Monday, November 29, 2010

Q&A with AlreadyDead

Love sugar skulls? Zombies? If you answered “Yes” to either of those you HAVE to see this shop! Anything Shayna Nelson (the artist behind Already Dead) gets her hands on gets transformed into something macabre – from porcelain cherubs to religious plaques. Read on for the juicy details, then be sure to check out her links!

CZ: Tell us a little about yourself!
AD: I am a boring single mom of 2 who doesn’t look like it! I live in Virginia and I'm a TOTAL hermit. I don't do anything except shop at thrift stores pretty much. Poking around for more stuff to paint! I love thunderstorms and I HATE spiders!

CZ: What type of items do you sell?
AD: I sell mostly Day of the Dead type art and kitschy religious stuff. I love bright colors so most of my items are DOTD looking anyway, without even trying. I love making plaster ornaments and sardine tin nichos are pretty much an instant satisfaction art!

CZ: What is the inspiration behind your shop and what keeps you motivated?
AD: I have NO motivation what-so-ever most of the time. It just hits me in spurts I guess. Most of the time I just want to jump off a bridge or something. Halloween is an obvious reason to make more creepies, but the few $'s I make from it just funds another thrift store trip!

CZ: What is the greatest compliment you have received about your work?
AD: "Never seen anything like it before!" ...that's pretty darn cool.

CZ: When did you first realize that you weren’t “like the other kids”?
AD: In Sunday school. When all the other kids were gaping mouthed, listening to a story of the Angel Gabriel coming out of the flames...I was like...."So.....wait a minute, you are telling me that this man was fireproof?" All the other kids HATED me from then on and I was politely asked to leave the class. The rest of regular school sucked a** so bad... I think I blocked it all out.

CZ: What’s a typical day in the life of this Dark Sider like?
AD: Rip myself out of bed at 7am to get my daughter in school...gargle, wash, and rinse with coffee....entertain the 2 year old so I can paint a bit WHILST fending off attacks from my bird, Tika. Listen to children scream and yell and throw fits until bed...more painting or not...depending on how much the kids screamed....then poke around online a bit and niters.

CZ: Do you prefer zombies or vampires?
AD: I don't prefer either I guess. It would suck to meet either, but I like painting zombie stuff way more.

CZ: Which horror character do you identify with most and why?
AD: None. I'm a cross between Tank Girl and Mrs. Cleaver.

CZ: Which elusive creature do you believe is more likely to be real: El Chupacabra or Sasquatch?
AD: Oh poo. Neither, that's all crap. BUT there is some SCARY SH*T living down deep in the ocean! And those are really real. Really.

CZ: Who is more likely to enslave the human race - aliens or robots?
AD: Robots. Aliens would just be like..."Oh look we missed one”, and zap us.

CZ: What scares you?
AD: Spiders. Kids screaming. And zombie sheep. They were in a movie I saw recently and they scared the SH*T out of me.

CZ: When my undead masses take over will you be with us or against us?
AD: I will have used my self-destruct button at that point. I will be of NO use or help to anyone.

CZ: Any links you’d like included?
AD: My Etsy, Already Dead

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

Sorry I've been MIA for nearly two weeks!  I've had content planned and everything - just haven't found the time to make it happen.  I had planned on starting back the Etsy interviews after Halloween and I've got three wrote and ready to go.  I promise they will go up soon! 

I had also planned on doing a little piece about my Halloween costume, which was inspired by one of my costume pieces from earlier in the year.  If anyone is interested I can put it up some time in December. 

So to my readers, please be patient with me through the rest of the year!  My calendar is booked with one thing or another for all of December (including a Pirate vs Ninjas party which should make for some interesting reading!) and my posting may be sporadic.  I WILL get back on track next year - it'll be my New Year's resolution. ;)

Oh!  And don't miss out on all the great deals from Etsy's Dark Side this weekend.  Black Friday through Cyber Monday you can find crazy good sales from participating shops (including 20% off everything in my store!)  See which shops and what deals here:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holiday Shopping Made Easy (Or Easier, At Least!)

