Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Hi, not much left to say.  I was so out of blogging mode on the weekend and a bit busy. I thus missed  few days of the countdown, but there really wasn't much left to say.   I saw "Puss In Boots" in 3D on Sunday.   I waited until today to get candy for the kids who come to my door tonight, so that I would not eat all the candy myself.  After work, I changed into my Katy Parry costume and ran around town.  Not one person seemed to know who I was.  At one point I was mistaken for Lady Gaga.  Here I ma in the photo on the left with the bar tender and a bar regular at a Halloween celebration at local bar last Friday night.   I was thought by some to be a candy princess or candy fairy or something like that!

I felt like getting a lotto ticket today and picked one up at the Quik Stop across the street and won $13.

Once again, participating in the Halloween blog countdown was quite fun and I plan to do so again in 2012.  Here's hoping things will be different next year.   Till then, everyone have a safe holiday tonight.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three Days Till Halloween

Not much to say today, as the spooky day nears.   Just a few random thoughts of the day.

Tonight's the Halloween karaoke contest at one of my local bars.  I've been going for three years now and can't wait for tonight.

After work I wandered over to the Spirit Store and saw someone looking a the Charlie Sheen accessories. I now wonder how many people will be doing this one, and will I actually see any of them.  I never saw anyone as Michael Jackson or the Oxi Clean guy in 2009, and will I be seeing anyone as Charlie Sheen this year?  How about Angry Birds?  Amy Winehouse?

Today I noticed at Kmart about seven of the Dorothy dresses I got from them last year.  I guess he wasn't too popular this year.  Then again, I seemed to be the only wearing it last year, as far as I could  see.  At least one of the medieval princess dresses I saw the other day was left on the rack near the store entrance.  I still wonder abut those last-minute shoppers.

I still haven't bought any candy for the trick-or-treaters, but will not do so till at least Monday afternoon. I have to keep it away from me as long as possible to avoid eating all of it myself.

That's all for today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Funfetti cake

Since we're having a Halloween potluck at work tomorrow, I decided to make one of these cakes after seeing the Pilsbury Halloween Funfetti cake and frosting at Target the other day.  I bought these and began working on the cake when I got home today.  I'd worked longer than expected, but had to make time to make the cake for tomorrow.  

I have a bundt cake pan,  two muffin tins,  two round pans, and pan for making a sheet cake.  Since I'd bought the stuff two days ago, I had two days to decide which kind of cake to make.  I'd thought of making cupcakes, but did not get around to buying any cupcake liners, so before I began making the cake, I chose to use the two round pans and make a two-layer cake. I then followed the baking instructions on the box.

One thing I must admit is that I like making cakes, but only every so often.  I'm no expert, so I only do what I can.  Just carefully reading and following the instructions should keep from messing up the cake.   But whenever I do make a cake or cookies, they turn out fine in the end by following instructions.

After the cakes were done baking, I left them on the stove to cool before frosting them.  Then placed one of them on the base of  the plastic cake-saver and proceeded to frost that half, for the bottom layer of the cake, then placed the other half and frosted the remainder of the cake. Frosting the side of the
cake was somewhat difficult.  I then opened the Funfetti candy bits and  spread them across the top of the cake.  The sides looked bare, so I put on some of the candy corns I got at the store yesterday.  I wasn't sure  how to add the spread the candy bits on the sides without the bits spilling all over.

The cakes cooling after baking.
The bottom layer frosted. 
A distant shot of the cake.
The Candy Corn on the sides
The candy bits on the top of the cake.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Candy Corn Treat

On top of the bag, just before consumption.
This was something we had for sale at work, in the displays near the cash registers.  As the title says,  it's a candy treat, actually one of those treats made from Rice Krispies or similar cereals with marshmallows, made to look like a piece of candy corn.

I took a photo of this before eating it, which was actually about two weeks ago.   I didn't get around to blogging about it till now, since I had some much else to put for the countdown.  But I took the pictures since I knew I was going to mention this eventually.

Before removing the treat from the bag.
The characteristic candy corn tri-color design is made from white and orange frosting, with tiny yellow sprinkles.  I have never really known what those things are called.  I guess there was no yellow frosting. Either that or the person who made it liked the yellow sprinkles.

