Halloween 2006


funny & tempting!

As I walked through Target at lunch today, I saw these out of the corner of my eye, thinking “Those look like giant volumetric chemistry flasks!”…and as I walked over to inspect more closely, lo & behold they were even stamped like Pyrex and listed on the price tag as “Flask Vase”…I was sorely tempted to buy the 2000mL one to supplement my mad scientist display since it would fit a good amount of fun experimental liquid, but I resisted spending $12.99 plus tax for now…

Flask Vase at Target

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Halloween progress!

I’m finally getting caught up enough from being away so long that I can post some Halloween 2006 updates!

I’m wondering how much party progress detail I should post, since now I have more & more local readers who are party guests, so if I post too much, they won’t be surprised when they show up to the party. Also if I have grand plans that don’t end up working out, I don’t want them disappointed. We’ll see how it goes, since I’ve already heard from several people I only know from online “how come no Halloween blog updates from this year yet?” so I don’t want to disappoint them either!

Some of my Halloween recipes will be published in Tucson, AZ, and Bristol, UK in local papers or magazines, and I have been promised tearsheets from each to see for myself. πŸ™‚ I almost got included in a karaoke book for the UK this summer, but I was so swamped at work it was too late when I finally could reply.

I have successfully replied to 60 Halloween help requests so far since August, even while on vacation! Gotta find a way to make consultant fees off of all that time spent! πŸ˜‰ Of course the real time suck is all the emails that come in the last couple weeks before Halloween, so that will come pretty soon. I’m noticing a frequency uptick even just today during the day!

I have a working draft of my own party book “Eerie Elegance” that so far I’ve spent many hours writing this summer (boy, when I get on a roll, I either remember other ideas I’ve done before or have even MORE related ideas!), but it’s on hiatus right now for the sake of this year’s party. I am hoping to get more good photos of me doing party prep this year, especially for inclusion in my book, but since I always end up working on party prep into the wee hours, it’s hard to have other people take photos of me. I might set up the tripod & timer just to see what I can get. Of course that also means I have to look presentable while baking – always a challenge! πŸ˜‰ The big question is whether to self-publish or try to shop an outline & an example section to a publisher. I’m still up in the air about that, since I like the full-control idea of self-publishing, but supposedly there’s more financial potential from working with a real publisher who would do the distribution for me. Of course, I could get really lucky & someone could see my self-published book & want to offer me a deal…hey it worked for the kid who wrote Eragon! πŸ˜‰

Now on to the immediate Halloween party progress, in roughly chronological order so far…not much executed yet, but I’m getting there…some of this was done before I left on my trip of course but had to be done for the party’s sake!

Halloween Party Progress

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more Halloween party progress…

We had a recording session all day Saturday, but between Friday night, Saturday night & Sunday, I did get more Halloween party prep done! Sunday was my only daylight before the party, so I had to take advantage while I had the chance!

  • construction & design of the bell tower is finished except for mounting the bell – non-glue dovetail “cornerstone” joints are a success – hooray! This means the bell tower can store flat! πŸ™‚ 
  • entire chapel is carved for this year (future plans are to enhance with more carving detail, stained glass windows, maybe a roof on the bell tower, we’ll see)
  • bell tower & chapel walls painted with tan base coat (still need to do the spray-paint aging technique!)
  • chapel door cut from scrap fake wood paneling remodeling leftovers
  • new archway door cut from scrap fake wood paneling remodeling leftovers
  • Halloween accessories from inside the shed all cleaned up, hosed off, drying in the sun
  • 4 dozen witches fingers cookies done
  • 4 dozen gravestone cookies baked, royal icing setting, still need epitaphs
  • 6.5 dozen pumpkin pasties are pre-made & frozen to be baked the morning of the party
  • (still have double-batch crab puffs in the freezer, so I won’t make more)
  • 14 dozen Brittle Bone cookies done
  • Awful Arachnids barely started, but at least royal icing is black & in the piping bag!

Other non-Halloween specific tasks but that really needed to be done before the party:

  • finally planted jasmine vine out front, included moving another juniper bush 
  • mowed front lawn, including raking leaves & sweeping gutter & sidewalk
  • finally planted both grapes & potato vines, one set on each white arbor

…still need to DECORATE!!!

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MSNBC.com linkage!

