Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Halloween Toast!

Because it's so difficult to get young children to eat toast and cheese, it being such an unnatural and un-kid-friendly snack...

Okay, I just like Halloween, and holidays, and any time I can holiday up a staple like toast, I'm gonna do it.  This food "craft" if you will, is fast, super easy, and turns out pretty well with any level of creative skill.  You'll need bread, a toaster oven, and orange cheese that can melt (the orange cheese that turns to industrial plastic liner when heated -- and you know what I mean, because we've all had it, and some of us like it -- will not do).

Arrange your bread.  Before applying cheese, round it by trimming the corners with a small knife.  Then cut eyes and a nose with the same knife.  For the mouth, the easiest thing to do is cut the large shape of the mouth, then cut and add teeth after (remember, this is going to melt together, so it will look like one big pumpkin jack-o-lantern face as long as the edges overlap or meet).  Arrange your cheesy "face" on the bread and pop it in the toaster oven.

The result is yummy, cheesy fun.  It's a great way to add a little kid-fun and holiday cheer to your average soup or munchy snack.  Pictured here is a whole wheat bread and mild cheddar cheese.  A dark rye or pumpernickel will offer more contrast and really make that pumpkin grin stand out!  Our preschoolers are always smiles to find faces staring back at them from their plates.  I'm not sure if that's funny or frightening, but since either is welcome at Halloween, bon appetite! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween and Jack-Egg-Lanterns

Halloween has become a month-long celebration in our house (partly because it seems to take that long just to locate, unpack and put up all the varied decorations and do-dads).  We've always been fans of the holiday and holidays in general and are always on the lookout for new, fun (and best-of-all inexpensive!!!) ways to celebrate, decorate or both!  With our girls in preschool now (and desperately eager to help with every thing), it was important we find as many kid-friendly activities and crafts we could this year.

Enter the Halloween Jack-Egg-Lantern. 


We're surely not the first to think of this when we saw all those egg coloring kits go on sale last spring.  Our twins had such a great time decorating eggs this year -- and eating the hardboiled goodness! -- I nabbed a couple extra packs from the clearance bins to use at upcoming off-season events.  

With two girls and four fast hands to keep busy, one orange packet of dye was not going to be enough.  So to keep four hands busy and keep two imaginations working, we combined the red, yellow and pink colorings to make multiple shades of "pumpkin."  I think next time a drop or two of purple would also make a deeper color.  Green and purple are great Halloween colors anyway, and we could have done more to make Goblin or Frankenstein eggs or Purple Monster eggs...  Okay, all the better for next time.  This time, we focused on the pumpkin.  Some turned out more pinky-orange, a few more yellowy-orange, but overall we got a good blend and loved the results!

Some turned out more pinky-orange, a few more yellowy-orange, but overall we got a good blend.  For special egg-fects, we experimented with the usual techniques like mulit-color dipping and striping our "pumpkin" eggs with white, clear, and black crayons to add dimension and texture.  Looking back, red or dark orange crayon might do even better, especially pre-heated to give the lines more solid consistency.  

Our most vivid Jack-Egg-Lantern faces were achieved with a Sharpie, though the black crayon also turned out well.  Maybe next time we'll go with yellow wax for the faces and a deep orange for the dye to create that lit-from-within illusion.  

I think the most important part of this trial egg run is that it's a simple craft with a-typically healthy and edible results that offered great opportunities for a lot of peripheral fun, like practicing our scary faces (see below).  Have a spook-tacular Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

There Can Be No Halloween Season Without Vincent Price

I'll let my wife's Nicnup cartoon give us the break down of how important Vincent Price (May 27, 1911 – October 25, 1993) was and will always be to the Halloween season.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hulu Recommendation Friday: The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

This Sunday will mark the sixteenth anniversary of the death of a horror film legend. October 25th, 1993, Vincent Price left this mortal coil. The horror films that Vincent Price starred in were not the violent shockfests people so often imagine when they thing of the words "horror film." His films were not about gore, or quick cathartic release of tension, rather they were about fear. H.P. Lovecraft, a pioneer in American "Wierd Fiction", wrote in his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature :

5-27-1911 to 10-25-1993

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is the fear of the unknown...their admitted truth must establish for all time the geniuneness and dignity of the wierdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to "uplift" the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars...

This horror of the unknown is the kind of horror that permeated the films of Vincent Price. To be sure some like the Tingler had moments of visual shock, but most of the horror in Price's films was internal to the viewed characters. The audience felt the horror not as an immediate thing which passes when the musical sting chimes, but as a lingering afterthought which remained with the viewer long after the film had been viewed.

An image from The Tingler more akin to modern horror.

Vincent Price and Roger Corman's screen adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe tales are some of the best examples of this lingering kind of fear. With modern special effects making the imagery in The Pit and the Pendulum tame, possibly completely enervated of shock value, in comparison to the slaughter a Jason Voorhees is capable of committing. It is not the violence in Pit which horrifies, it is the thought of what man is capable of doing. This is the best kind of fear, the fear that reminds us as we look into the abyss that the abyss is looking back into us. True fear is horror at the possible meaninglessness of existence and the potential cruelty of man. How horrible is the realization in Fall of the House of Usher that Roderick Usher had accidently put his living sister prematurely into the tomb? The audience who watches this film can imagine both having to dig oneself free of an early grave and the terror of realization Roderick comes to when he realizes what he has done. There but for the grace of God go I.

Edgar Allan Poe is the founding voice for a great deal of American literature, including the modern horror tale. There have been some more recent Poe translations than the Corman/Price collaborations, but none seem to capture the tone as well. Price is magnificent in roles where we get to watch an otherwise noble man descend into madness. The Corman/Price films also manage to capture hints of the "unreliable narrator" literary device that Poe was famous for using/inventing. The lens through which the audience views the scene isn't the unreliable narrator, but the characters themselves often conceal their real motivations from each other. Have fun this Halloween with horror whose legacy can be seen in the SAW series, and the first HOSTEL, though the Poe versions spend a little more time on psychology of terror and less on the visceral sensations.