Saturday, November 2, 2013

Boo - it's over!

Halloween '13, take a seat. You were a good, if busy, one.

Just finished watching The Conjuring for the second time in 24 hours - sort of apt for Dia de los Muertos, I think. And we'll have fun-size candy to eat for weeks. So while the best holiday sinks back into the woodwork for now, the ghosts linger on. In fact, it's always Halloween in my head. Thanks for joining me this year!

For more curious thoughts and home cooking, check out my alter ego at Small Skull.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My little vamp

I'm risking my life with this one but here we go: Zoey wishes you all a happy H'ween!

Okay, so I'll be killed in my sleep tonight - but it was worth it!

Easy as brittle

So apparently I made brittle for the first time yesterday...I sound hesitant because it was totally cake, in a manner of speaking. I guess I thought the concept of "making candy" seemed hard - way harder than say, cake. But not so.

You just boil sugar, salt and water. And then dump in the nuts and spread on parchment. For how long is the trick of it, I think. Because I don't have a candy thermometer it came out a little abino or - shall we say - ghostly:

 However - it's still got that sweet-savory crunchy goodness so me and the Turk aren't complaining. Hope you're knee-deep in treats already!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jack o' dinner

I have to say these ratatouille-stuffed peppers were damn good. But I should've doubled the amount of garlic-butter panko bread crumbs that go inside because those were delish.

The jack faces are just, er, gravy. Heh. Anyhow I totally stole this recipe and you can too.

Cemetery pics

In between po' boys and milk punches, we found time for some culture in New Orleans: cemeteries. The one we really haunted was Lafayette No. 1, right across the street from Commander's Palace, the grand dame of Nola dining. (Where else would you find a garden of the dead near a schmancy eatery but New Orleans? This is why I love this town.) Herein a few blurry snaps:

I didn't know this last name was an option! From now on, I want to be known as Skaren North West Champagne.

  I dig this sweet little angel. Wonder if there are Hello Kitty graves in Japan. Just a thought.

Looks like someone added some seasonal cheer. Weird but successful.

Love this last name, but the fact it doesn't say "RIPP - RIP" is a missed opportunity in my book.

 Flowers, check. Saint statuette, check. Stuffed duck, check. 

I tried to steer the Turk toward Lafayette No. 2 and the Louis Armstrong cemeteries - which apparently are not super safe, especially when you're not with a tour group. We escaped unscathed but alas, no snaps.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting pumped!

Or should it be pumpk'ed?

The night, she comes near. And after spending a week in New Orleans, eating like a zombie, I'm trying to cram in as much seasonal fun as I can. Hence, this morning's breakfast:

Still gotta decorate, watch a ton of horror movies, make candy and something squash related, check out the local yard haunts and touch up my Vamp manicure. Will I get it all done? The suspense!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Latest triangular ball formation

So this happened. Again. Ran out to do an errand and found this:

And of course, Zoey had to get in the picture.

I made a point of measuring the distances and they are within about 3/4 inch of each other. Have a good evening!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloweekend '13

Several years ago a friend (let's call her Sugar) and I started our Halloweekend tradition. I'd fly to LA, her haunt, go to Knott's Scary Farm and then we'd try to find other spooky things to do. Don't let the sunshine fool you - LA is bursting with creepy things.

This year, we had to forgo Knott's for Disneyland. The highlight: the Nightmare Before Christmas-ized Haunted Mansion, of course. But there was also Day of the Dead shrines, a harvest festival, and some ghost on Space Mountain, which we didn't get to. All in all, h'ween at d-land is an evolving work in progress.

I was suitably annoying making her and her husband drive-by all kinds of ephemera. The first stop off the plane and on the way to Father's Office for burgers - Hobbit House:

This style was a trend in the early 20th Century and while I don't pretend to know the whole history of these storybook homes that dot SoCal, it's still ours to enjoy. Note the spider web window in the door.

We also hit the American Horror Story house from Season 1. It's pretty damn beautiful but would've been more so if the current owner had stopped revving his ridiculous gull-winged sports car for just a minute. He is cut out of the photo because: jerk.

We also stopped by an awesome pumpkin patch in the country. You know, one of those cool small-town fundraisers, where school choruses sing, the fresh corn is hot and buttery and the gourds are aplenty. 

