Saturday, October 31, 2009


Once again, it's that time... it's finally HALLOWE'EN.

A gift for all of my family and friends who frequent this place:

Oh, the Hallowe'ens we had then were grand!
When we were just children clasping hands
To run in scared-happy mobs and then land
On walkways of rustling leaves, then to stand
On porches whose dim light was merely a band
Of candlelit grins from pumpkins, a strand
Of spiderweb beckoning us to command
The best view of what each of the haunters had planned!

Oh, the Hallowe'ens we had then were fun!
When costumes in late September were begun
As monsters and heroes, all favorites, now done,
Invaded the sidewalks with the dipping of the sun
Witches, there were, and Devils, more than one,
(Long before we could hear 'Devil's work!' from anyone)
Mummies, skeletons, fairies and bums
With smiles on our faces and candy in our tums.

Oh, the Hallowe'ens we had then were scary!
You never knew when to be festive or wary
And so we were both, and spent the night sharing
A laugh at what each of us proudly were wearing
Pointing to strangers who, amused, would be staring
At a menagerie miniature of once-a-year daring
And put up with the shrieks and the pranks and the scaring
And shake their heads, knowing they once had their pairing
Of costumes and treats and childish bearing

And after we left
They'd sigh with a smile
And take up each hand
And say, 'Oh, the Hallowe'ens we had then were grand...'

To each and every one of you, have a wondrous, scary, funny, spooky and thrilling

Friday, October 30, 2009

T-Minus 22 hrs...

Uncle Forry's head, keeping an eye on the messiest work area ever.

Yes okay HOLY $#%^!!!

The countdown says 0 days, 22-something hours.

To us mortals, that's One Day More (cue Les Miserables music).

My figures await the call to head upstairs and out to the yard; which won't happen until Saturday morning, but they are ready to go. Well, nearly...

The Great Pumpkin nearly napping (suddenly there came a tapping...)

The Lean Bros. & Ghoul dressed as the Singing Busts... in blacklight, this is awesome.

The oddest 'waiting-for-Hallowe'en' picture of these two I've ever seen. But they are quite ready, and will be clothed and accessorized on Saturday.

And here's Leota in the Treat Room.

The video's dark so it's hard to see exactly how everything's laid out... I will get better footage on Saturday, that's a promise.

But you can see the effect, and the reflections of the projector and UV LED bundle for her hair are exaggerated in the video; they are not nearly as bright and distracting in reality.

Oh, the audio is muddied by an ungodly storm raging all around as I recorded this. Kinda cool!

I think I may get things done... good Lordy!

Can you all feel it approaching ? I already feel like the holiday is here; the air is different, the sunlight is different...


Did I mention I love Hallowe'en?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2 days.

You'd think I found a screen grab from The Ghost & Mr. Chicken, but this is
actually a picture of me when the countdown clock read 'TWO DAYS'.

So tired.

So excited.


By October 23rd, the Skull & Pumpkin had received 5,000 visits... now not quite 5 days later, and with the Most Glorious Night Of The Year screaming toward us... we've added almost 500 more.

An average of 125 visits to this little pub per day for the last 4+ days.

I love it!


Uncle Forry, one more story.

I know.

That face is alive.

He's way too lively and looks way too interesting and cool to be shelved... and if I pull off a miracle in two days, he won't be.

But at the moment, Uncle Forry is sort of in limbo.

I did improve the servo/torque problems, and the jaw is better, but the real problem now is lack of audio to really get a story across. Context means a lot in my displays, at least to a large enough degree to give meaning to the use and placement of a given figure.

I have a place for him, of course, but if he doesn't have anything to say, it's a little sad.

Yes, he has a tombstone in the graveyard, but he can't go there because the pirates and skeletons are there being way more interesting and he'd distract.

But Boo Corner might be perfect for him. And maybe... maybe he doesn't have to say much of anything.

Mmmmaybe he's holding a big bowl of treats and every so often tossing out some tidbit of autobiographical wisdom.

Maybe I just solved the problem and now need to program a few looks and poses and can make him look lively and be present at my Hallowe'en shindig without being too loud about it.

