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when you find yourself in the setting of a real-life horror film… (and a makeup tutorial)

This post has been brewing since our epic family road trip and I thought that since Halloween is almost upon us now would be the perfect time to share. I must admit that I didn’t really take pictures of this harrowing experience so I also have a fun Halloween makeup tutorial for y’all at the end of the post!

So read on for our family’s real life horror story and then watch the video for a fun and gory makeup tutorial that’s perfect for Halloween! Links and ads in this post contain affiliates, if you click on them and make a purchase I may get a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you so much for helping to support Little Dove!


Halloween undead makeup tutorial


Have you ever found yourself in a place or situation and thought to yourself–“I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a scary movie that started just like this…”? That was the situation I found myself at the beginning of September as we were ending our big family road trip.

We had been driving in the car for hours, our silver minivan smoothly meandering through western Colorado in and out of small towns, beautiful canyons, and up some steep mountain grades. It had been a long day and the kids had had it. We were all looking forward to reaching our hotel for the night where the kids couldn’t wait to jump in the pool and I couldn’t wait to finally wash a growing mountain of laundry that had been accumulating since we left Mississippi.

With less than an hour left before we reached our hotel we pulled up to a stop sign in yet another small town and waited to turn left onto Main Street. It was actually the first sign of civilization we’d seen in hours (other than the occasional vehicle passing us in the opposite direction) but honestly, all I was thinking about was passing through as quickly as possible so we could just be done for the night. That’s when the car decided it was finished driving for the day. Mike attempted to turn left and continue our journey, but it was a no-go. It felt like the car was catching on something and it was impossible to move forward. So instead Mike backed off the highway to try and figure out the problem.


simple Halloween undead makeup tutorial


What was determined to be the problem was… well, we really had no idea. There was nothing stuck under the car, we didn’t have a flat tire (boy, that would have been a simple fix!), there were no parts hanging down from the car… it just wouldn’t drive forward, although it could drive in reverse with no problems. That’s about the time that a large pickup truck pulled over and a man got out and approached us. Did I mention that by this time it was probably around 7:00 pm and starting to get dark?

Of course my nervous natural self was on high alert, but he seemed harmless enough and after several minutes I had decided that he was in fact very unlikely to murder us and leave us on the side of the highway claiming our decrepit car as a souvenir. Finally, after many phone calls to insurance companies, auto repair shops, and motels (of which this town boasted a whopping three), it was determined that I would get in the car with this stranger and two of our children to check out one of the motels that wasn’t answering while Mike waited for the tow truck with the other two kids.


simple Halloween undead makeup tutorial


Let me repeat–Mike was sending his pregnant wife and two of his babies off with a complete stranger while he waited on the side of a highway. In the dark. Spoiler alert, this part of the story all turned out fine. Our good Samaritan was actually just that–a very helpful and Christ-like man who just wanted to help us out any way that he could. We got back from our little “adventure” just as the tow truck was retrieving our van and the rest of our brood and we made it to motel #3 which was luckily still open, had vacancies, and was completely non-smoking.

The woman behind the check in desk was another angel placed in our path that night and when she found out there were six of us said, “oh, I’ll put you in the lodge so you’ll have more space”. Well, that sounds great in theory but it turns out that the lodge was one of the original buildings and was in the process of undergoing some major renovations… which means that we were the only people in the whole building.

Mike was still dealing with trying and retrieve all of the belongings we would need for the night (which is a lot for a family of six, in case you didn’t know) from the minivan at the auto repair shop. This means that I was left to walk in to our motel room for the first time all alone. I walked in through the door on the bottom floor and walked past dark hallways and furniture covered in sheets and drop cloths. Once I got into our room on the second story I realized that I had definitely spotted the outdated decor in a horror film before–no question the quilt had made an appearance in a summer camp horror scene and I’m pretty sure the shower curtain was the original from Psycho.

My poor kids were such troopers all night long, Mike did such a good job of acting like we were having a grand adventure and I tried my best to just keep my mouth shut. Eventually I fell into a restless sleep long after everyone else drifted off.



simple Halloween undead makeup tutorial


So, after all this, what was wrong with our sweet ride of a minivan? Once the We learned that one of the bolts that secures the brake pad had come completely off, causing the brake to bind to the wheel which was preventing the car from moving forward. Not only that, but all the other ones were loose.

It turns out that the real horror story wasn’t being stranded on the side of a two lane highway, or riding in a truck with a stranger, or sleeping in an old motel. The real horror story was what could have been the outcome if things had happened just a little differently.

If we’d broken down an hour (or even half hour) before we did we would have been completely out of cell phone range and would have been at the mercy of whoever happened to pull over.

If  the bolt had come off when we were driving it could have caused the van to spin out and if that had happened while we were driving up the mountain… well, none of us would probably be here today.

A million little things that happened could have been so different, so much worse. When you think about things from a broader picture with a different perspective it’s so easy to see all the ways that you’ve been blessed and watched over.


Halloween undead makeup tutorial


By the way, if you like my jewelry (isn’t it so perfect for Halloween??) it’s from Rocksbox, a monthly jewelry rental service. If you’re interested you can click here and use the code “littledovejustinexoxo” to get your first month completely free!

Now, onto a fun makeup tutorial for Halloween! What most people don’t know is that my first couple years of college I majored in Theater Arts and one of the classes we had to take was a stage makeup class. We learned so many different techniques and my favorite days were always when we got to do gory makeup. Zombies, vampires, it is so fun do something wit your makeup that is so majorly different than your everyday. In this tutorial I’ll be showing you a basic undead look and then showing you how you can easily tailor it for a more specific zombie or vampire persona.


Halloween undead makeup tutorial




Halloween undead makeup tutorial


What are you going to be for Halloween?
Have you ever found yourself in the setting of a horror movie?


2 Responses to when you find yourself in the setting of a real-life horror film… (and a makeup tutorial)

  1. Sarah @ Foxy's Domestic Side October 26, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

    Oh my gosh, it’s crazy what could have happened. Glad that you weren’t left for dead on the side of the road and that everyone/everyone was in the right place at the right time. And that make up is awesome! Love it! Going to share on The Blended Blog Friday Loves…:)

    • Justine @ Little Dove October 26, 2017 at 10:56 pm #

      Yes, it’s amazing to me how it all worked out, especially considering how it all could have gone! Thanks so much!!

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