Thank You Halloween. Until Next Year.

Last night was a ton of fun. Our teens made their rounds with friends and ended up with a good haul of candy. The weather was not too bad for this time of year and the streets were fairly crowded.

My costume was also a huge success. Many adults commenting on how it brought them back to their childhood. Some kids thinking I was a vulture. But in the end I didn’t scare any kids which was good. I shared a short video of my costume dancing on Instagram: Skesis Dance.

Since Halloween is over, I have already packed up all of our decorations before lunch. Now to do some vacuuming and dusting before the Christmas Decorations come out! I love being festive during this time of year!

Did you enjoy Halloween?

Have you already started to decorate for Christmas?

Please tell me I’m not the only one!

It’s Halloween Time!

Oh my goodness Halloween has arrived! And it feels like it got here a day early. I don’t think I’m ready for it. There’s still things to do!

  • Carve the pumpkin
  • MORE DECORATIONS!
  • Get candy
  • Unfortunately those three things will not happen this year. My last week just flew by. I did buy a pumpkin, but I don’t have the hours remaining in order to carve a good image like I have in the past. Last Year’s Pumpkins took about eight hours to complete. Having no time left is okay with me. I was able to work on my son’s costume and my costume this month instead. Read about his costume here and my costume here.

    Only a few hours remain until we venture out into the evening with friends. I’m looking forward to seeing the costumes that people come up with.

    So have a safe Halloween out there! Make sure you watch for kids on the roads who may be getting excited and forget to be smart as they go from house to house. Oh and give out the good candy- none of those raisins! Let me know which house is giving full size bars as well!

    Happy Halloween!

    Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

    During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

    I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

    I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

    It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

    Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

    It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

    Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

    Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

    To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

    Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

    After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

    I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

    Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!

    Going To Work Is The Break From Life

    I know it sounds crazy, but I’m happy to be back at work for the next few days. I need a break from being in my house. No, it’s not because of my family and there’s nothing negative going on. It’s just my costume for Halloween is taking over my life!

    I’ve actually been losing sleep over the logistics of my costume. I have some high aspirations for this year. I’m not really wanting to share any pictures until I have it completed. Just in case I don’t complete it. Being ambitious is one thing. Not finishing is another.

    Next week I am on a staycation. But I have some home improvements and maintenance that needs to be addressed first and foremost. That means what I’ve gotten done on my costume is all that I’ll be doing for the next while. I’m glad I started working on it at least.

    But we are also six days into October and I haven’t decorated for Halloween yet! That’s unlike me. Usually October 1st and it’s spooky time. Maybe after work I can rustle up some decorations and have the kids help set them up.

    Are you ready for Halloween?

    Do you make your own costume?

    Let me know if you are like me and am starting to freak out over nothing.

    Get Those Costumes Ready!

    In a little over a month it will be Halloween! I love this time of year! Dressing up in costumes is always fun. Since we haven’t been doing the comic convention circuit over the past while, it means that this is the only time I’ll really be able to express my artistic sense.

    Over the years I have made some great and not so great costumes. I’m trying to push my artistic ability this year and hope it pays off. Usually I just fashion up some clothes and take my attributes (read as being a tall lanky white guy) to create the illusion of my character. I oftentimes have a simple prop that showcases who I am supposed to be. Be it a weapon, bow tie, or dog- it’s the accessories that finish of a costume. But a big part is also embodying the characters. Acting like the person goes a long way into making it more believable.

    Have you started on your costume yet? Or do you prefer to buy a ready made one? Either way is wonderful. So long as you’re letting loose and having fun being something you’re not!

    Only four weekends remaining to get ready! The pressure is on! Cosplay making skills don’t fail me now!

    Halloween Fun

    Last night my family and I went into Fort Langley so that our kids could go trick or treat with some friends. I dropped off my wife and daughters at one house and my son and I went to his friend’s. I was already planning on walking the neighborhood, so I ended up chaperoning three boys in grade seven.

    Throughout the night, these boys were the most polite and kindest kids of their age. I even heard the parents handing out treats make various comments about them to this effect. The boys took their time and enjoyed the decorations we saw at some of the homes. It seems Halloween is quite the event for some people in order to bring joy to others.

    I enjoy Halloween as well. I was dressed as a very recognizable Obi Wan Kenobi and received many compliments from parents and kids on the streets. The highlight of my night was rather surprising to me.

