Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2014 Florida Haunter's Social

We had a good time at the 2014 Florida Haunter's Social in Ocala, FL this last Saturday. I don't know what the final estimate was, but somewhere between 30 and 40 people attended. Everyone seemed to enjoy our "Lifecasting with Alginate" workshop and we've received numerous very nice compliments.

Organized chaos at our "Lifecasting with Alginate" workshop
 There was a complete schedule of workshops for the day. Between each workshop we managed plenty of eating, prop admiration and a "Skyped" session with Creature and Makeup Designer, Nathan Motich ( ). He gave us a behind the scenes look at his studio and how he creates his authentic looking creature eyes. As luck would have it, we won one of his very cool eyes during the door prize drawing held at the end of the day.

At no time did I say working with Alginate wouldn't harm your skin...Ok, maybe I did. Maybe this is just the Alginate and not blistering pustules of peeling skin..

There was plenty of "prop lusting" going on at the event. Bobby Atkinson gets my A-plus for the most awesome pneumatic corpse prop, jumping out some six feet from it's upright wooden coffin! Don't you just hate those guys that talk about how simple it is to build their amazing animated prop by calibrating a stutso hydraulic framus damus and attaching it to a high pressure warbler valve with a two way differential bearing?! Whaaaaat??!!! I might not understand how to build one but that doesn't stop me from wanting one. You can get a look at the prop in action on the short video I put together for the Florida Haunters. It's actually slowed down a bit in the video.

"Steampunk Diver" by Jason and Dawn Fields
 Jason and Dawn Fields from "Terror on 20th" may have made the most original costume I have seen in a long time, Jason's "Steampunk Diver". Although they did seem to be a very distrusting couple when it came to leaving me alone with their costume. Ocala could be one of those crime ridden cities though, and someone could have stolen it I guess, so maybe their protectiveness was warranted...

"Man-eating plant" attack
 From our observation, everyone looked to have a good time with lots of inspiration and learning going on. I hope to see this event continue to grow and improve even more. It's only a couple hours from us and the building is the perfect size.

We won a door prize! A Nathan Motich Eye ...
The day concluded with door prizes that host Bill Ramsey was able to get donated by local businesses and Halloween vendors. We won two very cool items including a signed piece of artwork, "Macabre" by artist Mark Hadley .

...actually we won two including this print, "Macabre" from Hadley Studios.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Halloween Weekend Coming!

This Saturday we will be attending our second Florida Haunter's Social in Ocala, Florida, hosted by Bill "Dr. Terror Eyes" Ramsey. We didn't make last year's social but attended the year before. It's a great place to meet other Halloween enthusiasts, see people showcasing their work and learn new methods and techniques for prop building. As an added benefit, "Dr. Terror Eyes" always comes up with cool giveaways and free food!
Dr. Terror Eyes, photo by Lost or Forgotten Photography
We're trying to help out this year by teaching how to "lifecast" using alginate and  liquid plastic resin. So this week, while Belinda is recovering from her second foot surgery this year, I've been running around trying to get together the materials for our class. Even though she's pretty restricted on walking without crutches , her arms and hands are working fine. Her part of the preparation process therefore was to let me mold and cast her hand, so we could estimate material quantities and the molding container size. I think it turned out pretty good.

Belinda's "Zombie Ground Breaker" hand pose waiting for some color
Hopefully I'll get some good photos and or video at the "2014 Florida Haunter's Social and Make-n-Take" and post a story on the day's events.

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Halloween Sighting!

Garden Ridge Skeletons
 My fellow Halloween blogging enthusiast, Lisa,  at Maple Grove Cemetery  recently posted a reminder that "Garden Ridge" is usually one of the first retail stores to get it's Halloween decor out. Although I've seen some Fall decor at various stores, I hadn't seen any Halloween decor. Usually The Dollar Store is one of the first. I paid a visit to "Garden Ridge" today and sure enough, this year's first sighting is at "Garden Ridge" ( soon to be known as "At Home"). Check out Maple Grove Cemetery for a really good review of most of what they have this year.

Thought this guy was pretty gruesome!
Partial Skeletons
Most of the partial skeleton variations which included the skull, some low quality hands on bendable arms and then some tattered clothes were $39.99 . The complete skeletons without tattered clothing were $49.99. Joints for the arms legs and hands on the complete skeletons were the metal bracket type.

