Something Spooky Finale, Or: Happy Halloween!

Day 25: “Shadows and Spirits” at the Capitol

Ghost hunter Sabrina and I took a tour of the State Capitol, led by “spirits” and lit the way it was 100 years ago (which is to say: dimly). The tour guide/ghosts were great, and I learned some things (it was put on by the Minnesota Historical Society). I tried to take a picture of a sign that said “Please Do Not Lean On The Historical Table,” but was forbidden.

Spooky State Capitol

This was also forbidden, but I’m a rebel.

Day 26: “Caves and Graves” Tour around St. Paul

I’ve already mentioned that I love the Wabasha Street Caves. Gangsters AND ghosts? I’m on board. This tour started at the caves, where we were all released to ghost hunt through a couple of unfinished caves.

Wabasha Street Cave Candle

Then we loaded up on a bus and drove around St. Paul, learning some great macabre history of the town, like the story of William Williams (the last man executed in Minnesota) and Louis Arbogast (the oldest unsolved murder in St. Paul).

My interests are vast.

Day 27: St. Paul BOOs Crawl

This was essentially Halloween for the 20-something set, since who wants to bar-hop on a Wednesday? (Answer: lots of people, just not me) After doing slightly terrible things to Dorothy and Toto for Zombie Pub Crawl this year, I kind of made it up to them by doing this:

Desaturated Dorothy

Dorothy…before the rainbow.

Props to my friend/makeup artist Kelly for making us look like living photoshops.

Day 28: Pumpkin Lantern

Since I’m better with power tools than I am with knives, I decided to break out the drill and three bits and make my itty-bitty pumpkin into a luminary.

Pumpkin Luminary

I made a huge mess, and I can barely fit a tea light in there, but I like my tiny, dotty pumpkin.

Day 29: Treehouse of Horror

My dad recently gifted me with an antenna (and a new TV) so that he has something to look at when he comes to visit. I’m still getting used to having channels for the first time in over 4 years, but it came in handy while switching back and forth between SuperStorm Sandy coverage (consider donating to the Red Cross, blood or money!) and a rerun of a Simpsons episode.

Day 30: Facepainting at the YWCA

Am I an expert facepainter? Heavens no. But can I draw a ghost, a pumpkin, or something that vaguely resembles a cat onto squirmy, sugared up children who do not have immediate access to mirrors? Heck yes I can! And I can do it while dressed like a fairy princess.

Unfortunately, I can also forget I’m dressed like a fairy princess and accidentally wear a tutu into a deli, but that’s my challenge.

Day 31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Today I dressed up as a princess again at work.  My mother makes tutus for toddlers, and “felt bad” she never made one for me as a toddler. So she made one for me now. Logic! This tutu is amazing. It pairs perfectly with my silver heels, which are impossible to walk in, so I’ve been hobbling around, leaving a trail of glitter in my totally graceful wake. Not a single person asked me to take my toy back to the caaaaahpet, but I did win a costume  contest.

Now I’m in costume number 4 for the month – some sort of generic witch devil, aka “everything black and red in my closet and a headband from Walgreens” – reminiscing about Halloween ’91 (as we Minnesotans like to do), and waiting impatiently for trick-or-treaters to arrive. I hope everyone has enjoyed October as much as I have!

BOOOOOooooooOOOOOOO!

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Something Spooky 5, Or: Just a Little Hocus Pocus

(Again, parts one, two, three, and four)

Day 21: Spooky-Scary Music

I spent a bunch of time in the car on this day, so instead of searching for another episode of “This American Life” I went with a Halloween Pandora station. I kept waiting for this to play, but unfortunately it did not.

Day 22: It’s just a little Hocus Pocus

Real talk – what Halloween movie is better than “Hocus Pocus?” No movie. It’s the best. I’m not the first person to note this.

Jump to my favorite part at the :30 mark:

Seriously the best.

Day 23: Treat Yo Self!

First, I bought all the candy.

All the candy

All of it.

Then, thanks to a deep love of Donna and Tom from Parks and Recreation (and an idea I saw online), I propped these signs up in my candy bowls.

