Oct 30 2015

Happy Halloween! and 100 Years of Costumes

In honor of my favorite holiday, here is video presenting 100 Years of Halloween Costumes. Most of the costume choices seem to be spot on, although the 2015 costume is bizarre. Also, I love that some of the early masks, even the innocent ones, are the creepiest by far.

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Another fun post: Feminist Halloween Costumes for 2015

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My weekend Halloween celebrations begins tonight with some creepy horror movies and will be followed up tomorrow with some trick-or-treating with my niece (Elsa) and nephew (a ninja turtle). Later that night there’ll be drinking and dancing I’m sure.

I’ll just be recycling last year’s Jack Skellington costume. Coincidentally, my mom bought a Sally costume this year, so we’ll be able to hang out together as a pair.
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Happy Haunting, everyone!

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Oct 27 2014

Ahhh! Zombies run!

Zombies and survivors ran together during the Running with Zombies 5K fun run event in San Jose, which I participated in with my sister, both of us shambling out of bed bright and early Saturday, donned decaying flesh, and set out to run our brains out.

Despite some confusion as to where to park (the online directions were wrong), my sister and I had a rotting good time at the race. It kicked off with an air raid siren. The sky was grey and bleak with a slight mist, matching the tone of the event as we ran along the quite, closed off streets of San Jose, making it feel as though the city was a dead zone. The terrain then carried us through winding trails of a park where scattered zombies snarled at runners (some caged behind a chain link fence), past a abandoned and dilapidated building, and down a dirt, vacant feeling path where slow shuffling zombies wandered (one dragging the plastic corpse of a half eaten pig).

It was fun to see all the people who came, from young kids to wizened adults, many of whom came as zombies. Some got fairly creative with their costumes, including a zombie Star Trek officer.

As I haven’t been actively training as much as I would like, I felt a wee slow during the three-mile run and was definitely below my usual pace. But, hey, I was undead at the time, so I have an excuse and it was a shotgun blast of fun. I’d do it again in a heartbeat (if I had one). I think I’ll rise to the occasion again next year.

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Survivors and zombies assemble before the the race start line.

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Me and my undead sister.

zombies in a cage

Caged!


Oct 22 2014

All Hail the Great Pumpkin

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October is my favorite time of year, or at least that’s what I’ve decided just now. The crisp, cold mornings allowing me to pull out my collection of scarves, the hope of future storms and rain so desperately needed after the long, dry California summer, and the coming of my favorite holiday, Halloween.

So, it was a delight to see that Monster, my niece who just turned two this summer, is delighted with the season as we walked around the pumpkin patch with her parents and her baby brother.  Monster held shoulders back with an expression of smiling, princessy pride as she rode the pony. She sat (mostly) still as Minnie Mouse was painted on her cheek with glitter that made everything from her baby brother to my tee-shirt where she rested her head sparkle. She scampered through the pumpkins in her Minnie Mouse dress, pointing to each one and calling out, “Ha’oween!” All pumpkins are Halloweens to her.

I know she’ll love dressing up as Tinkerbell (though, honestly, she’d wear a sparkly dress every day of the week, if she could) and going out Trick or Treating (she’s already started practicing).

I’m so proud and happy to be an Aunty. Halloween this year is going to be so much fun.


Oct 31 2013

Five Halloween Movies (that are kid friendly)

Happy Halloween!

This, my friends is my favorite holiday. I love a good scare, the costume, the creepy decorations, the delight of believing in the ghost in the attic or the monster under the bed even if for just one night.

My sister is less enthused. Anything to scary gives her anxiety. My baby niece is also getting to an age where she’s paying attention and could get frightened of what’s on the screen.

So my family has had to modify our scary movie watching quite a bit (at least during the daylight hours). Here is a list if Halloween-ish movies that we love and can all watch together.

Note: None of these movies are terribly scary, but each kid will react different (I remember being terrified of Labyrinth as a kid). Judge this list based on what you know of your own kids and their readiness level.

1. Hocus Pocus (1993)

“Three hundred years ago the Sanderson sisters bewitched people.” These witches might be silly and rather stupid, but they’re a lot of fun to watch cavorting around the modern era. There’s plenty of corniness, but also some great jokes and a dance number. Bette Midler and her fellow witches are all great.

This is a favorite of my family and one that’s almost always one TV during the Halloween season.

2. The Monster Squad (1987)

A group of kids, obsessed with horror comics, have created their own monster squad to battle evil. Little do they know, Dracula and the other classic monsters are real and are coming to town to find a secret amulet that will allow evil to rule the world.

