Sunday, November 24, 2013

Halloween Recap

Since the theme of my blog is procrastination, it's totally fine that I'm doing my Halloween recap at the end of November, right? Right? Ugh, you guys, I am the worst! Apologies to my fellow Cryptkeepers. Once summer rolls around, Halloween is all I can talk/write about for months. Then October comes and I'm so wrapped up in costume-making and Halloween-ing that I lose track of time and don't write anything about it. Gah!

My Vicki costume turned out amazing! I'm super ridiculously thankful to my friend Carolina for making my dress. It was perfection. And I'm also super proud of my own robot-making skills. The panel was a hit! Blinking lights and everything!

Are you interested in having a custom-made costume next year? Contact Costumes by Carolina for more info. Now taking orders for Halloween 2014! The business is in the early stages, so we can still swing you a sweet deal. Custom-made costumes are the best!

Here are more fun Halloween pics:

Making robot parts

I love robot parts!

The final product

The blinking LED lights added extra awesomeness

More costumes by Carolina (she's the ghost)

A happy Halloween girl! And a severed head.

All in all, I had a very happy Halloween. Costumes, candy, parties, Halloween cheer--I had it all. I'm already brainstorming costumes for next year...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thanksgiving Needs a Makeover

Photo taken from the internets
November is the time of year where people tend to fall into two camps: the super-psyched Christmas folks who start decorating the day after Halloween, and the people who HATE the first group. I find myself right in the middle since I pretty much don't care either way. I enjoy Christmas, but I don't usually get into it till December. But I also don't give a crap that stores start selling Christmas goods in October. Who cares? Stores sell Christmas stuff early because people buy Christmas stuff early. And you know who's purchasing stuff early? Your oddball friends and family who love to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving has arrived. Is it weird? Probably. Do I care? No.

However, I know people get really heated about Christmas creeping up in November, so I have a plan to resolve the issue. I've had three different people say this to me already: It's too early for Christmas. People just skip over Thanksgiving! It seems people don't like the early Christmas decor because they feel that Thanksgiving is being overlooked.

Here's the deal, folks. It's Thanksgiving's own fault for being so lame. There I said it. Thanksgiving is a lame holiday. There are no songs or movies or fun activities to help celebrate. There's certainly nothing for children to get excited about. People want Thanksgiving to be something you celebrate all month long, but it's just not that type of holiday. I mean really, what does it have going for itself except a big meal and some time off work? It's no fun for the kids (No candy? No costumes? No presents?) and it's stressful for the adults (I have to cook a turkey for how many people?), and it just doesn't compare to the other big holidays. There aren't even any good decorations. You've probably had harvest decor up since September, so come November, you're sick of all the fall crap, which just leaves you with your kid's turkey hand print artwork. I'm sorry to say it, but Thanksgiving is BORING, and this is why it gets overlooked.

If you really want to tackle the issue, it's not about making the Christmas season start later. It's about re-branding Thanksgiving into a holiday people will want to celebrate all month. Let's face it, Thanksgiving needs a makeover. So let's do it! Let's make it cool! Maybe commercialize it more. I've already taken it upon myself to start the brainstorming session by stealing ideas from other holidays. Here's what I've come up with:

