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Made in Colorado: Local Tricks and Treats for Halloween

Four local products that will bring the spooky this October


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Diggin’ It Designs Pet Costumes

Lifelong crafter Mary Burger was working as a personal trainer in Florida when she made her first canine clothing in 2012. She asked her veterinarian if she could display some work in the waiting room, and word started getting out. “It took off,” Burger says. “I had no idea how many animals couldn’t fit in off-the-rack-costumes.”

Burger, who relocated to Colorado Springs in 2016, has since made custom costumes for dogs ranging from dragons and flying monkeys to superheroes and royalty, not to mention custom apparel for squirrel monkeys and guinea pigs, and even a Princess Jasmine outfit for a cow.

The monkey business (no pun intended) has been an unexpectedly successful niche for Burger. “I don’t know how that happened,” she says. “I can get 10 orders a day just for monkeys.”

Mother of Monsters Dolls and Art

A longtime crafter and Sterling native, Tam Maggard started making spooky and supernatural dolls — beginning with a life-sized baby with tentacles growing from the top of its head — in 2014. “Overnight, it just went crazy. So many people love this stuff,” says Maggard, who mentions Jim Henson and Clive Barker as key creative influences for her whimsical take on twisted subject matter. “I just kept getting more requests for more monster babies and just kept going.”

Maggard sculpts with clay to make silicone molds and casts her monsters in resin or plastic. She’s made dolls of werewolves, Frankenstein’s monsters, and creatures of the Black Lagoon as well as smaller beasties, mini-mermaids in sardine cans and snail-rabbit hybrids she calls “snabbits.”

Claxton Boards

After a decade in the video game industry, Chris Claxton took his passion for Ouija boards to the next level in early 2019.  A freelance designer and illustrator, Claxton engraves, shapes and sands his cherrywood boards by hand. He has a catalog of four designs (Great Cthulhu and the Cutest Ouija Board Ever! among them) with plans for more by himself and guest artists. “I treat each board as a work of art,” he notes. “Each is made to order and must meet a set of standards before it leaves my studio.”

It all goes back to something primal for Claxton. “The belief in — and desire to interact with —the supernatural, including spirits, demons and the dead, is something I find incredibly fascinating,” he says. “I believe the various ways in which this manifests itself across different cultures has a lot to say about the human condition.”

The Charming Frog Spooky Soaps

The Charming Frog was one of Etsy’s first soap stores and remains one of its top soap stores. Tracie Blyther bought the business from her sister in 2012 and now makes 600 different shapes of soap, ranging from flowers to octopi, along with a whole line of spooky soaps for Halloween, including brains, fingers, zombies, sugar skulls and coffins. “It just took off,” she says of her Halloween business. “People just love the spooky soaps.”    

  Using molds she both buys and makes herself, Blyther melts and pours as many as 5,000 soaps a month during peak holiday season.

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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