Halloween 2020: A Review

I hope that you all had a most wonderful Halloween! Mostly I hope that you aren’t done with the spooky stuff for another year though! I love Halloween but I definitely do not love seeing the back of it. Halloween is a state of mind, right? Of course I keep the spooky vibes going all year, but here’s some of my highlights of Halloween 2020. The weirdest, freakiest Halloween night of all. But not in the way we’d usually expect! 

Top Movie Picks

Watching films is always a big part of my halloween. Usually I like to carve a pumpkin and watch something spooky. This year though I was too slow and couldn’t find a pumpkin anywhere! Boo! But there is more to Halloween than that. If this year has shown me anything it’s that a surprising number of people associate the day with such specific things. Trick or treating, parties. The insistence that the cancelling of these is the cancelling of halloween itself. To me that is just crazy talk! Well, even being pumpkinless on Halloween 2020 was not going to ruin it for me. 

I started the day watching the big boss itself, ‘Halloween’. An absolute perk of living in a kid free home is that the scary stuff can start early. A Parr’s chocolate apple for breakfast and a classic slasher. If chocolate is a good enough breakfast for Easter it’s a good enough breakfast for Halloween! 

I moved onto ‘Brahams: The Boy 2’ and ‘The Wind.’ I slightly regretted not planning my halloween movie watching in advance. I loved ‘The Boy’ as a total guilty pleasure and the sequel was watchable but really not as good. I’ve had my eye on ‘The Wind’ for a while. I’ll hold my hands up and say I didn’t quite give it the attention it deserved. After promising myself I wouldn’t work on Halloween, I just can’t help myself! So I think I’ll try that one again another day. Earlier in the week I watched ‘Host’ and the moment I finished I knew that should have been the film I saved for Halloween. A Covid aware, zoom filmed horror, what a perfect treat for Halloween 2020! Definitely one to be watched on a laptop screen…

Daisy Spooks Drive in Cinema 

Halloween morning I got a bit hesitant about this one. I read some really pants reviews of the company’s other showings. However the evening watching ‘Scream’ at the makeshift drive in cinema at Sheffield Arena was awesome! Martin had never seen it before and it’s been a good few years for me too. There never seen to be many classic slashers on streaming channels in the UK. Has anyone else noticed this? Halloween was my first ever drive in experience and we got a great view and I loved it. Plus scare actors roaming round and popping up at your windows was a great bit of fun during the showing too. Watching Ghost Face on screen and then pop up in front of your car was definitely fun! Even the trailers beforehand with halloween trivia and spooky music videos got us in a great halloween mood.

Staying Home, Staying Spooky

We ended the night with a spooky board game, wine and cheese. Heaven! The game we played was ‘Horrified’, It features the classic universal monsters and is great monster fun for a board game novice like me.

The reality for me was that my Halloween was always going to be great. That’s because my favourite thing about it is just knowing that there’s loads of spooky things going on and loads of people enjoying them. I’ve loved seeing artists I like branch out into creating spooky things. Seeing kid’s homemade decorations pop up in so many houses down my street this year has been such a treat. The events are always a great part, but that means online events too. So I loved my halloween this year. I always knew I would. I know I always will!

Plans for a Socially Distanced Halloween

Oh BOY has this been a hot topic. I mean, I understand why. This Halloween is a halloween like no other. People care about the holiday, they are worried about it. I am sure that when we see a less niche holiday like christmas come under the fire of corona we will see a similar panic on a larger scale. But let’s get one thing straight….

Halloween is NOT cancelled

The insistence it will be has been such a peeve for me this year. No one can cancel halloween! Who even could? How even could you? There might be cancelled events or activities, sure, but you simple can’t cancel the whole thing. Even in the event of a full lockdown no one can stop me decorating my living room, putting on some scary films and stuffing my face with snacks. 

Happily, there is much more choice for events than I anticipated. I know that things could still get cancelled, but it would be a shame not to book them in. If all goes sour then I have a bunch of refunds to look forward to to spend on decorations , snacks and movie rentals. I will have the halloween I always thought I might. The main point being, I will always have a halloween!