Ideas for Making Thanksgiving Not Lame

  • Slutty pilgrim costumes, perhaps? That's way more interesting than boring turtlenecks and scarves. I mean, look what sluts did to the Halloween costume industry. They revolutionized it! NOTE: It looks like Sexy Thanksgiving Costumes for Couples already exist, but I was thinking of something a little less insensitive to Native Americans. (Pocahottie? Chief Wansum Tail? Seriously?)
  • Maybe we create a mythical creature like the Easter Bunny. I vote for a Turkey Prince who grants wishes to young boys and girls. If they're thankful all month, the Turkey Prince will arrive on Thanksgiving Eve and leave candied yams in their shoes.
  • We need some Thanksgiving movies. Time to step it up, Hollywood. Sure there are a handful of movies that take place around Thanksgiving, but there really are no classics, with the exception of maybe A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but that's really pushing it. At the very least there should be one of those predictable rom-coms starring every actor on the planet and appropriately titled, Thanksgiving Day
  • Let's get theme parks involved. They're half the problem. They go all out with haunted houses at Halloween and then skip right to Christmas. Tisk tisk. Maybe this is where the slutty pilgrims could come in. Or turkeys could jump out at you during the rides! I'm open to suggestions.
  • As mentioned above, we are sorely lacking in Thanksgiving music. We need some sort of celebrity Thanksgiving album. Not a joke album, but a real celeb singing songs about turkeys and thankfulness. Come on, BublĂ©. Get on this.
  • We could add a more spooky element to the holiday. Maybe we tell children they have to say what they're thankful for each night before they go to bed or else the pilgrim ghosts of Thanksgivings past will come and steal their toys. 
  • There needs to be more activities in general. Possibly drinking games? We could spin this into a St. Patty's Day type holiday where people dress in the same color and drink till they puke.
  • Last but not least, we could send daily Thanksgiving cards to people we are thankful for. Not emails or Facebook updates, but real cards. Teeny tiny ones like Valentine's cards. Just a little note each day to tell people you are thankful for them. (This is a legitimately adorable idea, and I wish I had thought of it at the beginning of the month)

That's all I got so far. Not a bad start. Although I do wish I had visuals for these ideas. I am sorely lacking in Photoshop skills, so you'll have to use your imagination instead. Maybe by next year we'll be on our way to a more popular Thanksgiving holiday. In the meantime, have a Merry Thanksgiving!

Procrastonaut and the Turkey Prince

Ps. I owe you all a Halloween recap! Talk about a procrastinator. Coming right up...

Friday, October 11, 2013

My Halloween Playlist

I freakin' love my Spotify Halloween playlist. I hope this gets you into the Halloween spirit if you're not already there. I usually only play the first three songs if I'm hosting some sort of Halloween pre-party and want to set a spooky mood. All the rest are songs I listen to at work almost every day in October (and sometimes September). Enjoy!

NOTE: There's a hidden scroll bar on the left. Took me a second to find it.

What's on your Halloween playlist? I'm always looking for new songs to add.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Twerk It Up

Wow. Spirit Halloween is on it! I can't believe they already have a "Twerk Suit" and "Twerkin Teddy" costume.

Image from Spirit Halloween

Spoiler alert: It's out of stock.

Image from Spirit Halloween

I'm truly jealous of the people who get to name these costumes. That has to be so much fun. I can only imagine what those pitch meetings look like.

"Beef Twerky is a great name, but we're really leaning toward Twerk Suit. What do you think, boss?"

Speaking of Spirit Halloween, if you follow them on Twitter you can usually find some good discounts. Holla!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Apple Picking and Spooky Pumpkin Patches

Today some friends and I drove up to Oak Glen for a delightful day of picking apples. We spent most of our time at Riley's Apple Farm, and I must say it was the perfect fall activity (even if it did feel like summer). We picked apples in the sunshine, giggled, bought fresh apple cider--all the things one would expect to do at an apple orchard in October.

Los Rios Rancho

Apple delights

However, this blog is about Halloween spooky awesomeness, so let's get to it. They had a fantastic eerie pumpkin patch!

Complete with a scarecrow and scary corn fields.

Turns out that's the back of the scarecrow. Here's the front:

I tried to explore the corn fields, but got sucked in by some dark, terrible magic.

When it spit me back out, I felt different.

Only the owl knows...

Happy Halloweening!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sammy-Approved Pumpkin Dog Treats

Free plug for Trader Joe's Pumpkin Flavored Dog Treats. I'm a sucker for Halloween-themed dog stuff. Luckily, Sammy is a big fan of these treats as well, despite his blank expression in this photo.

But be warned, they'll make your dog's poop look like canned pumpkin.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Let the Halloween Miracles Begin!

Welcome, fellow Cryptkeepers! A big thanks to the folks at Countdown to Halloween for hosting another awesome Halloween blog fest. Every year they put together a list of bloggers who have committed to writing about Halloween during the month of October. Of course, most of use have been writing about Halloween all year (check out some of my September and August posts). Click here for this year's list of participants. I can't wait to read through all of these blogs! I also want to give props for the selection of Cryptkeeper badges this year. They're pretty damn cool. I chose Boo Berry, but the Franken Berry badge was a close second.