In the package
Pumpkin treat unwrapped before eating
Also there was this pumpkin treat, also made from Rice Krispies, with orange frosting and orange sprinkles, and green sprinkles for the pumpkin stem.

Needless to say there was a lot of sugar with the frosting on top of the cereal and melted marshmallows that were used to make the treats.   Rice Krispies treats are often just eaten as is, without frosting.  But the frosting was needed in this instance to make the pumpkin and candy corn look like a pumpkin and candy corn.

And while I'm on the subject of pumpkins, I got one at the party I attended last Saturday. It's still sitting in my house, as I have not yet decided what to do with it.  It's been so long since I've carved a pumpkin.  I'm not sure if I'll do that, but I sure don't want an uncarved pumpkin sitting around after Halloween.  I wouldn't know what to do with it then.  So I may just try to carve a simple face.

And speaking of candy corn, I got some of that today at Safeway as their generic brand is on sale this week.   Candy corn is most popular around Halloween, though it's also sold for other holidays. I know I'll be seeing the Christmas version soon, the green, red and white version called "Reindeer Corn."  This coming Sunday is what as known as National Candy Corn Day. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just six more days till Halloween

Today at Kmart I saw that Halloween stuff is now 50% off. Makes sense.  I also could not help noticing what costumes were leftover. At least seven burgundy medieval princess dresses, and about five Grim Reaper costumes, and about two or three sorceress costumes, among a few other things.  I could not help wondering how many last-minute shoppers are going to want these.  And if they need something at the last minute, these are what their choices are going to be.  It seems these aren't very popular this year.   This sounds like a gag on a  TV show, kind of?   "I'm sorry, but that's all that was left."  Of course, in TV world, it would be something very undesirable, whatever that could be. But if I'd waited till now to find something, I wouldn't have minded the medieval princess, not too sure about the sorceress, and definitely not the Grim Reaper.  Makes me glad I try to decide on something early on so I'm not faced with few choices.

But these were just those on racks near the front entrance of the store.  There are still costumes, capes, makeup, wigs and such in the aisle were the stuff as initially placed when it began coming in.  So there are other choices for those still in need of a costume.  As I passed these aisles to get to the bathroom,  I overheard someone saying, "You should be ketchup and he should be mustard."  I guess all the ads for the mustard and ketchup bottles costumes have the guy as ketchup and the girl as mustard.  Ridiculous.  It's fine to decide to do just the opposite. And on the way back, a woman was showing her child (I could not see if it was a boy or girl) costumes, including an orange clownfish and a duck, saying "You could be a Nemo or a duck..."

Later, at Target, I picked up a CD of Halloween music, that I'd seen the other day.  And the I bought the Halloween Funfetti cake mix and frosting to make for our pot luck on Friday at work.  I've wanted to try this stuff, but barely ever have time to bake, but will have to find time on Thursday after work.   SInce the shipment for today was cancelled, I didn't have to work today and am off gain tomorrow, so I'm getting jump on doing my laundry and will be making a run to Safeway tomorrow, so all this will be done before the weekend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hottest Celebrity Costumes of 2011?

Here I am as Katy Perry from a  party put on my my county's Democrats last Saturday.  The invite through Facebook said that costumes were optional and I was the only one in costume, except those who performed in the haunted house.

I've never been a celebrity for Halloween before and am now wondering if I will see others disguised as a celebrity.  In 2009, I'd hoped to see  a lot of Michael Jackson and Billy Mays, but not one of either. No Farrah Fawcett either. No Lady Gaga last year.  I must not be in the right places for these costumes.

Charlie Sheen MaskIt is now being said that Charlie Sheen is the top costume for 2011.  I've already seen the Sheen accessories at the Spirit Halloween store.  The one I've been to has the Sheen accessories on an endcap with a life-size cut-out of the actor, referred to as "Sheen's Korner." I first spotted these in September after the store opened and Tweeted this info to my followers on Twitter and one follower declared that he's got his costume for this year.  I'm now wondering how many Charlie Sheen impersonators I will see, but I now suspect I won't be in the right place for these costumes.  But there must be some people going as Sheen as several websites have said the Sheen mask (pictured at right) is sold out.

