Halloween Is Over

It took less than 30 minutes for me to pack up the Halloween decorations and put them back into the attic. And of course, I decided to bring some Christmas decor down. Specifically the one that has brought the family the most joy.

Creepy Santa has Returned. He came out of the attic the day after Halloween- knowing that his time to emerge and terrify was upon us. He immediately disappeared into his first hiding location. Waiting to be discovered.

The only other decoration that makes an appearance so soon is Timmy- our tin soldier. All year-round he sits in the corner of our outside front entryway underneath our security camera. Once Halloween is over- he gets turned to guard our entrance. I was thinking that I may move him to the upper balcony instead, so he can watch over the neighborhood. He is the perfect pop of color needed for our house.

Because the weather was so nice today, a part of me was almost ready to put up the outdoor Christmas lights. But some of my plans were changed around and the idea fell towards the back burner only to be ignored completely by sundown. Maybe it’s too soon for Christmas decorations. Hahaha.

Have you begun slowly Christmas decorating as well? Or do you bring everything out at once?

Calm Halloween

Today was a very quiet Halloween. Nothing extraordinary happened. We decorated the front yard for the night and bought 150 candies to give away. We hardly had that many kids come down the hill to receive their treats.

My wife and I sat out front with the fire pit on and gave out the candy. I dressed as Johnny Depp’s character from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. The fire pit kept me warm as I was wearing shorts and summer shirts. My wife wore her Halloween leggings and kept warm beside me.

Our 18 year old and 16 year old had some friends over. They got dressed up and hit the streets for some candy of their own. When they returned- we had two batches of chili ready for them to enjoy after their walk around the neighborhood. All of our children’s friends are extremely polite and really kind. I enjoyed the conversations with them.

My wife and I wound down our night watching fireworks from our bedroom window. After almost two hours of explosions, my wife went to sleep and I decided to watch some Twilight Zone. Even as the show played- the fireworks continued throughout Surrey.

I love Halloween. Yet the vibe continues to change and evolve. I’m still having fun throughout the years- albeit a bit calmer allowing others to share and entertain. And yes, the fireworks are still going…

Weathering Halloween

Looks like there is a possibility that rain will be here for Halloween night. It’s not the first time it has rained on October 31st. I do recall a few times having to take an umbrella out to keep the kids dry. But the excitement of free candy kept them going.

As a kid, I lived in Alberta and had to suffer a few snow filled Halloween evenings. Winter jacket and snow pants covered the costume, or you got a baggie costume and draped it over your outfit. It didn’t matter because you knew what you were pretending to be. And you still got candy!

I couldn’t imagine being an adult in my 20’s attending a Halloween party in Alberta like that. Especially since most people showed up at our parties in their “sexy” outfits. I imagine it would look like these.

Again, using your imagination and a Sexy Ghostbuster is pretty amazing. I’ve seen one.

Beetlejuice Carving 2022

This year someone suggested I do a Beetlejuice theme on my pumpkin. Originally I was going to do him from the cartoon with Lydia and the title plate as well. In the end I opted to do the snake version from the original film.

After years of carving pumpkins, I have gotten faster at it. My first intricate pumpkin was a Jack Skellington one that took over 4 hours to complete. Every year I get faster. I am also able to visualize the finish product as I go.

My intensity in pumpkin carving has passed on to my two oldest children. They have also spent hours carving pumpkins. Our middle loves doing anime fandom style. They are busy working on theirs this afternoon as well.

Besides a picture- sometimes I wish there was another way to preserve these art pieces. But they are meant for one night and then they cut up and into breads, soups and pancakes. We don’t just toss them in the trash once Halloween is over.

Do you carve pumpkins? How much time do you invest in doing it? Show me some of your favorites please!

Beetlejuice.

Terror On Tubi

This entire month, I have been enjoying some of the most ridiculously cringy horror films ever made. Besides one or two films, most of the movies I have been streaming from Tubi.

What I find amusing is that I had no idea Tubi existed or that they even promoted “Terror on Tubi” this time of year. I recently discovered the app/website when we bought a new Amazon Fire TV and was browsing for streaming apps.

