Is there any holiday as hip as Halloween? That’s a rhetorical question for when else do you get to put on someone else’s clothes and decorate your front yard with spare body parts? (Well, besides every other Tuesday of course.)
For us, free time in October is rarer than a vegan werewolf. (See last week’s post if you somehow don’t understand why.) But we have a few Halloween traditions that aren’t negotiable, regardless of their convenience.
I remember school buses being a little roomier.
This October, we again found agricultural refinement at Cornbelly’s. I valiantly led our group of longtime friends through the corn maze in record time. I may have taken us on a few sneaky shortcuts but Jason was the only conscientious objector to my maze cutting.
Cornbelly’s had a Minion theme this year.
Once a year, Jason and I mold fingers, gobble toes, carve faces, and roast bones. It’s a gruesome cooking experience that we greatly look forward to. This time we settled on making curried pumpkin soup, confetti corn quesadillas, and almond witch finger cookies dipped in red velvet hot chocolate. I never knew there was a limit to how many fingers one could consume in a sitting without getting a tummy ache. It’s three, for those of you that would rather not learn that lesson the hard way.
Making a spooky dinner is a favorite October tradition of ours.
We love to pass out sweets to the throngs of trick-or-treaters that bombard our house on Halloween. The full-size candy we distribute definitely draws in the kiddies. Our decorations, on the other hand, both attract youngsters and repel them, depending on the tykes’ delicacies regarding the daunting. Despite the kids that found our porch too frightening to risk, we had about 250 costumed customers knock on our door this year.
For us, Halloween is a bringer of madness, and I’m not just talking about that plate of fingers. Yet, notwithstanding the work entailed in our seasonal productions, Halloween remains my favorite spell and still elicits that candy-costume high. Those unforgettable evenings of pushing through cutting air and cackling leaves in the urgent pursuit of treats while constantly scanning the shadows for a hint of a creep are lodged in my psyche. They, along with so many more-recent recollections, will keep Halloween my top twisted holiday forevermore.
This October we held our annual Halloween bash once more. We again covered our house in potion books and cobwebs. And, as usual, we spent months creating costumes, collecting prizes and preparing games. And yes, our brains were both donated by Abby Normal. (How did you know?)
I looked berry sweet dressed as the 80s Strawberry Shortcake toy. Jason, on the other hand, seemed a little peculiar.
Just your typical haunted tabletop.
Floating lanterns seemed like perfect companions for a cocooned corpse.
As I have mentioned at every possible opportunity, transforming our house into a festive haunt takes a tremendous amount of work. However, despite the ominous layers of spectral decay prolific at our party, some attendees can’t comprehending how the bedecking could take more than a day or two. If you doubt the validity of our toils, help us decorate for a few hours. The tiny area you’ll complete with an evening’s work will have you convinced. (Yes, I am trying to trick you into helping us decorate.)
The pinata got hammered.
Mindy won second place in the kids’ costume contest.
Read my rant below to learn all about this stairway.
Since I’m already whining, allow me to continue with a dissection of the lengthy process involved in transforming just one small space from tedious to terrifying. Please refer to the picture of the staircase above and the steps to its creation below:
- Get a splendidly morbid idea, preferably one you haven’t used in the 15+ years you’ve been spooking. (This can be pretty tough when your creative juice have already been digested a few times. Isn’t there some rule about how many times you can drink your pee?)
- Disassemble Jason’s bad idea. (Sorry Jason, your concept for the staircase didn’t look very good.)
- Cover one wall in black gossamer sheets for the benefit of some soon-to be-added pallid bits.
- Cover those sheets strategically with black creepy cloth.
- Add squirming mummy hands, AKA pallid bits.
- Add stringy white cloth to make it appear like the mummy hands have been losing their stuff n’ stuff.
- Add some ragged grey cloth like your grandma would add doilies.
- Add a string of bat lights.
- Hang dismembered hands on opposite wall.
- Give those hands some holey cloth and eyeballs to hold onto.
- Wrap the whole area in a thick coating of cobwebs.
- Add a few final touches like flaming candlesticks and rabid rats.
- Power up everything with some imaginative extension cord placement and a whole lot of batteries.
That little zone took no less than several hours and over 100 pushpins to create. But at least we only had another twenty areas or so to go afterward…
We upped the eerie in our basement.
Why did it have to be spandex?
I wanted to smell berry nice, like a Strawberry Shortcake toy, so I wore this fine fragrance made by American Greetings. Since it was designed by a greeting card company, I knew it would be full of sunshine and smiles.
Although a party wouldn’t be fitting for Halloween without some dark ambiance, you’ve got to follow through after you set the mood. Photos by professionals, carnival games, a piñata, crafts, bingo, treats, a costume contests… we made sure our party wasn’t all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Our party was so amazing, some guests just wouldn’t leave.
A photo area has become a standard feature at our party.
We had roughly 70 or so guests show up, a pretty normal turnout. It was a wicked, insane, sugary, chaotic, colorful, noisy, crowded, sticky, amusing, competitive, exhausting night. In other words, it was a typical Sabin party.
The kids take their bashing duties seriously; it’s quite comical.
Thanks everyone that joined us in celebrating the most horrible (and best) holiday. No party would be a success without fun-loving people. And a big thank you to the tremendous kin and friends that helped us put up, clean up, take down or run games. We had more helpers this year than we ever have. Due to that atypical assistance, our decorations are almost all contained at this point. That is unprecedented progress given we are often still packing away Halloween when it’s time to put up Christmas. Thank you!