Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween 2007

I spent Beggar's Night in the company of the neighbors this year. We just hung out outside the digs and passed out candy! (Note to Self - four regular sized bags.) Where were my regular revellers, you ask? Bob is out of town through Friday. Carol no longer lets Bob drive at night, so they (my in-laws) stayed home. Katie and Kara spent their Halloween in their new home, and Laura (who may have missed one since I've known her) is hot and heavy into moving mode, so was unable to come over.

I did get a surprise visit from Jennifer and Jeff Baringhaus showing off their little bundle of joy in Brady's first Halloween costume, though! That was a real treat!!!

Because I have been out of town so much with Bob, and because I was not going to be making a fancy meal just for me, I only decorated the outside of the house and did nominal decorating in the front room. Mind you, it still was pretty impressive, but I know how many more boxes of stuff I have that never got put out!

Below are pictures from this year AND you can find the pictures of the 2007 pumpkin in the post You Don't Know Jack! Enjoy!!!

Although I like the fact that you can see everything to a much better degree in the "red" photos taken with my camera, the photo below, taken with Bob's camera, is actually much closer to the true color.

Halloween Haunting

These are just a few pictures of Beggar's Nights in the past. These primarily focus on the kitchen as I did not decorate it this year so have no new pictures. (I did change the light bulbs and put sheets over the table and chairs, though.)

This is my typical spread for Beggar's Night! The menu features Pumpkin Burgers. We also have a variety of cheeses, whole cashews, Craisins, veggie platter with homemade spinach dip, Pringles chips, M&Ms and white chocolate covered pretzels. We either serve mulled cider, or I have a Halloween punch that I sometimes make.

I dearly love my Halloween cheese plate and my chip bowl and drink carafe with matching beaker glasses!!!

This is my antique cherry cupboard festooned for the season.

Top of the cookbook bookcase. I made the CD Eyeball Clock at one of my Stamp Club meetings.

This is my mini gothic church ruins and forsaken cemetery. I did not get them out this year, but wanted to share!

I think this picture is ingenious!!!

The painting resting against the wall was made by my sister, Chana, while she was still in high school. Although you can't tell it by looking at this picture, it is mostly done in vibrant colors. I had it framed, but the picture jumped off the wall, not long before this picture was taken and the frame broke in a couple of places.

And I just KNEW you had to see what was on my refrigerator!!! [grin] I made the stamped domino magnets.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Into the Night

The children start Trick or Treating at about 6:00 PM on Beggars Night. The younger kids hit my house while there is still a bit of light so it is not so spooky. However, the older kids, and those looking for a thrill wait until the sun sets to get the full effect!

This picture was taken in 2002, before I had curtains. This isn't the best picture, but I liked the fact that you could get an idea of what it looks like looking into the house from the outside.

I made this wreath a very long time ago. I have yet to be able to take a good picture of it, and now it is getting to the point it needs some work done on it! [grin] Maybe this year!!!

See!!! I do have bats in my belfry!!!

Even the concrete goose gets into the act!!! I got this outfit in my little hometown about ten years ago, I think. Unfortunately the shop went out of business, and the lady who sewed the outfits retired.

This guy was my "ugly gift" one Christmas. I love him!!! He sits in the backyard and presides over the graveyard. Although, I'm thinking of moving the graveyard to the front yard where it can be seen easier. That would add smoke and strobe lights to the spook factor in the front!

These pictures were all taken in 2004. The year 2005 looked much the same but my hand was not as steady on the camera!

2006 heralded in more strands of lights, but because of gusty winds and rain, I skipped the spider webbing and the cemetery "stones" were moved inside to the stairwell.

Okay... so here is how it works. Those brave enough start walking timidly up my drive. They see the bats in the upstairs windows. All those eyes glowing in the bushes beneath those spider webs filled with all manner of spiders. There is a great big "leaf sack" cat standing in front of those bushes. What is that fluttering above the garage! Oooo... it's a big scary bat beast. Should they go on? Look in the flower pot! It's a sign saying that the haunted house is for sale!!! There is a rock by the bushes with the glowing warning to "Go Back"!!! Now there are all those little blinking eyes in all of the windows. Look... there's even some blinking inside the car over there! Well... that doesn't look too scary. There are spooky sound effects being piped outside and it is very dark on the porch with all of the outside lights replaced with black lights. It is at this point that some freak out and refuse to go any further. Those who make enough noise will attract the attention of those dwelling inside, and their treat will be brought out to them. However, the fun continues for those brave enough to venture up to the porch. The pumpkin tins are giving off a little bit of light. The windsocks don't look too scary... unless the wind blows a bit and triggers them! And they are lit up a little bit by those glow sticks hooked inside them. The pumpkin looks a bit frightening, though. What are those things all around it? RATS!!! Oh my... but it is only a couple of feet to the door! Gulp. They steel their nerves and take a big step forward to ring the doorbell... and set off my trap! [evil grin] As they step on the doormat they trigger the mat hidden underneath it and the speaker concealed behind the pumpkin comes alive with a hideous cackling laugh. If I am lucky, this elicits shrieks or yelps from those who have made it this far. The added noise then triggers the sound activated devices I have hidden inside the windsocks. All three light up and start vibrating wildly while emitting spooky wails (in three different pitches). Yes... I do realize that it is the little beggars that are supposed to play the tricks if they don't get a treat, but it is so much fun!!! And just so you know, I am always willing to chase them down the drive to give them their treat if they bolt!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

So today is Blog Action Day, and I am a very staunch supporter of environmental issues and living green. I have been trying to make changes in my lifestyle so that I have a smaller footprint on Mother Earth. My dilemma was, that although I wanted to participate in blog action day and blog about environmental issues, I really wanted all of my posts this month to be about Halloween and all things spooky. What was I to do? And then I saw them on a shelf in a Halloween store... the answer to my dilemma!!!

