“Help me cut this head off.” ~ mom

I was going to write this awhile ago because people asked me for a tutorial on how to make an invisible woman but then I sort of went missing mentally and now I’m back. Apologies. But I am here right now to tell you all about my adventures in dismemberment and…whatever the opposite of dismemberment is. Rememberment? Is that a word? Fuck. Ignore this paragraph.

So one of my very favorite things about being a proprietress of Nowhere Bookshop is making ridiculous window displays and my favorite window displays are for Halloween. Last year’s theme was fortune telling:

This year I wanted something a bit spookier but not creepy enough to make kids pee themselves so I decided to make a ghost reader. I saw a bunch of tutorials for ghosts made of chicken wire and I was going to try that but then I remembered how stabby chickenwire is and I couldn’t remember if I’d had a tetanus shot recently and then Hailey pointed out that you can make people out of seran wrap, which was news to me.

Apparently you just wrap cling-wrap over an actual person and then you put duct tape over that and then you cut the person out of the tape mummy and stuff it with newspapers or bubble wrap. And I was thrilled, and Hailey was less thrilled when they realized that they had just accidentally volunteered to get wrapped up in seran wrap and duct tape. I thought it was a wonderful trust exercise and I would recommend it to anyone, but maybe while you’re cutting your child out of their duct tape bondage don’t let your husband tell them the story of the time you tried to cut a knot off of the cat and accidentally cut a cat flat in them instead because then you’ll only end up with arms because your child will get spooked and run away when you want to move on to the torso.

Luckily I had an extra torso on hand because I had an old dress-makers dummy from the time I was making ballgowns out of damaged books (that’s another story) and was able to attach Hailey’s fake arms to it, and after I dressed it up and stuffed some gloves so the ghost could read The Invisible Man it was apparently realistic enough that Ferris Mewler decided to snuggle with her.

I asked the internet for their opinions and they were very complementary but mentioned that it would look better with mannequin legs or starched stockings and that’s when I was like, “OMG, I forgot I already have human legs!” and Victor was like, “…Wtf. We all have human legs. What is wrong with you?” and that’s when I reminded myself that I should stop talking to myself out loud because then I had to explain that I was talking about the invisible woman I was building and that I was referring to the extra human legs I kept in the kitchen.

Well not really human legs, but close because years ago this shoe store was closing and so I bought a bunch of fake feet that they’d used to display heels on but I stuffed them with fake flowers and made weird vases and the lesson here is that you should always buy what you love when you see it because you never know when you’re going to need a torso or human feet.

Victor disagrees with this lesson.

The people on instagram also pointed out that you could kind of see the neck of the dummy poking out and it would look better without it so I yelled, “Hailey, help me cut this ladie’s neck off!” and Hailey were like, “Most moms just make cookies for Halloween” and that’s probably true but in the end they held onto the torso while I sawed the neck off and then I realized that my new neighbors could see directly into my office window to see the silhouette of us dismembering someone but then Victor pointed out that from that same window they could see Ruth Badar Ginsbear (a giant taxidermied bear in judge robes) so that’s probably distracting enough and honestly they probably just avoid looking in my windows at this point.

And then it was ready.

But I had to take it up to the store and that meant it had to ride in the car and frankly, the looks we got from other people on the road were worth every moment.

Also, the Texas Department of Transportation should send me a dollar because we totally matched their “ARRIVE ALIVE” theme they had blinking on all the highway signs.

And then Victor said that I needed to get her a Dismembers Only jacket and I threatened to stab him, but a an hour later I’d finished the Halloween Window and couldn’t stop myself from calling it a Halloweendow and this is how I know we deserve each other.

PS. The Invisible Man is a good book, but I think our update is better:

PPS. Halloween related fun…Nowhere is currently having a literary themed costume parade online so if you have a book-related costume I want to see it. Tag us with the hashtag #nowherecostumeparade. Also, I’m working on a literary costume myself and it is ridiculous. Never stop being ridiculous, y’all.

49 thoughts on ““Help me cut this head off.” ~ mom

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Jennie — she is AMAZING!!! I love the starched shirt with the black scarf; perfect outfit!! Nicely done!!!

  2. Love the window and I started that Addie LaRue book too. The best part is the bear your neighbors can see. For years I’ve had a mannequin head moving from window to window just to see if any neighbors ask questions. They haven’t yet but nor do they speak to me much 😂

  3. I love it! We did our family using the clear packing tape method. We used a doll for our grandson. Then filled them with lights and propped them in the yard. Such fun!

  4. This is utter brilliance! And I love that the owls are still part of the display.

    Also, the picture of demon-eyed Ferris snuggling with the Invisible Woman is quite possibly the best Halloween photo I’ve ever seen. <3 <3

  5. The Invisible Lady is awesome. And you are so lucky to have spare human legs, etc. I need more closet space dammit.

  6. I love your creativity! I can’t help but say that I think there is a real missed opportunity to have her wearing a fancy hat that you could have hung with fishing wire so it was floating, like the owls.
    I can’t wait to visit your book shop…someday.