I put together a few Stocking Stuffer Gift Guides to help people buy for those offbeat loved ones.  All items are $10 or less and they are all made by members of Etsy's Dark Side team.  Check them out for some great finds!  Just click the picture to be taken to the site - from there you can click individual items for more info or to purchase!

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide For HER

Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide For HIM

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dave Lowe's Haunt

Dave Lowe is another example of “talent overload”! His haunt is one of my biggest inspirations because he dreams up a lot of budget-friendly props that still look fantastic! Who else could imagine a FedEx box as a tombstone or a plastic champagne glass as an apothecary jar stem? Take a look at these pictures and let them speak for themselves!

CZ: I already know that Halloween is the most awesome holiday out there but my readers may not, so can you give us your opinion why it is?
DL: Creatively, It's the only holiday so open to interpretation being based on the spooky unknown. It has its traditions and clichés, but the ordinary can be spun into folklore with good imagination. On Halloween day, you just don't watch a leaf fall from a tree in front of you, you wonder if there is something in the tree that made it fall. Personally, It's the only month of the year I don't have to clean up so carefully and worry about CSI sniffing around... the mess is just "decoration."

CZ: When did you start “haunting”?
DL: I prefer to call it an October holiday-themed temporary outdoor public art installation. It started back in the mid '90's when I placed an electric chair and coffin I had made for the set of a Sci Fi channel show called "Sci Fi Buzz" on the lawn. The neighborhood kids went crazy for it and asked if there was going to be more...I got bit by the "haunt" bug. I still have the electric chair and it's used every year. It's the oldest prop in the display. When I was a little trick or treater, just a single carved pumpkin on a doorstep was magical, I really believed in the folklore of the holiday. Now it's fun creating some of that magic for kids.

CZ: Creepiest man behind the mask – Michael Myers or Jason?
DL: Michael. When I first saw HALLOWEEN it was one of the last years I trick or treated and his hunting ground of Haddonfield looked like my suburban New York 'hood making him an even scarier character. I'm a bit biased though having seen the movie in the late '70's and how it inspired the entire masked maniac killer film genre that followed. I'd only ever say Jason, if he's wearing a Michael Myers mask. I do like Jason though, both guys are featured in my display. I've always imagined they're step brothers and Freddy Kruger's the illegitimate dad... that's the ultimate prequel movie surprise ending in my mind.

CZ: What is your favorite prop/decoration and why?
DL: That's tough one... each year spawns the new creation and the favorite that October. If I had to choose it would be my grandmother up in the attic. I'm waiting a few more years for the mummification to look just perfect before she officially goes on display. Fingers crossed for 2012 or 2013!

CZ: You must have one absolute favorite memory about your haunt - tell us what it is.
DL: The evil laughter my girlfriend had when she first heard the screams of little kids visiting my haunt. One reason she's my fiancée now and one reason she scares me to this day as well.

CZ: What’s the ultimate Halloween candy?
DL: Candy corn, it's the Christmas fruit cake of Halloween.

CZ: How much time goes into your haunt each year?
DL: Well, about 11 months of thinking and talking about it, and then a 2 week late September to early October manic storm of crazed hysterical creation, followed by a Xanax overdose on November 1st.

CZ: From whom or what do you draw your inspiration?
DL: I could list a 1001 "artistic" things, but it's really the 1001 reactions from kids over the years to my display that makes me love decorating. One year, an SUV stopped while I was out front. The mom driving pointed to the 3 little faces looking out the backseat window and said jokingly "You owe me gas money. They make me drive by everyday after school to see your yard." Those moments inspire me to run back into the garage and make something new that night to have on the lawn the next morning.

CZ: Morticia or Lily Munster?
DL: Elvira, best of both.

CZ: Is your family supportive of your haunting obsession or do they think you’re insane?
DL: They used to be. Every year, the first day I'd start decorating became a family get together. All would come over for coffee, sit on the porch and just watch...not helping at all and talk about how insane I was. I got tired of it. Now they're also in the attic with Grandma.

CZ: What does the future hold for your haunt?
DL: Creating a good fictional back story or theme and creating props that tell the tale. Something I could use as a title. A story that would keep the authorities' suspicions at bay when my family in the attic does finally go on display one year.

