Written by Jonathan Wojcik

October 15: The Evil Terrarium!

   Only since last night have I really begun to decorate the house for Halloween and unpack all my things from a recent move. Progress is slow, but I'm having too much fun throwing old things together in new ways, and in the process have started a new Halloween tradition for myself that you're more than welcome to steal.

   I broke the nice, glass lid to this tiny aquarium years ago and have had little use for it since, but a little dirt, moss and various toys turn it into an image of raw terror mercilessly ripped from the covers of 50's horror pulps.

  The tentacled critter here is actually a 1982 "Deadly Grell" from the Dungeons and Dragons toy line. The freaky plant came with a figure of Venom from the 90's Spider-man figure line. The "pods" in the lower left are actually plastic cowries, and the lady victim is really Ada Wong from the late 90's Resident Evil toy line, who I happened to have lying around because she came with a great Ivy figure.

   You may or may not have access to toys that go back this far, but any creepy creatures will do. Human victims are optional, but I like the implication that people are either being shrunken down or were captured by gigantic space aliens for what is either feeding time or some hideous breeding experiment. Tell a story with your terrarium! You may even want to combine creepy figures and decor with real live insects or decorate an existing pet enclosure with preferably non-toxic Halloween props. Whatever you do, it shouldn't just look like a horror scene inexplicably displayed in a fish tank - the fish tank is the point. You want it to look like you've got exotic pets from another world.

  Don't forget to e-mail me a photograph if you do make your own terror-arium. I was trying not to call it that but I'm sure you were all wondering when I was going to. It's done. There's no going back. It's called a terror-arium now, and it's all your fault. After Halloween I may make a little gallery out of them!

   My terrarium sits atop a narrow glass case I've filled with an assortment of other monstrous specimens. This mummy head guy screams and moves around if you knock on the door, which also causes the bugs to wiggle around like they're gnawing his flesh!

   While we're are it, here's another Halloween tip: there are lots of fun things you can do with a broken or otherwise superfluous microwave, but you're looking at the one thing you should do.

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