Friday, October 9, 2009


I like making invitations. I think I've said that a few times before but that's because it's true. I consider them to be pretty important, as they give guests a sneak peak at what the party is going to be like. It's all about expectations.

click to enlarge

This year's Halloween party is set in a haunted house - my own, although we won't tell them that, suspension of belief is important. We decided that all good haunted houses need a backstory, and so the story of ours is thus: Vincent Monroe has lived a long and lonely life. He spent his youth working hard to earn a wage, and when war came he signed up to protect his family, and most importantly, to impress the girl of his dreams, Alice. Shot down in Japan, he escaped capture by the enemy and returned home a little less than he was before. But he knew that Alice would be waiting for him, and the two got happily married. However all good things do not last and she died on his 29th birthday. Vincent became a recluse, spending his time painting and living off his war benefits, until one day he decided to bite the bullet and enter one of his paintings in a competition - the painting of his late wife. He won and soon his paintings sold quicker than he could paint them. With the money he made he bought this large house on the hill, but it's a house too big for just one old man.
One night, neighbours report hearing strange noises and what sounds like crying, loud and painful. They call the police, fearing that their hermit neighbour may be in trouble, and before they arrive they see three figures run out of the house and vanish into the night.

The idea of breaking into a haunted house to have a party isn't a new one, but with a 'actual' newspaper clipping telling the history behind the house, and the painting from the article hanging on the wall, perhaps it will make things a bit more realistic.

So, to the point of this post: How I made it.

Step 1 - writing the article.
The article was written pretty quickly, I opened up a word document and a wikipedia page and figured out what important historical events would have happened to a man born in 1919, in this case WWII. Using the columns tool I made two columns, a thin one on the left and a larger one for the important article on the right. The column on the left is merely to give the impression that is was once part of an actual newspaper page. Too many times I have seen 'torn pieces of newspaper' where you can clearly see that there was only the one article written and it bugs me. But anyway, the left hand column can be filled with an text you like, at most you'll only see a few words. I chose to use the 'first fight' scene from the Fight Club screenplay for mine. Nobody will ever know. While you're at it, open a second word document and fill roughly half a page with the same thing. You'll print this on the back of the page later.
The painting 'Hands' is actually my mother's painting. You can see it in colour here, but I prefer it in black and white, myself. Take the time to play around with picture placements and text size, until it looks like any other newspaper article in the world. I probably spent more time doing that than I did writing the article, which probably shows when you see some quite awful grammatical errors.

Step 2 - Printing and tearing
Once you're happy with everything, it's time to print. Find a thin, slightly discoloured paper to print on. I used some old tractor feed paper which for whatever reason, we still have quite a bit of. Don't forget to turn the paper over to get the text on the back. Once it's finished, smudge it a bit. You never see a clean newspaper and your fake one should be no different. Now it's time to tear the edges. Make it as neat or as messy as you wish, it doesn't matter so long as you keep whatever you consider to be the important information intact.

Step 3 - Scan it and print it again
Get your scanner (or better yet go use a copy machine) and scan your torn and dirty piece of newspaper on top of a clean piece of paper. If you want you can add your text in after scanning it to your computer using something like Photoshop or even MS Paint (like I've done in the first picture), but I and my gang of sweat-shop slaves chose just to right the details out by hand. 'Cause that's what slaves are for. I do prefer the look of the red text but it gave it a more mass-produced feel, which is good if it's going to be a large party, but ours will only be just over double figures so we didn't want it to be too flier like. It's up to you which you choose, really.

When we were giving them out one friend remarked to another, who had never been to a party of mine before, "Don't worry, she goes way over the top with things". I was ever so slightly offended as he said this like it was a bad thing, but then had to stop myself from laughing because my invitations had nothing on some I've seen on the internet. I'd planned on doing a little round-up of my favourites but for some reason by bookmarks folder has lost all its individual folders and it'd take me an hour or so to find them. But they're out there. In the meantime, I've got a corpse to varnish.

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