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Discussion Starter #1
We started throwing an annual party five years ago, and it has grown from 8 guests the first year to about 50 last year. This year we're scaling back a little bit, and only inviting our social-circles friends, NOT inviting our professional-circles friends (there were some personality clashes last year). I'm expecting maybe 30 adult guests. Party starts at 6, kids are welcome until 9 - after that I can't take responsibility for what your child sees and hears ;)

We haven't done a theme in the past, but this year we've decided on an Addams Family Reunion. The hosts, my wife and I, will be Gomez and Morticia (we're swapping genders for our costumes, which will be a surprise for most of the guests - but that's another thread). Dress code will be Halloween-Elegant costumes, with guests encouraged to come as a long-lost family member that nobody seems to remember. Most of our social-circle friends have at least a little bit of theater or costuming/cosplay background, so I don't expect anyone will have trouble coming up with something.

We're taking a lot of decorating and styling cues from the Haunted Hotel thread (THANKS dawnski), since most of those decor ideas will play nicely with the gothic-mansion style. In the past we haven't taken down our personal knick-knacks in favor of decor; they've all just gone up together, but this year I think we'll be temporarily removing the usual stuff in favor of decorations. Lots of work, but fun. We're brainstorming on wall coverings as well.

Party game ideas:
I'm coming up a little short here.
- For the past three years we've done the Money Game, which has been a big hit, but it's time for that to take a break in favor of something new - or heavily modify it to fit the theme. We like to give away prizes and trinkets, those usually go over well, so games where people can win something will be good.
- We did a movie-quote game in the past, but we have ONE GUY who is a (dead) ringer, he simply remembers entire movie and TV scripts. I might make him host that game this time; that'll teach him :)
- I'd like to have some sort of game that uses the Addams-Family-esque personae or characters that people create for themselves; ideally it will be easier to win for the people that did some pre-planning to develop their own character. If I can start getting a game fleshed out, I'll start NOW to encourage guests to come up with their log-lost-cousin character. At a minimum, I'll prepare "Hello, my name is" stickers for guests to wear upon entry.

I'll keep this updated with our progress; any ideas will be welcomed, especially game ideas.
 

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Ohhh, fun! I would love to come to this kind of party! I went as Morticia Addams one year for Halloween - such a great character!

Well, certainly take a lot of inspiration from the Uncle Fester-centered movie where they host the big gala/reunion and do the MAMUSHKA dance! Maybe you could have a MAMUSHKA dance off and give out trophies for Most Creative Dancer, Most Kicks in a Row, etc. Ha!

You could also play an Addams Family Trivia game where you have quotes from some of the movies and people/teams can either guess them out loud or you can give people print-outs and they can fill in the blanks.

- Are they made from real Girl Scouts? (gotta love Wednesday!)
- You were so beautiful. Pale & mysterious. No one even looked at the corpse. (what a romantic you are, Gomez!)
- I'm just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It's just, I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade. (Morticia, of course!)

Here's more great quotes - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106220/quotes

You could try to print out photos of all the Addams cousins that you know end up with names (from the movie party scenes), then frame them as a sort of family tree display as decorations. Then label the photos with numbers. Print out slips with the names of the characters, along with some made-up, slightly similar names (so if you have 10 photos, maybe have 15 names on the list). Then people can write which number/name goes together. Or you could do this game in teams, kind of like that Hollywood Game Night tv show. You could print the names on slips of posterboard and each team takes turns taping the name under the photo and then see who gets the most right. Of course, you'd either need to switch out the photos or hide the other team members so no one gets an advantage.

Also, I'm sure you've seen it, but if you haven't, you've gotta have this:


http://www.pinterest.com/pin/573294227539250332/
 

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How about an auction, guess can bring one oddity and place it in the auction. Stuff like a mummy hand or bat eye. Something fun.
When they place it in the pile they get "X" amount of monopoly money. Then at the end of the night you auction off the stuff. Guess get to keep what they buy with the monopoly money.
It's just an idea no worries if you dont like it.
Anyway, it sounds like fun. Good luck.
 

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Oh gosh, I've been thinking about this kind of theme most of the evening now! You've got me rethinking what costumes I'm gonna put my kiddos in this year! LOL!
I doubt you're made of money, but if you happen to be - this next link is AWESOME!

