Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Watch 2011

I looooove Halloween! I love the way fall colors warm up my house and help me get over the fact that summer, sadly, is now over. I love playfully cute Halloween decorations that can be tucked among autumn hues, appearing a few at a time beginning on the first of October and totally taking over my house by mid-month. I love how, even though my inventory of those things is very healthy, there are still designers out there who create clever new things to add to it every year.

Here's an example! First it was just the pathetic string of fall leaves. The pumpkin lights came next, followed by the ghost. Last year, the really cool rats came to join the fun!

My ghost, bought at a gift shop, is about 22" tall but I saw similar ones on Pinterest a few weeks ago. A lady makes them on tomato cages. They are basically just starched white sheet fabric with white Christmas lights inside. Wouldn't a pair of them look great on your front porch?

My rats are BIG, snarly-looking, and their eyes glow red and slowly flash on and off! I love rats!

The highlight of my Halloween season is the party I host for my three daughters and their husbands. Just them. No grandkids. On party night, babysitting is the job of Nana and Grandpa!

The traditional party began before the grandkids came. I have since offered to turn it into a mid-day "family" one to include them, but the response I get is a resounding "NO!" The six of them simply enjoy the time together to savor the annual dinner of Martha Stewart mac and cheese and her rib and homemade sauce recipes that are so good it's scarrrry!

In addition, there are always a few new surprises awaiting the "kids."

Three years ago, I left a note on the front door stating, "ran to the store - come on in - BRB!" Among the many decorations, (almost too many to behold!) I sat silently in a chair in the dimly lit dining room dressed in black and wearing a skull mask. When the girls started to get a little annoyed, wondering, "Where's mom?" (some things never change!) I slooowly arose from my chair! Yes! I did scare them! Well, the girls at least!

Last year, the same note was left on the door, but that time, the joke was on me! I laid down beneath the dining room table, hoping they would gather around it to admire the lavish setting. Then I would firmly grab the ankles of the 2 most squeamish guests (Karen and Christy!). While I waited patiently and soundlessly, stifling laughter with my back breaking, the guests did everything but cluster around the table! They checked every closet, bathroom and hiding place in the house. I heard Thomas (son-in-law #1) become totally frustrated and announce loudly that he didn't really care where I was as long as he could dive into the mac and cheese before it got cold - and then he helped himself! Yeah, I think it was then that I decided to come out of hiding!

This year the girls have reminded me several times that they all hope I hide again - and I already have my idea! How about slooooowly rising from behind the family room couch wearing a huge, ugly, ugly monster mask once they are all assembled? Yep, I think that's what I am gonna do for sure!

Here's a picture of my table from the past. I found glow-in-the-dark martini glasses and used mixes from Stirrings to make great drinks. Those glasses were wonderful! They lit the table with an eerie ambiance and continued to glow until late the next morning. One rule about the drinks - when blueberry flavor was used, guests had to request refills by asking for "More boo!-berry please!" The same applied to "blood of the vampire" for cranberry, and "swamp juice" for lime. Otherwise, requests for more were ignored!

One year, after the eats were gone, I passed around a basket of those little Halloween character wind-up toys. Each guest selected one, named it, and lined it up at the starting line - which, on this striped table cloth, was an easy task! Some of the toys veered sideways and fell off the table, others ran out of "gas" after a few inches, but the ones belonging to Mary Jo and Keenon (son-in-law #2) battled it out in a final heat for the prize. I really don't remember who won, but what I do remember is a picture of six "twenty-somethings" gathered around the table, laughing with hilarity and cheering on a two inch plastic wind-up skeleton, monster or witch. Priceless memories. No one ever really outgrows having fun!

We play Bingo every year! I think I am a little embarrassed to say how much cash I give away, but we do play about 20 games and no prize is less than a $10 bill. I stash the cash inside envelopes and put them in one of those bowls with a motion activated monster hand. Last year the stupid hand refused to work, but there's something about tradition; the money still goes into that same bowl and, again, if a winner wants to collect a prize, they must yell out, "BOO!" and not "Bingo!"

I always have a little party favor for the girls too. Usually it is a small decoration, but this year I am going with a ghost theme. I used an idea from Pinterest and made framed prints of white painted footprints of the twins and of Bree to make these adorable little keepsakes.

That's an advantage of lots of babysitting time alone with the kids! Paint their little hands and feet all you want and mom and dad will never know what you're up to! I snuck the footprints home, painted on ghost eyes in black and names and date in white before framing in purchased mats and frames for less than $6 each.

Before I post this, here's a picture of 2/3 of my cats enjoying the motion of falling leaves and of the frisky little chipmunks who live beneath our porch  - and I am pretty sure, inside of our walls, too! (Oh dear! Probably not a good thing!)

From left to right, formerly feral Annie and Mickey; rescued Charlie, and Iggy.
Katie and Rosie had other things to do at the time of this photo shoot!


  1. This is HYSTERICAL. All the craft stuff and creativity etc is amazing but you laying under the table waiting to grab someones feet? HA HA HA I love it!

  2. You have a Halloween spirit that is after my own heart. Love seeing these fun things you do to celebrate.

  3. Oh Joyce!!!! I am so amazed at all this! What fun you are, laying under the table is hysterical! I would love to see inside your brain and watch it work ;) as you are putting all this together!

  4. Those ghost portraits are so cute! And I did have a wonderful visual of you lying in wait under the table! I would have died!!! So glad you shared this!

  5. I love those ghost portraits. It sounds like you and your family have a great Halloween tradition. What fun!

  6. Sounds like a lot of fun. Halloween never use to be celebrated in New Zealand now becoming more popular.

  7. Ghost portraits! What a great idea. Such fun for the big kids. I've always loved all the fun surrounding Halloween and sure wish my grandkids lived closer. Some day...I hope!

    Thanks for sharing such fun. I will definitely have to copy some of it this year...if even just for my hubby. :D

  8. Back again to say THANK YOU for linking to the GRAND Social! (And to sneak another peak at the ghost portraits!) Love 'em.

  9. Stopping by from Grand Social.

    I want to let you know that I have trouble with your word verification. It's difficult for me to see it.

    1. Hi Vicki!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I wish I could control things like the verification you mentioned! I have also been told that sometimes people are unable to follow my blog through the process provided.
      I want you to know, though, that I always enjoy reading your nice comments, both here and at Grand Social. I am also a fan of Lisa's!