The Art of Darkness

Anything Can Happen on Halloween

October 31st, 2017 by Cobwebs

In honor of the very best holiday, please to enjoy this mesmerizingly awful clip from The Worst Witch, starring Tim Curry as The Grand Wizard.

It is spectacular.

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This Year’s Costumes

October 29th, 2017 by Cobwebs

Link and SkullkidIt’s time for the annual costume recap! Every year I spend entirely too much time making costumes for Shadowboy and a friend’s niece, then have professional photos taken. Sometimes I’m lucky and can talk them into matching costumes, and since this year she decided that she wanted to be Link from Legend of Zelda, getting my video game-obsessed son on board was a fairly easy task. After considerable thought, he decided that he wanted to be Skull Kid, one of the characters from “Majora’s Mask.”

I will pause here to ask my readers that if you ever hear me breathe one word about making a costume that includes a mask, please slap me until I promise not to.

Anyway!

Link’s costume was reasonably straightforward; I originally got Simplicity 8199 let’s-not-tempt-copyright-lawyers “Gaming Warrior” pattern in hopes of getting most of the pieces that I needed, but it was really quite a strange pattern: The hat attached to the corset, and it didn’t actually include trousers. I used it for just the turtleneck (and you could use pretty much any turtleneck pattern) and gauntlets. I made the trousers using Simplicity 4923, the tunic was a cut-off version of Simplicity 4213, and the hat was done freehand using the instructions found here. I did a little bit of detailing on the tunic sleeves, using green ribbon to replicate the stitching seen in images like this one. The belt was a leather belt I happened to have lying around. I freehanded a baldric out of the same microsuede I used for the gauntlets, just cutting a long strip, sewing it into a tube, and joining the ends.

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It’s Secret Pumpkin Time Again!

October 2nd, 2017 by Cobwebs

Secret Pumpkin Logo

The Secret Pumpkin gift exchange was conceived as a way to soothe those spooky souls pining for October by sending them a little Halloween in April. It’s similar to a Secret Santa exchange but the gifts are supposed to be spooky in nature; you can read my previous description and details here.

And now it’s time to open up registration for next April’s exchange! If you’d like to participate, go to the Secret Pumpkin site:

1) If you did not participate last year, click the “Join” link and fill out the form.

2) If you DID participate last year, log in, click the “Update Profile” link and change the “Activate My Membership” option to Yes.

(Just in case it isn’t clear–folks have been confused in the past–I’m the person who manages the site, so you aren’t blindly submitting your mailing address to some anonymous stranger. You’re blindly submitting your mailing info to a well-known stranger.)

I’d previously suggested that participants should join one of the two Halloween listservs which originally spawned the exchange, but they’ve withered away so much that they may actually be defunct; instead I send occasional reminders directly to the participants.

You can sign up even if you aren’t in the U.S., and if you encourage friends from the same country to participate you don’t have to worry about exorbitant shipping. My script matches people in the same country preferentially, and at the end of the signup period I’ll let you know if you’re the only one in your country so you can decide whether or not to participate.

The deadline for signups is October 15. All that I ask is please, PLEASE don’t sign up for the exchange unless you’re serious about following through. We occasionally have participants flake out, and their Pumpkins are always sorely disappointed.

C’mon and join! It’s lots of fun, and getting something unexpectedly Halloweeny in April is a treat.

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The Link Dump of Heaven

August 4th, 2017 by Cobwebs

Scary Stories Paperback Box Set – The most terrifying part of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its sequels wasn’t the stories, it was the creepy-ass artwork by Stephen Gammell. A new boxed set featuring the original art has just been released.

Goth Court – A life-action party game about “eldritch justice in a small claims court that settles petty disputes between goths and norms.” (Hat tip to Bruno)

Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe – Kickstarter for an interesting-sounding graphic novel.

Why Harry Potter should have carried an M1911 – This Reddit comment is peak Redneck American, but “Dirty Harry” Potter would be a fun action movie.

Packing – Odd, evocative, melancholy little short story.

Monks Knitting Pattern – Tewkesbury Abbey has a free knitting pattern for mini-monks. You can see some examples in their Twitter feed.

