Stage Frights! A Guide to Halloween Decor
Happy Halloween! Err, okay, we're a bit early, I suppose. Happy Month of Collecting! Welcome, one and all, to the pre-Halloween season. The beginning of the Month of Collecting marks the beginning of Halloween prep time for most dedicated spook fans. Many Neopians take this precious time to carefully plot out their trick-or-treating course, design their elaborate costumes, and plan get-togethers full of apple bobbing fun. I, however, am different. Sure, I love a good costume and bowl of candy like anyone else, and I throw a mean Halloween bash, but I spend the four weeks before that wonderful day planning my decorations. Yes, decorations. Every year on Halloween I dress up my neohome with the help of my pets, and it becomes the neighbourhood's most spooky and spectacular vision of Halloween bazaar that anyone has ever seen! Jack-o-lanterns, streamers, spooky giggling and anything you can imagine go into my display. So now, I'm taking a moment to help you, the worried but excited Halloween fan! I'm going to let you in on my secrets to a spooktacular Halloween display that will knock the socks off all of your neighbours! In time, you'll have all the knowledge you need to create the scariest display on the block. So grab a notebook and a pen; I'm going to re-educate your Halloween mind!
Before you run out to the stores, hopping all willy nilly with excitement at the prospect of having a truly amazing display, sit down, take a moment to breathe and send me a fruit basket. *cough* I mean, prepare yourself. You don't want to spend thousands of neopoints to end up with nothing at all, do you? No! Holidays are expensive, and more often than not helpless Neopians such as yourself spend more than required on decorations that they don't actually use. If you spend too much on useless decorations, you won't have enough for candy, and trick-or-treaters get mean on Halloween when they don't get their candy! To avoid that frightening mishap, and to keep from finding smashed pumpkins on your lawn, take a few steps in decorating prep, and you'll be golden!
The first step you need to decide on is your theme. Every display should have a theme. If you really like Edna, why not fill your yard with green, black, and a great big cauldron? Commit to a couple complimentary colours, or a certain spook, and stick to it. That way when you're shopping, you can purchase items that fit your theme, and will ultimately compliment each other. So take a moment now, with your trusty pen and paper, and work out some of your favourite Halloween images. Pick an idea, then pick the colours you think of when you think of it and keep that in your mind. Great! You've now got your display's theme! But before you go shopping, let's remind you of the basics in Halloween decoration.
Pumpkins have been around Halloween since... well, forever! In the past they were said to ward off evil spooks and monsters of all sorts. Now, even Sloth has his face on one! Jack-o-Lanterns are the product of emptying a pumpkin of its innards and carving a silly face in the front. Once a candle or flashlight is lit inside the pumpkin and the top is replaced, it becomes a fun lantern that illuminates the face, design, or message that you've carved on the front!
While there are many jack-o-lanterns on the market, some of the most fun Halloween moments I've had with my family is carving our own pumpkins. All you have to do is head to Meridell, pick out your pumpkin, and take it home for some carving fun! Grab a knife, cut out a lid on the top, and spoon out the innards into a bowl. Pumpkin innards are delicious, and it's important to make sure that every last goop-covered seed is out of the pumpkin before the carving begins. Just be careful as you're carving, and make sure that any young Neopians are supervised!
If you're not looking forward to the mess of cutting up pumpkins, there are plenty of pre-made jack-o-lanterns available for you to buy! The Glaring Pumpkin, Silly Pumpkin, and Hilarious Pumpkin are just a few of many that you can find.
Before you buy, think about how many jack-o-lanterns you're going to need. Just a couple? Many? Consider placing a row of pumpkins from the edge of your lawn leading up your walkway! It's a great way to illuminate the path so that trick-or-treaters have a safe walk to your front door. Or, how about a pile of glittering faces waiting at your doorstep? My favourite jack-o-lantern display is piling twenty or so pumpkins up high and watching the awed expressions that come to my door on Halloween night. There's nothing like greeting your guests with a troupe of grinning orange faces!
Pumpkins are just one piece of the harvest product puzzle. There are plenty of autumn symbols that can make a beautiful display, and even the spookiest of houses has a few classics around. When you're decorating with jack-o-lanterns, consider adding some un-carved pumpkins and gourds in! The Double Green Pumpkin is interesting to look at, and the Mini Pumpkin with its bush of vines and bright leaves would make a perfect background for a lush faux garden.
A few dried Chick-a-Daisys, a Rustic Twig Trellis, and several apple filled gourds can add a stunning autumn look to any display. Remember - Halloween isn't just doom and gloom; it's about colour and creativity!
