Monday, December 24, 2012

"'twas the Night Before Christmas"

"And all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse..."

Well, the rats are stirring. Does that count? They don't seem to be as excited about Christmas as I am.

I am celebrating Christmas Eve watching Christmas episodes of shows mixed with random episodes of Doctor Who and Star Trek. Nerdy Christmas. And enjoying my coffee out of my lovely Xmas mug!

Happy Christmas Eve all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas-y Movies and Episodes to Watch

Alright, time for Christmas movies!

1. The first one I can't wait to get into: White Christmas! Always a favorite.
2. The one I watch right after number 1: Holiday Inn. Gotta love Bing. He's funny in this one. I love when he is listening to the Thanksgiving recording and talking to his singing voice. "I've got eyes to see with." "You need glasses." "Ears to hear with." "Or fly with." "Arms to hug with, lips to kiss with, someone to adore." "You're a little flat, too." And his house keeper and her kids. "Is your names Mamie?" "Is your names Miss Linda?" Crack me up.
3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The old clay-mation one.
4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town, the old clay-mation one with Mickey Rooney!
5. The Grinch with Jim Carrey (normally I don't like him, but I do like this movie).
6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Classic.
7. I always want to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Christmas morning. The new one with Johnny Depp (tho sometimes it does lead to watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). I am not sure how this tradition started.

And that is, sadly, about it for Christmas movies. I guess I haven't seen nearly as many of the typical Christmas movies as I should have... Oh well. On to other things.

Christmas TV Episodes:

1. From Boy Meets World: 
     Season 1 Episode 10: Santa's Little Helper
     Season 2 Episode 12: Turnaround
     Season 4 Episode 12: Easy Street
     Season 5 Episode 11: A Very Topanga Christmas (I love this one!)
     Season 6 Episode 11: Santa's Little Helpers

2. From Cheers:
     Season 1 Episode 12: The Spy Who Came in for a Cold One
     Season 6 Episode 12: Christmas Cheers
     Season 11 Episode 11: Love Me, Love My Car

3. From Fraiser:
     Season 1 Episode 12: Miracle on Third or Fourth Street
     Season 3 Episode 9: Frasier Grinch
     Season 5 Episode 9: Perspectives on Christmas
     Season 6 Episode 10: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz
     Season 7 Episode 11:The Fight Before Christmas
     Season 8 Episode 8: Mary Christmas
     Season 10 Episode 10: We Two Kings
     Season 11 Episode 11: High Holidays

4. From How I Met Your Mother:
     Season 2 Episode 11: How Lily Stole Christmas
     Season 4 Episode 11: Little Minnesota
     Season 5 Episode 10: The Window
     Season 6 Episode 12: False Positive
     Season 7 Episode 12: Symphony of Illumination (Sad one, but I really like it).

What are your holiday favorites?

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Memory

When I was little, we spent every Christmas at my grandparents' lovely house in Texas. My step-grandma always made lots of food and cookies and fudge. Their little dogs ran all over the place. Often times there was no snow (sadly).

When I was about six years old, I went to sleep after leaving cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. I woke up in the middle of the night. I heard noises from the roof. I went to the other bed and woke up my sister and we lay there and listened to the sound of reindeer paws until it went quiet. Disappointed that the magic ended so quickly, we crept out the playroom door to the banister at the very top of the stairs.

And heard packages rattling and wrapping rustling from the front parlor where the tree and stockings were. Was it Santa? It had to be.

The house was completely dark. All the bedroom doors along the hall were closed.

We couldn't go downstairs to the parlor though. My grandparents kept their dogs downstairs and they would bark as soon as we got close to the bottom of the staircase. And there was a motion-sensor light at the bottom so they were sure to wake up if they didn't hear us come down.

We stood there listening, excited by the magic and disappointed that we couldn't go down.

Eventually, the rattling stopped. We waited, hoping for more, but it never came. We crept back to bed.

And heard the sound of sleigh bells fading into the distance. We ran to the window, but couldn't see anything in the sky.

In the morning we were so excited about the night before. Santa left a note of thanks for the cookies and all around the kitchen island, on the white tile, were reindeer footprints! It was the best Christmas ever!

About a year or so ago, I asked my step-grandma how they had done that, remembering it fondly. "It was Santa," she answered, like I was still six years old. As much as I wanted to know, (so I could do the same for kids and grand kids or with my niece in the future,) I was glad that that was all she told me. I am happy that there is, even now, still a little magic in Christmas.

Must Have Christmas Music

I actively avoid listening to Christmas music. Until December, that is.

If you live in the Denver area, you probably know that KOSI 101.1 starts playing all Christmas music all the time insanely early. Like, beginning of November early. And this year, the oldies station, KOOL 105.1 also started playing all Christmas music. They may have waited to start until after Thanksgiving however.

I do listen to these stations, but often feel like I hear the same versions of all the songs whenever I am in the car. As for my personal Christmas playlists, I am kind of picky. Here are my essentials:

1. White Christmas by Bing Crosby (duh, right? I love Bing...). White Christmas by Bing Crosby
2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Snow and The Christmas Song and Do You Hear What I Hear and It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas and really anything by Bing Crosby. I'm a big fan. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. White Christmas: Snow (And any songs from the White Christmas musical and movie). The Christmas Song. Do You Hear What I Hear. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Frank Sinatra. And Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Most anything by Frank, really. Frank Sinatra-Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Frank Sinatra - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
4. Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Oh my goodness, best combo ever with two of my very favorite artists. It's almost a miracle to bring so drastically different people with drastically different styles of music together. Listen to it here: Bing Crosby & David Bowie - The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth. LOVE IT!
5. Little Drummer Boy. If not by Bing, I often like it when a woman sings it. Here is a good version: Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale.
6. A new discovery this year: Merry Christmas Beautiful by Jim Brickman. Merry Christmas Beautiful. Sigh, makes me stupidly happy to listen to this one...
7. Jingle Bell Rock, one of my favorites. I have it by Bobby Helms (And Straight No Chaser...). Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms 1957.
8. 12 Days of Christmas by Straight No Chaser (and just about anything by Straight No Chaser). This is the only version of 12 Days of Christmas even worth listening to and one that I do not get tired of. Listen to it here: Straight No Chaser - 12 Days of Christmas (1998). Awesome!
9. Silver Bells and Winter Wonderland by Martina McBride. Silver Bells. Winter Wonderland.
10. Carol of the Bells. I have an instrumental version as well as one by Straight No Chaser.Carol of the Bells.
11. Trans-Siberian Orchestra songs. My favorite album and show is "Christmas Eve and Other Stories." Here is the full album (minus narration, which I recommend reading because it really enhances the story and the songs. If you buy the CD it is included in the front cover with song lyrics.): Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve and Other Stories. My absolute favorite song from this album is: Old City Bar. "Because every light is a star..."
12. The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker Suite. My favorites are Christmas Tree, March, Mother Gigogne and the Clowns (which was disturbing to watch, but I love the music), Tarantella, and Journey Through the Snow. Here are Christmas Tree and March. Mother Gigogne (Don't watch it, just listen... Don't say I didn't warn you...). Tarantella and Pas de Deux. Journey Through the Snow.
13. I also like fun things like Up on the Housetop and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.
14. Let it SnowLet it Snow by Martina McBride. Lots of good versions of this song, I think, but I like it when a woman sings it.
15. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree by LeAnn Rimes.
16. Baby Please Come Home. I know Mariah Carey has the most popular version but I like it better when sung by a man. I even like this version (and I don't generally like U2): Baby Please Come Home by U2.
17. We Three Kings. Another I like better sung by women... for instance: Aly and Aj: We Three Kings.
18. Silver and Gold by Burl Ives. And Holly Jolly Christmas. Silver and Gold. Holly Jolly Christmas.
19. Silent Night. I have this version: Straight No Chaser: Silent Night.

