Digital/Virtual Xmas Gift Ideas for 2020

Looking for Covid-safe, last minute or long-distance gifts for a Halloween or Horror fan this Christmas? Well, check out my picks for some magical gifts they’ll love.

Hunt A Killer – Digital Version (Physical box version also available)

Don your detective apparrel for this immersive and thrilling role-playing game, where you help solve the crime from the clues, codes, evidence and more, sent to you to decipher each month. Various sources say you can typically solve the crime within 6 boxes. This is a fabulous must-have gift for True Crime fanatics.

https://www.huntakiller.com/

Hunt A Killer: Blair Witch Edition – Digital Version (Physical version also available)

Battle supernatural forces this immersive psychological thrilling role-playing game. Just like its predecessor, Hunt a Killer, sends tons of clues, documents, evidence, etc., each month to help solve the mystery of the Blair Witch.

Stranger Things: The Drive-Into Experience – Los Angeles, CA ($154)

Based on the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, this amazing one-of-a-kind immersive theater event lets fans drive into the world of Hawkins and unlock the secrets of the Upside Down. Word out is tickets for February/March shows are running low for this Covid-19 friendly event.

https://strangerthingsdriveinto.com/

Murder Mystery Parties via Zoom (price varies)

This year, many Murder Mystery Theaters chose to go virtual with unique immersive events, like this one from The Murder Mystery Company. Grab 8 of your closest friends and don your spookiest apparel for a night of mystery, mayhem and fun. Don’t forget to check your local listings to see if any theaters in your own area are hosting similar events. Support your local theaters!

Check out the other top selections in Murder Mystery Parties as review in Ophrah Magazine:
https://www.oprahmag.com/life/g34311889/virtual-murder-mystery-party-ideas/

Cameo Recorded Message/Shout-out from a Horror Celebrity (price varies)

Gift a short call or a pre-recorded message from a horror icon or fan favorite, like one of the ones listed here:

Tom Savini, Horror icon, Director and Special Effects guru ($100)
John Kasssir, Crypt Keeper of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt ($70)
Tony Todd, Star of Candyman, Final Destination, etc. ($100)
Kane Hodder, Jason Star of Friday the 13th movies, Crowley from Hatchet, etc. ($

https://www.cameo.com/browse/actors/movies/horror?qid=1608260908

Shudder Yearly Subscription ($56.99)

Watch spooky movies from the comforts of your own home, with this awesome subscription to Shudder, a premium horror channel, streaming horror, thrillers and suspense 24/7.

https://www.shudder.com/

Creativebug Class Subscription ($30-$96)

Got a creative Halloween fan in the family? Gift them a Creativebug subscription, where they will have unlimited access to hundreds of online arts and crafts classes. I hear there’s some special holiday deals on class prices happening right now!

https://www.creativebug.com/gift_subscriptions

Cemetery Dance Magazine Subscription ($27)

Calling all writers! Give the gift of award-winning horror, dark mystery, and suspense with this one-of-a-kind subscription to Cemetery Dance Magazine, filled with short stories, articles, interviews, reviews and much more!

https://www.cemeterydance.com/cemetery-dance-magazine-subscription.html

Ghoulish Bunny Patreon Membership (Memberships starting at $2 per month, price varies)

Send an amazing gift and support the arts, when you pick up a Patreon membership for creator and illustrator Diana Levin of Ghoulish Bunny Studios.

https://www.patreon.com/ghoulishbunnystudios

Candy Corn Crew Virtual Membership ($5.00)

Life can be sweeter with a virtual membership to the Candy Corn Crew!

GIFTCARD IDEAS:

Eclipse Afterglow Studios
If you can’t decide which original print from the Ghost Collection to pick up for your favorite fan, no sweat, Jackie sends cool gift cards, deliverable by email.

Trick or Treat Studios $25 Digital Giftcard
Halloween collectibles from the folks that brought us Trick ‘r Treat, Krampus, and more!

Horrordome.com
Get ready Halloween 2021 with animatronics, costumes, props, and other spooky décor.

Horror Merch Store
Horror Merch is still shipping some items, but you could make your life easier with a nice gift card that you know will under the tree, Christmas morning.

Fright Rags
The best place for horror fans to get officially licensed T-shirts, apparrel, collectibles and more!

Book Gift Ideas for Halloween and Horror Fans

I’ve compiled a list of great holiday horror and Halloween books that your favorite Halloween and horror fan will love this Creepmas. I live in Los Angeles area so some of my suggestions reflect my current location, but free feel to check local bookstores in your area. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Horror:

We Bleed Red and Green by Jeff C. Carter

Hot off the heels of his October anthology We Bleed Orange & Black: 31 Funsize Tales for Halloween, Jeff C. Carter is back with 12 new tales of Christmas terror.

Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer

There’s a lot to unwrap in this fun, festive horror set in the big, bad, cut-throat publishing world of the 1980s.

Nos4A2 by Joe Hill

Time-travel, immortal vampires and Christmas make for one terrifying tale for the holidays. When you’re done reading, check out season one of the TV adapation from AMC Channel on Amazon Prime.

Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas by Michael Dougherty (Graphic Novel)

From the creator of Trick ‘r Treat, Michael Dougherty shares his Krampus vision in a new graphic novel form, filled with stunning artwork.

The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch

Come check out the Yuletide tales of witches, elves and ghosts, Perfect winter reading. Keep an eye out for the new Audiobook coming on December 22, 2020.

Krampus’s Great Big Book of Yuletide Monsters by Amanda Woomer

Come explore the spooky world of Krampus and other holiday monsters in this latest book from author and paranormal investigator, Amanda Woomer.