The above link also says:
In a growing trend toward pop-culture references, top choices for women include Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Snooki (or any member of the gang from the "Jersey Shore" cast). ...
Katy Perry - California Gurl Adult CostumeI now wonder if I'll see another Katy Perry this year.  I actually though of getting the cupcake bra or even attempting to make one myself like this.  I decided it would be too for this one, though, and went
with the candy dress, which I bought at the Spirit store, where I also got the lavender wig.  I added the candy necklace, which I had a hard time finding till I looked at Safeway.  A premade cupcake bra costume is available but only sold on Spirit's website.  The website also has it for
Katy Perry - Whipped Cream Adult Costumesale.  BuyCostumes also has the whipped cream costume from the "California Gurls" video.  What are the chances I'll see one of these or another girl in the candy dress?

Amy Winehouse is also expected to be popular.  It seems every year a recently deceased celebrity inspires costumes for Halloween, but once again I wonder if I will miss seeing anyone was Winehouse the way I missed seeing any Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett or Billy Mays two years ago.  Pictured is an Amy Winehouse costume from Amazon.

The Spirit store devoted an endcap to "Jersey Shore."  Though I've heard all the hype over the show, I've never seen it since I don't have cable and therefore won't know if I see someone as one of the characters. They will probably think I'm weird not to know, but they will have to understand I have no cable.

Who else can you expect to see?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Scary Decorations at Kmart

Shot these videos at Kmart yesterday.  I'd have loved to buy some of these decorations, but am not sure where to hang them.   Still it was watching these things at the store was fun. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Video From Spirit Store

I took this last week at the Spirit Halloween store in Gilroy, California:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Still Another Grocery Store Decoration

This seems to be a common decoration as nearly every grocery store in my town except Savemart seems to have one of these. There is one other store I have not yet looked at, but I rarely go to that one. I may just do so just to see if they have one of these displays.  

This one (above) was taken at Nob Hill and looks a lot like the one I took last week(at right)  I looked closely at this display and saw tape on the boxes.  I then carefully touched one of the boxes and could tell that it was empty, something  I should have suspected all along.  I wondered how they could have balanced all  these boxes this way, but I should have known the boxes are empty.  There is no way they could have balanced all those boxes if they were full.  And look at how the "stems" made from Mountain Dew packs are constructed.

Notice in the photo above the cutouts and the "Be Scary" sign.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Neighborhood Haunts #5

The last of the shots from last Sunday's walk.  these are all from the same house, one of the few elaborately decorated in the park.  The fake spider webs on the railing was the most noticeable part.  I also liked the hanging ghost from the porch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Neighborhood Haunts #4

The fake spiderwebs on this one made this shot a bit blurry. 

The same house above, from a different angle.

Another house heavily decorated with fake spiderwebs.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Neighborhood Haunts: Post #3

Love the pumpkin decor on this one, and he fake spider web
in the window.
Spider web decoration with pumpkin lights.
Pumpkin, skeleton and ghosts in a window,
Loved this very spooky display. This was the best I could shoot of this
one without trespassing into the driveway next door.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Neighborhood Haunts--Post #2

This is the first one I spotted on my walk.
Even in a  large trailer park, there were so few decorated homes to be found.  Here are some photos I took while walking around yesterday afternoon, a pretty warm day for October.  More photos will be posted in the next few days.
A small cemetery decoration.
Best shot I could get of this one, since the decoration
was behind the van in the driveway.