Eight Legged Ickies
No Halloween would be complete without our eight legged 'friend' the spider and his web! While many Neopians look at the Spyder petpet as a loveable sidekick, the actual bug has been drawing fear for decades. What better to create a spooky Halloween display with!
To start off, gather everything you can that you can make into realistic looking spider webs. The thin but expensive Spyder Web Mat is perfect to stretch out over your door, or across fences, and if you can get your battler to part with his or her Enchanted Cobweb, you even get a free spider in the mix! For the thrifty decorator, a basket full of Pick Your Own wool pieces can be stretched out into a heavy 'web' that can be strung anywhere. Or, if you're able to stand those creepy petpets, a group of Spyders could provide you with hand made and applied webs that will really give your display an extra zing!
Once you've got the necessary amount of webbing up, you now need to get your spiders! Gather a large amount of Toy Spider Rings and thread them into your webbing, making sure that the ring is hidden where trick-or-treaters won't see them. If you're really enthusiastic, you can pick yourself up a few Spider on a String and tie them up, making it seem like they're trying to catch the prey that walks underneath!
The best Halloween display is fully lit up both for safety, and to create the right atmosphere no matter what your theme. Setting up lights in the perfect spot can give your spider webs an eerie glow, or shed light on what could be a young Neopian's fright! To start off, think about the theme you've decided to do. Sure, lights are lights, but since there are so many kinds to choose from, why not match things up? Start out with string lights! There are many Autumn/Halloween themed lights that would be perfect to use. Apple Lantern Lights, Candy Corn Lights, and Pumpkin Lights all showcase the sweet and satisfying harvest side of the holiday, and are universal in appeal. If you're looking to tread on the spooky side of things, look at the Spyder Lights, Korbat Lights, and Dark Nova Lights to illuminate your ghastly display.
Once you've gathered some sets of string lights, take a boo at the lanterns available! My absolute favourite is the Shadow Lantern. Its beautiful black wrought iron frame has an array of spooky shapes cut into the sides. Once you light the candle inside, it creates a scene like no other!
If you have plenty of space to work with, try creating a spooky outdoor scene that fits your theme!
With a bit of dirt, and several simple Tombstones, you can turn your front yard into a graveyard! Add an Open Grave or two, stick some shovels in the ground, and strategically place a few nibbled chicken bones, and you have yourself the perfect spooky scene for guests to wade through.
If a graveyard isn't your cup of tea, invest in a Casket Bookcase and a Spooky Speaker. Set the bookcase outside and stick the speaker on one of the shelves. Turn it on, and part the door just slightly! Trick-or-treaters will never know where those haunting tunes are coming from, and they won't go looking in the coffin!
Are you looking to place a ghost on your lot? Pick yourself up an inexpensive Sheet Covered Mirror! It's already shaped like a ghost, and the sheet will blow in the wind on Halloween night, creating the illusion that the 'ghost' is floating!
Building Your Display
Now that you've figured out your theme, and have been thoroughly educated on all the different aspects of Halloween decor, it's time to build your display! If you haven't already, go out shopping and pick up any decorations you need. Really, you just need to get your base down. Some Halloweens it took me all four weeks to find everything I needed for my decorations! If you find everything right away, great! If not, don't fret. There's plenty of shopping time available. This isn't Christmas, you know.
*clatter* "Whoo, I'm back!"
Great! You've returned! With... a hefty amount of bags, I see. Hmm. Well, enthusiasm is good, let's just hope you've stuck to your theme.
As you empty out your harvest of Halloween goodies, take a moment to breathe. You're going to need it! I'm sure that by now, with armfuls of decorations, it's starting to hit home what you've taken on! A Halloween display is a lot of work, commitment, and it takes a lot of time. If you have family, gather them and brief them on your idea. More than likely they'll be willing to help, and if not, Sloth has several serums and rays that can change their minds. When you're ready to begin, relax and enjoy! Decorating your home for Halloween should be fun, not harrowing!
In the end of it, a good Halloween display stems purely from your imagination. I've given you the basics; now it's time to expand! Decide what you want your display to look like and get the base down. Once you have that, all you have to do is add the finishing touches that will make your decorations amazing! Take a walk around Neopia. You never know what spooky objects might pop up, and you'd be surprised at how many normal items you can turn haunting with the right placement! A visit to the Deserted Fairground's Spooky Furniture shop can usually prove to be fruitful. Plus, if you're in the right place at the right time, maybe you can get some tips from the Haunted Woods's natives!
Just remember that a good display is the one that comes from the heart, and the work you put into it will show in the end product. Happy haunting, fellow Halloween fans! Your destiny awaits you!
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Kippy, you really should take a deep breath and think about the neomail you sent.