The year has finally rolled around to my very favorite day. I usually turn the blog over to the commenters on Halloween, and this year I’m looking for true tales of the weird or creepy.
Here’s mine; it’s one of my favorite bits of family history and a great icebreaker at parties (if by “icebreaker” you mean, “make people smile nervously and edge slowly away”).
This story was related by my late paternal grandmother.* She was born in 1905 so these events would have taken place around 1911 or 1912, when medicine was on the crude side and rural folk didn’t bother with a doctor much anyway.
One of her great-aunts died, and in the tradition of the time the body was laid out at the house to let the relatives pay their respects. Normally you’d have to worry about the body beginning to decompose, but it was the middle of winter in Nebraska so they just put her in an unheated back room. She lay there for three days.
When they finally went to bury her, the body was still warm.
And…they buried her anyway.
At this point in the story I said, “Um, grandma…?” And she looked sort of embarrassed and said, “Well, apparently nobody liked her very much.”
Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite spooky anecdote in the comments. And…Happy Halloween!
*She was alive when she told the story. Just in case that wasn’t entirely clear.
I saw this photo online (unattributed, natch) and did a reverse image search in hopes of finding the source. Weirdly, I can’t seem to locate an original attribution; there are lots of instances of this particular image, plus a few sites which have what appears to be a whole set.
I thus can’t provide any insight on how this was done originally, so I did the next best thing and asked my dad, who is a home-repair ninja. Here are his thoughts:
Get the hands, etc. from a Halloween store. Cut them so that the back is semi-flat. Fasten them to the wall with hot glue.
1. Use spackle, plaster or paper mache to smooth over them and add the “wrinkles” at the side. Paint wall color paint over them.
2. Use wet paper towels or newspaper to form the wrinkles and fill in where you want. “Feather” the edges of the paper with sandpaper. Paint over the paper with Gesso to make it smooth. Paint with wall color paint.
3. Use plastic sheeting to cover them and heat soften/shrink to form. Spackle the edges to blend into the wall. Paint with wall color paint.
4. Use thin rubber (like that used in makeup bald caps). Blend in the edges. Paint with wall color paint.
The last two are the least durable.
So. This is clearly completely out of the question if you rent, but if you want to do something super-spooky with a room in your house, it would be hard to beat ghosts coming out of the walls. It sounds like this is one of those “more time than money” projects, and it would certainly be a conversation piece. Bonus points if you make over a guest room.
(I would apologize for posting this so close to Halloween that nobody could make one in time, but they sold out of their kits and don’t expect to have them back in stock until November 8 or so. Let’s count this as “prep for next year.”)
A few years ago Evil Mad Scientist Labs posted a wonderful tutorial for turning a miniature pumpkin into a “Snap-O-Lantern” with light-up eyes and snapping jaws. Here it is in action:
They’ve recently made this even easier by offering a Snap-O-Kit which includes all of the electronics and instructions.
Since the project involves carving the pumpkin in a very particular way (big pointy teeth in front, hinge in back) that might be a little fiddly, I’m thinking that this might be better accomplished with a re-usable styrofoam pumpkin. There are miniature ones available in craft stores (especially now; they’re probably on clearance) or online plus, since the reason EMSL discourages the use of larger pumpkins because of their weight, you might be able to use a larger styrofoam version.
The kit uses a timer to make the eyes light up and jaws snap at set intervals. If you’re feeling extra geeky you could hook it up to a proximity sensor instead and have it snap when it detects movement.
Writer and comedian Melissa Hunter is doing a series of videos depicting the life of Wednesday Addams after she grows up and moves out of the Addams Manor. The first one is below; the rest are on her YouTube channel.
Mechanical Ribs Swimsuit – Attractive piece from Black Milk, pointed out by WitchArachne, who added that their order confirmation email included the starting paragraph of a Halloween story which concludes on their blog. That’s a nice touch.
Vampire Donuts – This is such a ridiculously simple idea, but it’s so cute.