Happy, Happy Halloween!

 Silver Shamrock!

Halloween Teaser

Okay group, I hope that everyone is having a great Halloween Eve! Whether you've got your trick or treating tonight, going to a Halloween party or just staying home with a scary movie, I hope it's full of screams and terrorific fun!

We're just putting the final touches on this year's edition of the cemetery. I've got one more prop to fix, lay out the extension cords for all of the lighting, pop in my zombie contact lenses and don the annual costume with makeup and we're ready to go.

Just wanted to share a quick teaser photo for tomorrow's haunt. We're expecting a ton of friends and co-workers to stop by and even more neighborhood children to pass through our ghastly gates. I've been working all day, but I'm still wound up tight. The past 3 months of work will all pay off in 20 short hours. How am I supposed to sleep tonight?

Okay, the teaser shot is similar to last year's, but we've redone our front porch and I can't wait to post the pics. A big thanks to Jenn for taking the lead on the redesign. It looks great!! Here is the skull shelf...

Okay, that's all we're revealing tonight. I just finished printing this year's t-shirt and we're going to sit down at watch our annual Halloween Eve movie, Trick 'r Treat.

Okay, Halloween is tomorrow. The final weather report:
47 degrees and partly cloudy, with a 20% chance of rain.

Saint Louis Number 1 Cemetery, New Orleans

The wife and I took a much-needed vacation at the end of September and traveled down to New Orleans, Louisiana. What a city! We went non-stop from the time we got there until the time we left. We even came back with some voodoo dolls, so you better stay on my good side!

One of the highlights was a guided tour of Saint Louis Number 1, the city's oldest and most famous cemetery, opened in 1789. It's famous for housing the crypt of New Orleans' voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Also, it's the cemetery where scenes in Easy Rider were filmed (illegally) in 1969. It spans just one square block, but is the resting place of over 100,000 dead.

Here are some shots that I took while roaming through the rows and rows of crypts. Hopefully they'll inspire some of you with some prop ideas or just give you the chills. Enjoy!
















4 more days until Halloween. The current forecast:
50 degrees and partly cloudy, with a 20% chance of rain

‘Zombies’ Invade NYC During Morning Rush-Hour « CBS New York – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY

‘Zombies’ Invade NYC During Morning Rush-Hour « CBS New York – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY

Don't skip the 5 photos in the gallery! Very cool shots of zombies crossing the Brookly Bridge.

Final Tombstone Prop

Okay group, just snapped a few photos of the final tombstone for the season. It's another updated stone from previous seasons, but thanks to a mouse in the garage, it needed some plaster to fill up some cozy little gnaw holes that apparently made for a very comfortable bed.

This will be the center stone in the cemetery, the final resting place for the Von Bloemhofs. A lovely couple who had their lives taken before their time, mysteriously murdered on Halloween night, 1911. They say that if the light is just right, you can see the lovers rising from their grave every October 31st to exact their revenge on the guilty...

...or at least on the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

This is the third and final stone to use a skull face and LED lights to illuminate the eyes. The same technique was used for my Pratt and Blasko stones as well.

So the tombstones are complete, the fencing has been updated and the LED lights are ready to go. It looks like the cemetery portion of the yard haunt is set, so it's now on to finish the front porch. Time to kick it into overdrive and get things finished.

On a quick sidenote, Mrs. Von Bloemhof and I just finished watching Dark Night Of The Scarecrow. What a great flick! A made-for-tv movie that aired on CBS on October 24, 1981. Netflix just got the new updated DVD and it looks fantastic. It's a terrifying story of revenge that relies on plot and suspense instead of gore (hey, it was made for tv). I've read a lot of reviews and everyone agrees that this is a classic horror film. Put it in your queue now! 

"Bubba didn't do it!"

6 more days until Halloween. The current forecast:
61 degrees with a few showers, 30% chance of rain

Highbury's Halloween Punkcast No.2

Okay group, we're down to the final week! Halloween is a mere 7 days away. Time to get crackin' on putting those final touches on this year's props and plans. And what better to drive you along than another Highbury Punkcast!

Here is Highbury's Halloween Punkcast Number 2. It's another hour chock full of Halloween-themed punk tunes to keep you motivated for your final push toward All Hallow's Eve. As always, be sure to pull the cover art from below.