    The parents of a young boy, who was dressed as a Luke Skywalker in his pilot outfit, came running up to me. This little boy was super eager to meet me thinking I really was Obi Wan. We spoke and I threw a couple Star Wars phrases at him trying to keep in character as best I could. In the end I shook his hand and then he reached into his pocket and handed me a candy. I was taken aback at his genuine kindness. As we parted ways I said to him, “May The Force Be With you.”

    He responded in turn, “And also with you.”

    He made my night memorable. I hope I made his as well.

    Costumes are Fun!

    We love to make most of our costumes. On occasion we buy accessories that are obviously store bought for the purpose of our costumes. We also enjoy wearing matching outfits whenever possible.

    I do prefer to create my own look. Usually I wear a different costume each year.

    But I really liked last year’s costume that I am wearing it again this year.

    I hope you all enjoy this time of year as much as I do!

    Happy Halloween everyone!

    Halloween Music

    I love everything about Halloween. Often overlooked is the music.

    I’ll throw on an old White Zombie or Marilyn Manson album during October a bit more frequently than I normally would. There are certain styles of music that set a tone/feeling. But cute/ silly songs like Monster Mash or Purple People Eater isn’t my thing.

    I do enjoy hearing tv theme music from Addams Family or The Munsters. Something about those 1960’s tv families that make me smile.

    I also enjoy The Nightmare Before Christmas songs. I can sing them all off by heart. (Even though it is a Christmas movie.) But it’s a good soundtrack to crossover from October into December.

    Pumpkins 2018

    This year I bought 4 pumpkins for the kids and me to carve. My son decided he didn’t want to do one, so my wife offered to do it. I did my pumpkin yesterday and I’m really happy with the results.

    I wanted to do something that reminded me of my youth. So I chose to carve “The Dark Crystal” title. It took me about 3 hours.

    Today, our sixteen year old carved her pumpkin. She always does one based on her fandoms. This year’s pumpkin was from “Supernatural” and took her about 3 hours to carve.

    My wife wanted to carve out “Aggretsuko” until she saw my daughter and I spending so much time doing our pumpkins. So it fell on me to carve it out. I worked on it while our daughter did hers. Aggretsuko took me about 2.5 hours since most of it was shading.

    All that we have left before Halloween is for our younger daughter to carve out hers. Today she is wanting to finish her homework first, so we may do it on Monday or Tuesday instead. I think she is also still deciding what to carve.

    If you want to see some of my previous designs, click Here.

    Or check out last year’s pumpkins Here. This year’s are far more impressive mind you. I really enjoy making them.

    Daddy/Darwin Day Looking For a Costume

    Today I spent with our middle child. We went out everywhere shopping. We were on the hunt for a perfect Halloween costume for her. Problem was- she didn’t know what she wanted to be.

    Clearly we don’t have the time to spend making something as intricate or extravagant as some of the previous cosplay. I enjoy the Casual Cosplay with easy costumes of just outfits not needing too much work. So Value Village was one of our stops.

    The VV Boutique has a big selection of packaged costumes. Very generic or simply cheap items. Meant for only a few hours then tossed aside. We tend to keep our costumes for future use or passing onto other people. So cheap crap isn’t our thing. After checking out the store bought costume section, we went on the hunt through the clothing donation area instead. We got lucky and found exactly what we would need.

    Our daughter loves anime. Particularly Hello Kitty. She also loves Aggretsuko. So we went in search of a blue business outfit, a white dress shirt and an orange-ish wig. After a bit of hemming and hawing we found the perfect combination.

    My daughter is super happy with the results. I think this is one of her better costumes that she has put together. Just a touch of makeup and a tail to complete the look. She hasn’t decided if she wants to do calm Aggretsuko or the Karaoke death metal version.

    I guess we’ll see how she feels closer to Halloween.

    Halloween Decorations

    Now that we are back home from our latest vacation, it is time to decorate for Halloween. The kids seem to enjoy this. Our son gets right into it and wants to put out everything we have. He even tries to add things that aren’t quite Halloween, but that he thinks would look good.

    We have a bunch of things from when the kids were younger. So lots of plastic decor and more not-so-scary items. We don’t put those out as much. We also have a lot of Nightmare Before Christmas knickknacks that stay out all year. For me, decorating each year is about making it different from the last. I try not to have too much store bought items, but rather use what we have around that is old and battered.

