Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!

On general principle, I’m against the front-loading of any major holiday.  I stopped shopping at craft retailer Michael’s years ago after they began trotting out their Halloween merchandise in mid-July, so incensed was I (also because everything is wildly overpriced, and their staff, in my experience, are not the nicest of folks.)

But when Mr. Finger Candy and I went to Disney World over the Labour Day long weekend and found ourselves at the Magic Kingdom for one of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Part(ies), we just decided to roll with it, late August date and 91 degree temps notwithstanding.  Here’s some of the festive fun we had. 🙂

First, a photo with some of the outstanding Halloween decorations at the very front of the park.  Not too surprisingly, Disney does seasonal decorating very well; glance around the park and you’ll find lush boughs of leaves trimming every door frame, flickering rows of Jack-o-Lanterns lining each balcony and streetlights hung with festive foliage.

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The Halloween parties (hereafter known as MNSSHP) run from mid-August to Halloween.  It is a hard ticketed event, which means your admission is NOT included in the cost of a regular park ticket, so be prepared to pay up (and up and up and up…)  The party itself runs from 7 pm to midnight, although guests are admitted as early as 4 pm (but as annual passholders, we can go whenever the heck we want!)

Around 6 pm cast members will begin ushering out the day’s remaining guests to prepare the Kingdom for the evening’s festivities.  I wouldn’t recommend hiding out behind the little Dutch kids on It’s a Small World so you can stay on until the party; the CMs are rather diligent about checking your issued event bracelets.  Capacity for the parties is capped at 20,000 guests, although there were far fewer than that in attendance on August 31st.  Which, of course, made it the perfect evening for these two MNSSHP newbs to really explore this cool seasonal event.

Because of all the usual safety concerns, there are strict rules concerning costumes.  Within reason, kids can wear pretty well whatever they’d like, while adult costumes are measured against a firm list of do nots – do not wear a mask, do not wear a full, floor-length costume, do not come dressed as 45 (sorry, that’s just one of my personal requirements.)  Basically, do not look like you could be confused for an actual character at work (and play) in the parks (and that includes 45!  Anyone take a real gander at his animatronic in the Hall of Presidents?  I swear they just nabbed an old beaver pelt from one of the tableaus out by Tom Sawyer Island and stapled it to his head.  Just like real life, ba-dum *ching*!)  We attended this party costume-less (a very wise decision given the obscenely humid weather) but we’ll be back on Halloween, and you can bet we’ll bring our A game then. 🙂

Our first stop, for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom-lovin’ nerd I’m married to, was the Main Street Firehouse for our special event Sorcerers cards.  Limited edition cards for this neat, Magic Kingdom-exclusive collectible card game/scavenger hunt have been produced nearly every year for both the Halloween and Christmas parties; this year’s Halloween card features Orange Bird, the cheery citrus spokesbird of Sunshine Tree Terrace, a counter service spot in Adventureland where you can enjoy life-sustaining (or at least life-improving!) Citrus Swirls – frozen orange juice concentrate on one side, creamy vanilla soft serve on the other, blissed out heaven in the middle.  Here we’ve shown one of our cards (already safely ensconced in a protective top-loader; thanks, nerd!) alongside our not-long-for-this-world Citrus Swirl and a passholder exclusive Orange Bird pin we picked up later on in the evening.

Orange Birds

Crucial administrative details thus attended to, we walked over to Liberty Square and joined a lineup of 500 other overgrown goth lite types to meet Jack and Sally of The Nightmare Before Christmas.  The Pumpkin King and his ragdoll paramour only show up during MNSSHP; they are not characters you will find regularly bopping about the parks like you would the princesses or Pooh and the gang.  Which is the ONLY reason I consented to stand in a very hot, not particularly well shaded lineup for two and a half hours in order to meet them!

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Also because I adore The Nightmare Before Christmas, and when we finally met them, I could not stop myself from excitedly telling them about our Halloween wedding nearly 14 years prior (“Did it rain?” Jack queried.  “Actually, it did!” we chirped, prompting a keening, “Oh, how perfectly lucky AND marvelous!” from the man himself.  I nearly up and died and became a resident of Halloween Town right then and there.)

