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Customer Review

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAYBE THE BEST BOOK ON HALLOWEEN!, August 26, 2005
This review is from: Halloween How-To, A: Costumes, Parties, Decorations, and Destinations (Paperback)
There's only one thing that keeps "A Halloween How-To" from being the perfect Halloween book and that is that there are no color photographs. That one little drawback aside, this is maybe the best book on Halloween I've ever seen and I've reviewed a LOT of them. Unlike some of the more cutesy-crafty books on the market, this book is more designed for the real Halloween aficionado. This is the person whose more interested in scaring the pants off trick or treaters rather than winning an award from the neighborhood garden committee.

The first chapter covers tips on decorating your hose and yard and range from the simple to the very elaborate. Fake Tombstones can be pretty expensive if you buy them in the stores but this book shows how you can make them inexpensively from builder's foam and some paint. Another quick project is the quarter (or more) of dancing lawn ghosts made with old bed sheets stuffed with plastic bags on wooden dowel rods and then arranged in a circle. More elaborate projects can be made by a concoction called Monster Mud, which can be used to mold creatures from. Tips on proper lighting for your outdoor display are included as well. The second chapter covers everything you need to know about choosing, carving, and preserving your pumpkin. A great trip is rubbing it with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil after you carve it to keep it from drying out too fast.

Chapter three deals with costumes and make-up, and features designs for fifty different homemade costumes, and patterns for making things like capes and hooded robes. Beyond that it provides techniques for spattering blood on clothing or giving your clothing an aged, rotted look. There are also recipes for making your own costume blood from corn syrup and red food coloring.

Parties are covered in chapter four and these are squarely aimed at adults with various themed parties such as gothic or Victorian theme. Ideas for décor, invitations, recipes and games are included along suggested Halloween readings from such classic writers as Poe and Ambrose Bierce. They even tell you how to hold your own séance! Chapter five is a nice accompaniment with its suggestions for music, sound effects and the best scary films to watch on Halloween. One of my favorites is "The Lady in Whites". Chapter six follows up with dozens of recipes.

The longest chapter in the book and my personal favorite is the one on Haunted Destinations. The author takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of some of the best and creepiest destinations to visit during the Halloween season. The witch-haunted town of Salem, MA, has their three week long Haunted Happenings that begins the second week of October with various parades, parties, candlelight tours of haunted sites throughout the region. Take a trip to Sleepy Hollow in New York for their annual Halloween festivities or down to New Orleans to visit the Voodoo museum or the famous cemetery crypts. Other destinations include tours of the Edgar Allan Poe gravesite in Baltimore, the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast in Fall River, Bachelor's Grove Cemetery outside of Chicago, and many other ghostly sites. The book also lists some of the more famous seasonal Halloween attractions like haunted houses and hayride out on by various cities throughout the country.

The book concludes by taking a look at some of the more infamous Halloween myths and current trends of the Halloween holiday. This book just has a wealth of information and is the most comprehensive I've ever read. It's a true celebration of the Halloween season.

Reviewed by Tim Janson
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