    Our garden piano for example has begun to crumble and really take the shape of what I wanted. Place a pink rope light behind the keys, a couple fake skulls, and a blue flood light and it creates a near perfect scene.

    A few more finishing touches and our home will be perfectly spooky. Today I am putting up our large banners that cover our windows and create quite the visual outside. In a week or two, we will carve the pumpkins!

    What are some of your favorite decorations to put up? When do you start?

    Havelka Hearse?

    For a few decades now I’ve wanted to own a hearse.

    What?

    Ya, one of those vehicles that drive dead people around. I have a few specific models that I’m interested in. But I’m not really a “car guy” so I’d probably have to spend a good deal of money on a used one in great condition.

    There’s something about the look that I just admire. From the curtains on the windows to the fake top and landau bars. There’s always a new design coming out that showcases both the elegance and the celebration of life that once was.

    From a modern Tesla Hearse- Check out the windows. Simply stunning.

    To traditional looking Funeral Coaches that more resemble a temple on wheels.

    Hearses tell a story as much as those that ride inside.

    I hope to not have my last ride in a hearse be my first. Of course with Halloween around the corner- it gets me thinking about owning one more often. It’d be a great Halloween decoration! Maybe my wife will buy me one for my 45th birthday? Hint-hint

    Halloween Straight Into Christmas


    Halloween ended only a few days ago. We were rather busy so we didn’t have time to fully take down decorations until this weekend. When we did, we had to vacuum up the real cobwebs that were on the walls to remove most of Halloween.


    Perhaps it was driving through the mountains over the past couple days that inspired my wife. But she asked that when we take down the Halloween decorations, we put up *some* Christmas decorations. Basically she gave me free reign (see what I did there?) to put up anything except our Christmas trees! Yes!


    Lucky for me we have a lot of “Nightmare Before Christmas” decor that stays up for both seasons (as well as all year round in some cases). This makes the transition smooth from one season to the next. Here is some of the art we have:


    There’s much more art that will adorn our walls and doors as the season approaches. Of course we have only begun to put up our decorations for Christmas, but some would feel it’s too soon. When you see what we have for our home, you would understand why we start over a month before the holiday. 

    We also keep the Winter/Christmas spirit alive until Jan.7th or so. It ends up being a two month “good feelings” display in our home. Over the next while, I do expect my allergies to take a hit as we dust off the decorations. That part sucks. 

    But hooray for Christmas to come soon!

    Trick or Treat! 2017 Halloween.

    When I was younger, the costumes at Halloween were either store bought plastic sheets and masks or “mom-made”. Now our children go hardcore and have gone off the beaten path of traditional costumes. They have created their own designs and poses- giving their character’s life. They also received numerous questions and compliments about their designs. It seems that years of attending Comic-Cons has paid off.

    For during the day at school, my daughters did “Steampunk Alice & Mad Hatter”. They worked together to create a look that worked for both of them. For trick or treating- they changed outfits to be a bit more scary.


    Our youngest daughter did her take on Freddy Krueger. And our eldest did Professor Stein.  Creating costumes are becoming second nature for us. We’ve always loved Halloween and have made it special every year.


    In the past we’ve hit Disneyland three times to Trick or Treat. We also attended Stan Lee’s Comikaze for a couple Halloweens. Always plenty of costumes and tons of candy!


    Any time we didn’t travel, we would hit a residential neighborhood with crowded homes lining the streets. It was great for when the kids were younger. This year to trick or treat, my wife drove around our neighborhood (since the homes are spread out between 1-10 acre lots). Less houses but still a good haul. With quite a few full size chocolate bars and cans of soda.


    I joined up with them at the end of their evening because I was at work all day. But in the spirit of Halloween- I still got dressed up! My coworkers were rather impressed by my outfit.(Tomorrow I’ll be sharing about making my costume.) I’ll always love Halloween and dressing up. I’m just a big kid at heart. I’ll leave you tonight with a phrase I love to say- that I even put on a t-shirt for my kids:

    Many years ago with my son.

    “When I grow up I wanna be like me.”

    Last Minute…

    Finally I’m off to bed.  I nearly forgot to blog today because we’ve been so busy trying to get ready for Halloween. It’s been one of those weekends where we wanted to do so much, that the final touches are getting done the night before. But we love our costumes and try to get the big details perfect.


