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Happy Birthday Oreo

It’s November 1st and I’m a little sad for two reasons.  First, Halloween is over.  It was somewhat of a mess, with Hurricane Sandy blasting through our neighborhood.  Second, it would have been my cat Oreo’s 9th birthday and I miss her.

I wasn’t sure if kids would be trick-or-treating yesterday but since school was still closed (due to the storm, scarce phone service and no transportation), I figured I should set some of my decorations back up just in case they came.  They did; about 40 of them.  But I suppose my enthusiasm disappeared as I didn’t even dress up as usual.  After the last small group rang my bell at 8:20pm, I came back inside to relax.  Then I began thinking about Oreo. 

Oreo found us…she appeared one day in the back of my outside cat’s house.  I recall hearing a little “mew, mew” on the front porch and noticed our cat, Harvette, wouldn’t go back into her house.  When I pulled back the blankets and padding in her house, I found a tiny ball of black fur with two bright green eyes staring back at me.  It was love at first sight.

After taking the kitten inside, our family discussed where it might have come from and what to do with her.  We discovered there was a pregnant black female stray seen around our neighbor’s house and this must have been one of her litter.  No other kittens were found.  The mother was spotted occasionally, but couldn’t be caught; otherwise we would have had her spayed.  In any event, several months prior, we had lost our other cat, Whiskers and after that I vowed not to replace her.  But how could we resist?

Over the course of several months, we had Oreo spayed and declawed as she was to remain our inside cat.  A couple of months later, we noticed something in her abdomen; she had a tumor, a quarter of her size.  Back to the vet to have that removed which was a success.  For almost 6 years, Oreo was our beautiful, loving pet.  Her fur was soft as silk; her disposition friendly and perky.  She was a little neurotic though, but that only intensified her personality.  Then one day, she suddenly became ill.

After the vet examined her, she said Oreo had kidney failure and would need IV injections twice daily.  She also suffered two seizures.  She was beginning to fade fast; not eating, drinking or urinating.  Even with the medicine and fluids, she only lasted a week.  One Sunday evening, while I was lying alongside Oreo with my daughter hear her head, she passed away.

If anyone has ever experienced the death of a pet, you’ll know how tramautic this was.  Some people may not take it hard, but because she became ill quickly and died so suddenly, it was heartbreaking.  We buried Oreo in the backyard next to Whiskers.  In her box we placed a flower, her favorite toy (a tiny red felt Christmas stocking)  and letters my husband and I as well as my daughter wrote to her. 

Each Halloween, when all the kids have gone home, I think of Oreo.  I remember how she used to curl up by my neck or behind my knees when I reclined on the couch or in bed.  I still see her beautiful green eyes and bent tail with tiny white tip.  She’ll always be my sweet Halloween kitty.  The following Spring, Oreo’s half brother and sister showed up on our porch.  Ike and Mike are still around, lively as ever 9 years later.  Their presence reminds me of their beautiful little sister Oreo and how I’ll always miss her.

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Weathering the Storm

Let me apolgize for the quality of the photo.  Night setting didn’t come out too well. I have to fool around with the flash more.  I took six shots, and this was the best I could show.  I’ll be working on it shortly.

For the past few years, Halloween day and night has been pretty mild here on Long Island.  However, the weeks leading up to Halloween were filled with severe thunderstorms and high winds.  Several tombstones cracked, my characters fell over and lighter decorations were tossed about.  The recent weather has been unpredictable.  Needless to say, I am leery about putting out my mechanical props until the weekend before Halloween, but I may change my mind. 

This afternoon, I managed to put up my witch but my LED spotlights aren’t working.  I’m not sure if I want to reconnect them with vampire clips on landscape wire or what.  For the time being, I have regular floods lighting what I have up so far.  I’m not too impressed.  There’s still more to do although I have almost everything ready to go.

Tomorrow Michael Myers, Scream, the Grim Reaper, Rocking Granny and my coffin will be put out.  I made the mistake of trying to repaint the coffin and I’m not happy with the brown paint.  Maybe I’ll add some wood designs and handles and change the color again.  All my medicine bottle labels are printed but I forgot I tossed my old shelves out last year.  Gotta see if I can dig up some spare pieces of wood and make another medicine chest… quick!

I still have a little time left.  I actually like to watch the scene progress in bits and pieces as props are completed.  It gives me something more to look forward to each day!

“We both know, that he’s alive. But you know where he is!”~ Dr. Loomis to Laurie – Halloween Movie)

I’m Getting Crazy

It’s the second week of October and I’m still not finished with my Halloween decorations.  Okay, so I’m preoccupied with school and stuff, but that’s no excuse.  I did manage to put out a few more things today but the weather really hindered me for the past 5 days.

I managed to get a few more things out today, a few more tombstones, but I’ll be removing the spotlights and replacing them with my LED’s this weekend.  They are less conspicuous.  I NEED MORE TIME!  Yikes, I can’t stand it!

My dirty rat is finished…not too bad for the first try after his surgery! 

I have boxes and boxes full of deocrations downstairs and none of my creatures are out yet!  This is the first year I’m so late and it’s killing me!  Part of the reason is that my “help” has gone off to college; the other being I don’t want to put out my animated things with the weather being so bad.  What a conundrum!

Setting my alarm for extra early tomorrow.  I think it’s supposed to be partly sunny.  Hope so cause I have lots to accomplish!