Treat Yo Self to Candy

Treat Yo Self to cavities

Then I tried not to eat all of the candy. I’m not going to say if I succeeded or not, but I will say it’s probably a good thing I’m walk/run/jogging the annual Step Out to Stop Diabetes 5k on October 27th.

Day 24: Halloween party/Clothes Swap

Whenever my closet gets overly full or I decide I need to spruce up my wardrobe, I throw a “clothes swap party.” This basically involves inviting a bunch of girls to come over and bring anything they want to donate to Goodwill to me instead. Then there’s a free-for-all of trying on, commenting on, and swapping clothes. Some people go home happy to have cleared space in their closets, some people go home happy to have added more to their wardrobes, and I stay home with a kitchen table that looks like this.

Clothes burying table

The leftovers will eventually go to Goodwill, but for now my apartment looks like it was hit by a clothing tornado. I cannot be bothered to care because LOOK AT THESE SHOES I HAVE NOW.

sparkly shoes

Oooh…a Sparkly! You’re wearing a Sparkly!

It was also Halloween themed party in the sense that my apartment looks like a creepy yet well-read witch lives in it (not far off). Several of my friends are already afraid of my apartment because I might have a ghost (I named him Dennis, because of course I did), so it really added to the ambiance when the light in my hallway started doing this just in time for my guests:

OooooOOOOOOoooooh! More ghost hunting coming up. If I see anything I’ll try to remember to turn the camera the right way first.

Something Spooky 4, Or: Pumpkin, Book, Pumpkin Book

(Read parts one, two and three here)

Day 15: “Haunted,” This American Life

It turns out this wasn’t actually a Halloween episode of TAL, but it did feature one of my all-time favorite David Sedaris stories, “Ashes,” so at least I enjoyed myself. I also bought a pumpkin! I haven’t done anything to it yet, though, so no pictures.

Day 16: Read “5 Little Pumpkins” to several little punkins

Tuesdays are generally my favorite days of the week, because I spend a couple of hours volunteering with babies. (I don’t mean the babies are also volunteering, I mean I volunteer to hang out with them.) For two hours I try to stop small people from banging their heads into things and/or screaming, and it is not without precedent that I’ll call a friend after and say, “Hey, can I come over and watch a movie? Yes? Great! Also, can I borrow your clothes and throw what I’m wearing in your washing machine, because I’m covered in spit-up.”

Seriously, I love Tuesdays.

So for Day 16, I corralled the children (okay, two of them) long enough to read “Five Little Pumpkins” aloud. It seemed to be to their taste because they kept trying to eat the book.

Day 17 – 19: “The Twelve” by Justin Cronin (vampires are in this book so it totally counts)

“The Twelve,” the sequel to “The Passage,” was finally released on October 16th. I picked it up that day, and started it the next.

I finished it three days later.

This is not really unheard of for me, as once I get hooked on something I have trouble doing anything else. Plus, this storyline is really engrossing – I recommend this book to people who like Stephen King, post-apocalyptic storylines, Battlestar Galactica, and reading – and I’m already bummed I have to wait so long for the third to be released.

Still, finishing a 500 page book in three days turned some heads…

Twitter Screen

THAT’S THE AUTHOR, YOU GUYS

Ahem.

Day 20: Danced to “Thriller” at a wedding

Nothing scarier than me on the dance floor. These guys do it much better.

PS: If it’s not clear from this post, I love reading and I love kids. That’s why this year I’m going to participate in All Hallows Read. Consider giving a book this Halloween!

Something Spooky 2, Or: The Haunting of Rachel Peterson

The challenge to do “something spooky” every day of October continues…

Day 5: Costume shopping, bloody candle making

Co-“Halloween Nut” Sabrina and I hit Savers in preparation for the eighth annual (and our fourth) Zombie Pub Crawl on October 13th. We also did a little decor shopping, and I picked up some glass candle holders to hold my homemade bloody candles and complete this scene in my living room.

