Thursday, October 29, 2015

Top 20 Family Friendly Halloween Movies

It's that time of year again! So snuggle up with some popcorn, halloween candy, and a loved one. I've made up a list of my favourite Halloween movies just in time for a long movie marathon on Halloween night. I intended this list to just be a top ten but had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10 movies so I expanded it to 20! More movies, more fun right? Most of these movies are family friendly, but if you want something a little more scary to watch for Halloween night head on over to my Horror blog and check out my other Halloween list. Not all of these movies are just meant to be watched on Halloween exclusively. But that's ok because for some of us Halloween is everyday!

20. The Little Vampire 

Even vampires can be cute and cuddly. Little Tony moves to Scotland and starts having repeated nightmares about Vampires. He is mistaken for a real vampire one night by a small vampyre and they become good friends.  Tony and his new friend end up saving everyone from the vampire slayer that's been hunting his new friends. 

19. The Witches 

We know Angelica Houston best as Morticia from the Addams Family but she also plays a very convincing evil witch in The Witches. And she has a pretty fabulous black and purple outfit in this movie. The special effects are done by Jim Henson and his Creature Shop so if you are fan of his be sure to check it out. 

18. Paranorman 

Norman is ghost whisperer. Every where he goes he sees spirits. In fact most of his friends are ghosts. This movie has it all. Ghosts, witches, and zombies. It is really well written with an interesting storyline as well. It's a perfect family movie for both kids and adults. 

17. Coraline 

Coralline is surprisingly scary for a children's movie. It is written by one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, who is better known for his Sandman graphic novels and The Graveyard Book. Coraline is basically a haunted house story and yet it is much more than that. It's a must watch for sure. 

16. Rocky Horror Picture Show

This movie is a true cult classic and is best viewed in a packed theatre at midnight with a shadow cast. I was lucky enough to attend a screening with a shadow cast a few years ago that was introduced by none other than magenta herself, Patricia Quinn. She is such a character and I was able to talk to her briefly about Rocky Horror and The Lords of Salem. She is very funny and charming in person. 

15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

We all know and love the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer but have you watched the original movie? This is where Joss Whedon got his start. It's hilarious and filled with plenty of 80s cheese. 

14. Something Wicked This Way Comes

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" Disney used to make some very dark films a long time ago and this is a perfect example. Something Wicked This Way Comes was written by Ray Bradbury and definitely leans more towards the horror genre than a family film. The scenery is beautiful with all the fall leaves and is one of my favourite autumn films. I watch it every year. Another dark Disney movie to check out is The Watcher in the Woods. 

13. Edward Scissorhands

A list like this would not be complete without a few Tim Burton movies. In fact I could make a top ten just using his movies alone! I absolutely love the scenes with Vincent Price in this movie. Tim Burton was a huge fan of both Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. He made sure to include them in his movies when he could. 

12. Casper 

I watched the cartoons when I was a kid so of course I loved the movie as well. Christina Ricci is a natural choice to star along side Casper.

11. Mad Monster Party

We all know and love the Christmas classics, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, but did you know there is also a Halloween special by the same people? Mad Monster Party stars Boris Karloff and has the same stop motion that the Christmas specials feature. All the classic monsters come to the party! 

10. It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown 

I never missed this special as a kid. It would come on every year a few days before Halloween. And if I was really lucky it would be paired with Mad Monster Party! It just isn't Halloween without it! 

"Just wait 'til next year, Charlie Brown. You'll see! Next year at this same time, I'll find a pumpkin patch that is real sincere! And I'll sit in that pumpkin patch until the Great Pumpkin appears. He'll rise out of that pumpkin patch and he'll fly through the air with his bag of toys. The Great Pumpkin will appear! And I'll be waiting for him!"

9. The Halloween Tree

Ray Bradbury makes the list again with this Halloween special. The best part of this cartoon is that it talks about the history of Halloween and Samhain. The children travel back in time to learn the ancient origins of Halloween and how much of it still survives today. 

8. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

As much as I love Tim Burton's version of Sleepy Hollow it definitely belongs over on the horror movie list. The Disney version is just as good though! Ichabod Crane finds himself being chased by the terrifying headless horseman in this classic version of Washington Irving's creepy tale. 

7. Young Frankenstein 

Young Frankenstein is actually a spoof on the original 30s version of Frankenstein by Universal Studios. It's a delight to watch from beginning to end and some of the funniest scenes ever filmed. Not to mention that it is also a musical like Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie is written and directed by Mel Brooks and his quirky sense of humour really shines in this film. 

6. Hotel Transylvania 

I didn't watch this movie until just this year. I thought it was going to be too juvenile. Wow, was I really wrong about that. I absolutely loved it and it reminded me of Mad Monster Party! The vampire father and daughter are so sweet. 

5. The Harry Potter Series
Of course Harry Potter is not exclusively a Halloween movie but I can't help but think of that infamous dinner scene and wish that I could attend Hogwarts for Halloween every year. I was and still am Harry Potter crazy. I took my son to see each and every movie as they came out so he quite literally grew up with Harry Potter. He even had a Harry Potter themed birthday party when he was in senior kindergarten. I made wizard hats for all the kids and took them all to see The Chamber of Secrets. 

4. The Addams Family

I watched The Addams Family TV series religiously as a kid. It used to come on after school as reruns with The Munsters. As much as I loved Morticia, Lily was always my favourite. I just wanted to be Lily when I grew up! Anyway enough with the nostalgia. The Addams Family was remade into wonderful movies in the 90s. Morticia and Gomez really are the perfect couple.  

3. Beetlejuice 

He's the ghost with the most babe! I actually saw this one in the theatre when it came out. Yep I'm that old. Lol. This one was a true classic from the get go. We all knew it. 

2. Halloweentown 

Halloweentown is another movie I watch yearly. If I could just go live in Halloween Town for the rest of my life I would be so very happy! 

1. Hocus Pocus

And finally my favourite (non-horror) Halloween movie! I watch it every year.  Halloween just wouldn't be complete without the Sanderson sisters running amuck! This movie has everything going for it, a fantastic cast, interesting storyline, and great costumes. I really need to work on making Bette Midler's costume for Halloween next year. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You can't pay your rent with "but it's great exposure!"

I've had a major epiphany today! I read and shared a post written by Wil Wheaton yesterday.  It was all about how well known large websites expect their writers to work for free. In Wil Wheaton's case it was Huffington Post. Huffington Post was purchased by AOL a few years ago for $315 million and is now supposedly valued at a staggering $1 Billion dollars. Huffington Post contacted the popular Star Trek actor to ask him about publishing an article he wrote on his own blog a while ago. He was interested and asked how much do you pay your contributors? He was shocked by the reply “Unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.” Remember, I just mentioned how much that company is worth! All my friends that are professional writers were quick to share this article. And I've seen this topic come up many times before online. This article is gaining steam because it was Wil Wheaton that wrote it. He has a very popular blog and 2.92 million followers on twitter. I'm not sure why Huffington Post even thought he needed more exposure?

I learned a few years ago that most major genre publications pay their freelance writers about $75 a page. I'm not sure if that's true, but it was posted publicly on a popular horror movie forum a few years ago because people assumed that magazine writers were making more than that. Wil Wheaton figured out that his article was worth about $210 at the standard going rate. That doesn't seem like much does it? Not for a company like Huffington Post. So why has the industry standard become not to pay writers what they are worth? I'm sure this practice has put many professional writers out of a job by now. Unless you are Stephen King or Anne Rice are you expected to write for free these days? And if so, what has this done to the world of magazines and literature in general? The Internet has improved the way we receive information but it's also changed the information that we do receive on a daily basis. We all know and understand that you can't believe anything you read online anymore. That half the posts on Facebook or other social media are fake articles that are poorly written but sensational in order to gather more views. This is why I prefer to read personal blogs, magazine articles, or websites that I know and trust instead of the garbage that's often passed off as real articles on certain Facebook pages.

