One week until Halloween 2015!

2015 1 week til halloween

Another week has flown by. I hope you all are having a great season so far.

I’m still not at 100%, but today I’m heading out for a whole day with a friend. Our plan is to go hunting at the Goodwill, then drink too much coffee and talk our heads off on a patio somewhere, (if the sun will come out!) then, after dark, venture into the Alchemist bar.

alchemist with tenders

A shot from the day Ogre & I discovered it.

Here at the blog, great photos are still coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. Time is running out for participating in this year’s hunt. It’s a perfect weekend to print off a list and go out taking pictures for an artist date (solo) or a game (with friends.) Now’s the time to catch all the fall colors and decorations, while they are in full-bloom (so to speak.) I’d love to display your results.

Here’s this week’s cross stitch project progress photo:

cross stitch 1 week until halloween

I’m almost done … except for those bleeping black areas. To complete it, I’ll need a bright, sunny day. Because I’m old. (Black on black is a challenge for 40-something eyes.) Meanwhile, I’m designing my next project … which I think will be a sampler. Gotta tell you, I’m a bit shocked I’ve actually made so much progress in about five weeks.

What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Two weeks until Halloween 2015!


2015 2 weeks til halloween

Another week has flown by. What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Me? I’ve been having a bad spell. It seems inevitable that I will go down for the count at some point every October, and this has been that week. I’ve been sleeping a lot more than usual. I’ve been watching movies and catching up on TV shows. I’ve been cross stitching … kind of obsessively.

My son turned 20 this week(!) so we had some guests over and ate more pineapple upside down cake than is reasonable. We also managed an outing to the pumpkin farm / petting zoo that we have visited so often in the last decade or so. (When we were home schooling, we used to take his lessons there so he could spend the day working near the goats and chickens, usually with a cat in his lap.) This week, we were very aware that it was probably our last trip to the farm.

Yeah. I’ve got some melancholy going on.

Here at the blog, great photos are still coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. (I’m going to have to take a day when I feel more up to it to go out and get a bunch of pics for my own album.)

Here’s this week’s cross stitch project progress photo:

cross stitch 2 weeks until Halloween


Don’t forget to check out my daughter’s cool Halloween buttons, there’s still time for them to arrive so you can hand them out at Halloween.

I hope you all are having a great season so far.

If you need a little boost to get into the mood of things, consider watching some recommended movies (Halloween, Ghosts, Iconic) and/or taking some seasonal photos.

Three weeks until Halloween 2015!

2015 3 weeks til halloween

Another week has flown by. What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Me? Honestly, It’s been a bit of a lost week for me. (Been writing, writing writing.) Today, Ogre and I (and our dog) went off on on a little adventure, but nothing scary came of it …we just saw a lot of pretty leaves as we drove 150 miles north to buy some candy, then turned around to drive straight home 🙂

Here at the blog, lots of great photos are coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. (I’m working on my personal album there too, but I’ve got some work to do if I want to make a respectable showing.)

I just published a catalog of the Halloween buttons my daughter makes and sells at her Etsy shop, Pooka Creations. (The 2015, limited edition, Halloween Hero buttons are now available!)


Have a look and order something from her … it will impress her that her mom can bring in some business for her 🙂

Other than that, I’ve been stealing some time to work on my cross stitch project.

cross stitch 2

at 3 weeks until Halloween

cross stitch 2

at 4 weeks until Halloween – for comparison

Cross stitching takes a LONG time … especially when you’ve brilliantly decided to use black silk on black canvas!

This week, I think I’ll be pulling out our boxes of Halloween decorations. The time has come to sort through what we have and decide what will be moving with us to North Carolina. (With any luck, next year I’ll be celebrating in the same state as my favorite Halloween Buddy, my baby-girl.) I suspect I’ll have to carve a fresh Jack O’ Lantern, though the one from last weekend is holding up surprisingly well. I think my boy and I will be going to a pumpkin farm / petting zoo for his birthday. (Nostalgia demands it. He practically grew up there, because it was very close to our old house.)

I hope you all are having a great season so far. If you are having trouble getting into the mood of things, consider watching some recommended movies (Halloween, Ghosts, Iconic) and/or taking some seasonal photos.

Fun, 1 inch, collectible, buttons for Halloween!

Regular readers know that my creative and talented daughter has an Etsy shop where she sells original designs on 1″ collectible buttons.


BTW, a one inch button is about the size of a quarter. Thanks to the movie Office Space, many of us think of these little gems as “flair.”

Pooka’s buttons can be purchased in a pin-back style ($1.25) or as a magnet ($1.75). (Oh, I almost forgot that she now offers key chains too, for $3.)

