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Happy Halloween 2006 from 365Halloween.com

The Big Day is finally here! All your preparation and excitement are paying off today. All year it feels far away, and then BAM you’re watching the sun begin to set on Halloween night. Everyone has their own rituals for this day to make it memorable and fun. On a weekday like this year we finish our day at work or school, get home around sunset or dusk and; put on a costume, throw or attend a party, trick-or-treat, visit an outdoor event, watch scary movies, prepare and eat a themed meal, pass out candy, pass out drunk, cause trouble, go to a club, attend a “harvest festival” or other church event, chase the paranormal, tempt monsters of the night, or do nothing and all and go to bed early. Or a hundred other alternatives, depending on your location and tastes.

What are you doing today and tonight? What are your Halloween traditions? How’s the season been for you in general? Please answer our polls and leave some comments below.

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PS- Come back tomorrow for a Halloween decompression. We’ll make you feel all better.

Picture credits to Rob Alder and Harpersbizarre for their zombie and candy photos, respectively. Thank you!

Posted on October 31st, 2006 in
Halloween Fun, Halloween Websites by Lauren
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Free Halloween Paper CraftsI think it’s probably that other huge holiday that encourages the spirit of giving, but Ray from Raven’s Blight wants to share some Halloween freebies with you anyway. In addition to the 300+ spooky paintings, illustrations, and other artwork on display at his site, he also offers an ever-growing collection of free Halloween paper crafts. Using cardstock paper, you print out his intricate artwork, do some careful cutting and gluing, and you’ve created your own Hearse Playset, Deluxe Coffin Giftboxes, or Zombie Mask. There are tons of designs available beyond those, including other masks and playsets, board games, dice games, mini monsters, and book covers. It’s a fantastic resource for Halloweenies and those interested in “goth art”. The projects range from simple to “you’ll spend all afternoon on this”, so you can undoubtedly find activities to keep you and your kids occupied as you countdown the last few days to Halloween.

There is also a free Trick or Treat Bag available from Free Digital Scrapbooking. Create super cute little bag for your favorite Trick or Treaters. A Halloween Treat Box is also available for download. After you download the PDF, simply print, cut, fold and glue. It makes a great party favor or gift for you most special trick or treaters!

Make roses from Maple leaves Don’t have an awesome printer? How about a tree? Using this fairly simple tutorial you can learn to transform maple leaves into a bouquet of firey Autumn-colored roses. Since you can use many other materials besides maple leaves, the possibilities are endless with this idea. I would like to see a creepier version made from dark or painted leaves, swaddled in some cheesecloth or other rags. What a perfect bouquet for a

Corpse Bride Sexy Adult Costume

Posted on October 24th, 2006 in
Halloween Decor, Halloween Fun, Spooky Art by Lauren

The next 3 days or so is the final rush for online Halloween shopping, so retailers are offering some good deals. Costumes are flying off the shelves too, so if you don’t have your costume yet then you need to either buy RIGHT NOW or plan to wear a DIY get-up. I did some online shopping this morning and had an eerily perfect experience, but I’ll save the details for after the deals and coupons below. Some of them expire this weekend, so don’t wait!

Extremely Time-Sensitive Deals

  • Fright Catalog: Same day shipping on most orders placed by Noon EST. Variable shipping costs. Place an order of $50 or more TODAY (October 21st, 2006) and receive 2 R.I.P. Rewards cards worth $10 each for future purchases of $40 or more (details here).
  • Buy Costumes: $0.99 FedEx Ground shipping and $5.99 FedEx Express shipping for orders over $60. Expires Sunday October 22, at 11:00 P.M. CST. Not sure which shipping method you will need? Check their handy “order by” chart.
  • Hot Topic: 50% off all pre-packaged costumes. Orders must be received by Monday, October 23rd to arrive by Halloween.

More Great Deals

So this is the first year that Sean and I are buying our costumes (here are some of our past homemade costumes). Buy Costumes is always our first choice for online Halloween shopping, but the costume I wanted had been out of stock during the critical time of Oct 12th until this morning. When I woke up and saw an e-mail alert that was a mere 15 minutes old, I scrambled to place my order before my costume sold out again. The product page noted that every other size was sold out for the season and only my size was available. No pressure or anything. I placed my order as fast as I could, and afterwards the costume page was noted as being “sold out for the season”. Wow, I got the last one! Fast forward 4.5 hours and I just received my shipment confirmation e-mail, ensuring that I’ll have my outfit in time for the costume party I will be attending on the 28th. Now that’s Halloween magic.

Posted on October 21st, 2006 in
Halloween Costumes, Halloween Websites by Lauren

Fruit and vegetable purees, such as canned or fresh pumpkin, can be added to nearly any recipe to add flavor and nutrition. Pumpkin pie can be really delicious, but it gets served frequently during Autumn so it can get boring. Below are a few variations of common recipes that include this illustrious vegetable (as well as the added beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber) that you can whip up in no time. They’re so easy, you can even get the kids involved!

