Showing posts with label Halloween Horror Nights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween Horror Nights. Show all posts

Monday, September 21, 2015

DIY: A Prom Zombie Dress

Lil known fact: Halloween is the most celebrated holiday at Casa de Cassie. Not cuz we decorate all crazy-like (although the hubs' secret dream is to operate his own haunted house. Dream job goals, y'all. We all got 'em!). No, it's because we absolutely love going to haunted housing events with our fave being Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights.

Opening weekend was this past weekend and we were extra stoked because this year is the 25th year they've been running Halloween Horror Nights outta Orlando. Which could only mean one thing: tons more scariness. This year did not disappoint with nine haunted houses, most based on Universal flicks: The Purge, Insidious, Freddy vs. Jason, American Werewolf in London and others based on the Walking Dead and other spooky themes. Between walking from one haunted house to the next, there are themed areas called scare zones. So, in short, you are constantly being chased by scary chainsaw wielding maniacs. For example...
 Mitch (the hubs) was all, "Hey! You need photos for your blog. Just stand riiiiiiiight there and smile." 
Me: Are you done yet? Pretty sure that's enough photos. For realz. WHY ARE YOU STILL TAKING PHOTOS, WHAT'S BEHIND ME?
This lovely new friend of mine was just one of the awesome scare actors in the Shady Acres scare zone where the concept was inmates from the local asylum had escaped. Turns out she just wanted to show off her chain saw handling skillz...on my face.

Just a short clip to give you more of an idea. No videos or photos are allowed in the haunted houses...after all, you're there to "enjoy" them, not film 'em. But take my word for it, they were super scary.
 Now y'all might know that I've sewn and created my share of Halloween ensembles like this Day of the Dead number and this one, this Monster-Mash mash-up, these Haunted Mansion pants, this Universal Studios Horror Flick dress and this Bewitched dress. And every year, I say the same stinkin' thing: I'M NOT GONNA MAKE ANOTHER HALLOWEEN OUTFIT. But then, I spotted that there Alexander Henry Zombies! fabric at JoAnn's and I was like, fine! Just take all my moneys! Since I needed to bust this dress out quick, I settled on that vintage McCall's 6221. If it looks familiar to y'all, that's cuz I've made a Monet dress, a Valentine's Day number and a Barbecue frock with it. 

After that super scary night, we went to Disney's Not-So-Scary event. Now, I might be a lil biased because I'm kinda bananaz for Disney but this event was so great! Families get all dressed up and trick or treat at the various treat-giving locations. Also, ALL of the characters are out for you to get your photo with. What that meant for us was that most folks were so busy with the candy and the photo ops that they weren't in line for the rides. We had a 5 minute wait on Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain and The Haunted Mansion which, if you've ever been to any Disney, you know that's unheard of.
The maids of the Haunted Mansion (my absolute favorite-est ride with It's a Small World coming in at a close second) were decked out and so fun to chat with. I love how they immediately snapped into character when they realized Mitch was snapping photos!
 Boom! Nailed it! 
They also had tons of scare-actors out and about! There was this fabulous ghost story teller outside of the Haunted Mansion that was a total riot. And a traveling troupe of Civil War ghosts who sang western tunes acapella. But the parade and the fireworks were my fave.
But the best thing was getting to eat at Be Our Guest. Y'all. It's like Mission Impossible to get a reservation here. But right before we left our hotel, Mitch decided to all them on a whim and ask if they had anything available. The hostess informed us that they'd just had one spot open up! I enjoyed dining in there so much that I didn't even think to snap a single photo but you can see more of the place here
Oh, look! Mitch and I posing in front of obnoxiously phallic tikis! Thank you for letting me blabber on about our lil scary-cation and show off my Zombie print dress. Y'all are the best.  photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Halloween Horror Nights

So for the past, I dunno, 7-ish years, hubs and I have made the trek down to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida to attend their Halloween Horror Nights. We cannot get enough.
 Don't hate me, but I as I write this here blog post, I am on this magical and amazing thing called Fall Break. That's right, for a whole week, no more pencils, no more books, no more kiddo's dirty looks. Nothin' but pajama parties and craftathons. That is until hubs and I take off on an adventure to Lalaland. I'll fill you in on that trip in another post. 

