Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Thrill of the Halloween Hunt

Halloween is around the corner and this year I am all in!  

I've rallied our neighbors to throw "Haunted Porch Parties" where we decorate our front porches and serve drinks and appetizers to each other Halloween night.   

So far, this is the entrance to our front porch.
I started Halloween shopping in September this year but no trips to the super stores or Walgreens.  My shopping spree started on Valencia Street in San Francisco.

One of many reasons to love Valencia Street is this killer parklet in the hub of the primo shopping blocks
Valencia Street is a funky shopping lane in the heart of the Mission District.  It's full of unique sources for home decorating, but come October all I see is Halloween inspiration.  

My friend Kelly and I ventured out one morning only to find we were way too early. Most stores don't open til 11.  So, we hopped over to Tartine for a melt-in-your-mouth almond croissant and some heavenly mixed berry bread pudding polished off with a cafe ole!  (Their web site photos do not do this slice of heaven justice!  I found some better ones for you to sink your teeth into below).  

Happy and full, we hit Valencia Street running (trying to burn off the butter), but only after a quick stop at BiRite Grocery Market, another fave.  I grabbed some tuberoses to fill my house with sweetness.  Kelly grabbed some vino and produce, to do the same.  We were two-for-two that morning and things could only get better!

We started off at Paxton Gate's kid's store.  What a treasure trove.  
It took us a while to get passed the entry.  We were captivated by some amazing local art but unfortunately, we couldn't take any photos.  We fell in love with Susan Sanford's work, a sample of which is shown below.  This image from the Internet doesn't do her work justice.  You really have to see the textures and the magic of what she constructs in person!


Paxton Gate's Kids' Store - Main Floor
Source: Paxton Gate kid's store

Next we hopped over to Paxton Gate for adults.  Are you kidding me?  What better store for Halloween than this place?  This 10-year old store was originally a gardening shop with some natural sciences mixed in.  Now it's a full blown design destination with loads of artifacts for the home, as well as some botanicals for your garden.  

Paxton Gate 

Paxton Gate
Paxton Gate
Glass eyeballs...taxidermy...bones...hands... We picked up a bag full of cool looking nails and the weebee jeebies.  This curious place put is in the perfect Halloween mood. 

This wicked storefront inspired my leaves and tree branch

I have a few old doors like this lying around...We'll see if I get around to it.

What a perfect Halloween portrait!

Of course when you're strolling down Valencia, you can't miss 826 Valencia!  I first discovered this incredible writing workshop/curiosities store as a field trip chaperon for my first grader's class. (The writing workshop experience is INCREDIBLE and worthy of an entirely separate post!!)  If you're going for a haunted shipwreck theme, this store is chock full of Pirate booty!

But the real pay off came from one of my best San Francisco shopping sources-- SCRAP SF! Scrap has been around for over 30 years.  It was born to provide art supplies to public school teachers during a serious financial crisis in the late 1970s (sound familiar?!! Some things never change!).  They now serve the general public too and their mission is... 

" stimulate creativity and environmental awareness in children and adults through promoting the creative reuse of materials that traditionally have been discarded as waste."

Scrap is a fabulous San Francisco resource!  I picked up bags of Halloween goodies from SCRAP including:  old bones, doll limbs, scary black and white photographs, a big bolt of fabric, a giant glass jar, a giant gold bowl for all my scary bones, and a bag full of old spools of yarn and rope, and an awesome wooden crow.  And all for under $30! 

Next stop for Halloween madness was the Alameda Flea Market.

Gourds galore!

This scary mummy inspired wrapping my dress form in a similar gauze
I bought a sea fan from this kind vendor after telling her I was searching for netting just like her's, which wasn't for sale.  She told me she found something similar at The Dollar Store.  When I asked her where the Dollar Store was she looked at me like I was clueless and offered me her's!

So, here's how all of my shopping paid off...
As you walk up to our house, you see my dress form turned mummy in the window.

The porch entrance is "adult Halloween" as my son says.

Last year I took some old sheers and tore them up and soaked them in tea to discolor them.

Leftover rosemary bushes from the holiday photo shoot last month.  Picked up the crows today at Good Will

Jar with doll leg inside from SCRAP!

Photos & gray fabric from SCRAP.  Netting and old pressure cooker from Alameda Flea.  Leaves & tree branches from Golden Gate Park.

How scary are these photos from SCRAP!

A Walgreens regular from many years ago.  We just covered him in black fabric.

This is what you see when you enter our home

The crow, gold bowl, babies head and limbs and random bones are all from SCRAP!  Black candles are from Walgreens

How fun is this creepy bowl!  

Total score-- even after Halloween

The dining room mantle is all decked out

This great clock was $1 at a garage sale.  The black glasses are from SCRAP and will be filled with cocktails for our neighbors on Halloween night.  

Do you like the leg sticking out of the urn?  All the spools and the leg are from...guess where...SCRAP!

I had to put some bones in the kitchen too!

The mummy keeps scaring me.  Today I saw her image through the mirror and I spooked myself!

Happy Halloween!!

1 comment:

  1. First, your front porch is uber spooky! And second, thanks for giving me some good shopping tips in SF. I don't get there often, so I just don't know my way around well. I think I need to see these stores in person.