Thursday, January 7, 2010

Embrace your dark side; bringing spooky into your life and home

(Above: The bookshelves in my bedroom have a subtle nod to my favorite reads and my spookiness, and I always have Dale the Doll on the steamer trunks at my entryway, as well. The rest of the house is quite pleasant and happy which is my personality, but I keep people wondering about me with these little nods to my dark side.)

I think anyone who reads this blog is probably into horror, ghosts, abandoned places, and all things spooky. Why not find ways to bring it into your everyday life? I remember turning my entire house into a dark tapestry covered, knights in armor, medieval castle theme to show everyone “I like spooky stuff.” The overwhelming effect of it, however, was...depressing. I hate dark colors. I’m not so into tapestries. My tastes are more shabby chic, cottage, contemporary, sunny when it comes to my home and my personality. Most people that meet me would never guess I’m into horror so much that I write it and chase ghosts into the darkness. I’m rather bubbly and more like a Sheryl Crow type than a goth person.

So, how do folks know I’m into the dark side? Very clever and subtle ways

Here’s just a few ways to show your devotion to horror and the macabre:

Make a shelf of books on display that shows your interest in Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, and Medieval castles. Stack them up on a shelf, and leave one pretty-covered spooky book to stand open so the cover is on display.

Put a vase filled with smooth river rocks or pea gravel on a table and place a sizeable bare winter branch on it. Now, perch a blackbird on it (can be found at most craft stores and Spirit Halloween shop online). For a more Poe-esque vignette, put a few birds on the branches.

Go over the top for Halloween. Absolutely go to town! Be the house on the block that the kids dare each other to approach. One time a year, let it all hang out! Pick a theme and go nuts with it. If you do too many different scary themes, it won’t look cohesive. Either go with a Sleepy Hollow bales of hay, black birds, scarecrows, and corn rows, or go haunted graveyard. Just pick the theme you don’t mind building on each year so you can continue to collect.

Place a handbook on vampire hunting beside a strand of garlic on a side table.

For winter fun, have friends over for s'more making at the fireside with pillows, hot buttered rum, and lots of ghost story telling.

Tattoos and jewelry as subtle hints. In my case, I got myself a tattoo. Nothing spooky, but something that symbolizes me, an autumn twirling leaf changing colors. You might try acquiring some steampunk accessories made from gears and gadgets.

If your family doesn’t think you’re crazy, consider a corner of your garden for a fake cemetery with little metal fencing and fake headstones that maybe you take out front to decorate for Halloween. Hang a couple lanterns, put a bench near it. Suddenly, you have a quiet reflective place to hide out. (I won't tell you what our roofers thought when they looked down into my fake cemetery!)

Get a beautiful gothic-covered journal from the bookstore and keep it at your bedside to write your dreams and nightmares in. Try experiments. One night, watch a romantic comedy and go to bed thinking about romance and see how it affects your dreamstate. Try giving yourself reminders to realize you’re dreaming in your dream and to wave your hand in front of your face in the dream if you’re lucid enough. Check out the day’s geomagnetic activity just to see if funky dreams are happening during an active phase.

Write fictional horror story or horror-inspired poetry, maybe research a favorite subject for your blog or with the goal of writing a nonfiction book about something strange and unusual.

Stop at a graveyard and wander. Don’t just pass it by. Park and find a little retreat reading headstones and looking at the things people have left behind as offerings.

Stop and photograph abandoned buildings, gas stations, and motels from the roadway.

Stay in a haunted hotel room or dine at a haunted local restaurant.

Give yourself a night of back-to-back horror movie watching--by candlelight of firelight.

Sit down with a voice recorder and try to capture some EVPs. Have a conversation with anyone willing to speak into the device on your table.

Take a Ouija board and put a wall hanger bracket on its back. Take a hot glue gun and glue down the planchette over the word “Yes” and then cut a candlestick down to about 3” or 4” in height and hot glue it down to the board on an open area with no words. Let the candle burn down to a pile of wax. Let it dry and cool. Now, hang it on your wall.