A few years ago I wrote a ton of articles for free also. I was new to writing online and was flattered that someone even wanted to post my work. I have no idea if the site I wrote for makes any money and the owner was a genuine genre fan who was always nice to me. I was happy to give my work away for free and did so willingly and never expected anything in return. I just wanted to share my love of Horror Movies to a larger audience. Also, plenty of writers give their content away for free in the hopes that it will lead to something bigger or a paying job at a magazine.  Of course that rarely happens. Now that I am a little older and wiser I realize that I was making a huge mistake! I was basically telling the universe that my work has no value. I always did a ton of research on my articles and would spend countless hours watching every movie I could get my hands on in order to have the proper background required to write about the horror genre. Any good writer would do the same! I basically spent all my free time either writing or watching movies. I figured it was my hobby anyway. Why not share my work with the world? Don't get me wrong. I think writing and publishing YOUR OWN BLOG is a great idea. Sharing your personal opinions on your own blog is worth the time and effort. Giving your work away for free to a larger site for just more exposure is a terrible idea! 

Here is why I think it's a bad idea. I completely believe in the Universal Law of Attraction. Some of you might also know the Universal Law of Attraction as "The Secret".  The basic premise is that whatever you focus on and wish for will come to you. So be careful what you wish for! If you are a positive person and wish for good things for yourself and others it will happen in reality. And the reverse is also true. If you think of negative thoughts constantly, worry, or battle anxiety you will also make that happen in reality. Worry is actually wishing for what you don't want. By publishing your work for free you are broadcasting to the universe that I don't need money for my work. Good exposure on a large website will not pay the rent! If you give it away willingly all the time the universe will think that's what you wanted all along. The same is true for any artistic talent. Be it writing, dressmaking, painting, drawing, or music. If you give it away for free to someone else who will make money on it then you are telling the universe that your gift is worthless. So stop giving away all your power! 

Here are a few things that you can do that send a positive message to the universe. Write and publish your own blog. Believe me the right people will find and appreciate all your hard work. They will value your talent and so will the universe. You don't need a larger audience. You just need the right one. Trade your talent or skill with friends. I quite often do trades with friends that have skills that I don't possess. It doesn't always have to be solely money based. We both gain something of value in the trade. And last but not least, ask for compensation. You'll never gain anything if you don't actually ask for it! Write it down if you need to. Keeping a journal is a fantastic way to keep your hopes and dreams positive. The written word has power. The universe will listen and respond!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

I've been tagged! The Halloween Tag

I've been tagged by the lovely Curious Professor Z for the Halloween Tag! Thank You! The challenge is to answer these 13 Halloween related questions and then tag 5 more bloggers. Happy Halloween! 

And the nominees are...

Copy and paste these questions to your blog...

1. Favorite Halloween song?
2. Witch or Vampire?
3. Favorite thing about Halloween?
4. Halloween party or scary movie marathon?
5. Skeletons or Zombies?
6. Favorite Halloween candy?
7. Favorite Halloween movie?
8. Favorite Halloween costume?
9. Favorite Halloween store?
10. Jack-o-lanterns, yes or no?
11. Bats or Black Cats?
12. Is Halloween your favorite holiday?
13. Pumpkin spice latte or hot chocolate?

1. Favorite Halloween song? That's a tough one to answer. I love The Nightmare Before Christmas and I usually pop the soundtrack into my car this time of year. "This Is Halloween" is my favourite song but I love the whole soundtrack and the new remake CD (Nightmare Revisted) too with Amy Lee and Marilyn Manson. I also love Bette Midler's "I Put A Spell On You" from Hocus Pocus. There are many more but I'll stop there. :)

2. Witch or Vampire? I switch back and forth every year. Both are my standard costumes. Growing up as a natural redhead, I was accused of being both over the years. If it was the Middle Ages I think I would have burned at the stake just for being a ginger. Lol. I dress more often as a witch though. I always dress as a witch to hand out the candy at home on Halloween night. All the neighbours seem to enjoy meeting the witch of the neighbourhood so why not play it up? Hehe

3. Favorite thing about Halloween? Being able to buy fun things for my house like hand towels and tea cups. But I also love all the fun events that are going on in October like Zombie Walks and Horror Cons. 

