As Christmas season 2022 winds down, we look forward to a bright and shining year. Now is the time to start anew. Refresh. Shed skin. Take on new challenges and don’t look back. The past is gone. There’s nothing for us there.
Our little ghost friend had a visitor last night, and now, he’s safely back with his family, where he belongs. See, everything works out in the end, even for the haunted. Our theme this month has been haunted holidays.
sugarplum dreams bright light in the darkness Ole Saint Nick was here
Happy December! Welcome to the haunted holidays. Not everyone is surrounded by family and friends this season. Some spend Christmastime alone. Some don’t celebrate at all. Some people celebrate different traditions due to their beliefs and religion. It’s busy, stressful, and it’s important to be kind during this time. It’s important to be kind to yourself. No one expects you to be a big ball of cheer, just don’t be an asshole. Hurt and anger is contagious. Shield yourself with love, patience, and kindness, but set realistic goals.
Our little ghost has no name, but he wanders the hallways of his old home this December, looking for Christmas cheer. The theme this month is haunted holidays.
Kicking off the 2022 Christmas gift-giving guide season with 7 gifts that don’t suck for vampire fans. Vampire fans are a picky bunch and luckily, there are numerous gift ideas that will quench their bloodlust and won’t break the bank.
Bleeding Skull Candles
Bleeding candles are all the rage. Something Different Vampire Blood Tears out of the UK sells taper candles online or through Amazon, or you can try these bleeding skull candles from Gute, which look even cooler.
Gothic Black or Purple Damask Throw Pillows
These beautiful gothic throw pillows designed by Teri Sherman and sold through Redbubble are easy ways for vampire fans to goth up a regular couch or bed. Sold in black, purple, and red.
Nothing says I’ll love you forever like a coffin ring made of Onyx from Blood Milk Jewels. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives out there for people on a budget, or pricer options, for those looking to get even more serious.
Capes are in! Okay, well, long capes like this Black and Red Reversible Cape from the Pyramid Collection is still tricky fashion and better suited for costumes, but short black capes and ponchos are definitely a thing. They go with everything from little black dresses to jeans and boots, and they keep little black hearts warm.
Bela Lugosi Collection from Creepy Co.
Bela Lugosi has an entire line of officially licensed and trademarked clothing and merch sold online through Creepy Co., which offers a number of officially licensed horror collections. Thanks to his business savvy and vigilant family, Bela Lugosi is practically synonymous with his most famous role, Dracula, the 1931 film from Universal Pictures, and I’m all for keeping that legend going. From pins to patches, socks to t-shirts, and my personal favorite, the poster pajama set, surely there is something here for vampire fans of all ages and types.
Wine Gifts from Vampire Vineyards
Vampire Vineyard won the domain name game over vampire.com and successfully trademarked a number of vamp names and images to use with their brand. Their single wines come with a cute little Vampire Wine Cape and are actually quite tasty. Vampire offers a broad range of wine, food gifts, and other merch. Everyone knows wine is the true elixir of life, so vampire fans can relax with a bottle and stop worrying over whether their blood types match.
The Vampira Diaries, 1954-1956 Book by Jonny Coffin
Maila Nurmi a.k.a Vampira, the first inspiration for all the mistresses of the dark that followed, had a bit of a rough life and it’s hard to be supportive of her legacy when there’s next to no official merchandise out there. That’s why this limited edition pre-order coffee table book to celebrate her life is so important. Authored by the eccentric Jonny Coffin, creator of the original Coffin Case, this is a chance for fans to learn a little more about the Original Glamor Ghoul and it’s sold directly through her official shop run by her family, which is nice. I hope they can capitalize on Vampira’s popularity and run a successful store. Btw, I hear only 1000 hand-stamped books will exist, so they’re likely to sell out fast.
After giving it some thought, I changed this month’s theme to Haunted Holidays. I realized I was creating two different themed plans in December and I wanted to take a little bit more time to plan out my approach to writing haiku next year, so…Blood and Ice will be next month’s theme.
This December is all about the haunted holidays! Back in the day, people told ghost stories during Christmastime and I would love to bring that tradition back. I encourage everyone to create, write, or find a short ghost tale to tell on Christmas eve, and if you’re having trouble, might I recommend simply retelling the classic timeless tale from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is the hero we need right now!
Here’s a look at some of the shenanigans I have planned this month:
Haunted holidays haiku every Monday
Brand new gift-giving guides for Halloween and horror fans
New recipes for christmassy cocktails
Haunted Holidays Photo Challenge
Christmas gift-giving countdown (Details TBA)
I’m kicking off the celebrations with a daily photo challenge. You may post both traditional or haunted photos or artwork. Jump in any time, even if you skip a day, or 5, but, if you can post all 25 days in December, I’ll enter your name into the cauldron for a drawing to win a haunted holidays prize pack.
No purchase is necessary for any of the upcoming contests, but you must be following my blog and be friends with me on at least one of my social media pages (listed below) for a chance to win! Please see official contest rules for more details.
I wish you a season filled with amusement, inspiration, love, and joy. Please be safe and stay healthy. Remember to take some time for yourself, relax and recharge, so you don’t burn out or lose your damn mind by January.
Will haunted attractions be a Halloween tradition that survives the apocalypse?
The mention of real haunted houses dates back to First Century A.D., when Roman author and politician, Pliny the Elder, wrote a letter about a man haunting his house in Athens, ever since then, people have been telling stories of ghosts and haunted houses. That’s its own topic for another day. This post is about haunted attractions, live entertainment inspired by haunted places and things.