What do you like to listen to?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ornament Wreath

This year I decided to make an ornament wreath to hang on our front door. I had seen ideas on how to make ornament garlands on Pinterest and my friend Katja was making an ornament wreath so I thought I would follow her lead.
Tools of the trade!
I didn't want it to be too big, so I bought three packets of small ornaments. There were 20 ornaments in each package. I got two that were mostly blue with some silver and one that was all different silvers. I ended up having to go back for another package of blue.

For the base I used a coat hanger. Or tried to, but the coating on it was too thick to string ornaments on, which I did not figure out until after I had bent it all out of shape... You live and you learn, right? So I found a thinner wire hanger to use. So make sure ornaments will fit on your hanger before you tear it up...
In a not-so-random order, I strung on the ornaments. It just kind of fills itself out. I wonder if it would fill out more if I had used some larger ornaments as well as small. I will save that for another project.
 
Almost done!
I twisted (as best I could) the ends of the hanger together once it was in a nice circle. I tied a ribbon to the top to hang it by and voila! I thought about trimming it with a little ribbon or something, but it didn't look quite right so I left it alone.
The finished product!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Winter-y Welcome

Hello! And welcome to winter and the holiday season! Of course, if you live in Colorado like me, it is off to a very dry, un-snowfilled start. "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." If we are lucky! It would definitely make the holiday season feel like the holiday season.

Beautiful, right? It is called "Where Snowflakes Are Born" by vladstudio. Here is where I found it: Where Snowflakes Are Born
 For those of you who don't know, I celebrate a little Christmas and a little Hanukkah. My dad's side of the family is Jewish, but I wasn't exposed too much to the Jewish holidays. Hanukkah is one of the few I am familiar with. In honor of meshing these two, I usually keep my decor blue and silver. It works out quite nicely. So when you see posts for both holidays here in the future, you won't be confused. I also like to celebrate the solstice. Have to acknowledge that mildly pagan side of me as well. And if you see any references to Midwinter, it is a reference from the Tortall series of Tamora Pierce books, which I highly recommend. My friend Becca and I, in our mildly obsessive nerdiness celebrate this instead of Christmas. I probably just added to the confusion...

Hanukkah starts very soon; at sundown on December 8th. And I am excited because the last night of Hanukkah is on my birthday (eventful month!). I am not sure why that makes me happy, but it does. Aside from my birthday, which should be a good time lasting about a week, as birthdays should, we have some other birthdays, some shows, and a holiday party or two. I am very excited for this month.

Anyway, happy holidays everyone! Whichever one(s) you celebrate! I hope they are wonderful! Welcome to winter! (Unless you are in Colorado, where we don't know it's winter yet. I'm sure the weather will catch up.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Everything I Need to Know About Life...

I learned from Secondhand Lions.

 
This movie is one of my all-time favorites for sure. And I always like it around Thanksgiving and the holidays, for some reason. I guess because it is hopeful and about family and belonging. Lots of good quotes (and we know how much I love good quotes!) and pieces of advice that I love. Plus, the movie is funny! Icing on the cake.

Lesson #1: Tough love has it's place. "Damn it kid, it ain't our fault you got a lousy damn mother." As long as there is some softer love to balance it out.

Lesson #2: Give people a chance; you may be pleasantly surprised. "Why not see what's he's selling?" "What the hell for?" "What's the good of having all that money if you're never gonna spend it?" "Could be the kid has a point." "Well, we'll see what the man's selling. Then we shoot him."

Lesson #3: Getting old in body and getting old in mind are different things, and the second is not necessarily caused by aging. "A man's body may grow old, but inside his spirit can still be as young and restless as ever."

Lesson #4: Live life to its fullest. "Just as we arrived in France, so did the Kaiser and the entire German Army. I wanted to go home, but Hub said we should tour Europe one step ahead of the Germans. And we did. What a time that was."
"They went out with their boots on."

Lesson #5: Be fair when you can be. "It's defective." "It's alive, that's the main thing." "Go ahead and shoot it then." "No, it wouldn't be sporting, shooting it inside a crate."

Lesson #6: True love is real. And always worth fighting for. "Many people say there's no such thing nowadays, it's something you only find in stories, but when these two set eyes on each other for the first time, this was honest to God, no kidding, sure enough, once in a lifetime, love at first sight." (My favorite quote from the movie.)

Lesson #7: Manhood is not proven by being an ass. "Here's a perfect example of what I've been talking about. Since this boy was suckling on his momma's tit, he's been given everything but discipline. And now his idea of courage and manhood is to get together with a bunch of punk friends and ride around irritating folks too good natured to put a stop to it."
"Now boys, you're fixing to let those teenage hormones get you into a world of trouble."

Lesson #8: Be who you are and be proud. "Who do you think you are, huh?" "I'm Hub McCann. I fought in two world wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, killed many men, and loved only one woman with a passion a flea like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am."

Lesson #9: There is always a way to rid yourself of unwelcome people, even unpleasant family members. "We're leaving. And we are not coming back until you get rid of that monster." "Well, the lion stays."

Lesson #10: Give second chances. "Twice I have held your life in my hands, and twice I have given it back to you. The next time, your life is mine."

Lesson #11: Believe in what you want to believe in. "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things that a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; ... that love, true love, never dies. ... Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things because those are the things worth believing in."
This is a segment that I hold close to my heart. One of my favorite quotes (which I want a tattoo of) is from a song called Truth from Revolutionary Girl Utena (listen to it here). The line is "Shinjite-iru no, shinjitai kara," meaning (roughly) "I will believe because I want to believe."

