Thursday, July 2, 2015

2014 Haunter's Video Awards

Another exciting year for Shingle Creek Manor! Two awards from the 2014 Haunters Video Awards was a bit unexpected and overwhelming but we're grateful none the less. Thank you to Chris and Jeff Davis of Davis Graveyard, and of course all the judges, for their work putting this together again this year.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

More Hearse Envy

Still can't say as owning a hearse would be one of life's dreams (unless maybe it was really vintage, like pre-50's) but this does seem to be the year I've come across some beautiful classic hearses.

"Bonepeicker with a beautiful mural across the front and the rear door.

While walking through the parking lot at "Halloween Extreme", I came across "Bonepicker" a Cadillac Hearse owned by horror author Owl Goingback . Seems appropriate if your a horror author to drive a hearse, and this one should turn some heads.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Halloween Extreme 2015 - Mystery Box Challenge

"Halloween Extreme" returned this year, along with  the "Spooky May-hem" Convention in Orlando. Kind of nice to have a convention close to home especially since Transworld pretty well wiped out our "mad money" for the year.

I won't say there was anything at "Halloween Extreme" that I haven't seen at other haunter conventions, but  I did get to spend time once again meeting a whole bunch of people with similar Halloween and haunter passions.

One of the more fun things, that I didn't get to watch at the last Halloween Extreme, was the "Mystery Box Challenge" sponsored by Ghostride Productions . I was pretty sure I'd be out of my league from the photos we saw of the teams frantically working on their props at the previous Halloween Extreme. After watching this year... I was right.

The Mystery Box Challenge consisted of a maximum of three people to a team. Each team was given some identical materials that had to be included in building a Halloween prop. This year it was half of a face, half a skull, half a brain some turkey feathers... you get the idea. Those materials had to be included in the finished piece. The rest of the materials were available to be pulled out of a huge pile of random junk. The teams had 30 minutes to make their work of art.

This years winning prop "Remnants of Jack Sparrow" from Team "Moe's Halloween"

Each team came up with a name and then picked a last minute name for their finished prop. First place was $200, second place was $50 and third place was $25. Most of the people who entered I knew from the Florida Haunters so it was a bit extra fun watching friends in panicked action.

Second Place was "Reluctant Vine Creature" from Team "Eerie Acres Cemetery"
In the end, last year's Mystery Box Challenge winners, Ant and Lleana Petrone of "Eerie Acres Cemetery" , were unseated by Maureen Perez's team "Moe's Halloween" Both winning props and the other four team props were pretty darned impressive, especially when you consider it was accomplished in 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

3rd Annual Dead With Dave Home Haunter Awards

Once again David Dankanyin of "Dead with Dave" and the DWD Crew posted their annual "Dead with Dave Home Haunter Awards" show. This was the third year for the show which is described as "an awards show for home haunters by home haunters". 

This was our second year entering and although we didn't win in any of the categories against some of the very talented competition, we were humbled to receive a couple nominations for "Best Haunt Video" and " Best Static Prop". These haunter competitions are really a lot of fun off season and we're very appreciative of all the work, time and money people like Dave spend to put them together. 

Thanks to David Dankanyin and the Dead with Dave Crew, and congratulations to all the winners this year!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Neighborhood Talk

"Missing Finger Productions" work mobile
Well, if the neighbors didn't already talk about the strangeness of our hobby, As of last week, I'm pretty sure they talk now..  We had some visitors from  "Missing Finger Productions" stop by the house for some non-Halloween related activities. Well, okay, actually, there was some  Halloween talk with owner, Kevin Koch, while the ladies did some "Paper Dove Gifts" jewelry transactions.

Rear of vehicle seats one comfortably
The talk in our somewhat reserved neighborhood would be the Missing Finger Production's  vehicle parked in front of the house, a classic Cadillac Hearse. Oh,  and it was complete with casket... empty as far as I know.

The hearse was certainly a show stopper. While I have no desire to personally own a hearse, like most guys I appreciate all classic cars and this one was in beautiful original condition. I believe he said it was a 1972 Cadillac. Sometimes I do have to remind myself the 1970's were over forty years ago...

