Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Boy, it sure is getting cold.

Makes me think of snowmen.

Winter's on its way.

It brings with it Christmas, and some time to rest, some peace as Nature renews itself.

And it brings some shivery darkness... which we'll be exploring throughout, of course.

Happy last of November, all of you.

December's at the door.


The ghoul goes west, again.

Just a quick mention.

Those of you who've been frequenting the S&P for a while already know all about Monsterpalooza and what a fine convention it is.

I am going back in April '11, and bringing with me another animatronic display for their incredible Museum. I am not precisely sure what it will entail, probably the Raven and Uncle Forry running some patter and generally being the cool kids on the block for the weekend -- tho' this time around, I have time to make something especially for the convention, so we'll see.

But I just noticed on the official Monsterpalooza website that on the Artists page, if you scroll down the list of remarkable contributing artists, you'll find my name.

And... if you click it, you will be sent right back here to the ol' Skull & Pumpkin. Go on, click it.

SEE!??! You come right back here. Weeeiiiird!

How bloody fantastic is that?

So humbled, so blessed. These people are the best of the best in the horror, Hallowe'en and monster art realm, all over the world.

That my humble works are among them even for a few days is an honor not easy to explain.

But of course I will spend plenty of posts trying anyway!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Bela-ted praise.

Yes, belated. And Bela-ted, as in related to Bela.

Just a day before Thanksgiving, I received a fantastic little gem in the post but had to wait until this weekend had run its course before really sinking my teeth into it *ahem*.

Just released a few weeks ago, Monsterverse, founded by artists/writers/editors Kerry Gammill, Kez Wilson and Sam F. Park, gave us the splendor of Bela Lugosi in a new role -- that of spooky comic series Horror Host, in their acclaimed and highly-anticipated
Yes! A Basil Gogos cover, no less!

Chock full of spooky (and some very funny) stories, the 50 page beauty feels completely modern in style yet offers such a throwback to the '60s and '70s EC and Warren horror comics so many of us grew up enjoying.

Bela is hosting, starring in, narrating and otherwise presenting these tales of terror with a little help from his sexy new sidekick, vampiress Nosferina:
Back cover painting by the awesome Bruce Timm!
There is so much for a comics, horror and Bela lover to chew up in this first issue, and others have already written all about it (better than I ever would) in the last few weeks. But I did want to mention my favorite segment:
Based on my favorite Eddie Wood creations, Lugosi's Dr. Erich Vornoff and Tor Johnson's Lobo, from Wood's Bride of the Monster (1955), this little vignette features very cool little figures built and photographed/written/smashed together by one Joe Freire (can't find a site on him, sadly). It's fun, it's different, and it's delightful.

So many great artists lent their talents to this issue: Terry Beatty, Frank Deitz, Rafael Navarro, Kim Loh... I could go on and on.

If you love Lugosi, fine comic art, and enjoyed the Warren, EC, and Eerie Publications comics anthologies of the '60s and '70s, this is perfect for you.

You can purchase this treasure for FIVE freaking dollars (plus shipping) at Monsterverse's own store.

It's really fine to have Bela back in any form. 


Friday, November 26, 2010

Universal 1940

Thursday, November 25, 2010




Giving thanks.

No pictures, just a few words, and we can all get on with whatever our relations have planned for us.

I am so very, very thankful for this wonderful life I get to explore and enjoy every day. I am so glad I can choose to be happy.

The greatest woman in the world thinks I'm something special.

The sassiest, brattiest, cutest little 5 year old in the world thinks I'm pretty special too.

I have my music, my monsters, my Hallowe'ens and Horrors.

I have so much.

And so do each of you.

I am very thankful for all of you, who share with me in this place, and in your own places, our common love of spooky, wondrous Autumn things.

However you celebrate today, the point isn't the food, the ball game, the drinks, the arguments, the elbows and forks and dishes and desserts.

It's being aware that YOU KNOW HOW DAMNED LUCKY YOU ARE.