In the meantime, here's a slightly belated post on a trip we took a couple weeks ago to Tampa and Orlando. Every October, we travel down there to attend Busch Garden's Howl-O-Scream and Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights. This year we also visited Busch Garden's Williamsburg's Howl-O-Scream and I chatted about that trip here. Because we attended Universal's event several nights, I thought I'd share that spooktacular experience with you.
Just like the Walmart Greeters, these creepy dudes met us at the entrance of HHN (because I'm too lazy to type out Halloween Horror Nights, I'm abbreviatin'). They towered over the crowd at about 14' tall.
 So, lemme tell you how HHN works. It takes place at Universal Studios (not Islands of Adventure, aka Harry Potter World). At around 5pm, they kick everyone out of Universal to prep the houses and the scare zones. If people have paid to "stay and scream", as it's called, then they get to hang out in a holding area until the gates of doom are open. Those lucky folks get to enter a pinch early and experience the haunted houses first.
'Bout as friendly as a Walmart Greeter too.
 That's how we did it. My hubs is crazy about going through these houses, so he has our whole route mapped out: skip all of the houses at the front where the crowds head first and run straight for those in the back. There were seven different haunted houses to go through, with lines up to 45-100 minutes long. So it's good to have a hubs with a plan. And a front-of-the-line pass, if you can swing it.
 One of the most popular houses (though not my personal fave) was the Walking Dead. This haunted house was created by the dude behind the AMC show. I've only caught snippets of the first episode online (we don't have a telly) and this house made you feel as though you were walking right through the set. It was frighteningly amazing. 

These zombies were not in the actual haunted house as they won't allow photography. They were apart of something called a scare zone. Scare zones are areas within the park where scare actors continue to frighten people...which means no where within the park is safe. This zombie-themed scare zone was right outside of the Walking Dead house.

We had the most beautiful weather while we were there. During HHN, all of the rides continue to run. Which means you can stop screaming at spooky stuff long enough to go scream on The Rip Ride Rocket or The Mummy.
Only during HHN do they change the sign to read Mel's DIE-IN. Love it.

Most of the haunted houses are in sound stages, meaning they are inside buildings used for filming. Universal Studios is an actual working studio. Those particular houses are usually the best...but lack an outdoor entrance worth photographing. This particular house was designed by the magicians Penn and Teller and was not inside a sound stage. It's theme was that a nuclear meltdown had happened in Sin City. Best part? The casino girl with three ta-ta's.

Alice Cooper also designed a house called My Nightmare. This entrance was hands-down the best. Alice's songs were blasting through this house along with some very nightmarish things.
Me and a super cute Jell-o Shots girl. They sell the shots in those hilariously nasty blood bags.

Did you notice I'm wearing The Horror Flick Dress? We went with some friends and family to HHN and I shamelessly wore the dress Every Single Night. The joke became that the scariest thing about HHN was the smell comin' from my dress. Thank you Jen of Peachy Tuesday for crafting me a matching headband!
Oh, my bad. They were friendly enough to stop for a photo.
 Hubs just looked over my shoulder at these photos and said sadly, "I can't believe our trip came and went so fast." It's truly our favorite thing. If you can't make it to such an event, then get yourself to your local haunted house. You seriously won't regret it!

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #37

Late-for-a-Very-Important-Date-Dress Monday: Sadly, it was a rainy Monday and my Hunter boots hid my amazing tights by Teja Jamilla. dress and belt: Alice-in-Wonderland wannabe dress by me, DIY here; Hunter boots, ebay
Hey, dudes. I hope you don't mind that along with my outfits this week, I'm sharing with you my current obsession: Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. My students are currently learning about him (he ties in so neatly with our all-things-Paris theme) and I've developed a bit of a crush on him, his work and the story of his life. I've been reading about him to the kids using my favorite series of books: Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists. And while the book is an excellent resource, it leaves out much of the dark side of his life. Which is a good thing. Angry parent phone calls aren't my favorite. But, personally, I love the dark stuff. To me, it's like vintage TMZ or a retro USWeekly. I eat it up.