Sucky Timing

The saddest thing for me is that this is my first halloween to myself and it’s probably not going to be the best. For the last few years I have been running halloween events with my old job. Now that job is no more, reclaiming halloween is an excellent perk. It’s just a shame I know I have missed out on so many events for the past few years and for this year it will happen again. Well…almost! The choice is smaller but I can certainly fill my week with spooky fun!

The National Trust’s Ghost Walks After Dark 

The National Trust are running these adults only event in a number of their sites. You book a slot and get a guided nighttime tour with ghost stories. Just seeing these venues in the nighttime is unique enough! To get ghost stories too is such a treat! I would absolutely love to be able to wander round Whitby Abbey after dark and listen to some ghost stories. But Whitby is a title far to go for an evening ghost walk. The great thing about these events is that you can pop your postcode into their site and it brings up the events closest to you. To be honest I hadn’t even heard of Bolsover castle before this (sorry). Just half an hour away from me as it turns out and so I am all booked on for spooky stories in a castle at night. Eek! (That’ excitement rather than fear though!) Tours are running 28th-31st October so I have booked it before halloween to fit as much hallowfun into the week as I can!

Daisy Dukes Drive in Halloween Screenings

This is another event taking place all over the UK. It will be the first time I have ever attended a drive in screening. They have lots of films on offer throughout the day and into the night. I’m a little dubious of the screening quality of films being shown outdoors in the daytime. But I was really spoilt for choice with the listings. Each screening has characters in attendance too. Kiddy friendly Beetlejuice types for the day time and who knows for the nighttime. Seriously though, what the hell character can you include for a screening of ‘The Blair Witch Project’? I decided to pick a film that I know will be great but I haven’t watched for a while. I know I certainly abuse the play button on my favourites that are available on streaming services. So ‘Scream’ it is for me. You can even pre book your snacks which i found more exciting than is necessary. The timing of the screening means I can even sneak some nighttime activity too if I find something else pop up.

Haunting my own House

This is the one thing I can do this year that I haven’t in previous. After decorating huge event spaces for events and knowing that I either won’t be home or will be exhausted for trick or treating time, my house doesn’t usually get decorated. This year though? My plan is to go all out. I’m gonna transform my house into a haunted house! I will definitely share more with you when I do!

Halloween as a Spooky Artist- the Best and most Difficult time of year

I know it’s gonna surprise some of you guys when I say that spooky season can be tough for spooky artists. I know that others of you might be thinking ‘it’s early September why is she talking about Halloween?’ Halloween comes to the UK the moment the first Code Orange siren sounds as far as I’m concerned. For those of you who might not know about code orange, it’s the moment that high street stores start to sell their halloween range each year. In 2020 it came as early as July and some stores seem to be wrapping up their Halloween offerings already. This isn’t the norm though. It’s definitely a symptom of a corona code orange.

What won’t be a suprise is how much I love halloween. Scary films, spooky decorations, amazing haunted events. I’m still hopeful that there will be something wonderful to experience this year. Even if it is an online event or a socially distanced drive in cinema. This will be my first Halloween in a couple of years that I don’t have to work too. My pumpkin carving time is back, woohoo!

Get to the point Sian, why is it TOUGH?

In short it’s tough because all the non-spooky folk jump on the spooky wagon. It’s weird to spend all year as a bit of an outsider only to have that month or two where everyone gets on board. That goes for artists, crafters, shoppers and the high street. A lot of whom are happy to put their spooky back in the closet on November 1st and not think about it again for a year. So in essence, not my typical customer. The art I create is very much for people who have embraced the spooky lifestyle. I don’t think that there are too many other people interested enough in just their halloween to be following an account for spooks 365 days a year. 

So as well as it not being super likely I will find too many new customers, my existing customers are suddenly kids in candy shops. I know this, because I am too! There is a short window where spooky is normal and you can fill up on halloween treats from a range of high street stores. People wait all year for it, and some save up especially too. October is definitely a month to stretch the bank account if spooky shopping is your deal. So it’s understandable that a lot of customers are focused more on buying what they can only buy at this time of year, as opposed to their favourite all year round halloween stores.