How lucky we all are.

Enjoy your holiday.

Be thankful.

Choose happiness.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hap-E Birthday, Uncle 4E.

Another birthday to celebrate here at the ol' S&P.

Today we're celebrating the 94th anniversary of the birth of the original Sci-Fi and Monster Kid himself:

Forrest J Ackerman
November 24th, 1916 -- December 4th, 2008

Vonnetta and I had a fantastic visit to his Ackermansion back in 
January of 2002. This picture is one of my prized possessions.

Of course, patrons of the Skull & Pumpkin know all about my love for 4SJ. For a stretch it seemed that all I talked about was 4E, as I headed to Burbank and a very memorable Monsterpalooza convention with my animatronic tribute to him.

So even though I've posted this before, I'll do it once more in honor of his birthday, and let him have the (almost) final word:

Forrest J Ackerman Shall Not Die!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old tubes, and a birthday boy.

Hello again, S&P'brains!

I was cleaning up from last night's Possessed Girl party, and heard the ol' Hallowe'enith radio begin to buzz and squeak, and sure enough, there are two new shows for us.

The first is a tribute to the 123rd anniversary of the birth of one William Henry Pratt, known to the world as Boris Karloff, the King of Movie Monsters!
It's a January 1945 broadcast of Duffy's Tavern, and while it's a bit noisy in spots (these recordings were never in Hi-Fi or Stereogooglophonical whatever), it's pure OTR, pure funny, and pure Karloff.

Happy birthday, Boris!

The second is a more recent show -- October 1973 -- produced by WKBW 1520AM in Buffalo, NY. The Darkness is a story written for a 1960's album by the radio legend Arch Oboler, but the staff at WKBW really made a fantastically gruesome, atmospheric go of it for a Hallowe'en Night broadcast.

It's a fitting show for the recent bout of '70s Horror Nostalgia I've been enduring.

Enjoy the radio.

Those tubes'll keep you warm...


Nine points of the law.

Whew! It's been stormy out there -- I wonder what's headed our way?

Don't get up, I've got everything alright. I just need to set things down and get a quick drop of warmth.

AH! Butterbeer. Perfect.

All this junk I brought in with me? Oh, just more 'horror-kid-in-the-'70s' nostalgia. Pics of something that used to terrify me as a kid; something I'd assumed had vacated the Realm Of Things That Scare The %^& Out Of Me long years ago.

But recently I had this goofy nightmare, and for a split second (that's as long as I'll admit) I was in my room bolt upright in bed and as sweaty-scared as I used to be when I was a child. (It was rather exhilarating, actually! Laughter and grown-up embarrassment followed swiftly. So did turning on the lights but honestly I thought I'd heard someone breaking into the car *ahem*).

But I immediately began exploring this age old fear, in books, comics, movies.

Yes, S&P'ers, I have always been utterly creeped out by Possessed Girl.

Of course, we all know the icon, the archetype, of Possessed Girl. I don't really need to show you pictures of Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil, do I?

Alright, fine.
Isn't she adorable? One of my brothers used to date a girl who looked just like this. 
I made sure to keep all Ouija boards at a distance.

The Exorcist hit theatres (and its trailers television screens) when I was 5. I didn't at all understand any of it just yet, so no big deal... yet.

But a re-release when I was 8 made, shall we say, an impact. Having spent some years in Catholic school by then, my little brain was perfectly molded and shaped to accept this big block, this hellish set of horrific ideas and images.

It didn't help that we had, in the house, the paperback with that cover-
-- and that if I went to clergy at school wondering if people could really be taken by Satan the answer was a resounding "Well, yes, but not children, usually." With a smile, those words.

No, I hadn't seen the movie (and wouldn't until many years later; my parents would have sooner died than let me see it then), but the very idea of a Possessed Girl, especially as filtered and enhanced by the equally-childish speculations of my fellow classmates, was at once terrifying and irresistible.

