Dioramas are 3D scenes created in box-like containers, and a spooky Halloween theme is perfect for this time of year. It’s a great opportunity for kids to make a miniature world filled with skeletons, ghosts, and a few imaginary characters of their own.
Tag Archives: Halloween
Symbols of death, like tombstones and skeletons, help to create all those eerie and unsettling feelings we come to expect this time of year, and cemeteries provide the perfect inspiration. To mark the occasion, here are a few photos of artists’ graves I visited this summer in France. The phantoms and spirits were on their best behaviour during my daytime visits, and the only unsettling visuals came from the public washroom. There are times I’m SO grateful I can’t smell.
The artist Niki de Saint Phalle, was a french painter, sculptor, and film maker. Today would have been her 81st birthday. Much of her work is naive in style, and has a playful, whimsical quality. The Tarot Garden in Italy is a perfect example of this, with its large scale sculptures covered in brightly coloured mosaics. So is the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, filled with water-spraying sculptures made by Niki and her husband Jean Tinguely.
Of course it’s all much too happy looking for Halloween, but as luck would have it, she happened to create a unique looking assemblage called Portail de La Mort providing the perfect inspiration for this unusual, quirky little Halloween project. Trust me to sniff out one of the few colourless pieces she created! Joyeuse Anniversaire Niki.
Nothing says Happy Halloween quite like an unsettling display of putrefied-looking body parts neatly stuffed into jars. It’s a perfect way to begin the season. So gather up your boxes of Halloween decorations so we can engage in the fine art of extreme pickling.
When the wild excitement has come to an end, gather up your little ones, light a few candles and read them this poem before tucking them in. And savour the moment, for tomorrow the store shelves will be lined with garlands and tinsel. AHHHHHH!!!!!!
The Night Wind
by Eugene Field
Have you ever heard the wind go “Yooooo”?
‘Tis a pitiful sound to hear!
It seems to chill you through and through
With a strange and speechless fear.
‘Tis the voice of the night that broods outside
When folk should be asleep,
And many and many’s the time I’ve cried
To the darkness brooding far and wide
Over the land and the deep:
“Whom do you want, O lonely night,
That you wail the long hours through?”
And the night would say in its ghostly way:
My mother told me long ago
(When I was a little tad)
That when the night went wailing so,
Somebody had been bad;
And then, when I was snug in bed,
Whither I had been sent,
With the blankets pulled up round my head,
I’d think of what my mother’d said,
And wonder what boy she meant!
And “Who’s been bad to-day?” I’d ask
Of the wind that hoarsely blew,
And the voice would say in its meaningful way:
That this was true I must allow…
You’ll not believe it, though!
Yes, though I’m quite a model now,
I was not always so.
And if you doubt what things I say,
Suppose you make the test;
Suppose, when you’ve been bad some day
And up to bed are sent away
From mother and the rest…
Suppose you ask, “Who has been bad?”
And then you’ll hear what’s true;
For the wind will moan in its ruefullest tone:
A perfect costume for Halloween which requires some planning ahead and some investment. I actually saw this dress in the flesh (ha!) at the Pompidou Centre in 2009 and it was definitely a powerful image. The photo above shows the artist wearing her freshly butchered flank steak (option #1), which obviously served as inspiration to Lady Gaga and her designer. Below is the dried version (option #2) which looked fabulous. This lovely form fitting number had interesting seams and layers, and with a little organza wrap you’d be all set for a smelly evening out. In the end, option #2 isn’t quite as unsettling and disgusting as option #1. Your choice, but you will have to spring a fair bit for all that meat.
Here’s another option, which I’d recommend only doing with someone rather close to you since your pas de deux will involve gnawing on a piece of pickled herring all evening. Any hairy hat will do, and pickled herring is easy to come by. Your investment will be minimal.
This is Bosch’s vision of hell and would require a brave group willing to romp around semi-naked, looking punished and petrified all evening, seeking solace from the odd donation of candy. A really economical choice.
Finally, we have Goya’s offering where you can get back to basics and tap into your primitive urges. Once again, you would be semi-naked, looking rather hairy and unkept, but you’ll have your little friend to keep you company throughout the evening. Costs would obviously be minimal.
Good luck, hope these options help. Feel free to send photos.
For all of you who can’t bear those rubbishy cracker toys and are equally unimpressed by the flimsy hats that never fit properly, I encourage you to elevate the status of the cracker! It’s been with us since Victorian times and appears to need a little help. Why not have kids make their own fabulous polymer clay minis to put inside, along with an assortment of yummy, quality candy, and some printed words for inspiration or a few laughs. These crackers won’t pop when you open them, but there’s still that satisfying feeling of destruction that comes with pulling them apart.