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.)
WHY HALLOWEEN IS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT:
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.
ORGANIZE A TEAM-BASED HUNT:
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:
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.)
GENERAL HOW TO:
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.
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.
FREE HALLOWEEN CROSS STITCH PATTERNS:
I realize folks could arrive at this page at any time of year, but the majority of readers will visit in the late summer or early autumn, when their thoughts first turn to Halloween. Starting a cross stitch project at this time of year is the perfect way to get into the spirit of season without freaking out the neighbors by putting up premature decorations.
(What’s premature? I’m not a good judge. Some of my “Halloween Decorations” stay out all year round.)
The weather at this time of year is volatile. Depending on the date, and your location, it could be hot and thick, as summer has its last hurrah; or it could be cool and rainy, as autumn comes on. In either case, it seems there are more opportunities to settle in for an evening with some cross stitch … and, perhaps, a great scary movie. (Maybe an iconic old horror film, or one about Halloween or ghosts?) It’s also a busy time of year for many of us, as back-to-school demands fire up. Keeping all that in mind, I’ve featured projects that range from quick and easy, to elaborate and complicated. There should be something here you can finish in the time you have before Halloween.
Note: Yes, I used my Free Halloween Knitting Patterns post as a template for this one. The wording IS almost identical. You are not going crazy.
FREE CROSS STITCH CHARTS:
If you hover over the image in the gallery above, you’ll see that each featured piece is captioned with the name of one of the following source sites. The “hover-title” is the name of the pattern, and the designer. These images are just a sampling of what’s available … have fun browsing each site for just the right project.
Find the charts at the following links:
- 55 free designs from cyberstitchers.com
- 24 free designs from kreinik.com
- 11 little embellishment patterns from hobbyloco.com
Two of the projects pictured in the gallery have specific links:
- Haunted House by freepatterns.com (You may have to register at this site – I already was.)
- Halloween Topiary by DMC
What will you make? What would you LOVE to make?
I’m going to do something really scary:
I plan to stitch a project from a a chart that I designed myself. I’ll share my plan, but I DON’T recommend that you choose my design, unless you can see from experience that it will work for you. I’ve never done this before, and I have no idea if it will turn out well.
As I was finishing this post, I decided to go looking for some kind of program that would allow me to create a chart for a project that’s been in the back of my mind for a while. I found MyPhotoStitch.com. I played with the tool to get an idea of what kind of image would work well as a base design. (I already knew I wanted the design to read ‘Carpe Noctem’.) I dug through my photo files to find a pic of the moon, against a pure black sky, that my Ogre took. I imported that photo into Kizoa.com, which is a free online photo editor. There, I added the Carpe Noctem text, and a piece of owl clip art that Kizoa had, to my re-sized photo. THEN I imported the new image into the MyPhotoStitch chart maker tool. I had to play with the setting a fair bit, but I think I’ve come up with a workable chart.
My plan is to work on 18 X 12 piece of black, 14-count, Aida cloth. MyPhotoStitch says the finished design will be 7″ X 5.5″. I designed the project to be workable in ten colors or less. The chart ended up suggesting nine. I won’t know if the recommended floss colors will be right … I’ll check tomorrow, when I go shopping for the supplies. (I’d actually like the brighter edge of the moon to better match the brighter parts of the text.)
Here’s the link to the PDF chart (on 4 pages!) that MyPhotoStitch gave me:
CAUTION: (Edited the next day.) If you print the following PDF, you will use A LOT of black ink! Thank goodness I went to Office Max to have it printed, so I didn’t kill my cartridge. Ogre will fix it this weekend, with his magic Photoshop, and a pattern with a WHITE background will be available too. That said, I actually like being able to see the pattern against the black, because the fabric I’m working on is black. So, if you like that idea, be sure to take it somewhere where a color print doesn’t cost much.
Questions for experienced cross-stitchers:
- First off, and most importantly, does this seem like a viable project?
- Would you stitch in the owl and branch with black, or just leave the black Aida cloth showing there? (I’m leaning toward filling it in, but I don’t know how to blend the lower branch edge into the Aida cloth, or if it will look weird if I just end it at the edge of the moon.)
So that’s it for now. I will update as I progress with the project. Cross your fingers for me!
NOTE: All above photographs and images of cross stitch projects were obtained from the site of the original source of the free pattern and are used for the purpose of referring readers to the website that offers the content. At posting, all links are current and active. I have NOT made the projects, so I cannot guarantee that patterns are correct.