Advice: If you decide to do a little vignette in your house that’s a nod to something you do, such as Bigfoot hunting, you might consider taking a few different items together (instead of all dolls or all books), a Bigfoot doll, a book about Bigfoot, and maybe some binoculars. Leave it on a desk or tabletop as if you’re on your way out the door to go on a hunt. Try not to mix your types such as ghost things with Frankenstein dolls. Only a few items go a long way. When people see it, it doesn’t scream “I love Bigfoot,” but it does make them wonder. You always want to keep people a bit off balance.

Happy haunting your own life. P.S. Let me know how you keep your spook on in your day to day life, I’d love to hear about it!


  1. I have a rather realistic looking Raven that sits a top my bookshelf. It seems to make visitors uneasy. I keep crow and raven feathers I have collected laying on various surfaces too. Sometimes I seal letters I write with raven stickers.

  2. I like your ideas. I have some DVD's of Ghost Hunters and True Blood. I am sure if I look around I could find more ghostly stuff. As soon as Katie moves out and I get my house back, baby has taken over LOL, I would like to decorate one of the extra bedrooms with a pararnormal theme. Thanks for the idea.

  3. What a wealth of wonderful ideas! Thank you!!

    And congrats on your Haunt Jaunt award!!

  4. Hey ya'all! Glad you could find some tips. I love the raven idea--very cool! Leave `em wondering!

    Julie; You could have so much fun with your own paranormal-themed room. I would definitely do all thrift store stuff. If you already have furnishings in there, get white sheets and cover them for that abandoned house look. Something else kind of eerie to do is the mirror in a mirror--put two mirrors across the room for each other so they show infinity. That's pretty wicked. Definitely want soft lighting. I'd probably get a hurricane lantern and have a comfy chair for reading the scary books on the shelves. A large styrofoam ball from the craft store, a sheer white curtain, fishing line and a safety pin and some bulletin board tacks and you have a cool ghost. Just take the ball, carve it with a kitchen knife into a face-like shape. Put the curtain over the ball so it's like a ghost. Put a hole in the curtain at the top of the head and tie some fishing line to a safety pin, open it up and shove it into the ball so it hooks inside. Stick a tack in the ceiling and attach the line so the ghost is hanging. Now, take and cut the edges of the curtain so it's tattered and tear at it so it's nasty. Cut a tiny hole in the end of the curtain and run more fishing line to a ceiling tack so you can pull up an "arm" for it. Do the same the other side. This would be cool in a corner of the room and if a fan was on, it would dance. Of course, loads of melted candles. The fun thing is finding stuff to reuse--I'm a recycling freak. You will have to write it up some day when you do get to redo the room. How fun! I'd love to have my own room. I kind of do--I got my son's room, but it's my workout room so it's not really like a kick back and relax room (at least not if I'm being a good girl!)

    Suzie; Thanks!

  5. Something my mother would always do for Halloween was save up all the plastic milk jugs. Then she would make skeletons out of them. Using an exacto knife one jug became a skull and one the rib cage and then she cut out arms and legs and hands and feet from the rest and attached them with hot glue and white string. For added effect she'd stick a green glowstick inside before hanging them on our porch.

  6. Panademona;
    Your mother was briliant! I love that idea! Thanks for sharing it.

  7. in my office i have a book shelf dedicated to my ghosts books and dvds.
    no one else in my family is interested in the paranormal so i have to keep it to myself.

  8. Sandra;
    I so get you! My husband rolls his eyes at it, but my son thinks it's pretty wicked.

  9. Once again, Autumn, your ideas are awesome! Our house is decorated very medievaly (I made up my own word LOL!) We even have a suit of armor that stands next to our entrance. I am going to use some of your ideas, too! Thanks!

  10. What a fun post! I suffer the same decor tastes gravitate to shabby chic/French country. However, I sneak in my macabre. I have some artwork for the walls, a couple of pieces of jewelry, trinkets here and there...Most people who meet me and learn I'm a writer automatically assume because of my laid-back and perpetually optimistic disposition that I either write romance or for children. Little do they know the dark side that dwells within. And when they read some of my horror...shocked. I've kept people up at nights! (My fave is my Shadow People short story. VERY scary. And when people read it who know me, they don't look at me the same afterward, that's for sure!)

    This was a GREAT post though. Really showcases your creative side and writing and design!

  11. Courtney;
    You should move in next door. The neighborhood would never be the same! Or our hubbies, no doubt!