Lesson #12: Be there for your loved ones. "You're my uncle. I need you to stick around and be my uncle. What about Uncle Garth? He needs you. What about the dogs and the pig and the lion? We all need you. I need you. ... And I know you miss Jasmine an awful, awful lot, but if you go, we'll miss you just as much."
I hope you enjoyed this random post full of quotes from one of my favorite movies. If you haven't watched Secondhand Lions, you need to!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving is here! For me, this is a little special because it is our first Thanksgiving in our new home. We are going to make a little dinner and have a couple other people over. We are all "Thanksgiving orphans," as in, not one of us was invited anywhere else with family or friends... sad, eh? Isaac's parents went out of town, but left his brother behind (he had to work), so he will (hopefully) be joining us. His sister, presumably, will be with the family of her husband. My mom is working. I'm sure my dad has plans with one or both of my aunts, but I guess the invite wasn't extended :P That's OK though. My sister will be with her boyfriend and family, I imagine. My brother may also join us. And perhaps a friend or two of mine. Thanksgiving orphans alright, but I am looking forward to it :)

I just want to take this time to tell what I am thankful for this year (man, is that cliche or what?).
1. Our new home.
2. That, even though money is tight, we can afford to make a nice meal and have people over to share it.
3. Always for my family who I love and who have always helped me and supported me.
4. For my friends who I love and cherish and who mean the world to me. I couldn't do it without you all.
5. For my boyfriend, through good times and bad. I love you.
6. That I have a job that I (usually) enjoy. I know using my degree to work at Starbucks may not really be the dream, but I am enjoying it while I can.
7. Romulus and Remus, our pet rats. A small thing to be thankful for, but they are great to have around. I love taking care of them and spoiling them and they make our home never feel empty. And they are so cute! What's not to love?
Sleepy rats in a rat pile!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope it is full of wonderful food and great company!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Beauty and the Beast Tale

I love fairy tales. And I love the re-telling of fairy tales. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorites. I love the Disney movie, my first introduction to the tale. I got to go see the musical (which I posted about) and I loved that. There are other movies available and I'm sure that people have seen parts if not all of them.

There are more obscure tales that are worth checking out. The original (I believe) was recorded by the Brothers Grimm. It is a German tale called "Hans, My Hedgehog" ("Hans mein Igel" auf Deutsch). It is a little different. About a woman who badly wants a child and eventually has one who is mostly hedgehog, which earns him the scorn of his father. Anyway, it is kind of a long story but eventually he marries a princess who discovers that at night he sheds his skin to become a human. She is forbidden to do anything with it, but is tricked into throwing his skin into the fire. In anger, Hans deserts her. In repentance, she travels everywhere to find him and after suffering many hardships, she does. (Actually, rather like Psyche and Eros, especially if you've read "'Til We Have Faces" by C.S. Lewis. If you haven't read it, you should).

For a brief telling, watch the first episode of "The Storyteller" from Jim Henson Co. I believe it is on Netflix, but here is a YouTube link. You can watch it in one part and I love this version: The Storyteller: Hans My Hedgehog
Hans and his bagpipes on which he plays tunes that "start with 'hello' and end with 'goodbye.'"
An author that I often read writes several different versions of fairy tales (they aren't superb, but fun)--Mercedes Lackey. One series is an interesting take on the different fairy tales. The first book is the re-telling of Beauty and the Beast and it is called "The Fire Rose." It is the first in a series called "The Elemental Masters."

Her other series is called "Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms." These are more silly, so don't read them as though they are serious (or they are much less enjoyable). The Beauty and the Beast story here is called "Beauty and the Werewolf" and it is an amusing mixture of Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood.

One of my very favorite re-tellings of this story is called "The Rose Daughter" by Robin McKinley. This one is very unique and I love it. Beauty has two sisters who have special and useful skills, but Beauty seems to only be able to grow plants. And roses, which only witches can grow. The scent reminds her of her deceased mother. When she comes to the Beast's palace, he asks her to take care of the roses, which are dying and she brings life back to his lands. 

Robin McKinley also wrote a book called "Beauty," which I long to read but have not yet.
Read it!
Even one of my very favorite movies, "The Labyrinth," is a sort of Beauty and the Beast story. I think that is one of the reasons I love it so much.
See? There is even a ballroom scene. As a side note, is it sad that I have thought that a Labyrinth ballroom wedding would be totally awesome? Anywho...

And just for fun: Beauty and the Beat. I think this is hysterical.

Anyone else have some good Beauty and the Beast spin-offs?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thoughts of a New Homeowner

For those of you who don't know, Isaac and I (with the very generous help of Isaac's parents for the down payment) bought a condo! It is a cute little place with two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. It even came with a washer and dryer, which is a wonderful selling point if you ask me.

As we move into the new place and talk about paint and furniture and, yes, the stereotypical curtains, several things are running through my head.

Our cute welcome mat! Bought at Bed Bath and Beyond.
 First and foremost, we are happy to come home.

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." ~Maya Angelou


In my first apartment, where I lived when Isaac first moved in, I liked it, but he didn't as much. And it turned out to be a bit small for two people and three hamsters.

The apartment we moved into had two rooms and much more space for the same amount of money. The night we started to move in, I cried. I didn't like it or the area. Isaac was excited to have more space and to make it ours. As I adjusted and unpacked, it started to feel OK. Except for the people above us continually flooding their bathroom. Which happened to be over our bed. And the kids banging on our door and running. And our windows. And occasionally throwing rocks at the windows... The area wasn't great. I didn't feel safe and Isaac began to feel uncomfortable with it all, as well. The result was that by the time Isaac's parents got us in on the condo, we were ready to move.

Now we are still moving, but the new condo already feels good. We are happy to come here, even with all of our boxes everywhere and nothing put away. Being happy, both of us being happy, with our home has made things so wonderful and fresh.

"I love this house. I thought I must stay here the moment I saw it. I can't explain it. It was if the house itself were welcoming me, asking me to rescue it from being so empty." ~From 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir'

I sometimes feel a little panicked. It is a lot more responsibility than the apartments, of course. Bills seem bigger (though overall we are paying about the same for everything). We need to replace the hot water heater (most expensive and pressing issue). Walls need to be painted (which seems like an exciting chore, actually). We need moulding in several rooms. Leaks are our problem now and we don't have plugs in our bathroom sinks (I nearly lost an earring already, but Isaac was nice enough to take apart the pipes for me and retrieve it). All of these things are our responsibility now. It seems like a lot (and there is more than what I have listed). We are going to try to fix the important stuff soon. And we have been talking about renting out the other bedroom until we feel a little less panicked about everything.