The photograph of box of embroidery floss, used on the main Halloween index page, is ready to stitch! by Claudia Marchán.
FREE HALLOWEEN KNITTING PATTERNS:
I realize folks could arrive at this page at any time of year, but the majority of readers will visit in the late summer or early autumn, when their thoughts first turn to Halloween. Starting a knitting project at this time of year is the perfect way to get into the spirit of season without freaking out the neighbors by putting up premature decorations.
(What’s premature? I’m not a good judge. Some of my “Halloween Decorations” stay out all year round.)
The weather at this time of year is volatile. Depending on the date, and your location, it could be hot and thick, as summer has its last hurrah; or it could be cool and rainy, as autumn comes on. In either case, it seems there are more opportunities to settle in for an evening with some knitting … and, perhaps, a great scary movie. (Maybe an iconic old horror film, or one about Halloween or ghosts?) It’s also a busy time of year for many of us, as back-to-school demands fire up. Keeping all that in mind, I’ve featured projects that range from quick and easy, to elaborate and complicated. There should be something here you can finish in the time you have before Halloween.
Note: Yes, I this post and my Free Cross Stitch Patterns post have almost identical introductions. You are not going crazy.
Find the patterns at the following links:
New in 2015:
- Sam Haim by Zombie Kitten
- Bokaclava by Anne-Marie Dunbar (Ravelry)
- Knitted pumpkin by C – she has a crocheted version here too.
- Boo! Ghost Knitting Pattern by Knitted Toy Box
- Halloween Pattern Fair Isle Scarf by siouxsiestitches.com
From years past, but checked for availability:
- Classic Zombie Doll Knitting Pattern from CraftFoxes
Knitted Halloween Witch from Craftbits
Halloween Candy Bag from Learn Knitting Stitches
Hallowig from Knitty
Happy Halloween Mitts from Home Makers Insanity
Jakyll & Hide from Knitty
Lacy Jack-o-Lantern Dishcloth from Coats
Boo the Ghost & Pumpkin
Witch in Flight Dishcloth from Wicket Stitch
Witch’s Hat Washcloth by Colour it Green
Skull and Crossbones Lace Pattern by Knitting-and.com
- Halloween Ghosties by Jean Green Howe
What will you make? What would you LOVE to make?
In 2015, I think I’m going to go after Sam Haim – the little ghoul from the movie, Trick ‘R Treat. (Though the gorgeous Fair Isle Scarf is calling to me.)
NOTE: All above photographs and images of knitting projects were obtained from the site of the original source of the free pattern and are used for the purpose of referring readers to the website that offers the content. At posting, all links are current and active. I have NOT made the projects, so I cannot guarantee that patterns are correct.
The photograph of the orange and black scarf in progress, used on the main Halloween index page, is Work in Progress by Jere Keys.
Okay folks, the hunt is ready! I’ll be tweaking and fussing on the home page, as is my wont, but I really wanted to make the hunt live tonight.
I hope you decide to play along this year (in whichever of the two main ways suits you best.) Also, please consider sharing the above image on your social media sites. The more folks that play, the more fun we’ll have.
Hi everybody! I’m getting a handle on my Halloween preparations here at The Paranormalist. This weekend, if all goes well, you’ll get:
a special edition of Macabre & Mysterious Media, the Fall 2015 television schedule: TV for lovers of horror, suspense, mystery, paranormal, super-normal …
and the launch of the 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt – a scavenger hunt for original digital images
Today, however, is a gorgeous late-summer day, and I need to get out and about for awhile. For now, I’ll have to content myself with just presenting the first of six share-able Halloween Countdown images.
Get out and enjoy YOUR day as the season begins.
This post is for my regular readers, who may be wondering what the hell is going on with me. It is, after all, less than nine weeks until Halloween, and –after a rather anemic start — my normal Halloween Countdown posts have stopped appearing on schedule.
Two things have happened:
Thing 1 (good):
I have been making excellent progress on my current novel project AND incorporating my brand-spanking-new copy of Scrivener into my process. (For those of you who don’t know, that’s a piece of software that simplifies the organizational aspects of a novel writing project.) I’m thrilled with the tool, but it’s got a steep learning curve. I’ve been refusing to let the time needed to familiarize myself with the program reduce my word count progress, thus, I am spending A LOT of time working on my fiction. The blog has suffered.
