Sunday, September 29, 2013

Return of the Boglights

Here it is at last! In 2011 the director of our film "Blackbird Pie" shot footage of our yard haunt at Halloween. I didn't have access to any video editing software at the time, and so the footage languished on my external hard drive.

But I have resurrected that footage! Using our editing suite I have dissected the corpus, and assembled the sundry gobs and snippets into the creature that rests on the slab before you! And so, to celebrate the start of October, and Halloween to come, I give to you: "Return of the Boglights"!

Click to view
Halloween 2011 ~~ The Boglights

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Autumn, and 2013 Halloween Candy Guide

Happy Autumn everybody and everybody. All of you bodies, the ones with blood still pumping, and the ones slowly cooling in preparation of the grave.

It is Autumn now! And boy does it feel like it. I crave a chorizo burrito on a crisp day.


So Halloween is fast approaching, and I know everyone will be scrambling to finish their props, set up haunts, plan for parties, and stock up on treats for The Day.  I thought I would share a quick and dirty guide to organic and fair trade candy for the trick r' treaters.

Why organic and fair trade? Well, for one, the quality of conventional products has been declining steadily for a while, and a lot of the treats that were desirable when we were tots just don't cut the mustard these days. In addition to declining quality, one cannot help but note the decline in value as well. Them "fun size" candies seem to get a little more "fun" sized every year. That ain't fair to you, nor to the brave kids that journey out for trick or treats.

In addition to those economical concerns, there are also health and wellbeing concerns. That high-fructose corn syrup stuff is in everything these days, and if a candy company is cheap enough to sweeten their product with corn syrup, you'd better believe they have no compunction about using cornsyrup from genetically modified corn. Blech. You know why they modify it? They're making the plant itself insecticidal! Makes the bugs just swell up and die. What's it do to kids? Well, I keep hearing this stuff about an "obesity epidemic". I don't put no stock in that though.

Anyway, enough horror stories, whatayagonnado? Well thankfully there are quite a few alternatives to traditional candies on the market today, that are organic and fair trade, and here are a few of the better ones.

Well, I usually hand out FULLSIZED bars to the kiddies, so I'll start with those:

Justin's Organic Peanut-Butter Cups
Just like a Reese's only 10X better than Reese's ever were. Quality chocolate, AND in both milk chocolate and dark. Om nom.

The Justin's Website
Justin's at

Oskri Bars
Oskri choco-coconut bars! They're not a traditional candy bar really, more like a chocolate covered vehicle for nutritious candybar-esque fillings like coconut and almonds. If you love Mounds or Almond Joys, you will love these more. Heck, I used to have these for breakfast, the coconut is a massive boost of brain food in the morning. I have yet to try their dark sesame bars, but they sound delicious.

The Oskri website
Oskri Bars at Amazon

Equal Exchange Chocolate Minis
If you're looking for a fun size bar, these are the ones to go for. Real basic dark and milk chocolate mini-bars, and for $25 smackers you can get like 150 bars! Plus these are fair trade chocolates, ensuring that the folks who picked those luscious chocolate beans get a fair share of the profit.

The Equal Exchange website


So those are my recommendations for this year. If you didn't find any of those options appropriate, well here's a website that offers a whole range of organic Halloween candies! It's a candy-cornucopeia already.

I'll leave you with the infographics that I shared last year as well!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Witch n' Stein

Stormy weather yesterday yielded a clear sunshine-y day today. These are just some glamour shots of the witch and Frankenstein heads I made. Looks like we're getting a number of volunteers for the haunt this year. Gonna be fun

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autumn Socks and Spooky Shocks

Well it must be Autumn, because yesterday I had to wear socks for the first time in three months. Heh heh.

Okay folks, I have a little treat brewing for youse-guise.

See I had all this footage of my haunt from a couple years back, just sitting on my external drive, not doing anything for anybody. I wanted to make a nice haunt video, but I never had the editing software I needed to put it together.

But our director Gary Wilder wants to use some of this footage in our movie, thus providing me an excuse to take all that footage over to the production house and put in a little work on the editing suite.

I'm just about done, there are some gaps here and there but Gary watched what I had, and was nodding approval throughout. Heh heh.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Homebrewed Fogger?

Just like gram'mama used ta make! This is a neat little tutorial showing the mechanics of a very primitive fog machine. It gets at something that I've been contemplating for quite a while: Could I make my own home-made fogger?

I think that any haunter who has used a store bought fog machine knows the pain these things can be. I have yet to own a fog machine that worked consistently two years in a row, and this isn't by accident, it's a business-minded industrial design tactic called "planned obsolescence" wherein products are designed to fail prematurely in order to encourage consumption.

Consumer fog machines are pretty darn simple, having three basic parts: a reservoir for the fog juice (filtered water and glycerin) a heating element with a thermal regulator to keep the machine from overheating, and a pump to push the fog juice through the system.

If the fellow above could do a makeshift fogger with a Bunsen, a pie tin, and a soda pop bottle, I imagine I could make something pretty effective myself.  Heck I could even figure out a condenser so that I wouldn't have to cool the fog to keep it flowin' low, and custom design the output for wider, low-laying, dispersal of the fog.

So I dunno, what do you think? Do you know of anyone who's tried to make their own fog machine?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Frankie jr!

Hey folks. I'm not lying, it is a dark and stormy afternoon, thunder rolls in the distance, and it's perfect weather to show you the Frankenstein head I made.

This is just a styrofoam wig head that I sculpted on with paper clay. I was going for kind of a mix of traits from Jack Pierce's iconic and never topped makeup for Boris Karloff in the original 1931 Universal production of Frankenstein along with the later makeup design for Glenn Strange.

Left: Boris Karloff ~ Right: Glenn Strange

I like the cragginess of the paper clay, though it's pretty much impossible to get fine detail in this stuff, next time I think I'll make my own.. I'm not sure about the paint job I did, I tried mixing purple and green. So whaddayou think? Crits are welcome!