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Monday, 22 October 2012 14:12 Jennifer Devore
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Because you know j'adore mes Barbies as much as j'adore Hallowe'en, voila! The first in a series of Hallowe'en Barbies! Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie by designer Bill Greening. Oh, mais oui, SVP!

Now, as the other Holidays are fast-approaching and my long sought-after, annual, Christmas list is currently brewing amidst zee leetle grey zells ... ~ahem~

Dear Sandy Claws,

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Sunday, 30 September 2012 00:00 Jennifer Devore
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Me: What? You're nuts! Everyone knows about Disneyland at Halloween!

My Viking: No, they don't. Not everybody goes to Disneyland once a week.

Me: Okay, still. Everybody knows about The Haunted Mansion at Halloween!

My Viking: No, they don't. Hey, maybe that should be your next blog post.

A recent discourse of somewhat heated debate, the suggestion indeed made sense. I've been on a perpetual Disney mission since I could talk, so why not entreat anyone I can to experience the magnificent transformation of The Happiest Place on Earth into The Spookiest Place on Earth: Disneyland's Halloween Time?!

Photo by Loren JavierI write specifically of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The entire park gets a bedeviling, magical, spooky, pumpkin-bedecked makeover. Nyquil trip-worthy, giant Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy Jack O'Lanterns greet you at the main gate and welcome you into a fall fantasy. 'Tis best to go at night. It is still a tad warm here in sunny California to achieve a true autumnal glow, not counting that glow which comes from insisting on wearing a newsboy cap, silk breeches and woolen stripey stockings to the Park. October 1st temp this year? 100 degrees in Anaheim! Of course, maybe that's why we SoCal Disney dorks love Halloween Time so much. Disney is fantasy, after all. Weather fantasy is a beautiful thing. You know my thoughts on too much summer!

From Main Street's straw-adorned gas lampposts to Space Mountain's surprisingly heart-stopping Ghost Galaxy (I screamed with such true terror, without the ability to ever catch my breath in between banshee calls, I exited with a monster headache and a shredded, sore throat. Gnarly, awesome fun!), everything is infused with an orange-and-gold, haystacks-and-scarecrows, SpiderCider n' pumpkin muffin kind of elan. Even the popcorn boxes are anew with Gothic imagery. You'll find ghostly and spooky, seasonal offerings from Jack O'Lantern lollipop cakes at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café on Main Street, to Jack Skellington hoodies and studded belts throughout New Orleans Square.

The Haunted Mansion, above all, receives a dressing up one simply must see in person. Whilst divine and inspiring on its most average day, the manse brings new awe to the darkly-humoured and sartorially gothic flutterbys whom tend to use the manor less as an amusement park ride and more as an interior design sketchbook. September through January, the Mansion looks like the aftermath of a Tim Burton Army's coup Photo by Loren Javierd'etat. Using "The Nightmare Before Christmas" as its seasonal overlay, the neoclassical Victorian estate recounts the tale of pauvre Jack Skellington and his empirical quest to understand himself and his raison d'etre. 'Tis a Samhain switch that would make even Kafka proud: creepy crawlies, existential confusion, brooding philosophes and all. The chateau has been overtaken and rechristened Haunted Mansion Holiday here in Anna's House (Anaheim) and Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare at Tokyo Disneyland for my Japanese pals, Yoshiko, Akiko and Aii. Konnichiwa, guys!

Jack and Sally, Zero, the mayor of Hallowe'en Town and his loyal citizens, evil Oogie Boogie and his miniature minions Lock, Shock and Barrel and, of course, Sandy Claws have made the palace their own. Doom Buggies carry Nightmare devotees whom will not only spy favourite replications and vignettes from the holiday mainstay film, but whom will search over and over, enduring sadistically long and serpentine lines to get inside, for details and surprises hidden nicely in plain sight for the more obsessive fans. (Moi? I found a creepy Christmas cadeau laid out and tagged For: Jennifer!) Haven't had a chance to get inside, yet? No worries. Allow Moi to offer a wee Holiday Haunted Mansion slideshow!

Apropos to those devilish lines, there are plenty of visual stimuli outside the Neoclassical Italianate dwelling to keep one's creative centers electrified as you shuffle forward at an imperceptible speed: impaled Jack O'Lanterns on an ivy-laden hillside, scores of flickering candles, skull-festooned, black-ribboned Christmas wreaths and a plethora of tombstones, cemetery statuary and goofy epitaph puns. (Crave an archivist's details about the original architectural impetus for the manse: the 1803 Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore? Voila ... Disneyland Nomenclature.)

Should you be fortunate enough to live near Disneyland and even more fortunate to be an annual passholder, get thee to The Spookiest Place on Earth forthwith. Plan on long lines, especially at Space Mountain's Ghost Galaxy and The Haunted Mansion, buy some popcorn to kill time and take some pictures whilst you wait. I do! Pirates of the Caribbean is usually a pretty mellow wait and though it's not got a Hallowe'en rework, it's still pirates. You have to do pirates for Hallowe'en!

If you're not a passholder, expect a terrifying ticket price into the park. Of course, you can always put that admission toward said-pass and imbue yourself with the heady incense that is Disney all year long. They'll apply the ticket-price to your new pass and for just a minor monthly stipend, Disney will own your ass forev ... I mean, offer you endless entertainment for years to come, plus parking. (Fair warning: If you plan to have a pass for the long term, it is best to renew your pass every year, prior to the expiration date. You can upgrade easily, with a slightly higher, modified, monthly fee; but there are often renewal discounts. Also, you maintain your monthly debits, keeping cost management of the pass pretty regular, minus upgrade costs. If it expires, even by a day, you will be required to buy anew; that means a one-day ticket price/down payment of about $80.00.)