Raven, bloody candles and black flowers

Quoth the raven: she stole this idea from Martha Stewart.

Day 6: “Beetlejuice” and photoshopping some freakiness

I popped in “Beetlejuice” while firing up photoshop on the computer  thanks to this idea from Young House Love. Basically all the frames in my apartment are now filled with portraits of my loved ones as skeletons, ghosts, or zombies. Surprise, loved ones!

Lacy as a ghost

Imagine getting an email that just says “look what I did to your face” and then you see this. That’s what it’s like being friends with me.

Day 7: “Bleak House” and creepy art takeover

The creepy portrait takeover continued for another day while I started watching BBC’s 2005 series of “Bleak House.” That title, what I know about Dickens’ other work and the presence of Gillian Anderson convinced me it would fit the theme of Something Spooky, and I was right. The character names are pure Dickensian nonsense (“Prince Turveydrop,” you guys), people walk around wearing black veils and shooting each other, and someone spontaneously combusts.

Day 8: Homemade apothecary jars

Perhaps inspired by my marathon of “Bleak House,” I decided to make these things.

instagram photo of apothecary jars

Looks like we need to restock on that Swamp Water.

And you can too! Here’s how:

Step one: Raid your recycling bin for glass bottles. Find one Snapple and two beer bottles.
Step two: Realize that’s not going to be enough. Consider drinking more beer (you are out of Snapple). Instead go to Goodwill and buy three interesting looking glass jars, one of which is filled with sand from Hawaii.
Step three: Do the dishes that have been sitting in your sink for a week.
Step four: In your now empty sink, soak the bottles (aside from the sand one) in hot water to remove leftover beer/tea/Goodwill dust, labels and price stickers.
Step five: Print spooky labels found primarily through Pinterest.
Step six: Cut out labels and adhere to bottles with Mod Podge. (Er, step 6.5: have Mod Podge.)
Step seven: Tie little charms to the tops of bottles for added effect (you found these in the clearance bin at Michaels when you bought the Mod Podge earlier).
Step eight: Group together, photograph, Instagram, admire, and acknowledge you are a woman of odd enthusiasms.

Day 9: Draw a spooky picture (while finishing up “Bleak House”)

I knew I wanted to do a spooky sketch, and since I’d been photoshopping skulls for two days, I decided to continue the theme.

Rachel's drawing of a skull

Eeeeeek

When I draw, I get pretty focused on what I’m doing without actually realizing…what I’m doing. That is to say, I worked on this for about two hours before stepping back and going “Holy crap. I’ve been staring THIS in the face? Get it away from me.” So while it’s not perfect, I’m not touching it again.

It turns out covering my apartment with cobwebs was not enough. Making candles bleed was not enough. Decorating with books I had lying around the house (including, and I’m not kidding when I say I already had this on hand, a copy of the actual Rite of Exorcism) was not enough. But a picture drawn with pastels, the medium of softly-lit portraits of children and fluffy animals, was enough. I finally, legitimately gave myself the creeps. Not that I’m crying uncle; I just think I need to give skulls a rest.

On to zombies!

Something Spooky, or: The Science of October

I love October. Not only were two of my best friends born this month (love you, Lacy and ma!), it is the first month that truly feels like fall, my favorite season. And, because this is Minnesota, it is also the only month that feels like that.

Best of all, October is the season of spooky. It’s my preference to look ridiculous at all times, so I love any excuse to wear a costume. I love history, and weird, macabre history is the best. And c’mon, I super love candy.

So in order to make the most of life, I’ve decided to challenge myself to do something spooky – every day in October. I’m calling it…wait for it…

Something Spooky.

(and your reaction to this reveal is…)

Day 1: (Re)watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 2 episode, “Halloween.”

Look, I made up this challenge at about 9 pm on a Monday, so I had to start with what was available. Plus, what’s more fun than the episode of BtVS where the Scoobies become their costumes?

Day 2: Apartment Creep-ification Begins

I’m a dork (sentence could end there and still be true) for home decorating. I’m obsessed with Apartment Therapy and Young House Love and antique stores and artwork and crafting. Still, my Halloween decorating usually begins and ends with knocking down real cobwebs to hang fake ones. But not this year. This year, my 100-year-old-apartment is getting a haunting Halloween makeover.

