Mean Cards – Darkly humorous stick-figure cards with messages such as, “It won’t hurt, you’ll like it” and “Crying means you’re weak.” The artist also maintains a blog liberally sprinkled with the same figures.
From lovely wands to henna Dark Marks, there are all kinds of easy projects. Some of these would be a fun party craft activity; it’d be easy to make a bunch of the paper wands and let guests decorate them. (I once did this with great success for a child’s party, using wooden dowels as the wand base, but the pretty paper ones would even be suitable for adults.)
Incidentally, the wands are from the DadCanDo site, which used to provide the instructions for free but now charge for the downloads. I’m pleased to see the free version is still available at Instructables. (Do check out the DCD site for inspiration, though; they’ve got a whole page of wands made by members, and they’re wonderful.)
UK-based designer Reid Peppard has taken taxidermy to a whole ‘nother level with a collection of wearable dead things. She’s got loads of macabre accessories, including mouse head cufflinks and a guinea pig hair comb, but I think my two favorite pieces are the rat change purse (toward the bottom of the post) and this awesome rat headdress with Swarovski crystal-encrusted tail.
Her site is ridiculously hard to read because it’s got dark grey text against a black background, but it’s worth a visit just for the pictures. She doesn’t list any prices, but you can check this post for ordering details.
Acceptable DIY versions of some of the items might be possible using fake rodents, although I’m thinking that this might be worth digging my taxidermy books back out for.*
*I remember rather vividly walking into a crowded bookstore several years ago and telling the clerk that a book I’d ordered had come in. I said, “It’s called Home Taxidermy.” Jeffery Dahmer had been caught about two weeks previously; you should have seen the looks I got.
Here’s a rather brilliant and subtle decorating idea: British artist James Hopkins carefully arranges mundane objects into artwork with “hidden messages.” I’m not quite sure how “hidden” the skulls are, but I love the arrangement.
This would be a fun project if you’ve got a bare wall to cover. Get a cheap bookshelf and arrange random knick-knacks in a similar skull pattern, collecting additional objects over time to fill in any gaps. Simple but extremely effective.
Curses – An interactive adventure game in which the object is to break an ancient curse that’s been placed on your family. It was originally a PC game, but it’s been ported to Java and is available to play for free online.
Shadow Manor Twitter Feed – This is just an automated tweet whenever there’s a new post up. One of my readers recently alerted me that Bloglines hadn’t been picking up this blog’s RSS feed since mid-June. We’re not sure why (and Google Reader picks it up properly), but if you’re not getting the blog updates you can subscribe to the Twitter feed so you don’t have to do anything as old-fashioned as actually checking the site for new posts.
David over at Dark Artifacts has a brilliant suggestion for a gothy accent piece: A framed manuscript page that you make yourself. I really like the “museum artifact” look, and the method couldn’t be easier.
Check out his post for project instructions. He doesn’t go into detail on aging the paper, so if you’ve never done it before take a look at Curbly or Instructables for tutorials.
Here’s something that I thought I’d mentioned previously, but my archive search comes up empty so apparently I’m hallucinating. Several years ago, before I had children and could occasionally think straight, a friend and I put together an elaborate Halloween dinner party of the sort where everybody plays a role and they’re supposed to solve a mystery. In this case, it involved a haunted house. I posted details and materials in case anyone else was ever foolish ambitious enough to try something similar.
The premise was fairly straightforward: It’s 1926*, the inheritors of an old house have just re-opened it, and they’re celebrating by throwing a dinner party for the cream of society. During the party, strange things start to happen (disembodied knockings and moanings are heard, a bloody rag is found, objects seem to move). It could be a ghost. However, each of the guests also has a motive for “haunting” the house. Whodunnit?
We sent out an initial invitation, explaining a bit about the theme of the party and asking each guest if they planned to attend, whether they were bringing a guest, and what sort of role they and their guest wanted: A major character (someone with gossip and clues), a minor character (playing along, but in a lesser role), or the maid/butler.
Once we had this, we planned the characters and assigned clues. We decided to base each character loosely on real people. The guests then received a second invitation and packet containing:
If you’ve been watching the HBO series True Blood, you may have seen Sookie wearing a T-shirt from the vampire bar Fangtasia. I’m amused to learn that the HBO store sells the Fangtasia T-shirts and quite a lot of other themed merchandise.