Saturday, October 4, 2014

Crazy Crafty: You Don't Know JACK-O-Lantern!

As I age, I fear that I am regressing emotionally.  Holidays about food and family and wholesome activities become of less consequence to me as I yearn for the zany indulgence of Autumn's favorite gimme-gimme holiday.  In stark contrast to the traditional holidays, Halloween requires no heavy meals, no gift exchanges, and no forced marches to awkward family gatherings.  It is one night to live with abandon - dressing up, misbehaving, and bingeing on loads of candy without the typical, withering, do-you-really-think-you-need-that glances from those holier-than-thou grocery store cashiers.

As I consider the importance of Halloween in my life, I am forced to truly ponder what Halloween means to me.  As a Halloween romantic, I discovered that all of my love for the day stems more from my belief of what Halloween ought to be rather than what Halloween actually is.  Captured so beautifully by the images in the Dennison's Bogie Books, Halloween should be one big, spooky, Cole Porter musical with Jack-O-Lantern footlights and costumes reminiscent of Erté!

Scepter, wand, cane, crook, staff - a recurring element in many Deco-era
Halloween costumes was one kind or another of stick.  Impressed by the
pumpkin scepter of Little Bo Creep (center), I decided to see if I could
DIM, do it myself.

I started with a seven-foot-long bamboo pole and a twelve-inch, orange paper
lantern, both found at my favorite craft supply emporium - the dollar store!
With a budget totaling two dollars plus tax, this was a provident beginning!

I had the materials, now I just needed a face.  I took to the internet and reference books but was having difficulty deciding on a pumpkin face that I loved well enough to commit to dollar-store lantern.  This was to be a huge decision; once the paint was on, there would be no turning back!  I had considered adapting one of those leering faces found on vintage, German, papier-maché candy containers, but after flipping through one of my favorite Halloween resources, Halloween in America, I knew I had found my face!

I couldn't get beyond the lovable Jack-O-Lantern face of
this Dennison's crepe-paper Halloween apron, dated 1918.

I embraced ( and thanks to my unsteady hands, perhaps even magnified)
the loose quality of the inspiration art.  It would be pretentious of this
seriously-untrained "artist" to label my work as "mixed media" when all
I did was sketch on the face with a #2 pencil and fill it in with whatever
I could find around the house, including paint (undiluted yellow
watercolor from a tube of unknown origin and nearly-expired, crusty,
black acrylic from high school art class) and a black sharpie.

With better light and less chance of overspray, I do all of my spray painting in the front yard; given the kind of wacky tacky crafting I am wont to do (see: Pickles the Pink Piggy Purse), I spend quite a bit of time painting in the front yard.  If my neighbors had a questionable opinion of me before, they must have serious concerns over my mental capacity after watching me play a one-man game of ring-around-the-rosie, applying several coats of glossy, black spray paint to a seven-foot pole stuck in the ground.

Even I had to question my sanity when I went into the wacky tacky
costume archives and couldn't find the cape I wanted...because there
were too many homemade capes in the way!!!

I tried riding a broom but it wouldn't hold me...

I may perform a few minor tweaks/additions before All Hallow's Eve but for a two-dollar investment, I think I did pretty well!

Lit from within by battery-operated lights that I had on-hand, it has sort
of an eerie, reverse Jack-O-Lantern effect...but I still like it.

Of course, after my craft was completed, my next trip to the dollar store
was met with row after row of battery-operated, jack-o-lantern style,
paper lanterns.  Nevertheless, I am happy with the chance to get into
the Halloween spirit with some custom Crazy Crafty!!!  

Yes, Mr. Tiny's Halloween threads will be built in stylistic conjunction with his Jack-O-Lantern walking stick, but you'll just have to wait until the day draws nearer before the entire costume is revealed.  How about you?  Are you gearing up for the Halloween season?  Are you feeling crafty?  Do you have a great idea for your costume?  Whatever you decide to be this October 31, remember that it's Halloween...


"Let's Misbehave" as performed by Irving Aaronson
Written by Cole Porter


Mr. Tiny


  1. I'm so excited (as always) for the best holiday of the year!!

  2. I LOVE IT. I loved it when I thought it was just decoration, but with cape and in context-- what a pip!! Well done as usual. :)

    1. Thanks!!! I like Halloween so much more as an adult; it inspires me to get the festivities started as early as possible!

  3. Halloween is definitely the best part of the year Its the ultimate in kitsch holliday goodness with Christmas a close second
    retro rover

    1. I love it! I hope I get a few chances to wear my costume this year! Please stay tuned for more Halloween-themed posts!