Stump the Haunter

Stump the Haunter! Post a comment to the witch in residence, me, with a haunting challenge of a prop you would like to build or theme you would like to explore. I will respond on this blog with my thoughts on how to build it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Who Wants to Go First?

A pre-Labor Day entry into the Halloween season.

I have seen the question posed, "When is it acceptable to start decorating for Halloween?"  If you are like me you have been champing at the bit since last November 1st or at least Memorial Day.  Not because you wish for the summer to pass quickly, but because you know that some of the best times are in the fall.  And Halloween is certainly one of the best of times.

So who wants to go first? One answer is an eager beaver in Quakertown, NJ.  The display pictured above cropped-up in mid-August and certainly got my attention as the first public display of Hauntification for the 2018 season.

What I find brilliant? The pure exuberance of it.  That is a lot of dedication to Halloween very early in the season.

What would I add to the scene?  I would install a spotlight at floor level--of course I would be careful to keep it out from under foot in a doorway.  Which means that I would place it on the right side of the greeter and wrap the cord behind him.  A light color, like orange or yellow would would make him stand out while casting a big shadow on the door and porch ceiling.  This would make him twice the prop.

I tip my pointy hat to the seasonally precocious.

Getting an early start circa 1983.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Irish Eyes Smile in March


While I usually discourse on Halloween, I have been noticing the many amazing displays that celebrate the wearing of the green and bring out the Celtic in all of us.
Maybe it is the cold snowy March driving people to visions of rainbows or the stress of tax time that has people thinking green, but this year has been a particularly active one for St. Patty’s Day decorators.

Here are some highlights:
We start our tour of St. Patrick’s Day décor with this reveling mailbox holder.  I can’t put a finger on why this out-of-place-in-NJ sea cow holding a mailbox amuses me.  However, when its stewards dress it for holidays it is taken to the next level and I cannot help but smile.  The only thing that could make this more engaging is an accompanying flock of yard geese in complimentary attire.

manatee mail box decorated for St. Patrick's Day
photo by: R.D. Brookes
Bear with me; I am sliding toward the sublime.

Cruising through the neighborhoods of Hunterdon County I spotted a number of other honorable mentions.  These include the house for all holidays on Sandhill with green plywood cutouts of Shamrocks and Leprechauns on the lawn (a future column in this blog will feature this lawn’s Halloween extravaganza).

Another sight, and inspiration for this blog, was found in Frenchtown where a cast iron kettle hanging from a tripod—the kind that will soon have spring flowers growing in it-has been adorned to look like a pot of gold.

Mitchell's Cafe Sign

However, the grand dame of St. Patrick’s Day displays is found indoors and comes from a Grand Dame.  Mitchell’s Café in Lambertville is a distinguished place located at 11 ½ Church Street.  It has been a bar since the 1860’s and came to be in the hands of the Bishop family about 100 years after its opening.  Mitchell’s is a timeless space that could transport you to an Irish public house any night of the year, but March is a special time when the Leprechauns are let out to play by the barkeep, Carol Bishop. 

bar at Mitchell's Cafe


The impressive display of eclectic decorations run the gamut from Byers' Choice dolls to wreaths filled with Shamrocks.  It is enough to make all eyes smile, Irish or not.  Here are some favorites.
light up snowman wearing promotional St. Patty's Day Necklace
Frosty bedecked with beads

Byers' Choice Dolls behind the bar
Byers' Choice Dolls

What could improve such a scene? Just one thing a Guinness Stout poured into the perfect glass by Carol Bishop.




St. Patrick's Day wreath
One of a number of wreaths

wagon wheel Saint Patrick's Day

If Mitchell’s Café sounds enticing you can learn more about it from, dear friend, Chris Poh at the Pub Talk blog:  https://aphr.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/mind-your-manners-lads-theres-a-lady-in-the-house/

Mitchell’s is also home to one of the longest running Irish Sessions in the U.S. check out the American Public House Review article here: http://americanpublichousereview.com/2007.10/mitchells_cafe_lambertville_nj/index.html

tribute to fallen members of the Bishop family
A moving tribute

It is time to bid you adieu so that I might attend to the visions of bunnies hopping in my head. Until next time, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Erin go Bragh!

green hat and orchid
Wearing the green