As I was picking up supplies for another Halloween project (updates soon to come!), I spied this collection of Halloween decorations at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Dallas.
The largest decoration was this hanging caged skeleton. It had a motion sensor that would set it screaming and shaking when you walked past. To be honest, the shaking wasn’t all that noticeable – I think it needs a larger motor for the size. It appeared to be about 5-6 feet tall. Check out the short video clip below.
There were a few other animated decorations, some of which were were not set up or not yet plugged in.
This illuminated skull had a interesting lighting effect. The video below doesn’t do it justice.
There was a good selection of inflatables this year. I was especially impressed by the Dragon and Archway Haunted House
We’ve been lucky to have very little vandalism of our Halloween yard over the years. I’ve seen signs in other yards that are pretty severe (Did you know that in Texas, you are allowed to shoot intruders in defense of property?)
I found some neat faux book boxes at a Michaels Arts and Crafts store, while looking for Halloween items. I immediately knew I had to try out Dave Lowe’e Creepy Book treatment on one. I like the end result on the test run:
I started with a small book box to test out the idea.
I used a diluted mixture of Mod Modge, brushed on top of a crumpled paper towel, to give the ‘leather’ effect. You really have to soak it. Crumpling the paper towel beforehand will help create creases. Take care to avoid bubbles. Even after it dries they will look more like bubbles than wrinkled leather. I trimmed and wrapped the edges around the edge of the cover. THis was a bit messy, since I didn’t know exactly the dimensions of the crumpled paper towel before it was applied to the book. I ended up with a very messy pair of scissors as I cut the cluey paper towel But I don’t know what other way I could do it, since the paper won’t lay completely flat until the Mod Podge is applied.
After it was dry (about a day), I broke out some acrylic paints for the final step. I decided on some burnt umber for the outside and black for the inside. The ‘bark brown’ make be used later to dry brushing highlights.
This is the end result. The odd partial leather effect on the inside cover is a result of me changing my mind halfway through the process. I originally intended to apply the paper towel on the inside as well, but changed my mind. I’ve decided that this was more of a trial run instead of a final product.
Here’s a closeup of the ‘leather’ effect. It could probably benefit from a wash of diluted black paint for shadows, and a cry-brush of lighter brown to bring out the highlights. But I’m happy with it so far.
So check out your local crafts store. These books are spring and summer items, and should be heavily discounted.
The local Michaels arts-and-crafts stores have been slowly stocking their shelves with Halloween. Also, they have some deep discounts on their spring and summer merchandise. Some of these can be used for Halloween too!
First, the Halloween goodies!
The Lemaxx Spooky Town displays have a bit of a canival-like atmosphere this year. I took some pictures below.
There are lots of elegant decorations with variations on the skull theme this year…
…and other stuff (please forgive the occasional blurry picture)…
The changing portraits were sufficiently creepy
Check out this video for the full effect
I also saw a good selection of bisque ceramics. You’d need access to a kiln to glaze and finish these. There are craft locations that will do that for you (Like Art and Soul in the Plano TX area)
The stores are also deeply discounting spring items. One thing that caught my eye was the decorative boxes.
I especially like the boxes in the background that look like books. These are just crying out to be altered into some creepy Necronomicon or other spooky book (with a secret hiding place inside for your spell-making ingredients!). Check out Dave Lowe’s blog for ideas on how to make these into a faux leather creepy book. Even the regular boxes could be turned into a vampire killing kit, like this one in a video from Shadow of Palms.
The north Texas area had some freezing rain and sleet blow through recently. Complicating this is an extended period of freezing temperatures. SO everything has been closed and the streets and parking lots have been turned into ice rinks (literally – kids were playing ice hockey in the church parking lot down the street).
One of my traditions during cold weather is to build a snow pumpkin outside somewhere, like this:
Well the sleet and ice didn’t work with snow-building techniques, so I tried something different.
I give you.. the Ice Jack-o-Lantern!
I took a old plastic jackolantern pail, and cut it in half. Then I duct taped it together and filled it with water. However, the duct tape was not as waterproof as I would like, so it took me 2 days of refilling it until I was able to get enough to freeze before it leaked out.
It didn’t freeze all the way through (I didn’t expect it to) so I drained out the water and was left with a hollow pumpkin. I did put a little battery operated tealight inside last night, which looked OK. But you can’t really make out the features so it just looks like a ball of ice.
If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t cut the pumpkin pail until after the after froze. Then I might use a hot knife to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth. But it was a fun experiment anyway!
Someone else online had a similar idea. His instruction are over at Instructables.com