Anyhow, I cannot wait until everything is moved in and settled. And I love, LOVE not having to haul my laundry to my mom's. Doing it here is so convenient and wonderful. My mom said, "And getting to do your laundry in your own home! That's sure confirmation of adulthood." Haha. It all continues to be exciting and wonderful (and generally less stressful than our last move, though we have had a couple small spats).

"But it was your home." "It was a place I once lived. End of story." "Then must plan on making Paris your true home." "What is it with you and homes?" "Well for one thing it's something every normal person wants." ~From 'Anastasia'

Since all of this is so new to me, I will probably be learning bits and pieces about home repair. I will try to keep a log of that here. Maybe it can come in useful for other first-time home owners.

Next step: finish moving. Then put things away. Then host a house-warming party. Oh yes :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tim Burton Halloween Party

Themed parties are always good fun, I think. This year, ours was Tim Burton. (And sorry for the delay, we are in the middle of moving, again...).

We put together some hangings that alternated black and white streamers to put up on the walls. Tim Burton essential colors, you know. Black and white, grey, red, and sometimes blue. Gold and bright colors can be applied for certain moods like memories and fantasies. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to watch more of his movies... (the color schemes are essentially the same for every movie he's ever made, and on that note, please watch this hysterical video: Tim Burton's Secret Formula "Something original?" "No!"; "Get my wife and Johnny Depp on the phone!")

We had some carved pumpkins. I carved one that looked like this:
My friend, Katja, carved a couple of white pumpkins to look like Jack Skellington and one was wearing a Santa hat. Some people brought simple white Xmas lights. All of the paper plates were black and white as were the napkins. The plastic-ware and the cups were red.

I made a couple of posters (I was in charge of Sleepy Hollow decor) to hang up. One was the cardinal from Ichabod's optical illusion. I sketched it out on red poster board and outlined it faintly in black glitter glue. The second was a horse like the headless horseman had. I sketched that one on black poster board and also outlined it in black glitter glue. For fun I added a glittering red eye.

We put up some fake cobwebs and candles. A few vases of black roses were left on tables.

Food was roughly Tim Burton themed. Katja and I made tea sandwiches and Krissy made cookies that said things like "Eat me." The "Drink me" bottles were delicious shots that David made. Willy Wonka brand candy was a must. Katja and I made a red velvet cake and Cat decorated it like so:
The tree is made from sugar paper. It is hard to see but the designs are in glittery black and red frosting and there are some pearly blue sprinkles on it. It was tasty!

I also made a punch that was a nice shade of red. It was called Dragon Blood Punch. The recipe I found here: Adult Halloween Punch Recipes. There are all sorts of good punch recipes out there. I used this one because I didn't use a punch bowl, but a container with a spigot. Cat and Drew carved out a pumpkin and inserted a spigot and cider was provided for that. Awesome.

Katja, with the help of Cat and Drew, made shepherds pies (in place of meat pies from Sweeny Todd).

On top of all that, we dressed in Tim Burton themed costumes. Here are some cool pictures of my friends all dressed up:
Katja as Mrs. Lovett. Love this pic.

Drew and Cat as Jack and Sally. :)

Mrs. Lovett and Krissy as Sweeny Todd.

David as Adam from Beetlejuice.
Some of our guests did not dress to the theme, which was totally fine. Some did not dress up at all, which was fine, if a little lame.

I dressed as Katrina Van Tassel from Sleepy Hollow. She has a few outfits, but I wanted her riding outfit which looks like this:

I know it is difficult with this picture to tell the colors. The dress itself is a sort of grey-blue patterned material. It looks like a corset and skirt. The lace at the top would probably be part of a dress worn under the outside clothing. The jacket is grey with the bustle at the back. The large buttons in the front are ornamental. It also has buttons on the cuffs and the cuffs are very nice if you can find a good pic. You can't tell in this picture, but the collar of the jacket and the trim are dark red.

I made this costume on the cheap and on the fly. I only had about 12 hours to work on it, total, so I took a lot of short cuts. I did not use a pattern. I left the back of the dress mostly open (because I wore a poofy dance skirt underneath to give more volume and the long jacket would cover it). I did not make a corset, just a sort of tank top with trim sewn down the front. The lace from her under-dress translated to lace sewn at the top of the tank-top.I sewed that to the skirt and put a zipper in the back (badly). The jacket was interesting. I just kind of made it up as I went along. I didn't have dark red fabric so I used plain red scraps for a make-shift and poorly made collar. All the buttons I sewed on were ornamental. I did add a little lace at the cuffs. The bustle I just pinned up and tacked in a (hopefully) aesthetic manner. Here is how it all turned out:
Sorry for the picture quality. It was taken with a phone and it was pretty dark. You get the idea, right?
A little rough around the edges, I know. If I had had more time, this costume would have been so cool. Maybe one day.

Next year, I believe the party theme will be Disney villains! Woo!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Favorite Halloween Memory

It's is Halloween night. The kids are all out trick-or-treating in their various costumes and parents tag along to wait at the end of the driveways while children collect candy.

One large house near the far end of the street has no electric lights on. The path to the door is lit by torches and the path itself strategically littered with leaves. A well hidden mat, when trod on, gives the faintest of mysterious noises, so quiet you may not hear it. The sound of wind rustling through dry leaves. Children knock on the front door. It is answered by a gentleman with a long white beard in the black hat and cloak of a wizard. Old-fashioned wire glasses perch on the end of his nose.

The house is dark but for the candles lined on every available surface. You can just see the end of a long wooden table, covered in candles and other mysterious jars. A large dragon is perched on the stairs behind him; his head and neck stick out from around the corner. Occasionally he blows steam through his nostrils as his eye watches the door.

"Trick or treat!" the children cry.

"Would you like a trick or a treat?" he asks calmly.

The hesitant children (myself included) answer, "A treat," and are rewarded with candy.

The brave children and parents (my mom included) answer, "A trick," to which he doles out riddles to be answered by the end of the night for a special treat.

"What has roots as nobody sees, is taller than trees. Up, up it goes, and yet never grows."

Everyone ponders. Ask around. All the trick-or-treaters and parents in the neighborhood are talking about it. "What was your riddle?" "Do you know the answer to..."

A couple hours later we return with my mom to give her answer: "a mountain."