You know how it is -- something scares you, you can't help but seek it out (while the sun is up, that is). Even if the depicted being wasn't actually possessed but a vampire girl, or nameless monster hag -- if it fits a certain slimy, slack-haired, evil-eyed, fang-toothed set of criteria, I always felt Possessed Girl tugging at my gut.

 For example, this is Grimm -- a guy -- who 'hosted' a series of ghost story comics in the '60s and '70s.
But he looked like Possessed Girl to me. The eyes, fangs.

 Oh yes, Jack Chick's famously ridiculous tracts are full of (among other things) Satanically possessed people.
 Look at her ferpetessake! High forehead, fangs, dark eyes, all the trademarks!

A similarly tormented being who really might be a witch rather than actually possessed showed
up on the cover of this Horror Tales mag from 1971:
 Her pupil-less look of horror and disgust, her fangs and her forehead-pasted hair signify her
as a perfect Mike C. Possessed Girl. (Plus, Satan is a Demon. Remember that.)

 In the '80s a set of eighty or so cheap-but-amazing monster cards were released in Spain --
Monstruos Diabolicos -- which featured these two lady creeps.

  Then comes a face I saw on TV and lobby posters many times in the mid-'70s:
 Juliet Mills' hideousness from Beyond The Door! The eyes are what did it for me!

 Total Possessed Girl, right? Nope.
A classic Topstone 'Vampire Girl' mask from the '60s, but the fangs, eyes 
and high forehead/pasted hair just equal demonic torment to me.

 Another Topstone ad, but she seems to have settled down quite a bit; her
eyes are more normal, her fangs have all but disappeared 
and in fact she reminds me a little of Vonnetta. Hhmmm...
... and this beautifully painted pull from original Topstone molds is actually quite fetching!

Possessed Girl -- something I think only Catholic kids from the '70s can truly understand. You don't truly grasp your vulnerability until you've read the Baltimore Catechism, and you don't really know the Devil until you've gone to Mass every Sunday (and most Fridays) for years.

After all that, she seems so much more attractive and interesting.

The power of
compels you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NOT for the faint of heart.

Or the squeamish.

Or the prudish.

Or anyone with taste, intellect and maturity beyond that of a pre-adolescent boy growing up in the '70s.

If you recall the Johnson-Smith Novelty Co. Horror Record sold in the backs of comic books for years:
 ... and if you remember sneaking, trading, reading and delighting in the ghoulishly gruesome comics put out by Eerie Publications in the '70s, not Eerie and Creepy (put out by Warren) but these titles:

... then this post is for your Inner '70s Monster Child's pure joy.

Jason Willis, the cool collector/sharer of Hallowe'en and horror vinyl and cassettes via his famously followed blog, Scar Stuff, has recently created an amazing animatic of the B-side 'story' from the Johnson-Smith record set to characters/scenes from numerous covers of those gory, bizarre, lurid magazines.

And HOLYyourmomwilltaketheseawayfromyou, did he do a fantastic job.

I want to warn you about visual content, because it's pretty dank and red and exploitative, but honestly? It's all so unbelievably over the top, so old school girl-is-always-the-victim, so clearly based on 'give me something to put on the cover so we can put out another title this month' shock-itude -- it's all just so outright bizarre! -- that I'm more concerned with the best resolution for your viewing pleasure than with offending anyone.

It's not for little kids. It's not for sensitive older kids. It's surely not for smart, mature, or easily offended grown ups.

It's pretty much just for damaged Horror Children from a specific era.

And it makes me smile bigly and hugely every time I watch it -- over and over.


Okay, seriously? The narrator sounds more like Criswell with each listen.

And what is the deal at 4:43...  Frankie's torn off his own arm to use as a hammer to drive the stake into Drac's heart. What?!

Jason, it's all just perfect.

Makes me want to go to the Thrifty by my grade school, get a cup of Chocolate Nut Crunch and peruse the magazine aisle like I did so many times after school.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Just a reminder.