This is the first year I have watched a horror movie a day for the month of October. I may make this a regular tradition every year. I have been amused and throughly entertained this month. I have even had family members join me periodically to watch these ridiculous films.

Anyways, on to the next movie!

With only 8 days remaining until Halloween, todays film is about spiders. I was originally looking for the movie, “Arachnophobia” but have been unable to find it. I also thought about putting on “Eight Legged Freaks”- both films I had seen in the movie theater years ago. Instead, I went with a film from 1975- “The Giant Spider Invasion”.

Do you enjoy bad movies? How about horror films? What are your Halloween traditions?

October Is Rolling Along

It seems like just yesterday that the kids went back to school. Yet here we are- a month later and it feels like they have been going forever. Which I am totally okay with.

Now we are a few days into October. I see many homes getting festive with Halloween decorations. I love it. I’m also hoping that the weather stays on this side of winter a while longer. Especially at Halloween. It is always nicer to be just a tad bit chilly vs wet and cold.

As October rolls along, I think about previous Halloweens with my family. I also think about the one about to arrive. I love the idea of costumes and fun with the family. As well as seeing the other costumes of children and even friends who like to dress up.

As I mentioned the other day, getting myself into the mood for fun definitely means cheesy horror. I love that I received some more suggestions for bad films to watch. I even rediscovered some in my searches that I forgot about or haven’t seen in years. There’s just something about the campiness of those films that is really entertaining.

Soon the nights will be longer and the house will need to be warmed up. But in the meantime, I am enjoying the hot daylight hours we are getting- even though I know October will be over as quickly as it arrived. Then it will be onto winter and coziness.

For now, it’s time to enjoy what we have going on. No need to rush through October.

October Movie Schlockfest

Every day in October I am planning on watching a cheesy movie. Preferably sci-fi and/or horror- the more “cringy” the better. So far I have watched three films that really fit the bill.

First film I watched was “Invaders From Mars” made back in 1986. I remember this film coming out on cable tv in the 80’s and I was so excited to see it. It is not good. Lots of excess screaming and ridiculous looking aliens. None of which is scary by any means.

Last night I watched “Cube Zero” which I was honestly hoping would be as good as “Cube”. Alas, it fell short. In fact it almost ruins the idea of what the original film “Cube” was about. But cheesy acting and ridiculous practical effects helped to make it more campy than “mind fuck” like it’s original.

Tonight I went back to the 80’s for an absolute disaster of a film. “Munchies” knew it was campy and ridiculous from the start with hints at “Gremlins” and numerous other movies prior to it. It is not a good film by any means. I lost interest in it by the end and was nodding off on the couch by 9pm.

The idea of watching cheesy and campy films came about on September 30th. That was the day my middle child and I decided to watch “Hocus Pocus 2”. Cheesy, corny, nostalgic and not very good. Perfect to get my tastebuds wet with the month of October.

Do you have any extra cheesy films for the spooky season that you would recommend? I have a few saved on our streaming device.

September Ends…

September flew by. Even though I am spending my afternoon in the pool because of this beautiful weather, fall is in the air. that means there is only one thing left to do. Get ready for Halloween!

After working on the front yard, our middle child and I pulled out our Halloween decorations from the attic and they began to set up the front yard. Our entry is now a mix of autumn and Halloween- which I love.

Earlier today, the neighbors came by with a chainsaw and we cut down a tree in the front yard. It was at such a poor angle that I was unable to correct it over the past year. Once we cut it down, we noticed that the middle was starting to rot out. It was only a matter of time before it had to come down anyways.

After cutting the tree down, Darwin placed our axe happy gnome on display. A perfect ornament for the front yard! His name is HP Gnomecraft and he is scary.

I love the transition from summer to autumn. It gives me a chance to plant some new plants for spring. It also means that Christmas is just around the corner! I love Halloween and Christmas. Decorating is my favorite!

Have you begun decorating for Halloween yet? Perhaps you are working on some Christmas crafts.

Let me know what you have going on.

Halloween Costume Choice

Halloween is approaching. I am behind in my usual costume planning. So it’s time to figure out an easy one that I think I can do. Here are two of my choices so far. Please help with some advice.