Maybe I have once again turned a perceived problem on its head and made it cooler than I'd thought, by simply writing about it and expressing my doubts here at this ol' Skull & Pumpkin pub.

Lots of maybes. Maybes, could I's, should I's, what ifs...

But if Hallowe'en isn't the ultimate 'what if' holiday, I don't know what is.

2 days and some change.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Hallowe'en Radio.

Orson Welles directs the CBS Mercury Theatre On The Air, October 30th, 1938

Sirius-XM has just kicked off their week-long Hallowe'en Channel.

It is part of what the ol' Skull & Pumpkin will be playing all this week. And for you at home, if you have a subscription to Sirius- XM:

Sirius 126
XM 120

They've been playing Zacherley songs, audio from It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, bad surf music, bits from horror movie scores, reminiscences from various folks about their more memorable trick'r'treatin' adventures, and just generally fun stuff!

Get with it! This is our week people!

Oh, the magic of this final week. The tired, cruddy, perfect magic of making Hallowe'en.

Please get out and enjoy your weather, your pumpkins. Make your costumes. Decorate, if you haven't already. Do it do it DO IT!

I'll see you all a little later.

Friday, October 23, 2009


When I opened this dark little place at the end of June, I thought:

"Gee, wouldn't it be nice to have received a few thousand visitors by Hallowe'en?"

Well, Hallowe'en is a week away and the old Skull & Pumpkin has now had over 5,000 visits, with the last thousand occurring in a very short time. When I began this post we were at 5024, and now we're at 5045.
20 in 3 minutes. Hahaha!

I know it's nothing compared to the big boys out there who get ten thousand hits a day.

But we're a small, family-friendly little place...

To everyone who comes to visit the S&P: thanks for the support and the patronage.

Son of More Making Hallowe'en (by request).

A frequent patron of the Skull & Pumpkin (I'm looking at you, Sinisterious!) has kindly asked the proprietor of this humble establishment to pass around some pictures of the build up to the HHGs (Hitchhiking Ghosts, get with the lingo). I did take some, but figured the end result was more interesting than the process.

What was I thinking?

I've already shown you pics of their heads, and of Ezra's body testing the leaning mechanism. I'll jump to the point where everything begins to finally come together (right now... over me).

Blue foamboard, screws, hot glue, flat black latex paint (spray enamels will eat into foamboard and will melt styrofoam to jelly). This was the 'making sure the heights and widths are good' phase, the last stage before clothing. I know Phineas and Gus have no legs. Duh! They won't need them in the blacklight.

I don't know what this material is called; I kept referring to it as the 'stuff on the bottom of the mattress' fabric. Lightweight, black, and sheer. Perfect. Some pins and hot glue, and a little creative folding and cutting, and I was on my way to HHG happiness.

Some white Foamies strips for Ezra's tie, collar and cuffs. Blue foamboard buttons for Phineas and Ezra. And Ezra's head on Gus's body, because it was funny to me.

The Gang of Three, just before painting.

There is... SO much more to do. But it's what I live for.

P.S. I love that I wrote 'begins to finally'.

Spook out-

Bride of Making Hallowe'en.

Hitchhiking Ghosts... done.

I said I would finish them today, and gol durn it, I did.

Well, Phineas needs his valise and Gus his ball n' chain, but those are here at the house, not at the shop. Done, I say!

On to Leota, Uncle Forry (I have not forgotten nor given up) and the Lean Bros and Ghoul... maybe I'll finish by Spring '10.

So much fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Even MORE Making Hallowe'en.

Kinda forgot to post this in the last one... I guess I could've simply edited the previous post to add this... but that would be too easy.

No, I'll do that. I've edited the previous post to add what I would have added here.

So go back to the last post to see what would have been in this one.

Go on. Do it.

I could make this an endless loop thing...

More Making Hallowe'en.

Good morning you old Skull & Pumpkin pub.

I have been so busy with Hallowe'en preparations that I have neglected to share my recent progress... oh the irony!

As usual, there will be things I will not finish, and there will be props whose realization will be decidedly altered from their conceptualization. I don't worry, really... this is Hallowe'en for the luvathegreatpumpkin! No matter if the fruits of my labors taste different than I had first expected... they're always the sweetest bite of the year.

