I finally made it on Martha Stewart!

I finally made it!
I finally made it!

Some of my favorite costumes

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Jesse was Elvis one year. I made his cape and designed it with Elvis' gold star design.Here's the costume Martha chose.I wasn't the only sea creature that year...Jesse was an octopus.I love the pirate costumes I made. One is a woman...The other pirate, a man.Another year, I was a swamp thing. I made the costume to go with a green wig I found at a garage sale.Mr. and Mrs. Ben Franklin
Jesse was Elvis one year. I made his cape and designed it with Elvis' gold star design.
Jesse was Elvis one year. I made his cape and designed it with Elvis' gold star design.
Here's the costume Martha chose.
Here's the costume Martha chose.
I wasn't the only sea creature that year...Jesse was an octopus.
I wasn't the only sea creature that year...Jesse was an octopus.
I love the pirate costumes I made. One is a woman...
I love the pirate costumes I made. One is a woman...
The other pirate, a man.
The other pirate, a man.
Another year, I was a swamp thing. I made the costume to go with a green wig I found at a garage sale.
Another year, I was a swamp thing. I made the costume to go with a green wig I found at a garage sale.
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Franklin
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Franklin

Some of the props and scenes I build

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Care to share a meal of brains and insects with a mad scientist?Halloween 2008 I transformed the garage into a walk thru cemetery and castle dining room.Our entryway is lined with trees, skeletons, skulls, plenty of bats and many jack-o-lanterns.Our mummy is visited by a little girl ghostVisitors are warned against entering our haunted mine shaftMy swamp thing costume is transformed into a surfin' swamp thing kept company by a wicked mermaid.My mausoleum houses a noisy ghost.A skeleton pirate sits in the boat carrying his booty through the swamp.I built this stockade for my mom, but she didn't want to hang around.Thanks, Martha, for the witch silhouette design.
Care to share a meal of brains and insects with a mad scientist?
Care to share a meal of brains and insects with a mad scientist?
Halloween 2008 I transformed the garage into a walk thru cemetery and castle dining room.
Halloween 2008 I transformed the garage into a walk thru cemetery and castle dining room.
Our entryway is lined with trees, skeletons, skulls, plenty of bats and many jack-o-lanterns.
Our entryway is lined with trees, skeletons, skulls, plenty of bats and many jack-o-lanterns.
Our mummy is visited by a little girl ghost
Our mummy is visited by a little girl ghost
Visitors are warned against entering our haunted mine shaft
Visitors are warned against entering our haunted mine shaft
My swamp thing costume is transformed into a surfin' swamp thing kept company by a wicked mermaid.
My swamp thing costume is transformed into a surfin' swamp thing kept company by a wicked mermaid.
My mausoleum houses a noisy ghost.
My mausoleum houses a noisy ghost.
A skeleton pirate sits in the boat carrying his booty through the swamp.
A skeleton pirate sits in the boat carrying his booty through the swamp.
I built this stockade for my mom, but she didn't want to hang around.
I built this stockade for my mom, but she didn't want to hang around.
Thanks, Martha, for the witch silhouette design.
Thanks, Martha, for the witch silhouette design.

Some of my childhood homemade costumes

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Mom always put together wild costumes.I'm the little one in the front. My sisters wore leftover felt scraps from mom's business.On my first cruise, I made this biplane costume for that evening's contest (and won!).I was the Halloween baby. This is my first birthday.
Mom always put together wild costumes.
Mom always put together wild costumes.
I'm the little one in the front. My sisters wore leftover felt scraps from mom's business.
I'm the little one in the front. My sisters wore leftover felt scraps from mom's business.
On my first cruise, I made this biplane costume for that evening's contest (and won!).
On my first cruise, I made this biplane costume for that evening's contest (and won!).
I was the Halloween baby. This is my first birthday.
I was the Halloween baby. This is my first birthday.

What would Halloween be without a party?

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Everyone brings a Halloween treat to fill up the table.My sister gave me the skinned head for my birthday. She bought it at a props shop in Los Angeles.
Everyone brings a Halloween treat to fill up the table.
Everyone brings a Halloween treat to fill up the table.
My sister gave me the skinned head for my birthday. She bought it at a props shop in Los Angeles.
My sister gave me the skinned head for my birthday. She bought it at a props shop in Los Angeles.

