Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Demon Gargoyle Finial

We needed to do a change up this year on our graveyard fence finials. The old ones haven't held up as well as hoped, and we wanted to give the fences a bit more character. Belinda spent the day sculpting this demon gargoyle type finial that we plan to add to the fence, perhaps along with some sort of spire type finials.

I was quite amazed at how well she did considering she has no background in sculpting. There are no experts in this house at molding and casting either, so we figured we better take a couple photos of the clay sculpt before we create a mold... just in case things don't go so well.

We've been off to a slow start for this season between Belinda's recuperating, unusually hot weather, and other life downers, but with this finial sculpt and what we've done so far on this years graveyard statue, I feel a bit better where we're at. From what I've read, seems like everyone feels they are a bit behind ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Visiting The Holiday Store

We had seen a Facebook post for the grand opening of The Holiday Store recently on the "Florida Haunter's"  Facebook page. It was about a 45 minute drive from our house to the small city of Winter Haven where it is located, so we decided to take a drive and see what was what...

Now I had heard of "The Holiday Store", visited their large website of Halloween props and decorations, and even knew about them sponsoring a prop contest this year. I was thinking on the drive there, this was one of their corporate retail stores that just opens for Halloween in a vacant store front in some commercial retail center, much like so many other Halloween businesses do.

It says "Like" for their Facebook page but that's a severed hand... I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing!

So we continued to follow the GPS instructions to locate "The Holiday Store" in this small city, passed one small commercial business area... and then another...another...  and then the GPS directions took us away from the commercial areas into a more rural area with industrial warehouses??

I have to say I enjoyed the "small shop" appearance at the front of the store..
... an appearance of randomness, but everything seemed to belong where it should be.
Remember the opening scene in the movie "Gremlins" where the Father of the family finds some hidden away Chinese antique shop full of all sorts of mysterious and novel oddities, where he ultimately acquires "Mogwai"? Well, this was kind of like that, without the old Chinese guy selling Gremlins (although I suspect if I'd asked for a Gremlin, the owner probably had one tucked away somewhere or at least knew where he could get his hands on one). Unbeknown to me, this was not one of many Holiday Stores, this was "The"  Holiday Store tucked away in a small warehouse type commercial area that so many businesses resort to these days to keep their "overhead" down

Sometimes I forget the grandeur of an internet presence doesn't necessarily indicate the size of it's "brick and mortar" storefront. This was "The Holiday Store" one and only. The privately owned Halloween shops are a rarity here in Florida, and so we entered the store with some hesitance on what we could expect to find.

This humungous clown dominated his own little area. Not a clown fan but this guy was pretty cool.
A  little scene stowed away in the back office, we're always on the lookout for "inspiration"
 The entry is  like a little storefront complete with a glass cabinet for a counter to display various Halloween novelties and "The Holiday Store" warehouse is packed full of "Halloween" (although there was a small "Christmas" aisle). We saw older Halloween products that are found in most stores at Halloween and we saw some newer stuff that I've seen online but not in any stores. Prices ranged from inexpensive cheaper quality items that so many people buy at Halloween to higher end products with a higher end price us Halloween aficionados would hope to find.

We were met by the owner, Tom Campana and his then assistant, "Megan", very kind and courteous people that pretty much said, "take your time, look around, and we know Halloween if you have any questions", and then went about their business. I personally love that style of customer service. When we arrived we were the only customers in the store. There was a behind the scenes feel of busyness going on that I suspect was the packing and or shipping of products, but other than that it's a very laid back shopping experience. The store really does have a large assortment of products and even more of course on their website. You won't find too much in the way of "glittery" Halloween decor here, or children's costumes and accessories like you might find at Walmart  or Party City. This place has Halloween props and decor the way it was meant to be!

One of the larger selections of "in-store" quality masks I've seen, complete with lighting ambiance!
Although this was really just a scouting trip to see what was in The Holiday Store, I kept going back to look at one of the tombstones on display way up towards the ceiling. I knew I had seen it before and Tom told me it was one of the line of tombstones from Exmortis. They make some really nice products but always thought they were just a bit pricey for my wallet. Tom gave me a deal I couldn't refuse so we got our first "store-bought" tombstone for Shingle Creek Manor.

We're kind of limited on our Halloween purchases this year and pretty much know what we need and can buy, but it was so early in the season to visit, and the owner said they have so much more being delivered in the weeks to come, that I'm pretty sure we'll be paying at least one more visit to "The Holiday Store". For us it's a refreshing change from the larger corporate stores that have been pretty much our only options during Halloween.

The Holiday Store  is located at 301 Commerce Court, Winterhaven, Florida 33880.

Our new tombstone addition by Exmortis

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Yankee Candle Halloween Preview Party 2014

New "Boney Bunch" additions for 2014
Spent the morning with my family at the Yankee Candle Store for the 2014 Halloween Preview. It wasn't nearly as nuts as it was last year, "Thank you Lord"!

We waited with about 15 or 20 others in the Florida heat for the doors to open to get our "Boney Bunch" fix. Mostly I just wanted the limited quantity candy dish but you had to make a $35 purchase to be able to buy it. 

Halloween purchasing has officially begun.... Now I hear the pose-able skeletons are already showing up at  Costco's. So much stuff to buy, so little money...