Just found out from a Halloween email that my page is linked from the MSNBC.com “Test Pattern” Halloween page! Look for the “great scary recipes”, bones & fingers mention!

Also, it’s pretty funny that I or my family have contacts in both cities where my recipes are being included in articles (Tucson AZ & Bristol UK), so they’ll keep an eye out for me… πŸ™‚

Hopefully I’ll have time to post more Halloween party prep progress a bit later…we’ll see!

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more Halloween party progress

First, the Tucson paper did run the article…as reported by my mom last night:

My friend Sherril saw your article tonight in the Tucson paper. She called and said “Britta is weird!” They printed the eyeball recipe and the witches fingers and someone else’s recipe for toes. Your eyeballs were the teaser on the front page of the paper. Your name is in it, too. She is going to mail the article to me. She got a kick out of seeing it, said it was pretty creepy stuff. hahaha.

Heehee! πŸ˜€

More party prep progress since Monday night, after choir rehearsal of course…

  • altered Melanie’s costume to fit her – the chains were too long 
  • tested out my own costume for hair & jewelry options – I am a Vintage Vampire in a teal corduroy Renaissance-style dress
  • purchased costume adhesive specifically for fitted fangs – hope it works!
  • spray paint & hose aging technique done on screened patio walls, chapel walls & bell tower
  • backyard mostly cleaned up for party ready
  • got out decorations I plan to use this year (gotta change things around to keep people on their toes!)
  • setup yard power extensions & “Disneyland spooky” lighting in backyard
  • hands setup in the hedge (I’ll leave this as a surprise vs. more description…heehee!)
  • more tests for where to put inside webcam – think I found a good spot that can easily be turned for living room vs. kitchen, but the wifi cam doesn’t have a tripod mount fitting – argh!
  • 4 dozen gravestone cookies iced & lettered in Old English style
  • about 7 dozen Awful Arachnids (royal icing spiders)
  • with louienet‘s help, got the wifi cam to spit out image captures on a schedule via a cron job – the motion detection trigger setup stopped working this week, so I would have had to click a web button every hour during the party to get it to save otherwise! πŸ˜›

So all the advance food is ready, the gelatin making starts tonight, gelatin decorating & fresh food prep tomorrow & Saturday during the day, with finishing some last props, decorating & cleaning inbetween! Wish me luck!

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Halloween 2006 Party Post-Mortem

Whew! Another successful party, with a record of 55 attendees throughout the evening, amazingly never feeling crowded! Hooray for nice weather & enough party space to spread out from living room to large kitchen to screened patio, covered patio & new brick patio, plus the firepit to take off the chill! πŸ™‚ I even got the majority of the cleaning & dishes done before I went to bed at 2:30 (the 2nd time around after “falling back”)…hooray!

Who won what?

Scariest Costume = Nat as Death, the Grim Reaper
Most Original Costume = Box of Popcorn Dave & Pink Cotton Candy Wendy
Ultimate Costume = Patnoes of the Rings: Gandalf the White Xtopher, Frodo Lisa & little Gollum Xander!

Haunted Headstones quiz = Scarlett Nathania & Rhett Kevin with 43 of 57 possible – great job!
Name that Tune Spooky Movies = Obi Wan Barbieri (Doug) with 24 of 31 possible – great job!

We had lovely Ghoulish Goodies brought by guests, including Pimples (cherry tomatoes filled with cream cheese) among lots of tasty treats! I had provided sheets to fill out the title, description & “chef” in hopes we could vote later, but with all the quiz grading & costume voting going on, I think people were through with voting by then. Thanks to everyone who brought something! I love your creativity & the food was delicious!

Only a couple people filled out Lab Reports of their mad scientist drink experiments for Laudable Libations, so we didn’t vote on those either, also the “done voting” effect, but people were definitely making plenty of potions! Between the open bar in the “library” on the screened patio, mad scientist laboratory in the kitchen, bountiful beverages were had by all, alcoholic or otherwise. πŸ™‚ Everyone said they had a lot of fun, and I had several first-time guests who were blown away…always nice to hear even if I didn’t get everything set up exactly the way I wanted…as always! πŸ˜‰

Full Party Post-Mortem

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Happy Halloween!

Photos are now posted in my gallery for this weekend’s big Halloween bash!

Halloween 2006

Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween today!

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