1st: More Cowbell.

I think I can pull off a Christopher Walken impression for one night. Especially if I just quote the classic SNL skit. Maybe I can find a friend to do Will Farrell’s part and really nail the joke.

2nd: Fear And Loathing

This has been my look for most of the summer. Tinted glasses, bucket hat, Hawaiian print shirt. I just need to work on slurring my speech and awkward walking. (although I did that throughout the summer as well).

Which of these two is my best option? I’d love to hear your vote. Or, is there any other possible characters I could pull off this Halloween? I have enjoyed some of my past iterations of Rick Sanchez, Vincent Price, Obi-Wan, Ash vs Army of Darkness, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Sportacus, Pee-Wee Herman, Hudsucker Proxy, and many more.

Last Halloween?

In life there are many events that create turning points for us. Those ones that really hit home are from our childhoods. The moment you ask your parents about Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. The truth arrives, the magic leaves our hearts and logic takes over.

But one moment is in our control. Sort of. Perhaps it’s peer pressure that forces us to change. But it is still a choice we all make. That moment?

The last time you go trick or treating.

This one hits hard because when it happens, it just happens. One year you’re dressed up and out collecting candy with friends. The next year you have one (or more) friends saying something along the lines of it being silly or immature. Then your other friends go along with it. As Halloween comes and goes you realize that your last Halloween was YOUR LAST HALLOWEEN.

That moment is when you grow up because of society. And in a way it’s also your choice. You could’ve easily gone door to door in a costume. Maybe you’d hear comments like, “Aren’t you a little old?” But that’s really for you to decide. Give in to peer pressure and save face? Or get out there and get treats? The choice was yours.

Halloween Home 2021

Yesterday was the first Halloween in our new home. Not knowing the neighborhood made it difficult to predict how much candy we needed to purchase for giving away. In the end, we had about 60-70 kids show up.

Not to brag, but our house drew a lot of attention last night. Kids came bounding down the hill and bypassed the neighbor’s homes in order to stop at ours. We had a modestly decorated home. However, I did put up a sheet on our open garage and showed a movie. You could hear “The Nightmare Before Christmas” down the street. Perhaps that’s what drew the kids…

Some of the neighbors also came over to chat with us. This was the first time that a few of us had the chance to hang out. It was a beautiful evening so we pulled out the fire pit and talked about the neighborhood. It was a warm and welcoming experience.

My wife and I enjoyed the night hanging out, giving away candy and socializing. Afterwards we went to the backyard and watched the fireworks out in the distance across the cityscape. All in all a good evening had in our new home for our first Halloween. I look forward to many more years of this.

Pumpkin Carving 2021 Finale

Both of our daughters finished their pumpkins right on time. Our 17 year old spent about five and a half hours on hers and this is how it turned out:

It was a character named Yuri from Doki Doki Literature Club. I love the detail she put into it. Watching her painstakingly carve and cut into the gourd impressed me.

Our oldest wanted to make her pumpkin match her make up. So she carved out scars and blistered looking lips and eyes. Then she stuck metal wire in to close it up. Definitely an original piece that looked creepy.

Her make up was detailed to match. She also made a large scythe this summer which accompanied the look. I love her originality and commitment to the character.

Having creative kids makes me proud. My wife and I are always encouraging them to make art and express themselves.

Pumpkin Carving 2021

My daughter and I finally got around to carving a couple of pumpkins today. We were both going to do very detailed ones, yet our printer wasn’t working. So this threw us off a bit.

It meant I had to trace and freehand my designs today. Which was not perfect by any means. But I am still happy with the outcome of the pumpkins. They are okay-ish by my standards, but I was also trying something different and it didn’t work.

I tried to create flames for one pumpkin. This is how it turned out. I know where I could’ve improved. Doing smooth curves is difficult to cut. But since I was unable to do my original design, this was my backup.

My other design was a bit less detailed than previous years (2018 was my best one to date). Loki was a fantastic Marvel tv series, so I had to share my love of the fandom. I am happy with how this pumpkin turned out considering I had to draw it out myself. Usually I edit an image online to create a stencil.

