Monday, October 5, 2015

Halloween Baking Championship: Food Channel

I'm working this month to bring you awesome specials on the day they are aired so you can be ready that evening for the Halloween fun. 

Tonight's pick is Halloween Baking Championship on Food Channel.

Making everything from spider cupcakes to mummy macarons, seven of the country’s top bakers will compete to create Halloween’s spookiest confections on Halloween Baking Championship, premiering Monday, Oct. 5 at 9|8c. To survive this haunted competition, hosted by Richard Blais, contestants must prove their baking abilities and impress judges Ron Ben-Israel, Carla Hall and Sherry Yard. Only one winner will take home the grand prize of $25,000 and earn the title of Halloween Baking Champion.

In the premiere episode, the bakers’ skills will be tested in the pre-heat challenge, which has the contestants creating Halloween cupcakes using iconic trick-or-treat candies, including candy corn, peanut butter cups and lollipops. One contestant will win a special advantage in the main heat challenge, where the bakers will need to make a baked dessert that looks like a classic Halloween costume: ghost, zombie, mummy or witch. Each week the bakers can look forward to more spooky twists and turns on the road to the freakiest finale.

How To Have a Ghost-Free Home

Living in a home that has unexplained activity can cause stress, anxiety, fear, and even anger for the homeowners. It can cause arguments and unease between family members. It can create sleep disorders, eating disorders, panic attacks, depression, and even manic-like behavior. Interestingly, those existing dynamics can also bring activity to a home. 

We can study what kinds of homes tend to have activity and which ones that do not report activity to determined a bit about what you should avoid.

Mess/Clutter/Darkness:  In Feng Shui terms, this is attracting negative energy. Cul-Du-Sacs in the home and packed corners, boxes, crowding, and no open pathways create a place for that negative energy to sit and reside. Energy is pretty much universal in that it appreciates an easy open path to keep moving. As well, packed content can cause a lot of disruption when you consider the energy that each object contains, especially objects handled by many people. You end up with a conflict that can cause bad feelings, unease, and other negative feelings. 

Residents moving in and out:  The very composition of the living within the house can create a chemistry that supports issues or alleviates. It helps to keep a watch on who is in the home when incidents happen and if activity began or ended with a person's addition or absence in the home. If this is the case, time usually readjusts everything. It is much like the "renovation" phenomena. Dynamics create disruption and harmony and stasis helps things to calm down. In this case, it's a waiting game for things to stabilize. 

Poor or no communication between occupants:  Ironically, the one time you need good communication is when you are having issues in the home, but lots of families/roommates become more detached, separate, silent and brooding. Actually talking out loud about what is going on can sometimes dismiss the action. If this brings a family or roommates together rather than dividing them, the home becomes less interesting. Do not ever let ghostly activity separate you - that is the attraction to the spirit realm. In groups, we are less intriguing. Do not become culled from your herd! 

Lack of good air/negative ions: Part of keeping away bad activity is to keep the people in the home healthy. This is vital because sickness and mental illness can create a tension and vulnerability that allows for more activity. So, I always advise if you can to keep the environment clear of smoke, have house plants to clean air, and if you can put in an ionic air cleaner or waterfall fountain; they both give off negative ions that give people a "feel good" sensation. 

Mental Illness/Emotional and Hormonal turmoil/Sleep issues:  The vulnerable are not just attractive to para activity, but it is entirely possible they can activate the situation with their very brain activity and chemistry. Poltergeist activity is noted to be higher for those with temporal and parietal lobe issues. Always remember, your home is only as strong as your weakest link. Proper medications are important to balancing the hormones and electrical activity in the brain to lessen para events. Sleep, as well, is a state in which the brain goes into alpha waves as it drifts into true sleep. During that falling asleep and awakening states, communication is very easy between the "realms." This is exactly why the dead visit us in our sleep. The key to handling bedtime "intruders" is understanding that you are better able to perceive what is there than when you are alert. There is no need for fear, simply know that visitor pass back and forth in your perception. Good sleep hygiene is critical because this is most likely to happen when you are drunk, medicated or overly sleepy. 

No focus for positive:  A "power center" is a very potent home addition and every home should have one, ghosts or not. A table used as a kind of "altar." It's not for worship, so much as gathering a lot of positive energy that you believe in, that feeds your soul and makes a place that is utterly unattractive for anything disruptive. This table can contain anything from religious text, photos of loved ones, stones, gems, geods, seashells, pine cones, plants, flowers, symbols of religious or spiritual significance, items of loved ones who wished you well, happy memories, incense, candles and more. All of it must have meaning to you, to make you feel empowered, loved and protected. The placement is ideal in a room where sun might light it up occasionally, in a main room that is central. If you have sleeping difficulties, put it in your bedroom. 

Peace, serenity and faith:  Playing happy music, hanging up happy family photos, and leaving religious text open on a table are all pleasant, protective and empowering energies. A home becomes less attractive when there is love, peace and faith.

Reclaiming your home: The simplest and often the most effective method to safeguard your home is to take it back. Out loud, as a group, announce that it is your home, there is no place for others, you will not tolerate further harassment, it is time for them to move on. Be sure you get everyone to come together for this so that it shows numbers.

Cleansing/Blessings:  Most people take the route of a blessing or cleansing for their home, hoping that will quell the negative, but it only works if you believe, as well. It is your continued belief in the practice that makes it have the power of lasting. A Catholic blessing for a Protestant is going to be pretty much, no help. So, stay within your own spiritual practices. Those who wish to burn sage, need to start in the rear of the house, work their way through the house to the open front door and out. The problem with saging is that it can work a few months and then you're back to issues again. My suggestion is simple - sage lightly the house and then do so daily. Nothing elaborate. A fast cursory going through. Do it daily for a whole month. What happens is that instead of the place wearing off, it keeps it at a constant level long enough to be obnoxious. You might also want to do a search for protective stones, protective incense, protective symbols, and more. I have found as a psychometrist (a psychic who reads objects) that stones/gems/crystals/geods have energy. It can be a powerful repellent. Some of the best protective ones are black obsidian, amber, labrodorite, malachite, cat's eye, and more.

Journal: This is one of my favorite methods. Keep a spiral notebook open. When something happens, note the time/date, where it happened, who witnessed it, who was in the house, and if there were any issues among family members that day-like argument or sad mood, etc. Do this for a month or more. What happens is a few things - one is that it is openly known to everyone that events are being documented and you go from being a victim to being an observer and archivist, a "narc," telling on the ghosts. It is not only empowering, but it takes the fear out of the factor and makes the occupants of the home no longer an easy target.


There are many ways to resolve living in a haunted home, but the most important things to know are that there are tools for you to use and sometimes the best thing you can do is consider it a Scooby Doo mystery. Instead of hiding from it, start observing it, poking around, being curious. It's kind of like you're saying "hey, what are you up to in the living room?" 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Halloween Wars New Season - Food Channel!

A new season of the awesome Halloween Wars is starting tonight on Food Channel. Teams made up of a cake maker, candy maker, and pumpkin carver compete for big bucks. Here's the 4 episode this month's Sundays -

Five teams made up of an expert pumpkin carver, cake decorator, and sugar artist go to battle to create mind-blowing Halloween-themed displays that capture a terrifying infestation. At the end of the battle, one team will be eliminated with help from a special guest judge, actor Robin Atkin Downes from The Strain. (Episode: HW0501H)

Hybrid Horror
The four remaining teams compete to create mind-blowing Halloween-themed displays that show a mutated and terrifying hybrid horror. Special guest judge, actor Benjamin Papac from The Walking Dead, will help determine which team will be eliminated. (Episode: HW0502H)

Grave Robber
Three remaining teams go to battle to create mind-blowing Halloween-themed displays that capture the horror that results from robbing a grave. Actress Bex Taylor-Klaus from MTV's Scream will help determine which two teams will move on to the final battle. (Episode: HW0503H)

Undead Dinner Party
For the final battle, two teams made up of an expert pumpkin carver, cake decorator, and sugar artist go head-to-head to create terrifying and scream-worthy displays of an undead dinner party. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, serves as the special guest judge and helps determine which team wins the $50,000 grand prize. (Episode: HW0504H)

This is going to be a blast!

