All-American Halloween Twitter Chat with BBC America!

This past week, I got a ridiculously exciting email from Ruth Margolis, a positively lovely writer for BBC America.

On Wednesday, October 29th, I’ll be taking part in a Twitter chat on the concept of an all-American Halloween. We’ll probably talk traditions, crafts, costume and party ideas- whatever you guys want! Ruth wrote a really neat article that kicked off the idea, called 13 Hacks for the Perfect American Halloween that you should go read to get pumped.

A bit of background: #MindtheChat is a weekly Twitter chat hosted by BBC America’s very cool blog called Mind the Gap, which talks about American and British culture. Its tagline is “A Brit’s guide to surviving in America.”

Mind the Gap

Go read some of their stuff- it’s pretty hilarious. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from one of Ruth’s articles, “10 Things Brits Say… and What Americans Think We Mean“:

7. What we say: “I got off with this fit bird.”
What Americans hear: “I disembarked with an athletic pigeon.”

Don’t expect Americans to even attempt a translation here. But if they do manage to guess that “got off with” means “made out with”, be sure to clarify that what you mean by “bird.”

And then please stop by and talk with us about the all-American Halloween on Twitter, from 2-3pm EST, on Wednesday. Follow the conversation by using the hashtag #MindTheChat 

Words cannot express how excited I am for this Twitter chat, but perhaps Jeremy Renner can:

Yup, that’ll do.

Thank you so much, Ruth, for this incredible opportunity! I feel very honored to be asked to be part of this. And thank you, everybody, for reading and loving Halloween as much as I do. See you Wednesday!

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My Horror Movie Survival Kit

Halloween is quickly approaching and I’ve been binge watching horror movies on Netflix to celebrate. The nice folks over at Man Crates (a company that ships awesome gifts in crates that you have to open with a crowbar) recently asked me what I’d put in my horror movie survival kit, and thanks to my marathon movie watching, I had a few ideas on hand.

Tallahassee has the right idea!

Weapons

If I’m fighting zombies, I’m clearly going to need something to cause blunt trauma – a shovel, billy club, baseball bat, etc. I’m leaning toward the baseball bat, though. They’re built tough and fit the hand nicely.

For run-of-the mill, chainsaw wielding serial killers, a shotgun and ammo is always nice to have on hand. You want a bit of distance between you and the psycho murderer, so anything that requires you to get in close is out of the question.

Last but not least, you need something for your supernatural foes. A silver cross, stake, and a super soaker full of holy water should do the trick.

And even if it doesn’t do you any real good, a katana always looks super cool.

Camo won’t save you from Predator…

Camouflage

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from nature, it’s that you need to blend in when being hunted by a predator. To disappear into forest foliage when being chased by a Jason-like-killer, green camo clothing is a must. Fitting in with a zombie hoard is a bit harder, but a little dirt, zombie blood, and a convincing, shuffling gait will go a long way.

I’m pretty sure you can’t hide from vampires, though…

Beer. Beer will keep you alive.

Things to Keep You Alive

Food and fresh water are kind of a no brainer. A canteen, water source, collapsible pot, and ferro rod fire starter will ensure that you always have clean drinking water.

Food’s a little trickier when you’re on the run. My husband recently stumbled across Soylent, which although expensive, would be badass in a survival situation. I’m pretty sure it’s not made of people, but don’t quote me on it.

As a woman that frequently finds herself in the wrong shoes for the occasion, a good pair of running shoes is a requirement for getting away from the bad guys.

And to keep all this stuff together, a backpack would come in real handy.

In the end, I’m not overly worried about surviving a horror movie – because, like Santa Clause, they’re not real. If they were, this survival kit of mine would be completely useless. I’d totally be the first person to die.

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Guest Post — 4 Ways to Prepare for a Haunted House This Halloween

Today we have a little treat! A guest post from the lovely Katelyn Darrow! I’m a big fan of haunted houses, and Katelyn has some wonderful tips on preparing for these wonderful attractions.