Also: a killer trebuchet that sent pumpkins flying about 30 yards, aiming for a wall of cinder blocks, which they'd occasionally graze or - one time - hit full on like a head in an Argento film. Ah, good times - two grown women as obsessed with this as much the 8-year-old boys.

If you're near LA this month, I urge you as a fellow ghoul to check out the Haunted Hayride at Griffith Park. We've been tacking it on to the Knott's trip the last few years and every year it gets bigger and better. This time, they really exploited the haunted history of the park itself. Which by the way: totally believable. Just being in a fog-shrouded woods at night is completely effective. But they, of course, take it several steps further. The monsters don't touch you but when they cover your heads in a black sheet in the middle of the forest and cut the lights - well, pants will be peed.

Of course, flash is not allowed, so none of my pictures really came out - even to my crappy iphone standards. So I share with you this trio of severed heads that serenade you as you stand in line.

Another great feature? The food. No kidding. Last year, they had these fried apple dumplings which were rockin. And this year they upped the ante with caramel and nut draped apple cider doughnut holes. They also do a great job with their signage and packaging and whatnot:

Very clever, no?

All in all, a very successful trip. We did plenty but left more for next time. Like, the LA County Coroners Office's gift shop, the abandoned asylum of Linda Vista hospital, the museum of death, Lucha Va Voom, etc.

But for now - it's nice to be home and see that my basil is still good.

Happy halfway to h'ween!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

H'ween pre-party

So I'm off to this year's Halloweekend in LA™. But let me leave you with some pics from my American Horror Story party last night. You've heard of after parties? This is my annual pre-party. Yes, I'm a total dork. I know.

Why are religious candles h'ween decoration? I don't know, but they work.

My shrine to candy. Plus: my light-up deer.

A larger view, midway through set up. 

Anyhow, did you like last night's episode? I thought it was decent, but definitely did not live up to the awesome teasers. But then, what does?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Monster slots

So Vegas was a little bereft of the h'ween spirit this weekend (boo) but I did find a little corner of murk in the casino - Monster Slots, featuring the Universal faves!

This small sampling of frights in Vegas got me thinking: how come no one has built a haunted house casino yet? I mean, there's like every theme in the book - even the craptastic Planet Hollywood is a casino now. Why not a mouldering old mansion, where the staff are dressed like spooky butlers, resident ghosts, possessed children, crazed writers. Instead of animated Roman gods, pirate battles or water shows, every hour some creepy crawly could jump out of the darkness to scare the tourists. Think of it: holographic mirrors around every corner, the smell of burning leaves, coffin double beds, a groaning, moaning a/c system. It could be big, people!

Nailing h'ween (heh)

My vow for the next 30 days - keep my claws clad in Vamp polish. I don't know what possessed the high-class folks at Chanel to make a product specifically designed to resemble dried blood, but I guess everyone has their dark side. Bonus: the color also matches my favorite beverage.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tot horror

Today's a travel day so I can't do much but share with you a photo of an abandoned child's shoe that landed right on my doorstep about a week ago. Srsly, here it is:

Just sayin - baby needs some new shoes. Kind of apt that were in Vegas for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tiki bar reboo

Breaking my only-on-Thursdays rule, I decided to fire up the old martini skills tonight. Of course, it's also time to revamp (heh) my bar fixtures. Hence, these cute little skull olive picks I found at Tarjay. Which by the way is seriously in danger of losing its creepy crown this year. But I digress. Focusing on the positive is this:

A gin martini, a loaf of "The Heart, She Holler" and thou. Starting strong, October.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

H'ween '13 Begins

Velcome back, ghouls. Woke up this October 1st to a beautiful Indian summer day. But I haven't let that get me down - I set right to work on my plan for this most awesome month. Take a peek:

Yup. Taking a cue from my idol Matt at Dinosaur Dracula, I broke out the washable markers and went to spooky town. Yes, it's hard to read because of my crappy handwriting and my crappy iphone camera, as noted before. But with creepy trips to LA, Vegas (scary how much money you can lose) and New Orleans in the works, this is shaping up to be a good 'un. Let's get this party started!