Confront Thy Fears – Halloween Party Pt 1

I see my absence from posting hasn’t shocked anyone into calling out a search party.  Alas, all is well, but life is a little hectic at the moment.  We had Teacup Agility Nationals this month, new international assignments at work and of course in the midst of all this is our annual Halloween Party.  If you recall from a previous post (link here), Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and both Linda and I enjoy decorating up the place and having some of our friends over for a few libations while enjoying a bonfire.  This year we expanded our haunted trail, but more on that in the future for today is all about orange colored foam and implements of destruction.

So first off, a quick quiz.

  • What is my favorite Halloween activity?
  • What is my most feared and despised occupation … hint, some would call it a phobia?

Queue annoying Jeopardy music.   Please put your pens down, it is time to reveal the answer.

Did you answer correctly? I will also accept decorating and scaring neighbor kids for the first answer, but ANY answer other than #$@#$%^&$ clowns is completely unacceptable. So it was time again to add another pumpkin to the collection. This one officially brings the collection to 18. As with the last 5 or 6, I wanted to make my own pattern. Half the fun is trolling Google Images trying to find the perfectly lit photo or image to transform into a scary nightlight. This year turned out to be a little frustrating. After trying all my favorite keyword searches like ghoul, demon, vampire etc. I kept coming up empty on good specimens to transform. This step takes a tremendous amount of time and I didn’t have time to waste on an image that wasn’t going to produce a nice silhouette for a pumpkin. There were one or two that might have worked, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Time to take a step back and go at it from a different angle. A self assessment was needed to figure out what would make this year’s carving memorable. An inner dialog  was initiated with one common question. What creeps me out? If there was something out there that scared me, made me uneasy and gave me the heebie jeebies, what would it be?  A certain president jumped to mind, but quickly dismissed it since American voters have wised up to socialism so what else was there? … and then a light bulb went off. There is really only one obvious answer. It was time to confront my phobia head on… take it by the big nose and beat it into submission. To say I was unprepared for what was ahead would be an understatement. A few key taps in the Google search field S C A R Y  C L O W N produced a collection of images so hideous, so vile and so demonic that I broke out in a sweat and nearly screamed. However, I was committed to this task and no mime loose in the department store lipstick aisle was going to deter me. Slowly I navigated through the thumbnails which were not surprising 85% pictures of Pennywise but there was not an image that had enough contrast required to produce a good stencil. Still sweating from staring at all those clowns, I was forced to switch to my secret backup. Here is a tip to keep between the LifeIntrigued family shhhhh tattoo stencils make great pumpkin stencils starting points shhhhhhh. Turns out our crafts have some similarities and one of the reasons I enjoy watching tattoo artists and their reality shows. A quick jump to and within seconds I had the base image. Disclaimer. The image selected can be found by entering Scary Clown in the search field. I have no intention of providing anyone else the stencil above and all rights remain with the original creator. Now I have already blogged about how the transformation from image to stencil goes (link here), so I will not bore you with those details again.

Hit the jump to see some additional comments and pictures of the final product.

With the stencil created, I printed it out, removed the portions of the template representing the areas to carve out of the pumpkin and then transferred the pattern to the fake pumpkin selected for this year’s offering.  Oh, a quick note on that.  I was at Menards checking out this year’s decoration options and noticed they had the foam pumpkins this year.  Only one problem.. they were $19 a piece which is absolutely ridiculous.  I usually pick them up at Micheal’s after Halloween for 50-60% off making them in the $8-$10 range which is much more reasonable.  Linda and I actually  bought about 10 more pumpkins while up at TDAA nationals since their sale was already going on – had to make space for the Christmas stuff … sigh.

From there I readied the workspace, found my dust mask and plugged in my trusty Dremel.  At first I dreaded knowing how much time needed to be spent staring at this evil (the template alone took 4 hours).  To my surprise, there was a therapeutic side to this.  I got to essentially stab and carve on a clown face for over two hours.  Thankfully no one took a picture of how ferocious I was wielding the cutters.  With a healthy dose of clown guts flung about the basement, the carving portion was completed.

The nose was actually one of those ideas I wasn’t sure how to do when I started the project. I knew I wanted it to be red, but this was new territory for me. For the next couple of days I kept brainstorming on how to do it. I ended up dismissing a number of thoughts due to lack of materials and was too scared to simply color the foam with a red marker – having to spend 2 more hours carving another clown if it looked bad didn’t interest me at all. In the end, a trip to Walmart and another to Michael’s provided the answer. At Walmart I bought a new product which was a see through pink Post-It. This was more pink than red but this was actually solved by stacking on a red cellophane fruit basket bag on top of it. The two hues provided the perfect red (at least in my opinion and nightmares) and the thickness helped diffuse the light giving it a nice glow.

How is this for a scary pumpkin?

The nose is actually a half cut like the lips and eyebrows so the red covering could be put on with basic clear paste glue.  I hope you were able to figure out the nose highlight was made by simply cutting all the way through that section which let in more light.  The original pattern called for adding red to the other half cuts, but it was decided that it looked just fine the way it was.

It always looks best in the dark, so here is a final shot of the end product:

Damn, this thing still scares the crap out of me. I could probably get rid of our house security system and just put this thing out on the porch.

Hope you enjoyed my latest creation… pleasant dreams

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