In 1802, Madame Marie Tussaud opened the first wax exhibit, which took the public by storm, depicting gruesome decapitations of public figures such as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Her permanent museum on Baker Street in London featured what she called the Chamber of Horrors, wax figures of notorious murderers and villains. This is thought to be the very first horror attraction. Sadly, Tussaud’s closed in 2016.
Over 100 years after Tussaud’s, the first-ever electrified haunted attraction ever recorded was the Orton and Spooner Ghost House, at the Edwardian Fair in 1915, as part of the steam collection, in what would become known as dark rides, moving vehicles, trains, and boats that took passengers through scenes, like a spooky house or the tunnel of love. It didn’t take long before attractions featuring dark rides popped up in carnivals, world fairs, and exhibitions worldwide.
In 1969, Walt Disney opened The Haunted Mansion featuring groundbreaking technology and audio-animatronic ghosts. This is when commercialized haunted attractions were thought to have become a cultural mainstream. The idea was born in 1951 between Walt Disney and his Imagineers, when early illustrations created by the Legendary Harper Goff, of the proposed park featuring a church, a graveyard, and a “run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street”, but Walt didn’t like the idea of a rundown house in the middle of his brand new park. It’s said that after a visit to the Winchester House in San Jose, CA, with its creepy deadends and stairs leading to nowhere, Walt was inspired to fashion the mansion in a similar way. It originally was going to be a walkthrough too, but Walt and the team decided on making it a dark ride that would carry passengers through their animated “Museum of the Weird” and christened their vehicles “doom buggies.” During the planning years, The Haunted Mansion grew darker and stranger, and took on several iterations, not to mention several years to build. Sadly, Disney died in December of 1966 and never even had the opportunity to experience one of his most popular creations.
Since The Haunted Mansion’s opening in the late 60s, there have been hundreds of commercialized haunted houses or carnival dark rides, too numerous to count. Haunts popped up in abandoned buildings and farmhouses across the USA, People capitalized on both rumored and actual haunted places, offering tours, mazes, hayrides, and festivals in honor of legendary ghosts and American haunts. According to AmericaHaunts.Com, there was even a book written on the subject authored by Jim Gould and Tom Hilligoss, who detailed makeup FX, scene ideas, and marketing strategies. Over 20,000 copies were sold and Gould and Hilligoss became known as the first Haunted House experts. They would go on to create the Haunted House Company, one of the first outfits to sell FX, masks, lighting, costumes, etc.
After Hollywood’s horror boon during the 1970s and 1980s, horror movies became more mainstream and an entire industry of itself. Bigger theme parks found a way to offset seasonal attendance by offering haunted mazes and attractions. In 1973, Knott’s Berry Farm turned part of its fairgrounds into Knott’s Scary Farm. Today it boasts 160 acres featuring haunted mazes, spooky characters, scary rides, and scare zones. Universal Studios would cash in on the craze during the1990s, using its extensive film history with classic monster films and newer horror franchises as inspiration for haunted mazes and attractions. Soon after, all haunts everywhere featured popular characters from horror books, movies, and television. These days, I’ve heard there are something like over 4000 amateur-made, professional, or commercialized haunts every Halloween.
No people, no haunted attractions. We’ll all become ghosts. Every place will become haunted. Simple as that.
Every Sunday in October is Poe Sunday, the day we celebrate the Master of Macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. This year, I’ll suggest the best movie adaptations of Poe’s work.
Atmospheric and spooky, House of Usher may be the best most faithful Poe story adaption that director Roger Corman ever created. Vincent Price, Mark Damon, and Myrna Fahey, earnestly chew through Richard Matheson’s screenplay so well, gothic drama oozing out of their pores in every scene, until that thrilling legendary cinematic end.
I’m writing today from June Lake, CA. It’s a beautiful, cozy little town tucked inside an old glacier in the Eastern Sierras. Very scenic. You can actually see the stars at night and that took my breath away. Living in Los Angeles, I barely see any stars. It’s really sad. Anyways, up here in June Lake, Autumn is in full swing and you can actually see some trees changing colors. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how beautiful and amazing our planet is, and how amazing we live in an unexplored universe we know nothing about.
Then, I think about Putin and his war machine committing genocide and thrusting the whole planet closer to doomsday. Nuclear annihilation feels closer than it’s ever been. I don’t even remember this kind of complacency in the 80s.
There is no Halloween in our future. No trick or treating. No fun costumes. No parties full of people. No pumpkins, nor the ability to grow them. Last month, I stressed the importance of perserving Halloween traditions, and shared with you how I feel preserving traditions eventually becomes the only way to keep our memories alive.
Whatever traditions survive is what is going to move the survivors forward. I hope you join me this October to make Halloween traditions stand out and make people feel stronger and more connected to each other, people, our friends, family, loved ones, our world, this wonderful planet which grows big plump juicy pumpkins, and the universe, who remembers everything and is the only hope humankind has of surviving. Cast off those old traditions that strangle us, like racism, sexism, bigotry, and believe in science, medicine, research and development, space exploration…When I look at the stars, I see that God everyone’s always talking about, but not in any Bible, not in your TV set, not in the guns, and not in the tanks. Creation triumphs over destruction, so create a life you want to live and make good memories.
This month’s theme is dystopian Halloween. Maybe if we imagine the world struggling to save Halloween, we’ll actually strive better to do it for real.