Waiting For The Great Pumpkin: Halloween Ideas

Hello Snarklings! Gracious, how did it become mid-October all ready? The Lady of the Manners feels it is a trifle unfair for October to be subject to the same sort of passage of time that the rest of the year is, because October is the most wonderful time of the year! Halloween season, Snarklings! The time of year when a clever Goth can find all sorts of goodies to use year-round! As some of you may have now guessed, this installment of Gothic Charm School is devoted to Halloween: interesting blogs, wonderful goodies, and helpful hints about the Lady of the Manners’ favorite holiday.

“Interesting blogs?” you may be saying. Oh yes, Snarklings. There are some wonderful Halloween-themed blogs out there, and the Lady of the Manners loves reading them. At the very top of her list is the spooktacular Tumblr blog 365 Days of Halloween! A never-ending stream of images, stories, and clicky-links all somehow relating to Halloween. Decor ideas! Costume suggestions! Makeup tutorials! Recipes! Sorry for all the exclamation points there, Snarklings, but the Lady of the Manners adores the 365 Days of Halloween Tumblr, and has spent many happy hours scrolling through it.

Old Fashion Halloween is a delightful mix of vintage Halloween ephemera from the blogger’s personal collection (she used to run a fabulous online store with the same name, but has since gotten out of the online retail business) and interesting things she finds around the Web.

Not quite a blog, but still all sorts of fun to visit is the Nightmares Fear Factory Pic of the Day. The Nightmares Fear Factory has cleverly set up webcams in their haunted scare attraction, thus giving us photos of people being startled while creeping through the halls. The Lady of the Manners loves haunted houses and scare attractions, but openly admits she has to psych herself up into a “Aww, happy monsters and lunatics! Cousins from distant branches of the Addams Family!” -sort of mindset before she can go through any of them. And even then, there are a few scare attractions that she would never, ever be able to bring herself to go through.

Halloween goodies! One of the best things about the Halloween season is that Goths can find all sorts of basic supplies and treats. For basics: this is the time of year to stock up on black lipstick, nail polish, and fishnet, spiderweb, and stripy tights. The Lady of the Manners has found that in the USA, the “Fantasy Makers” brand of makeup can be relied on for nice opaque dark lipsticks and polishes, plus interesting false eyelashes. This year she’s also seen many displays of Halloween or horror-themed press-on nail kits (including ones that mimic the blood spattered manicure that was a Gothic Charm School tutorial!), so you can easily decorate your nails with skulls, spiderwebs, and bats.

Most general stores, such as Target, Wallgreens, Wal-Mart, and whatever local versions there are (the Pacific Northwest has Fred Meyer and Bartell’s) carry Halloween socks and hosiery that are just as good as any you’d find in an upscale gothy boutique. The Lady of the Manners personally has been known to clear a store out of their entire stock of black & white striped tights in one fell swoop, thus ensuring she doesn’t need to purchase more tights for a year or so. Also, keep an eye on the newspaper ads and coupon fliers for additional savings.

More and more companies are coming out with household items that are less cartoonish-Halloween but more elegantly macabre. There are skeletal hand oven mitts, skeletal aprons (oh, how the Lady of the Manners wishes the pink apron weren’t such a neon shade of pink), a set of skeletal hands to hold a glass drink dispenser (believe the Lady of the Manners when she says she had to think long and hard about whether she really could justify such a delightful item, but finally decided that she didn’t have the counter space), bat lace tablecloths (the Lady of the Manners is going to turn hers into an overskirt, having decided that her skirts need batty adornment more than any tables do) … really, Snarklings. The wealth of deliciously spooky knick-knacks out there is astonishing. Craft stores like Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michael’s Crafts are full of candles (both traditional and those clever LED “flameless” ones, for people who don’t want to worry about their pets knocking things over and setting themselves and the house alight), skulls of all sizes, black roses, black and purple feather wreaths, and all sorts of other delights that some people foolishly consider to be not for everyday use. (But we know better, don’t we?)

If you’re clever and have some D.I.Y. skills, the Costumes and Accessories aisles of all sorts of stores are also good places to find items that can be restyled to free them from their potentially cheese-o-riffic costume connotations. Silly “spooky” jewelry can be taken apart, painted, and combined with other things (such as silk flowers, ribbons, lace, or buttons) to be transformed into darkly elegant and macabre accessories. (Skeleton hands, spider clips, and skull ornaments are particularly good for such projects!) Halloween t-shirts can be left plain or adorned with trim, then worn with all sorts of gothy fashion staples. (The Lady of the Manners is particularly fond of her t-shirt printed with the skeletal system combined with a Victorian-esque jacket and full skirts.)

Another good thing to do during the Halloween retail season is to check out the thrift stores. It’s a fairly well-known secret that thrift stores hold on to the really interesting clothing (vintage and otherwise) in order to put it out on the “costume” racks in October. Just be aware that if you roam around a thrift store in your gothy finery, other shoppers will almost certainly assume that you are a store employee, and ask for your help in assembling a costume “just like yours”. But that is a trifling and minor irritant to put up with in order to plunder the really good stock and to find that particular vintage waistcoat or skirt that really doesn’t deserve the fate of being worn once a year as part of someone’s costume.

October is always full of things to do: almost every club, bar, and cafe throws a Halloween party and/or costume contest, there are spooky-themed plays and concerts everywhere, and some cities have ghost tours. But what if you don’t have the time, budget, or are of the appropriate age to attend the really wild Halloween entertainments? Why then, you make your own! Pumpkin carving parties are certainly apropos, and eviscerating helpless gourds does come with gruesome, squelchy fun. If you’re not up for pumpkin guts, many craft stores sell hollow foam pumpkins that look very realistic and can be carved just like the real thing, without the sticky mess. Just be sure to use a LED “candle” in them, not real fire. You and your friends can organize a movie night with a Halloween theme, be it movies about the holiday, classic monsters, or the silliest B- and Z- grade horror movies you can unearth. Or to go really antique, hold a ghost story party! Have everyone bring a snack and their favorite ghost story; douse the lights, light a few candles, and read each other ghost stories with a flashlight held in a trembling hand. You may even want to indulge in baking a batch of gingerbread bats.

Finally, the Lady of the Manners is compelled to remind all of you that this Halloween of 2011 is the closing day of the Kickstarter project for the movie My Summer As A Goth! Thank you to everyone so far who has helped us get closer to our goal by pledging or spreading the word. For added Halloween fun, there’s a Halloween Movie Party, and oh yes, the Lady of the Manners is going to be there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

7PM (reception) 7:30 – 9PM (movie)

(Haunted) Hollywood Theatre

4122 NE Sandy Blvd
Portland, OR

The producers of My Summer As A Goth invite you to “get your Goth on” at a pre-Halloween bash at the Hollywood theatre as a fundraising benefit for the film’s Kickstarter campaign! There will be a screening of a classic vampire film, pizza, and raffle prizes of cool GOTH-related merchandise!

ALL AGES – $10 -$20 donation at the door – $5 raffle tickets – Prize for the best costume!

With that, Snarklings, the Lady of the Manners is going to do a smidge more Halloween window shopping, and then rummage in her closets for the perfect ruffled white blouse to decorate liberally with the Bloodstix hot glue sticks she recently purchased, to create a new version of her Victorian vampire outfit. She hopes all of you have a wonderfully haunting Halloween, and please do write!

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