Basic Jack-O-Lanterns in need of "customizing"
First Halloween sighting would not be complete without gratuitous body parts!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Chocolate Skulls

The Black Chocolate Company

Saw an article recently on these chocolate skulls cast from actual human skulls. I thought it was a pretty novel Halloween gift until I saw the $119 price tag! I know there are "choco-holics" that would pay that though, and not even bat an eye. To be honest I did find another company that sells them with prices starting at $399. I guess it's all about the chocolate. 

These beauties are sold by The Black Chocolate Company .  They come in Dark, Chili, Caramel, and Milk Chocolate and are shipped from the UK.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Guess It Is All About The Details!

Fun stuff in the Mail today from Jeff Davis and Chris Davis, of The Davis Graveyard!

I remember reading a blog entry from Chris once about how much time they spend on the details of their yard display that she knew most people wouldn't even notice. Oh, how we CAN relate.

Though it seems the little details also carry over to the annual "Home Haunters Video Award" hosted by the Davis's. Today the Postman or Post person brought us the cool trophy we had won in one of  the award categories. Mailed along with the trophy was the announcement card in the original, now torn open, envelope that was read on the awards video . So while I was looking at the unique design of the trophy and what a nice touch the announcement card was, I almost missed it. On the torn envelope... a black wax seal with a little skull stamped into it. "ALMOST" I said Chris and Jeff! Details of haunterdom seldom elude me! Nice touch! Thanks guys!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2013 Haunters Video Awards

Shingle Creek Manor was awarded the "Best Static Prop Vanguard" award for the 2013 Home Haunters Video Awards!

Thanks to Jeff and Chris Davis from Davis Graveyard for hosting the awards every year and compiling all the videos on DVD. Thanks to the judges that had to review all the videos on this year's very large collection and then make these decisions. Finally, "Congratulations" to all the other category winners!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Midwest Haunter's Convention 2014

We were lucky enough to attend the "Halloween Extreme" here in Orlando last year and because they didn't return this year I made a last minute decision to make the drive to the 2014 Midwest Haunter's Convention in Columbus Ohio.

Belinda couldn't get away from work so I had to go it alone, although I did meet up with a couple friends I know from here in Florida that let me hang with them through the haunted house tours. Would have been a real bummer to go it alone.

Overall I was disappointed with MHC in comparison to what I experienced at Halloween Extreme, possibly because I had built it up in my mind as something much older and thereby more organized and larger than Halloween Extreme. So many people have proclaimed it their dream haunter weekend though, so who am I to rain on their parade...

I did get to meet a bunch of people that until now I had only known through social media, especially "Haunter's Hangout" on Facebook. There were just so many people to meet, hopefully I didn't accidentally ignore someone I shouldn't have. I know there were people I never did find and meet. I tried my best.

The highlight of the weekend for me was probably getting to tour "The Scare Factory" on Friday night. "The Scare Factory" is an extremely large design and fabrication studio for the haunt industry whose products I'm sorry to say are way out of our price range... although there was some temptation, rationalizing to myself  "you only live once", but I didn't buy any. I did walk away with some "I could make that myself" thoughts that will most likely never come to fruition but it's okay to dream I suppose.

I wanted to take this guy home so bad, He'd dominate our yard!
Even this guy would make a nice addition to Shingle Creek Manor!

There was a little bit of everything in this huge warehouse.
One of the things underway was a restoration project for unnamed private collector that dominated the office section. The gentleman I talked to was rather tight lipped about the collection or who it belonged to, other than to say it was being restored for future display.

These are only a few of the characters. There were probably 30 or 40 total.
After " The Scare Factory" we were taken to "The Scaretorium". There were two haunted attractions inside this 40,000 square foot building, "Northland Asylum" and "RIP's 3D Funhouse". The inmates at the asylum tried their best to be scary but they had a tough audience of haunters to contend with. I'm not much for clowns being scary but the 3D house of clowns was pretty decent. Again, not too scary to a bunch of critical haunters bu the 3D set designs were really good.

Photos courtesy of Jim McCrary
Without being too critical of the classes and showroom, it was a fun weekend but doubtful I would spend the money to travel that far again. It wasn't any better than the first year for Halloween Extreme we attended and as few vendors in the showroom which I expected would be much larger. Next year,  hopefully it's TRANSWORLD!