Happy Halloween!

Halloween 1984

I have just enough time to share one more set of photos of Halloween costumes of the 80s. Tonight, it's 1984.

The year Highbury discovered heavy metal and glam. No more silly costumes for me. I'm going full on heavy metal. Shredded clothing and makeup. I'm throwing the horns and blasting some Crue.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite know the difference between a pentagram and the Star of David. Oops. Mazeltov Crue!!!!!

And young Scrapes brought back the classic Dracula outfit. Complete with widow's peak, camouflage pants and garbage bag cape.

And dig those olive curtains!

Trick or Treat Has Been Rescheduled

So I hope that I haven't overstepped my bounds, but I decided to reschedule Trick or Treat for my development. I figured that because I was in charge of putting the trick or treat sign out, it was ultimately my call.

And checking the forecast made the decision easier. After getting through a night of 50 mph-plus winds and another full day of rain, the Halloween forecast wasn't getting much better. ANOTHER full day of rain on tap...

But in looking at Saturday's forecast and seeing how many other cities have already rescheduled their trick or treat, my decision became easier and today I quickly put up a new sign with the updated info. While, of course, in the rain.

I just hope that the people in the neighborhood have enough time to see the new sign and can adjust accordingly. And I really hope they don't get mad! So far, those we have spoken to are in complete agreement with us, so maybe this Halloween season will still go off with a bang. And hey, I just got to extend Halloween by 3 more days!!

Feeling The Wrath

So here we sit, two days before Halloween. We've had 48 straight hours of non-stop rain and now we are experiencing 40-50 mph sustained winds. We're in for two more days of straight rain with continued winds through Tuesday. Things are not looking good for the big night.

Highbury Cemetery is located in Akron, Ohio, 438 miles from New York City and the center of Superstorm Sandy. The northeast is being ravaged by this monster storm and all the way over in Akron, we are feeling her harsh effects.

I'm lucky in that we haven't put any of our haunt display up yet, and if we did, I'm sure most of it wouldn't survive the night. Many cities in our area have already postponed Trick or Treat and have rescheduled for Saturday night. I was feeling very anxious about finally losing out to Mother Nature's wrath (she had tested us with morning rains for the past 2 years). 

As the keeper of our neighborhood Trick or Treat sign, I wrangled with the thought of taking over and making the decision for the entire neighborhood to postpone Trick or Treat until Saturday. The city of Akron's official Trick or Treat was this past Saturday night, so we operate as our own section when it comes to Trick or Treating. Unfortunately in a case like this, we're pretty much left on our own to figure it out.

So I had a long conversation with Mrs. Highbury and some neighbors and we've decided that I am in fact going to take over the decision to reschedule Trick or Treat until Saturday. I would hate for any children to try to venture out on a stormy Wednesday when they can do it in much better conditions three days later.

I now have to try and fashion a new sign cover stating the rescheduled day and time and have to somehow attach it to an already weatherbeaten sign all while in tomorrow's continued windy downpour. I just hope there is enough time to get the word out and we're able to salvage Trick or Treat this year.

And we'd be remiss if we didn't also send out thoughts to everyone dealing with this massive storm across the northeast tonight. I hope everyone out there stays safe and makes it out unharmed.


Halloween 1983

Today we show off our costumes from 1983. Another year older and another year bolder. This is my "Patches the Train Riding Hobo" costume. The beard was applied by my parents using actual burnt cork. I also used a ratty, old wig and a great looking hat. I believe my mom sewed the patches on an old pair of my jeans...

Poor Scrapes must have been an afterthought, because for the third year in a row, my parents brought out the old standby. That crazy clown costume...

Scrapes was in kindergarten in 1983, so he wore this to school on Halloween for their costume party. He also got to parade through the retirement home next to the school. In the same clown outfit that I did, five years earlier. 

Somewhere in a closet in my mom's basement, sits a slightly worn, slightly overused clown outfit. I wonder if it will be dragged out when it comes time for my son to go trick-or-treating??


Return of the Living Contest! Part II

So all of the Highbury Cemetery 2012 t-shirts have now been printed, tagged and are ready to go. The list is all accounted for, but there is one extra shirt left in the stack. What to do with it? The only thing we can do with it! Give it away to one lucky reader!

It's the Return of the Living Contest! Part II!

Just like our first contest, we'll ask a horror-related trivia question and the first one to answer correctly in the comments section below wins the shirt, 100% FREE*!
 *Free shipping only to residents of the good 'ol USA. A winner from outside the US may have to pay a small fee for shipping, depending on location. But don't let that stop you, because this really is the best shirt we've ever done!

