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We went to a very good Halloween party on Saturday night (decorations/activities showed awesome and much appreciated effort, and I was staaaarving-->there was food: good all around, except we had to leave stupidly early to catch the v. last tube back home so we could sleep in a bed rather than on a crowded floor), but I still didn't want to mope around not doing anything Halloween night proper. It IS my fav holiday--not only are Americans generally very into it, my family is historically INSANELY into it. Tragically I've spent the last three:

1. In Israel, where it utterly does not exist, and where no one spoke any language I did
2. In Missouri post my mom's Kim break-up, witnessing as she tried to reinvent Halloween as a 'kooky' affair with zero severed limbs, no coffins, no grave yard, no brain/heart/hand jello molds, no dry ice, no skeletons--just some like, colorful Mexican paper chains. Utter bullshit.
3. In England, sulking. It's generally annoying that halloween is this half-assed thing they think they celebrate here. You can't even be like 'we'll have this party of my people!' because they all think 'oh but we DO do Halloween! I wore a hat once! Shit got craaaazy. One time we had a trick or treater, but that was too intense...' It's like my lame freshly post-divorce mother, but in country form.

Since English!Halloween is balls and Katy hates scary movies Leik Woah, we're in for Real Ultimate Compromise.

Thus the Harry Potter 'Halloween Feast' Party. I combed the books for all mentions of said canonical Feasts.


Book 1:
live bats
gold plates
Book 2:
gigantic carved pumpkins large enough for three men to sit in
more bats/gold plates/candles
Book 4: Goblet of Fire, bats, hundreds of carved pumpkins


Book 1: jacket potato?! ('baked potato' US)
Book 4: 'extravagantly prepared food'


Book 1: Troll in dungeon
Book 2: dancing skeletons, Death Day party, discovery of petrified
Mrs. Norris (perhaps use Liger--authentic strychnine effect would be a touch too cruel to our actual cat)
Book 3: Hogsmeade trip, Sirius breaking in

Book 5 had no mention of the Feast I could find, and I rather doubt 6 and 7 would either.

So here's my plan:


* label stuff we have: 'sword of Godric Griffindor', 'Hedwig' owl pillow, 'petrified Mrs. Norris' stuffed tiger toy, 'wizard chess', 'goblet of fire'
* use Katy's star lights for the Hogwarts vault ceiling, and her regular lights just 'cause
* put up posters, signs
* Put up package of cobwebs
* use all candles we have (out)
* lay out HP books, snitch, wands in pleasing fashion on table (done)
* carved pumpkins (done--MAKE SURE TO LIGHT!!)
* sign encouraging trick or treaters (done for days)

* lots of cleaning
* buy black paper to make bat paper chains
* buy more candles
* maybe make cauldron with black spray paint
* buy gold party plates?


* put out crisps
* put out candy (done)
* put out pumpkin pies (made)
* put out pumpkin seeds (made)

* buy more Hogsmeade/Honeydukes candy
* buy drumsticks
* make drumsticks
* buy potatoes, any toppings
* make jacket potatoes
* buy apples
* make toffee apples
* buy any necessary butterbeer ingredients (http://historicalfoods.com/butterbeer-recipe)
* make butterbeer
* whip cream for the pies


* Get everything out and ready for bat paper chains
* prep Wizard People, Dear Reader and/or a decent HP film
* prep soundtracks for background noise

* potentially get witches' hats at Poundland

Can you think of anything else excellent to eat/do? And if you're free and aimless in London at 8pm tonight, come have butterbeer.
x_los: (Enterprise!Sherlock)
So I'm a Borg for Halloween, or will be when I put together my costume. Here are some related links:


Possible Islamic patterned pumpkin carving idea Tamara had, for a combo or orange, white-peeled, and negative space (not necessarily this one, but something like it):


These are currently in the soaking!stage:

x_los: (OMG)
A Dutch friend who's never carved a pumpkin before asked me how one went about it, and so I have written INCREDIBLY DETAILED instructions to produce a Paragon of Pumpkins. Fussy and over-complicated? Guys, I like to keep my shit /consistent/.

Great Pumpkin Be Praised,


"Thanks! I got your text about pumpkins, but unfortunately I misunderstood my syllabus and I have to finish the Aeneid, the Waste Land AND Dante's Inferno by Tuesday, so I apparently have to spend the weekend in hell. ...literally, it's the setting.

As for carving a pumpkin, this is my UNFAILING TECHNIQUE!! A secret I unveil ONLY TO YOU! ...you and the internet, ANYWAY--

It's derived from Renaissance Italian fresco-painting. I'm not even joking.

Spread newspaper on the ground outside, or in the kitchen. Place your pumpkin on top.