23 Days and Counting!

I’ve been unexpectedly busy the past two weeks; way behind in my Halloween decorating and I’m frantic trying to get everything set up outside before this coming weekend.  Today I had unexpected (but much welcomed) company so I’m posting these photos a little late.  Tomorrow I plan on working dawn till dusk and will have much, much more set up outside to show you!  I’m so excited.  A few of my older foam props were splitting apart so they needed some repair before I could display them.  Unfortunately, that’s taking longer than I thought.

“You dirty rat!” gave me a headache.  This creature was splitting all over.  I had to perform major surgery on him and he’s still drying.  My sutures were masking tape, then a coating with liquid latex.  I added some pieces of paper toweling over the latex while it was still wet to give it structure.  After that dries, I’ll add one more coat of latex, let it dry then paint. 

Warning:  I never used liquid latex before.  When I opened up the container, there was a latex “plug”, something like you’d get when you open a bottle of glue; that little hard bubble of gunk before the real stuff comes out.  Well, I learned my lesson.  I squeezed the bottle too hard and the latex spurted ALL OVER THE PLACE!  On the floor, my tombstones, on the table, my exacto knife and accessories, paintbrushes, cups…EVERYTHING. My efforts to clean it up were futile – it smeared and left a tacky residue on the floor, table, chair, supplies and of course, my clothes!  Needless to say, I’m leaving the rest of the cleanup until after all my prep work is complete; who knows what may happen next! (I still have painting to do!)

The latex leg wasn’t too bad.  I had already taped over part of the foam with red electrical tape which held up pretty well for two years.  Again, I used a foam brush to cover it with latex, followed by some torn paper towel and will apply another coat before final painting.  I’ve also decided to give Mrs. Bates skull a latex facelift.  Not sure where I’m going with this one yet; maybe a little more dried flesh on the skull!

Some of the tombstones need to be touched up with paint and they should be ready for display tomorrow too.  I already have the holes made for the dowel inserts which will go half into the foam stones and half in the ground.  Even in strong wind and rain, the stones have held up over the years with only a few mishaps.  There are a couple of tombstones that still need detail painting but I don’t expect that to take too long.

While the tombstones, rat and leg are drying, I’ll be building my creatures.  If I can coat the coffin with a paint sealer, I’ll put that out early this year.  I used to wait until a few days before Halloween so the weather wouldn’t destroy it.  We’ll have to see.  By tomorrow night, I should have all the spot lights hooked up and will test my fog machine.  Still haven’t decided if I should make a creature for the pond.  I knew I shouldn’t have sold that old wet suit!

Giving Yourself a Hand!

Yeah, This might be a little strange.  While perusing one of my many boxes of Halloween decorations, I came across the one housing my hands.  Well not mine, but those for my creatures.  I wanted to lay them out to see which types I have, which I don’t like, how I may want to use them and which I need to make more of.

The creepy bubbly type skeleton type hands were actually my very first pair made with expanding foam.  OMG, using this stuff is extremely tricky to work with.  I made a pair about 5 years ago and still have little wads of foam stuck to my garage floor.  I’ve learned how to make different, yet similar type skeleton hands since then and need to put a couple together for my grave grabber or cauldron creep. 

The problem with the foam is that it isn’t pliable.  I think I’m going to use the plastic tubing, wire, cotton and latex method for making my new set.  This way they look will be more realistic – skelly looking.  It’s always a good idea to have an extra pair of hands around.  You can never have too many, I say!

Tips courtesy of HauntersHangout.com

After that, I’ll be working on my blucky corpsing.  Unfortunately I haven’t purchased my first official bucky yet (yes I know, I’m bad) but hopefully I’ll be able to nab one after the holidays at a more reasonable price.  In the meantime, I’m still sorting through my boxes, shed, garage and other hiding places in my house where I’ve stashed Halloween supplies I’ve purchased or made during the year.  It’s like trying to find a coccyx in a crypt!

Funny how around Halloween building props and decorating is paramount over anything else.  LOL!  I bury myself deep in my work and burn the midnight oil.  Thankfully, I have an understanding family who give me space and let me delve into my dark world undisturbed.  (I just come up for an occasional breath of fresh air when I need to cook dinner or else we’d all starve!)

 “Listen to them: the children of the night. What sweet music they make.” ~ Dracula

Get a Grave Grabber to Go!

At the last Make & Take meeting I attended with a group of my HauntForum.com friends, we tested a really cool Peppers Ghost projection from Hi-RezDesigns.com.  I purchased the Grave Grabber illusion which I will reflect off a tombstone on the lawn.  This will make the zombie girl appear as if she is climbing out of the grave.  See the video below:

I still have to create a background scene surrounding the tombstone, complete with old branches, a dirt pile and some other accessories (maybe a shovel?)  As soon as I figure out which device I want to use to project the image (TV, laptop or video projector), I can test it in the evening.  It may take a little time to figure this all out because the angle of the plexiglass needs to be just right as well as the position of the projector and the color/object I’m projecting off of. 

This is really going to be cool.  I can’t wait to try it out!  There are more videos online.  You can check them out at http://www.hi-rezdesigns.com/online_store_updated/

Here’s the set up you’ll get:

I have a lot of projects going on and time is getting short.  But Halloween only comes once a year right???  Until next time…

Madmomma’s Halloween Haunt

Welcome to Madmomma’s Halloween Haunt where I hope you enjoy reading about my passion for Halloween. 

HAPPY HAUNTING!

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