But because this is the last shirt we have and it's a sequel to our first contest, we have to go a little bit bigger. You'll have to strap the thinking caps on tight.

So the first one to answer the three trivia questions below gets the prize!

Here we go. Three questions based on popular horror movies:

1. What cult sci-fi horror classic was originally going to be titled, "Star Beast"?

2. Popular comedian Dana Carvey's first film role was in this popular 1981 horror sequel, in which a blond reporter interviews him in front of a certain house. Name the movie.

3. At one time, TV evangelist Billy Graham claimed that a real demon resided in the celluloid reels of what 1973 horror classic?

The first person to answer all 3 questions correctly in the comments section below wins the last Highbury Cemetery 2012 t-shirt (size large), printed in glorious glow-in-the-dark ink!

Good luck! This is the last shirt that was produced this year and once this one is gone, there won't be any more. So get cracking and win yourself some new threads for the 2012 Halloween season!

Halloween 1982

Continuing on through the costumes of the 80s we visit 1982. Another year older, but some things stay the same...

1982 saw me as the Skull-Faced-Army-Guy-with-Dad's-Belt-as-a-Plastic-Sword-Holder, which yes, is pretty funny, but is the first year that I didn't go with an off-the-shelf costume. Perhaps this was the point that put me on the path to the Halloween blogger that I am today. So I guess I owe a debt of gratitude to 1982? Not a bad year after all.

And then poor Scrapes gets the recycle job again. Same costume as last year. You'd think he would be in the circus today, but alas, he must have been too young. In his defense, the makeup and that pose make for a chillingly creepy photo. Perhaps 1982 was the point in which he became the haunter that he is today, as well.

Highbury Cemetery. Since 1982?

As an added bonus, I found another photo from '82 that shows a 4-year-old Scrapes and 9-year-old Highbury, proudly posing with their enormous jack-o-lanterns. Such craftsmanship!!

And yes, I made the mistake of looking at the local weather forecast for Halloween night. Looks like we are going to get a little of Sandy's wrath even here in Northern Ohio (although the forecast has again just changed, so it's not all doom and gloom for now!).

46 degrees and partly cloudy skies with a 20% chance of rain

Halloween 1981

Today we continue our look back at Highbury and Scrapes' Halloween costumes of the 80s, as we remember 1981.

The Star Wars craze had subsided and it was on to the classic movie monsters as I channeled my inner Lugosi with a spot-on recreation of Count Dracula, complete with my trash bag cape and plastic fangs. 

My parents were early recyclers, as was evident in Scrapes' costume. The home made clown outfit that made it's debut some three years earlier...

Halloween 1980

One week to go and the posts keep coming! Two years ago, I pulled out the old Halloween costume photos from 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978(especially creepy!) and 1979. I've got a few more, so I've decided to pick up where we left off.

On to the 80s!!

1980. The start of the new decade. The Empire Strikes Back had just been released and Star Wars mania was all the rage. Every kid wanted to be Luke, Han, Chewy, Vader, Yoda or Boba Fett. Me? I wanted to be C-3Po, Human Cyborg Relations. Protocol Droid. Speaks Bocci. Ended the movie in pieces.

Scrapes, who at the time was two years old, decided on the horrifying bird-creature-to-stalk-your-nightmares, Woodstock, from the Charlie Brown comics. Apparently he was going trick-ot-treating and then heading straight to the pumpkin patch to meet up with Linus and await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin...

Haunt Soundtracks: Lustmord

Antique Ruins in Black & White, by Michal Zebrowski

Well, with another full day of work (yes, on a Sunday), I was unable to get out to any of the local cemeteries to get any photos, so for this week's installment of Cemetery Sundays I present the incredible work of Polish photographer, Michal Zebrowski:


Shelter for a night

Breathing fresh air

Rain stains

Utter abandonment

Cross in a circle


Cast out

View his Flickr page here. View the rest of the Antique Ruins in Black & White collection here.


Return of the Living Contest!

Well group, it's amazing to see how a 13-hour workday really takes the wind out of your sails. I was ready to post up the question for the one-question trivia contest, but after getting home late, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed.

So the Freebie Friday contest gets bumped one day. But fear not, because the prize is ready to go, willing to be shipped out to the first savvy ready who can answer the question below.

What do I win if I answer correctly, you ask? The winner of the Return of the Living Contest will win one free 2012 Highbury Cemetery t-shirt (size Large), with artwork created by me and hand-printed in the basement of Highbury Cemetery. And this year's shirt goes one better...