I've just received a few very laughable comments from new visitors asking me why it's some big deal posting video of things I bought or paid to have built. One actually suggested that I was doing a "disservice to 'real' haunters" by passing off someone else's work as my own (or at least not giving credit where it's due, etc.).

I know.

There will always be Ignorami... and Ignorami think and express some very ignorant things.

One fellow said that the Lean Bros. & Ghoul was ripping off Bob Robertson's really superb Sindy Skinless and the Decomposers. Click the name to go see some fantastic work.

I had to explain that it was in fact the Lean Bros & Ghoul that inspired Bob and others to create their own versions. Here is the proof for anyone who really needs it -- a 13 page thread on the Hallowe'en Forum beginning in 2006. In the first few posts, Bob himself makes the mention.

A reminder, folks, just in case you're among those newer S&P patrons who haven't yet done it... please look to your right and find the link that reads 'Is this your first visit to the ol' S&P?'.

Click it. Or just click here.

In reality, I appreciate the sideways compliments, because what these folks are really saying is they can't believe I did this on my own, with scrounged materials and little budget.

The Lean Bros. & Ghoul remain the first of their kind.

I remain your humble pubkeep.


Two pirates, a raven, and a quartet of bones.

Welcome, come in -- it's getting cold out there!

Glad you could stop in today.

I've been playing around with more video of our Hallowe'en fun last month.

The last video I posted was the last 'scene' in a routine that ran about 20 minutes, and simply repeated all night long.

I thought you'd want to see the first scene now.

Wherein the Pirates Meet the Raven, and 
the Lean Bros. & Ghoul Sing a Spooky Song:

There's something about the confusion of names and accomplishments that I find stupidly funny, and I'm a sucker for the concept. Brother Chris and Adam (the voice of Ficketts) helped create this skit, and I still laugh at the ignorance on display. "Dr. J!"

I added the three Lean Bros. voices on this one -- the original Mad Monster Party recording featured Ethel Ennis and had no other vocals, but I wanted them to do this song so much that I thought 'the heck with it, I'll do it myself!'.

I'm still goofing around with editing software and so on. I'm busy with work and other things but as I find time to mess with Brother Chris' great video, I'm learning a lot.

And it's fun!

The only drag -- literally! -- is the amount of time it takes to upload and process via Blogger.

Then again, the service is free so I am not complaining!

I'm trying to come up with a routine featuring Uncle Forry and the Raven for Monsterpalooza in April.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

300 Posts and One Special 'Geist.

Guest. I meant GUEST.

I am so happy to note the S&P's 300TH post (to now well over 30,000 visitors!) with a special guest.

Let's move these stools over there -- right, closer to the fire, it's gettin' chilly! -- and let's make comfortable painter, sculptor, seamster, illustrator, artist extraordinaire and loyal patron of the Skull & Pumpkin, Adam Chiet!

 Who is this guy? In his own words:

"I'm a self taught sculptor with a BFA in Illustration/Design from the Massachusetts College of Art (93'). My professional artistic career has spanned over 15 years and I have been lucky enough to work as a sculptor for Universal Studios, FL., Walt Disney World, FL., several museums, casinos and themed restaurants. I've also worked in the video game industry, and as a digital photo-retoucher in NYC. I'm also proud to have taught art on the elementary and college level. Besides my sculpture work, I've recently worked for a major company designing light/sound/animated Christmas and Halloween villages for the retail market."

Adam's been kind enough to allow me to dig into his twisted brain and explore the creative clutter there!

S&P: Adam, can you remember when you first discovered your love and talent for creating things with paint, clay, and pencil?

AC: I think I was about 3 and I was drawing the family pets, dogs, cats, fish. Then my parents and brother, my family took notice because it wasn't your usual stick figures but actual shapes and faces. When I turned 4, I started sculpting animals and dinosaurs with my Play-Doh. Dinos would eventually lead me to Godzilla and then the classic monster films!

