After dinner with the family on Saturday night, I told my wife I needed to stop by Lowe’s Home Improvement to pick up a soaker hose. For those of you who don’t live in the wonderful country state of Texas, soaker hoses are required to keep our houses from sinking into the ground. You see, in spite of the fact that we live in “Tornado Alley” where the only safe place is below ground, Texas houses are built without basements (yeah, it’s cheaper but you don’t think about that cowering in an interior bathroom with the tornado sirens wailing). Our houses sit on a concrete slab on top of clay soil which tends to expand when it gets wet and shrink when it dries out. And since Texas is in the worse drought in 1,000,000 years, this clay soil is shrinking like the proverbial snowball in Hades. So, to keep the plaster walls from cracking and the brick from crumbling we have to, get this, water our houses. Hence the soaker hose.
But I digress.
Anyway, we pull into the parking lot, and I tell my wife and son I’ll be just a minute. Both of them roll their eyes, because they know I’m a man. Going into a hardware store. They will be lucky to see me in an hour. And they know Lowe’s carries Halloween merchandise. So both whip out their IPhones and settle in for a long bout of Fruit Ninja.
So I head in and what do I find right inside the door? Soaker hoses! And right next to the soaker hoses… Halloween stuff!!!
Halloween at Lowe’s
Skull Candy Bowl
Tasteful Wall Art Decorations
And of course I have to push the button on every cheesy animated toy available
In my earlier post, “Halloween arrives at Michaels“, I told you about the $1 miniature wooden coffins for sale there. I bought one and thought I would try my hand at decorating one. Here’s the result, my new business card holder for my desk (name hidden to protect the innocent, and my job)
Coffin Business Card Holder
And a shot of the outside:
Coffin Business Card holder closed
This was admittedly a pretty simple job, nothing like the awesome coffins in my “Grave Undertaking” post. Still, I was pretty proud of my effort. Here’s what I did:
Use an X-acto or utility knife and a straight-edge to cut lines for the ‘planks’ on the lid and sides. I just scratched out one simple cut for each line. But you could carve out small grooves if you wanted to make the lines more pronounced.
Remove the hinges and latch. You will need a small screwdriver for this.
Stain the wood with your favorite stain. I applied some Min-Wax walnut stain with a small brush. But you could use one of the stain markers that you can also buy at Michaels.
Let the stain dry. It actually took a few days until it wasn’t sticky anymore.
Attach the hinges and latch – and you are done!
One problem I had with staining was that there was some dried glue on the inside of the coffin. So the wood would not take the stain in those areas I ended up coloring the area with a brown marker, but the color was not an exact match (You can see a bit of this on the lid in the first picture). So you may be better off painting the inside or lining it with another material, like felt.
I bought several more coffins and have a lot of ideas. I’ll keep you posted. But meanwhile, why don’t you drive the hearse down to Michaels and get a few yourself?
If you have a Big Lot’s closeout chain store near you, head on over! They probably have their Halloween stuff out already. Here’s some pictures from the one near my office
Big Lots Halloween bling
I’m really interested in the UV light above. UV LED’s tend to put out a good amount of light, and it’s focused, which is good for highlighting items without bathing the entire area in a UV glow. It’s listed as indoor, but still I think I could make it work outside if I protected it from the weather.
As usual, they have the standard silly animated stuff:
School starts next week here in TX. Soon the stores will be empty of back-to-school stuff and evil things will fill the shelves!
ScreaminScott says “dig it up” at your local store!
It’s still August, but the stores are looking forward to Back-to-school merchandise, then on to Halloween. And that means summer merchandise is being heavily discounted. This can be a boon to the home haunter. There are tons of summer items that can be hacked for Halloween
For example, garden statues are a great buy. Even the cute cherubs can take on a spooky look in a darkened cemetery. Dab some UV paint on the eyes and make em glow like a old Bonnie Tyler music video.
Then there are options for lighting. There are tons of lanterns of all shapes and sizes sold these days. Built for votive candles or tea lights, they make great atmospheric lighting. Cover those awful bright colors with some black paint and a misting of silver or brass paint. Then, on the glass, spray on some frosted glass spray paint and a bit of black spray paint to look like soot. Stick a battery operated tealight ( I like the ones from Minions Web – they last forever!) in it and place it in the graveyard.
I found this battery operated hurricane lantern at Big Lots for $5. It’s plastic, but looks good enough to hold in my hand as I open the door for trick-or-treaters. A little drybrushing on the base with some metallic paint at it will look even better.
And what would summer be without pool noodles? You know.. those flexible, floatable, whack-your-little-brother-over-the-head fun filled pool toys. Even something as simple and ‘summery’ as pool noodles can be used for Halloween. It’s amazing what you can do with these things.
Use them as an architectural embellishment for a mausoleum, as at spookyblue.com
Fill out the arms and legs of Halloween dummies to sit on your porch.
Use yellow noodles as giant French fries and go as a box of your favorite fried fast food (ok, this is a stretch, but it’s real. I saw it on Pintrest)
In the last post, I showed you those miniature coffins from Michael’s Arts and Crafts store. At only $1, they are quite a bargain. And versatile too! As you can see below.
These coffins come from MoonWitchKitty on Halloween Forum. I particularly like the bloody handprint on the inside of the lid. Makes you wonder about the story behind it! Perhaps it was caused by a Smurf buried alive (Seriously, if you had seen the trailer for the next Smurf movie, you’d want to do that too!)
This one comes from Inkstains. As cool as the outside looks, get a load of the inside below!
Its a miniature shadowbox / apothecary / art project!
Id something more simple is your style, just paint black and add some decorations, like these coffins above from Dr Brassy.
Finally, check out this idea above from Studio 7 that use the coffin as a backdrop for a creepy Halloween decoration.
There are sooo many more ideas on the web. It’s like potato chips (or beer), you can’t have just one! Check out these other links:
Like many haunters, I’m a bit of a pack-rat. Before I throw anything away, I always take a look at it and think “Could I use this for Halloween?”
And it’s not just Halloween. I love the idea of upcyclingitems. I while back I heard of people taking plastic grocery bags and fusing them together to make a material that could be used for new crafts. This person has taken that a step further and used Halloween candy bags along with regular grocery bags:
What a cool idea! For us haunters who get sometimes hundreds of Trick-or-Treaters every year, we sure do go through the candy! I think I might have to try this out this year.
3 to be exact. Although one is by far the longest at about 4 feet. The others two.. well I didn’t train them correctly and they will end up fighting for space. I’ll have to check on the progress of the grudge match every day.
Lets hope that the temperatures and moisture stay within acceptable ranges this year. Texas is going through a severe drought. While I have a soaker hose installed along the vines, there’s not much you can do if temperatures top the 100 mark day after day. Luckily we’ve had a freakish cycle of rain the past 3 days, so hopefully the vines are well established for the rest of the season.
An hopefully the male flowers and female flowers have a menage-a-trois with a bee and give me some pumpkins this year!!