*Unfinished talking skull unfortunately is not included in the winnings

Not the best photo, but you get the idea. This limited edition 2012 Highbury Cemetery t-shirt was printed with glow-in-the-dark ink. And it really even glows in the dark!!! Zoweee!!

So while everyone is excited, let's get down to business. The rules are really simple. Be the first one to correctly answer the question in the comments section below and the shirt is yours. Completely free. We will even ship it out to you (but only if you live in the United States - readers outside of the US can still play along, but may have to pay a small shipping fee depending on costs.) But you have to be quick. Because who knows how many other people may be vying for this beauty...

Time to put the thinking caps on. Fastened tight? Okay, here is the question:

What is the name of the ship that carried Count Dracula's coffin to London in the 1931 film, Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi?

Good luck readers, but be careful because the answer might not be what you think it is...

Highbury Cemetery 2012 Shirt

We were finally able to bring 100% of the screenprinting production in-house this year, as we built a new exposure unit and bought some new screens and inks. The first screen exposure was a success and the first batch of Highbury Cemetery 2012 shirts have been printed.

The shirts were all hung from the piping with care,
so the very special ink color could dry with the air...

As it stands now, there will only be one small run with enough shirts to be given away as a thank you to those who come over and help set up on Halloween night. We've had a few requests, so we'll consider printing a larger run and making them available to the public next year, when time allows.

So for now, you'll just have to wait. 

Unless you want to come back tomorrow. Because tomorrow (Friday) night we will be having our annual one-question trivia contest where we give one shirt away to a savvy reader. Be sure to brush up on your obscure classic horror movie trivia, because like last year, I'll see some random image or name in a horror movie and I'll end up using it as a trivia question...

My Neighborhood Halloween Sign Goes Up!

Neither long hours at work nor crabby wife nor even crying baby can deter me from my mission tonight! Two weeks until the big night means only one thing: the neighborhood sign proclaiming the official date and time of trick-or-treat must go up!

And because we are a traditional neighborhood, we keep up with tradition. Trick-or-treat is, as always, October 31st, from 6 to 8 pm (no matter how much City Council wants to further erode the holiday by assigning different days and times for different neighborhoods...3 to 6 pm? Really??).

This is the second year for my version of the official neighborhood sign, a job I took over after 2010's tepid effort. And a job I was more than willing to take on, for this is a project that I do not take lightly. I just hope that the sight of this sign tomorrow morning will excite the neighborhood kids as much as it excites me...

Two weeks to go and a full list still to get through. The clock is ticking!

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Time to review another of the many pumpkin beers that have made it to my refrigerator shelf during this Halloween season.

This time up, from Easton, Pennsylvania it's Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale.

This 8.0% Ale poured a nice deep brownish red and gave off a warm, earthy cinnamon pumpkin scent. The taste, while light on pumpkin, did have a very nice spice flavor with a smooth caramel aftertaste. 

Overall, I liked this beer because it didn't have the typical, sweet "pumpkin" flavor. The earthy, sweet scent was a nice introduction, the spicy flavor was smooth and the caramel aftertaste wasn't overpowering. So with that, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale rates 3.5 out of 5 Drunken Jackos.


West Lawn Cemetery - Canton, Ohio (Part 2)

On to the second half of my photographs from West Lawn Cemetery in Canton, Ohio. Be sure to see part one of this beautiful, old cemetery full of broken, shifted stones and wonderful trees and sculptures.

Frederick Schneider, born in 1789, was the oldest stone that I found on the grounds. His stone was still in very good shape. Many others were not so fortunate.

In the center of the cemetery stood the Aultman - Miller family plot. Two towering spires flanked by incredible above-ground tombs that were straight out of an old vampire movie. Aultman is also the name of the large hospital which sits adjacent to the grounds.


A  winged angel stands at the Wise grave. The figure's missing arm lends a sort of beauty to the plot...


 Another damaged statue looks skyward...

I finished my tour by visiting some of the stark mausoleums...

This is without a doubt one of the most visually interesting cemeteries that I have visited. The vast array of old stones and sculptures has given me inspiration for many new tombstones for my home haunt. Stop by next Sunday to find out which cemetery we visit next.

Only 16 more days until Halloween and it is now officially panic time. A few more projects yet to finish and everything still to pull out to prepare for the big night. The fingers are crossed in hopes of actually being able to pull it off this year...

Are you ready??