All posts for the month October, 2015

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Yay! Halloween! Here are some crappy pictures of my entryway vignette. I managed to knock over the tree this year, but luckily, none of my more precious ornaments were broken. It’s now being held down by a brick.

We actually got FIVE trick-or-treaters! Totally a record in this house.  The second batch asked where the good houses were, and I just happened to know, because–AND I COULDN’T FREAKING BELIEVE THIS–it turns out we are just a few streets from a seriously Halloweenie neighborhood. I saw a sign today for a haunted house. I followed it through our community, Peridia, and through to the next one, Fairfax. It was like night and day. Every house had some decorations, and many had a bunch. And yes, someone had set up a haunt in their garage. It was the most Halloween I have seen in Florida, and it’s right next door!  I wanted to go set up a booth, just so we’d get more ToTs.

But all things considered, I was pretty thrilled with the five we got.

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Not burned out on Halloween yet? Want another month? Join me for Hallowvember!

I’d planned on doing this alone, but I’ve had inquiries, so I thought I’d open it up for participation.  If you’d like to keep up with frequent posting Halloween stuff on your blog through November, grab this icon:

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Then leave a comment here with your blog name and URL. On November 1, I’ll publish a list of anyone else playing along.


So October has been a terrible, terrible month. Except for my birthday. I had a really good birthday. But soon after, things went seriously pear-shaped.

I am finally healthy, and feeling cheated out of my usual October shenanigans. Well, screw that.

On November 1, I’m declaring Hallowvember. For the month of November, I will be making things, posting Halloween-related stuff, and generally getting down with my spooky self.  For those who actually enjoyed their October, it will be like two months of Halloween Season!

Over the next few days, I’m going to get a head-start on making things. See you on the first.

I’m feeling much better!

But I still lost several days blogging. 🙁  Gonna try to make up for it as soon as I can, but in the meantime, I direct you to Artful Evidence, where you will find a series of seven wonderful Halloween card videos. I’m definitely swiping some of her ideas.

Clipboard Image (9 October 2015)

One of Rachel’s. I may make something similar–love this technique.

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Sorry for the posting break! I got knocked on my ass by a brief flu bug. I’ll try to catch up on my cards soon.

I made this card before everything went pear-shaped. I adore this stamp from Paper Parachute via Donna Downey Studios. It’s one of the new things I bought this year. So is the little bat seal and the sealing wax, which came from Letterseals. I love how this turned out, and I learned a couple things. One: it takes a lot of wax to cover a twine knot. Two: Sealing wax loves to catch fire! That’s how I ended up with all the wax splatters, but I like them, so it’s all good.

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Spooky atmospheric prop shot.

We attended our first haunt of the season last night. I heard about the Vault of Souls on a facebook group I follow, and it sounded intriguing. I couldn’t resist grabbing reservations and heading to Tampa for the evening.

Our reservation was for 6:00pm. We hit traffic and arrived at 6:15pm, but they were running a little late, so the doors were just opening. Not unusual, especially for the first run. We left our car with the valet, and after a few minutes in line, we were ushered into the front part of the lobby to present our tickets. There we received a credit-card sized “passbook” that I expected to present at some point.

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The Spousal Unit gets the bizness.

Once processed, we had our auras cleansed by a witch before entering the lounge. She took her job very seriously.

She just kinda noodles in minor keys.

She just kinda noodles in minor keys.

The Vault is located at the Exchange National Bank building, erected in 1926. It’s a lovely space, with high ceilings and plenty of room to mingle amongst lovely vintage furniture pieces. The lounge includes a bar, and servers circulating with hors d’oeuvres. Melancholy cello music sets the mood, and occasionally dancers take the floor.

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I think she had a crush on my man.

There is a tarot reader, and Mysteria the Psychic, who will come hold hands with you and deliver messages from beyond, like “open all the drawers, you may find something useful.”  Just about everyone picked on the Spousal Unit. It’s like they were all cats, and they sensed he was allergic.

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Your name is on my list, yesiree.

We waited in the lounge until 8:00pm.  About every 10 or 15 minutes, the gatekeeper strikes his gong several times, and announces about five names. Those folks gather, are given time to use the facilities, and then head to the preliminary vault where they are given white masks to wear, and further instructions on spirit etiquette.  The Spousal Unit got in trouble for the first time here. He talked back (to be fair, the guide said something kinda stupid), and had to go stand against the wall.

I won’t go into detail on what happens beyond that. You are taken to the basement and allowed to wander at will. You’ll meet many characters, and they will interact with you very personally. The actors will touch you, but not in any way that’s particularly scary. The Spousal Unit was extremely indulgent, and no one drew back a stump.

Us with Buddy the Bouncer.

Us with Buddy the Bouncer.

Once you’re tired of wandering around, find your way out and you’ll be taken to the Speakeasy or the Reading Room. We visited both. The Reading Room had a lovely dessert table, and lots of couches where you can unwind. The Speakeasy was more of a bar, complete with personable bouncer.

So what did I think?


First, the wait in the lounge was nuts. We arrived 15 minutes after the doors opened, and waited 90 minutes before entering the haunt. There was very little entertainment, and I was desperately wishing for a book. I can only guess that later reservations didn’t escape until the wee hours of the morning. This could have been first-night problems, but it genuinely seemed like they overbooked the reservation slots.

Now, I’ve never been to a truly expensive haunt before. This was a big splurge, at $100 per ticket. And that was the least expensive option. So I had expectations. I wanted a coherent story, some good scares, great costuming, great makeup, and maybe even some special effects or unusual props.  I’d hoped there might be a puzzle or mystery to solve.

I got none of that. Well, I’ll give them nice period costuming, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The whole thing seemed like one huge missed opportunity. I never even used that fancy passbook we got at check-in. Just an expensive souvenir.

I will say that the actors were fantastic, and very entertaining. But each time we entered a scenario, there was interaction, setup, and…nada. I kept thinking, oh, they’re gonna try to scare me now…but no.  It’s dark! Something’s going to happen! No.  I don’t need jump scares, but I do expect some art. Usually at a haunt, no matter how humble, I have to stop and wonder at some fantastic prop, monster, or scene. While the scenes were realistic enough, I found them lacking interest.  By the end of the experience, instead of thinking about the good bits with glee, I was just happy to be done. We left at about 9:00pm.

Apparently, what you’re paying for are amenities. Valet parking. Two bars and a dessert lounge.  So if you’re into live theatre, and want an interactive experience in a creepy setting, this is great. Grab some friends and go. But if you’re a Halloweeniac who expects something scary…have a cocktail.