  7. So completely perfect! Makes me wish I lived in Texas again (Lubbock the first time)! Love the Halloweendow🎃💀🙀!!

  8. I love everything about this post! Well, except your apology. Please never think that we need an apology when you go missing mentally. An explanation if you feel like sharing, sure, because we love you and worry when we don’t “see” you.
    Anyway, amazing tutorial! Now I have a real use for saran wrap! (Or satan wrap as my autocorrect wants to say, which I totally stand by)

  9. I have a ridiculous costume this year but it’s not literary. I’m going as Holy Cow.

  10. Are you going to turn her towards the street on Halloween night? Because that would be cool!

  11. So what does the window display look like from the outside of the store? It looks to me like the display is oriented towards the inside of the store, not the passers by? It looks really fantastic!
    I used to do the window displays for a B&N store for the holidays and it was so much fun! We used to stay late on the night before thanksgiving day to arrange the holiday display and have someone stand on the outside of the store to make sure everything was done in a way that it was most appealing as people drove or walked by the storefront. I used to love seeing the window displays of stores around town and in the city.

  12. This is the best! You are awesome, and so are Hailey and Victor for pretending that they’re putting up with you when really they’re 100% behind you.

  13. I’m continually disappointed Nowhere is two states away from me so I can’t see this awesome displays in-person, but the pictures look great! The invisible lady is so fancy and now I can’t help wondering if that’s just kind of the ‘look’ for invisible people because I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an invisible person in like sweatpants or something.

  14. Everyone should totally have spare human legs. The display is fantastic!

  15. Normally Halloween is MY holiday, but I just can’t find the energy to dress up this year. We are going to visit (COVID-free) friends who also love Halloween, but it’s been a bad month (RA flare, migraines, slooooooooow action by Jan 6 committee and the Department of Justice…), and I am kind of out of fucks. But I love the invisible reader!

  16. I love the fact that “an extra torso”, “extra human legs I kept in the kitchen”, “Hailey’s fake arms” are all just blithely inserted into this post. Like, no biggie….But I am here right now to tell you all about my adventures in dismemberment.

  17. She’s beautiful, Jenny. On my birthday one year, my neighbours witnessed me on my hands and knees joining my cat in tearing up wrapping paper with my teeth. It is as fun as it looks!

  18. Wow, that is a stylish invisible woman! The only thing I would add is a dainty little hat suspended at the point where the top of the head would be. But honestly, it is AMAZING!

  19. Victor’s “Dismembers Only” jacket comment: totally thumbs up! I’ve been duct-taped (without plastic wrap–a t-shirt was sacrificed instead) to make a Body Double of myself. It’s an…interesting…experience.

  20. I did a plaster cast of my butt for a school project once. Suspended it over a giant tack. I sacrificed an old leotard I hated but Saran Wrap would’ve been excellent. Love the display. I can decorate for Halloween vicariously through you. All my stuff went into storage.

  21. “seran wrap”?????? So I assume you are either from an alternate universe (that would explain a lot *wink*) or you misspelled the brand name ‘Saran Wrap’ on purpose so the company wouldn’t get upset at you for wrapping up your daughter with their product.

    happy dressing up!

  22. Is that a teeny tiny taxidermied (stupid SpellCheck says that’s wrong and it’s NOT) mouse dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein?! CAN WE PLEASE SEE A CLOSE-UP OF THAT PLEASE? I am a Bride FANATIC! This year, I’m doing a variation/mash-up of her; I recently got a curly black and white wig and when I was done styling it into a Victorian-style up-do, I realized it looked like Stevie Nicks in the video for “Sara”, and that’s when it hit me– I shall be the BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEVIE! Lots of white chiffon and lace, big stacked platform boots and twirling, ALWAYS TWIRLING!

    BTW, that whole bit with wrapping someone in saran wrap and duct tape works for making custom corset patterns, and swimsuits too! Have the person wear a t-shirt under it that you can cut up, both for stability of said pattern and to protect the person so its easy to cut them out of it.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

  23. Currently in bed with post natal depression and this what I needed. Thank you ❤

  24. I love her. And if I ever work up the courage to brave being in a air sealed tube with a bunch of people I don’t know again, it’ll totally be to fly to San Antonio around Halloween just so I can see your Halloweendo!

  25. In a dark and twisted turn of events, this post appeared in my feed directly after an article about a recent local murder and dismemberment. It’s wrong that I think that juxtaposition is hilarious, right? Right?

  26. And now I must visit Nowhere every year to see the Halloweendow display. It must become an annual tradition.

  27. I made a ghost a few years ago out of my niece!! First we’re the clear trash bags then the packing tape. 1/2 way through she had to pee but that was too bad as we had already done her lower half. One of her arms had strated to tingle as I had made the tape a bit to tight. I’m not gonna lie, we were both nervous about the cutting her out part.
    In the end, I had a lady ghost with no head…into l mad that from wrapping a styrofoam one.
    She was hung flying with fishing wire.

  28. Shared Thing 1 and Thing 2 (the canine version) over Instagram. It was their 2019 costumes, making those wigs broke me. Dr. Seuss is literary, right?

  29. Your Invisible Woman is beautiful. And I love the picture of the Paperbag Princess, one of my favorite kid’s books. I love when she tells the prince that he’s a bum.

  30. When are you getting a real bookstore cat for me to come snuggle and love and call him George?????

  31. is it just me or isn’t this one also facing the wrong way (eg the books/chalk board, tilt of the chair all in toward the bookstore, not out into the street)?

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