Black Magic: Haunted House Tour 2014


"Each heart has its haunted chamber, 
Where the silent moonlight falls;
On the floor are mysterious footsteps, 
There are whispers along the walls..."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All Hallows Eve is nearly upon us, and my house sits waiting.  Candles glow from window sills and precarious looking corners; books of ghost stories lie open, waiting to be continued - waiting for a voice to give them life; a bewitched broom (or Broomba, as I like to call it) dances on its own through the empty basement; glowing ghosts hover and sway slightly with any passing breeze.  Stars move across  the dining room ceiling mirroring the light from the crystal, and flame below.  Cake stands, apothecary jars, cloches and tiny amber bottles are piled with a dizzying array of treats.  A disembodied hand crawls across the coffin table; skeletal arms reach out from behind heavy drapes; wrought iron fences wrapped in ivy and flickering flame lights encase gravestones, phantoms and a moving specter seeking solitude in the library...

So, come, I bid you, come and explore by day what becomes shadowed and unearthly by night...

The No-Longer-Living Room includes our coffin-table, a Spanish moss chandelier, a feathered wreath dotted with orange lights, piles of pumpkins and a rather large feathered vulture.  At night, a fire burns in the hearth and casts long shadows across the grave monuments that stand waiting in corners. 

Rather than one main focus on the mantle, I prefer to pile oddities and create eerie vignettes for guests to explore: a forgotten violin; an hourglass counting down to some unknown hour; pictures of masked guests, long since dead; eerie books and shrouded onlookers... all add their brand of mystery to the display.

The dining room's deep blue walls showcase white and red blooms, and contrast with the crystal of the glittering candelabra and silver footed punchbowl.  A skeletal arm slips out from behind the curtains to pull them aside.

Halloween themed food always seems so limiting to me (I mean, how many spider topped cupcakes can one person eat?).  Instead, I mix themed recipes with elegant fare and pile them atop an assortment of serving dishes at varying heights.  Meats, cheeses, crudites, shrimp cocktail, tiny sandwiches, cocktails in "Drink Me" bottles, punch with a brain shaped ice mold, individual s'mores for roasting over the fire pit, cookies and caramel apples all feel sophisticated yet seasonal.

Guests and ghosts heading to the fire pit set up in the back, must first pass through the black-lit basement.  Here, glow in the dark bats, fangs, spiders, and skeletons hang from the ceiling, while a luminous witches apothecary filled with bottles and color changing globes gives guests plenty to explore on their way.  

No room in the house is safe.  The bathroom is usually a spot for whimsy and laughter and this year is no different.  Guests who visit are first greeted by orange and black light, a glowing cauldron filled with fog, blank eyed busts and birds, and destroyed and draped cloth.  Once they move the to the, uh, facilities, however, an opening in the shower curtain reveals a shock - for the guests and for our poor bathing Betty.  Doesn't anybody knock anymore?

Additional household details include: 1. A demilune homage to Poe with multiple open cages and a horde of birds  2.  Chandelier silhouettes with glittering crystals lining the stairway  3.  A Spanish moss covered chandelier with battery operated lights (because I prefer to keep the flames on the ceiling a projection instead of a reality)   4. Feathered vultures on chairs and shelves peering ominously   5. A black framed peephole   6. Leering gargoyles and grotesques   7. A 5 foot grave monument covered in moss and ivy that stands in a corner mourning the loss of an unknown   8.  An over-sized gothic mirror that I saved from the garbage and distressed for spook-use and   9. Skulls, candles, crows, pumpkins and piles of books on every spare surface

One of my favorite additions this year was a gift made by my best friends super talented mother.  These witch legs will find themselves in all sorts of predicaments I fear...

Amidst the details and creations are special effects and lighting that simply don't show up well on camera.  I hope to take video in the Halloween's to come to give a better glimpse at these deliciously dark additions.
So, if you happen to be nearby on an unnaturally dark night - if the wind is howling and trees are groaning; if an extra set of footsteps seems to follow you through the brittle leaves and the shadows that pass seem to move of their own accord - step into my parlor, friends.  We've been dying for you to join us...

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