My mom is invited in to stand near the table of candles and jars. She may pick her special treat from the mysterious jars. She picks a jar containing a liquid-y substance with good-smelling herbs in it that he assures her is a good health potion. Just put some on as you would a lotion. We walk home curious, excited, and pleased. Most of all, we can't wait until next year to visit the wizard's house.

The gentleman who lived in that house did this for several years. He was one of the only people who knew that Becca and I were from CATS when we came around in 7th or 8th grade. He eventually stopped, but to this day we still refer to The Wizard and his house. I have decided that I am going to do this on Halloween when I have a house. I will be the mysterious witch who gives out riddles and health potions and who, hopefully, gives kids a unique and unforgettable Halloween experience.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Crafts

Halloween is also my favorite time of the year for crafts! I know this first Halloween craft post is a little late in the season, but I hope it can be a good resource in the future.

For this particular piece, I want to focus on pumpkins.

PUMPKIN CARVING
Everyone carves pumpkins, right? Pumpkin Masters has a wonderful variety of patterns to carve and tools to use. You don't just have to make jack-o-lanterns any more! And some people are amazingly talented. I found some awesome patterns that use two or three pumpkins stacked on top of one another in a magazine.

And if you want to keep your work, use a fake pumpkin. You can get these at just about any craft store around Halloween time: Michael's, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn, etc.

HALLOWEEN SCENES:
Here is a different idea, especially for using fake pumpkins: Halloween scenes. My mom and I did a few of these a couple years ago and they were a lot of fun.
Pumpkin patch themed pumpkin scene.
At Hobby Lobby, you can find all sorts of miniature things (like for doll houses) to use. I found a wheelbarrow and a small "metal" tub and a picket fence here. The little pumpkins were found here, too. Or you can usually find little bags of them near the floral stuff in Michael's. I also found the mini hay bale at Hobby Lobby.

Michael's has all sorts of little Halloween town figures you can use. Like trees and lamp posts. We put a Halloween town hearse in my brother's and a black horse (with painted red eyes) in my sister's. You can buy mini lamp posts that light up, which is a cool idea.

We used fake moss on the ground of all of them. It gives a great effect. The "corn" in mine is made from pipe cleaners. And we recommend putting a fake candle in the back to light them up.

PAINTED PUMPKINS:
Another great way to present pumpkins. I bought five small fake pumpkins a couple years back. Following some basic ideas for pumpkins in magazines, I decided on a black and silver color scheme and went for it.

I painted two pumpkins silver and two black and left one orange. I like to use a lot of black and silver in my Halloween decor.
Silver painted pumpkins. The ribbons were cut different lengths and glued on and rhinestones added at intervals. The stems are painted black and have a silver-edged black ribbon tied around them. The lettering I did by hand in pencil before painting.

Two black pumpkins with silver stems and the original orange, also with a silver stem and a silver-edged black ribbon. I planned the lettering and free-handed the paint. I used smaller rhinestones to create random swirls on the black and the orange is done with silver paint (with little rhinestones at the end of the swirls).

Another great idea I saw was to cut fake pumpkins in half and paint them with different patterns and mount them on a door or wall.

And remember, there are a hundred ways to paint pumpkins. Some people even do tie-dye. Do whatever feels like you!

COVER YOUR PUMPKINS:
I found another great idea this year that I mean to try out: lace-covered pumpkins. There are expensive covers you can buy, but I would just use stockings. Especially around Halloween, there are stockings and tights with all sorts of fun, lacy designs. Just slip a pumpkin inside and tie it off! Voila! Here is a more specific how-to: Pass the Sushi: DIY Lace Pumpkins.

CLOTH PUMPKINS:
For those of you who end up with all sorts of extra fabric from costumes and projects, here is an idea: make little cloth pumpkins!

I have seen a few ways to do this from making them like a draw-string pouch to following more complex patterns. The draw-string way is easy: cut a large circle and draw it up and tie it off. You can fill them with other things as well, more fabric, cotton, even potpourri.

Here is one that is a little more involved and which I would love to try: Craft Buds: Fabric Pupkins Tutorial.

I have seen all kinds. Some are very detailed, some look like bags vaguely shaped as pumpkins. Be creative!

Please share other pumpkin crafts!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Halloween Stores: Where to Shop?

Halloween shopping! How exciting!

There are always the common stores that pop up around Halloween-time. Spirit and Halloween City for instance. If you are looking for gore and creepy, you have hit the jackpot.

Of course your local Target and Walmart will sell a variety of things. I have found good stuff at these places, especially Target. I have even found some great stuff at King Soopers. The stuff I usually go for is more in the way of decorations. Target usually has things like pillows and tableware that are all themed, which I like.

Had to share this Halloween-y picture of Romulus and Remus! And the pillow I got at Target and the blanket on the back of the couch was from Walmart. See? Good stuff.
Another good resource- Party City (or Party America, but I don't know if we have any of these nearby any more). They have a huge selection of costumes and accessories as well as anything you would need for a party. And if you live on my side of town, all costume-junkies (myself included) know about Disguises where you can rent or purchase costumes and accessories from a rather extensive selection. There is another place that I just learned about this year but have not visited (because I hate Cherry Creek...) called The Wizard's Chest. I have heard good things about it. Costume superstore and toy shop, I gather.

The beautiful mask I got at Disguises
For those of you who are crafty, JoAnn has things you can buy and supplies to make things on your own (plus SOOO much fabric and lots of patterns if you feel inclined to make your own costumes). My go-to for other crafty things (other than costumes, I mean) is Michaels. I LOVE this store and always spend waaay too much money here. I will be posting a bit about Halloween crafts and you will see that I have gotten almost everything I use at Michaels (thank heavens they started a reward program!). For those who don't like JoAnn as much (and there are some, that's OK), you can go to Hancock Fabrics.

While not always my favorite store, Hobby Lobby has some really cute decorations! For me, this is a goldmine! Most decorations you find at the popular shops, and even at Party City are rather gruesome. At Hobby Lobby they have some really adorable and fun decorations, perfect for people like me! And of course, they do have crafty stuff you can put together.

IF you can find them (and there aren't many these days), Hallmark stores are great for cute and fun decorations. However, I think the Gold Crown stores do not have the liberty to buy the same stuff, so their selection is much smaller. Hallmark. Since each Hallmark is different, however, the online selection is not very good, either. The best way is to actually go to a store and see what they have.

My mom love Annalee stuff, for Halloween and Christmas. We used to find it at Connie's Hallmark before it closed (38th and Wadsworth). Sometimes you can find them in little shops--I found some in a little shop on Washington Ave in downtown Golden, for instance. Here is the website for those who don't want to search: Annalee: Seasonal Decorations.