It was interesting to see my favorite horror movies come to life!

It was interesting to see my favorite horror movies come to life!

It’s the season of screams and scares! Halloween is fast approaching, and one of the best ways to get into the spirit of the spooky holiday is to visit a haunted house attraction. I recently went to (and survived) Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, and it was a terrifying experience! This year’s Halloween Horror Nights offered 8 different haunted houses, in addition to outrageous live shows and horrifying street experiences. Although it’s difficult to prepare for a scary ordeal like a haunted house or spooky attraction, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your experience. Whether you’re planning a trip to Orlando, Florida for the award-winning Halloween Horror Nights, or visiting a local haunted house, use my tips below to get ready!

Wear Sneakers

Be sure to dress comfortably, especially when it comes to footwear. When you’re fending off zombies, vampires, cannibals, and more, you will NOT want to be tripping in your stiletto heels and mini-skirt. Haunted attractions oftentimes have tight spaces or uneven terrain, so dressing in active-wear will keep you from slipping.

Stay Hydrated

Going through a scary attraction can be exhausting! Keep sipping water throughout, because running from bloodthirsty vampires and being chased by evil clowns will have your adrenaline pumping.

Posing with the "Support the Purge" bus. The sets were extremely realistic!

Posing with the “Support the Purge” bus. The sets were extremely realistic!

Watch Horror Films

I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to scary movies. Although I’m not very well-versed when it comes to the horror genre, I’ve certainly seen a few unforgettable scary flicks. Watching frightening movies beforehand may give you an idea of what to expect before going into a haunted attraction. Several of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights houses are based on popular scary films, including sci-fi thriller Alien Vs. Predator, John Carpenter’s classic Halloween, and a new movie called Dracula Untold, coming to theaters on October 10th. There were also houses based on frightful TV shows like Dusk Till Dawn and AMC’s hit show The Walking Dead. One of my favorite attractions was an outdoor scare zone based on The Purge, where you felt like you were experiencing the chaotic 12-hour purging period. Watching a few of these films and television shows in advance gave me a little peek at what to expect.

Have Fun

I think the most important part is to enjoy yourself and have a blast. When you’re going to a scary Halloween attraction, bring your bravest friends along and scream at the top of your lungs!

 

Katelyn Darrow is a teen blogger who enjoys writing about a variety of topics. She thinks Halloween is a fun holiday, although she gets spooked very easily! One of her favorite things to do during the fall season, in the weeks leading up to Halloween, is watch horror films (hiding under a blanket and peeking through her fingers, of course).

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10 Fun & Creative Couples Costumes

If you’re planning to spend this Halloween with your bestie or significant other, you might want to consider dressing as a pair. If you need some inspiration, look no further than these ten awesome duos.

1.) Double Rainbow

So intense!

2.) Mary Poppins & Bert

It’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

3.) The Price is Right

Come on down!

4.) John & Yoko

A double fantasy.

5.) Daria & Jane

It’s a sick sad world.

6.) The Red & Pink Power Rangers

Go, go Power Rangers!

7.) The Fairly Odd Parents

Wands and wings and floaty crowny things!

8.) The Fantastic Mr. & Mrs. Fox

You know, you really are… fantastic.

9.) The Grady Sisters

Redrum!

10.) Jon Snow & Ygritte

You know nothing.

 

Share your favorite couples costumes in the comments below. Bonus cookies for pictures!

Posted in Adult costumes, Halloween Costumes, Halloween Costumes For Men, Halloween Costumes For Women | Tagged | 2 Comments

What Costume is Appropriate for an Office Halloween Party?

With Halloween on the horizon, many of my co-workers have been discussing the annual Halloween party. We work in a pretty relaxed environment, and are encouraged to wear our costumes the entire day. This has naturally led to some discussion about what falls under the appropriate category, yet still leaves room for fun and festivity.
After much discussion, this is the advice I’ve been passing out. Let’s take a look at how to go put together a work-friendly costume that steals the show.

