It’s Halloween, the perfect time to share this wonderfully twisted Totoro remix by Sachsen. Read some horror manga, dress up as a Japanese ghost, learn about the Kyoto yokai train (even if it actually runs during summer), and watch something spooky, like Secret Investigation Record (link to automatic video). Then come back here, because I’ve got some fun posts lined up for the week!
A big thanks to all the people who linked or pinned my Halloween posts! My traffic tripled last week, and while it’s a temporary boost, it’s encouraged me to keep blogging (and to do Halloween Week posting next year). Here are some last minute Halloween links I thought you’d enjoy:
- Present & Correct has a fun Halloween contest.
- Nightmares Fear Factory’s Flickr photostream features photo upon photo of terrified haunted house goers. I laughed until I hurt.
- Here are two favorite Halloween songs (YouTube links): Screamin’ Jay Hawkins “I Put A Spell On You” & Gnarls Barkley’s “Boogie Monster.”
- From Daily Candy, a Best Horror Movies list, and from Time Magazine, the Top 10 Haunted-House Movies.
- From TresSugar: How to Dress as Your Favorite ’90s Girl for Halloween.
And some nice, non-Halloween blogger news I’ve been waiting to squeeze in:
- I planned on posting about For Me, For You’s fundraiser (her boyfriend has cancer, and as freelancers, neither have health insurance). But I didn’t need to. Because within one week they met their fundraising goal AND he was approved (after some struggles) for Medi-Cal.
- Joy had a beautiful, healthy baby girl.
Have a great Halloween!
Do you read holiday-themed books? As a bookseller, I always wondered who the audience was for them (especially around Christmas, when we’d get 26 copies of Dating Mr. December).
Well, turns out that audience includes me. In anticipation of Halloween, I picked up Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party for 10 cents. The purchase got me thinking about good Halloween reads, and about making a short Halloween book list for the blog. Being a book nerd, my “short” list quickly turned into 50+ titles.
Halloween Book List
So I’ve created an Amazon aStore of my recommended Halloween books. I approached this list as a former bookseller, meaning it contains both books I love and books that aren’t really my thing, but might appeal to others (for example, I don’t like zombies, but zombie books are on the list).
I’ve also divided the list into 6 categories (see the left hand column) for easier browsing. And I’ve included only one or two titles per author (e.g., there’s only one title by Stephen King), trusting you to fill in the blanks. Click the image below to visit the store.
Disclaimer: I made an aStore because it’s the easiest way to make a book list with images, links & reviews. That said, I’m an Amazon associate, and do get a tiny percentage of the profit when you buy something through the aStore. It’s a teeny-tiny amount, though, and I encourage you to shop around. Remember, there’s the library. There’s Paperbackswap.com. There are your local bookstores. There are free eBook versions of all public domain titles. And of course, there are your local thrift stores (my Halloween book was 10 cents!).
Bonus: Online-Only Treats
Here are a few more scary links that I came across before I decided to make an aStore:
Emily Carroll’s work: Carroll (who also wrote the disturbing His Face All Red) has a new webcomic called Margot’s Room. Each Friday leading up to Halloween, a new part of the story comes out, with the link to that story part hidden somewhere in the room above.
Teeny-Tiny & The Witch Woman: An animated version of Barbara K. Walker’s book, Teeny-Tiny & The Witch Woman is a classic, and one of my childhood favorites. I linked to it in the aStore (and still think children will love it), but it’s also on YouTube if you want a quick nostalgia fix.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: I’m not going to lie–this book (also in the aStore) scarred me as a child. As Brian Miggels put it,
“That sh*t damaged me. Honestly, that picture of the girl with baby spiders coming out of her face haunted me for years.”
And it’s not just the cheek spiders, it’s the whole book. If you don’t believe me, here are more scans & comments; that Scary Stories has been one of the ALA’s most banned/challenged books for more than 20 years is another testament to its power to disturb. Be sure to get the out-of-print versions illustrated by Stephen Gammell, however; his illustrations make the book.
October is a cold month, and platform shoes and low-cut bustiers (and sleazy dudes) are a party-going nuisance. Unfortunately, retail Halloween costume options for women still consist mostly of “sexy” this or “naughty” that. Which means you’ll probably want to make your own.
Here are some of my favorite costume ideas, most of which are no-sew:
1. Pop Art/Comic Book Character
So cool. It’s a popular look, but the makeup is time-consuming enough that it’s not been overdone:
- Lichtenstein-inspired makeup by Karin Stone for MAC Cosmetics.
- “Homage to Lichtenstein” photo by Eva Mueller, makeup by Andrew D’Angelo.
- Comic-inspired headbands, $23 by Janine Basil.
- Another Lichtenstein-inspired photo by Shannon Brooke Imagery (makeup by Jennifer Corona).
2. Celestial Beings
Pair an elaborate star (made with foam glitter stars & wire) or moon headdress with simple dark clothes:
- Hedy Lamarr photo from Ziegfeld Girl.
- Cosmic headdress from Martha Stewart.
- Image from Alexander McQueen FW07 runway from Style.com.
Sorry for the delay–the work is catching up with me! I may have to post a few things this weekend instead.
During my Halloween Week research, I read about a “Which Witch?” party, where all the participants dress up as famous witches. It sounded like fun, and as I kept finding great witch-related ideas, a witch party concept seemed obvious.
Literature & film are packed with witches for costume inspiration. For starters: Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, Bellatrix Lestrange (or any Harry Potter witch), Elphaba or Glinda from Wicked, Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, Chocolat from Sugar Sugar Rune, Jadis the White Witch from Chronicles of Narnia, Baba Yaga, Circe, the witches from Hocus Pocus, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, and on and on. The blog Sexy Witch has tons more historical inspiration, and below are a few more ideas:
Row by row, from left:
- Both runway images are from Luella Bartley AW08, photos from Vogue.co.uk.
- Middle image from “Dark Light Shining” article in Rue Magazine Issue 4 (pg 145). Stylist Jesi Haack has behind-the-scene photos & the full credits here.
- Professor McGonagall’s hat, $16.30 from Amazon.
- Borrow the hairstyle of this witch from Donkey Skin (fun fact: she spits toads when she talks).
- A large rubber toad glued or sewed to the shoulder of an outfit will give it instant witchy flair (and give you a familiar). Here’s a vintage example of a vermin-covered witch costume, and here’s a hair mice tutorial from Martha Stewart.