Thrift stores can be great places to find some decorations, tableware, and clothing/costumes for cheap. There are so many around, it is silly not to go look. And remember, if you are looking for costumes, you can often get pieces at thrift stores and do some alterations to them. I needed a Kagome costume from InuYasha shown here:
I happened to stumble upon a floor-length, pleated green skirt. So I cut it short and used the remaining fabric to make the cuffs of her shirt and her scarf thing. It turned out great.

If anyone else knows of some Halloween store gems, please share!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Halloween Parties

For people like me who love Halloween, Halloween parties are a great way to get the gang together, get in costume, eat fun food and drink fun drinks.

A few years ago, I started throwing my own little parties with some close friends. They seemed to keep growing. Last year marked the beginning of the themed parties thrown my my friends and me.

Last year was Harry Potter Halloween Party. It was a pretty big hit. Except that our apartment was way too small for the crowd that came. We had food, mostly stuff that was mentioned in the books. Some drinks like pumpkin juice (which was quite a pain to make, actually). That and almost all of the food that we made or had guests make was from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook which a friend of mine owned. Chocolate Frogs and Jelly Bellies in many flavors were a must. We also made butterbeer (cold, which we couldn't decide if authenticity should come at the cost of taste... it is supposed to be warm after all...). The recipe we found and tried was basically lots of cream soda mixed with butterscotch schnapps. At the experimental phase we decided it was WAY too sweet. What did we do for the final delicious (and popular) beverage? Added beer. Yep, about half Coors (because it was light and not overpowering in flavor... and cheaper than others...) and half cream soda and added some butterscotch schnapps. I know it sounds odd, but it was quite tasty. I am not sure on the exact proportions, but I'd say just mix it until it tastes good to you.

We strung white X-mas lights across the ceiling and had candles and jack-o-lantern lights all over. We didn't use any other lighting. I had lots of colored streamers on the walls for each house. My talented friends painted Hogwarts House posters which we hung up (and I still have because they are AWESOME).

Latin at the bottom means "Let Sleeping Dragons Lie" I believe. Interesting eh?




My favorite. We agreed to do Ravenclaw from the books so bronze and blue! Yay!

We had a few games. Everyone had to be assigned a house which was done by drawing colored ribbons out of a bowl while wearing our home-made sorting hat (felt). We had a "put the sock on Dobby" game and a Quidditch bean bag toss and we kept track of winners for house points.

Over the door outside we made a cloth "brick wall" (red cloth with a brick pattern painted onto it and hung like a curtain) to go through to get to my door. On my door hung a sign that read "Hogwarts Express" and on either side of the curtain were a "9" and a "10."

I sent out invitations in the mail. They were formatted like the Hogwarts acceptance letters. I used the Lumos Font and I found a picture of McGonagall's signature. For the list of required items, we had divvied up the things we needed and asked guests to bring them in place of school supplies. Here is another good resource: Invitation Letter. I also found a basic owl picture and drew in (on the computer) a square to make it look like it was carrying a letter. That is where I put in the guests' name and address. The pictures below are basically what ours looked like. I know the font looks hard to read, but I had to shrink it for the picture. When you print it out, it is actually quite legible.


This was the image on the envelopes. I typed in names and addresses, also using the Lumos font.

And, of course, I dressed as McGonagall for the party. It was great fun.

We also developed special shots (which were in individually corked glass bottles) for each house. The Ravenclaw one was especially popular, followed by the Hufflepuff. If we can find the list so we know what was in each, I will post them.

For the best Harry Potter Party that we found, go here: Welcome to the Hogwarts Celebration. I wish I could have been at that party... We did take several ideas from her. And I tried so hard to find some plastic or cloth that looked like stone to put on the walls, but no dice. Check it out.

I wanted to post all of the above as references for anyone else who might want to throw a HP party. On to this year.

This year the theme is: Tim Burton movies.

No formal invites or anything too big because we are pressed for time and money.

This is the first year we are renting space for said party. Crazy, eh?

Lots of black, white, red, and grey decorations.

Interesting selections for food and drink.

I will be dressing as Katrina Van Tassel from Sleepy Hollow. I am trying to "throw together" her riding dress and coat. I will have a special costume post detailing that bit. Isaac may go as Ichabod Crane, but I need his help getting his costume together. As such, I am taking care of some of the black and white decor, table ware, and Sleepy Hollow decorations. Food and drinks are another matter.

There are lots of costume opportunities.

I will have a post after the party with pictures and details.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Haunted Houses, Corn Mazes, and Pumpkin Patches, Oh My!

Here in Colorado we have a great selection of Halloween activities available to us.

1. Haunted Houses
If this is your style, you are in luck. There are so many around here. I am not a huge fan of haunted houses, sadly, so I have only been to one. However, sometimes a local family will turn their house into a haunted house (usually on Halloween night) and I have gone to one or two of those in the past and enjoyed them.

The haunted house that I have been to is Field of Corpses. My brother works here as a guide and I know that he has tons of fun. My mom goes every year (but often has a hard time finding people who want to go after one time, ie: me).

Here is a list of haunted houses in Colorado. Try going to all of these in one month. Haunted House.com: Colorado

2. Haunted Corn Mazes
Similar to haunted houses, I suppose. However, a couple of friends of mine dragged me to one of these last year. To my great surprise, I actually had a lot of fun! This was the one we went to: Field of Screams.

There is also Terror in the Corn by Anderson Farms. They also do regular, day time corn mazes. I have heard that both are good.

3. Zombie Paintball Hunting
Yes. This appears to be the "new thing" this year. I know they do this at Anderson Farms and Field of Screams. I'm sure you can find other places as well.

The premise seems to be to ride around in a cart (horse and cart maybe?) and you shoot the actors with paintball guns. I hope the actors make a lot of money because it doesn't seem like they can retaliate.

I haven't tried this one, but if someone has, please share.

4. Haunted Places
There are loads of places in Colorado said to be haunted. Of course, there is the famous Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs.

Here is a little list from the Denver Post that I found interesting: Outside Guide: Haunted places in Colorado. And here is a very thorough list of haunted places in Colorado broken up by city: Haunted Places in Colorado. This one I had to check out because there are, allegedly, two haunting spirits in the Macky Auditorium in Boulder and I have a friend who works there. Wonder if I should mention that. I guess she will know if she reads this!

This is usually a little bit much for me...

5. Pumpkin Patches
Ah, THIS is more my speed! Going out on a nice, Fall day and picking pumpkins and going on hay rides, going through mazes and eating caramel apples!

One that I have gone to a few times in the past: Rock Creek Farm. (This year is kind of a bust with the drought however.) Anderson Farms has all of the fun, not scary stuff, too. Here is their main site: Anderson Farms.