I've been blogging about Halloween since July, so I don't have too many updates for today, other than to say I'm in a bit of a Halloween costume panic! I'm going as Vicki (or V.I.C.I) from Small Wonder and I've only just started on the robot parts this week. Eeek! Thankfully, my friend Carolina is a costume-making miracle worker and has already started on the dress. I have a fitting with her tonight. Seriously, how did I get to be so lucky?

Speaking of miracles, I've decided that the Halloween season comes with it's own mini miracles (usually related to costumes for me). Last year I dressed up as Zuul from Ghostbusters, and not only did I run into a bunch of Ghostbusters at a party, but I met someone dressed as the Keymaster, too! All night long I proclaimed, "It's a Halloween miracle! It's a Halloween miracle!" A Halloween miracle indeed.

Flash forward to this summer when I decided on my Small Wonder costume. I did some Googling to see if anyone else had a good version of the costume, and stumbled across this gem:

Hands down the best Vicki costume I found. This gal set the bar really high. I tried to find out as much info as I could on how she put it together, but a lot of it was guesswork. Until one day, I discovered a comment on my Halloween Pinterest board...from the girl who made this costume!!! I was super stoked. She saw that I had pinned this picture, and she left a note about it. Next thing you know, we became email pen pals. Jaimie has been super helpful in explaining her costuming tips and tricks, which helps relieves a lot of my costume stress. It's like having a Halloween costume support line to call. Plus it's just fun to make new Halloween friends.

Let the Halloween miracles begin!


Sunday, September 1, 2013

I Know What I'm Doing Halloween Night

The weather in L.A. has been so hot that I was reminded it's not even fall yet, and maybe I should cool it with the Halloween stuff and enjoy the summer weather while it's here. I'm all about learning to be in the moment, rather than dwelling on the past or future.

But then I hear that Danny Elfman is going to do a concert on Halloween night called, "Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton." What??? Okay, back to thinking about Halloween. What a fantastic way to spend Halloween night. A live orchestral performance of music from movies like Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas. That's just Halloween awesomeness. Tickets go on sale September 13th (aka Friday the 13th).

THEN I randomly logged on to Twitter today and saw this tweet from CreepyLA:

PRESALE?! Holy smokes. Tickets have been purchased, and I am extra stoked for Halloween. No, I will not be wearing my Vicki the robot costume to the show. That will be for the previous weekend when I hit up as many Halloween parties as possible. Although I should come up with some sort of Halloween-y ensemble for the Danny Elfman concert. Hmmm....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Halloween

Empty shelves?! Oh yeah, it's August.
My friend Kailin invited me to join her on a trip to Michaels and I said, "F yeah! I can start buying things for my Halloween costume."

While researching my costume I discovered a handful of ladies who have previously gone as Vicki the robot from Small Wonder, but this girl definitely had the best costume. The whole thing is amazing, and I really hope I can make mine look as awesome. She mentioned using foam board as the base of the robot panel, so I figured I'd start with that.

I was also super excited to finally see some Halloween decorations out in stores. I kept wondering why there were still so many empty shelves in the Halloween section when it occurred to me that it's only August. Slow your roll, Natalie. There's still plenty of time before the Halloween spirit kicks in for other people.

Found me some foam board. Holla! I also bought some paint because I think I'm going to paint the fleshy plastic color on the back. We'll see how it looks.

Trying to show my hair is in a bun. It's not a boy haircut.

Here are a bunch more pictures, because I know that's what you really want:

More fun Halloween decorations

Deranged Halloween superheroes

Fun with hats!

"Kailin, I have a vision of you with this bird on your shoulder."

More Halloween-ness to come...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Can't Think Of A Clever Title For This Halloween Post

This post is pretty self-indulgent (more so than usual), but I have to say that one of my favorite things about the Halloween season is when people contact me to say they saw Halloween decorations for sale at the grocery store, or they're thinking about their Halloween costume, or they found a spooky Halloween craft on Pinterest. I especially love these texts and emails when it's still August! It's the time of year when I reconnect with people the most. More than any other holiday.