Don’t Even Think About It

Cute? Yes. Work appropriate? Not so much.

We can start off with the things you’re probably going to want to avoid. Anything you would have worn to a college Halloween party is definitely out. Costumes that are labeled as “sexy” shouldn’t even cross your mind as an option — and gentlemen, that applies to you as well. Chip n’ dales costumes can be amusing if everyone is near catatonically inebriated at a frat party, but you can fully expect people to be sober enough to remember everything at a professional function.

You’ll also want to avoid the chintzy stuff your mom made you wear as a child — clown costumes, low quality foam superhero suits, or anything made out of old junk lying around your house.

And finally, steer clear of aesthetically repulsive imagery like excessive gore in consideration of your audience.

Go Elegant and Extravagant

To really stick out as a winner at a work party, you’ll want to show up in something tasteful, elegant, and elaborate. Take your queue from historical masquerades, pop culture, or Greek mythology. Here are a few excellent examples.

So many details!

Steampunk

Steampunk culture is all about elaborate and exquisite neo-Victorian costumes with a fanciful fantastical flair. If you like corsets, mechanics, fancy hats, clockwork, and lots and lots of accessories then steampunk is definitely for you.

Oooooh, fancy!

Masquerade

If you love fancy dresses and want an excuse to be as formal as possible, opt for the old-timey masquerade ball get up. Always a favorite for me it’s elegant, tasteful, and requires relatively little prep time to get into.

Simply the best!

Pop Culture Costumes

Dressing like a pirate, the monopoly guy, Dracula, a Disney princess, or Iron man are all just as acceptable for you as they are for children — with one notable difference. If you want to make a splash, your costume needs to be considerably better than the 20$ Walmart fare that some of your co-workers will inevitably resort to.

 

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Choosing the Perfect Halloween Costume

Halloween is just around the corner and I’ve turned my focus to finding the perfect costume. There are so many considerations and time is of the essence. I don’t want to be the one person with a hastily thrown-together outfit or the one miserable from the cold (which is no picnic!)

Since Halloween is sort of my thing (who’d have guessed?), I thought I’d share some guidelines to help my lovely readers decide the right costume for parties, the weather, and their personalities.

The Party

The first thing you consider is what kind of party you’ll be attending. Oftentimes, you’ll have a theme. Arriving at a superhero party dressed up as Dorothy is a bummer (though you might be able to sell the ruby slippers as a superpower.) You can get creative with themes easily. If you’re attending a zombie party, try a zombie mermaid. If the theme is historical figures, make your Cleopatra steampunk.

Zombie Ariel & Princess Aurora ©Lolanova

Zombie Ariel & Princess Aurora
©Lolanova

Take into account who will be at the party. Skimpy outfits aren’t appropriate for work or family functions. If your friends are fans of horror, a Freddy Kruger outfit will delight them. However, if your five year old niece is present, Freddy will be less delightful than distressing. If you’re not sure who will show up, I suggest better safe than sorry. An edgy rock princess will fit in with your friends just fine and won’t scare the pants off of some poor child.

The Venue

If you’re going to spend any amount of time outside, make sure you have attire for the weather. In most places, Halloween is bitter cold. Some costumes, like Trigun’s Vash, come with a coat of their own. Otherwise, you might end up with a parka over your belly dancer outfit. It might feel like it kills the illusion to put a jacket over a costume, but think about safety first. Bundle up outdoors and show off the costume inside. Alternatively, if your party is during summer or in a poorly ventilated space, don’t forget to account for heat.

Vash ©Elffi

Vash
©Elffi

Make sure you drink water and take off pieces of your ensemble if you start to overheat.
A mask can be stifling if you wear it for long periods and tight corsets and heavy props become a drag, so be aware of how long you’ll be out and where you can stash your things. Also, high-heels can look fantastic, but if you’re walking or standing for hours, they will also inevitably cause you fantastic amounts of pain. Dress for comfort.