The magnets can be used to decorate any metal surface, of course, but they can ALSO can be worn in a pendant (which Pooka Creations sells.) Here’s a video I made about it a couple of years ago, that shows how it works. (I think all the designs shown in the video are still available.)


Just last night, Pooka listed this year’s limited edition Halloween Hero button for the 2015 season.


Does that look familiar? She chose this year’s design in honor of my cross stitch project.

I have written about Halloween Heroes in the post, Twisted Ding Dong Ditch (Reverse trick-or-treating the Halloween Heroes).

At the Pooka Creations shop, My girl describes the intent behind these buttons, and why she began to make them. Here’s an excerpt:

On Halloween 2013, I went through neighborhoods looking for thirteen houses that had decorated fabulously and were handing out candy to kids. I gifted each of those houses with a special “Halloween Hero” button I had made just for the occasion, and I thanked each of them for keeping my favorite holiday alive and well. I thought others may enjoy collecting these designs for themselves, or may want to hand them out to awesome Halloween Heroes in their own neighborhoods.



Now seems a fine time for me to share a selection of my daughter’s Halloween-appropriate wares. There’s plenty of time for you to order some as tokens for the Halloween Heros you know, or to choose some favorites, from all of her designs, to be special hand-outs on Halloween night.

Pooka Creations is known for careful craftsmanship, quick shipping, and helpful (and charming) customer service. (Check out her nearly-200 five-star reviews.)

Aside from the designs shown in the video, here are a few that I think are especially appropriate for the folks who find their way to this blog:

Then there’s the special things:

pooka creations steampunk set

… and this REALLY special thing:


This post-apocalyptic styled necklace is the first piece she’s offered that branches away from her beloved buttons.

(… Well, the SECOND piece, really, because the first one already sold.)

Clicking on any of the stand-alone images in this post will whisk you to Pooka Creations,

where you can browse through even more designs and place your order.

Otherwise, click the following link to go to the shop’s main page.


Four weeks until Halloween 2015!

2015 4 weeks til halloween

What have you been doing to celebrate the season?

Me? Well, for one thing, I’ve been busy updating and repackaging some of my Halloween content classics for inclusion in the new Halloween index page, Your Guide To Halloween Season. (I keep going back and forth … should that be Your Guide to THE Halloween Season, or should I leave it as is?)

This week, I revised my:

I also added links to two movie suggestion lists: 13+ Ghost Movies & Iconic Horror Movies to the guide.

Some cool photos are coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt from individuals who are intent on filling in their galleries this season. (And I’m working on mine, of course.) There’s a new companion post, available from the hunt’s home page, too:

The Halloween Photo Hunt: The Real-World, Social Group, Scavenger Hunt, Version

Off-line, I’ve been making progress on my Hotel Novel and some personal projects. I’ve been getting out into the pretty season as often as I can, and I’ve been working on my cross stitch project (though not as much as I’d like.)

cross stitch 2

Other than that, just this:


2015 jack 1

2015 jack 1 dark

And so October begins … the time is going by SO fast! I hope you are having a great season so far 🙂

The Halloween Photo Hunt: The Real-World, Social Group, Scavenger Hunt, Version

Most of us have done a regular, item-gathering, scavenger hunt at some point. Such a hunt can be fun, but thanks to the proliferation of the cell phone camera, the classic game can be raised to a whole new level. In a photographic scavenger hunt, you don’t need to approach strangers to ask for random objects. You don’t have to buy (much of) anything. You don’t have to manage a growing collection of bits and scraps as the game goes on. You don’t have to race to an object before anyone else gets it.

Instead of counting on luck and the power of persuasion to do well, you can rely on your intelligence and creativity.

(If you lean toward being introverted, or have friends who skew that way, this is the scavenger hunt for you.)


The Halloween season is ideal for a photo hunt. In most parts of the US, September and October are the months most likely to give us gorgeous, temperate days that make us want to get outside and do something. Why not use the hunt as an reason to get out and enjoy the season? After all, the landscape itself showcases objects and vistas that are iconically associated with Halloween. Starting in early September, shops begin displaying seasonal merchandise. By mid-September, towns and neighborhoods may start to decorate. By October first, many of us are fully immersed in a world painted in autumn colors and populated by monsters, ghosts, witches and other Halloween-y creatures.


Organizing a scavenger hunt may be the easiest way to entertain during the season. Because the hunt happens outdoors, in a public area, you don’t have to clean your house or cook. And you don’t need a big group of people to make it fun.

All you need is a list of inspirations, a digital camera or cell, some friends to “compete” with, and whatever amount of time you all agree to dedicate to the hunt.