S&P: Does artistic talent run in the family?

AC: Yes, my mother could paint and draw and still is into many different types of crafts. My dad can build anything and although it's not his profession, he is a very capable carpenter. My brother however is just a pharmacist, haha!

S&P: Were you always a Classic Monster lovin' kid?

AC: Absolutely! The Creature Double Feature and having a brother 3 years older than me, helped introduce the classic monsters to me at the age of 5 or 6.

A fantastic bust of our good friend, actor Daniel Roebuck, as horror host Dr. Shocker!

S&P: You began Chiet Design in 1999. What compelled you to jump into business this way, and how has the ride been?

AC: I wanted to have a small voice in the creation of monster figures. I was a big fan of the Telco Halloween motionettes, and based a series of large Monster figures off of these whimsical electronic display figures. It's been over 10 years and I've had very busy times, and down times, but I've made many one of a kind figures. The challenge now is to make more elaborate and detailed figures with each passing year.

S&P: What, if any, are your criteria for choosing a subject for your next incredible piece?

AC: Mostly it's up to the collector. I have my personal favorites and have covered them in the past. I'm thinking about a line of Super-Hero and TV personalities next!

S&P: Is there an average length of time for finishing a piece?

AC: It really varies. It can range from 13 hours to 25 hours. Each figure is hand made, painted, and clothed. Also, commissioned figures may also have a custom sculpted head as well!

S&P: You've had to become a fine seamster in order to really complete and bring your figures to life. Was this something you'd done before?

AC: No, in the early days I actually hand sewed everything, but the more involved costumes were sewn by a seamstress for me. All of that was very time consuming. It was only a few years ago I finally was taught how to use a sewing machine, haha!

S&P: Do you have a favorite character/subject in horror? Sci-fi? Fantasy?

AC: Yes, I love the classic Monsters, and I also love fantasy and classic sci-fi too. My favorite character is the Wolfman, but I also love vampires, and mummies... okay there are too many and not enough space to list all them, haha!

S&P: Do you have a favorite piece from your own creations?

AC: I'm very partial to two figures -- the (Glenn Strange) Frankenstein and The (Lon Chaney Jr.) Mummy with shades of the Aurora model kit -- but honestly I like them all.

S&P: Any hints about future projects you're particularly excited about?

AC: Yes, I'm very keen on doing some vintage Batman & Batman Villains, The Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, Karloff, Price & Lorre from the "Raven" and definitely more Hammer monsters!

S&P: Any advice for aspiring artists?

AC: Draw, paint, sculpt, design -- try to do it all -- and then in all that chaos you find your voice, your style, and what your trying to say with your work. If you have the time, create, create, create!

 One of my favorite Chiet wonders is this fabulous bust of Uncle Forry!

S&P: All Halloween loving guests of the S&P must eventually answer Question 13! Would you care to share a story or memory of any particularly fond Halloween experiences? You're free to ramble... this is what the S&P is for!

AC:  I love this question! Halloween for me is New England -- crisp, dark nights; the rustling of dead leaves on the ground as you walk; the beginnings of a slight chill to the night air; window decorating that begins on Oct 1st... and lawn decorating that begins on Oct. 2nd! It's finding the perfect pumpkin, or pumpkins; taking old clothes and stuffing them with fallen leaves after raking the front lawn; passing my Halloween excitement onto a new generation each year, while still honoring the child in me -- I remember all my Halloween costumes from age 5 to 43 -- and I'm looking to add new memories to the Halloween of my 44th year!
Adam, thank you very much for indulging us and passing along some of your monster-makin' wisdom! Most of the Skull & Pumpkin's patrons are artists of one stripe or other (usually more than one!), and your incredible work inspires us all!

Folks, you REALLY need to go to his website and peruse his insanely cool portfolio of big scale pieces. The Scrooge and Marley figures alone are worth the trip... but there's so much more!