The Person

When you dress up, you can become someone else for a night. For a lot of people, this means emulating a hero they admire from a movie or comic book. If you aspire to be like Indiana Jones, go as Indiana Jones! For some, it means a chance to step into someone else’s shoes. If you’re known as a tough cookie, surprise everyone by being something whimsical like a unicorn or fairy. If you’re soft spoken by nature, no one will see your Ruby Rhod impression coming!

Gambit and Rogue ©ApertureAshley

Gambit and Rogue
©ApertureAshley

Couples’ costumes are always fun. Is she the Rogue to your Gambit? Is he the cop to your robber? Siblings and groups can coordinate, too, and have fun representing their dynamic. One of the most adorable pairs ever is when a mom or dad is Robin to their little Batman. If you’re the boss at a work party, mosey around as sheriff for a few good laughs. Your role among your peers can be just as fun to play with as your personal ambitions.

Making a Costume Perfect

While some are fastidious about costume accuracy, don’t relegate yourself to what you have the gear or gender for. A girl can go as Mike Meyers and a guy can dress up as Sailor Moon. If you want a male or female version of a character (I’ve been Han Solo), go for it! Having the exact equipment isn’t a big deal, either. Whether you can’t afford or find the perfect mask for your Bane or your Spartan armor is made of cardboard, rock the part and it won’t matter.

Mens Greek Spartan Warrior Costume

Spartan, decidedly not cardboard.

The “perfect” costume is a nebulous concept. If you make a mistake or run out of time, don’t fret. There’s always next year! If you feel good in what you’re wearing and the part you’re playing, you’ll be a smash success. The perfect costume is the one you’ll have fun in.

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Hercules: Legendary Movie Armor

The upcoming Hercules movie, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, looks like it could be one of those rare sword-and-armor flicks worth a watch. Don’t get your hopes up, history geeks- it looks about as historically accurate as most of its predecessors (which is to say, not at all).

But the epic nature of these stories, often filled with emperors and gods, is hard to resist. And the armor that encases our protagonists is a large part of their mystique.

hercules_2014_wallpaper_1920x1080_by_sachso74-d7lcntd

The costuming of armor has been serious business for generations of movie makers. Back to Richard Burton’s 1963 Marc Antony in Cleopatra and Harry Hamlin’s 1981 Perseus in Clash of the Titans, armor has made ancient heroes just that little bit more heroic.

On one end of the spectrum is Gladiator, which dominates our hearts when it comes to heroes in Roman armor. It’s easy to brush off any historical inaccuracies in a movie that’s already full of impeccable (and ambitious) costuming. So impressive was the portfolio of costumes that the film (and the designer, Janty Yates) won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design that year.

 Gladiator_8L

Notably, this movie saw some of the most accurate portrayals of Roman armor in big-budget films to date. The appearance of the Lorica segmentata, Lorica hamata, and Lorica squamata- traditional Roman styles of armor- gave the film a sense of legitimacy that previously attempted films had lacked.

To less success, Troy brought very little historical accuracy to the Greek side of armor costume. Brad Pitt and Eric Bana certainly pull off their armor dashingly, sure, but the appearance of iron-looking or thick leather armor is incorrect. (Bronze age, bronze armor!) Given that Hercules shows Dwayne Johnson sporting similarly shiny iron-esque armor, and given that Hercules would have lived long before the time of Achilles, it’s safe to assume that scholarly precision is not the film makers’ foremost goal.

 brad_pitt_troy

Of course, The Legend of Hercules, starring Kellan Lutz, was released this January to truly abominable reviews (3% on Rotten Tomatoes). The stylized armor used for Lutz’s Hercules was beautiful and iconic, but also incredibly bland. It’s crafted marvelously and says precisely nothing about the character. (Though, given what those screenwriters did to the actual legend of Hercules, that might be for the best.)

 the-legend-of-hercules-pictures_movie_2014

Credit where it’s due, neither of this year’s Herculean efforts skimp on the most important piece of Hercules’ armor- the lion skin. This is the trophy that he earns himself after completing the first of his labors of atonement, slaying the Nemean lion. In both iterations, it’s dutifully draped across his shoulders for the movie posters, implying that he has either completed the labors by the time of the film or will do so.