Pumpkin Pancakes
This is a yummy recipe that’s useful for using up leftover canned pumpkin.

  • 2 cups unbleached flour (1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 spelt is a yummy combo)
  • 2 Tbsp. sweetener (sugar, fructose, etc.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more!)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk (soy, rice, almond, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not canned “pumpkin pie”)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or mashed banana
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • Optional: a few drops of red & yellow food coloring

Combine flour, sweetener, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl. Combine milk, pumpkin, applesauce/banana, and oil in small bowl. Mix well with a fork. Add to flour mixture, and then add food coloring if using. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy. Heat pan or griddle, add enough extra oil to barely coat the bottom. Fry em’ up! If you’ve got a pumpkin shaped “pancake ring” or copper cookie cutters (preferably with a handle), be sure to use that to create fun pumpkin shaped pancakes. Makes about 8 medium sized pancakes.

Pumpkin Corn Bread

  • 1/3 cup corn oil
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (try blue cornmeal!)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup soy buttermilk (add 2 tsp vinegar to 1/2 C soy milk and let curdle)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. sweetener (sugar, fructose, etc.)

Brush the inside of a 9″ or 10″ cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Place in the oven, then set the oven temperature to 425 F. If you don’t have a skillet, use a cake pan, but just grease it for now and don’t put it in the oven.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, buttermilk, remaining oil, applesauce, and sweetener. Then stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.

Remove the skillet from the oven, pour in the batter, return to the oven, and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the center is firm.

Pumpkin Cookies
This is one of my favorite cookie recipes ever. I always bring these to potlucks and parties, where they receive rave reviews. They are fantastic with chocolate chips inside, or topped with maple frosting.

  • 1 cup unbleached sugar (or 2/3 cup fructose)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (Spectrum brand is great)
  • 2 cups unbleached flour (1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 spelt is a yummy combo)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. orange peel

Heat oven to 375. Mix sugar, pumpkin, and shortening. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. (Chocolate or carob chips are a great addition to stir in now, if you desire.) Drop by large tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, and bake until “light brown”, about 8-10 minutes. Take cookies immediately off cookie sheet, and if desired, frost after they are fully cooled. Makes about 2 dozen smallish cookies. Also, when I double this recipe I use 1/2 cup Spectrum shortening and 1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine.

Maple Frosting for Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance brand is great)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. maple flavored extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (not “pancake syrup”)

Heat margarine in saucepan over medium heat until “delicate brown”. Mix in the rest of it, except for the maple syrup, which you add little by little, making it the consistency you so desire. Frost cookies when they are completely cooled off.

Posted on October 20th, 2006 in
Halloween Food by Lauren

Halloween Photography

With only 13 days until Halloween left, it’s time to brush up on your photography skills so you can artfully capture your memories of the big night. After all the preparation you’ve done with decor and costumes, you’re going to want to document it all on film (or your memory stick). It’s easy to end up with Halloween photos that are overexposed, monotonous, or just plain unattractive to the eye. Using a few easy design and photography techniques, you can make sure that your photos are well-lit and “draw the eye”.

  1. Use the Rule of Thirds– Place the main subject or points of interest off-center to achieve striking composition.
  2. Learn to shoot in low light– Don’t rely on a flash, which is often times too harsh for pictures that are taken at night or in otherwise very low light. You can utilize higher film speeds/ISO, slower shutter speeds, and varied lens aperture/f-stops to achieve well-lit shots. Using a tripod when taking long exposures will help prevent camera shake and blurred images.
  3. Diffuse your flash– There are times when you simply must have additional lighting. You can soften the light from your camera’s flash by placing a DIY diffuser in front of it. Try using any of the following: women’s nylon stockings, a square cut from a translucent juice or milk jug, scarf or other very thin piece of material, tissue paper, cellophane, or frosted disposable cups (like Dixie brand).

For more detailed tricks, the New York Institute of Photography has an excellent article that addresses specifics like photographing trick-or-treaters and Jack-o-Lanterns. For a shorter read and more general tips, Digicam Help offers 8 Tips to Keep in Mind for Halloween.

Posted on October 19th, 2006 in
Halloween Fun by Lauren
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We’d like to thank everyone who participated in our contest to win a free costume. There were lots of entries and some pretty interesting websites, too. It was murder selecting a single winner, but we had to narrow it down to one lucky Halloween fan. Congratulations to Cub from Georgia who won the free costume from Spirit Halloween.

If you would like to sponsor a contest with your Halloween-related product, service, etc., get in touch for details.

If you haven’t gotten your costume yet, there’s still time to order online!
Halloween Costumes from Spirit HalloweenLooking for the Perfect Costume?Shop FrightCatalog.com

14 days left. Who’s excited?

Posted on October 17th, 2006 in
Site News by Lauren
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