Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Planning the Halloween Attack (And a DIY update)

For me, Halloween is pretty much all about the lead up. It's about having a few months of the year where my preferred aesthetic isn't frowned upon (and is easy to find in stores) and where I can expect to be cheered up by decorated storefronts, themed radio hours, horror movie marathons on television, and discounted candy. Halloween day is usually not a big event for me since I don't have a special religious connotation for it, I'm not big on the Goth clubs, and my college friends are several states away. So, how do you capture the magic of this season and make the most of it before Christmas stuff is rolled out on November 1st? Here's my "attack plan" for the following months so that I can make the most of the Halloween season:

Stock up on DIY supplies

Yes, I made a haul of Michael's supplies last week, but there's definitely more to find. For the coming year I'm thinking of stocking up on ribbon, wooden shapes and coffins, fake flowers, stamps, and stickers. Bane of GIY: Goth it Yourself has a post about some great Halloween fabrics that are going up on sale, and maybe this is the time to learn to make myself a skirt (I'm eyeing this fabric but my sewing skills aren't exactly up to scratch.)

Halloween Movie Marathons

For something not-that-scary? Nightmare Before Christmas, Paranorman, Ruby Gloom, and their ilk. But then there's metric tons of horror movies out there (I have The Cabin in the Woods, The Devil Inside, 1408, and Grave Encounters, cued up, besides a whole host of vintage horror movies I found, and I plan on gorging myself on them until Halloween is over. If I suffer a heart attack from high-sodium popcorn, I'll let you all know

Dress to the Nines

I think I missed the Goth gene that makes people bothered by "it's not Halloween yet!" comments from passersby. It's not even an insult, really, just them demonstrating their knowledge of the date and their own misunderstanding of our subculture. Either way, as Halloween approaches and autumn sneaks up on us, I'm taking the opportunity to dress up more and more. Hopefully I'll have a fascinator to add to my outfits soon.

Flavors of the Season

Beyond just Halloween candy, there are a lot of flavors of autumn and Halloween that will put you in the mood. Pumpkin is a big one, but you can add licorice flavor to your cooking with a bit of anise, which tastes wonderful. Not to mention cookie cutters shaped like Halloween favorites (if you have metal ones, pop them in a frying pan and fill with batter to make shaped Halloween pancakes. If you are of drinking age (or are feeling rebellious), hard cider, absinthe, apple schnapps, spiced rum, and those kinds of flavors are great for the season. Or you can follow Jayne of The Dark Victorian's recipe for Absinthe cupcakes, which look delicious.

Browse for Decor

I'm saving this mostly for the very, very brief window of time after Halloween where everything is for sale because there's this pesky holiday mark up to contend with during the rest of the season. This year I'm looking for candle sticks, cupcake liners, plaques and signs, plates, and maybe a few other bits and bobs. Long, long ago I posted a guide to Halloween Decor for Year-Round Design, and I'm still going to adhere to those rules.

Speaking of decor, I finished crafting my plaques made from last week's Michael's Halloween Haul!

First I finished the tombstone one, which was done vertically. Black paint on the background, a skull ribbon for hanging, and the tombstone itself.

That tombstone is kind of a silly story because I couldn't find grey paint or white paint (to mix with my black paint) so I was kind of stuck. In the end I used a mixture of gray crayon, silver gel pen, gray colored pencil, and black paint smudged with my finger. I think it turned out alright, no?

Next, I did the bat one.

I hung glued the bat horizontally and did a longer ribbon. 

The face was added with silver gel pen. I've rubbed it with my finger and it doesn't smudge or anything, which is great for me.

I haven't finished the coffin yet, nor have I found another craft for the remaining wooden tombstone and bat, but I'm working on it. And I ordered supplies for my skull fascinator, which should come shortly. It's DIY central over here. What projects have you all been working on? And how are you going to go about making the most of the Halloween season?


