Happy Halloween! (Or How to Make a GIF).

It’s a time of year that I cherish.  The smell of smoke and cinnamon in the air;  small winds cornering the yellow leaves and telling stories of Winter. My other self, the me who was left behind with my childhood, gets hold of her broom, brushes down her best hat-n-blacks and takes to the skies for one last hurrah of pumpkin light and half hopeful love spells.

And if that other me was to live my other life, I would live at Halloween House, a suitably gothic mansion.  There are hills to tramp and talk to the birds, woods to seek out pale mushrooms and a proper herb garden.  Not too tidy, mind you, but space to grow rue and basil, rosemary, vervein and sage.  Some for the kitchen and some for other ‘projects’.

HH_final orange100

This is the 21st century though and although my ways would be old, my methods are up to date. There is a fully lit, broompad landing strip – essential on foggy nights – and of course a handy closet for all transport storage. Summers would be spent tending the pumpkin patch and watching sunsets round the cauldron pit, listening to the soft murmer of owls. And perhaps there would be a chilly swim in Spook River.

But the back of the lemon-yellow dress of Summer was last seen disappearing round a corner.  She’ll be away for a while I think. Tonight would usually be the night to celebrate her life and leaving. Tonight would usually be the night for a full on knees-up, to remind ourselves with dance and fire and wine, that together, we can survive the cold and whatever it brings. Tonight we usher in the dark.  And may be, this year, the normal knees-up will, of necessity, be a little more subdued but take a glass anyway, why don’t you, and drink to better times…


Halloween House map was hand drawn and lettered in pen and ink and digitally coloured. The GIF was made (with a little cursing!) using Photoshop.

And here’s the tech bit:

  1. Upload/create a series of sequential images in Photoshop.
  2. Save them as sequential numbers ie: 1,2,3 etc.
  3. Go to the File menu and click ‘Scripts’ and then ‘Load Files into Stack’.
  4. Add your files.
  5. Go to the Windows menu and click ‘Timeline’.
  6. Click ‘Create Frame Animation’ in the Timeline Box.
  7. Within the Timeline Box, open the menu icon on the right, and click ‘Make Frames from Layers’ – Your sequential frames should appear in order on the Timeline.
  8. Under each frame, decide how long each should last in seconds.
  9. At the bottom of the Timeline Box, decide how many times you’d like the GIF to loop.
  10. Check you’re happy by pressing the ‘Play’ button.
  11. Go to File and then Save for Web as a GIF.
  12.  Export Your GIF.

Happy Halloween to you all, wherever you are!

Marvin and fizz.

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