So this conversation happened between a couple of writers I like on Twitter – This is what the internet was made for. (via Shellhawk)

Anatomy of Animals – Kickstarter for a collection of “animal anatomy” ‘toons from the webcomic Sheldon. I cannot agree with their depiction of tardigrades.

Meeping Angel – You know that Weeping Angel/Beaker mashup? Somebody did a cosplay version.

Riker Creatures – Adorable furry sculptures of wildlife. The latest set–sadly sold out–were baby fruit bats: Scruffs, Pekoe, and Loki. Hopefully the artist will make more soon. (Hat tip to WitchArachne)

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MicroSFF: Monsters Under the Bed

March 7th, 2017 by Cobwebs

The @MicroSFF Twitter feed is a trove of wonderful, tiny stories.

The author recently said that he was thinking about this tweet:

…and followed up with this marvelous thread:

On a similar note, and not-coincidentally, right after the U.S. election, the account tweeted these gems:

queenofthedorks liked that one so much that she illustrated it.

What I’m saying is that @MicroSFF does monsters-under-the-bed right and you should totally follow them.

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Somebody Write This

February 15th, 2017 by Cobwebs

There was a recent thread on AskReddit: Night shift workers of Reddit, what are some creepy things you’ve experienced in the middle of the night?

Redditor xelle24 told this creepy story:

My brother moved in with me a few months ago and got a job doing night shift custodial work at a nearby high school. His “workday” starts at 10 pm, and fortunately for him, it’s close enough to walk, because he gets off shift about 20 minutes after I have to leave for work in the morning, and he doesn’t have a car.

One night, a little after midnight, he calls me in a panic asking me to come down and pick him up, because there’s some kind of ‘weird shit’ happening (his exact words) and there’s no way he’s sticking around by himself. My brother isn’t the sort to freak out over nothing, so I hop in the car (in my jammies) and head down to the high school.

A little background is needed here: as children, my brother was apparently “sensitive”. He often talked about various seemingly supernatural encounters. In one very old house we lived in, he told our parents that a man would come to his room at night and tell him bedtime stories. It wasn’t until we were grown up that our father told us that a distant relative had committed suicide in the same room that was my brother’s bedroom, years before either of us was born, and that my brother’s description of the man matched the deceased relative.

I’m the exact opposite. Nothing creepy or supernatural ever happens to me or around me. If it happened there before, it doesn’t happen when I’m there, and often doesn’t return after I leave. I’ve had enough perplexed people tell me that their ghost went away after I visited their house, or that a particular place stopped being creepy after I was there, or had someone acting crazy calm down when I talked to them, to be pretty sure that I’m some kind of natural repellent for creepy shit.

So I get to the high school, and my brother is standing by the front doors. He runs over to the car and tells me that I have to come and make “it” stop.

“It” was the sound of lockers opening and closing just out of sight. He would turn a corner of a hallway and hear a locker open and slam closed behind him, or around the corner of the next hallway.

We go into the school, my brother practically hanging on my arm (which probably looked hilarious, as I’m shorter and plump, and he’s tall and super skinny – like a modern version of Laurel and Hardy). We walk up and down all the halls. Nothing happens. No sounds, no movement, no lockers opening or closing. No cold spots, no inexplicable drafts, no creepy noises or feelings.

We walk down the last hallway, at which point it getting on for 1 am and I’m tired and just want to go back home. There’s one locker standing ajar, and as we approach it, my brother reaches out to close it, pulls his hand back, and says, “You do it.”

I close the locker. Nothing happens.

Finally my brother says I can go, as long as I promise to come back the next night if there are any more problems.

A week later, he comes home and hands me a thank you note and a $50 Amazon gift card from the head of the custodial department for “services rendered”.

Easiest 50 bucks I’ve ever made.

And necropoli followed up with this reply:

You guys sound like sibling ghost hunter team but you have to work together to exorcise ghosts. Only one of you can see them and only one can dispel them. The tension comes from your brother seeing your dead wife as a ghost but you know you can never see her lest you exorcise her by being in the room. The burgeoning relationship between your brother and your ex-wife you can’t bring yourself to destroy drives a wedge in between your well-oiled ghost hunting operation. On the eve of Halloween, no less!

