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!