By comparison to many of the ornate, beautifully costumed movies that draw on Greco-Roman inspiration, this upcoming Hercules looks to be favoring gritty realism. We’ll see if the plain and unpolished steel of his armor, dinged and scratched, will reflect the tone of the film. With any luck, it will respect its legendary source material of myths, if not its historical roots.

Hercules releases this week, July 25th.

 

 

 

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Magnificent Maleficent

The first Disney movie to feature a “wicked” character is coming to theaters in the next two weeks, and I am THRILLED!!! I really think that this in depth, yet relatively simple costume will be a huge hit this Halloween. So, here are some makeup tips, some photos, and of course some costumes to help!

TIP 1: The Costume

The costume can be a tight black outfit, or even a black dress, as sexy or modest as you so choose. The most important component, however, is the head piece. Make sure that your head peice is meant for this costume, the small cost will be worth it.

OOOOOOH and do not forget the colorful Maleficent staff!

Head piece, and dress

Head piece, and dress

 

71846DI

Now that you’re costume is on point, time for the face!

 

TIP 2: The Eyes

The eyes are a beautiful aspect to this costume. Sure, simply having brown eyes may make the costume look semi-evil, however, with the contacts that were chosen for this costume they are alluring, evil, and yet still beautiful.

Look at those eyes!

The best thing about beautiful contacts is that they really brin gout the paleness of the face- making your skin look flawless, and yet wicked, and also those wonderful red lips!

TIP 3: The Makeup

I watched like 50 videos to decide which was the best for this costume/ post.

Contoured Malificent, Angelina, Animation

Contoured Malificent, Angelina, Animation

There are many different ways to do the makeup, and contouring. The makeup can be smoky, super purple, matte (there really are many options). But the most important aspect to the makeup is the contouring. If you look at Angelina Joli’s face you will see that the contouring really brings out the wicked look.

As you can see the difference between Angelina’s face in the normal photo (although, she naturally has awesome cheek bones), and in the contoured Maleficent look really makes her face look similar to the animation character. It really is amazing what makeup can do!

Speaking of amazing makeup- here is a video of the Magnificent Maleficent makeup. As I said before, there are plenty to choose from, I just liked this best.

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DIY Costumes and Tutorials

Weeping Angel

A tutorial on how to make a weeping angel costume based on the terrifying creatures from Doctor Who. Don’t blink!weeping

Baby Hobo

This adorable kid’s costume is easy to make and always gets a lot of laughs

baby hobo

I’d give him candy, wouldn’t you?

Fake Wounds

Here is a tutorial on how to make horrifying fake wounds. These are great for zombie runs, Halloween, or cosplay.

wound

They’re actually made out of white glue, red ink, and a lot of technique and patience, go check it out through the link above!

Cardboard Helmet

When I read “cardboard” anything in relation to costumes my mind automatically jumps to horrible homemade costumes cobbled together with duct tape and old boxes, so imagine my surprise when I came across this!

 helmet

If you check out the link you’ll see a whole picture tutorial on how it’s made!

Toy Soldier

I found this awesome tutorial that someone made for their kid here, but this would be just as easy to make in an adult size and can make an excellent Cosplay or Halloween costume.

gi joe

Matryoshka Doll Costume

This Matryoshka doll costume is surprisingly lightweight and relatively friendly in terms of cost. Check out the tutorial on how to build it here!

metryoshka

Especially cute for moms and kids with matching matryoshka costumes!

Cookie Monster Slayer

Unfortunately this amazing DIY cookie monster slayer didn’t post a tutorial, but it still definitely deserves to be on this list. Note the cookie monster fur boots.

cookie monster

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Themed Parties for the Whole Family

A true nerd never grows up, not really. You may get more responsible and you may have less spare time, but the imagination stays strong. One of the greatest blessings in life is to be able to coerce the next generation into sharing in that imagination. And my favorite method of doing that is to host a costume party for the wee ones. A themed party with food, costumes, and entertainment is a fun way to impart love of geekdom to posterity.

