Staring into Kitty’s Crystal Ball…

It’s that time of year again folks, the time when the grid literally goes Batty! Everywhere you turn it’s Halloween, and it’s FABULOUS. It’s my favourite time of year, and 2009 promises to be even bigger and better than ever ! That’s no mean feat, Halloween has always been a huge festival in the metaverse, probably bigger than the festive season, and this year is already shaping up to be HUGE.
Everywhere you turn there’s orange and black treats galore. There are hunts, amazing freebies to be found and most of the in-world designers have launched their Autumn collections for us all to enjoy.
So, if you’re as dazzled as I am by all these Samhain shenanigans, let me give you a few pointers to assist you in getting the very best out of Second life at this time of year..
For starters, make sure you’re a member of at least a few of the following groups in-world:
*Fashion Consolidated
*Fabulously Free
*Fashion R Us
*Sexy Shoppers
Joining one or all of these groups will mean that you’ll get squillions of note cards a day telling you about all the latest treats that designers have in store. This can often be irritating, because the quality of communications varies, but vendors are releasing LOTS of Halloween outfits, skins and goodies so use the announcements to filter out what appeals to you most and then follow-up with a store visit. I have a wee rule that I only visit places whose announcements are well-written, no typos/spelling errors and provide a brief precis of exactly what is on offer. I hate notecard’s that just say ‘New!‘and only feature a store name and a link, without telling you what it is you’ll actually find. Look, if you have taken the time and energy to make something to retail in-world, then you can take the care required to write effective communications to your customers, simple as! Anyway, use announcements to also give some new stores a try. Remember, the big names were all small stores once themselves you know, and you’re often likely to find something smart and funky in these places that no one else is wearing ..often a rarity on the grid.
I know that I’ve said this before, but where freebies are concerned try your hardest to retain a sense of proportion and seriously, don’t just grab stuff because it’s free. Trust me, I speak from experience here, it’s the quickest way to an out of control inventory, and I shudder to think what is lurking in the corners of mine. I really MUST clean it out sometime!
It’s worth mentioning that with Winter upon us, a lot of creators who reside in the colder areas of the globe will be more than likely to be sheltering from the weather, hard at work at their PC’s and Macs creating beautiful things for us all to enjoy. This season is going to be a cracking time for new items.. Don’t forget we’ve got Christmas coming up, and then afterwards Spring 2009 heralds sales galore (yes, there are January sales in Second Life) as well as the release of new collections. It’s an exciting time to be an av!
Back onto topic then, and lets talk about blogs. All the feeds and popular blogs are featuring the good Halloween stuff at the moment so get reading and making notes about what you want to see. Shopping Cart Disco has, in-between all the drama and gossip, begun a series on some of the best Halloween sims to visit, and I’ve taken a tour of a couple of the sims mentioned and can tell you that they are definitely worth checking out. Fabulously Free in Second Life has featured an absolute ton of Halloween happiness already, and I’ve followed Renee and the gang’s tips on a number of occasions and have some smashing spooky themed freebie skins and oufits as a result. (NOTE: Fabfree DOES work, I can assure you of that. I’ve discovered stores via that blog that I would never have found otherwise and made lots of purchases, so if you’re considering joining the ranks of Fabfree I heartily recommend Renee is an absolute star and uber helpful.) Research the feeds and don’t just limit yourself to the fashion ones, for example check out ‘Planet World Of SL’ which features objects such as structures and furniture, as well as fashion, which may provide you with some ideas for Halloween décor. (You can access the feeds from the panel on the right hand side of this blog, but I strongly suggest that you add the feeds to a feed burner or some such item that will allow you easy access.)
Halloween hunts are kicking off big-style now, and it’s definitely worth paying the various hunt blogs that exist a visit to see what’s going on. These blogs are a great help to those who like hunting, and I use them to quickly scan the names of the hunt participants before I embark. Hunts are, imho, VITAL for discovering new stores, provided that they are organised and run effectively. For example I discovered ‘Agent Orange’ through the Discovery Hunt earlier this year and it’s a store I often recommend to my fellow avatars. One problem, they do take time, IF, you’re playing properly, but are a great way to spend a few hours in world on a cold and rainy afternoon. Finally, X-Street SL has a dedicated Halloween section this year, BUT don’t forget to run a search on the freebies section..For example, I’ve already got a full perm pumpkin for nuffink via X-Street (and the kindness of the original creator!) and there’s literally thousands of items that you can pick up for bargain prices. Be choosy though; take a good look at the images associated with the item and if you aren’t entirely sure that the goods are up to scratch then give them a wide berth. It’s worth writing here as well that whilst you’re toiling through all the festive wares on display, if you spot ANYTHING that you recognise as being created by someone else, flag it up. Tell the original creator and ask them to check that the item is a copy of their creation before you contact the vendor ( look, everyone makes mistakes and it saves later embarrassment) If it is stolen, follow Saffia Widdershin’s brilliant advice in the article on pages 78-81 in the latest edition of Prim Perfect Magazine. We’re always being warned about thievery at this time of year in real-life, but the same applies in the metaverse, even more so as seasonal sales start rolling in.
Finally, parties! Halloween is on a Saturday this year, so expect LOTS of Saturday night shenanigans across the grid. Loads of parties will be advertised, and are starting to be already, so again, make a note of the ones that you’re interested in attending and whatever you do, get there early! The best parties will be over-subscribed as soon as the doors open, and remember that more people use Second Life at the weekends than during the week, so don’t be surprised if the events that you attend are a tad lagalicious! Expect to flitter between parties like a social butterfly- if this is your first time experiencing Halloween in world this will be a great opportunity to see how different Second Life communities mark the event. Be brave and visit sims where the main language isn’t your native tongue, for example, imagine how amazing a Halloween party held on a Japanese or Spanish speaking sim will be! Also, by visiting different parties you’ll be freeing up space so someone else can get in..fair’s fair in the virtual as well as the real world after all. A final note, don’t forget that with all the decorations and costumes the lag will be the biggest monster on the grid this Samhain, but I know where I’d rather be! Why bugger off out into the cold night dressed in a costume that’s seen better days, when you can sit at your PC, surrounded by few candles and enjoying a drink or two while still having a CRACKING time at a party….?

Kittywitchin’ will be featuring some lovely Halloween stuff in the days leading up to the main event, so watch this space-BUT I hope that you’ve enjoyed these hints and tips for getting the best out of the Second Life Samhain spirit!

(Incidentally, If you’re interested, in this picture I’m sporting a cracking Neko pumpkin themed outfit that I discovered on X-street SL for the princely sum of L$99! Interested? Click HERE…)


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