Thursday, May 30, 2013

Proper Halloween Yard Maintenance

The short answer: None.  (If only your homeowners' association didn't exist, right?)

We live in California and it hasn't rained here in three years.  Almost literally.  By the time we reach our venerated Halloween holiday, the hills will be scorched black (probably from a fire).  This year's particular weather problem has its benefits and its downfalls.  

Benefits first.  Because every ounce of moisture will have been sucked and drained from the trees, bushes and weeds the sound of Halloween should show up long before the holiday itself.  The quiet rustling of fallen leaves against the brisk cool air of October harkens the early arrival of the Feast.  That first night of the sound of crisp leaves running along the pavement feeds my soul with the promise of another eerie and wondrous spookfest in our front yard.  

And downfalls.  The water bill will be enormous this year.  Your Halloween yard is as important as your decor.  Ambiance, although set by lighting, decorations and music, has its organic roots in the grass of your lawn.  We like to partake in our final mow of the season around mid-September.  This ensures that by the time Halloween rolls around, the grass in our lawn has enough height to give the appearance that no one has taken care of this graveyard for years.  It is abandoned and its souls forgotten to the ravages of time.  

Image from Development Systems, UK.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Talking Halloween

There are a lot of Halloween sites on the web for all manner of fetishes.  One of our favorites is where Halloween enthusiasts can reach out to other enthusiasts for inspiration and assistance.  


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What Should a Halloween Tombstone Look Like?

Tombstones available at the big box Halloween stores look ridiculous.  First, they are too small and too thin.  Real tombstones have weight to them - they are marble or granite for Devil's sake!  Second, they don't look like real tombstones.  No tombstone in the history of humanity has said RIP with the grim reaper engraved.  (Although mine might have to just to prove a point) 

But, real tombstones are boring because granite is difficult to carve and expensive.  Actually, the most elaborate tombstones from the 1800's are made of marble because it is a softer stone and easier to work.  So, it begs the question ... what should Halloween tombstones look like?  We've spent hours debating this without resolution.  We have determined that tombstones should have the appearance of the weight of stone with typical lettering and grander than usual epitaphs.  

We want your Haunt visitors to stop and read the epitaphs on the tombstones.  What makes tombstones scary is the epitaph and realistic engraving of wilting flowers, not the grim reaper.  Fear is in the mind and each person is afraid of something different.  Our tombstones lay the foundation for your fear and your mind will conjure the rest.  No blood, no gore, no obvious images of fright.  Only subtle tremors of terror.  

Hell is Empty and all the Devils are Here

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I live in Santa Barbara wine country just on the other side of the coastal mountains where cool nights and hot summer days make amazing wines.  But, alas, there are no Halloween or ghost wines here.  For that, I need to travel back to my home on the delta in Sacramento and Bogle Vineyards.

moved to Sacramento in the dead of Summer in 2002.  While living there, my husband and I stumbled on a winery with vineyards just on the opposite shore from our home on the southern delta - Bogle.  We fell in love with their wines, in fact, I have a bottle of their Old Vine Zin in the cabinet at home right now.  When Bogle released its Phantom blend our love of a good red and a bloody good Halloween party came together in one rapturous sip.

Nowadays, Bogle is widely available but no less tasty.  If you run across this gem in the store, do yourself a treat (no tricks here) and take it home.  For more information about where to buy Phantom, visit Bogle's website at  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Haunted Houses

The first haunted house I was a part of was at Science Camp in sixth grade.  Our camp dates fell over the venerated Halloween holiday, but sixth grade Science Camp only comes once.  The counselors, in their infinite wisdom, or maybe just their love of Halloween too, set up a Haunted House.  
     I can't remember now how I was able to take part in the Haunt, it's been that many years, but boy was I excited.  Black plastic lined hallways with things hiding in the dark ready to scare every 12 year-old girl into shrieks of terror.  And I got the distinct pleasure and privilege of inflicting such torment by reaching out from underneath a table and grabbing unsuspecting ankles.  I loved it!  My first taste of Haunt and I was addicted!  
     Nowadays, haunting is a commercial enterprise, with untold numbers of professional haunts available every year.  But, there are some of us who still love yard haunts over the nightmarish terrors the professional haunters conjure.  If you're looking for any kind of Haunt, try these websites: