Halloween 2012 at Old Gory

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. In fact, we have more boxes dedicated Halloween stuff than Christmas stuff. For 2012  Grimbil went as Captain Kirk and I went as token alien chick. Mostly I just wanted to wear my friend’s awesome pink wig. I’m pretty proud of my costume and makeup, especially since I did them all myself:



For our party we served our traditional flayed skin cheesehead

Puking pumpkin guacamole

and way-too-strong vodka zombie brain

I also tried making some witches fingers. I think they look pretty good, but didn’t taste awesome:

One of my favorite new additions to our decorations was these bloody handprints that I found at the pound shop:

We also fixed up the living room to look like a spider infested abandoned house:

We had bats and candles along the staircase

And a bit of a surprise lurking in the loo

Last year we set up our graveyard in the front of the house and unfortunately some of our gravestones were stolen, so this year we set it up in the backyard for the party. Note the not-too-subtle message Grimbil has incorporated:

For actual Halloween day, we took the afternoon off work so we could set up for the trick or treaters. We set up our classic graveyard scene, but with a twist. Cuz it wouldn’t be Halloween without a twist, right?

See, last year Grimbil dressed up as the Grim Reaper and stood next to the path to our door, scaring the kids en route to and from their candy. So this year we used our coat rack to create a decoy and set it up in the same spot.

Some kids remembered our ploy last year and so gave the Grim Reaper a wide berth (or were too scared to set foot in our yard). But the joke was on them: Grimbil was laying in wait behind the bench, dressed as a werewolf. Cue screaming and laughing and some crying.

Not sure how we’re going to top that next year, but we have some time to figure it out.


Hot dog keepin’ cool

For the past couple of days it has been hot here in London: 30+ Celsius, which translates to a whopping 86 F. Yeah, I can feel the New Yorkers and Texans rolling their eyes at me.

Poor Otto isn’t accustomed to such heat. He’s shedding even more than normal and will probably trip over his tongue at some point. We’ve been giving him ice cubes in socks as a chew toy, which seem to be helping.

But evidently swimming in the pond and then rolling around in the dust is the best way to keep cool on a walk:


Perhaps because he knows he’ll get a nice cool hosedown afterwards.

Snowball, our neighbor’s cat, has been brazenly hanging out in our yard the past couple of days. We’re shocked to see that Otto just stares and watches Snowie for a few minutes before realizing that he could get up and give chase. Maybe it’s the heat. But eventually Otto goes from this:


to this (Otto is just visible in the shade between the tree and the trellis):

and then spends the next 30 minutes running around the yard snuffling and woofing madly before retreating to the cool of the house again.

Old man Otto

Otto and Sticky check out the grass

Despite his puppyish good looks, Otto is an old man in some ways, most notably in how he handles change. He was clearly skeptical when we moved to our friends’ house during the renovations, but he powered through and learned to accept walking in a different neighbourhood and barking at a whole new set of neighbours. When we moved back in to our house, he was clearly confused especially since we are sleeping in a different bedroom.

But evidently the final straw came when Grimbil fertilised the backyard. Otto spent roughly 3 hours barking at the grass, and occasionally considering stepping on it. We tried luring him on to the grass with Sticky (the big stick we found in the park which also happens to be Otto’s favourite after dinner chew), to no avail.

Otto on alert for …. Something

“fortunately” we had a few downpours which evidently took care of whatever mojo was bothering Otto, and now he is back to normal. Crazy dog!

Halloween at Old Gory

For our second Halloween at the house, we kept some of the decor from last year (rats, spider chandelier, spiderweb rosebush, graveyard) but then we added some new twists:

The garden zombie was a huge hit (thanks Wes and Karen!):

Zombie by day…

…zombie from hell by night, thanks to some red glowsticks

In order to add atmosphere while also protecting the new couch, we went for an abandoned house feel by draping all the living room furniture in muslin…

… with the added creepy effect of the TV playing strange static-y images through its drapery (much creepier in person).

Otto isn’t much of a party animal, so he spent the night at the neighbor’s. We rigged up a fake costume for him in his crate:

I dug out my great-grandmother’s silver tea set and other random bits of silver. I highly recommend not polishing silver for about 20 years in order to get the perfect Halloween vibe.

We even made the bathroom a bit creepy with a mirror and some lipstick.  But what’s even creepier is that you can still see a hint of REDRUM on the door months after the fact.

Redrum as seen in the mirror over the toilet

Dad sent us some new friends to hang out with

We also had some special effects in the back yard, but they were all light-based so didn’t photograph well: 3 pairs of glowing eyes peeping through the honeysuckle, and a chomping skull lighting up the lawn. Thanks Dad!

On actual Halloween night Grimbil dressed up as the Grim Reaper and lurked in our graveyard garden while I played nice and passed out candy with our friend Marie.

Our take on American Gothic

There was plenty of shrieking and screaming from Grimbil’s victims. Some kids were too scared to walk past Grimbil to get candy. My favorite was the kid who, after jumping and screaming, turned to Grimbil and said “What is wrong with you?”


Our new lights / Otto’s new toy

Otto stretches to reach the top, ignoring the Fragile tag

A while ago we finally ordered the pendant lights to go over the kitchen island. We don’t have a doorman, so anything that can’t fit through the mail slot is delivered to our office (handy that we work for the same company). So this ginormous box has been sitting by Grimbil’s desk for quite some time.

We finally brought the box home last week, much to Otto’s delight. In his world anything made of cardboard is a chew toy.  He was a great help in opening the box — from the bottom up.

Grimbil tries to save the box from Otto’s jaws of death

Despite its size the box is actually really light, so light in fact that Otto was hoisting it completely into the air with his mouth in order to get a better chewing angle. Hopefully we’ll have an upcoming post with pictures of our new lights — without bite marks….

Everybody wins with butchery class

I’m back after a 3 week trip! Grimbil has been so good about posting his home improvements (yay linen closet!), I figured I should show our poor neglected blog some love too.

Grimbil recently took a butchery class at the Ginger Pig. He enjoyed it because he got to spend an evening learning about and actually creating different cuts of beef.  I loved it because Grimbil was happy, and he brought home a really good piece of beef (that he butchered himself) for our Sunday roast. And some tasty bread pudding.

Otto loved it because Grimbil brought him a supply of gigantic bones. Flintstone-sized to be exact.  Otto has also been standing vigil over the aforementioned really good piece of meat that is waiting to be roasted. How kind of him.

Hmm, maybe I should move that before it "falls" into Otto's mouth...

Better late than never…

Ok, I know Christmas is long gone, even if you include Jan 6, but Otto insists that I share the photos from our holiday photo shoot. He doesn’t want to have sat through that torture for nothing.

"Don't worry Otto, this won't take long. Now where's your Santa hat?"
"All I want for Christmas is to get rid of this hat"

We are still in the process of sending out our cards (I guess they’ll be “Happy winter” cards?) but they were too cute to keep to ourselves.

So, a belated happy holidays from all of us to all of you!

Ho ho ho!