Our middle child is still working on her pumpkin. She’s been at it for about five hours now. Her attention to detail is amazing. She also had to trace an image instead of printing one off. Our oldest daughter had to work today, so I am hoping that she creates a beautiful work of art tomorrow. If not, I’m sure my wife will make a Hello Kitty pumpkin.

I can’t wait to see the final results of our daughters’ designs and hard work. I love that they take after me in wanting to be better each year.

How did your pumpkin carving go this year? Are you getting better at it as each year goes on?

Monster Express

After my daughter and I had an Early Morning at the Pumpkin Patch, we rushed home for a costume change. Our next adventure was about to happen. A ride aboard the Monster Express put on by the Fraser Valley Heritage Rail.

My wife and I first noticed the trolley heading off in the distance behind our home at the end of summer. We also wandered down to a corn stand and the trolley came right passed it. So we took an interest in seeing this thing in person. A Halloween theme seemed like a fun activity to go on with our two youngest teenagers.

We made the most of the one hour trip. My 17 year old daughter and I dressed up as characters from the anime Soul Eater. Most of the attendees were small children and their parents. We were by far the oldest group there. But we weren’t about to let that spoil our fun!

The museum and trolley are run by volunteers. Many of them retired bus drivers and railroaders. For this adventure, they dressed in costumes and had a great time wandering the car and dancing at the stations. By the end of the ride, they were trying to recruit me to join. Perhaps one day since it is so close to our new home.

In the spring, my wife would like to check out the rest of the museum and take a ride on the trolley when it’s not festively decorated. This is definitely one of those moments where it brings all ages together for a fun and silly outing. Thank you to the volunteers who were having a blast for the guests!

This Isn’t Going To End Well

Today I was at home starting my vacation. This morning I was on a Zoom meeting while sitting on our front porch. As I was there, a lady with about four preschool aged children walked by. They noticed the banners I put out for Halloween. And one of the boys yelled up to me, “Is that Freddy VS Jason?” I was rather surprised that a kid under age five would know that.

Later on a couple of ladies walked by and stopped in front of our home. They were trying to figure out who the characters were from. Clearly our home is drawing attention.

Afterwards, I was in the garage making some Halloween decorations. A father and his young song passed by. They too saw the banners out front. I heard the father say to his son, “we will definitely come back to this house on Halloween.”

I’m sure that we will get more kids this year in this part of the neighborhood than they have in the past. Our last neighborhood we only gave out about a dozen treats. Three to each kid… It’ll be neat being in a suburb again, but it’s not going to end well. We better get a bunch of candy and be ready to hand it out.

Halloween Is On The Way

I love October. It means Halloween is on the way!

I can start to wear more black clothes than I already did. I also have the next couple of months to wear some of my “Nightmare Before Christmas” t-shirts. I remember seeing that film in the theater as a teenager when it first came out. I took my girlfriend at the time on a date to our local six plex. Since then, so many women I know have loved the movie. Perhaps they have a thing for tall skinny dudes?

Getting closer to Halloween also means things are more spooky! Over the weekend, I pulled out some of our decorations and set them up in the yard. The two banners I picked up from the movie theater in 2003 still make up for the largest part of my decorations. Each banner is approximately 4’ x 8’ so they look spectacular (or is that spooktacular) hanging on our front windows. I have had numerous friends wanting to buy these banners from me. They keep asking when I will part with them. Probably never. They are an integral part of our Halloween decor.

Are you starting to decorate for Halloween? Or do you wait until a few days before? Let me know in the comments.

Good Spooky Music

My daughter and I were having a conversation about what makes good spooky Halloween inspired music. I enjoy the spirit and ambiance that music like that can bring. Halloween Music definitely fills my next month’s playlists.

First you need a drum beat or a bass beat. However, it needs to resemble a heart beat and have a rhythmic timing. Music like this is also good for workouts.

Secondly, there needs to be a unique sound added. Such as the harpsichord or synthesizer. Once that instrument is involved, next is to add a trill or repetitive partial scale.