Here is a list put out by the Denver Post: Colorado corn mazes and pumpkin patches. I have only been to a couple of these myself, but the list is quite extensive.

6. For Kids and Kid-friendly Events
I want to go to most of these, who is with me?

There are various Trick-or-Treat Streets set up. I heard of one event from a friend with kids called Trunk or Treat where people decorate their trunks and themselves in a theme and hand out candy from one location. It is supposed to be a safer alternative to going door-to-door.

The Denver Botanic Gardens have several Halloween events including a corn maze and re-enactment of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The Children's Museum of Denver has a Trick-or-Treat street at the end of October and a bug-theme for October museum visits.

The Butterfly Pavilion has an event called Bug-A-Boo that they do for kids around Halloween.

The Denver Zoo does a Boo at the Zoo (and a Boo at the Zoo After Dark) that includes a Trick-or-Treat street and other fun stations to stop at.

And last but not least, the Colorado Railroad Museum does a Trick-or-Treat Train with little fun things on the side.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Essential Halloween Music

More Halloween! This time it's about music. This is my personal Halloween playlist with some other stuff thrown around. All the songs have links so you can listen on YouTube before you purchase songs you've never heard.

For those of you who go for the scary Halloween movies, you can probably find most of those soundtracks. Since I don't, that won't be included here, but if anyone has good resources and suggestions, feel free to share.

Also, much of the Halloween music is sort of alternative or indie style, which is not a whole lot of what I listen to, myself.

You can also buy those spooky sounds CDs, but those aren't for easy listening.

I tend to think about the Harry Potter soundtracks around this time of the year. Practical Magic's soundtrack is also good. Basically any soundtrack from a Halloween-y movie is going to work. (For a list of Halloween movies, see my last post!)

1. Rock Lobster by the B52s. Why is this a Halloween song? Not sure, but many Halloween mixes include this song.
2. Witchcraft by Frank Sinatra. Classic.
3. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. "I ain't afraid of no ghosts."
4. Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell.
5. Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. Essential.
6. The Munsters. One I couldn't find a video of. I am not sure which version I have. None of the ones I found. It sounds like the original theme but has words as well. I got it on The Complete Halloween Party Album.
7. The X-Files Theme Song.
8. Little Shop of Horrors Prologue. Awesome. Or just about any song from this musical.
9. Thriller by Michael Jackson. Of course.
10. This is Halloween from Nightmare Before Christmas. "I am the who when you call 'who's there?'" Gives me goosebumps. Nearly any songs from this movie, really.
11. Beetlejuice Theme Song. Many people also include Day-o (Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte.
12. Purple People Eater by Sheb Wooley. "Purple People?!" Not the best quality, but it is old.
13. I Put a Spell on You by CCR. Though I actually like this version better (shock...): I Put a Spell on You from Hocus Pocus.
14. The Twilight Zone Theme Song.
15. Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show. "I was walking down the street just-a havin' a think when a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink..." (Sorry about the odd subtitles in this one, but most of the others didn't have the movie clip with the dance AND good sound so...)
16. The Addams Family Theme Song.
17. Bewitched Theme Song.
18. Spooky by Atlanta Rhythm Section.
19. Poor Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas.
20. Love Potion Number 9 by The Searchers. Potions are Halloween-y, right?
21. Here is a gem: Anything Can Happen on Halloween by Tim Curry. "Has anybody seen my tambourine?" Tim Curry! Awesome, right? It's from 1987 so cut it some slack. From a movie (I don't think it's from the show) called "The Worst Witch," which I still need to watch... Sadly, this one is difficult to find for purchase. It is not on iTunes nor Amazon as far as I could tell.
22. The Headless Horseman Song by Kay Starr. While I generally love Bing Crosby, I found that I don't go for him for my Halloween music needs. If you are interested, he did this song: The Headless Horseman by Bing Crosby from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as well as: The Halloween Song by Bing Crosby and Boris Karloff.
23. Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.
24. Grim Grinning Ghosts from the Disney ride Haunted Mansion.
25. Little Red Riding Hood. My version I bought from iTunes says it's by The Coasters. This one says it's by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. They sound the same, tho.
26.  Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground. Not really Halloween, but I think it was in one of those many Foreign Werewolves in Other Countries movies and the song is creepy and have you seen the video? Scary!
27. Werewolf by The Frantics. I got this from another blog here: Nerdist: 13 Required Songs for Your Halloween Party Playlist etc. They have some good stuff there. And I liked the part about "That's right, you just listened to Twilight," but I didn't think the second song was Halloween-y enough and I hated the third for that combo. You'll see what I mean if you visit.
28. Witchy Woman by The Eagles.
29. The Closing from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Not in the movie as far as my friend, Veronica, and I could tell.

So there you have it: my Halloween playlist. I hope you find something worth listening to. And please feel free to share your Halloween favorites!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Necessary Halloween Movies

If you are looking for the typical horror movie must-watch list, you are in the wrong place!

What on Earth do you watch for Halloween if you don't like horror films? And how can you love Halloween if you don't like horror?!

I go for fun, silly, and occasionally spooky. So here is a list of Halloween movies that are necessary for me at this time of the year:
  • Halloweentown (I and II) from the Disney Channel. They are fun and light-hearted. I don't own number III, but will watch it if it is available. I draw the line at number IV.
  • Practical Magic. I love this movie (though the book spooked me a bit). The opening is my very favorite part and I love the music for it.
  • Bell, Book and Candle. This is an old movie about witches and love. I think it is charming and fun.
  • Haunted Mansion. Another fun Disney movie.
  • Sleepy Hollow by Tim Burton with the usual cast--Johnny Depp and Christopher Lee. Michael Gambon is in this one as well as the guy who played Mr. Dursley (he's good in this one). One of the few R-rated movies that I like and will watch.
  • Don't Look Under the Bed. Another Disney Channel movie, but this one is nearly impossible to find. It seems that about 6 or so years ago, Disney stopped airing it around this time and there are no copies to be had. I have an old VHS recording (somewhere) or you can watch it in several parts starting with this link: Don't Look Under the Bed Part 1. I love this one.
  • Addams Family and Addams Family Values.
  • Hocus Pocus. I don't think you can have Halloween without this movie.
  • Little Shop of Horrors. Good old Halloween-y musical.
  • The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Not scary and not strictly Halloween, but I love it always.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Disney again. This is an older one that is also not really Halloween but is about a witch.
  • Escape to Witch Mountain. Not to be confused with the newer Race to Witch Mountain.
  • Batman and Batman Returns by Tim Burton with the old usual cast--Michael Keaton.
  • Beetlejuice, again Tim Burton, again Michael Keaton.
  • The Haunting. The newer one. Actually, my chances of watching this one are slim to none. But I always pull it out thinking that I will watch it.
  • Nightmare Before Christmas. I have to be in the right mood to watch this one.