The Hitchhiking Ghosts are coming along, and I may actually finish them by November 17th.
Okay, seriously, they'll be running Hallowe'en night, but I have run out of time to give them serious thumb movement. But you know what?:
After seeing Ezra here lean so jauntily, I don't think it matters that his thumb isn't hitching on its own. I think that once they're all clothed, mounted, painted and black-lit, they're going to look very cool indeed, and I'm not going to notice those thumbs being static. And since my opinion is the one that matters... !

(By the way, I don't know what the heck is up with the ungodly low resolution of these clips... my camera says 'I'm set to the highest res available to me' and they look much nicer on my desktop than after uploading them here. Must be a Blogger thing? I'll get it taken care of soon. In the meantime, here's a still of the above for clarity's sake!).
I also had time to really dress up the casket the way it ought to look:

Those candles were fun and pretty easy to make. There were some old, unused decorative rounds in the woodpile at the shop, and I had the PVC laying about. I grabbed a few of those flickering LED tea lights and soldered extension wires between the LED and the tiny circuit board and hot glued the LED just below the lip of the PVC 'candle'. A little hot glue drippings for wax, some black and gold paint for the candle holders, some webs and dead flowers and voila! This thing's ready to go!

The flickering is very hard to see in the shop light so I grabbed this close up shot. Can't wait to see this thing in real lighting! Now I still need to add the green interior light but I already have that ready to go; that will happen as soon as the casket is situated at the house.

And yes, that's 'I'm Not That Girl', from the hit musical Wicked, playing in the background of these last two clips. Elphaba's my girlfriend. Deal with it.

Oh, those pedestals behind the casket...
... those are for the Lean Bros & Ghoul, who will be dressed this year as the Singing Busts from the Haunted Mansion graveyard. They look dark but it's UV paint so it glows nicely.
I should say 'fluoresces'.
Anyway, I'll have pics.

Today I will do my level best to finish the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

Then I have programming to do. Oy!the programming...

Carpe Diemdumshrekpop!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

13 Days.

Not the movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But the panic is not substantially less.

13 days and counting.

This is just about how I feel now...
Like a Romero zombie.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fifth year in a row.

HGTV will be airing the aforementioned special Extreme Hallowe'en on Friday, October 30th, at 4pm e/p, 3c.

Fifth year in a row.

Sure, I have it on a few DVDs, a VHS, and in multiple video files on a few computers... but there's just something about knowing it's on TV when everyone could be watching at the same time... just cool.

Plus, right when this airs, I'll be busy putting everything up for the Big Night, and awaiting the arrival (if they're not here the day before) of family who've not been able to attend one of my Hallowe'en shindigs in 15 years (two of whom were not even born when I moved out here).



Wait... I thought I was supposed to be sleepizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz -*

Making Hallowe'en II.

Legs... feet... back... very tired and sore... must... write like... robots... speak...

Got a lot done today, so kicking back here at the pub at the end of the night is especially sweet.

Oh I'll still run out of time before getting it all done, but as I wrote previously, I'm not really worried.
Trying to steal my drink... way to betray your maker, fake hand.

Added two hasps and some odd silvery detail.

Found some great fabric for lining the casket, so... I did. Not very well, but it'll hold.

Fold, glue, fold, glue, fold, glue...

... but it looks cool!

And (almost) finally:

Click it. You know you wanna.

Video quality's not hot (not sure why, maybe Blogger's acting up), so the detail of the coffin nails is a little lost... but the noise is awesome. At any rate, a few candles, dead flowers, cobwebs, and she's done.
Oh right, green lighting.

Eh, you'll see.

And what are these?
An idea that hit me tonight, and about which I shall elaborate in the next few days.

Long day, relaxing night, I'm heading upstairs to bed.

But don't leave on my account. You are always welcome to stay and look around.

All I ask is that you don't drink from the upper shelf and if you leave... douse all the sconces, would you?

*yawn!* Dumdumshzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz -!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making Hallowe'en.

It's good to be back at the ol' S&P for an evening of winding down from a day's work.