"Missing Finger Production" is a part time prop making business for Kevin Koch. His full time job is a school teacher. I am pretty certain when I went to school none of my teachers had a hearse parked in the teachers lot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Monster Mallet

We haven't done very much for character development at Shingle Creek Manor  except for the evolving "Niethra" Voodoo witch which will get some costuming upgrades this year.

I've been chastised by "Niethra" and some haunt friends that I would much rather watch the trick or treaters and keep the foggers, lights and sound system in check as get costumed up. I can only congratulate my critics on their perceptivity...

Unfortunately, the evolution of Shingle Creek Manor and the lack of nearby friends with our same particular Halloween obsession is going to require me to work on my monstery-ness this season and suit up.

As luck would have it we obtained the potential weapon for said new monster during our recent trip to Transworld . At the "Haunter's Hangout" raffle we won a massive mallet hammer from Asylum Props! While it wouldn't have been my first thought for a weapon I do have to admit it is really cool.

Even cooler, Richard Teachout, owner of Asylum Props said it was cast from an actual old carnival mallet used by the carnival workers big enough to wield the thing. It was used to drive the three foot stakes holding the carnival tents. I'm all about a design with a history... dark carnival actors and clowns would love this thing.

The texture detail and paint of the mallet is amazing! Think I have to age the newer looking handle though...
Special thanks to Richard Teachout and "Asylum Props" for his donation to the "Haunter's Hangout" group. Make sure to "Like" the Asylum Props Facebook page and tell Richard hello.

Receiving our Asylum Props Sledge from Jwal Twisted Seed at Haunter's Hangout, Transworld!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Transworld and The Black Plague

Seems like we've been planning on attending Transworld's Halloween and Attractions trade show pretty much since we started building Shingle Creek Manor. Each year something usually kept us from it, but this year we were able to make the drive to St. Louis  and had a few great days seeing all the cool new Halloween toys manufacturers had to offer. It was everything I was led to believe it would be and then some!

Lots of creatures roaming the showroom floor. Belinda had a few laughs with this guy.
Couple of my favorite vendors, although it would be impossible to pick any one as my favorite, everybody had something good to offer:

Of course we also got to meet up with some friends from Haunter's Hangout, and even met a few that up until Transworld we had only socialized with on the internet. The Haunter's Hangout folks had a nice rest up  area and meeting place on the showroom floor. We tried to say hi to as many as possible but there was just so much to see on the showroom, we did miss quite a few.

Distortion's Unlimited Frankenstein helping me locate vendors on the map.
All in all a fun week until the last day when I managed to catch the Black Plague, or at least what I expect the Black Plaque would feel like. Luckily the worst of the fever was after the two day return drive home but it did cut our trip short by a day. This one has taken me quite a while to get over and as of today I still get exhausted just walking across the room. I wasn't the only one that got this crud though from the Facebook posts I've read. I guess it could have been worse had I gotten sick the first couple days at the convention.

Face Off's Nix Herrera showing off some of his amazing airbrush makeup
I'm not sure we will ever spend the money to attend Transworld again but it was a fun experience and a massive congregation of monster and horror imagination that has to be seen at least once by anyone who loves Halloween and or horror.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lightning Cosplay

A friend recently shared this amazing photo of "Lightning Cosplay" modeling one of her recently made costumes, and advertising her new book Lightning Cosplay - "Horns and Headdresses".

Photographs property of Lightning Cosplay

I downloaded the digital version for a bit over seven dollars to take a look at how she was making the detailed horns and the antlered headdresses that you can see on the Lightning Cosplay website portfolio.

The digital book is well worth the few dollars and gave me a great introduction to using thermoplastics such as Kobracast and Worbla. While we have dabbled in some other modeling and casting materials,  I've never even heard of these materials which she writes are very common materials used by Cosplayers.

Photographs property of Lightning Cosplay

The book is well written with great step by step photos and of course photos of the beautiful headdresses she has created. After reading it, I definitely want to get some of these materials to experiment. Check out her website or Facebeook page. Even if your not interested in creating your own headdresses, the photos of her creations are certainly Pinterest worthy!