It's a miniature paper replica of the Addams Family living room - https://www.etsy.com/listing/186002252/addams-family-tv-series-scale-model-0001?ref=related-4

Definitely take a look at it to help influence your decor & props!

Also found this game called "Find Uncle Fester" - https://www.etsy.com/listing/198378424/addams-family-find-uncle-fester-card?ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_query=addams+family&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery

Even if you don't play the game at the party, you could photocopy the playing cards & use them as decorations or as toppers to cupcakes or something.
 

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I watched the movie about two weeks ago. I tried to figure out all the names in the cemetery, but couldn't quite. Couldn't find them on the net either. Perhaps if someone has the original cartoons? Or maybe the series has some hints. There's some obscure trivia!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the input!
I love the MAMUSHKA competition, I'm certain that many of our guests will go for that.
The other game ideas sound fun too. Some of the crowd gets too rowdy for trivia (we banish them to the back yard), but some of the quieter guests will have fun with trivia.


We've started collecting decorations, gonna go yard-sale and thrift-store hunting on Saturday to see what we can find. I've got a little bit of experience weathering and aging props, this'll put me to the test in how fast and efficient I can be at weathering a lot of stuff at a time. Base coat of black spray-paint, dry-brushed silver paint to give some highlights - then figure out where to go from there.

We have a big framed print in the dining room that has a lot of potential. I think we're going to do a costume/makeup test for our Gomez and Morticia costumes, take a "family photo" of the two of us, have it printed big, and put it in that frame in the dining room - a classic gothic theme, having one's own portrait large in the dining room or over the fireplace. I've used shortrunposters in the past for one-off large prints, and been pretty happy with them. The only downside is the kinda long turnaround time, so we've gotta get crackin' on it.
http://www.shortrunposters.com

I'll see if I can find some other public-domain or royalty-free images and portraits that we can print big.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We spent a little time hitting yard-sales and thrift stores and antique stores over the weekend, and scored some good finds.

We found that Home Goods also has a pretty good collection this year, of things that are fitting our aesthetic - lots of beautiful mercury-glass style props. We bought a light-up mercury-glass pumpkin (about 12"), a huge poison bottle that's about 18" tall, and a cast-metal deer skull on a plaque with giant antlers, maybe 24" tall altogether.
Target was a little disappointing, with the exception of a good selection of string lights. I agree with the posts in the "Target 2014" threads; their selection and styling from three or four years ago was MUCH better. We picked up some string lights, not much else. They had a cast-resin (not foam) griffin-gargoyle statue that was pretty nice, didn't get it though.

Here are some of our yard-sale finds. I'll continue to post photos as I find things and work on them.
From a yard sale in a sketchy trailer park, for $20 we got FOUR framed prints in very eye-catching frames and a gross old desk radio. This is one of my favorite finds of the day - it's about 16x35":

I've already discarded the print (it was moldy and gross), cleaned the glass, repaired and rebuilt parts of the frame that were coming off, gave the frame a coat of flat black paint and a wash of dark purple. Needs another wash of dark purple then I'll do some highlighting in light purple and pearly white. The purple and white will be to complement the print that we're putting in it, which is Marchesa Luisa Casati with Greyhound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luisa_Casati)

Some flicker candles for $1 each at a yard sale. I've taken the candles out and have begin distressing the base:


We went to an estate sale at a doctor's house and he had this sample. It's plastic and rubber but I've disassembled it to begin the aging process. I gave the stand a coat of flat bone-white paint but it still looks plastic, so I think I will modpodge some tea-stained paper over the whole stand, then decoupage some labels. Need to figure out what the labels should say.


Found a handful of other mirrors, candlesticks, copper and metal and glass trinkets. No big centerpieces yet, though the big Marchesa Luisa frame and print will hopefully be a nice centerpiece for one of the rooms.

We're going to try the DIY Mercury Glass technique on some of our finds, and see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We've got a ton more decorations and props and stuff, I'll post some photos when we start putting them up.
We also had a friend who runs a print shop make up a huge (8x13) vinyl banner that looks like a bookcase, so we have a ready-made wall covering to hide the TV area. (though, this is going to cover a lot of the shelving for my props and stuff).