And here are some movies that are not exactly Halloween but that I often want to watch around this time:
  • Little Nemo (Adventures in Slumberland). Old, hard to find, but spooky. Not Finding Nemo, mind you.
  • From Hell. One other R-rated movie that I may watch.
  • Hellboy.
  • Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton version.
  • Corpse Bride. Oh Tim Burton, what have you done to my Halloween?
  • Mirrormask. I like this movie, but it seems especially appropriate for Halloween.
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Monsters Inc. Disney and Pixar. Monsters are Halloween-y, right?
  • Any Harry Potter movies. I usually watch the earlier ones where they have Halloween scenes.
  • Matilda.
  • Stardust.
  • Phantom of the Opera.
  • Phantom of the Megaplex. Another Disney Channel movie. What can I say? I like Mickey Rooney.

Many shows have good Halloween episodes that I like to watch:
  • "The Slutty Pumpkin" from How I Met Your Mother season 1. One of my favorites.
  • "Canning Randy" from How I Met Your Mother season 6.
  • "Boys II Mensa" from Boy Meets World season 1.
  • "Who's Afraid of Cory Wolf" from Boy Meets World season 2.
  • "The Witches of Pennbrook" from Boy Meets World season 5.
  • "And Then There Was Shawn" from Boy Meets World season 5. Not the official Halloween episode, but it is appropriate.
  • Most episodes of The Storyteller season 1. I love this series. For Halloween I recommend "Fearnot," "The Soldier and Death," and "The Three Ravens." Maybe "Luck Child" and "Sapsorrow," too. 
  • "Fairy Tales Can Come True" from Cheers season 3.
  • "Diane's Nightmare" from Cheers season 4.
  • "House of Horrors with Formal Dining and Used Brick" from Cheers season 5.
  • "Bar Wars V: the Final Judgement" from Cheers season 10.
  • "Halloween" from Frasier season 5.
  • "Room Full of Heroes" from Frasier season 9.
  • "Tales from the Crypt" from Frasier season 10. 
  • Most episodes of The Addams Family (the old one, I watch them all on Hulu) but mostly "Halloween with the Addams Family" and "Halloween, Addams Style."
  • Most episodes of Bewitched and they have Halloween episodes. Watch on Hulu!
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which also has Halloween specials.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also see their Halloween specials.

Here is a great list, most of which are shows I do not watch, but that's OK: List of Halloween television specials.

And Anime Halloween to wrap it up!
  • Vampire Princess Miyu series.
  • Master of Mosquiton (though mildly awkward at times...)
  • "Until the Day it Becomes a Pumpkin" from Ouran High School Host Club. Great episode.
  • "Haruhi in Wonderland" also from Ouran. It's not Halloween, but I want to watch it around Halloween.
  • Black Butler is appropriate for Halloween.
  • Spirited Away by Miyazaki. An argument can be made for it.

And there you have it! Anyone have any movies or good episodes to add? Please share!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Last NDK 2012 Post

I know it isn't Halloween related. Though, there are costumes involved, so, maybe it's not too bad.

I promise that this will be my absolute LAST post for NDK 2012!

Here is one more video my friend made-an uncut video of our wonderful Katamari train around NDK. I wanted to share it because it is fun and entertaining.

Uncut NDK Footage

Thought: how do you think trick-or-treaters would respond if I opened the door to them in my Katamari costume? Hmm...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Our Family Holiday: Halloween

This is just the beginning. All October posts from here one will have one major theme: Halloween!

As several of you already know, Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. (I know, I even like it better than Christmas/Hanukkah). If any of you know my family, you know that I come by it honestly.

My mom is into holidays in general, but she loves Halloween. It definitely suits her eccentric style. She likes horror movies and visiting haunted houses (not the ones the local kids put on, but actual rumored haunted places). She gets into the ghost stories and dressing up. Her particular tastes we define as "mysterious." Witches, black cats, lanterns, ghostly figures. Nothing particularly frightening, but things that are potentially frightening. Grave yards, cauldrons, bats, and such.

My sister is a bit of a mix. She watches lots of horror movies and reads much scarier books and stories than I do. For decorations and everything, she is kind of like my mom. Maybe with a little cute thrown in. And I think she gets a kick out of zombies. I am not positive, but I think Halloween is still her favorite holiday, too.

My brother is a horse of a different color. He likes the gruesome and spooky. Gore galore. Moving headstones, tormented souls, restless dead. He works at a local haunted house (one that the local kids put on, not one that is actually haunted) called Field of Corpses. I visited once for him and do not feel inclined to return. Ever. Anyway, he gets into the dressing up and he's an actor so he can do the creepy scary stuff.

My Halloween style is more cute and classy, I would say. Many of my decorations are black and silver with accents of orange. I have a lot of stuff that glitters. And I love jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins. I include general autumn decor- fall colors, pumpkin patches. That is my type of Halloween. And, as many of you know, I also love to dress up. And never as anything scary.

Here are some of my decorations that I made myself (the ornaments I assembled). If you keep an eye on my blog, I will have lots of Halloween posts and I may include some crafts and other neat ideas.
Stay tuned for more Halloween!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Short NDK Follow-up

My friend with the video blog finished his last NDK video, and it is cool so I wanted to share it. For those of my readers who are curious, this is a small taste of what NDK is like. He got some great shots.

RAW: NDK (Nan Desu Kan)

Something that I don't think I shared was the meaning of the name of the convention, Nan Desu Kan. So Nan Desu Kan (Pronounced like Nan Des Con) is sort of a play on the Japanese phrase "Nan desu ka?" meaning roughly "What is it?" Kan is the Japanese-ified word for Con (short for "convention"). So basically, "What is Con?" I always think it is funny, anyways...

And one more video that I wanted to share because it is my all time favorite AMV. I believe it won an award at NDK many, many years ago. I am not sure what for or if the categories were the same then as they are now (I am pretty sure they are not). Please forgive the quality: it is an older video and I downloaded it many years ago. Plus, I am not sure the video application agrees well with Blogger. So here it is:
video
My absolute favorite part is the fight scene with Saito. Saito is a favorite of mine, both in the series as well as the real Saito Hajime in history that he is loosely based on. This video always makes me happy :)

And I could not find it on YouTube or even on the editors page without downloading it, so here is their page and their page for this particular video:
Main Page: Laser Chicken
Information Page for Rurouni Kenshin - Butterfly