Cut a circular hole into the top your pumpkin with a big knife. Rip out its guts and throw them into a bucket--all the satisfaction of murder, none of the legal difficulties. Make sure to get all the gunk--you don't want the candle burning it/ it sullying your design. Save the seeds if you want to clean and roast them later! Fresh-roasted pumpkin seeds are divine washed, lightly oiled and salted/seasoned as you like, and baked in a hot oven. Do not bother to save the innards--they are difficult to cook with, in the absence of a full pumpkin. You may want to hollow out the sides to make this easier to carve, but TAKE CARE not to pierce the skin!

Print out/draw on a piece of paper (any kind) the design you want. Shade the negative space/cut out portions, and remember the simple but sometimes devilishly tricky proviso that enough pumpkin must be left intact to /allow/ for your designs--i.e. no free-standing shapes can exist with the negative space. I like to think of this as a design challenge! Ideally there should also be an interesting chiaroscuro effect, as a lit candle will be placed within the pumpkin.

Pin your drawing to the pumpkin, taking care to wrap and place it so size distortions are not so bad. Take a sharp, fine implement like a corn-cob holder and prick the outlines of your shaded negative space into the flesh of the pumpkin--this is similar to the charcoal-dust through pricked holes on a tracing sheet used in the Italian frescos. Thanks The Agony and the Ecstasy!

Remove the tracing sheet. Use a small knife to carefully cut along the shapes described by your pin-pricks, taking care not to confuse the pumpkin/positive space for the cut-out/negative space. Remove cut-out pieces carefully by pushing them into the hollow body. Trim sloppy edges, put your candle in.

You have the most badass pumpkin ever around. Do not be afraid if you find yourself somewhat sexually attracted to it--that is v. natural. Put it somewhere everyone can see/no drunk gits can smash. Probably not inside, unless you FUCKING LOVE the smell of autumn."
x_los: (Default)
This morning I walked from Vauxhall to Senate House Library, the imposing, massive, brutally art deco wings-like-white-elephants of a building which houses the resources shared by all constituent University of London colleges. I came in search of Bloody Heidegger's ...poetically man dwells... in Poetry, Language, Thought.

Every other goddamn article from this book appears to EXIST somewhere on das Interwebs. Hell it's been published centuries, you'd think someone would have gotten around to uploading it. But oooooh no. I checked google scholar, jstor, and every sad tributaty-flow of information in-between. No joy in mudville. I had to suck it up and physically go hunt the fucker.

...which proved useless. Two copies checked out, one MIA-no-not-the-rapper, and the RESERVE copy in the weird special Institute of Germanic Studies main library mysteriously absent. Even Foyles wanted 24 hours notice to move its two existing copies from whatever dark trove they keep them in to the Charring Cross Flagship proper--not that I would ever surreptitiously read an article in the bookstore because I couldn't be arsed to buy it. ...

Cut to: surreptitiously reading the article in the London Review of Books bookstore because I couldn't be arsed to buy it. An awkward process, much abetted by:

1) my careful and unwavering occupation of a chair behind a massive stack of books, preserved from Desk Girl's line of sight,
2) Desk Girl's epically long tea break (pretty much Odysseus got back from Troy more promptly than this chick), and
3) the polite incredible discomfort the English experience around strangers, which made her unwilling to ask me to stop doing what I was blatantly doing and fuck off to a lesser bookstore, like Waterstones/Bathrooms and Noble.

Good thing I did that, because the prof I asked to please direct me /anywhere/ the article could be found: still hasn't gotten back to me. Dude, I'm one of the five people who talks in your agonizing, peristalic two-hour-long discussion sessions--help me to help you, here.

To make up for it I bought some crap Darjeeling in their really lovely coffee shop/tea room. Darjeeling's just boring, not their fault. Service was EXCELLENT (I was actually brought things, /in a coffee room thing/, inc. free water that tasted nice! Staff v. helpful, conversations I shamelessly listened in on interesting--would loiter again!). Finished some reading I was behind on. Had good original fic idea in their bathroom: magic.

So as I was walking by the socialist bookstore next to the big uni library, what caught my eye from the boxes of sale items but MARY KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN ADVENTURES!!

I had never suspected the poetry of their marxist feminist dialectic? Foolish me. A revolution without makeover parties is not a revolution I want to be part of...

I spent the afternoon walking what felt like the length of the city, mainly because I took a lot of circuitous routes. I got perfect terrible fabric at John Lewis, a WAY TOO LARGE yet still perfect head-bird at the stationary shop next door (texted Katy something along the lines of 'Choosing between TWO head birds: a life goal fulfilled.'), and then proceeded to uselessly search the entire fucking city for a simple bag of black craft feathers. Seriously, where the shit. JL was selling time bags of 5 for 1.50 a pop, and a feather boa one could dice for 14, but not like, a BAG. The art store sold NEON ones, but as I wasn't going as the RainbowDiscoHomoFabulous!! Guardian (GOD I'd listen to/watch/read it), I'd have to dye the fuckers and black-sharpie their spines--too expensive, and no guarantees of success.

Will try again tomorrow: costume is a sad shadow of itself without FEATHERS!!









x_los: (Default)

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