So, here you go. My duds and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. Enjoy!
Who doesn't love a cute guy with a beard and a sense of humor? Love this double self-portrait created pre-photoshop. The way Vincent van Gogh is notoriously famous for cutting off (just the lobe!) his ear, Toulouse Lautrec's small stature is probably his most recognizable trait. The cause? Well, his parents were first cousins. The inbreeding resulted in his many health problems, including his fragile bones and limited growth. I opted not to share that with the kids. I live in the south, the whole marrying-your-first-cousin thing might be a little too close to home (I kid!). Images via pinterest.
Sadly, every time I see these posters, I think of the movie Moulin Rouge. Which I did not love. Try to block it out. The real Moulin Rouge (which translates The Red Mill -- the mill was attached to the building) was a cabaret theater where the patrons could even receive lap dances. That's Jane Avril, the Moulin Rouge's most popular dancer, in the middle. I love that her top-of-the-head bun has made a comeback.
Messy Art Room Tuesday: Oh, let's be honest, when is it not a messy art room? dress and sweater: vintage, thrifted; yellow tights and fishnet stockings: Target; Jane Avril-wannabe shoes: Softee

 So it's no secret that Toulouse Lautrec had a muse: Jane Avril. The story of her life is quite the Dickens-tale as well: abused as a child, she ran away from home only to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. There she discovered her love of dancing. Later she became the headliner at the Moulin Rouge. Her graceful style of dancing contrasted the other cancan dancers of her time. She was meloncholic and thoughtful which is probably what drew Toulouse Lautrec to her. She can be found in many of his sketches and posters advertising the Moulin Rouge.
While I love Toulouse Lautrec's posters, I think these sketchy paintings of his are my favorite.
Flex-and-Bust Wednesday: I wore this thrifted vintage dress for the first time...and I kept hearing a tearing sound as I was working with the kids. This happens to me and vintage more times than I'd like to admit. Turns out the sleeve fabric had dry rotted and I tore a small hole right at the shoulders. Nothing a patch can't fix. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: borrowed from another dress; sweater: Ann Taylor, thrifted; shoes: Anthro
Toulouse Lautrec painted many of these dancers and many prostitutes as well. He said about painting them: "A professional model is like a stuffed owl. These girls are alive." Except when they are sleeping, of course. 
Another Toulouse Lautrec-ism: "I paint things as they are. I don't comment. I record." He added no superficial beauty, just the beauty in what he saw.
"Love is when the desire to be desired takes you so badly that you feel you could die of it."
Halloween Horror Thursday: More details on our latest Halloween adventure soon. dress: made by me, details here; sandals: Chaco
Toulouse Lautrec was friendly with such troubled artists as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin (don't tell me that dude wasn't troubled, he painted more underage South Pacific girls than any man should). I love his portrait of van Gogh. 
Forever Friday: Wouldn't that be lovely? How much more would we live each day if it were a Friday? top: BCBG; skirt: Anthro; sandals: Target; sunnies: Rayban; belt: gift from a friend
Sadly, Toulouse Lautrec's life ended too soon. He was just in his mid-thirties when he died of alcoholism. After a life of pain, both his body and from the abuse he took for his small stature, he died young as so many great artists do.
Thankfully, he worked his tail off during his lifetime and left behind a huge body of beautiful work. I can't seem to get enough of his scenes of everyday life. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have sharing them.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Wicked in Williamsburg

This webby bridge is one of the only means to enter or exit the spookiness of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Howl O Scream. A family that was desperately trying to leave the park (their wailing children just couldn't take it anymore) was getting no where fast when their little girl refused to exit the park via the "scary" bridge. Knowing the will power of a wee one, that fam might still be there.
 A couple weekends ago, hubs and I took a weekend trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, aka Colonial Williamsburg. And while I'm mildly interested in history, we didn't go there to see how butter was churned or how America came to be. 

