Sunday, November 13, 2011

Packing it Away

I don't expect I'll be that active on on our blogging during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays,  life being extra demanding then, but I'll be sure to check in on the blogs we follow and try to comment.

Post Halloween has been filled with the challenges of finding room for storing our props and getting everything cleaned up good. Although we are good at removing everything from the yard immediately, it usually crowds the garage/workshop for a few weeks before its cleaned up and put away properly. Lets face it, putting our props away is no fun. I know there are those that live and breathe Halloween throughout the year although we are not. I personally have to wait until I "feel" it as the summer is winding down. Then my mind goes crazy with ideas as I try to balance those ideas with the constraints of time. I want to take a moment to thank everyone for their ideas and endless passion for Halloween, it has made it extra fun and challenges me to continue improving our modest yard haunt. Thank You!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Banner Year

Rain the day night before and most of Halloween day gave us some worry and we lost our mache' Pumpkin Rot style scarecrow due to the weather. By nightfall though it cleared up and  it was a banner year as far as the number of treaters that visited Shingle Creek Manor. We estimated at between 100 and 120 children and an unknown number of adults. At one point we even had a tour bus from the local city arrive and park in front of the house, as what seemed like hoards of masked children and their parents descended upon us. It was a great Halloween and we hope your was too!

Tour bus and the number of children was a big surprise due to the fact the community's gates were  even closed.
This years purchase of the Jumping Spider was a big hit causing plenty of frights and running children and parents!
Last years pop-up Zombie, since named Seymour, still did his part although I think his foot pad was worn out once they figured out they were stepping on it to trigger him.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I'm thinking its a yard haunt requirement these days to have  a "Beloved" tombstone. Kudos to the originator. We setup the cemetery tonite and some of the lighting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last Minute Projects

We're just finishing up some last minute tombstones and fences. "Norman Bates - devoted son" was a new one this year but it sort of lacked so we dulled a knife, rust-ified it and cemented into the foam for some added effect. I'm not even sure most youngsters have even heard of the movie Psycho though...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Go Team BOO!

Halloween Wars final competition between Team Boo and Team Blingbats on the Food Network Sunday. There appears to be a division in the household over who we should be cheering for... I am of course behind the team that will win, Team Boo, with pumpkin carving master Ray Villfane, although admittedly Blingbats is really good.

Ray Villafane with one of last weeks judges, Rob Zombie.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Got some PVC and Wood fence panels cut and drilled and we finished painting the first one today. This will be about the extent of what we'll be doing this next week. We're very  pleased with the cork and Cross pin finials.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This whole black and white look at Halloween Horror Nights just has me fascinated. I thought it was the photograph, I didn't realize it was this whole haunt done in a gray-scale. Going to see it for myself on the 26th!
Courtesy Jim McCrary

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's All In The Details

,,,well at least for us it is. A yard haunter friend was recently giving some feedback on a prop and stated that he got by with the "cheesy look", (his description not mine, the photos I saw of his props and setup looked great) and he counted on the alcohol and the darkness to enhance his scares at the mega adult Halloween party he throws each year.. Besides a laugh at the logic to his haunt enhancement he got me too thinking we probably do spend too long working on the little things. I mean, after all, it is dark, and we're only dealing with children. We certainly could build more props if we spent less time fretting over the little things. I notice some haunters do and some don't. In the scheme of things neither is probably right or wrong, just different.

I think though that trying to make things look authentic, if there is such a thing in the imaginative world of haunts, is one of the things we enjoy most about building our props. Last year we had no finials  on top of our genuine imitation iron fence because we couldn't agree on any of the options we saw in forums and the cost of real finials isn't even an option. This year we came up with a plan using some Gothic style Cross pins from Oriental Trading, some cork stoppers, and some hot glue we could make our own finials. So while Belinda spent hours snapping the pins of the back of each Cross and gluing each to a cork, we discussed spending the time to give the fence and finials some rust and corrosion in the paint job. It will probably take more hours than we'll want to spend and most people won't even notice, but for us its all about doing the best we can even on the little details.

