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Zombies, Running Dead, horror homes on the way

| Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 1:11 a.m.
The Running Dead zombie run organizers are holding a Home Horror Decorating Contest in conjunction with the run. Contestants will have photos of their home decorations published in the Daily Courier and the winners will receive gift cards from Fun Party Store. From left are run organizers Kathi Traynor, Mark Hofmann, Paula Johnston and Jeff Monahan.
ArtWorks in Connellsville decorated its storefront with a scary clown and a ghoul.
Highlands Hospital in Connellsville decorated its front lobby with zombies.

Frightful or fun, extreme or simple, area residents can enter their outdoor Halloween decor in the Home Horror Decorating Contest being held now in conjunction with The Running Dead — Connellsville's first zombie run.

“We want residents in the coverage area of the Daily Courier who believe they have the best and scariest or most unique home decorations to enter,” said Mark Hofmann, an organizer of the event.

Those who want to participate in the Home Horror Decorating Contest should take a photograph of the outside of their house and email to The Running Dead at The Running Dead committee members can take the photo if necessary. Participants must send the committee an email and include their address, phone number and email address so that the committee can get directions.

When the photos are received, the Daily Courier will publish them as space permits. The photos also will be posted on The Running Dead Facebook page at

“At that point, voting is open to the public,” Hofmann said. “They can vote by going on the Facebook page and clicking on ‘like' below the photo. Voting will remain open until midnight on Oct. 20. At that time, the committee will determine the three houses with the most ‘likes,' and they will be invited to The Running Dead awards ceremony.”

The ceremony will follow the Oct. 26 zombie run.

Event organizers also will vote on the home decorations they like for first-, second- and third-place prizes. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony. Fun Party Stores will give store gift cards to the winners.

“We are pleased to be an event sponsor for the contest. Halloween is by far our favorite time of the year, and Fun Party Stores is celebrating our 30th Halloween this season,” said Cassandra Buncie, marketing manager.

Fun Party Stores employees have noticed several trends this year.

Zombies continue to be the most popular costumes for children, teens and adults. The trend of zombies is the upswing in what is termed “Creepy Carnival” decor — featuring spiders, skulls, rats and even creepy skeleton clowns. There are many “body parts” that go along with any zombie theme as well. Fake blood and latex are popular items as more people transform into a zombie of their making.

The opposite exists as another trend.

“We like to call it ‘Pinterest' looks and these tend to be more family-friendly and traditional in nature. The largest sellers in this category are lantern spans, tissue balls, corn stalks, retro cutouts and upscale chocolate like Sibs Sweet Shoppe. Many of our followers like to try their hand at replicating what they see on pinterest pages, and we have a lot of items in stock to help achieve the looks they are seeking,” Buncie said.

Boys costumes continue to be centered around superheroes, and a lot of military-style costumes have been added. Superman is popular, along with the Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ninjas and Minions.

Girls have kept the trend toward the more traditional with princess themes. The local Fun Party Stores' staff is seeing a lot of Monster High along with LaLa Loopsy in early sales.

New for girls this year are cat costumes, which are more elegant.

Teens are trending with tutu-based costumes, cats, raccoons and foxes.

Men's most requested items this year are Duck Dynasty beards and Uncle Si glasses, which are carried at Fun Party Stores. Women's costumes this year seem to have a more elegant feel.

“We have stocked beautiful feathers, sequined and jeweled masks,” Buncie said. “Women seem to be pairing these with wings, tutus or gowns from previous engagements to make a fresh and unique look. Additional trends for women include cats, foxes and raccoons.

“We do have a full line of Mommy/Child and even pet-coordinating very bright monster costumes, so your clan can match while trick-or-treating. They are adorable. Couple costumes generally are led by the gal in the duo — whatever she wants to be, and he follows,” she said.

Fun Party Stores has extended Halloween hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

“Additionally, all of our children's costumes are 30 percent off,” Buncie said.

“We figured with the Halloween decorations and costume selections at Fun Party Stores, they would be a perfect sponsor for this contest. We appreciate their interest and the Fun Party Stores gift cards they are donating,” Hofmann said.

Fun Party Stores has locations in Mt. Pleasant and Belle Vernon.

Zombies and participants have been signing up for The Running Dead, and the other parts of the event are coming together, Hofmann noted. Vendors are reserving their spaces and the movie schedule will be announced soon.

One of the movies that will be shown is the local premiere of “Corpsing” — written and directed by Jeff Monahan, another event organizer. There will be a special video preview for the upcoming movie “Pro-Wrestlers vs. Zombies,” with a special guest to introduce the video.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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