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Regrettably, after standing in a nearly three-hour lineup in the blazing sun (twas not blazing by the time we made it to the front of the line) the rest of the evening proved a real struggle against total collapse – following all that unaccustomed heat, 12 hours of air travel, precious little sustenance and a 2:30 am wakeup call nearly 24 hours previous, we were feeling quite piqued.

So no better time to shove a bunch of sugar in our faces, right?!  There are a number of party-exclusive food items available during MNSSHP, in addition to a seemingly endless quantity of candy you can pick up along the innumerable trick-or-treat trails.  We probably should have stuck with the mini Snickers (ooh, Snickers) – the Jack Skellington push pop we grabbed from Sleepy Hollow (cake, frosting and other creamy stuff layered together in a push-uppable container) nearly did us in; total blood sugar blitz.

I don’t know why we have so many darn photos of that push pop, because it wasn’t that good!  There are so many incredible snacks available at the parties; why did we go with this weird, cake crumbles and cream thing?  Next time, poison apple cupcake, I’m coming for you!  Below, Mr. Finger Candy standing in front of Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe with a Jack Skellington push pop IS The Nightmare Before Christmas, wah-waaaahhhhhhhhhh.  Get it, get it?  “Yes, we get it,” you’re saying.  “And it’s still not funny.” 😉

After stumbling away from our snack spot, we ambled about for a bit, seriously contemplating whether we should just pack it in for the night and return to our resort, despite not having seen the parade, the Sanderson Sisters stage show or the fireworks show.  That is how sickly we were feeling!  Instead, we rallied hard – not too difficult when you consider the money on the line; Disney is an incredible vacation experience, but it’s never not inexpensive – and went off to Tomorrowland to meet our buddy, Stitch, resplendent in his Halloween costume as white jumpsuited Elvis!  As always, Stitch was an amorous little thing – he kissed my hand twice, oh my!

Stitch

But fuzzy blue alien kisses are apparently just the remedy one needs for an overabundance of sun, heat and sugar, because after our cool meet and greet with him, we felt immensely better, and decided to hotfoot it over to Cinderella Castle to catch the HalloWishes fireworks show.  We have had just the worst, most crap luck when it comes to properly seeing any of Disney’s amazing fireworks shows – usually we’re stuck behind the Castle seeing none of the cool projections they feature during Happily Ever After, or we’re at Epcot and we’re too pleasantly tipsy on walkin’ margs to possibly stay (and stand!) for Illuminations, or one particularly memorable time, we were trapped on Pirates of the Caribbean for 45 minutes and missed the entirety of the Magic Kingdom’s Happily Ever After fireworks show.  But for this special seasonal show featuring incredible projections and fireworks (that finale!) scored to neat arrangements of some of my favourite creepy Disney music, we had front row, centre (standing, always standing) space, and it was wonderful.  You know, I never thought I was one of those “I love it when shit blows up!” kind of people, but you guys, I love it when shit blows up!  Especially sparkly shit that makes a real big bang. 😉

In between all this, we hopped about a bit and rode a few rides – Pirates of the Caribbean, with live actors dotted throughout the ride just for the Halloween party, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the Haunted Mansion, but of course.  I’d typically say that given all of the other things to occupy your time during Mickey’s Not So Scary, actually riding the rides is a pretty poor use of your party time, but we walked straight onto all three with no problem and it didn’t impact our schedule in the slightest.  We also walked around and hit up a couple of the merchandise shops to check out the party-exclusive items, where we grabbed this refillable, light-up cauldron popcorn bucket I’m posing with the following morning in our hotel room.  Holy crow, was this thing popular!  Nearly as popular as my Gaston ears.  People would just bellow across the street at me, “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT AWESOME BUCKET?!” and I’d be, like, “Uh, right over there?”  Over the next couple of days, I saw so many more of them begin to pop up – pun intended – around the parks.  And in case you’re wondering, yes, it will be returning with us at Halloween.  We really love our $2 refills, and who doesn’t want to tote around a glowing cauldron?