Google chats like this make me happy:

Sent at 9:40 AM on Friday
Brittany:  I've started getting ads for halloween stuff
Brittany:  made me think of you 
and made me SUPER excited about fall
me:  Yay!!!
I haven't seen any ads or goods in stores yet.
Brittany:  and I've decided we need to do something this halloween
me:  I'll put you on my Halloween outing list!
Brittany:  I'm inviting myself with you hahaha
me:  Yes, yes please!
My motto is the more the merrier.
Brittany:  love it
me:  Basically what I do is map out where all the fun Halloween parties will be and create a loose plan. Usually the Saturday before Halloween (unless Halloween is on a weekend)
I love a good house party.
Brittany:  yes!
that sounds like fun
me:  I love love love going to a house party and meeting fun people with fun costumes.

Texts like this make me happy:

Notifications like this make me happy:

I'm getting so pumped! And nothing makes me happier than when other people get excited for Halloween, too. Today I'm going to a craft store to search for stuff for my costume. Let the costume-making begin!

Monday, August 12, 2013

ScareLA Halloween Convention - Day 2

Spooky band in the lobby
Sunday at ScareLA was also super fun. I was flying solo, and kinda tired from the previous day, so I strolled in around 11:30 for a more relaxed day at the convention. I considered it more of a shopping day. So much to see and buy!

Also, note to self: next year be prepared for some crazy, scary dreams after the convention. Saturday night I had weird lucid dreams about family members dying in car crashes. Even though I knew I was dreaming, I couldn't bring myself to look at the corpses. I also had a dream that two people were fighting at work so I ripped out my keyboard and threatened to hit them with it. That dream might be unrelated.

"Secrets of the Farm" panel
Anyhoo...I attended the "Secrets of the Farm" panel where the designers of the Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt talked about the ins and outs of creating their mazes. Again, I'm not big on scary mazes because I'm usually too chicken, but I love hearing about the behind-the-scenes stuff. And I really loved that most of the designers started out as monsters in the mazes. I may need to check it out this year, just to see if I can catch some sneaky details. They said if you turn around at any point and look at the wall behind you, there will often times be something funny on there, like pictures of half naked men or something. One of the designers said he once snuck in sounds of his baby's heartbeat from his wife's ultrasound. Love those tiny details! I also love, loved, loved that one of their mazes this year will have an Edgar Allen Poe theme. Literary nerds and Halloween lovers unite!

Speaking of Poe, this guy looked awesome:

He had a booth where he was selling these cool silhouettes. And nearby there was a booth where you could have a free coffin ride! A RIDE IN A CLOSED COFFIN! SO CREEPY!

So what happens is you get into the coffin and they shut you in there, and then the coffin starts to move and shake. Off to the side is a screen where you can watch the reactions of the people inside. I was too chicken to go in, as were many others. But at some point I see that someone has agreed to go in. It's a guy and his little girl!!! She was this adorable little thing, maybe five or six years old.

And the crazy part is she was loving it! You could see on the screen that she was laughing and having a great time. Meanwhile, us adults were still too freaked out to get in. Speaking of kids, I was cracking up when this guy who was dressed up as a super scary monster walked up to another little girl (in the first coffin picture) and put his face really close to her face. She got a big grin and said, "Hi, Daddy!" Then gave him a big hug. I guess the family that Halloweens together, stays together.

Okay, I need to hurry up and finish this post. Here's a roundup of other stuff I did/heard/saw:
  • I went to a panel called, "Los Strangeles" where I learned a bunch of random creepy and fun facts about L.A. Too many to list here.
  • I met these cool people who run a tour group called L.A. Hauntings.
  • I learned about the legend of the Christmas spider.
  • I saw an adorable book and cartoon called The Halloween Kid.
  • I think the people sitting next to me at the Knott's presentation were falling in love.
  • Also at the Knott's presentation was a kid (maybe 14?) who was so adorably excited about Knott's Scary Farm that I couldn't help but smile. He told the designers he couldn't wait till he was 16 so he could work there. He could barely contain his excitement!
  • I stopped by the Costume Swap booth where I was reminded that I want to finally attend the Los Angeles Costume Swap this year. You bring old costumes and swap them for new-to-you costumes! Fantastic!
  • I totally scored this vintage 1970's Halloween makeup:

There are probably so many things I'm forgetting to write about. There was so much to see and do. I am even more pumped for Halloween now.

I was proud of myself for not spending too much money. I bought a cool ScareLA poster, and I picked up a little gift for my Mom, the lady who instilled in me an excitement for Halloween. (Dad, you'll like the gift too.)