How-To For Scarecrow Lovers!

(Scarecrow by Pumpkinrot one of the greatest Halloween artisans I know. I get my Halloween cards from him every year and he makes a new scarecrow to commemorate each All Hallow's Eve)

When I was a child, I was obsessed with scarecrows.  I wasn't sure they were effective.  It seemed the crows like to use them to rest upon. But, those silent sentinels of country gardens were things of nightmares; a human-like figure crucified against the setting sun between rows of bright green corn stalks....

- Movies With Scarecrows -

The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh
Night of the Scarecrow (my favorite)
Wizard of Oz
Scarecrows (1988)
Jeepers Creepers
Jeepers Creepers 2
Kakashi (2001, Japanese)
Messengers 2: The Scarecrow
Dark Harvest
The Maize
Psycho Scarecrow

A REAL scarecrow is scary. Not a happy autumnal symbol sold at craft stores in happy clothes with rosy cheeks.

I might be a bit scarecrow obsessed. I have a Pinterest page of them. 

Scarecrows cookies - 5 dozen of them!

Had enough scarecrows?  Never! There's a terrifying scarecrow short story in my huge horror short anthology book.

"Don't Go There! A Flash Horror Anthology" 

Here's a sample of it:

The squeaking scarecrow stands whined around him like pleading children. He couldn’t resist the grim desire to view the spectacle. The amber hazy last bits of sunlight cast on the pumpkin heads making them glow. The wind created a sail effect on the clothing, making each scarecrow seem to inhale and exhale painfully as they pivoted on their poles, arms swinging stiffly to and fro. 

If I look at them long enough, they really appear alive!

Here's a video of how I made this cheap and easy scarecrow head - ready for a body or just an art piece.

Making scarecrows is not a real science, although some folks make them better than others. The basics are the same - T-shaped frame to hang it from, cloth/clothing, and stuffing material. One of the best ones I ever made, I used styrofoam insets from packing boxes for computer stuff. I carved the lightweight styrofoam to make arm, leg and boy shapes. I used a pumpkin carved and a hat for the head and broke tree limbs for feet and hands inside of jeans and a flannel shirt. I used safety pins to hook the clothes together.

You can stuff with balled up newspaper, straw, corn stalks, bent chicken wire, or pillows/pillow stuffing.

Happy scarecrowing!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Halloween Wars Begins! Food Channel

It's that fantastic time again when teams are made up of cake makers and pumpkin carvers to make a Halloween freak's dreams.

Tonight Food Channel is running a marathon of past ones and then tomorrow - NEW SEASON! 


Haunted Farm
Five teams made up of an expert pumpkin carver, cake decorator and sugar artist go to battle to create mind-blowing Halloween themed displays that capture a terrifying Haunted Farm. At the end of the battle, one team will be eliminated. Special Guest Judge: Naomi Grossman, who appeared in American Horror Story: Asylum. (Episode: HW0401H)

Don't Go Into The Forest
The four remaining teams go to battle creating mind-blowing Halloween themed displays that evoke the dire warning: whatever you do, don't go into the forest! Special guest judge, film producer Adi Shankar, will help determine which team will be eliminated. (Episode: HW0402H)

Mummies Versus Werewolves
Three remaining teams go to battle to create a Halloween display capturing an epic battle between mummies and werewolves. Special guest judge Francia Raisa will help decide which two teams will move on to the $50,000 final battle. (Episode: HW0403H)

Haunted Carnival
Haunted Carnival
In the final battle in Halloween Wars, two teams made up of a pumpkin.

Tomorrow, I will have a post about the new season! 


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