Next, we walked back to Main Street and nabbed a super primo curbside spot right outside Casey’s Corners from which to watch the Boo to You Parade!  Once again, parades are, historically, not my jam.  I nearly had a total meltdown last Christmas after getting stuck in a massive crowd of people between Frontierland and the river on one side, and the relentlessly annoying holiday parade on the other, so no, not my thing.  But I loved this parade!  Gosh, it was so charming.  Featuring a showstopping entrance by the Headless Horseman (I apologize, but my camera utterly failed during the parade; poor thing could not keep up with the cascade of flashing lights and colours), as well as appearances by the Grim Grinning Ghosts, Jack Sparrow and his scurvy lot of pirates, the Splash Mountain gang, the gravediggers and diningroom dancers from the Mansion, Vanellope Von Schweetz and frickin’ Clarabelle the Cow hoofing around a silo, among many, many others, this delightful parade concluded with an entire float of rarely glimpsed baddies – Cruella, Jafar, Maleficient and the Evil Queen.  Badass, in the cutest, most adorable manner possible. 🙂

Finally, we capped off our evening with a midnight viewing of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Show, featuring the Sanderson Sisters, The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Mr. Oogie Boogie Man and about a half dozen other killer villains – Cruella again, Dr. Facilier, Hades.  The show itself was a ton of fun, just a tiny bit raunchy (by Disney standards, of course, so still very family friendly, even at the late, late hour), with some great songs (shoutout to the ultra fun version of I’ve Put a Spell on You.)  And I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Cinderella Castle look so beautiful; the projection technology they’re using now is real world design and tech magic. 🙂  Just another day at the office, I believe the Disney Imagineers would call it. 🙂

Then, having been awake and on our feet for 23 out of the last 24 hours, we left the Kingdom and threw ourselves onto a resort bus back to Coronado Springs, where we rested and rejuvenated for the grand total of three hours and 45 minutes, before we got up and returned to the Magic Kingdom to start it up all over again.  No rest for the wicked, you know – just ask the Sanderson Sisters!  Also, there might be something wrong with us? 😉

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Sally Collage 1

Hi there, friends!  Wonder of wonders, this is a blog post, and I have apparently NOT disappeared!  With apologies for my unintended absence, I’ll simply note that I’ve been hard at work on some renovations and upgrades to my apartment AND deep into the always fun (but also always stressful) preparation stage for our next trip to Disney, which I’m somehow only now appreciating is coming up at the end of THIS WEEK!  Holy cats, I’ve got so much to do.

But first, nails!  This is a glitter polish I made last year that was inspired by Sally of The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Here I’ve paired it alongside A England’s Whispering Waves, a deep, bruisey purple-tinged turquoise that really takes Sally’s look to the next level.  Speaking of, I’ve got to get working on MY look if I’m going to meet Miss Sally this coming weekend, which is a distinct possibility; can’t be slacking on the character meet and greets with one of my all time favourites. 🙂

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Ears to Sally!

Sally Ears

Another set for my growing collection, this time a pair of much-coveted Sally ears from The Nightmare Before Christmas, with, as always, a bit of matching nail art.

Sally Ears Nails

And I’m including this cute photo of us with everybody’s favourite droid, BB-8, because he quite specifically chirped that he liked my ears.  Excellent taste, little droid, no idea you were a Tim Burton fan. 😉

BB8

Nightmare in My Diningroom

Nightmare Collage

With Halloween – and my 13th wedding anniversary! – fast approaching, I thought it was time to show you the anniversary present my husband and I gave to ourselves, from ourselves.  And as it turns out, ourselves has great taste in anniversary gifts!

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This is a fully functioning Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock we purchased from The Bradford Exchange, an online collectibles dealer based out of Canada.  Bradford have a number of fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas collectibles, including a Christmas Town clock that has me seriously contemplating the utility of two chiming cuckoo clocks in an 850-square-foot space, but it’s this Halloween Town beauty that really captured my heart.  I love the dusky, heathered jewel tones of the clock (the grapey purples, the rusty oranges, the blackened turquoises) and despite my mother’s polite protestations (“Are you really sure you want this hanging in the diningroom where everyone who goes anywhere in your house can see it?”) I did indeed want it hanging in the diningroom where everyone who goes anywhere in my house can see it, because I love it!  Love the way Zero pops out of the little door at the top, love the vaguely rusty snippet of “This is Halloween” that cranks out at the top of every hour, love Boogie’s crew hanging off the acorns at the bottom.  It’s the perfect anniversary gift for our lucky 13th.

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Plus it also looks pretty darn fabulous with our Nightmare Before Christmas snow globe, a delightful wedding gift from friends that lives year-round on our sideboard, which you can see from this photo is totally crooked.  The sideboard, that is.  Or maybe the floor, or the chair rail molding, or, most likely, some horrid combination of all three.  It’s a Nightmare Before Leveling!