As of this blog date she is currently sold out of horns on the Lightning Cosplay Etsy site but states that she creates and sells them fairly regularly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

An Appreciation of the Deliveryman

Sometimes I do have to wonder what the ladies and gentlemen from the various delivery services must think goes on at this house.

We've received some unusually labeled boxes from the postal services over the last few years; packages marked from "The Skeleton Store", a rather ominous looking package from "Halloween Haunt Sauce" labeled "poison", with skull and crossbones stickers, and the last few months have included our labeled "Monster of the Month" boxes.

Distortion's Unlimited "Monster of the Month"

I suppose the've seen it all though, they never give us weird looks or ask questions. Besides, they might be more disturbed if they knew what was actually in some of the boxes...

January's "Monster of the Month" the severed head of a vampire.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Hogwart's Gargoyles

I really have to appreciate the imagination of J.K. Rowling combined with the creativity of Universal Studios. These are amazing sculptures.

Entrance to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Friday, February 6, 2015

Owl Post

Did a little exploring in Hogsmeade yesterday, the end of a dismal rainy day that turned out rather nice by the time I made the drive. If your not a Harry Potter fan, Hogsmeade is the fictional wizard village of shops. This was really my first time to explore Hogsmeade on the Adventure Island side of Universal Studios Theme Park.

Hogsmeade street of shops
Rather liked the storefront design of the Owl Post Post Office
The Owl Post is the method of mail delivery by the wizards using, you guessed it, owls. You can buy stationary, cards, journals etc. in this store. It's a neat feature that you can mail your letters here and get the official Owl Post postmark. From what I learned though, you better bring a stamp because a sheet of ten of the official Harry Potter stamps are $15.

All the roof tops and businesses are covered with snow and ice  per the book
If you just want the Owl Post postmark though, to the right of the storefront is a cart where you can buy a postcard or whatever paper good you want and they will stamp it with the post mark for you.

I pilfered this photo from the internet, mine wasn't quite this clear
Thought it would have been a nice touch to have the owls animated in the window but they were just stuffed owls
Really have to appreciate how they made everything old looking, note the water stained ceiling. At least I think that is an intentional detail and not an actual water leak...
Owl Perches. Those boxes on the left are wands. There are lots and lots of wands in Hogsmeade. 
Self explanatory

Maybe I will post a few other images of Hogsmeade , Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley in the next few weeks before the weather gets to hot and the Universal Studio's crowds get bigger. I thought the Owl Post and getting the postmark was sort of a hidden gem for the HP fan that you might not otherwise pay attention to.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Place for My Creepy Things

Spent a few hours the last couple days working on my mini coffin built at the Florida Haunter's Make and Take. I don't have any skeletons this small and probably wouldn't use it in our graveyard so decided to make a curio shelf out of it.

Mini coffin curio shelf

The original construction was from cypress planks for a fence which is pretty rough wood so I just opted to paint it flat black. I removed the door and then I wood glued some Poplar wood braces across the back, and screwed in a couple "D" ring hangers so it could be hung from the wall.

Used some wood glue and a pin nailer to put a couple supports across the back.

Shelves and shelf brackets were made from some scrap lumber and painted black as well. The shelves were actually thin 1/4" plywood so I used some black and white Ebony wood across the front of each shelf to hide the edges pf the plywood. I love the look of this exotic wood but it does have pretty limited applications. This seemed like a good use for it.

Finally have a nice place for our skull we bought during our trip to  Sedlec Ossuary outside of Prague
Overall it was an easy conversion. Most of my time was spent painting. Thinking I might like to build one from scratch so I can give the wood a nicer finish and maybe make a  glass front from the coffin door. Most likely I'll never get around to it....

This one will go up in the shop where it won't alarm the non-Halloween visitors.

If you want to make a mini coffin you can get the dimensions from John Nilsen's "Spyderwood" Facebook page. The dimensions are located in a photo folder called "Rustic Coffin".