One of these days when I have the funds to make it worth his while, I'm going to commission a piece from Mr. Chiet just for the Skull & Pumpkin... can't wait!

A hearty S&P toast to Adam Chiet... raise 'em high, everyone --


Monday, November 15, 2010

A taste of Nevermore.

Hello, S&P-brains!

It's only been four days but it feels like it's been so long since I last visited.

It has been a very busy stretch, with lots of odd jobs and short notice work; add a nice, unpleasant head cold to the top of the whole thing and you'll have some idea of how I've felt the last week or so.

But it's good to be back for a bit.

You've kept the place nice and dark and dusty and perfect, just as I like it! Thank you!

I brought with me the first of a series of videos I will be posting over time. My brother Chris (Mr. Jack's dad) took video on the 30th and the 31st, and as we work on getting it all into one well-edited, cool-looking package, I think it'd be cool to show this bit I just worked up for fun.

I'm just playing with transitions and audio layering, and you'll get to see The Raven, Nevermore, as he finished up the evening.

And if it reminds anyone of a certain acting legend as he closed a certain legendary radio broadcast... well, it was completely intended.

Ol' Nevermore will be back, along with the Pirates and the Lean Bros. & Ghoul. But I'll need to get different editing ware, I think -- the video Chris took is so clean and neat, but by the time I get it to the S&P it loses much of its color and clarity. Hhmmm... durn this newfangled technology!

Stay tuned-


Thursday, November 11, 2010

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow 
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

John McCrae

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I don't scrapbook.

I really don't.

I like the idea of it, and I suppose this little old S&P is a kind of scrapbooking project with added features -- and with Blogger and Firefox I use an application for saving all of my pages and pics which is actually called Scrapbook!

But I never really dug the whole scrapbook thing.

I remember seeing the baby books and scrapbooks my mom and her friends used to have; the covers of the books were like charm necklaces glued to plastic baby's breath and tiny pastel flowers, with miniature toy bottles, little rocking horses, diapers (!?) and other baby things glued onto every single millimeter of the padded cover.

Kinda turned me off of the whole notion.

But then I found a really cheap (after-Hallowe'en sale!) set of scrapbook decorations.

 Holy Monsters!
These little guys are the coolest.
Lookit Frankie's eye!

And they come with little gems and bats and moons and pumpkins and
now I have become my mom's old friends.

See? More Hallowe'en to be found. 


God bless it.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Who says

that Hallowe'en fun is over?

Certainly not my frozen pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins (nor my Fall tablecloth, my retro-lookin' napkins or my little paring knife).

There's still plenty of Hallowe'en goodness to be found, and sometimes it just gets handed to you.

Just this past Saturday evening, my friends Joyce and Virginia gave me
this great photo -- two creeps who are quite ready for a night of
spooky Hallowe'en fun! Thanks ladies!

Of course, there are always good deals to be found after the Big Night, and among the other things I usually stock from after-Hallowe'en sales (foam skulls, make up, wigs, etc.), I found some very cool items that were (not kidding) TWENTY CENTS each.

A tablecloth with this pattern...
 I'd used one just like it this year, so now I'll have it next year too!

... and these gift bags, which will likely be used for Christmas gifts, because these are way cooler than any Christmas gift bag on the way (you know it):


How great are these? Franky, Mummy, Drac and a cute little Witch. For two dimes. Twenty pennies. A quarter minus a nickel.
Way too fun.

Hallowe'en never ends. Remember that.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dick Cathcart
November 6, 1924 --- November 8, 1993

Happy 86th.

Dumdumshrek, Pop.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still recovering.

Not Post-Hallowe'en Blues (a pox upon the notion!), just simple fatigue. I'm getting... older. 

We got all the goods -- lighting, power supplies/cables, props, stands, heads, hands, skulls & pumpkins -- back in storage, and in relatively organized fashion.

My basement laboratory is in shambles, of course. I really need to put it all back together, this time with less clutter and better access to tools and space, and I should probably get it all done pretty soon.


... is coming, and this time around I'm going to have some time to make something especially for the Museum.

I don't really know yet what I'm going to do for Monsterpalooza this year, though I imagine the Raven may have to be in there because damnit, he worked way too good and there's got to be something to do with him... but no matter what I make, one has to start with a clean, well-appointed laboratory, right?

I will get video of that Raven and our Hallowe'en 'show' soon, that's a promise.

Enjoy your libation, please relax, the place is yours too.

Safe travels to Young Will & Family. We miss you already.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A few more moments.


Long day cleaning up.

Well first, it was a long morning waking up. My legs literally would not move for a time, and I spent some moments prone, petrified, entertaining visions of Edward Hermann playing FDR when he first realized he couldn't get out of bed.

The resulting panic induced an adrenaline rush that kicked me up and cleared things up nicely. Not that I don't like FDR or Edward Hermann, just... well, I've gone on enough about all of that.

But sore? Whew!

Before heading into the new month, and as I await the video Brother Chris and I need to edit for you, I thought I should pass around a few more moments from last night's most excellent celebration.

Yes, I know we're all dealing with sugar hangovers and tired eyes, but all the blurriness is my camera and my shakiness, not your vision!

Pirates, Raven, tombstones and Quartet, in cool colors.

 People swarmed the figures, laughing and boppin' along with the Lean Bros. & Ghoul.

As always, the Great Pumpkin stopped everyone in their tracks, making them smile.

 Speaking of smiles, here's grandkid Kiara dressed as Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin.

 And here's Jasmine meeting Miss Madeline Usher -- Jasmine's being careful
to keep her distance but peering up to see
if Madeline had "real tooth-es or not".

 Some great friends of mine, and talented ones at that: at left, the fine jazz and swing pianist/arranger John Raczka, and at right, fellow horror maniac Mr. Spiders & Snakes himself, the inimitable Jim Stafford.

 Another view of the graveyard. I like color.

 The Raven, Nevermore, in his natural setting. He was without doubt the biggest hit of the night.
People wanted to take him home with them. Seriously. 
Also, there's real absinthe in that bottle on Poe's tombstone.

 Ah, the Red Death, intimidating guests with his dull but unblinking gaze.

 Here's Mr. Jack, who was in charge of the scare in this year's Treat Room. He chose a very
dapper Haunted Mansion-ish outfit.

 If you had the nerve to enter the Treat Room (and there were plenty who didn't!), you were
met with pitch darkness, hearing a beating heart and a whimper of fear. Then. strobes would flash and
a loud maniacal laugh (and much faster heartbeat) would scare you silly!

I'll have more later, rest assured.
So... it's November.

Now remember, the Skull & Pumpkin Pub is a Blues Free Zone -- no post-Hallowe'en depression is allowed.

C'mon, it's still Autumn, and we're Autumn People. Everything still looks and feels like Fall, because it still is.

And as ever, new months bring a few minor musical changes to the jukebox; November is quieter, relaxed, a rest after Hallowe'en.

I've added S&P favorite Vince Guaraldi's delightful Thanksgiving theme from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and of course it will be on the jukebox all month long.

A beautiful work that always brings a kind of bittersweet restfulness is Gwenlaise, a 1986 piece from pianist Scott Cossu and cellist Eugene Friesen. It is light and dark, happy and sad. Late Fall.

Lastly I give you Sentimentale, the most beautiful (I think) of the movements in the 1975 landmark album Suite For Flute and Jazz Piano, by pianist Claude Bolling and flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal. If you don't hear and see falling leaves in the opening passage, as the piano arpeggiates from high to low, there's something wrong with you. See your doctor!

I've left Kiara's favorite, Movie, 'cause it's a nice way to put a little kick back into the mix.

Video to come soon. In the meantime, take care to stay warm and among friends. It's still Fall but it's getting chillier by the day.

Best not to venture too far from the Skull & Pumpkin.