The Concept

It’s all too easy to bowl over kids with our own childhood fandoms. I know from experience that even toddlers can get overloaded on Boba Fett. Instead of presenting a theme to the kids flat out, sit down and see what they’d like to do. Depending on the age of the kids in question, you could set out a couple of options for them to choose from so you don’t have a gummy-snack themed party (though that could work out, I bet).

Invite your kids’ friends and your own, too. Being playful as an adult helps you stay young at heart and your involvement will mean a lot to your kids. Nothing kills the ambience of pretending to be on the USS Enterprise like a back wall of bored adults checking their smartphones. Especially when dealing with shy children, one dismissive word can really take the fun out of it. So get excited!

Once the family has peaceably decided on a theme everyone’s happy with, you can start the planning.

Costumes

Some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen are those that a family plans and wears together. If you’re a Dr. Who fan, the parents can dress up as Rory and Amy and the wee one can dress up as The Doctor (tiny fez!) A miniature Batman with a trusty Dad-turned-Robin is a real crowd-pleaser.

Keep in mind what activities you have in store for the day. If you plan on running around the yard, pouring time and money into a perfect Merida costume might not be the best plan. Altering the costumes to suit the activities is perfectly fine! And don’t forget to encourage the kids to spend some time in-character for added entertainment.

Decorations

If you want to get fancy, dress up the area as well as the kids. Making a room or yard feel like Hogwarts, the TARDIS, or Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters doesn’t need to be a Herculean labor. A few small touches here and there should be enough. For example, if you’ve got a Lord of the Rings kind of family, turn the yard into the Shire with a round door made of cardboard onto the veranda, the kitchen into Rivendell with a small fountain or two, and the basement into Mordor with a foam Eye of Sauron. These little things can really help set the tone. Inspired minds will take it from there.

Food

There are some obvious choices when planning a themed party. For beverages, Star Wars necessitates Aunt Beru’s blue milk while a Roald Dahl party needs frobscottle (note: little boys love fart jokes). One of my favorite parties ever was Harry Potter themed, where we mixed fruit juices and Mio drops in vials as potions.

Food can be as healthy or unhealthy as you like. The Tenth Doctor loved bananas and the Eleventh loved fish sticks. Willy Wonka is obviously a candy bonanza and Avengers can have a wink and a nod to shawarma. When I was young, I attended a Lion King party where there were gummy worms and candy necklace caterpillars like Simba ate with Timon and Pumba. Even serving pizza in a Pizza Planet box for a Pixar party can really make the food special. It can be a lot of fun to brainstorm as a family, so make sure to listen to each other’s ideas.

Games

Often times, any old party game will do- all you have to do is put a geeky twist in. Harry Potter freeze tag is ridiculously fun: tap your target on the shoulder with a foam wand and shout “Immobulus!” Princess and the Frog leapfrog, Doctor Who Weeping Angels’ red-light-green-light, and Monsters Inc. hide and scare are all fun ways to spin a regular party into a themed delight. Also, Finding Nemo pool parties are absolutely awesome for summertime.

For younger kids, once they’re worn out, put on a related movie or show for them to nod off to. If you’re dealing with older kids, of course, introducing them to things like Dungeons and Dragons or trivia games can hone their creativity and geek knowledge.

Your themed party can really stand out as a childhood memory. If you’re lucky, your kids will catch the bug and become fans, too, so you can form a lifelong bond over your favorite daydreams. Don’t forget to take pictures! They’ll serve as a treasured reminder about your adventure and also as a great tool later in your kids’ lives. When they get older, showing their friends pictures of them dressed as Batman will either embarrass them horribly or, more likely, make them the coolest kid in town. Either way, you win.

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