween. 

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