Oh no, we went for something much better than that:

Haunted Houses. 

Particularly the ones found at the Busch Garden's Howl O Scream event.

Now, I'm sure you've heard of Busch Gardens...but did you know that there are two? The one in Tampa is probably more famous because of it's proximity to Disney. It has an African theme. The one in Williamsburg has a European theme. This Big Ben-esque clock tower can be found at the front of that park. I love the spooky bird decorations. Hitchcock woulda been proud.
 We decided to hit the park first thing on a Saturday morning. They have a brand new roller coaster, the Verbolten, that we wanted to check out (and by "we",  I mean hubs and a reluctant me). I actually had a pretty embarrassing scream-fest-freak-out on the ride when it zipped into a dark tunnel. I just knew it was going to blast off from zero to eighty miles per hour (it didn't), so I flipped the Crazy Switch, complete with high-pitched wailing and arm/leg flailing. Hubs kept yelling, "What? Am I missing something?" The dad and his kid in the seats in front of us turned around and laughed at me. 

So embarrassing.

After that experience, we hit the coaster Griffon, which is easily one of the most frightening (at 205', it's one of the tallest coasters in the world) and best roller coasters I've ever been on. For a look-see, check out this youtube video (particularly minute 1:15) to get the idea.

 I love that every corner of the park was decorated for the occasion. Inside the building on the left was a fantastic dinner show that was like a spooky cabaret set in the 1920's. On the right is the French area of  Busch Gardens that looked as though it was been taken over by a rat-infested plague.
I debuted my Horror Flick dress at Busch Gardens. I was thrilled when folks complimented my dress. It was such fun to wear.

 After a short trip back to the hotel for some rest (we knew we would need our energy for the half dozen haunted houses and shows that evening), we returned to find a pretty spooktacular event. It was great fun and the perfect start to our tour of Halloween Haunts.
Hubs and I waiting for a show to begin.
 I just hollered up the stairs to hubs, "how long have we been going to these Halloween things, anyway?"

"Hmm. Not sure. A long time. Maybe 10 or more years?"

You'd think after that amount of time, being chased by a dude in a leatherface mask wielding a chainsaw would get a little, I don't know, redundant. And, to be honest, the chainsaw dudes don't actually freak me out anymore (but just to be kind, I do give 'em a good scream. It's the right thing to do). But there's always something that does. Freak me out, that is. That's what keeps us coming back for more.
We did do our time in Colonial Will'burg the following day. The weather was perfect and the sights were so sweet...the complete opposite of the previous evenings horrors.

Like this cute shoeless milliner crafting a hat. In a haunted house, he would have been creating the hats out of faux flesh and wielding a chainsaw. Just sayin'.

Or these lovely Colonial style hats...that would have been worn by zombie Colonial girls slashing the air with axes and carrying headless dolls. For example.

Precious scene of a carriage ride from long ago, you think? In a haunted house, the carriage driver would be headless, the horse would be a skeleton and the passengers would be fluffy McDonald's-eating tourists. Hey...wait a minute...

Delightful debutantes out for a Sunday stroll? That's what you think. Just wait until they turn their green witchy faces around and...

 Oh, my bad. Musta been thinking of those other demonic debutantes. Sorry, ladies. How 'bout a picture?
We came upon this fun farmer's market, complete with an impromptu hoedown.

...Little did we know, they were playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", waking up this beauty of a beast. Dude, maybe we should play "Devil Went Down to the Dentist." Just sayin'.
 Wait a minute...are you STILL reading this blog post? Now that is frightening. 

Thanks for dropping by. I hope this has inspired you to check out your local Halloween haunts or even the bigger ones at places like Busch Gardens or Universal. I promise, you won't regret it!

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