We all know by now about how much energy you can save by using the CFL lightbulbs as opposed to the regular incandescent type. They use a fraction of the energy, they last for something like 9 years. So... although you spend a lot to get them initially, you save money in the long run. I invested in my first CFL bulbs earlier this year when a local hardware store was giving away a free bulb to the first 100 (or so... I can't remember) customers on Earth Day. I took the opportunity to buy a four pack of the very same bulbs which were on sale at a substantial savings at the time. That would give me 5 which would take care of all of the "normal" overhead lighting in my house. I also bought two of the globe shaped bulbs to put in the "bare bulb sockets" in the basement ceiling on the unfinished side. I had initially planned on getting the globe bulbs to replace the four in each of the two bathrooms upstairs, but the ones down in the basement take almost five minutes to get up to full strength, so I have to do some more research on that frontier.

What, pray tell, does ANY of this have to do with Halloween? Well, let me just tell you!!! You can now buy CFL party lights and black lights. Yup... put on your Halloween Haunted House AND save on your electric bill and energy footprint all at the same time!!! Now I have to admit that I have a box full of specialty lighting for Halloween up in the closet, and I am not about to chuck it all and buy the new CFL bulbs all at once. However, as my bulbs burn out, I will replace them with the CFL bulbs!!! You see... I replace every overhead light fixture in the house (except the basement) with red party lights for Halloween. The outside lighting on the porch and above the garage are black lights. The light by the back door is either an orange party light, or a black light, depending on my mood that year. I also put a lamp with a bare black light exposed behind the shades in the upstairs bedrooms so that those windows glow purple and you can see the bat silhouettes that are taped to each window. So that is a lot of bulbs to replace! But slowly, it will be done. This post is primarily for those of you who are just starting out to spookify your dwelling.

A few things to take into consideration. CFL bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury in the bulbs and require special disposal methods. You can't just chuck them in the trash. With any luck, your first bulb won't burn out for 9 years, though! The best solution I have read was a woman who bought a medium sized sturdy plastic box which she filled partially with sand (or clean kitty litter) and placed on a shelf in her garage. When a bulb burned out, she nestled it in the sand to protect it from breakage and when the box was full she contacted her local hazardous waste site for disposal options. I also remember reading that places that take batteries should also take the CFL bulbs, so you could put those used batteries in that box too, instead of chucking them in the landfill like you were doing. Yeah... I know you were!!! But you won't if you have a toxic waste box in your garage! (And just think of all the great decorations you could put on the outside of that box!!! [evil grin]) The other concern is that these bulbs are fragile, so if you are storing them from holiday to holiday, you have to be careful in your packing.

Another green solution to the party lights is the new LED party lights. They even have some that you can have changing from color to color, or set on one color. I have to look into those more before I make any final desicions, though. I'm not sure how much light they put out, and as I am lighting my entire house this way, I have to be careful!

Don't just listen to me, though. Get out there and do your own research. And keep in mind that the standard florescent tube black lights are also green! Pull them out of the kids rooms, or your box of childhood memories (yeah... right over there... beside the lava lamp), and use them to light up the night. At least, on Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You Don't Know Jack!

Pumpkin 2000 (No time to carve...lots of compliments!)

Pumpkin 2001 A (Two got carved this year!!!)

Pumpkin 2001 B (I usually only carve one of the two I buy.)

Pumpkin 2002

Pumpkin 2004 (2003 never got carved, so I'm not posting it)

Pumpkin 2005 (Year of the Party!!!)

Pumpkin 2006 (Hey! I was pressed for time!!!)

Pumpkin 2007

Do you know where the tradition of carving Jack-O'-Lanterns comes from? Well check it out... and then you WILL know Jack!

Note to Self: Do not carve designs with very narrow connecting pieces before Beggars Night. This year's pumpkin was carved two days before. This photo was taken the following day and it already had to be reinforced with toothpicks!!! Hopefully that will get it through October 31st, though.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Honest, officer... I did not bury Bob in the back yard!!! [evil grin]

Actually, this post has nothing to do with my seasonal display in the backyard. I just thought that it would go nicely with the title AND I could show off some of my Halloween decorations to boot!

The real meaning behind the "New Digs" title is simply... I have a new blog. I should say, a second blog! I decided to separate my raw food recipes to their own little home. So for those of you who only come here to see if I have any new living recipes up for your perusal, please redirect your attention to Raw Diva Keely. This site will go on as usual, so please feel free to hang out at either, or both, of my digs!!!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gone to the Dark Side!

Just for the month of October, I'm going to the dark side!!! In celebration of Halloween and all things mysterious, come join me as I turn up the spook factor and save a few watts of energy to boot!!! [grin] Ooops... make that [evil grin] Let me know what you think!!!