Photo by Loren JavierIf you do have a pass, besides the useful 10% to 20% dining and merchandise discounts you'll receive, depending on the pass, you'll get $18.00 off most nights to Mickey's Halloween Party, excepting Oct. 30th & 31st. What? You don't know of Mickey's Halloween Party?! It's a special, ticketed event ($54.00-$69.00) throughout the month of October. The park closes early to make way for a fab, private-ish party! You may dress up if you like (within guidelines) and experience a whole new Hallowe'en overlay throughout the place: a spooky, blue, ghostly Mark Twain and Pirate Ship Columbia drift atop the fog-laden Rivers of America; costumed Disney characters pose for pictures; safe and healthy trick-or-treating stations await your little ones; and Halloween Screams Fireworks explode over a multi-hued Sleeping Beauty's Castle! Dates are plentiful, but tickets sell out fast! Learn more here: Mickey's Halloween Party!

Fun fact? Did you know The Haunted Mansion opened on my birthday when I was just a wee, wailing babe? That might explain an existential thing or two!

Hurry back and don't forget to bring your, death certificate. There's always room for one more.

 

 

All slideshow Disneyland photos courtesy of fellow Disney dork, Loren Javier

 
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 15:32 Jennifer Devore
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When the moon glows full and the brisk wind howls strong,

The night for all spirits, faeries and fiends comes alive.

The party is set, the festivities draw near.


Witches, pirates, werewolves and beasts prepare themselves fierce,

For an o’ernight feast and fete, they’ve been awaiting all the year.

Spiced pumpkin lattes, caramel apples, black witchy shoes and stripey socks appear.


Cinnamon, nutmeg and spiders fill the creaks and corners

Of haunted houses and mansions, from Old Salem to the California shores.

Samhain, Hallowe’en, All Hallows’ Eve, Harvest Moon or Mischief Night.


Whatever you may call it, set your senses high.

For amidst the purple, the black, the red and the orange,

The goblins, ghouls, ghosties and gremlins are out and about and waiting for you!

 

Happy October, Everyone!

 
Sunday, 23 September 2012 00:00 Jennifer Devore
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As I have written time and time again, I oft enjoy indulging in self-pity where the proverbial costuming monkey on my back is concerned. True, it's fun to be the Zooey Deschanel "New Girl" of most gatherings, minus the frequent outbursts of song. Hallowe'en, however, is its own beast. I don't mind being the overdressed dork in the Greta Garbo hat at Trader Joe's; I do mind being alone in my cosplay efforts on Hallowe'en night. It's a milder rerun of the high school horror wherein I'm the only one dressed up, except it's worse when six full-grown adults gaze upon you as though they've shared a tub of yoghurt well past its expiration date.

Last year, my Viking declared it unfair for me to be deprived of such fantastic needs and whisked me away to a land where not only will I never be the only one dressed, I just may be the most under-dressed. I knew I was in the right place when three other Bacchants argued over whether or not the spell I was invoking, as my character Bellatrix Lestrange of Harry Potter notoriety, was being pronounced accurately. Fear not, it was resolved: Crucio! the Cruciatus Curse which brings extreme pain and torture. Duh.

For one such as myself, I'm thrilled if someone just knows who I am supposed to be, vaguely. Watching Invader Zim, a tavern wench and a Steampunk vixen debate not the spell itself but the final syllable thereof ... well, it's rare I feel so at home whilst wielding a wand and bodice dirk. I only wish I could use my wand, and dirk for that matter, daily. The wand has an illuminated tip which lights on and off as one swishes it through the air, importuning spells, of course. The dirk is just v cool.

Where is this land o' plenty o' dorks, you wonder? Northern California, of course. Wine country, in fact, and home to the only other costuming freaks I know: my brother-in-law, a.k.a. Captain Maurice Bloodstone or, for last Hallowe'en, Ellis Harwood, Victorian undertaker; and my sister-in-law, a.k.a. , Dr. Lucy Devereaux, cohort of Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado.

These are Faire people, as in Renaissance Faire players. Whilst it has been some years since I've attended Faire, like a Montessori education or LSD (so I've read), once you get a little it sticks with you, embeds in your fat cells and you are forever "Faire people". Napa Hallowe'en 2K11, I was surrounded by my own kind and like a guest panda in an established habitat, they shared their bamboo and sake with me and we lolled and rolled around happily until the wee hours of the morning until the zookeepers sent me back to my home base.

As I gleefully snapped shots all night, especially of the two Viking brothers, I kept saying, "Boy, did your mother do a number on you two!", anxious to send her said-photos as we like to give her a hearty laugh, entreat a quizzical glance and a head scratch as often as possible.

Now, in excited anticipation of 2013 Hallowe'en activities, I begin the annual, autumnal obsession of What to Wear? I need two costumes this year: one for a family trip to Salem, MA and a stay at the famed Hawthorne Hotel; one for another Wine Country bash. Bellatrix might work nicely for Salem: pretty apropos and family-friendly. Yet, for Napa? IDK. I'm toying with Eva, the Indian-captive prostitute-turned-prairie wife from AMC's "Hell on Wheels". After all, I do have my very own Mr. Swede. I'm open to suggestions, too.

As I go through last year's Gallery of Magick Reflections, I think to myself, "Magnolia, boy did your mother do numbers on you!".

 

 

 
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