It’ll be a heartwrenching instaclassic with Oscar written all over it. I want 20% of the box office KTHX

I need this movie immediately. And then spin it off into a TV series. It would be spectacular.

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The League of Extraordinary Link Dumps

February 3rd, 2017 by Cobwebs

23 Things Tumblr Has Thought About The Weasley Family – It’s clickbait, but it’s amusing clickbait.

Werewolf Licorice – I can’t vouch for the taste, but the packaging is pretty nifty. The company has a Witch Licorice too. (via Pixel Pixie)

Knitted Brain Hat – Pattern and tutorial for making a brainy hat. Perfect for attending the upcoming Science March in DC.

Is This the Most Awesome Library in the World? – The library at Mafra National Palace in Portugal keeps insects under control with a flock of bats.

Hyrax – I’ve talked about the hyrax–and its adorable li’l vampire fangs–previously, but I like this roundup of photos.

Agnieszka Osipa – Artist who makes gorgeous fairytale-inspired costumes. Marginally NSFW if your boss is uptight.

Beetle House NYC – There’s a Tim Burton-themed bar opening in New York.

Dial-a-Grue – This project to port Zork to work via rotary phone is delightfully bonkers.

Bat Robot Takes Wing – Bat bot!

Flick Candles – Offers scents like “Nicotine Pumpkin Patch,” “Freshly Signed Divorce Papers,” and “Grandma’s Last Christmas Tree.”

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R.I.P. Arbroath

February 1st, 2017 by Cobwebs

The long-running blog Nothing To Do With Arbroath has always been a source of amusement and WTF-ery. Its owner, Kev, went on short hiatus last November complaining of health issues, then returned to post occasional updates about his battle with cancer. Today, Joanne from I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet announced that Kev had passed. If you enjoyed Kev’s blog, tributes can be left here.

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Stuff I Found While Looking Around

January 17th, 2017 by Cobwebs

It’s time for another bunch of random stuff I want to share but can’t hang a whole post on. Some of them have no attribution, so if you happen to know the source for any of these please leave a note in the comments. (Click to view larger.)

Fairy Shoes

Fairy Shoes

These cute fairy-wing shoes are by Sophia Webster.

Vampire Onesie

Vampire Baby Onesie

Available from TeePublic, amongst other vendors.

Pumpkin Gown

Pumpkin Gown

I’ve featured Nez of DarkSpectre’s work previously. There are additional photos of this gown on her Facebook page.

Frankenstein

How Frankenstein Should Have Ended

God, yes. Tweeted by @zdarsky.

Baby Spider

Baby Spider Costume

I can’t find an original source–all roads lead to Pinterest–but this would be a fairly easy costume to DIY if you have a baby you don’t know what to do with.

Hearsecycle

Hearsecycle

My pal Empress Pam encountered this in the wild and sent me a photo. I assume it’d be popular for biker funerals.

Cactopi

Cactopi

This is a sculpture by Ed Kroupa, but I really want one as a pet.

Beware Sign

“Beware” Sign

This shows up a lot in compilations of funny “beware of dog” signs, but it would also be a great “beware of monster” prop. It’d be easy to DIY with foam board.

Bat Dolls

Bats

This is a sculpture by Scott Radke (whose site is annoying as hell to navigate). It’d be fun to do a similar Halloween decoration using baby dolls and felt.

Lemon Cross-Stitch

Lemon Cross-Stitch

This made me giggle. The pattern is available on Etsy.

Count Squirrel

Count Squirrel

Found by my pal Richard, who commented, “I’m not sure which I find more theologically disturbing: The idea of Squirrel vampires or that Squirrel Jesus was crucified.”

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Vincent Price’s Dracula

December 12th, 2016 by Cobwebs

The fabulous Pixel Pixie shared this with me, commenting, “This is pretty horrible. You should watch it,” which neatly sums up our friendship.

As a bonus, she also shared Price doing the Monster Mash. Yowza.

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