October 2011

Slutty Halloween

You can be slutty Santa, Nurse or SpongeBob.

Like Ron and his pirate costume on Parks and Recreation, I dress as Dorothy Zbornak from the Golden Girls every year for Halloween. It’s a really easy costume because all of my fashion inspiration comes from her to begin with, so I go to my closet for long, cotton vests and flat, pastel loafers. I just have to buy some grey hair dye, red lipstick and a pleather, wrap-around purse and I’m set. I am a young person, so this costume is different from me. That, slutty twenty-somethings dressed like slutty Halloween-somethings, is the point of the holiday.

Some of the Scariest Places on Earth

This isn't your average haunted house.

Halloween in the United States is undeniably a retail chain holiday, celebrated just as much by grocery stores and hobby shops as it is by children. However, the superficially sinister holiday has a much less consumer-driven origin. For that, however, it is mostly necessary to travel outside of the U.S. Some of the most terrifying and dread-inducing places in the world may be haunted, if not by ghosts than by the phantoms of what came before.

The catacombs beneath Paris are home to over a million corpses, many open to the air, even stacked like cordwood along its many levels. When the plague hit Paris in the mid-14th century, Paris was far too densely developed to make individual burials practical. In any case, people were dying too fast for that. The ultimate decision was made to begin using the subterranean passageways beneath the city, much of them left over from when Paris was actually built atop the older Roman city below, as a makeshift burial site. Over the years hundreds of thousands of people have found their final resting place there, and now, for just a few euros, you can visit them.

Countdown to Halloween Checklist

Quick checklist and some money-saving tips!

 It's nearly Halloween—are you ready? Here's a quick checklist along with some money-saving tips to make sure you have everything you need for a night of spooky fun.

Treats: First things first; your Halloween won't be much fun if you garner the wrath of candy-craving children, so you better have plenty of treats on hand. If you don't have very much money to spend on candy for the trick-or-treaters, look for options such as stickers or spider rings—often cheaper than a bag of candy, and also more unusual than your everyday peanut butter cups.

Costumes: Do you and your crew have your costumes all planned out and ready to go? No? Well, if you find yourself in need of a costume with only moments to spare, take heart; it's totally possible to throw together a pretty decent costume in a matter of minutes for little or no money. Got a sheet? Cut some holes so you can see out, toss it over your head, and be a ghost. Got a tie-dye and a bandana? Add some beads or a peace sign necklace, and you've got a pretty good retro look going on. Want to be a star? Throw on a huge hat and big sunglasses and go for the “celebrity trying to 'avoid' the paparazzi” look.

An Inviting Path to your Door: Make sure walkways are clear, free of fallen branches and wayward toys. Take a look at the path trick-or-treaters will be taking to get to your door. Are there any brambles or low-hanging tree branches overhanging the walkway that could be potentially dangerous? If so, trim them back. Check your porch light before Halloween night to ensure it's in good working order. You might want to keep an extra bulb on hand, just in case. Sweep the front porch and walkway, and wipe down your front door. This creates a welcoming atmosphere for trick-or-treaters and wandering spirits alike.

Pumpkin Pie? Of Course!

Halloween wouldn't feel like Halloween without this tasty treat

 It would be a shame to let Halloween pass us by without indulging in one of the tried and true comfort foods of the day. Homemade pumpkin pie is delicious, and it's easier to make than you might expect. With the easy to follow recipe below, an adaptation I created by picking and choosing from my favorite recipes over the years, even beginning cooks can pull it off without a hitch, homemade crust and all!

Local Hardware Stores Open “Zombie Preparedness Centers”

With the “plague” of zombacolypse TV, movies, and books being released, a local hardware store is “infected”

Westlake Ace Hardware, a regional hardware store chain in eastern Nebraska, has begun an October-themed advertising campaign by opening a Zombie Preparedness Center in their stores. For customers needing to zombie-proof their house, protect pets from undead scavengers, or keep the flesh-eaters off their lawn, the Zombie Preparedness Center maintains a selection of power tools, and other fall-ready products perfect for the inevitable dawn of the dead.

The in-store “How to” advertisements include tips on the correct power tools, door locks, and cleaners for keeping zombies at bay. In addition, on the company’s website its included “zombies” among its list of specialties in home improvement alongside more mundane topics like “lawn/garden”, and “paint”. Westlake’s director of customer relationship development, Liz Benditt, told the Omaha World Herald, "I love the tone. If we can help you with your lawn and your home, we can help you with the zombie apocalypse."

10 Costumes to Make with Your Green Shirt

Have a green shirt? No matter what shade it is, you have a costume if you’re willing to get a little creative with it. Here are 10 ways to turn your green shirt into a Halloween costume.

10. A Booger

This is pretty gross, but isn’t that what Halloween is about? Add any kind of slime or range of brown to green makeup on your face for added effect. Bonus if you can get your partner to dress up as a nose somehow…

The Psychology of Fear (And Why We Kinda Like It)

A psychiatrist explains why we are afraid of haunted houses and ghosts and goblins, and why it can be scary and fun at the same time.

An Omaha psychiatrist braved her own fears in attending a

haunted house so she could talk about the season's fascination with the creepy, the scary, and the down right horrifying. Dr. Lindsey Corr has been terrified of haunted houses since a child, when her little brother became lost in one. However, to diagnose the things that make us afraid, and some of the lingering sociological problems with things like haunted houses, she braved one anyway. After the 10 minute trip through, she took a deep breath, saying, “It wasn’t that bad. I just didn’t look at anything!” Grown up with a doctoral degree in what makes people’s minds tick seems to have made her more resilient to the things that thoroughly terrify us when we’re younger.

Holy Halloween?

From Skulls and Ghosts to Real-Life Witches, Halloween has a Sacred Side

 Strangers give candy to other strangers, skeletons are brought out of the closet and placed in front windows, cobwebs are hung up rather than swept aside, vampires and princesses walk the streets hand in hand: Halloween is indeed a night of many mysteries!

Make a Halloween Advent Calendar

This is it—the first day of an entire month of Halloween goodness and fun! October first marks the first day of our very favorite month, and to celebrate, we always have a Halloween advent calendar. (We also do one for Valentine’s Day and Christmas.) It’s a cool box filled with tiny boxes that I fill with treats (erasers, candies, and such) or slips of paper that feature the activity we’ll be doing that day. This year it’s almost all crafts, since we’re broke but we’re never short on craft supplies since everyone’s always dropping off glue, construction paper, and such at our house.