 Gothic Cross from Oriental Trading Co. and cork stoppers to fit in the top of each PVC fence pole. One down...

Couple hundred to go!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dear Santa...

Rights reserved

I love me a good Margarita plus this Tequila has the advantage of having the coolest bottle ever! It's Kah Tequila and the Kah Anejo is described as having aromas of Chocolate Tobacco and Coffee! I know it's Halloween but is it too soon for a letter to Santa??

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Our final big prop for the year...on to making more tombstones

Friday, October 7, 2011

There are Pumpkin Carvers and there are Pumpkin Carvers

Generally carving real pumpkins to display in Florida is pretty much a waste of time in this heat and humidity. Unless of course you just want that "science experiment gone bad" look  after about 2 days. So anyways, its not something I pay much attention to. This week however I  watched the pumpkin carving challenge on the Food Channel and was blown away by the work of this guy Ray Villafane, who ultimately won the championship. If you think you can carve pumpkins go check out his website or FB page... then go back to practicing!
All rights reverved Villafane Studios

Monday, October 3, 2011

Howl O Scream

These reapers at Howl O Scream are just too cool. I guess its Universal's Horror Nights for us this year but next year we definitely have to check out HOS. Thanks Jim!
Courtesy Jim McCrary

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October 1

I can't think of a more fitting way to greet October than the temperatures we have here in Florida today. Current temperature is a beautiful 71 degrees with a forecast of 61!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Union Vote

I think Belinda wants to join a union due to her working conditions today :) We worked on our Graveyard Entry column all day except for a McDonalds lunch and a pizza dinner. But the results are worth it. It looks gooooood! Got some tiny details to do tomorrow and will post some pics or maybe a video showing the water feature. I'm glad we indulge one another in our Halloween obsession.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Still under Construction

Painted bottom half of graveyard entry pillar with DryLok except for some "mortar" touch-up. Top half has the paper mache'  mortar still drying. Hope to finish DryLok, get some color on it  and a cap on the top this weekend. We;re discussing a water feature coming out of the mouth into a basin below but otherwise this prop should be finished this weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Halloween Tool Board

I stopped by Target's the other day and they were still setting up their Halloween stuff. I happened to notice their peg boards all had haunted trees on them.Some in a grayscale and some in a purple hue. Gave me some inspiration and ideas for off season to dress up a tool board for the Halloween tools. I think I could have some fun with this. Admittedly I'm kind of a pain about separating my fine wood working tools from the tools we use on props, which are more subject to abuse! Now  that I think about it, I just need a friend that works at Targets!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Animal Casting Call

This guy showed up on our roof the other night.  We gave him an audition, but really, how can you be afraid of an owl? No owls this year at the Shingle Creek Manor... well,  unless he just shows up, then of course, he'd be welcome!

Halloween Store Visits

This past week I had time to visit a Halloween Express and a Halloween City in Orlando. I wish I could say I wasn't disappointed. Maybe this is what happens when you see all the excellent hand built props by Halloween artisans on the various blogs and forums, then go to the stores and see the mass produced work. I found myself even critical of the sale displays though... I must say the Spirit store I visted last week was much better as far as displays and the number of different items. Sorry Halloween Express and Halloween City, NO Sale.

Monday, September 5, 2011


We went exploring the Spirit Store in Kissimmee yesterday with my son and his family. They had a cool jumping spider prop that startled me twice even though I knew it was coming. It's REALLY fast! It became our store bought prop for the year. Also acquired Xavier's cop costume. His third birthday is on Halloween.

What Was I Thinking?!

