Running With Scissors

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Greeeeetings, Children of the Night! Mr Vlad here with some holiday housekeeping hints. Now that our favourite holiday is about to bring many vict... — er, visitors — to our doors, it's time to look to our surroundings to ensure that they're as inviting as possible.

Be it a dank cellar in an old house or an ancient castle complete with servants, our home is très importante, n'cest pas? One mistake that the undead often make is thinking that upkeep is no longer needed. 'It's not like I'll see the dust and the dirty windows,' they think, 'since I'm only awake during when it's dark outside.' Nonononono, darlings. Your home must look temporarily unoccupied. If it looks completely abandoned, one day you'll find your beauty sleep interrupted when hairy men with large, noisy machines pull the place down around your head. Horrors!

Tips and Tricks

So the undead need to make their homes look artfully unlived in. Pull out that mop and pail, or get Igor to do it if you're lucky enough to have servants, and clean up.

  • Get rid of the bloodstains. These will discourage even the most obtuse vict... – er, visitors.
  • Replace the moth-eaten draperies. Holes let in the sunlight, which will turn you into dust. This is not a good thing.
  • Get rid of the oriental rugs and replace them with stone or hardwood floors. An uneven carpet will trip you up faster than you can say 'bloody h*ll', and there is nothing more undignified or laughable than a vampire that's just landed in a heap. Pride may not goeth before a fall, but it most certainly goeth after one.
  • Clean out the fridge or root cellar. Who knows how long those vials of blood have been languishing in there. Fresh blood is best, and there should be plenty available in just a few days.
  • Clean out the moat, if you have one, and make sure that any creature living in it is in good health. Give it a light snack as an appetiser in anticipation of the feast to come.
  • Yes, you may carve a pumpkin or two for the front door, if you absolutely must, but please none of those horrid inflatable witches or spiders. I'm sure you're aware that such decorations are completely tacky, but Halloween is a holiday of excess and a little faux pas might pass unnoticed amid all the hooplah. But don't make a habit of it.

Fang Shui

Fang Shui is the art of re-arranging one's surroundings to create an atmosphere of harmony and timeless beauty. Some of my fellow undead think Fang Shui is so much snake oil. And just what is wrong with snake oil, might I ask? Be that as it may, Fang Shui practitioners strive to promote the free flow of 'chi', or energy, within the home by the proper arrangement of furnishings and other objects. They say that the home is divided into nine 'corners', or areas, with the central 'corner' intimitely connected to one's well being. If the center of your home is clutter-free, with few large objects and little traffic, energy will flow freely and its inhabitants will feel better. If, on the other hand, your home is littered with dead bones, rotting draperies and a half dozen of your ancestors' bulky coffins, the flow of 'chi' will be blocked and your health compromised.

Here are some simple ideas to promote harmony in your home:

  • Get rid of clutter. Keeping odds and ends — or dead bodies — lying around is not only a waste of space, but it can also be a painful reminder of lost loves. This is not the way to create an attractive, vibrant home. (Be sure, however, before you dispose of the corpses that they are, in fact, dead and not under a spell.)
  • Add plants. They ward off bad energy and freshen stale air. Needless to say, these must be living plants, not dried or artificial. Black roses and carnivorous plants are so obvious, don't you think? Try some orchids instead. Or place vases of cut flowers about the house to give it that lovely funeral home smell.
  • Use soothing colours. Basic black, shades of grey, and white calm the restless spirit and provide a neutral background for dancing shadows and flickering candlelight. Get rid of neon lights; you do not live in a bar, nor should you want to.
  • No mirrors! Not only are they completely unnecessary for a vampire, who is always stunningly attractive, mirrors allow your chi to leak away and cause poor sleep. They can also give your enemies easy access to your home. I can't say this too often: no mirrors!
  • Keep those rafters free of dust. You want to provide attractive sleeping space for the family bats and for your fool of a brother-in-law while he's working though his existential dreads. Note that spider webs are quite all right. They enhance the ambience and give any living space a certain je ne sais quois. A spider's web in the centre of the home enhances the health and happiness of all who dwell there.
  • Close that coffin lid. This simple step transforms your sleeping area into a sacred cocoon. It also keeps out dust, spiders, or small children that are sneaking around the 'haunted house'. There is nothing more terrifying than waking up to find a small child staring into your eyes and claiming to belong to you. Note that the well-designed home gently 'leads' intruders, particularly stake-wielding ones, toward the dungeon and torture chamber where they can be more easily 'entertained'. Still, to be safe, close your coffin while you sleep.
  • Remember: iron bars do, in fact, a prison make. It may be tempting to bar the windows to keep out assorted evil-doers, but the bars will also lock you in should you need to make a quick exit. In addition, they block the free flow of 'chi' and the flights of fancy which are as blood to the soulful vampire.

And there you have it. Have a postively enchanting Halloween, my darlings, and may you be the life of every party!


Mr Vlad writes the Lifestyle column for the Transylvania Times and is the host of 'You Call This Living!?', a weekly television programme carried by the Coffin News Network (CNN)1. He is also the author of many books, among them The Afterlife is Killing Me: A Guide for the Newly Undead and Death & Taxes: Making Your Nest Egg Last A Lot Longer Than You'd Planned.

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Running With Scissors


28.10.04 Front Page

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