"666 Elm street" reads this window sign.  Strangely, there IS
an Elm Street in the park.  
Love how the bronze cowboy boots and statues
look with the Halloween on this one.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Neighborhood Haunts

Here is just one decoration put up by someone in one of the houses on the streets behind the grocery store across from my home.  I took a walk to this area last week and didn't find a lot of houses decorated.  I guessed some people just haven't gotten around to doing it yet. I plan to look for more later and to look around my mobile home park for my neighbors' haunts for upcoming blog entries.  Here are the photos for today's entry.  This was the best I could shoot from the sidewalk.
Love this pumpkin, but wonder what the orange and white
thing on the ground is. 
I really don't know what that decoration on the door is, but
 I love the sideways view of the scarecrow.
Fun graveyard decoration with monster.
Closer shot of the graveyard and monster.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Grocery Store Decoration Made From Soda Packs

This one was at Safeway.  It was in the front window, just in front of the checkstands, making it hard to photograph the entire display.  This ghost decoration was made from 12-packs of Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. The first two photos were taken inside the store, and the last one was taken from the outside. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grocery Store Display

This was at a grocery store across from my home.
This pumpkin is made from 12-packs of Orange Crush,
Pepsi One, and Mountain Dew.  This is one side of
the decoration, as viewed from the back wall of the store.
A closer shot of the same side above.
The other side, decorated with fake spider webs, and a
Frankenstein cut-out.  
"Eat, Drink and Be Scary" says a sign on the display.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Should You Choose Something Different?

This was me on Halloween in 2008.  You're probably wondering what this was supposed to be.  And so were a lot of others that year.  I was the Seven Deadly Sins. I'd already told the people at work I was going to do this, so they knew (my boss took this picture at work).  But I did suspect that others weren't going to know, so I had to find a way to explain that would not be too tiring. I managed to make it fun.  FYI, here's how it went:

  • Pride: a tiara with a black skull with purple and black tinsel.
  • Greed: a boa made from fake $100 bills (people noticed this the most).
  • Envy: Green hair piece and green makeup (not very noticeable in the photo).
  • Sloth: The bathrobe
  • Lust: Fishnets and lacy garters
  • Wrath: white glove stained with fake blood.
  • Gluttony:  A belt made of plastic dog toys shaped like food, including donuts, Oreo-like cookies, a hot dog, cheeseburger and an ice cream cone.

Should you choose something different for Halloween?   That, of course, is your decision, but one thing to keep in mind is that though there likely won't be millions of others doing the same things as you, most people will likely not know what you are.  They might also assume you are something else that your outfit might seem to resemble.  And you may have to make the costume yourself, since it probably won't be sold in stores.  

In 2009, I bought the Pumpkin Spice costume from a costume website.  The pumpkin stem on the wig was unfortunately not very noticeable and many did not know it was supposed to be a pumpkin.  Someone thought it was a relative of the Flinstones or the Jetsons.  I thought that was kind of funny.  I was surprised when one person actually knew that it was called Pumpkin Spice.  

Can you see the pumpkin stem in the photo on the left? Likely not, at least not from the angle from which this photo was shot.  I have other shots of this one, but far too many to search through right now.  From what I recall, the stem must not have been too visible for most people.

Another thing that made me write this is something from the book "Blubber" by Judy Blume.  I never really red the book, but glanced at a used copy in a thrift store once.  In one chapter, the girl is deciding on a costume for Halloween, and doesn't want to be a witch again.  She decides to be a flenser, an idea she gets from another girl's class report on whales.   A flenser is a person who strips the blubber or skin from a whale.   She hopes to win as most original costume.  

Lawsuit, PunAnd last year, on the TV show "The Middle" had a Halloween episode in which the younger son Brick donned an unusual costume.  He was Charles MacKenzie, Scottish sergent  from World War I.  But no one knows that, and they mistake him for everything from Shirley Temple,  to a Catholic schoolgirl to Groundskeeper Willie from "The Simpsons, " and even Hannah Montana.  No one knows, that is except the old man down the street, who claims not to know who Hannah Montana or Groundskeeper Willie are.  

I have perused the website Costume Idea Zone for several years now.  Many of the ideas included are unusual ones, and many are plays on words,  such as Lawsuit:  Wear a nice suit and carry a briefcase. Attach legal documents all over yourself.  See the picture at left. And if you want any other ideas, look for other fun ideas on that website.  I've seen so many I like but haven't gotten around to using any of them. 