Lastly, you need one higher pitched sound to be made by a piano or piccolo periodically.

Put those three things together and you can get the perfect spooky soundtrack going. Everyone would get the feels that you are attempting to create.

I’m going back to listening to my Creepy Carnival playlist on Spotify and see what else makes a good spooky song.

First Attempt At Foam Pumpkin Carving

I love to carve pumpkins for Halloween. I often spend hours searching for designs and creating my pumpkins. I have been doing it for years now. Check out the links below to view some:

Pumpkins 2020

Stranger Things

Pumpkins 2018

Pumpkins 2017

Pumpkins pre-2016

I recently carved my first craft foam pumpkin. I always wanted to do a more permanent pumpkin that I can display yearly. Since I can spend anywhere from 3 to 8 hours carving a live pumpkin, why not have it last longer than a single season?

My wife requested that I do not do a “Fan Art” pumpkin. She wanted me to try and do something more classic and still a bit detailed. So I chose to make an owl- my favorite one as well. The Burrowing Owl. Owls are Halloween, right?

I used a black and white image online as the basis for my owl. I’m about 85% satisfied with the results. I can see what I can do differently next time. But since I have not worked with this style of pumpkin before, I’d say not bad for a first attempt. Next will be to see how it looks with a small LED light inside.

Have you worked with foam pumpkins before? Or do you prefer the real thing? Let me know in the comments or feel free to share pictures of your detailed pumpkins. I love to see what others create.

When To Decorate For Halloween?

It’s September now, and I know summer isn’t officially over until nightfall on September 21. The next day is the first day of Autumn. So my question is, when is it okay to decorate for Halloween?

I enjoy decorating for Autumn and Winter. I also love Halloween and Christmas. To me, each of them is a separate entity. So a few changes occur as we transition from one to the next. I’m pretty sure that next weekend I will be jumping the gun and start putting out our Fall decorations.

I’m not quite ready to tackle Halloween yet. I was at Home Depot the other day and saw these 12 foot skeletons that light up. Spending 400-500 dollars on one seems very extravagant. Even though these are cool and make for a wow factor in a home- whatever happened to some styrofoam tombstones and cobwebs?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween. I just prefer to make my own costumes and props. I have been known to put in a bit more effort some years. I especially love pumpkin carving. But I do feel that I should wait until October 1st before really hitting the haunted factor.

A few fake pumpkins, and some brown and red leaves will be the extent of my decorations for now. Perhaps I shall wait and see what our new neighborhood does for the season. Nah. I’ll still do what I want. Perhaps we will go big this year!

Music For November

Halloween is over, so no more spooky music playing in my home. A few years ago I began playing Christmas Music at the start of November. This year my wife has asked me not to.

So what do I play in the mean time? Should I put on Guns N’ Roses “November Rain” on repeat? I have no problem playing that song for hours on end. Pretty sure my family would think it is some sort of torture by the fourth or fifth time it starts. I could always play Disco.

I’m not sure why, but my family despises my disco music. I’m always up for a bit of dancing around the house to some classic 70’s beats. “Disco is not dead! Disco is life!

Or I can just put on some calming Chamber music. I love classical music as an ambience for our home. Considering we do call it Castle Havelka.

I’ll still be sneaking some Christmas music in soon in hopes that the family doesn’t notice. Maybe Christmas Disco or Christmas Chamber Music…

Halloween 2020

For obvious reasons- this year was a very subdued Halloween. We gave out candy to three groups of children for a grand total of eight kids. Our teenagers went up and down our cul-de-sac to hunt out some candy. Even though we had no real plans- my family still dressed up.

Considering how few homes they stopped at- they end up with a good haul and shared the candy amongst one another. Hooray for sugar!

For the notable costumes- Random did a mash up of Jack Skellington and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. Pretty good make up considering how she did it within a half an hour. Toying around with make up is one of her favorite things to do. Especially if it makes her look spooky.

For my costume- I did a fun take on Vincent Price from back when he showed up on The Muppet Show in the 70’s. Price is such an icon when it comes to classic horror. But I wasn’t sure how to portray him. I think it turned out doggone amazing.

