Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Invitations can really set the stage for your guests as to what to expect. Someone who receives a invite that obviously suggests a theme is less likely to show up in a t-shirt and more likely to get into the spirit. If your theme happens to be monster/ mad scientist kind of thing, this freebie should be just what the doctor ordered. So to speak.
Toe Tag Invites. The file includes simplified instructions on the second page for cutting and folding, so make sure when you print it you just select page one. After putting the the invited together we took small test tubes from American Science and Surplus and sprinkled in some red glitter and a small plastic spider. We used the ever popular cheap plastic spider rings that you always see around and cut off the ring part. The year after we used these I found small rubber fingers that would have worked nicely as well - use your imagination!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fake Fur on Sale

Fake fur can be useful to make creatures, costume accents and in my case puppets as well. This is the time of year that I skulk around Joanne's Fabrics because they gotten the new fall stuff in and that usually includes a good batch of furs. Plus right now there is a 30% off sale on fur as well as other homemade costume staples.
Now Joanne's didn't pay for a plug, but I can plug myself: my latest puppet in a contest at the appropriately named puppetcontest.com. Please check him out and cast your vote!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Influences: Tim Burton

I was first introduced to the work of Tim Burton in the late eighties when his "Vincent" short appeared on Nickelodeon's long since forgotten Turkey Television. It amazed me. Already his trademark style was evident with long, drawn faces holding gigantic tired eyes. It was like nothing I'd seen; deliciously creepy and the first glimpse in to the mind of a man who seems to breathe Halloween.

Then came Beetlejuice and Batman, and Edward Scissorhands. Then The Nightmare Before Christmas came out and developed a cult following like no other stop-animation before it. Like no other Halloween movie that didn't involve young women being killed in excruciating ways (not that I can think of many others that don't).

Nightmare was Burton's sketchbook come to life. And in that sketchbook is a bevy of design ideas that can be adapted to your own Halloween. His jack o'lantern designs are the most obvious in their off-balanced creepy brilliance, but pay special attention to he color pallets as well. His use of shadows is no accident either.
So this year, when you're planning your party, pop in a Burton flick and let his craft influence yours!

Monday, September 7, 2009

An aside about Bats...

Stopped by Micheal's craft supply this weekend to check out this year's Halloween stuff and noticed something funny. Martha Stewart is selling Bat silhouettes for your walls in much the same idea as the freebie BATS template that I posted last year. Not that I'm suggesting having any influence over Martha's empire, but why pay ten bucks for paper bats when you can make your own for FREE? (minus black construction paper costs of course.)
I guess I'll have to post some spiders and crows as well.

Costume Standbys: THE CLOAK

Deciding on what to be for Halloween can sometimes be the hardest part. If you have a few stock items in your wardrobe it can be a big help -- especially if the invite arrived at the last minute. One of my favorite standbys is the ever useful cloak. A cloak is an extremely versatile costume accessory, appropriate for numerous characters and creations.

I have a black cloak that Kate graciously made me using a the Simplicity pattern to the right. You go the direction that they are evidently suggesting and use your cloak to create an Aragorn Lord of the Rings type character or some type of Jedi or Sith from Star Wars. It would also make a good base for a wizard costume. Or add a skull mask or face paint and be the grim reaper. Or a top hat and a dagger and you're Jack the Ripper. The first year I had the cloak I went as a De Niro style Frankenstein. Peek out below the broach and ca
rry a jack o'lantern and you can be the Headless Horseman. Need I say Vampire? Steam punk? Goth? It works equally well as a medieval character as it does Victorian.
Because of the cut of this particular cloak some year I would like to go as Batman from Mike Mignola's Gotham by Gaslight.

Plus, in the years that you decide not to use the cloak in your outfit it can be combined with a mask and turned into a prop character greeting guests, completing a scene, or just lurking in a corner. Indispensable! We also like this other Simplicity pattern (9887) and made some nice cloaks for my brother and his girlfriend this past year. Just keep in mind where you live when choosing the fabric; a heavier cloth drapes nicely, but can be a killer if this party is just indoors or in a warmer climate.