Thing 2 (insane):
I’ve realized that many of my original Halloween posts have grown unwieldy as I’ve updated them over the last couple of years. Getting some of them updated has made me realize that my system isn’t sustainable. The whole concept of my Halloween section needs an overhaul. I believe the countdown needs to be separated from the articles that have always accompanied them. Consequently, the countdown images themselves need to be redone. (I was getting tired of them anyway.) I expect to have a new series of images to share soon, but the countdown will be shorter than usual this year.
In the meantime, the Halloween-centric content that already exists needs to be repackaged.
Here’s a peek at the bones of the future Halloween index:
So I’m gonna do as much as I can manage this week, in an attempt to salvage the season before we get much closer to The Big Day. It will actually be less time-consuming than forcing the current system into an even more Gordian state. (My alternative is to completely strip Halloween out of the blog this year, and we all know that would kill me.) The project is underway, but I’ve got a lot to do before I’ll feel like I’m managing things well. Posts may go up at wonky intervals and/or be backdated. They may not yet fit neatly into a framework. For short periods of time, photos may be placeholders for planned shots. In short, it’s gonna be a mess before it gets better.
Adult Coloring Pages
Recently, my husband and I went to the bookstore where we saw dozens of themed coloring books prominently displayed, all of them intended for adults.
I couldn’t help but think the retailer has a brilliant sense of timing.
In late August and early September, I am always struck by back-to-school nostalgia. For me, that nostalgia manifests as an almost primal urge to hunt for and gather fresh creative supplies.
In the early autumn, when I shop for things I actually need, I keep accidentally wandering into the office and school supply section, where I linger over new academic planners and fondle new journals. I am prone to searching for a familiar green and yellow box just so I can open it and breathe in that new Crayola smell. (Is it stealing if all you do is snort up all the scent your sinuses can handle?)
I don’t really need any new art supplies. I’ve got plenty of crayons, markers and colors around the house. What I really need is a reason to use them. I am pretty sure there is a new coloring book in my near future, but I don’t yet know what theme I want to purchase. Until I figure it out, though, I can content myself with a few coloring pages.
I’ve offered a couple of links to free, printable coloring pages here at The Paranormalist in years past, as a sort of Halloween treat. This year, I’ve double-checked that those designs are still readily available AND I’ve found some new ones to share.
NOTE: I discovered that finding free coloring pages on the web is more complicated that one would think–there are A LOT of badly formatted sites out there.
All of the links I provide below will lead you to a PDF version of the image which will print on one standard size sheet of paper … you DO NOT have to download the document to special PDF viewers that so many of these pages aggressively advertise. (You do need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your PC — but you probably already do.) All of the following links have specific information about what to click. In general, clicking the correct link will open a new window with a larger version of the printable image. When the full-sized image opens, drop your cursor into the lower right corner of your window so the control panel opens.
TIP: Printing the designs on white card stock will give you an even better coloring experience, especially if you want to use colored pens or markers, rather than crayons or colored pencils.
Adult Coloring Pages for the Halloween Season:
NEW 5 Designs From Secret Garden:
Back in 2013, Johanna Basford published Secret Garden a vanguard title in the adult coloring book trend. Since then, she’s drawn at least two more books which can be ordered from Amazon, and found in many bookstores and gift shops. She is the rock star of adult coloring book artists. I’ve found five of her designs from Secret Garden available for free at The Guardian.
Please click this link to view the list of designs, then click each text link on that page to open each PDF. Forgive me for not posting thumbnails; the potential layers of copyright protection (between the book & the newspaper article) make me nervous about posting the images here. Here’s an image of the coloring book:
For the lead-up to Halloween, I especially love:
- #1 (a garden scene that could be colored to reflect late summer)
- #2 (a Mandela-style owl that begs to be colored in autumnal tones)
NEW Seven Sugar Skulls:
Choose from 3 difficulty levels, or a blank skull on which you can make your own decorative design.
At the above page, click the text link directly beneath the design.
At the above page, click the blue PRINT button beneath the design.
NEW Two Intricate Horror Designs from Coloring Life:
- Slasher Movie – at print screen: change layout to landscape and change margins to minimum (Default margins will make it over-run a tiny bit onto a second page.)
- Graveyard Celebration – at print screen: change layout to landscape and change margins to minimum, which makes it slightly larger
At the above links, look for the SMALL gray box that says “Print.” It’s above the random ad, which is above the image.
3 Halloween-themed coloring pages at Activity Village.
At the above links, click the text link directly above the design.
At the above link, follow for the instructions under the image.