Monday, January 19, 2015

Florida Haunters First Make and Take 2015

Got to meet up with some of Florida's home haunters this weekend at the home of host haunter Bethany  Smith-Globing. The event was building some 38" toe pincher coffins from pre cut wood kits put together for us by haunter John "Spyder" Nilsen.

John's "prototype" toe pinchers
Couple of us used my own patented method of assembly which I use on almost all simple assembly projects:

Step One: Assemble color coded wood pieces,
Step Two: Using power driver, screw each piece together,
Step Three Unscrew and disassemble all the pieces,
Step Four: Assemble them correctly 
Step Five: Re-screw all the pieces again...
Repeat as necessary

 Though it has taken me many years to develop this process, feel free to use it on your own projects.

Evelyn Coleman of "Team Coleman"and yours truly battle it out with power drills.. Cue  the "Face-Off" music!
Photo courtesy Tammy Kane
These toe pincher coffin kits were inspired by the "Mini Coffin for Willie" created by Sharon and Hamilton Timmer a year or two ago.  They aren't so big they could also be used as part of an interior decoration. Just a couple ideas, you could build it with a couple shelves for your Halloween knick knacks, or a vertical rack inside for your Halloween DVD's.

John designed the size of the coffins to fit the 36" skeletons usually available at Halloween.
Photo courtesy of John Nilsen
Once the coffins were assembled our hosts provided us with an excellent lunch and we spent the remainder of the afternoon talking Halloween crafts, prop building, and the upcoming conventions. Bethany showed a rather extensive collection of Halloween crafts she has made. I'm always at a quandary as to how people find time to create and decorate inside their house as well as outside at Halloween. Maybe I'm not that motivated... or just lazy.

Haunter Bill Ramsey tacking on the bottom of his coffin. John in the background telling me I'm doing it wrong.
In my defense there was an engineering flaw with my kit!
Photo courtesy of Tammy Kane.
I still have to put a paint or finish on the one I created so I'll probably do another post at that time. Was a good day of meeting up with folks of a like mind to create something fun. Special thanks to Bethany Smith-Globig and John Nilsen for putting  all this together!

There are some instructional photos at Jon Nilsen's "Spyderwood" Facebook page if anyone would  like to create their own Rustic Coffin. Spyderwood Disclaimer ; "measurements may not be exact"!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Shingle Creek Manor Pre- Planning

Christmas is over, decorations are down... and mostly packed away,  a New Year has started. I can't help myself but to begin planning for improvements to Shingle Creek Manor 2015. It really is a half year of figuring out what to do and the other half year of trying to make it happen.

Even though there is much to do in the "real" world and it is highly unlikely I would pick up a tool or paintbrush to do anything except household repairs, now is the time to start looking for materials and coming up with reasonable ideas of things we can complete.

2014 -Young Captain Jack Sparrow with Neithra "the Summoner" - old enough to know it's all make believe but young enough to still be cautious, just in case  it isn't. A great age for building Halloween memories...
If the planets are in correct alignment, no unforeseen bills find their way into our mailbox and a few other variables don't work against us, attending Transworld's 'Halloween and Attractions Show' may finally be a reality this March.

This is the largest haunt industry show in the world and mostly for entertainment industry people, but they open it up to home haunters if you meet certain criteria.  The show is full of props, costumes and special effects that no one is going to find at their local Walmart. I'm really hopeful we'll walk away with some new ideas and maybe a prop or two for 2015. At the very least, I'm pretty certain I can find some trouble to get into there.

Not sure how much of a fair fight this is, our zombie has no legs...
Overall we're pretty happy in the direction we've been going but just want to take it up a notch!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Ghosts and "A Christmas Carol"

We went to see " A Christmas Carol" play at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater this year. From a Halloween "haunter's" perspective, Dicken's "A Christmas Carol is as good as it gets at Christmas time, and while we're not regular theater goers, this production was a fun time.