Highbury's Halloween Punkcast No. 2:

The Misfits - Night Of The Living Dead
Battalion Of Saints - (I'm Gonna) Make You Scream
Drunk Injuns - Blood Drips Like Passing Thoughts
Really Red - Decay
Agent Orange - Bloodstains
Samhain - Unholy Passion
Social Distortion - Hour Of Darkness
The Plugz - Infection
Riot .303 - Something Living Under My Bed
45 Grave - Evil
Dead Kennedys - Halloween
C.I.A. - Death
The Accused - Fast Zombies Rule
GBH - City Baby Attacked By Rats
The Misfits - Skulls
The Effigies - Haunted Town
TSOL - Code Blue
Samhain - Black Dream
McRad - Dead By Dawn
Suicidal Tendencies - Possessed
Glenn Danzig - Spook City USA
Black Market Baby - Killing Time
Decry - Asylum

Click here to download it. And in case you missed it, you can still go here to get Highbury's Halloween Podcast Number 1. Enjoy!
7 days until Halloween. The current weather forecast: 55 degrees and mostly sunny with a 10% chance of rain.


So at this time every year, I (im)patiently wait for the annual sign to appear at the head of our neighborhood, not unlike the Great Pumpkin rising from the pumpkin patch, to signal the date and time that all the children can go forth in costume to get their Halloween candy. And every year I wonder why the sign hasn't been posted yet, with a mere two weeks until Halloween. 

Well, I can worry no more, as the sign has finally appeared, letting children and haunters alike know that, yes, just like every year, Trick or Treat will again be on October 31st, from 6 to 8 pm (as it should be, but I'll save that rant for another post). Of course the children will be out from 5 to 9, and that is just perfect by me!

Although this year, there has been a slight change. Usually, a familiar large wooden sign shaped like a jack-o-lantern with its faded lettering is posted at the head of the neighborhood. This year, I was greeted uncaringly with this:

Orange cardboard with a black tar lettering and glitter? What happened to the large jack-o-lantern that announced boldly that Halloween is near!?! This looks more like a sign thrown together for a weekend garage sale. Has the ritual of Halloween been reduced to a garage sale afterthought?? What makes matters worse is its scale. Here is what you see when you drive into our neighborhood:

Lost among the mums and neighbors blowing leaves.

Now I know I may be going a little overboard in my criticism, but it seems like this could have been done much, much better. And this is where I make my plea. If, by some small chance of coincidence that you read this post and are the individual who created this sign or know the person who did, please forward this message on. First, I would like to thank you for taking the time to create this sign. I sincerely applaud you for your efforts. But, as a professional graphic designer AND lover of Halloween, I would like to create a new sign for next year. I will donate all materials and time to create a sign that will once again boldly proclaim that the magical season is again upon us and stir up excitement in all who pass by. Please come see me on Halloween night, as I'd love to discuss my ideas. You'll know which house is mine. Just follow the screams...

So we now know that our Trick or Treat is Sunday, October 31st, which means it's time to again check the weather report.
8 days until Halloween: 53 degrees and sunny with 0% chance of rain.

2010 Shirt and Poster

Just put the wraps on this year's t-shirt and poster art. I'll be printing the shirts this weekend, and here's the poster:

I based this year's art on our new blog banner. Last year's shirt and poster can be found here and here.

8 days until Halloween. Today's check of the weather report says:

54 degrees and 30% chance of showers

Horrible Horror Double Feature

Just a quick reminder for anyone in the Akron, Ohio area that tonight is the Horrible Horror Double Feature at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Tonight's movies include Plan 9 From Outer Space and Robot Monster. The show starts at 6:30 and it's FREE! I can't wait to see the loonies that show up tonight. This is going to be epic!

Thomas Woodruff

A few weeks ago, we were down in New Orleans and were able to get over to the Contemporary Arts Center to see the Thomas Woodruff exhibit, Freak Parade

From CAC's site:

Thomas Woodruff's Freak Parade is an ambitious and dazzling parade of images that celebrates beauty in aberrance. The Parade's hapless yet noble characters march gaily across a black expanse, each member on a different panel. This exhibition includes 34 large scale drawing/paintings, each of which is rendered in detail and delicately embellished with tiny rhinestones.

Thomas Woodruff began this project in late 2000 as a reaction against the global standardization of culture. A master of hybridizing vocabularies from the past and present, Woodruff references sideshow banners, Pompeian wall frescoes, baroque religious paintings, theatrical posters, and Victorian penmanship charts to create a new yet oddly familiar world. Each image has a caption, title, or poem included. Written by the artist, these texts add another level of meaning to the pictures. They are deliberately subdued and darkened, and subvert the viewer's usual response- so conditioned through advertising-to image and text.

Freak Parade was recently shown at University Galleries at Illinois State University, University Art Museum at California State University, Herron Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design, Selby Gallery at Ringling College of Art and Design, and Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. Woodruff has had over 20 one-person exhibitions, and his work has been seen in museum shows internationally. He has contributed award-winning illustrations to every major periodical in America, and has created book jackets for novels by Anne Tyler, Robertson Davies, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and many others. Woodruff worked as a tattooist in the late 1980s, and he has a cult status in the alternate art scene. He is presently the chair of the Department of Illustration and Cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York. A documentary on this project, Thomas Woodruff's FREAK PARADE, was produced in 2004 for Gallery HDTV.