Mom and Dad circa  Halloween 1983

I'll leave you with my Mom's funny texts from this weekend. Stay tuned for more Halloween-y posts!

From 1983 to 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

ScareLA Halloween Convention - Day 1

Waiting in line to get in. So excited!
Man, I am exhausted! So much Halloween awesomeness today. I went to L.A.'s first Halloween convention, ScareLA. It's a two-day Halloween extravaganza at the L.A. Mart downtown, and today was day one. ScareLA did not disappoint. I have to say, for being its first year, the whole thing went really well and lived up to my expectations. There were minor glitches (i.e. sometimes the presenters were hard to hear because of the acoustics in the show room), but it was mostly super fun and well organized. Bravo, ScareLA!

I was actually kind of surprised I didn't see more people dressed up in costumes. I was kinda worried I'd be the only person dressed as a normal human, but there were plenty of normal human-looking people. It was so fantastic being in a giant room filled with fellow Halloween-lovers. I've made this reference before, but I felt like the little dancing bee girl in that Blind Melon music video where she opens this magical gate and finds a field filled with other happy bee people and they all dance in the field forever. I found my bee people.

Speaking of bee people, I was super stoked to have Jessica as my partner in Halloween crime!

I knew she loved Halloween as much as me, if not more, so it was a good match. And it was funny to see our different Halloween personalities. Jessica gravitated toward the super gory stuff and would say things like, "Look at this awesome severed head!"

So gross.

And I'd be like, "Look at this adorable Halloween cartoon!"

So cute!
I know, I know. I am way too much of a scaredy cat for someone who loves Halloween so much. It's quite the paradox.

There were so many fun classes and presentations at this convention that we started calling it Halloween school. The first class we took was called, "Tailoring Terror: Costume Aging and Distressing Techniques" (taught by Taylor Moten). Or Halloween Home Ec., as I fondly referred to it. This lady knew her stuff. I was scrambling to keep up with my notes. She showed us so many tools and ingredients to use on clothes to make them look zombified--dremel, file cleaner, cheese grader, wire brush, dry wall saw, rocks, instant coffee, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, vanilla extract, shoe polish, cocoa powder, dirt, cinnamon, Schmere. I'm not sure the picture does it justice, but it went way beyond just cutting up an old shirt and throwing some fake blood on it.

Sticking with our Halloween school theme, we also took a music class (Custom music for haunted attractions) and a history class (Halloween vs. Dia de los Muertos), but my favorite class of the whole day would have to be the Halloween chemistry class, or more accurately, "Prop Gore FX, Painting and Repair" (taught by B.J. Winslow). He's the owner of Dapper Cadaver in Burbank, and he demonstrated how to make this awesome gory, bloody dude. I could not even keep up with all the crazy chemicals he was using. Plus he kept warning us about our skin getting burned off if we weren't careful, so I probably won't try this at home. But it was such a fun demonstration!

Then Jessica and I formed a short-lived singing group with Martin the dummy.

I should have closed my eyes, too. I guess I just wasn't feeling it. Sometimes I doubt my commitment to Sparkle Motion.

We also attended the "John Murdy and Chris Williams Halloween Horror Nights" presentation. Insidious producer Jason Blum was also there because they announced that the theme for this year's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios is going to be based on Insidious: Chapter 2. As much as I hate being scared by these Halloween mazes, I found this behind-the-scenes talk fascinating. I never really thought about how much work goes into creating these things.

Halloween Horror Nights Preview
I learned about so many of the tiny details they have to consider when designing a maze. Things I never would have thought about, like scent. For example, since there's an old woman in the film, they thought it would be a good idea to pump rose water scent into the maze (typical old lady perfume) just before the scary old lady comes out. Cool stuff.

It's getting late and I'm exhausted and need to save my energy for day two of the convention. So I'll just leave you with some awesome pictures/videos.

Scary masks!

More masks!

Spooky pumpkins

Zombie teddy bears

Trying to blend in with the creepy dolls

Sweet dolls

Cool makeup demonstrations


There were a lot of cool animatronic characters, too. They were mostly creepy, except for this adorable gremlin guy that I wanted to take home. I'm sure my dog would love him. (I can never get these damn videos centered in Blogger)

I gotta get my beauty rest. More tomorrow!