Kudos to Artistic Director Jim Helsinger ands crew for their "Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come" and the awesome and large "Ebenezer Scrooge" tombstone that rose from the fog. The bigger than life ghost towering over Scrooge was a "stalk around" type costume similar to what "Gore Galore" and several other companies manufacture, but the angle of the stage lighting and dark pants worn by the actor gave it a cool floating effect. You can see a couple glimpses of the ghost in this quick sneak peek video ( :17 and again at 1:02) from Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

I'd also be remiss not to mention the Ghost of Christmas Past, Jacob Marley, (glimpse at :36) with all his chains and the reverb effect on the actor's microphone. He was a pretty convincing ghost as well.

If you've never attended your  local theater give it a try. It's not the wine tasting tuxedo and gown crowd that you might see in a Broadway production. Business casual clothing, prices usually around $40 or less per person for good seats. It's a good time.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

"Merry Christmas to all!" We hope you were each able to find the magic of family and friends on this special day and you didn't get too caught up in the commercialism of the season. Best wishes to each of you for the New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea

 " Clark, that's the gift that keeps on giving the whole year..."
"That it does Edward" ("Christmas Vacation", my all time favorite Christmas movie!)

Okay, it's not the " Jelly of the Month" club but it's the next best thing!

I subscribed to three months of  Distortions Unlimited's  "Monster of the Month" back before October when they started the program and I had a little "mad money" in my pocket. Basically it's a surprise monster creation shipped to you each month from the sculptor-artists at "Distortions Unlimted".

Owners Ed and Marsha Edmunds, sculptor Jordu Schell, and and the rest of the folks that were the stars of the since cancelled " Making Monsters" Halloween TV mini-series, are some of the Halloween celebrities we've come to enjoy in the Halloween world. Even though I'm not a collector of Halloween memorabilia, curiosity got the better of me. So far I'm really pleased with the two latex masks I've received, "Blink" by Mikey Rotella and "BT-15" by Jordu Schell. Each one came with a printed card with a bio on the sculptor and a back story on the creature.

They have a gift coupon you can print if you should want to give a last minute Christmas gift membership to the club for your favorite Halloween person. I tried a subtle hint to Mrs. Claus for another 3 month membership but have to wait and see... You can check it all out at Distortion's Monster of the Month .

Photo of "Blink" and "BT-15" from "Distortions Unlimited" on Facebook

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Book Keeper

My son had taken a few day time photos so put a few together of  this year's "Book Keeper" prop. Nox Arcana music of course!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Shingle Creek Manor 2014 Video

I was too busy Halloween night, and I was tired, and it was too cold on Saturday night to get very many photos this year. With such few photos and no video I hadn't intended to try a video this year. Then I found a piece of music that I liked, and it was short, so this is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halloween Haunt Calendar

11" x 17'" Halloween Haunt Calendar for 2015
Got our 2015 Halloween Haunt Calendar from Hector Turner at the Halloween Haunt Calendar website a few days back. How can you be a Halloween enthusiast and not have a calendar to countdown until Halloween?
We got our photo centered up in the month of July this coming year.
Hector Turner is a Canadian haunter and a regular poster at "Haunter's Hangout" on Facebook as well as most other forums. This is our third year purchasing his calendar and it really has been pretty handy in the workshop. Besides counting down the days until Halloween,  it also has the dates of all the major Halloween conventions in the U.S. and Canada, and the moon cycles, if your into that kind of thing. The color print and paper is high quality, plus most importantly, if you submit your haunt photo earlier in the year it gets published on one of the months.

...Okay, maybe it's not most important but it is pretty cool!

It was appropriate he used our "ARose" statue photo this year. This was her last year.
 Check out the Halloween Haunt Calendar website if your interested in purchasing one for 2015. Hector Turner will post on "Haunter's Hangout" and other Halloween sites when he starts accepting photos for the next year's calendar, I believe it's in the Spring.

H.P. Lovecraft "From Beyond" Tombstone by Hector Turner
If you don't know Hector, I would suggest you check out the Halloween portion of his website. In my opinion, the mastery of scarecrows belongs to Pumpkin Rot. Hector Turner ( and Terra Lair ) are the masters of the tombstone. You will see Hector's work often imitated by other Halloween  people and he gives you a breakdown and in some cases .pdf  files to try to duplicate his tombstones. He has some fantastic photos there to explore.