To make it even easier, I’ve created a printable list of inspirations for you:

HPH short form JPEG


This list is appropriate for all ages. When you print the Halloween Photo Hunt list, you’ll find a couple of blank lines at the bottom. Allow teams to add their own found items, or customize the list ahead of time, to suit the location where you will play. (Here in White Bear Lake, MN, many residences and businesses display polar bear statues and signs, so it would be logical for us to add a bear to the list.)


Create your teams.

  • I suggest keeping the teams small – 2-3 players – and making multiple teams, rather than dividing a large group into just two.
  • Also see the VARIATIONS section below.

Define the time frame.

  • See the VARIATIONS section below.

Determine your rules.

  • How far in advance can participants see the scavenger hunt list? (I suggest each team member have equal time access. If you know everything on the list, you’re already thinking about how to capture some items. Don’t be a cheater; let others think ahead too.)
  • What are the boundaries of the search zone?
  • What method(s) of transportation are acceptable while on the quest? Is it okay to use a car, or will you restrict travel to that which can be done on foot or by bike?
  • Are purchased props acceptable? How much money can be spent to obtain a photograph? (We had set an allowance of $10 to facilitate shots, but we only paid a few cents for an aluminum pie plate during our hunt.)
  • Are videos allowed, or just still snapshots?
  • Also see VARIATIONS section below.


#1 – The Simplest Version – In 2-6 hours.

~For anyone.

This is the most spontaneous way to do the hunt. You only need a few people, a nice day, and a couple of hours. (Plus, of course, enough photo-capable cell phones so that each team has at least one.)

  • Depending on the weather, a hunt could last anywhere from two to six hours.
  • Confine the hunt to a small town, a defined section of a city, a neighborhood, or the site of a seasonal attraction (like an autumn fair).
  • Set up a meeting place to begin and end at appointed times.
  • If you will be out for longer period of time, considering also setting a meeting time and place, for a shared lunch or snack, in the middle of the hunt.
  • At the end, get all the teams together, tally checked-off items on each team’s list, and share favorite photos by passing phones around.
  • If you need to proclaim a winner, base it on total number of items checked off.
  • For extra fun, have everyone send their pictures to one person who will create a digital album or slideshow that can be sent to all participants later.

The following video is the album from one of my family’s photo hunts:


#2 – The Extended Version – In a weekend or other multi-day period.

~For far-flung social groups and/or adults who want to range farther, over a longer time, or who want to create more elaborate pics.

  • This variation is not about getting together with a group, but rather about working closely and creatively with your partner(s).
  • Make arrangements with another team (or several) in which you define a time frame during which everyone is free to obtain photos, wherever they are.
  • Teams will share / compare results after the fact.
  • Make sure all teams know what the goal of the hunt is — Completion? Creativity?
  • This extended version may lend itself to more elaborate photographs, set-ups, costumes, makeups, etc. Make sure teams are on roughly the same wavelength.
  • Emphasis may be placed on satisfying the requirements of the right-side column of the list.
  • Be clear about the length of time for the hunt AND the length of time before photos should be submitted to “opposing” teams. (Make a deadline.)
  • Decide if digital photo manipulation is acceptable.
  • Alternatively, teams could text or email photos to each other as they are taken, through the course of the hunt.

NOTES: It’s perfectly fine to stick to the basic hunt list that I’ve provided above, but if you’re going to do a more elaborate, extended, hunt, you could also work from a more challenging, extended, hunt list which is available in two formats. Please visit: The Halloween Photo Hunt Homepage to locate and print either format of the extended list, if you prefer.

At the homepage, you’ll find another way to play the Halloween Photo Hunt game, AS A TEAM OR AS AN INDIVIDUAL. Check out the option, and consider participating that way too.

Any original photo, taken in the six weeks before Halloween 2015,

inspired by  any prompt, on any version of the  hunt lists,

is eligible to be displayed in a personalized gallery at the HPH Homepage. 

There are some guidelines at the homepage about what I will and will not publish in the galleries.


Just FIVE weeks until Halloween, 2015!

2015 5 weeks til halloween

Here at the blog this week, I’ve been mostly working on expanding and repackaging some Halloween content:

Halloween Hobbies: Free Cross Stitch Patterns

Halloween Hobbies: Free Knitting Patterns

I also shared my thoughts about:

The Week in Macabre & Mysterious Media: September 21 – 27, 2015

The next edition will go up on Monday, as usual.

A few submissions are coming in for the:

The 2015 Halloween Photo Scavenger Hunt

And I need to get out there and take some more pictures for my own gallery.

Beyond that, my Halloween-y activities have included finding the shirt for my costume at Goodwill, and buying a package of expanding, honey-comb, tissue-paper pumpkins 🙂

So, what have you been up to?