Now there is nothing wrong with doing something unusual for Halloween, as it's your chance to be creative and stand out.  There's just the unfortunate consequence of most people knowing what you're supposed to be.  But you can make it fun and come up with away of explaining your idea that will be fun too, and not tiresome.  Do what you like, whether it's original or traditional or one of the hot ones for the year.  Just be who or what you really want to be, as is always that case on this one night of the year. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quiz: What Does Your Favorite Candy Say About You?

You Are a Zany Trendsetter

You are energetic and full of inspiration.
You never slow down, and you're constantly leaving people and ideas behind.

You are a true visionary. You are constantly thinking about the future.
You love living, and you stay flexible. You're open to going wherever life takes you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Costumes: The Sacrifice

Homemade Jelly Belly Halloween Costume
Bag of jelly beans made from balloons
and clear plastic bags
Grapes Easy Halloween Costume
Classic grapes costume from
purple balloons.

I've liked a lot of costume ideas over the years including the classic bunch of grapes or bag of jelly beans (both pictured at left). But have never done these because of having to use balloons for the grapes or jelly beans.  I just get fearful of how long the balloons will last before popping or
deflating, and just how will I drive to the celebration at the bar
or wherever with a bunch of balloons attached to me. And they will also restrict movement, and make going to the bathroom difficult.  I once thought the jelly beans could be done with the balls you see in kids' play areas such as those at McDonald's.  These won't pop or deflate, but two problems exist with this idea.  One is where to buy these things for your own use, and the other is that they won't make it any easier to move, drive, etc., than with the balloons.

Other ideas I've liked but avoided are using boxes to make costumes, an idea given on this site.  A lot of these seem like fun, some of you might say, and I think so too.  And you can get boxes free.  But just how do you move in these get ups? Something I have always pondered when considering making one of them.

Homemade skill crane costume.
Aquarium, Child,Inanimate objects
Aquarium costume made from a box.

Rubik's Cube, Inanimate objects
Classic Rubik's Cube toy from
a box.

These all appear to be examples of something I came across sometime ago.  In this hubpage article, that author describes what he calls "Common Stereotypes and the People Who Wear Them."  One stereotype he mentions is "The Sacrifice," which the above costumes and anything similar to them all seem to fall under.  "The author describes "The Sacrifice" stereotype as:

Sometimes being really creative means paying a price. Whether wearing your movable, awesome-looking Transformer costume means you can't go pee or that by being a fully-functioning condom dispenser keeps you from raising your arms above your head, sometimes you have to be willing to give up some things for the sake of Halloween. These types of costumes mentioned are officially known as The Sacrificeand are what you have to be willing to deal with all night if you want to take your Halloween costume to the next level.
Not all sacrifices are equal either and although you might not be welcomed on the dance floor with your life-size paper mache Sponge Bob Square Pants costume, you'll be laughing last when you walk away with the best costume prize money at the end of the night. I mean, who cares that you can't even get a drink at the bar without knocking out every other person within a 10-foot radius? You look damn good and the 450 hours that you've spent building your Halloween masterpiece is paying off 100%.  
Here are some images presented in that hub that illustrate this idea:
Moveable Transformer costume.

Another Rubik's Cube
I loved that line about a "life-size paper mache Sponge Bob Square Pants costume."  Seems a bit ambitious and a lot of work.  Most would just use and paint a box for Sponge Bob, a lot less work. Or even use a paper bag.  See this link
Spongebob Costume
SpongeBob made from a box
Spongebob Costume
SpongeBob from a
paper bag

Not only would a grown-up have trouble driving in most of these costumes, but a small child might have trouble walking to and from school or riding the bus in one of these things.  And how will this restrict the child's movement while going out tog et candy on Halloween night?  Just wondering how some have done this, if they have. 

In some cases, if you use a box to make a costume, you might be able to come up with some way to make it so you can remove it when needed.  Unfortunately, this won't work in all cases, and it won't work with the balloons.  

I guess the author was right when he said being creative means paying a price.  If you can give up some things for the sake of a costume, then do so if you wish.  Maybe one day I'll be up to doing one of these things, despite the things I'll have to sacrifice.  But it seems driving is the main problem involved here, so going to a celebration is what I'll have to sacrifice.  So I guess these ideas are what I'll have to sacrifice.