This exhibition was organized by University Galleries, College of Fine Arts, Illinois State University and is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency.

The exhibit is only on display in the gallery until October 24, so if you're in the area get over to see it before it's gone. His work is truly unbelievable.

A few of the 34 paintings of Freak Parade:

Scrapes, Halloween 2000

For 2 years I worked as a laborer at a playground construction company. Hard work, cheap pay, and a 'rain or shine' atmosphere. Luckily the company provided me rain gear, which helped me withstand the cold and rain of northeast Ohio. This rain gear was the starting point for this look, which I call Seasick Fisherman, or Seaside Zombie.

Still in Kent, the roomie and I threw another party, with similar results. "Dude, sweet!" says some guy dressed as a mammogram machine as he enters my apartment. "You got a keg?"

Backstory: Kent State University and Kent's downtown were famously chaotic every Halloween, and any given year provided at least 8 dudes dressed as mammogram machines. (however on the bright side, you also would find 5 dudes dressed as Devo!)

"Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD" best describes the beard I grew that year, but it doesn't detract from the look. I made one simple gash on my cheek with liquid latex and toilet paper, and applied fake blood with a Q-tip. The blood was also splashed onto the rain gear, leaving it not suitable for the jobsite from that day forward. Shucks.

Not pictured is the brown fisherman's net slung over my shoulder, and matching yellow rain boots. The brown wool cap, which probably came from my grandpa's closet, looked and smelled authentic.

11 days until Halloween, amazing. I hope these images help inspire you to get creative with your costumes.

Scrapes, Halloween 1999

In my last entry I promised a review of my weekend trip to the haunted Lucerne Inn near Bangor, Maine. Truthfully, it was a long trip jammed into short weekend, and I simply didn't do my due dilligence as an investigative blogger. Instead, I enjoyed myself. After all, it was a cousin's wedding with an open bar. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Lucerne's bar stocked with Shipyard Brewing Company Pumpkinhead Ale.

And although I haven't raided Mom's photo albums, I do have a decent photographic record of my Halloween costumes since 1999.

While living in the college town of Kent, Ohio, I donned this look at a party my roommate and I threw. I was particularly proud of the burnout up the back, which I did by placing the shirt under the front wheel of my newly purchased 1989 Volkswagen GTI. The rest of the look consisted of various burns and road rashes, and was a hit amongst our party guests (or maybe "Wow, nice costume" was a polite precursor to "Dude, you live here? Where's the keg?").

It was my first experiment with liquid latex and toilet paper, and I was very pleased with the results.

Halloween 1979

Halloween of 1979 saw another addition, in that it was baby brother Scrapes' first Trick or Treat. Awww, he's so cute in his little Spiderman costume. I, like most kids at this time, was fully immersed in the Star Wars phenomenon and decided to go out as arch villain Darth Vader. I knew that anybody who went out dressed as Luke Skywalker just didn't get it. My old neighbor didn't quite get it either, as he dressed up as a pirate. He obviously didn't understand the power of the dark side...

The old costume posts seem to be a hit, so as an added bonus, I received some photos from my mother-in-law to post as well. Here's my wife in a fetching bunny outfit from around the same time. Dig that red shag carpet!

Halloween 1978

Okay group, Halloween of 1978 sees the introduction of a homemade costume. My grandmother sewed together the outfit while my parents bought the rest of the amazing ensemble and applied the makeup. 

Now 1978 was my first year of school, and as kindergarteners we were allowed to wear our costumes to school on Halloween. As an added bonus, we were taken over to the nursing home that was next door to our school and paraded through the entire building, receiving candy treats from the elderly inhabitants. Now picture in your head a group of elderly people, sitting in their beds, wheelchairs and walkers, excited to see the little children in their Halloween costumes, when around the corner comes this:

Perhaps the most evil looking little clown to ever haunt their dementia-filled minds! I've never been afraid of clowns, but in looking at my face in this photo, I can see how so many people are. It was at this point that the costumes of girly witches and cute pandas were gone forever, to be replaced by evil little clowns, vampires and other evil little creatures. This is the photo that started my fascination with Halloween.

On a different note, I'd like to take a second and thank everyone for visiting the Cemetery. Today we hit the 1,000 page views milestone. And while I know some sites get that many hits in a day, it's nice to see our Halloween-filled little slice of the interwebs picking up interest.