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The ceramic Jack-o-Lantern bags and spooky candelabras are strictly seasonal, although you can be forgiven for thinking otherwise, particularly when we’ve got paintings like these hanging on one wall year-round.  Mr. Finger Candy gave me these little wooden plaques one year as a birthday gift – they were painted by artist Kristin Tercek, although I think there’s a good deal of Burtonian inspiration at work here.  You can also add these paintings to the list of things my mom hates about our diningroom!  Oh man, she really hates them (said with a good natured, yet malevolent, sort of glee.)  I, of course, think they’re adorably messed up – my favourite is melancholy sushi girl.  I love her ebi bonnet.

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That also pretty well encompasses the totality of my Halloween decorating for this year, if you can call decorating just leaving out the things you already have (or have recently procured.)  I typically set up MY Halloween Town – once again, in the diningroom – but I had to put it in temporary storage that is not quite so accessible at the moment.  So in lieu of dealing with that insanity, I thought I’d go small and simple this year.

But I’ll always, always show off this manicure, because it remains one of the best ones I’ve ever done.  Everything works in this design; I’ve never done an update because there is nothing to update – it was perfect the first time around. 🙂

Nightmare Great Hand

Fall Fun Series II: Pinspiration

Fall Inspiration Board

Good morning, friends!  This Saturday’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series is to compose an inspiration board, a pictogram, a collage or even a simple list of the things that make our hearts sing every autumn.  For me, that means a heck of a lot of gazing at leaves, assembling my Halloween Town, wrestling my cat into goofy costumes and celebrating my wedding anniversary, among many other lovely autumnal things.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the Fall delights that always inspire my soul at this time of year.

Cats in Costumes Collage

Cats in costumes!  Here we have the Weeger as Eeyore, a bee, a centipede and a mylar shark, and our dear, late kitty Porky as Pooh Bear and a deadly little Mewback.  Porky was always deeply intolerant of the five to 10 minutes we would spend every year wrestling her into her costume and then chasing her around the apartment with a camera, but Weegie takes it with some degree of good measure (so long as we lavish her with soft food the second she’s wriggled out of whatever tummy-constricting costume we’ve managed to wrap around her pudge in the first place.)  We don’t have kids; please don’t judge!

Leaf Collage Again

Leaves!  Right outside my door, lining the Ottawa River, or out in the country, edging the highway, or up the Gatineau, where I go with my parents every year to tend my grandparents’ graves.  I’m so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a bounty of leafy beauty every year, it almost makes up for the following six months of snow and ice.  Almost.

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Stranger Things!  The second season starts on October 27th, and I shall be indisposed until such time as I have finished watching it.  I really don’t like binge-watching things – loved parsing out the first season episodes bit by wonderful bit, actually – but I don’t believe any of us will be afforded the luxury of remaining spoiler-free this time around. It’s the best show I’ve ever seen (sorry, Buff) and I am so. unbelievably. excited!  A very dope anniversary present from our Netflix overlords.

Wedding Photo 1

Yes, a fine anniversary present indeed for these two (young, so young!) goobers, who are celebrating their lucky 13th.  My gosh, we are just babies in this photo (but dang if my boobs don’t look SLAMMIN’; bless you, corset gods.)

Halloween Town

My Halloween Town!  A rather large operation that sprawls across my moss-covered diningroom table every Fall.  I had briefly toyed with the idea of letting the town go fallow for the year – setting it up and lugging it out of storage is a major, major pain – but I know I’ll cave in the end.  Gotta let the residents of my spooky little town vent their haunts for the year, yes?

Scary Movie Collage

Scary movies and TV shows.  Although I must note that I haven’t possessed the stomach or temperament for major (or even minor) gore in a long, long time.  Nostalgic picks like the deeply silly Friday the 13th series or my favourite terrible horror movie, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, are about as wild as I get now, and I’m perfectly content with that. Bring on the G and PG-rated spooks!

NBC Fall

Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, a charmingly creepy little stop motion movie that has a place in my heart and home year-round.  I spoke at some length last year about our snow globe, a wonderful wedding gift from friends.  This year we were fortunate enough to find another gorgeous collectible, an anniversary gift to ourselves that I will be positively gagging to share with you just as soon as it’s mounted to the wall!