4. Halloween party or scary movie marathon? Definitely scary movie marathon. I watch them all year long but I over indulge in October.  Sometimes the local theatres have special 35mm screenings this time of year. Woo-hoo! 

5. Skeletons or Zombies? Skeletons. I'm getting a little tired of zombies lately. They've been way over done. It's time for a new genre Hollywood! 

6. Favorite Halloween candy? I also over indulge in Halloween candy this time of year. The grocery store has those big bags and they have fun names like Coffin Crisp. They too hard to resist! 

7. Favorite Halloween movie? I have to go with the old standby, John Carpenter's Halloween. It just makes me feel like Halloween! Especially that soundtrack! I have some newer favs too. Trick R Treat and The Lords of Salem always get a play this season. I made a list of all my favs over on my movie website. Top 15 Halloween Movies

8. Favorite Halloween costume? I was a gypsy one year when I was about 7 or 8?  I had a big black skirt and a sparkly shawl. I loved that outfit so much that I wore it more than just Halloween night. It's no wonder that I became obsessed with Stevie Nicks and Star from Lost Boys later on! 

9. Favorite Halloween store? My friend owns a costume store in town called Party Corner. She always has great costumes ready to go. For home decor, no other store can beat Homesense. I love their selection every year. 

10. Jack-o-lanterns, yes or no? Yes! I carve at least two pumpkins every year. My husband is a whiz at lighting so we have a spectacular light show on Halloween night including strobing pumpkins. 

11. Bats or Black Cats? As much as I love bats, especially the cute little babies wrapped in blankets, I wish I had a big black cat. I'm not sure my dog would welcome a kitty though. 

12. Is Halloween your favorite holiday? No doubt about it. Years of working in retail has killed Christmas for me. I enjoyed it when my son was little but now I'm just a big old Scrooge. Bah Humbug! Halloween is far better than any other holiday and I celebrate it all year long! 

13. Pumpkin spice latte or hot chocolate? Yay! It's Pumpkin Spice Latte season again! Pumpkin Spice everything! 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Trio of Halloween Quilts

I've been busy sewing lately but it hasn't been velvet dresses for a change! I have been turning back the clock by about 20 years and taking up an old sewing hobby that I left behind in the 90s. Think about that. The last time I made a quilt, Nirvana and Pearl Jam were all over the radio, Buffy was hunting vampires weekly, and Doc Martens were just regular boots. Well, the quilting bug has bit me again and hard this time! 

It all started innocently enough with a few baby quilts for friends and the next thing I knew I was sewing a full size quilt for my entryway bench for spring. I finished this pretty green and black quilt for the entryway that matches a green spring wreath! You see, I have this thing about matching my wreaths to the quilts I make for every season. Now that I've hung the fall wreath over the bench, this quilt has moved to the living room because it's just too pretty to pack away yet.  

The next quilt was made for a halloween swap between bloggers. I absolutely loved how the colours and prints worked together so well in this adorable little quilt. The batting was a little thicker than what I used in the first quilt and gave it a nice tucked look. The teddy bear you see sitting on this quilt is also hand made by me many, many years ago. 

Since I loved how the orange and black quilt looked on the bench I decided to make a traditional halloween quilt for myself also. It is so bright and cheery with all the orange and purple that it brightens up the whole room. Last year I was really into the black and white halloween decorations, but this year I am back to all the traditional colours again. I missed them! 

I haven't quite finished this last quilt but I will by halloween night. In the meantime, Jack Skellington and Cthulhu can enjoy sitting on it. Hehe. 

*meme images from Pinterest.