A Spec-CRAFT-ular DIY Halloween How-To

I might have mentioned before that I am a late-night quirky crafter. Think Amy Sedaris without the fame and fortune.

The fall season, specifically Halloween, has become quite the merry ol’ time for us pro-craft-inators. There are many, many guides to support our habit when creativity stumps you and they are most amply available at good ol’ HPB for cheaps!

But, one of my favorite past times is to dig in the old craft-drawer and develop a something-from-nothing quirky project all by myself. I present to you, my Paper-Maché Wine Toppers…just in time for the spooky season:

Supplies needed:

  • Old newspapers
  • School glue (All-purpose, white glue-all)
  • Paint brushes
  • Assorted paint colors
  • A couple of latex party balloons left over from someone’s birthday or that last summer water balloon fight
  • Random plastic containers (I like cottage cheese containers best!)

  1. Water down the glue a little in the cottage cheese container (make sure you washed it out!)
  2. Douse your strips of newspaper
  3. Here’s the fun part: blow up the balloons to about 6 in or so in diameter, try to avoid the impulse to throw a party.
  4. Coat your balloons in the soggy/gluey newspaper, leave the bottom portion un-papered so you can get the balloon out and use them as a proper-topper (I’m a poet and didn’t know it)
  5. You can go to sleep now; the paper needs to dry
  6. When you wake up you will have two crusty-paper coated balloons waiting for you!
  7. Paint the balloons as much or as little as you want and let the paint dry
  8. Here is the next fun part! Pop the balloons and enjoy your new craft!
  9. TA DA!

Notice how these Zombie and Alien paper-maché wine toppers hide the fact I am serving my guests extremely cheap wine! They won’t know until they have a headache in the morning!

Dream up a quirky craft of your own this fall-season! Tell me about it below and I will try it out, the fewer instructions you give, the more fun I’ll have!

Enjoy fall, y’all! — Becky

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Bexican75.

In space, no one can hear you scream

“In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Remember that tag line from the very first Alien movie? Well, the long awaited Prometheus is finally here, with Ridley Scott behind the camera again. At one time Scott was questioning whether the movie should be a prequel to Alien, but his final decision was in the affirmative. Although it is an independent story line, there will be several tie-ins to the original story and many previously unanswered questions will be answered. For instance, ever wonder what the story was with the entombed being behind the gun that the crew came across, commonly known as the “Space Jockey?” Or maybe you were wondering just how the alien spacecraft crashed on the planet to begin with?

 

More good news is that Scott brought back the artist, H.R. Giger, to give the film that distinctive Alien look. I would hazard a guess not to look for any of the alien creatures in this one, but look for lots of edge-of-your-seat tension and heart-pounding action. I can’t wait to see this film.

If you need a little refresher, or want to go watch Prometheus and then do a movie marathon, be sure to pick up Ridley Scott’s Alien, James Cameron’s Aliens, David Fincher’s Alien 3 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien Resurrection.

    

As always, no talking or texting during the feature presentation. — Jim

Top Five Horror Movies

Happy Halloween everyone! Of course, when I promised my list of the scariest movies of all time, I didn’t know it would be so difficult. This is by far the hardest movie list I have ever made. In the horror genre, there is a lot of complete garbage out there– even so, when I started scribbling down the ones I like, my list was at 25 in a hurry. Now to see if I can pick a top 5.

The Exorcist (1973): To me this is the grandaddy of them all. This film scares me as much (or more) today than it did when I first saw it many years ago. You don’t see many scary movies that attract the Oscar voters, but this one did– it was nominated for 10 Academy awards and took home two, including Best Adapted Screenplay. This is a truly haunting movie about a possessed girl and her mother’s fight to save her daughter. Brilliantly directed and acted with superb performances from Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, and Max von Sydow, be sure to leave your lights on after watching this one.

Halloween (1978): Hats off to director John Carpenter, who took a budget of next to nothing and managed to scare the pants off movie fans! To me this horror film is as much of a classic as Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931) and in my eyes, maybe even more so. This film started all of the slasher films, but at least Halloween did it with class. Other than a bit of blood in the opening scene, there is no more to be found. Of course one of the most famous facts about Halloween was that it was Jamie Lee Curtis’ first feature film.  After you watch the film, some of the most memorable images in horror history will be engrained with you forever, from the pale white mask coming out of the shadows to a figure standing at the foot of the bed wearing a sheet….and glasses! Doesn’t sound scary at all….but it works!

The Ring (2002): Ok, there are some more modern films that are done very well. The Ring is one of those. Based on the Japanese film Ringu (1998), this remake is a great story. Unlike so many modern horror movies, this film doesn’t base its story around teenage girls who end up running from hatchet-wielding inbreds in the backwoods. This is such an intriguing story, I won’t spoil a second of it for you by revealing much– just take my word, this movie offers its share of scary movie moments.

Salem’s Lot (1979): Ok, what is the movie guy doing picking a TV miniseries as a scary film? Well, it wouldn’t be a Halloween list without involving the great Stephen King, who wrote Salem’s Lot. Watching as a kid, this one kept me up a few nights, between the image of Geoffrey Lewis sitting in the rocking chair and revealing his yellow glowing eyes as he opens them, and of course Mr. Barlow, the monster himself. This is a good old fashioned evil vampire movie, not the local, good looking high school hunks who fall in love and then fight with the local werewolf clan. These vampires will terrify you with their crooked teeth and pale blue faces. If you haven’t seen this one in a while, give your DVD another spin.

The Descent (2005): After preaching about good horror films not being bloody, this one almost makes me change my mind. This movie is about a small group of friends that go cave exploring, and things go terribly wrong. With no way back to the surface, they try to find a way out by going deeper in the cave, where they encounter a stranger form of humanoid predator. This film is very claustrophobic and will do for cave exploring what Jaws did for swimming in the ocean.

What a tough list to narrow down! What movies scared you as a kid and what scares you now? Some of the others I should just mention are Nosferatu (1922 and 1979), Alien, Psycho, The Shining and even the Swedish vampire movie, Let The Right One In. These are my favorites, so what are yours? And remember, no talking or texting during the feature presentation.
— Jim