Every year I live for Halloween. I usually start decorating and crafting for the holiday the first weekend in September. Last year, because I made some of my decorations – Apothecary bottles and Spooky Botanicals – my husband suggested I start in August. I thought that was a bit early, but not outrageous. He was right, though, I didn’t have everything finished that I wanted to in time for our party. This year, I did start in August.
Fun for me is also looking at all the merchandise the stores put out every year. I usually buy something every year to add to my collection. But I also like to get ideas from the goodies for sale. I noticed already that both Walmart and Lowe’s are following the trend of wreaths.
I always take note to myself when I have been to the first store and perused the Halloween. It’s the official beginning of the season for me. This year it was Kroger. First the Kroger down the street and then my Kroger that is closer. Kroger usually has at least one something cute. But this year – maybe it’s early – the have they standard fare: a few costumes/masks, some fall schlock, toys, etc. Nothing impressive.
Walmart was the 2nd store this year that I have visited. Last year, it seemed Walmart was late to get their items out for Halloween. I had to pick up a few things and just happen to see the Halloween inflatables on the top of the gondola in the seasonal section. I am usually always disappointed in Walmart’s offerings. They are big on costumes, masks, and candy, some decoratives, some inflatables, jack-o-lanterns, and some outdoor and window decorations and lights. But it’s rare that they have something unique and worth taking home. This season, however, I was thrilled to see that they had a few very cute things. And the prices were not bad either. In fact, I had to go ahead and buy one of the cute items because there was only one at my location – again, it’s a little early – and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find it again when I wanted to.
See Walmart’s offerings below:
Glitter Ravens and Owls for under two bucks:
A nicely painted black resin “boo” sign with a quality feel for under $4:
Glitter covered bats and spiders for under a buck:
Glitter skulls for under $3:
Hanging glittered cardboard spiders and bats for under $2, I believe. I thought these were a little pricey for cardboard, but I think the glitter is the expensive component.
Striped bats of cloth and plastic for under $4. They seemed to have an under wire for posing and look like they probably glow in black light.
Some different tombstone shapes than you normally see. It irks me though that 99% of all tombstones have R.I.P. on them. Is that as creative as we can get after all this years?
Black feather owls for under $6:
Black feather ravens in two sizes for under $8 for the large and under $3 for the small. A little pricey for both sizes considering you can get the small size of almost the same quality at the Dollar Tree.
And the cutest things that Walmart had was the small animated male and female vampire busts for under $8. The eyes light up and they speak several different phrases each when activated. Though the faux finish is plasticy, I think I could do a more convincing finish once I got them home.
Lastly, was the item I thought I might not see again so I went ahead and purchased it. It’s an antique phone that has the old-phone ring and speaks several phrases and makes other sound effects when activated. I think I could faux the finish on it as well to make it more convincing. It seemed to be of good enough quality and the price wasn’t bad for the overall effect, under $15.
I am so excited about Halloween and all the new merchandise to discover.
Keep Calm and Haunt On!
I am sure that is pinned on Pinterest somewhere.
This is my take on spooky plant makeovers. After I was inspired by some of the spooky plants and creatures that I had seen on Pinterest and other websites, I lucked upon several artificial plants at Goodwill that I thought I could transform into my own creations. I especially loved the items online that paid homage to The Little Shoppe of Horrors, that had flowers with teeth or eyeballs, or had octopus tentacles. I wanted to monsterfy the plants, but leave them as realistic as possible.
-orange Gerber daisy bouquet
-pink azalea, potted (below)
-pink tulip bouquet
- silk pink azalea plant in green urn (Goodwill)
- flat black paint
- blue wash (Heavenly Hues, which they don’t make anymore. See recipe to recreate) pic
- light blue fabric dye (Hobby Lobby)
- dark blue fabric dye (Hobby Lobby) pic
- small paint brush for painting dye on blossoms
- black scorpions (Dollar Tree)
- hot glue gun
- Spanish moss (gray)
The thing I liked about the silk azalea plant is that it already had an urn shaped pot that was very Gothic and had an old world feel about it. (Note: I can’t find the before picture I took prior to painting the urn.)
I wanted to change the color of the blossoms from pink which is very Spring-like to something more somber. I decided that blue flowers would be unusual. In nature, there are not many true blue flowers, many purple and pink, but it’s rare to come across any that are distinctly blue. I also had a blue wash that I wanted to try on the urn and I thought the blues would compliment each other well.
I painted the urn first because I didn’t want to damage any work I would do to the flowers trying to paint the pot. I wrapped the plant in a grocery bag to protect it from the paint. After a coat or two of the flat black paint had dried, I used the Heavenly Hues blue wash on top. I think the blue gives the urn a patina that resembles a heavy cast iron version. The blue and black also looked a little more spooky.
I first tried removing some of the pink blossoms and soaking them in hot water mixed with a heavy does of blue food coloring. The process was inconsistent. Some flowers, once dried, were spotty and some didn’t take the color as well as others. Not only was the color not taking, but removing the flowers from the bush became a problem. Some of the flowers did not pull off cleanly and came apart or would not pull off at all. Discouraged, I put the project on hold for a while until I came across some bottles of fabric dye that are used to do tie-dye and other crafts. I picked up the light blue and the dark blue because I wasn’t sure which would look the best.
I cut open a plastic zipper bag that was pretty thick, made a whole in the center large enough to wrap around each blossom and slit it through from center to edge so that I could easily put it on and take it off. Basically, the idea was to isolate each flower from the rest of the plant so I could paint/dye it individually without having to remove it, dye it, and then glue it back on. I started with the light blue dye on the bigger outer petals. Then I experimented by isolating the inner set of petals separately and dying them with the darker blue. I liked that the variation resembled something you might see in nature. But it was time consuming doing each flower individually first with the light blue dye and then with the dark blue. Don’t worry if some of the dark blue bleeds onto the light blue. I had to quickly un-dye some of the petals because I didn’t isolate them well enough. Some quick warm water clean up on the mistakes will keep them from being too noticeable.
While the flowers dried, I cut the scorpions in have right down the middle of their for sets of legs. I hot glued the head and pincers end to the center of each full blossom. I saved the tail ends for a future project.
Finally, I glued Spanish moss around the base of the plant spilling over the urn to give it a finishing touch of a plant that has been around a while. Spanish moss is available in several colors or you could spray paint your own color onto the plain stuff. I thought the blue gray color of the natural moss helped further the blue theme.
I am very pleased with how it turned out. At first glance, it looks light an average (fake) plant. On closer inspection, you get a hint of the creep factor.
Now, I want to come up with an exotic name for this new species and possibly make a botanical name plate for it.
Please let me know your thoughts or questions.