  1. Are you going to have an official "Halloween costume"? For several years, my husband and I threw riotous Halloween parties at our place that always included Hair Metal Karaoke, but after having to clean the mess up, usually by myself, I put the hammer down on parties at our house. We do occasionally go out to bars/venues and dress up, but mostly we stay home, watch horror movies, and wait with our giant candy bowl for the ONE kid to knock on our door. Then we eat all of the Reese's cups :)

    1. Heh, if you get ONE kid, consider yourself lucky! We live in a gated apartment complex and haven't had ANY TorTers in years. Which means I have NO excuse to buy candy... but I do, anyway. ;-)

    2. I hardly ever wear a costume anymore, usually it's just over-the-top Goth outfit with my vampire fangs. Maybe I should do something bigger this year!

  2. They don't put out Christmas stuff there until November 1st??? Wow, you're lucky! Out here (San Francisco Bay Area) it's in the stores by September, sometimes even August!!! And I'm NOT including Michael's, which is, after all, a craft store, so they need to put seasonal stuff out early.

    Sewing skills get better with use, so I say GO for it! Get that material and make that skirt. And if you want to test the pattern (and your skills) first, get some cheap remnants and make the skirt with those, then make the REAL skirt with the awesome material.

    1. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I live in a college town that also has lots of little kids so Halloween is pretty big around here, we have a Party City nearby and there are always 2-3 pop-up Halloween stores from September to Halloween. Of course, there's a few Christmas things around, but it doesn't hit full force until after Halloween is over.

      I think that sounds like a plan! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. The modern Halloween aesthetic isn't my style, so I usually skip over the holiday themed arts and crafts at the store. But I do like seeing what you create out of your finds. Keep up the DIY posts! Also, I agree with Lucretia: make the skirt! Skirt patterns are some of the best for beginner seamstresses (speaking as one myself).

    Finally, to echo Underground for Tea: will you dress up for Halloween?

    1. Thank you! I'll try to keep updating as I make more and more things. I'm trying to find a pattern for the type of skirt I want, maybe you (or any other seamstresses) can help?
      The orignal skirt has tie-ups to make it into a bustle which I don't need.
      I've been looking online and most of the instructions I can find are either MS Paint drawings or just worded instructions and I need something a bit more substantial than that (I'm pretty geometrically hopeless.)

      I'll probably be doing a vampire look again this year, but I recently found some antlers in the woods which might lead to a more deer-inspired costume.

    2. You can always leave the tie-ups off, that's easy! I recommend looking at ruffled skirt patterns from McCall's and Simplicity, as they're usually the easiest to do. Butterick's and Vogue patterns can be more difficult, I don't recommend those to beginners, but you might find what you're looking for there as well.

  4. I'm off to Whitby Goth Festival (home of Dracula) on Halloween for my annual pilgrimage and also my wedding anniversary. Cottage is booked, festival tickets booked, outfits and new makeup bought - just bought new skirt from the fantastic website Fantasmagoria in the EU, who do Punk Rave clothing and fingers crossed it's cute (the Black Cathedral skirt, though it was their Purple Dust skirt I really loved but had to admit I'd wear the other more). You can find them here:

    Mind, Whitby has the worst Dracula museum I've ever been in. Its dark, dank, really bad and then throws you out in a back alley. Really, really funny to do when slightly squiffed. The local museum also has a leech powered machine, The Tempest Prognosticator, and a Hand of Glory. Lovely!
    There's a Sherlock Holmes themed cafe, and a dog friendly cafe that has the most amazing cake - Becketts, that is also a second hand book shop. Actually, the whole town goes goth for Halloween. Its beyond wonderful :)

  5. I wish my neck of the woods celebrated Halloween a bit more... Still, it means I don't get the 'it's not Halloween yet' comments...

  6. In some ways the time leading up to Halloween is the best part. In Sweden there isn't much Halloween stuff to find. But we grow our own pumpkins, and even though it's close to 30 degrees outside now, my walks to the green house reminds me of Halloween every day :)

  7. I love halloween :3 Those absynthe cupcakes sound wonderful, I might try to make them sometime ^^