I'm sure you all know the feeling. That's why we're here.

It was a cold, drizzly day and therefore perfect for making Hallowe'en props. I headed out to pick up some supplies at generic-home-center-of-your-choice and went straight to my cousins' shop where there is space, space and tools and more space to lay everything out and build-build-build.

Today I had in mind the coffin for my "Lemmeouttahere!" hands. Styrofoam insulation board is always the way to do things like this when the prop needs to be lightweight but sturdy.

Measure twice, cut once.

Hot glue, zip screws, fender washers. The elements are coming together, Sir!

In case anyone doubted it was STYROFOAM Scoreboard.

I got some much-needed assistance from my cousin Goober (yes, we call him that, and by the way his birthday is October 31st so don't even tick him off). Here he is working on a project that is actually paying him something:
I am not allowed to use any of the machines that make the pretty sparkles; fingers can't play music or make Hallowe'en if they are eaten by machines that make the pretty sparkles.

He routed the top edge for me, then I painted... until:

Once I add some aging and hardware (handles and some trim) it'll look fab-oh. Heck, with the right lighting I'd call it done but I just can't live without the ornamentation.

I'll get a little motor in there, add my hands (well, not my hands but those I made before) and some green lighting inside... oh and some fabric to line the inside.

Tomorrow is coffin finishing and hitchhiking ghosting day.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

While you're all waiting:

What can I say-ance?

... she's got a remarkable head for materializing the disembodied!

Just a test of the video more than anything, but the blank head seems to work for front projection (I'll likely go with rear projection and a thin, stiff material to screen)... if all else fails, I know this will at least look cool if I have to go that route.

Looking for crystal ball-type-lookin-things to put her in.

I'm also going to be working like a fool this week on a coffin, bodies for hitchhikers (stop snickering back there, Leatherface), motors for making it all work, and then getting together with good ol' Ficketts to write and record the pirate banter... and then NEXT week is the decorating and placement of... ohmyGOD I'll never get it done.

But you will get pics as soon as EVERYTHING I'm working on has gotten to a point where a pic is worth taking; right now nothing looks good... yet!

One of the ironies of a Hallowe'en blog from a guy like me: it's my busy season, so posting is going to be spottier during October than at any other time of the year! Sorry for any inconvenience.

Get out there and enjoy your weather, wherever you are.

By the way, the happy haunts are received a faldric numdidge. It's true.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It is an art.

In keeping with the terrifying artwork which adorns the darker corners of this little pub...

Friends of the old Skull & Pumpkin, I give you the work of the incredible William Basso.

October Shadows

The Hallowe'en Lady

Pumpkin Patch Goblin

Gifts For Ill-Mannered Children

I saw a lot of his work at Monsterpalooza in May and fell in love.

Not exactly kid-friendly stuff, but not overtly violent, sexy or gory either. Like Heironymus Bosch with a good sense of humor and a love for Autumn.

Just plain ol' good and dark.

Click his name and explore.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sometimes I do love people.

It's difficult to get decent pictures from a parked car many yards away from your subject, but I just had to show you this.

I am glad I had the camera with me. Tonight, driving home from my cousin's wedding, I passed the RV park down the hill from my house, and it is relatively full this time of year with weekly renters enjoying the new Fall shows and scenery.

Among them was a single stretch of colored light that caught my eye, and lo! The fuzzy pics were snapped.

An RV, decked out with a strand of purple lights and orange pumpkin lights. The RENTER, staying for only a short while, on October 3rd (not closer to Hallowe'en) decided to trim for the upcoming holiday even in temporary digs!

You simply HAVE to love that spirit!

I had already enjoyed a wonderful afternoon/evening with the wedding, and this was the topper. Made my night.
On the Hallowe'en display front, I am working on things, rest assured. But preparations for this weekend and other commitments have gotten in the way of doing more and posting the progress. The next few weeks will change all that, trust me. After this weekend, it gets real.

I'll never get it all done in time, but who really cares? It's OCTOBER! Hallowe'en is on the way!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Even morry... very sorry.


The Greatest Month in All the Year.

Revel in it.