And finally, for anyone who didn't get to the Akron Public Library for the creature double feature last night, and there are many of you, as there were only about 30 people total, you missed an interesting night. Not so much for the movies themselves mind you, but for the odd array of characters that found their way into the auditorium. Crying/talking babies, kids running back and forth, everyone that was coughing, and especially the lone cuckoo bird who sat in the row behind us. He came in and sat on the end of the aisle. Then, he moved directly behind us (we were in the center of the row), then, he moved four seats over. And all the while talking to himself and making comments and laughing throughout the movies. At one point he even "shushed" the crying baby in the upper section. Awesome. And to add to the wonder of the entire evening, Son of Dracula cut out half way through the movie. It took 10 minutes of sitting in the dark and watching people leave, but they got it going again and finished the movie to a crowd of about 10. All in all, it was a perfect night. I can't wait to go back next week for the Horrible Horror Double Feature!! Hope to see you there!

Halloween 1977

Our tour of costumes continues today, this time in 1977. I think my mom finally gave in and bought me a real costume this year. I got to dress up as a ghost. I'm not sure if that's a Casper the Ghost costume, but you can bet that it isn't some silly panda with pink lips. Be sure to check out the two jack-os behind me. Classic faces!

On a sidenote, I'd like to thank Erick over at Wonderful Wonderblog for posting the schedule for this year's monster movies being played at the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Tonight we'll be going to see Dracula and Son of Dracula. If you're in the area, why not stop down? The show starts at 6:00 and it's free! Next week it's the Horrible Horror Double Feature with Plan 9 From Outer Space and Robot Monster. I can't wait!

Halloween 1976

So for Halloween of 1976, my mom got with the times and bought me a Ben Cooper costume. No more recycled Witch/Klan outfits for me! I got a real costume this year!

Unfortunately, it was a panda with pink lips, flowers on the shirt and a picnic tablecloth for pants. What the hell, mom?!?

Halloween 1975

So for 1975, my second Halloween, my mom didn't go far for a costume. Yes, that's right, she simply used the same one from the previous year, only adding some kind of crazy Halloween Witch dress that made me look more like the Grand Wizard from the Klan. It must have been cold that year, as I'm also wearing a nice brown winter hat and matching brown winter jacket. They of course go nicely with my brown shoes, the brown curtains, the brown sofa, the brown stereo, the brown TV and the brown chair. I guess the color brown was big in the mid-70s? As an added bonus, I have a shot of my Halloween booty at the end of the night. But who was the lunatic who gave out an apple for Halloween? Enjoy!

Halloween 1974

Okay group, to keep things rolling along for the Countdown To Halloween, I've decided to share some of my earliest Halloween costumes all this week. A big thanks to my mom for digging out the old photo albums and bringing these pics over to be scanned. Be sure to stop back all week, as we've got some real doozies to share!

We're going to start off with my first Halloween. The year was 1974 and I was 16 months old. Apparently my mom didn't realize I was a boy as she dressed me up as some kind of witch. A cute little Druid witch, complete with my light blue bunny pants. I just love the pointed hood! Enjoy!

Martha Stewart...

So it looks like the hostess with the mostest, Miss Martha Stewart is dressing up as Siouxsie Sioux this Halloween. I applaud your style, Martha!

Thanks to The Hot Costume Blog for the Martha photo. 

And now, let's all take a quick trip back to our high school days (if you're old enough, you'll understand)!

Chainsaw Maid

Not sure how many of you may have already seen this, but here is a great little claymation piece entitled "Chainsaw Maid." It may just be the best 7 minutes of your day. Enjoy!

The Guardian Of The Tombs

Okay group, I just put the wraps on yet another prop. This one is the Guardian Of The Tombs, a fallen angel sent to protect the unfit souls of our cemetery. And she became the newest addition quite by accident. Let me explain...

This piece started out as an actual plastic statue that my mother-in-law bought for us. It spent its first year in our patio garden, protecting the flowers and trees. She was placed in the basement for the winter, but returned to her post the following spring. Unfortunately, at some point the statue was either knocked over or blown over and was found on its side, with a wing broken off. It's at this point that I must let everyone know that I had nothing to do with it. Honest.

She was then placed back into the basement, where she sat in the corner collecting dust. Until this weekend. I happened to be in the basement, moving things around when I caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye and an evil thought popped into my head. Why just sit in a corner and collect dust when you can be put to good use even in your broken state?

So with my wife's permission, I went to work transforming her into the Guardian Of The Tombs. She has been coated in watered down black and green paints for a nice weathered look, her broken wing has been replaced with vines and twigs, and she has gotten a coating of spanish moss:

She is going to look great, sitting front and center, carefully tending to the lost souls of the cemetery. I then snapped a few pics of her in different lighting combos. Enjoy!