Brewed with pumpkin nutmeg cinnamon and clove, sounds like it would be a seasonable favorite... quite possibly the worst beer I've ever tasted!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

60 Days

Might be time to re-evaluate things we want to build verses things we have time to build... Things are picking up speed though. Three rather large prop builds are better than 80% complete so maybe we will re-evaluate at the 45 day mark. We're setting up on the 29th this year so actually it's less than 60 days of build time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creepy Face

Adornment for our stone entry column came in the mail today from Gore Galore Inc. Should add a nice creep factor to the cemetery entry column.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stone Entry Column from Hell

Been using MacabreRob's technique for building my entry column which involves adding to the foam instead of cutting away the foam to make the stones, and actually mortaring the joints with cellulose insulation. In retrospect this has taken way too much time and has been less than fun. His tutorial on Halloween Forum seemed simple enough and he had a great final product but I'm betting it wasn't a weekend project.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Skeleton Hand Arrived!

I wonder what the Fedex guy thinks when he sees a box from The Skeleton Store... new skeleton hand arrived today for statue.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Monster Mud of the Season

Belinda spent weekend on new prop and got to start monster mud. Waiting on skeleton arm/hand from Hauntcast Grossery Store then she'll complete mud and paint Dry Lok. My job was to run errands to Home Depot and fast food... I did get a few more stones on the entry pillar though.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ghost Cards

Haunted Casino theme Halloween party? Could even have a Wheel of Misfortune to go along with Black Jack Table!

Friday, August 19, 2011

When Good Pumpkins Turn Bad

Belinda's "Rot" style pumpkin is about complete. Some more painting and a minor mouth repair and this guy will be done. Even hunched forward he stands about 8 feet tall. Currently we have him taped to my wood rack to keep him from getting to unruly...

Monday, August 15, 2011


I've read numerous testimonials that where "Yankee Candles" fails with its flowery scented Halloween candles, "Dark Candles" are quintessential Halloween . I'm thinking we may have to purchase the Halloween Pack and check these out.


Disney really does have the market on a classic looking haunted manor right down to this distinctive sign. If you've ever been there you immediately recognize it. I need to make something similar for my stone entry pillar... so much cooler than the typical square or rectangular sign.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Breathing Grave

Electric motor came in the mail today for our breathing grave effect, courtesy of Mad Max's how-to on Halloween Forum. Looking forward to completing this one.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Halloween Nation

"Many of my generation were lucky enough to be kids at the right time in America when Halloween is the way it is still depicted in the movies and in fiction...the decorations, the dark, the sense of adventure a kid gets trick or treating, the sense of community created when everybody in a neighborhood gets into it, decorates, and comes out to give candy to the trick-or-rewarded; these things weave magic." - Chad Savage, dark artist and visual designer, Halloween Nation, Behind the Scenes of Americas Fright Night by Leslie Bannatyne.

Monday, August 8, 2011

More Angels

How many couples do you know that find fun in exploring the local cemeteries for inspiration? This is one of the best cemetery statues in our area. Belinda has her eye on recreating one of these for us but needs to work up to it I guess. It would definitely be a challenge.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Putting off doing more work on the entry graveyard column, it's not a very exciting prop but it's really needed to help direct the candy looters out of our yard. Too hot for outside work so I guess I got no excuse... something more exciting after this I hope!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ghost Town

While perusing the web for information on Shingle Creek, close to where I live and subsequently the name of out haunt, I came across this video called "Ghost Town" by Director Rudy Williams of Black Wood Pictures. It's not a ghost video but sort of a tribute to old Florida. I thought he did a great job and the soundtrack was perfect.

Ghost Town from Rudy Wilms on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Buried Treasure

Digging for treasure at the local thrift store; We'll just ugly her up a  bit and she'll be a perfect adornment for one of the tombstones

Monday, August 1, 2011

RIP - Wood Shop

I'm not sure at what point my wood shop ceased and our Halloween Prop Shop began, but I'm pretty sure it's when Belinda's creations started taking form there. This is to be our Pumpkin Guardian over all the little pumpkins. A tribute to probably my favorite haunter, Rot of If you haven't seen his work, GO.