From Halloween is Everyday to Halloween is Everywhere 

Ultimately though it is my absolute favourite time of year. Maybe next year I’ll embrace the drop in custom as a chance for me to take the time off. So I can enjoy all the spooky things I love about Halloween! As some shops are already winding down their halloween stock it might even be possible for small spooky businesses to get a bit of a surge again this year. At the end of the day though, that’s not what matters. Enjoying the holiday and all it has to offer is something I have been doing long long before I had my business and I intend to keep it up.

If you have good suggestions for halloween plans this year, including online events or films to watch let me know!

Halloween Hauls 2020 So Far

It will surprise approximately none of you that I am in Halloween shopping mode already. I dig spooky all year round! August is about the time that I am ready for Autumn. Generally I am sick of being too warm, I miss wearing jumpers. I want to drink gingerbread lattes. Usually I am looking for an excuse to stay inside on an evening and watch telly but I think I’ve had enough of that in 2020! Finding the first Code Orange is the sign of the season to come. 

Happily, it is becoming the second sign. The first quickly becoming lots of enquiries for Halloween collabs. I can’t wait to share them with you over the coming weeks too 🙂 But this thread is for shopping. I am going to share with you some of my spooky finds so far. Both in the British Halloween shoppers haven of homesense and small business too!

October 31st

First a shout out goes to www.october31st.co.uk who are my number one go to for spooky treats throughout the year. Their brand new vintage themed collection was surely the first pumpkin of the year and I bought it in July! A brand new trick or treat sign and an awesome two sided mug to match. I had to wait for a restock to get my hands on the vintage spooky coasters! I also grabbed a ‘To Boo List’ notepad that I loved so much I have already had to buy a second. Plus this time I got the ‘Spooky Notes’ one to match.

My favourite October 31st adoption has to be my adorable little tinsel ghost! He is by Bethany Lowe designs and his little bat stick and tiny vintage cat bucket melt my heart! My studio’s ghost shelf is well and truly stuffed full now. It doesn’t mean I will stop buying ghosts of course, just that the second shelf needs clearing now too!

My next shout out is for Stella Box Designs. I have placed her A5 ‘Stay Spooky’ print in front of my work desk. It’s there all year one to remind me to keep spooky no matter what time of year. The pinky/white background and orange pumpkin pop perfectly on my petrol blue wall. I even got a free vinyl sticker too!

TK Maxximum Excitement

I heard the phrase ‘TK Maxx Cult’ today with regards to their halloween merch. Boy are they not wrong! The UK halloween loving community spend July with eagle eyes, popping in every chance they get. Now that my studio is a mere five minutes walk from one of these stores I am in the danger zone daily. It’s a shame that there aren’t more shops like it in the UK. There are other shops with halloween merch but not so long lasting. The quality is better. They are made with the idea that someone might want to keep them out for more than just one night. I have added a great many items to this years shopping list. Discovered by trawling facebooks groups and photos of people’s find there. 

Gnomes seem to be a new theme with them this year. I picked up a couple even though they aren’t completely on brand for me. They are adorable though! There’s no harm in finding a friend for last year’s man eating plant Audrey 2 knock off find. My favourite is a little gnome on a pumpkin who lives in the studio with my monstera plant. His name is Frankenstein’s Monstera which I thought you guys might like! 

I’ve snagged a few salt and pepper shakers too. All ghost themed but my favourite is a little ghost dog with a pumpkin bucket. How could I not? I grabbed a black cat patterned hot drinks flask as well. The pattern is brilliant, it’s a really expressive and slightly demented looking cat pattern but the vintage quirky style had me sold. Dot has done well too since whenever I pop in I seem to come out with a new toy for her aswell!

There are a few more items I have my eye on and I am awaiting a parcel from a lovely lady who picked up a matching ghost couple for me. I am committed to making discerning purchases from here on out. The last thing I want is to fill the studio too quickly. Adding things I am not totally in love with. Struggling to find room for more. The goal is to have a spooky garden display on my window sill. That’s the main thing I am looking for. Think Audrey 2, plants and ceramics. I am making some ceramics for myself for the occasion too. The goal is that it is reminiscent of my Spectral flower shop print. I am sure that a few more halloween shopping trips will have it all well under way soon!