Category Archives: craft

Tricks and Treats

A Halloween How-To: Costumes, Parties, Decorations, and Destinations by Lesley Pratt Bannatyne has tons of easy tricks to pull during your next Halloween party or haunted house, with my favorites being the dropping spider and half man gags.

Here’s something to do when you’re bored while on Twitter: Tweet the phrase “Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice” and wait for the fun to begin.

Remember the “giallo movie generator” from last year’s countdown? Well, here’s something similar devoted to Clive Barker’s love scenes. Is it NSFW? You’d better believe it!

Gravedigger’s Local 16 favorite Barrett’s Haunted Mansion put up a cool offer on their Facebook page: They’re giving free admission to the haunt (but not the “Buried Alive” attraction) to any customer who was born in October!

I highly recommend looking up haunted attractions in your area and then checking their Facebook/Twitter/etc. pages for discount coupons. I’ve found ones for the Factory of Terror in Fall River, MA and the Century Haunted Hayride in Auburn, MA so far and I bet you can find even more.

Have a bunch of walnuts and aren’t feeling hungry? Then make some hobgoblins using the notes from this 1943 issue of Popular Science.

Dryer lint. A worthless byproduct or an awesome free source of fake moss for Halloween displays. Read the Amazon preview for How To Haunt Your House by Shawn and Lynne Mitchell to decide for yourself.

Speaking of Amazon previews, the one for Halloween Crafts: Eerily Elegant Decor by Kasey Rogers and Mark Wood has creepy clip art and instructions on how to make things like fake candles.

Finally, the Google books preview for The Halloween Activity Book: Creepy, Crawly, Hairy, Scary Things to Do by Mymi Doinet and Benjamin Chaud shows you how to make monster mirrors and ghoulish garlands.

Head-Shrinking Made E-Z

Although associated with African jungles and voodoo in American popular culture, shrunken heads are actually a product of select South American and Melanesian tribes. Most reference material on the matter focuses on the Jivaro, a collective term for the Shuar, Achuar, Huambisa and Aguaruna groups. The purpose of the shrunken heads is simple: When an enemy is slain (especially one that has killed a family member), their head is removed and shrunken in order to keep the spirit trapped inside. That way, the ghost could not seek revenge and any fallen family members were both avenged and honored. Despite the importance of their creation, many of them were discarded after they had been completed and their purpose had been served.

How were the heads shrunk? Obviously the head gets cut off after the initial ceremony, but then the skull (and muscles, fat etc.) are removed after the skin has been split via a cut made starting at the back of the neck. After objects have been inserted in order help the head keep its basic shape during the shrinking process, the eyelids and mouth are sealed shut. Once fully sealed, the head is boiled in water mixed with special herbs. The head is then dried and further shrunken in hot sand. After any final molding of the face, the shrunken head is rubbed in ashes and sometimes decorations are even added. As the person preparing it had to fast during the process, a big feast was held after completion and the head was displayed there.

Although shrunken heads were relatively rare at first, the interest generated by travelers to those areas resulted in a huge increase in the number of shrunken heads being produced. Apparently killings increased and bodies were stolen to meet the initial demand, but later monkeys and animal skins were used to manufacture artificial ones.

If you want a shrunken head and the store-bought rubber ones just aren’t enough, there is another (and legal) way to get one. All you need is an apple, a few household items and at least two and a half weeks (don’t worry, you won’t have to work for that long). You can find all of necessary directions here. For those of you who don’t have that much time, this site has and alternate method that can yield faster results at the cost of the head’s quality. But hopefully my posting this information early on in the Halloween countdown will give you all more than enough time to have your shrunken head(s) ready in time for the big day.

Freaky Tiki Surf-ari: Arts & Crafts

With all of the music reviews that are being done for the Freaky Tiki Surf-ari, odds are that some of you have developed a hankering for some Tiki stuff of your very own. The appeal of Tiki bar decor is very understandable, whether you want it regular or spooky. With that in mind, I have put together a little selection of projects you can make at home. Some might need to be altered a bit to make them more freaky, but that’s hardly a big deal.

Page 168 of Matt Maranian’s Pad: the guide to ultra-living by Matt Maranian shows you how you can turn a Tiki mug into a cool lamp.

Retro Mania!: 60 Hip Handmade Cards, Scrapbook Pages, Gifts & More! by Judi Watanabe, Alison Eads, and Laurie Dewberry shows how to make a Tiki greeting card (perfect for inviting friends over for drinks) on page 35.

This twopart article from a 1961 issue of Popular Mechanics shows how to construct a wooden Tiki idol.

The sections on the “Safari Cube” and “Tiki Cube” on page 94 of Cube Chic: Take Your Office Space from Drab to Fab! by Kelley Moore tells you both where to get Tiki goodies and interesting ways to turn a room into a Tiki bar-style environment.

Finally, for those who prefer their Tiki tutorials to be spooky from the get-go, here is a collection of links from

Haunted Luau
Halloween Luau
Aether’s Album: Tiki
Haunted Tiki Island 2009
Haunted Tiki Island 2008
Hosting a Haunted Luau for my Birthday!
Why I haven’t been around… (Tiki Tutorial :p)


As noted in previous “How-To” posts, Gravedigger’s Local 16 is not to be held responsible for the content on or anything that may occur (be it good or bad) as a result of visiting any links on those sites (or constructing a project that’s detailed on them). Attempt at your own risk.