My Quintessential List of Halloween Movies

One of my favorite ways to celebrate the season of Halloween (which lasts all October, according to me), is to turn down the lights, get under a blanket, cuddle close to my man, and watch a scary movie. If it’s creepy, whimsical, or includes sister witches, it’s a movie I’m all about this time of year. It’s a tradition that I can remember starting as early as grade school sleepover parties. I still remember screaming with my friends while watching the original House on Haunted Hill. There will always be something so creepy and sinister about Vincent Price in that movie that perfectly captures the spirit of Halloween.

To help you with your spooky movie marathon this year, I’ve compiled my quintessential list of movies that puts me in the mood for Halloween. These include everything from children’s classics to gory slashers. They are listed from least to most scary/gory. Most are available to rent on Prime, but some are free with a streaming subscription.

I would highly recommend watching the 1960s version of Psycho so you can listen to a discussion about the movie on Unspooled, a podcast featuring Paul Scheer (from How Did This Get Made?) and film critic Amy Nicholson as they watch the American Film Institute’s top 100 movies. Although this is not on my list, you might also want to consider watching or rewatching the original Halloween so you can listen to another podcast featuring Amy Nicholson: Halloween Unmasked.

What’s on your list? 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)The Shining (Free with Netflix)

Deer Makeup and Antlers

Besides a Halloween party at work, where I plan to dress up as either Eleven from Stranger Things or Pippi Longstocking, we don’t have any major to-dos this year. Even still, after having so much fun doing the makeup for my Day of the Dead Skull look last year, I wanted to challenge myself with another makeup look. Maybe it’s because my unruly locks lend themselves to dressing up as a wild animal, but for whatever reason I started looking at deer makeup tutorials. After a few Google searches, I was hooked on the idea of dressing up as a deer to hand out candy this year.

I followed Lauren Conrad’s tutorial for making the deer antlers, but instead of using faux fur for the ears, I used felt to save a little time and money. And after being inspired by a Google search for DIY deer antlers, I decided to add some fake flowers that I had on hand as well.

For the makeup, I didn’t follow one specific tutorial, I just looked at a bunch of examples in Google images and pulled a little inspiration from each. Here are the steps I followed:

1. I started with my typical makeup that I wear to work everyday: foundation, brown eye shadow, black eyeliner and mascara.

2. Next I used the same black eyeliner to extend the lines that were already there and traced a thicker line around my eyes.

3. Then I rubbed a little white eyeshadow under my eyes, on my forehead and on my chin.

4. Next I started applying bronzer around the edges of my face and across my cheeks.

5. With white crayons from an old Halloween makeup kit, I drew small white circles on my cheeks and forehead. 

7. Using a black crayon from the same Halloween makeup kit, I drew a nose and one straight line connecting the nose to my lips. I then filled in just my upper lip.

 8. To complete the look, I donned my antlers and put on this tan sweater. You could wear this with anything brown to pull off the look. It’s that easy!

What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?

Day of the Dead Skull Face Paint

If you are still looking for a quick, inexpensive Halloween costume, I have the perfect idea for you. I tried this last night and I have to say it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t too difficult either. The key is having a plan. I did a lot of research before I started, Googling Day of the Dead Skulls and Day of the Dead Skull Face Paint. Then I practiced by sketching out some ideas.

Next I applied a layer of white paint all over my face and eyelids. I used Halloween store paint, which was really cakey. I found this tutorial for flawless white face paint, and the key takeaway is to mix it with moisturizer so it goes on smooth. Then I drew two red circles around my eyes and colored those in. After that I drew yellow dots around the two red circles and blue petals around the yellow dots. Next I drew the top flower, the bottom flower and the vines to fill out my cheeks.

Lastly, I filled in the black dot on my nose and outlined the circles and the flowers. Next time I might try to outline the top and bottom flowers in a lighter color. I may also try to use something other than primary colors, but for handing out candy this is perfect as it wont be too scary. If you plan to wear this to a costume party, just put on a black turtle neck and pants and put a flower pin or crown of flowers in your hair.

What is your Halloween costume this year?

Cat Woman

Although I love my Mad Hatter costume and its accompanying hat that I shed blood and tears over, this would be a nice outfit to wear on Halloween if I were going to a fancy party. Hint, hint. I want to go to a fancy party. Someone please invite me to a fancy party so I have an excuse to buy this dress! When I came across it the other day, I was instantly obsessed with the print. It goes beyond the usual animal print and the result is quirky and fun without being something only an 11-year old would wear. Typical Anthropologie genius! I think the print could be used for just about anything, but in the form of this perfectly girly dress, it’s the cat’s pajamas.

Halloween decorations: Your first place

I used to love decorating for Halloween. When I was younger, that involved plastering some pretty old-school paper decorations to our front window. I actually wish I had some of those decorations with me at my new place. But the beauty of having your first place is that you get to start accumulating your own collection of holiday decorations. Not wanting to break the bank on my first holiday, I started out small. I think I was able to restrain myself well, but I will still have a good base to start with for next year. Here is my little guide to Decorating Your First Place for Halloween.

1. Mini-Pumpkins: I bought mini pumpkins and spread them around my book case. 

2. Cobwebs: This is an easy and cheap way to add a little mystique to your Halloween decor. Yes. I have all  of the Harry Potter books.

3. Unique finds: I found this Boo sign at an apple farm that also sells home goods. I love how the cursive writing and stripes makes it look like just another piece of the decor, but when you look closer it has cute Halloween message.

4. Lights: Strands of Halloween lights or a light-up pumpkin like this one will instantly make you think of Halloween. Candles would be fun too.

5. Door wreath: This wreath looks like it could have been made from branches and leaves from my backyard, which are some of my favorite natural decorations.

6. Pumpkin and Mums: You can’t decorate for Halloween without a pumpkin on your porch. And nothing looks classier than a set of Mums on your front porch.

Fall happenings


There are a couple of things that happen to indicate that fall is creeping in. The obvious one is that the leaves change. I saw my first completely yellow-leaved tree today in the office parking lot.
Another thing that happens that is slightly annoying is that it starts to stay dark outside even at 6 am and 6:30 am, so that my body thinks I should still be asleep. I will be in a hibernation-like state from now until spring time. I may just fall asleep at my desk for no apparent reason.
Probably the best sign that fall is right around the corner are the strange, pop-up Halloween stores that appear out of thin air. I am sure you are familiar with them. They usually have names like Halloween Town, and the billboards that line the freeway advertise them as if the world’s largest ball of yarn has planted itself in your city for a short period of time. Even the most stable shopping center is not immune to them. Somehow, a vacant store that you didn’t even notice before, becomes an awesome destination for your costume or wig or those funny little graveyard decorations that people put in front of their houses.
Sept. 9 is a pretty early sighting for one of these stores. This is probably another attempt to make the most out of our economic slump and create consumer interest. I don’t know if shopping has picked up, but I would get to one of these stores fast if I were you. Last year all of the good costumes were taken by the time I visited one. It was a week before Halloween though.

(Photo by me)