You can keep up with Dave’s Halloween progress (and other madness!) on his blog:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Love Manor

I didn’t get all of my haunt features done in October…things just got too busy that last week. What that means for you guys is that Halloween is extended through this week! Today I’m featuring Love Manor and then you can expect a piece on Dave Lowe’s Haunt (or The Unnamed Haunt That No One Dare Name Because It's So Haunted ;) haha) in a day or two. So without further ado…

Johnny Love’s “Love Manor” is a giant piece of Halloween eye-candy. His photography is also phenomenal so even if you can’t see it in person you can still get the creepy vibe right from your computer screen. :)

CZ: I already know that Halloween is the most awesome holiday out there but my readers may not, so can you give us your opinion why it is?
LM: I think Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because of many things. First, I love how creative you can be with your decorating/prop building. Pretty much anything goes! Second, there's a feel of magic and wonder in the air, like anything's possible.

CZ: When did you start “haunting”?
LM: I started decorating for Halloween many many years ago, before I can really remember. I remember decorating our hotel room in Florida when we stayed there in October when I was maybe 7. We put a huge jack o' lantern in the window and I dressed up like a ninja. Now, maybe within the past 6 years, I have really taken my decorating to a whole new level and have since been known as a "Home Haunter". It actually all started when I was browsing Yahoo! one day I saw their "Hot Searches", the first one being "Halloween Decorating Projects". Through that I found The Halloween Monster List and was, needless to say, hooked.

CZ: Creepiest man behind the mask – Michael Myers or Jason?
LM: Michael Myers is definitely a classic amongst my family. I actually live within a few blocks of Tommy Doyle's home on Orange Grove here in Hollywood.

CZ: What is your favorite prop/decoration and why?
LM: Anything vintage. I have collected decorations for many many years, many of which have been passed down to me from prior generations. I do, however, always say that the best decorations are not found in the Halloween isle at the store, but beyond it.

CZ: You must have one absolute favorite memory about your haunt - tell us what it is.
LM: I think one of my favorite memories was after the trick or treaters had come through and were all home enjoying their collections of candy, I went outside into the cemetery and took a seat on the mausoleum and sat there, watching the fog weave through the tall grass, the fireflies fluttering through the bushes, the ambient sounds of crickets, frogs and the far away howling winds. When all of a sudden a hearse drove by, stopped, and whomever was inside took a moment to enjoy the display before they continued their journey on through the night.

CZ: What’s the ultimate Halloween candy?
LM: Definitely a tough question. I'm a sucker for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. However I remember a lady used to hand out hot cider and caramel apples on our street, that was definitely the ultimate.

CZ: How much time goes into your haunt each year?
LM: The entire year. I'm always thinking about it!

CZ: From whom or what do you draw your inspiration?
LM: I draw my inspiration from many things and people. I've always loved Disney and the creative displays and things they have created through the many years they've been around. I always look to The Haunted Mansion whenever I need some creativity. I've always loved Martha Stewart, knowing that Halloween is her favorite holiday is always encouraging. There are also many home haunters out there to which my hat must be tipped to!

CZ: Morticia Addams or Lily Munster?
LM: Morticia Addams. I love how the light casts across her eyes.

CZ: Is your family supportive of your haunting obsession or do they think you’re insane?
LM: They definitely share the insanity with me.

CZ: What does the future hold for your haunt?
LM: Many things of which I cannot tell. Everyone should be in for a surprise this year though!

CZ: Any links you’d like included?
LM: Please be sure to check out and checkout my Twitter, Facebook, Blog and Flickr pages (all accessible from the front page of the website)! Comments and views are greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I am so far behind on EVERYTHING!  Halloween prep takes up so much of my time that everything else gets neglected.  So now, even though all I want to do is sleep, I have fifty thousand things to catch up on.  One of those things being posting the haunt features that I didn't get around to in October!  Congratulations!  The Halloween season will be extended for you guys for another week! ;)  I'll try to get one up later today and hopefully the other will go up tomorrow.  Sorry for dropping the ball last week!