I enjoyed my evening of viewing people’s costumes on Instagram all night. Some were very creative. As well, many people had small children who looked really cute.

How was your Halloween? Were you dressed up? Or did you just pig out on candy?

Festive Food for All Hallow’s Eve

Everyone thinks of pumpkins and candy when it comes to Halloween. And while I enjoy both, it’s also fun to make regular meals with a spooky twist.

Last night I made meatloaf and potatoes. But with a twist.

The meatloaf was a couple of severed hands. I used onions as the finger nails. It didn’t take much longer to make than it would regular meatloaf. I only wish I had sliced mozzarella to put on top as a “skin”.

As a side dish I made “shrunk head” baked potatoes. Again, really easy and didn’t take too much longer to create. But the final result was a fun dinner that was outstandingly flavorful.

Do you have any Halloween dinners? Perhaps cute mummy hot dogs? or ghostly concoctions.

Let me know in the comments.

Spooky Music 2020

Recently, I have been playing spooky music in our home. It all started with Creepy Carnival Music that I discovered on Spotify. I was enjoying it last weekend, but my family was not a fan. So I played some more “fun” music.

My daughters and I have been singing along to “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “Little Shop Of Horrors” and “Wicked”. All very lively and kooky musicals. It’s great that I know the words to two of the musicals. Unfortunately I have yet to see “Wicked” but it is on my list.

While the family was out this evening, I had to make dinner. So I decided that o wanted to listen to Nine Inch Nails. It has been years, so I chose to play “Pretty Hate Machine” on of my all time favorite albums. I discovered a version done by Vitamin String Quartet that was beautifully crafted. Somehow I missed this album when it was released- 2002! Probably because I was busy becoming a father for the first time.

What do you listen to at Halloween?

Let me know in the comments.

A Decade of Disneyland at Halloween

Looking back at my memories, I saw that we spent a majority of our kids’ Halloweens in Disneyland. Since 2010 we have been enjoying haunting up the theme park.

To say I miss visiting Disneyland is an understatement. Once this pandemic clears up and travel opens again- I’d love to hit up Disneyland. No matter what time of year it is. The family and I always had a good time goofing around as we immersed ourselves in the joy of the parks.

Disneyland California Adventure 2010

We would push for full days at the parks. Lining up before the gates opened and being some of the last guests to leave at night. We made every minute count.

Honestly, some of the best parts of the trips was also the drive. We would be hyped going down the coast, then excitedly talk the drive back about all the fun we had. As cheesy as all this sounds, I am sad that we didn’t get to do it this year. Some of the biggest connections I created with my children was on these vacations. Those memories however will last me a lifetime. As is obvious by today’s blog.

In order to bring forth those good feels, I decided that tonight we are watching Disney’s Hocus Pocus as a family. I haven’t seen this film since the mid-90’s. I also have no idea of my family has seen it. I hope it holds up.

Even if traditions change and we need to adapt. We shall continue to make scary memories together as a family in a variety of ways.

Carving Pumpkins 2020

This year I bought some pumpkins for carving. My two daughters and I try and push the limits on our skills as well. Both of them are getting much better at pumpkin carving all thanks to my advice and assistance.

Although I will say, our oldest is getting to a point of almost surprising my skills. Take a look at the detail in her “Audrey 2” carving.

The leaves and the lips have definition and realism added! This took her about five hours to complete. I am truly impressed.

Our other daughter has been at her carving for hours. She even took a break and started working on it again today. She still isn’t finished, but I have faith in her. She’ll get her meme completed by Halloween!

I did one of my favorite fandoms- “Firefly”. In my carving, I love the way the light shines through the title. My spaceship isn’t quite as detailed as my daughter’s pumpkin. It still took my nearly four hours to complete. Of course, immediately after I took my photos of the pumpkin lit up, I dropped it and it broke in half.

I was a bit upset. But not angry. Pumpkins get thrown away after as it is. So for me, the carving is the therapeutic exercise that I enjoy. I’m glad I got the pictures at least.

How are your pumpkins looking this year? Ever have a failure like I did after hours of hard work?

Let me know in the comments.