Halloween Books:

Pumpkins and Party Themes: 50 DIY Designs to Bring Your Halloween Extravaganza to Life By Roxanne Rhoads

I know 2020 put a damper on our Halloween celebrations this year, which only means we should come back hard in 2021. This book is full of ideas and DIY designs to help get us ready for the perfect party next year!

Creating Your Vintage Halloween: The folklore, traditions, and some crafty makes by Marion Paull

What a fantastic way to learn all about Halloween traditions. This beautiful, fully-colored little book is a dream for vintage Halloween collectors and Halloween lovers.

The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo

From author and illustrator Rhode Montijo, follow along with the adventures of the mysterious masked defender of Halloween. Word around town is there’s an animated show in the works.

Other Horror Related Books:

The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara

This LA Times Bestseller, which topped all the 2019 ‘Best Of’ lists, uncovers the mysterious life of former Disney animator, Milicent Patrick, the only woman in history to create a Hollywood classic movie monster.

Graven Images: The Best of Horror, Fantasy, and Science-Fiction Film Art from the Collection of Ronald V. Borst (Hardcover), Introduction by Stephen King

I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful, bright, fully-color collection of vintage Hollywood movie posters. It’s a great read for film lovers and filled with the history behind some of Hollywood’s best classic horror and sci-fi movies.

Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror by Michael Mallory, Stephen Sommers (Foreword)

Come explore the magnificent legacy of Universal Studio’s Monsters, learn all about the characters, their mythologies and get behind-the scenes insights into Hollywood’s golden age of horror.

The Spirit Guide: America’s Haunted Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries by Amanda Woomer

I predict once this pandemic is over, travel will come roaring back to life and 2021 will be the perfect time for a paranormal adventure. This awesome read breaks down what to expect when you visit some of America’s most haunted bars, breweries, wineries and more!

Classic Books:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Poirot) by Agatha Christie

Creeped Out Christmas Art/Photo Challenge 2020

So, here’s the deal, Krampus is coming. That’s that. 2020 is not done with us. The face on Grandma’s vintage snowman, probably caved in. Those holiday lights you put away last year with meticulous care, suddenly, a big knot. The money you saved to give the kids a nice Christmas, probably going to fix your car or pay the rent or buy a new refrigerator, whatever, it’s gone! To top it all off, Covid-19 just ruined all our holidays plans! Such is pandemic life!
Burnt cookies, broken baubles, no problem. Don’t get mean, get creative! Join us on Instagram this December for the Creeped Out Christmas Art/Photo Challenge 2020! We like it dark and scary! #CreepedOutChristmas

Join in the fun any time, any day, but, if you post something all 25 days, you’ll be entered into a random drawing** to win a prize!!!

**Contestants must post an authentic, original art piece or photo each day from December 1-25, on Instagram, using #CreepedOutChristmas AND be a current follower of @halloweenhaiku9 be to be entered into the drawing. Contest ends midnight, pacific time, December 25, 2020. Winner will be chosen and announced here and on social media on December 26th. Please see Contest Rules for more details.

Prize – TBD, valued up to $20.

Throwback Thursday: Night of the Comet

Night of the Comet (1984)

I saved the best for last.  If you ever hear a Cyndi Lauper song in a horror film, this is peak 80s in all its surreal neon day-glowiness!

At face value, Night of the Comet is a mindless mash-up of several low-budget B-movie horror Sci-fi gems from the 50-60s, but look closer, and you’ll see Writer-director Thom Eberhardt actually penned a smart, witty satire, in tribute of such fine films. The question asked, what happens when two valley girls are the only two people left after a comet wipes off everyone on the planet?  If your first guess was ‘they go mall shopping and then get attacked by zombies’, give yourself a prize!

Two sisters Regina and Samantha played by Catherine-Mary Stewart and Kelli Maroney, are more than just gum popping, ripped-denim, leg warmer wearing bimbos full of sass. As if!
They’re actually pretty smart, and they manage to fight off armed invaders with Uzis in a sinister turf war, blood-seeking evil scientists with one-foot in the grave, and of course, comet-induced flesh-eating zombies, that always seem to come outta nowhere, all while working through why always-absent daddy married that money-hungry bitch Doris.
Level one up for the ladies of the eighties!

It’s true, there’s a lot of “family drama” with our feather-haired heroes, and less zombies than an average Walking Dead episode these days, but there’s still plenty of fun-filled comedy and bursts of non-gory action.  That’s right, no gore in this one, which is probably while the movie missed its mark as a really great horror film, but horror fanatics can’t live on blood-splatter alone. We need something to break up the monotony. If your eighties Halloween movie marathon contains Nightmare on Elm Street, any Hellraisers or early Maniacs, or John Carpenter’s The Thing, consider throwing in this campy zombie romp as a breather. You’ll thank me later.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Poe Sunday: The Black Cat

Poe Sundays are all about honoring the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Black Cat can be a tough read for many, as there’s quite a bit of animal cruelty, but that does play a part in the story and why it’s considered one of the most frightening short stories ever written. This blog does not condone the act of animal cruelty, nor do I believe that was the author’s intention.

The Black Cat
by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1845
)

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified — have tortured — have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror — to many they will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place — some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiarity of character grew with my growth, and, in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat.

This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point — and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

Pluto — this was the cat’s name — was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.

Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character — through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance — had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me — for what disease is like Alcohol ! — and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish — even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My  original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning — when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch — I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

Continue reading “Poe Sunday: The Black Cat”