A sampling of my Halloween storage

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The mosoleum holds a lot of Halloween gearA small sampling of very organized boxes
The mosoleum holds a lot of Halloween gear
The mosoleum holds a lot of Halloween gear
A small sampling of very organized boxes
A small sampling of very organized boxes

I'm on Martha Stewart!

So I'm checking my email and there's this one letter from Martha Stewart announcing this year's upcoming Halloween events on her website. I nearly deleted the email, but as my birthday is Halloween and the holiday is a huge deal at our house annually, I followed the link to find Martha's favorite costume submissions from last Halloween. Only 19 were chosen from hundreds (or likely, more than a thousand) of entries. And one of my costumes was one of the 19 selected! OMG!!! Check out my costume and other favorites at the link set up below.

Okay, so I have always wanted to be on Martha for my writing, but hey, this is a start, right? And maybe some day she'll feature my haunted Halloween house on her show. Mine is certainly more impressive than that elementary school principal she features year after year. Yes, he bakes a lot, but what of it? I have my friends bake fun things (I always provide the brain mold, the deviled egg spiders and a few more spooky treats) while I pour my creative juices into woodworking and prop building. 

Just as some people fill their garage with boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations, we have shelves filled with Halloween gear to create a spectacular haunted house as featured in our county's daily newspaper October, 2007.

Anyway, of course I had to email my friends with this fun news. I'm not one who likes to brag about myself (about my kids, always, not myself) because I'm not very good about accepting compliments. It makes me terribly uncomfortable to be complimented (the reason why is a story for another time). Still, my friends know I enjoy being creative with various projects, so I can count on them to understand why I'm very proud of this small detail in the larger picture. I just can't believe how many people will be looking at my jellyfish costume on her web site. I wish I had that kind of following with my stories.

Don't let your prop selections rot...create something new every year!

And how big is Halloween at our house? Most years, I create something new; a new installation of sorts. One year (long before Johnny Depp proved a masterful representation of a pirate), I made my own wooden boat fashioned after the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Another year, I made a jail cell cage, behind which I created a skeleton torture chamber or a witch scene. Then, I made the silhouettes of the witch and cats seen in Martha's magazine and built shack walls and doors to attach to the front porch. The witch can be seen through the open door of the shack I wanted to look like the shack in the beginning of the Disneyland ride. Complimenting the scene, I have multiple soundtracks running that I designed complete with scary sounds, frogs, crickets and other swamp sounds along with my own pirate scripts voiced over by a friend of my husband's who does voice-overs for movies, TV, etc.

Mark figured out years ago just to let me do my thing when it comes to Halloween. One year for Mother's Day, he bought a compound miter saw for me to work on all my wood projects. What a wonderful hubby. And as far as costumes go, I enjoy making my own instead of store bought. Oddly enough, when I was a kid, my mom always made our costumes or let us put together wild costumes from things in the house. Now, I just want to make my own costumes instead of buying the overpriced, crappy costumes in the store. Then, after wearing the costume for Halloween I turn it into a prop. I did that with my swamp monster that got transformed into a surfin' swamp thing in our driveway complete with waves I made from wood, a surfboard I picked up at a garage sale, lightning flashes and a thunderstorm soundtrack.

Burying my skeletons in the garage

My mom always complains I have too much Halloween crap in my garage. But at least I can pack up a big chunk of it in the mausoleum I built for the cemetery scene. Yes, I have a lot of Halloween gear, but I learned years ago how to organize all the box contents to make it easy to find items the following year. I have lists on the computer to keep track of what goes in which box. See, mom? Your sister was right...when I have the space, I can actually be reasonably organized.

In our house, Halloween rules. Every year we go through several of those giant Costco bags of candy to hand out to more than one hundred kids who visit. We have a lot of families who visit every year to see what's new and some of my favorite memories include the crowds of kids and their parents who enter our courtyard and sing "happy birthday" to me. And best of all...while many kids are afraid of Halloween, my kids aren't phased by scary stuff; they love the holiday and decorating the house, inside and out.

Happy (early) Halloween!

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Comments 3 comments

Laura Alexander 7 years ago

Unbelievable stuff, Joelle!!! Amazing! Great job on getting your costume on Martha Stewart!!


Janice 7 years ago

How does anyone support a convict to help them make money


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Newsclipper 7 years ago from Michigan

Martha Stewart! Wow, congratulations! Great article and I want to hang out in your haunted house. Very cool.

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