    We’ve been doing this for years- I have glue gun burns to prove it. My family loves  Costumes and Cosplay. We show our fandoms and others get to enjoy it as well. Not only are the costumes important, but acting the part makes the characters come to life. 

    Biggest secret of last minute finishing touches? Knowing “where to trim the fat.” If a button or accessory is missing, most folks won’t notice. Especially if you can act the way your character does. This tends to distract folks from the little things. 


    Plus after years of Cosplay, we have garnered quite the collection of outfits.  My daughters have shared costumes, and even “Cross-played” some of my old Cosplay outfits. I’m really excited to show off my latest costume tomorrow that my wife worked extremely hard on. I also can’t wait to see my children’s costumes. Our son has designed his own Steampunk outfit. And our daughters are wearing one costume for school (Steampunk Alice and Steampunk Mad Hatter) and a scarier one for the evening. 

    Hope everyone has a good Halloween!

    Pumpkin Carving 2017

    This year my oldest and I were carving the pumpkins. I usually do the more intricate styles and take my time. I shared last year in Pumpkin Carving some of my older styles.


    This year my daughter and I went for a Harry Potter theme. I worked on the Sorting Hat and she did the Slytherin emblem. We had a good daddy/daughter afternoon as we watched “Zombieland” and carved the gourds.


    I got some decent shading effects and lighting on my pumpkin. I see where I could improve the image. There’s a bit more left to cut out. But we had to break for dinner. Dinner that I was supposed to make… so it ended up being ordered in sushi.


    My daughter on the other hand is pretty much done. I’m very impressed by her artistry. Each year she gets better. As a life skill- this isn’t much more than a fun activity that she shares with me. I hope that these are the moments she reflects fondly upon as she grows up.

    It’s been a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see next year’s pumpkins and spend more time together being nerds.

    Jedi Joe

    It’s finally going to happen.  I’ve decided to become a Jedi. No, I’m not announcing a “sad devotion to that ancient religion” or anything like that. I’m talking about a Costume/Cosplay for Halloween and an upcoming convention.


    With my recent facial hair growth and the fact that I won’t shave it until the end of November (read about it here:Proving A Point) I needed to find a suitable costume idea that supported facial hair.  My wife suggested I go as a Wookiee because of my height, but it got me thinking about becoming a Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi to be exact.

    Back in 1999-2000, I made an email address of joeywankenobi@hotmail.com: which is now defunct because it’s Hotmail and filled with spam. But the one thing that I enjoyed from Episodes 1-3 was Ewan McGregor’s take on Obi-Wan which garnered the email name.


    Since I’ve always had an Enjoyment of Star Wars it makes sense to finally dress up for it. My height would make me a good Darth Vader (or a Wookiee as my wife said) but I don’t overly have the time or money for that. I just need to figure out if I’m going to go with a store bought Costume or try and sew my own at this time. Pretty sure I will sew a costume that is screen accurate one day.  Time to do internet research!

    Help me Joey-Wan. You’re my only hope.



    October is Here

    Today is the start of Halloween!  Well, maybe not… but I do love the season. I have for many years.


    Today I don one of my favorite t-shirts. A mashup of two films from my youth. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “E.T.” Both films impacted my life in profound ways.


    The first movie I ever saw in a movie theater was “E.T.” when it was first released in 1982. I was six years old and it scared the crap out of me at the time. Yes, the cute alien terrified me enough that I had nightmares of it for weeks. I’m much better now and it holds a place in my heart as an introduction to the emotional connection that films have brought me.


    Eleven years after my first theater film, I saw “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Tim Burton’s style of films had been some of my favorite cinematic experiences over the years. This film was exceptional in the visuals and songs. For some reason, at age 17, I was able to relate to Jack as a misunderstood skinny guy in a dark world of happiness. 


    Since then, I have collected numerous NBX memorabilia and love having them out from Halloween to Christmas. It saves from taking down the decorations! Maybe this time next year my family and I can be in Disneyland for Halloween. But until then, time to spookify our home for October!

    Happy Halloween!

    I love Halloween.  Always have.  We don’t have any Halloween traditions, so every year is something different.  Since having kids, locations for trick or treating has changed yearly.  We’ve been through local neighborhoods, Disneyland a few times, and even a couple of Comic Conventions in Los Angeles.  Each and every one of these times has been so much fun.

    Stranger Things pumpkin. My last minute decision to carve yesterday.