This one doesn’t translate as well. The humor is cornier and the story is silly, but it’s still a fun movie.

I remember watching it as a kid and not knowing what a virgin was and thinking it was a nationality (because the virgin has to read from a German book to stop evil). Also while it’s never specified, the virgin in case apparently has to be a girl.

Still, gotta love the appearance of all the classic baddies at the same time. It’s ridiculous and absurd and fun.

3. The Witches (1990)

A young boy goes to a retreat by the sea shore with his grandma, and discovers that it is has become host to a gathering of purple eyed witches (with Angelica Huston as the head witch). When the boy gets caught by the witches, he is turned into a mouse and has to convince his grandmother to help him stop their nefarious plans.

The monster makeup when the witches peel off their human skin is fantastic and some scenes are genuinely delightfully gross. Great dark fantasy movie.

4. Young Frankenstein (1974)

Mel Brooks retelling the classic Frankenstein story in the most hilarious way possible. When Dr. Frankenstein’s heir inherits a castle in Transylvania, he can’t help but follow the same experiment and bring the monster to life once again. The black and white filming, fantastic comedic timing, and Brook’s genius all make for a fun homage to a classic movie monster.

5. Beetle Juice (1988)

This is probably belongs at the top of the list in all its weird, hilarious awesomeness. For those who don’t know, the story involves a couple who die suddenly in an accident and are trapped within their house, haunting it. The realm of the dead is twisted and strange with the dead locked in their bodies as they were when they died. When a family moves in and starts restructuring their dream home, they call on Beetlejuice to help them get rid of them and end up with more than they bargained for.

This is probably the best (or at least my favorite) movie on the list.

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I know there are plenty of others that I missed. The Adams Family movies come most immediately to mind and there are many others, I’m sure.

What are your favorite not-so-scary Halloween themed movies?


Oct 28 2013

A Black Hole of Baby Love

I have long since dubbed my sister’s house the Black Hole of Baby Love, because ever since my niece has been born, visiting her house means the loss of hours, time sucked away in gleeful love of the cutest little girl currently in existence. In our family, little Sienna has become the center of gravity from which none of us can escape — not that we’d want to anyway.

I had tentative plans this weekend to clean my bedroom (which had dissolved into a disaster of epic proportions) and catch up on some reading.

However, I decided to visit my sisters house for a few hours (hah!), which turned into many hours. As the day drifted on we decided to lounge around the house and watch some movies. We watched The Monster Squad (which I hadn’t seen since I was a young teen), while also chasing the baby around the living room, watching her giggle in delight as she tried to get away from me. And, then once baby went to bed, we watched The Conjuring (a terrifically creepy movie, all the more so because these people portrayed were real).

I told myself to go home that night. I told myself that if I slept over, as my sister invited me to do, then I would surely spend the entire next day there and get nothing done. I told myself in earnest that no matter how scary the movie might be, I could walk myself through the dark knight to my car and drive home.

In the words of Alice, I gave myself very good advice and didn’t follow it.

In other words, I slept over. (Though, this was in part because after The Conjuring finished, I had a headache so massive I could barely concentrate on falling asleep, let alone driving anywhere.)

Waking to the sound of my niece babbling in the next room, though, was a great reward for staying over. Plus, I got to have early morning cuddles with the baby, which are absolutely very different from any other kind of cuddles.

I might have gone home, if I wasn’t made aware of baby’s first pumpkin carving to happen that afternoon. Why go all the way home only to have to come back again, right?

So, I hung out and carved pumpkins.

Let the carving begin! #pumpkin #halloween

Baby Sienna took one tiny poke at the pumpkin guts and then wouldn’t touch it again. We tried to show her how it was done, but she wasn’t having it. Little Sienna is very dainty that way; she doesn’t like to get dirty (at least, not that kind of dirty). Her avoidance of even touching the pumpkin was adorable, though. (^_^)

Honestly, I feel ya, baby, I hate the “guts” stage of pumpkin carving, too — the icky, slimy, stringy, gooey that has to be pulled out is not the fun for me. ‘

My sister Pilar (other sister, not the baby mama), meanwhile, LOVED the gooey stage and dug into her pumpkin’s guts with delight. “It’s just so messy! I love it!” she squealed. Yup, that’s my Pilar.

But the carving stage I love. And this was my final result (sorry about the bad cell pic, plus the candle light wasn’t quite bright enough…).

Finished! It needs a brighter candle, but I've done Cthulhu. #pumpkin #cthulhu #halloween

All praise the Elder Pumpkin, Cthulhu!