Friday, August 27, 2010

Halloween 2010

Marie Antoinette meets Alfred Hitchcock; so is the theme of our Halloween Masquerade.

The calendar may still say August, but there isn't anyone in Kansas City who isn't ready for cooler weather. Teasing customers that Fall is just around the corner is what we do best. This past week, from top to bottom, inside and out, the staff at Curious Sofa transformed our summer remains into a Halloween Masquerade illusion.

The list of what we do to prepare for such a makeover might be more than you have time to read about here, so I will condense the boxes of unpacking, endless note taking and cuts and bruises to sharing only the carefully orchestrated details.

Last January while searching for unique products I discovered a wonderful line of black lace curtain panels, valances, and runners. I knew they were special enough for me to build my Halloween season around, so everything else I purchased was to compliment them. Now black lace can go in only so many directions and because this was my fourth year to really do up Halloween in the shop, I had pretty much covered all the possibilities. We've done the antique thing, the haunted thing, Gothic rock 'n roll and a little creepy. What was left? Something a little more elegant.

In April I discovered an artist on Etsy who made incredible handmade masks. I had asked her if we could sell them in the store come September but over time the notion I would really sell $150 masks was pretty slim. So I did what only a creative Midwest retailer would do during a tough economy: I went for the store bought $19.95 version! So with black lace and ornate masks under my belt, my next inspiration came from the most unlikely place: Amadeus.

I can't remember now if I was flipping channels or surfing the web but the image of the masquerade scene from the movie Amadeus came to mind- and off I went in every possible direction.

Trying to create a retail wow while sticking to a budget can be tough but I am notorious for being resourceful where I can be and not so thrifty when I have to. My list of ideas went something like this: black lace, masks, and feathers which lead to Marie Antoinette, white wigs, and gloves, which lead to crystal chandeliers, candelabras and black candles with dripping wax; which then lead to the opera, musical instruments and sheet music which took me to leather furniture, old books, chalk busts, you get the idea. This is how I think.

The entrance to the store was always first and foremost in my mind. Finding the chalk busts was a bit daunting but eventually they reared their lovely heads. I bought a few wigs for the larger busts and had fun piling them one on top of another and tying them with white string for some extra funkiness. Dana was the chosen one to cluster all our crystal chandeliers and I scored the fabulous church windows at the last minute. We also have masks, masks and more masks of every shape and size too.

Antiques, crows, owls, spiders and crystal candlesticks were stock plied in the back room along with tubs of all things black and white. I passed over a ton of typical Halloween merchandise that is always available to stores like mine. You know the kind: pumpkin people with striped stockings, witches flying high with one tooth and a wart, scare crows that are well, scary. When I have a theme in mind I am hell-bent on sticking to it. I do have to bend the rules once in awhile just to supply our customer base, but I still try to give any traditional item a Curious Sofa spin.

One of the many styles of black lace adornments we have.

Speaking of, a few years ago I invited our local artists to bring their goods to sell along with our Halloween Premiere and it was such a hit, it has become an annual invitation. On Thursday, I was so busy getting things ready, I didn't have much time to review the work they were setting up. But then I get a tap on my shoulder and artist Greg Johnson shoved this in my face and I nearly DIED!

SICK and BRILLIANT art by Greg Johnson. He sold out that night.

Something tells me the average household with three kids will be buying these.

One of the many projects we rigged for the event: Vintage bisque doll heads mounted to
old bed springs and doll parts added to wooden dowels. Nothing like art on a stick.

When something is not selling, you change it: A silhouette I made to paint on
an armoire door. Also, the sisal skunks were a crowd favorite.

Would you believe this piano was almost trash! Another happy
accident just in time for the event.

Mercury lab bottles with poisonous graphics.

A final touch: I made witches hats, glitter masks and new sashes to
our awning of beauty contestants. (Yes, actual cities!)

The Art Show ends Sunday at 5:00
but our Halloween festivities continue through October 25.

Part Two of Halloween pics later this weekend.