    The only thing that stays the same is dressing up.  Since my childhood I think there has only been once that I didn’t dress up for Halloween.  I was really sick and more cowbell couldn’t cure my fever. Every year I put on a different costume.

    This year is no different.  My kids love dressing up as well.  We dress up in our cosplay because we take the time and effort to really play the part as well.  This year, my kids enjoyed dressing up and going to school with their friends.  It’s the first time in about five years that they have been able to do that.

    I’ve loved seeing all the fun costumes at their school today.  I’ve also enjoyed all the great costumes that my friends and their children have shared on social media this past weekend.

    As the night draws towards an end, I hope everyone out there had a safe and fun Halloween!

    Decorating rules

    In our home- my wife has set some rules in place regarding seasonal decorations.  Specifically Halloween and Christmas.  I have a tough time following them…

    Nightmare Before Christmas allows decorations to stay out longer.


    We are not allowed to decorate for Halloween until October 1st.  September is a busy month of getting the kids back to school and back into routines.  A distraction like decorating makes the kids, to put it mildly, stupid with joy.  They have a great time decorating, but completely forget about their homework and commitments.  The kids get upset if I start to decorate the house without them while they are at school.  It’s also probably because I leave the job of putting up spiderwebs to them…  That part sucks.

    A photo of all my favorite people.


    Rarely have we been home for Halloween in the past few years.  Usually we do a road trip to California and enjoy the beaches/ Disneyland in late October early November.  But because we will be home this year, I REALLY want to go big with my decorations.  I’m going to use the skills I learned from cosplay making and try to make our home extra spooky.  I’ve always been fascinated with set decorations and behind the scenes of movies from the 70’s and 80’s.  I have ambitious ideas, so I’ll need to tone it down a tad to get it done.  

    In the meantime, my wife didn’t say I couldn’t decorate for “Fall”.  Time for me to channel my inner Martha Stewart and use those Pinterest ideas I’ve been saving.  


    The other rule for decorating is that we aren’t permitted to decorate for Christmas until December 7th.  That is the day after my wife’s birthday.  Needless to say, I sneak a few “Winter” themed decorations out.  Our home is a beautiful brick house that brings forth a sense of warmth at Christmas.  Don’t tell anyone, but I actually prefer my Christmas Decorations to my Halloween ones.  This is because most Halloween decorations are too “cutesy” and I would prefer a bit more “Gothic” or horror style.

    Our home can be undecorated quickly.  Going from Spirited to empty in only a couple of hours.  I often leave out our Nightmare Before Christmas decorations from October to January because they cover both seasons.  

    Me in a Pee-Wee costume infront of our Playhouse.


    Today we are cleaning our home so that next weekend we can begin it’s transformation.  I find it odd that every time we decorate for Halloween, I remove all the real cobwebs just to put out the fake ones.

    Autumn Madness 

    It’s here!  One of my four favorite seasons!

    Yay Autumn!

    Pumpkims from a few years ago done by my children and I.


    I like autumn because it means Halloween is just around the corner.  I love decorating our home for Halloween.  I love carving pumpkins as well.  I have done some pretty intricatly carved pumpkins.  I have spent 4 hours doing just one.  I love it, it brings on a zen-like sensation as I zone out.

    Our first Disneyland Trick Or Treat!


    I love costumes as well.  That’s one of the main reasons I love conventions as well.  I get to cosplay.  Or I get to make cosplay for my kids.  I love it!


    We have spent a few Halloweens down in Disneyland Trick or Treating.  I recommend it to anyone with children.  It is so much fun!  This year, we are not heading to California (sad Joe) but we will decorate and have fun at home for the first time in about five years.

    The dilema is real.


    What I don’t like about autumn is that it means the year is in it’s last three months.  Crazy scramble to finish projects, do those things you thought you had plenty of time to do nine months ago.  And I can’t tell what to wear.  This time of year is screwy.  So, zippered hoodies and jeans it is.

    I also don’t like pumpkin pie.  There, I said it.  It looks like poop in a pie crust.  Same texture as a soft curly turd as well.


    Nope.  Still not going to eat that.  Thanks.


    But I will enjoy having beverages and a fire in the family room as I relax.  Especially Weaping Reaper by Dead Frog. Love that beer.

    Cheers to cuddles on the couches and colors on the trees!  Enjoy the season everyone!