Skull and webs

My new doorman

Books and Petals

“Spooky” books are essential to the decor

Please note that I do not have roommates, nor do I entertain guests all that often. I’m just doing this to creep myself out, I guess. There’s more to come, and some things will even be handmade. Blame Pinterest.

Day 3: Read a spooky story

I did not watch the debates, because I am not after a real “what is this world coming to” kind of terror. Instead, I reread one of my all-time favorite stories: “Lamb To The Slaughter” by Roald Dahl (part of the collection “Skin,” or you can read it online here). Oh, you didn’t realize your favorite children’s author also wrote creepy stories for adults? Do yourself a favor and check them out. Then re-examine your childhood.

Day 4: “Dead and Undead,” a Social Science Event at the Science Museum of Minnesota

I’m very lucky to have a wonderful and delightfully weird best friend who, when asked, “Instead of taking you out for a nice dinner for your birthday, what if I take you to a science museum and we learn about mummies and zombies?” immediately answered, “MUMMIFIED CHICKENS!”

The Science Museum of Minnesota occasionally has “Social Science” events for the 21+ crowd, and this week’s “Dead and Undead” event was a treat. Lacy and I:

Took this awesome picture in the Lost Egypt exhibit.

Fake camel photo bomb

Photobombed by a fake camel

Saw this guy sewin’ up a squirrel.

Taxidermy on a squirrel

Some people juggle geese.

Became ghosts.

Ghost Rachel

Boo!

Allowed professional makeup artists to do this to our faces.

Zombie face Rachel and Lacy

We later ordered a pizza and were so prepared to freak out the delivery guy. He did not react at all.  Apparently that delivery guy has seen some s***.

Did the “Thriller” dance up the stairs of a museum as zombies.

Lacy doing the Thriller at the Science Museum

‘Cause this is THRILLAAAAAAA!

And of course, saw this mummified chicken.

Mummified Chicken

No birthday is complete without a mummified chicken.

So much more to come. Something Spooky October has just begun! I’ve got a huge to-do list started, but suggestions are welcome. Any great Halloween-y activities out there I just must try?

Best Things of the Month!

Actually it’s been over 2 months since my last “Best Things” post, but if I had more time to write these things I’d have less to write about, right?  So let’s just sum up October:

First there was the ZPC wherein I ruined the childhoods of many with my Zombie Princess pals, and then there was Halloween.  For that, I was Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for obvious reasons.

Two Charlies

The resemblance is uncanny.

A lot of girls use Halloween as an excuse to wear underwear in public; I just went a different way with it.  I bullied a buddy into going as Mac (aka I lent him a t-shirt and drew fake tattoos on his arms), and Manolo was a cat, so we did our best to reenact this video:

Overall I give Halloween (and October) a solid A.

NOVEMBER!

First there was vacation with the Ginger.

Then there was my dad’s first Vikings game.

empty dome

This is what the Dome looks like when you're 2.5 hours early.

They lost, of course. And cousin Adrian had to be taken out of the game with an ankle injury. Really not great, but it was awesome to be there with Pops anyway.  It’s also great that he’s quit smoking, and a non-smoking Pops is a snacking Pops. We had popcorn and Twizzlers for lunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

Next, actual Thanksgiving happened, and was lovely.

And finally: the Ginger’s birthday! Three costume changes were involved and we hopped all over Lowertown St. Paul: we started out swimming at the Holiday Inn, then a dinner at Kincaid’s (I am not that restaurant’s target audience, but even the vegetarian side dishes were beyond delicious), and then dancing/drinks at Barrio and the Bulldog.  It absolutely destroyed MY last birthday, which was spent sick on my couch with a Die Hard marathon.

Die Hard poster

If I hadn't been sick, it might have been a tie.

A lot of great things have already happened so far in December, but you’ll just have to wait until mid-February or whenever I update this again to find out about that.