Best of all, we have almost finished our own costumes with three weeks to spare. Most of our guests know we'll be Morticia and Gomez; most of them DON'T know we're swapping genders. We had a pro makeup-artist friend come over and do a makeup test, and do a photo to blow up into a big portrait to hang on the wall.

 

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Ha ha ha! That photo is great! Love the idea of printing a bookcase image on a banner to hide some of the regular room decor! Looking forward to seeing more! :cool:
 

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Ha ha!!! So cool! Would love to be a fly on that wall when they start coming in and realize that!
 

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Finished my overhaul to the "skelaxin" medical sample. Grimed it up nice and good with acrylic paints and cheap instant coffee, made some labels to cover much of the plastic and coffee-stained those as well..
On the pull-out informational panels, I printed up some 16th-century medical drawings by Juan Valverde de Amusco, coffee-stained them, and spray-glued them to the inserts. The inserts don't slide as cleanly as they used to, but I don't care, they look great and creepy.

For the paper, I did it in a couple of steps. First, print up your piece on regular paper and cut it out. Next, in a little tray (I used a half-sheet pan) make a bath of cheap instant coffee, Dredge your paper through the coffee then lay it out to dry on a paper towel. Dab it dry in certain places if you like, maybe drip some bleach on it. Scuff it with your fingers or fingernails while the paper is still damp. After it dries, use regular water to get it damp in certain areas, then sprinkle some fine coffee-powder granules on it. Let them just dissolve then dry, or maybe pat and smear them with your fingers, whatever you like. Dab them up with another paper towel if you used too much. Drip on a little more water if you want it to run and smear.


I have a lot more Valverde drawings that I'll probably print up for other frames. Also found a lot of spectacular sketches by Jacques Gamelin that I'll be printing up to go around the house.



 

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Okay, I'm going to be the one to say it (because I know more than a few of us girls are thinking it) - I'm kinda hating you right now because you are totally ROCKING that Morticia outfit! Seriously, on my best day, I wouldn't look half that hot in that dress. Both of your costumes are amazing. I think you are going to have total shock & awe when you open that door for your guests!
 

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Ha ha, thanks for the compliments! It's way out of my comfort zone, but that just makes it more fun and exciting. The dress is spandex-PVC so it's really, uh, snug. The shoulders have big points on them but that pose doesn't show them off well.

I still need to build up my hip pads (I got the foam already) and figure out the undergarments (probably a layer of Spanx then black compression tights), and figure out what to do with my nails. I got press-ons, hope they work. "Gomez" is still wearing her long pointy nails from her Maleficent costume, they're acrylic and gelcoat so they're not going anywhere unless she wears gloves.

And, I need to start working on my body language and "glide" walk.

Full disclaimer, in that photo I did touch up my adam's apple. Or should I say, Addams apple *rimshot*. Maybe a little felt choker will cover it up and help with the illusion, even though it wouldn't be canon.
 

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We're doing something similar this year. The family is perfect for the Addams - my daughter is the eldest and jazzed to be Wednesday. Picked up a dress for her off alibaba. The rest of the costumes are pretty easy. Grandpa is playing Lurch.

For the house, I bought some of the original Addams books off of ebay, plus an 8x10 "family photo" of the original cast to throw in a frame. I <obtained> the B&W series and the movies and will be running them during the party.

I love the idea of a long lost relative contest. I may well steal that and toss in a prize or two for the best costume. I've already got the cemetery in the yard, so that fits right in.
 

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The vinyl bookcase banner came in, so we did a test fit - it works pretty nicely. There's a bit of a glare - it's satin-glossy vinyl - but we'll deal with it. When the mood lights are on and the smoke machine is hazing up the house, it will be just great. I may paint it with a matte paint, though I honestly don't know if that'll help,

It wrinkled a bit in transport but it seems that the wrinkles are falling out as it hangs.

It photographs pretty nicely, as long as you angle the lights and camera to avoid reflections & glare.

We used it as a backdrop for the wife's Maleficent costume, I did a quick little photoshoot of her to enter into a contest that Disney is having (fingers crossed!). She cleans up pretty darn nice from Gomez to Maleficent, eh?










Maleficent_20141007_30718.jpg by nathancarter, on Flickr
 
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