Monday, September 21, 2009


Yikes! Where does the time go? I fully intended on making regular entries here, but life has been chaotic. And then there was that movie shoot that took me away for 9 days. I'm only just now starting to feel normal and rested again. Time to jump back in!

The Halloween Spectacle
I received this first book as a complimentary preview. I'm glad I liked it, because I'm new at this and it would feel really strange to have to offer a negative review of something I got for free. But hey, I liked it! (Whew!) The Halloween Spectacle, by Lesley Hershman, is geared for elementary school ages (the young hero is in the 4th grade) and it's really sweet.

Jake desperately wants a very pricey store-bought costume, but money is tight. An older neighbor lady offers him some seeds with some very complicated directions, promising a Halloween spectacle. One thing I liked about the book is that it does not have a predictable ending. When I read that Jake's parents were having money trouble, I figured I knew exactly how the story would end. I was wrong. That's all I'll say, except that it was a pleasant change from the usual.

I identified with Jake, who was awkward and out of step. That was me all through school! I cringed for him when his crafty mom wanted to make his costumes every year, and they were kind of lame and sad because they were made from what was near at hand (and did not take his preferences or interests into account). That, at least, I didn't have to deal with. But I still felt for him. I'm a crafter, and learned long ago that not everything needs to be knitted, for example.

Black Plants
If you're a gardener who loves Halloween, check out the book Black Plants: 75 Striking Choices for the Garden by Paul Bonine. I have a copy and it's just gorgeous. (Also, some of the "black" plants are very deep purple or red, so they're quite striking without being actually black, if the thought of a black garden doesn't float your boat.)

Free books?
It's the time to start reading scary books! I have a collection of favorites that I return to when the mood strikes but, for the last year, I've also been trying to read some classics that I've not read before. Last year, just before Halloween, I read Dracula (for the first time!), among others. Earlier this year, when the mood found me, I enjoyed The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. For the current spooky season, I'm continuing that plan: I recently read Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and am currently reading The Turn of the Screw.

A great way to get your hands - quickly and cheaply - on new-to-you scary books is to download PDFs of books in the public domain (as many of the classics are).

I've recommended Google Books in the past, but really... I've had such spotty results (every book I've downloaded has been missing at least one set of pages), so I'd suggest moving them down your list. Instead, check out FeedBooks (link is to horror selection, naturally). If you have a Kindle, many of the books are available in a compatible format. The PDFs that I've downloaded so far are clear and easy to flip through. I linked to them here, regardless of my source.

Another way is to find free books is to use a site like Good Reads (which I use & love), and search for a book that interests you. If a preview or - even better - free download is available, a button is there for you to click. The bonus is that you can, at the same time, add the book to one of your "shelves."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Collecting: Trick or Treat

Mantle: Feb 14, 2009 (2)
This photo was taken in February of this year. Our collection of David Frykman Trick-or-Treaters (TOT) is on display, somewhere in the house, at all times. We're missing a couple of items (black cat on pumpkin, ghost costume candle holder and walking witch), but only one falls under the ToT category, so I'm not hyperventilating. Not shown is the flat Jack-o-lantern Votive Holder. That's in the master bath, next to the tub.

We bought our first piece (the boy in the devil costume) about 5 or 6 years ago at the gift store in Hell, MI. That's how collections get started! Finding the others has been a trip. The bunny boy showed up with broken ears, but he was so hard to find that I just glued them on and chalked it up to experience. They're the closest to "cute" that my Halloween decorations get.

I've heard from a few folks in the Ravelry Halloween Geeks group that they have some Halloween decorations up year 'round. Do you?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fun: Para Abnormal Comics

I love Dave Lowe's work. He is a real Halloween fan, and I'll probably be pointing you to some of his other online antics. Today, though, check out his Para Abnormal web comic. This is a slightly older one (April), but I'm on a zombie kick, for reasons which will be made clear to you soon enough.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shop: The Sunshine Shed

I would be shocked to find a Halloween buff that didn't find something they liked at The Sunshine Shed.

Personally, since I collect acorns, I have my eye on the rusted acorn (page 2), but there are so many other things!

PS: I'm working on a zombie-themed post -- lots and lots of zombie items -- and am going to do a small giveaway after I get a couple more "followers" on Google. Have you been dying to try something from Dark Candles? I'm going to share one of my votives so you can see for yourself.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Knit: Spider Scarf - Amazing

I promise, not all the content will be about knitting. But I do knit, and dye yarn, so it's natural that I'd get started with some posts that have many interests colliding. Really, whether or not you knit, you need to see this scarf:

(image used with permission from idyllicchick)

Pattern: October is for Spinners
Download free pattern (PDF)
Ravelry Link
by Sharon Emery, co-owner of Hanks Yarn and Fiber in Gainesville, FL

I'm telling you: I don't even like spiders. And this is in my queue. I think it's brilliant.

In case you're wondering: you start knitting with several strands of laceweight yarn, on smaller needles. Then, as you go, you a) drop a strand of yarn, and b) go up a needle size, until you're working on the largest needles with a single strand.

Shop: Urban Legends Yarn

Why not start out by promoting my own stuff?

Available in my Etsy shop.

About this Blog

Original title was: Watch this Space!

I'm so excited about blogging just about Halloween stuff. I'm not sure it's a wise move, since I'm not doing such a great job of keeping my regular blog up-to-date, but ah, what the heck!

My name is Mel, and I'm a Halloween Geek. I have been sharing links in a low-tech format on for a few years now. I expect to start posting semi-regularly sometime this week, so watch this space!

  • To submit suggestions, email me at: myhalloweenlinks at gmail dot com. (Sorry it's not an easy click, but I am so tired of spam!)
  • Suggested links/products/etc. could show up on the blog alone, on the links list, or both.
  • Please note that I am not a huge fan of sites with automatic music, so I'll either skip that kind of thing or include a warning.
  • I accept items for review. Drop me a line at the above email addy for my PO box.
  • For my readers, I promise that you'll always know when posts are "solicited" reviews. Unless otherwise indicated, I'm just a fan or customer.
Ads & Affiliate Links
  • I will accept sponsors and place approved ads in my sidebar. Just get in touch. For a small additional fee, I'll create the ad for you.
  • I'm on the fence with the idea of automatic advertising on this blog (via Google ads). For the time being, I'm going to hold off on that.
  • Some of the links here will be affiliate links, meaning that I get a small percentage if you buy anything.
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