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And, of course, we can’t forget all the delicious smelly things that will be sweetly scenting my home this autumn.  This is a photo of last year’s bounty (with the exception of the scoopable, a pancakes-and-campfire scent, I melted through all of this and then some.) Looking forward to more cozy scents this year.  To the Fall!

DIY Jack and Sally

Jack and Sally Bottle Collage

I thought rather suddenly to myself late last night, “I think I’ll make some nail polish.” That’s a thing people do, right, just randomly decide to make their own nail polish at 11 p.m. on a Friday?  I hope so, because that’s certainly what *I* was doing at that late hour, and it seemed pretty normal to me!

And here are the results of my midnight hour machinations, two Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired glitter bombs in the colours of skeleton and ragdoll paramours Jack and Sally.

Of the two, Sally is the far more successful polish in terms of stability and ease of application – these photos show two brushed/dabbed-on coats, and I didn’t have to fish about for the larger heart-shaped glitters one bit. Plus I think the glitter mix in Sally – inspired by her patchwork dress, asphyxiated-looking countenance and poker straight red hair – is just perfection, an unusual combination of bronze, turquoise, rose, purple, red and black hexes dotted with tiny satin hearts.  I layered this lovely new creation here over Enchanted Polish’s mystery lacquer for July 2015, a dusty grey-blue holo that looks like Sally’s…skin?  Does she have skin or fabric?  Hmm, best not linger on that question too long!

Sally Fingers 1

And then there was the vernis terrible, Jack, an infuriatingly unsuccessful venture into the less-is-more approach to do-it-yourself nail polish.  I think the inspiration for this guy is pretty clear – Jack’s black and white pinstripes, with a smattering of the Christmas bric-a-brac whose secrets Jack longs to crack.  You’d just never know that hidden amid the depths of that simple black and white glitter polish is actually quite a lot of bric-a-brac – glittery snowflakes, colourful baubles, candy canes, snowmen and even a few good sized Christmas trees.  The lightweight black and white glitter – made up of a mix of two identically-sized satin matte glitters – simultaneously covers up AND provides little to no support for the larger shapes, which sank to the bottom resolutely, and there they be.  I had to embark on a major fishing expedition to snag these very few glitters.  There was also far, far too much base in this polish – it rained down onto my work area in huge, glittery blobs, even after I had repeatedly wiped off the brush on the rim of the bottle. Jack is languishing at the bottom of my garbage can right now, so annoyed was I with his insolence. 😉  Here I layered Jack over another Enchanted mystery lacquer, this time May 2017, a dark and stormy blue that looks like the skies above both Christmas and Halloween Towns.

Jack Fingers 1

Christmas Town

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Sing it with me, friends, you know all the words!  Ooooooohhhhhhh, it’s the MOST com-pet-i-tive tiiiiimmmmmme of the yeeeeaar!  There will be nail artists freaking and skill levels peaking and so many teeeeaaarrrrrs, it’s the MOST com-pet-i-tive TIME OF THE YEAR!

So I’m not sure what it is – something in the frozen-over water, I suppose – but nothing brings out the competitive spirit in a nail artist like the winter holidays.  T’was a time not that long ago that you could enter multiple nail art contests during every holiday of the year, from Halloween to Easter, but I only now see them pop up around Christmas.  Like we don’t have enough on our plates platters at this time of year!  Also, how very festive – “Hello, happy holidays, fellow nail artists!  BUT SERIOUSLY, I WILL BURY YOU WITH NOTHING BUT A CUTICLE PUSHER IF YOU DENY ME MY GLORY.”

I kid, of course. 🙂  These contests are always super fun and very inspiring – I love seeing what the far, far bigger guns than I bring to the festive table every year.  It also gives me an excuse to bust out my own big guns, like this incredibly detailed design I recently did featuring Sandy Claws’ Christmas Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas.  And holy cats, did this manicure take FOREVER!  So fussy.  Like, at one point I time traveled into the future just to make sure that it WAS eventually going to end, such was my incredulity at the (many) passing hours.

Anyhow, this manicure is my entry towards Nail Polish Canada’s fourth annual Holiday Nail Art Challenge! Should you like it (or maybe even love it) and should you like me (or maybe even love me – hi, Mom and Dad!) you can vote for my entry here.  As always, thank you for your kindness and support, dear friends – I appreciate it greatly.