Saturday, October 27, 2012

Small Talk About the Weather...

So we really haven't much exciting to report about the progress of Shingle Creek Manor. Very mundane tasks being completed, fence building, prop painting, trying to put together a haunted tool shed for our caretaker. Our official setup date is the 29th.

We have however managed some Fall favorites such as Pumpkin Pancakes at the International House of Pancakes, visiting various Halloween stores and watching our seasonal programs, Making Monsters and Face Off (Roy was robbed!). Tonight we might pay a visit to "Celebration" the Disney created town not far from here. I hear reports of good yard displays going on there... we'll see.

Which brings me to the weather;  while I can empathize with my fellow haunters in the North East preparing for Hurricane Sandy, and I know of at least one yard haunter here that lost a major prop due to Sandy's wind gusts as she only skirted by Florida, we are very excited by the Halloween weather reports for our area!

There have been years where complimentary bottles of water went along with the treats for those youngsters brave enough to weather the Florida heat in a plastic or rubber mask and fabric costumes not designed to circulate air, but not this year! Weather predictions are for temperatures in the low 70's in the day and the high 50's at night! That's as close as we get to the normally great weather of the North in the Fall. So while my friends up North get ready for wind damage, flooding and long term power outages all I can say is, "been there, done that!"

Seriously though, celebrate Halloween early if you can and store your props if your in Hurricane Sandy's path. Above all, prepare for and expect the worst so you won't be surprised and be safe!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Go Team "Morbid Mayhem"

Been watching "Halloween Wars" on the Food Network again this year. While so far the pumpkin carvings haven't been as good as Ray Villafane's carvings were last year, the final creations have been really good and I thought the two teams going into the finals were well deserved.

Been cheering for Team "Morbid Mayhem", their pumpkin carver works with Villafane's Studios, but Team "Dead Men Walking" haven't created anything less  than spectacular. It would not surprise me if they win the finals next Sunday. If you haven't seen it before it out!

Morbid Mayhem

Small Scare Challenge from last years winners
Dead Men Walking

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Had promised my adopted Grandson I would take him to see Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" when the trailers first came out. He's only 2, ( ironically his birthday is on Halloween ) and we tested his ability to sit through his first movie on "Hotel Transylvania" a week or so ago with pretty good success. So today we went to see "Frankenweenie"!

I have to say I enjoyed it and it held his attention pretty good for most of the movie. The character "Sparky" was the star of the movie and was a lot of fun. "Mr. Whiskers", the cat and his owner provided me with some good laughs too.  It was a great Halloween type movie for children and adults. Although I was a bit surprised to see reviews where parents said it was not a children's movie. With the exception of a startle or two, the creatures were as tame as most that you would see on Saturday morning TV. If you like cartoons and or Tim Burton I think your going to like it. So find a child if you don't have one and go see it!

I wanted to share this find too. While searching for info on Frankenweenie a week or so back, I came across this masterpiece of "Sparky" on the "SprinkleBakes" blog. It amazes me at what some of these cake people can do! If she was local I'd have to beg her to make one for our Grandson's Halloween Birthday!

Great directions on the SprinkleBake Blog for those of you with baking talent

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"The Night Beckons" - AccuRadio

AccuRadio ( has a featured channel called, "The Night Beckons", continuous playing songs by Midnight Syndicate, my haunting music of choice this time of year for working in the shop and ambiance for our graveyard.

Most everyone is familiar with Midnight Syndicate but they've also recently completed a collaboration with female vocalist Destini Beard, who is really quite good. She has sort of  an Amy Lee (Evanescence) sound.

AccuRadio also has a continuous playing Halloween channel that has some toe tapping goodies like Johnny Cash, "Ghost Rider in the Sky" and Electric Light Orchestra, "Evil Woman". The site is free as is the app for your Ipad or Iphone, which is my favorite price. As of yet, I do not see "The Night Beckons" or any Midnight Syndicate on the  Ipad app though, only on the website.

Monday, October 15, 2012

First Corpsing

About finished up our tomb but we needed a withered decayed corpse to lay on top and give it some creep factor. Our corpse was just to have the remaining skin and bones and we had learned the plastic sheet corpsing technique at this years Florida "Make and Take" so gave it a try.

Tomb is done unless I can find some cheap candle sconces for either side of the skulls

This technique uses plastic painters sheets cut into manageable pieces and a hot air gun to melt the plastic into sections of skin on your favorite skeleton. Then rub and wipe off some wood stain to get the color you want. You can really go nuts with this technique and make big sections of flesh and decaying organs clinging to the bone but I just wanted some skin.

Upper torso is done except for a little airbrushing to darken the exposed spine and joints
We Cut and hot glued some hair from a wig to his scalp so he wouldn't suffer from Male Pattern Baldness. I used mostly 2 mil plastic sheet but also some .7 mil thinner stuff around the face and hands. Couldn't ask for a cheaper method. Two sheets of plastic and a small can of stain was about $10. The skeleton was the one I picked up last year at Walgreen's that the leg kept falling off.
Lower torso before stain is applied
If you need a good hot air gun for your projects, Harbor Freight has the one in the photo for about $25 with a coupon. This is it's second year of use with no problems and it works great with two levels of air and about seven levels of heat.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Details...

Gave our graveyard a bit more "neglected" detail this year with some vines woven through the fence panels. These are those vine wreaths you can buy at the craft store, soaked in water for a day, deconstructed, and then woven through the fence panel and allowed to dry. Pretty authentic look, can't make vines look any more real then by using ummm.. "vines"!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dollar Skulls

You have to appreciate the crafty mileage you can get out of those one dollar skull door knockers at the Dollar Tree store. We added one to the side of our column last year with the lower jaw and plastic knocker still in tact as a holder for a chain and lock. This year I cut the lower jaw and some teeth away and made some embellishments for the tomb we've been working on.

Oh yeah, "Thank You" Walmart for the ridiculously early Christmas decorations you've put out. I needed those blue C9 LED lights for my skulls!

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Iniquitus

The first to rise from the buried cemetery that was disturbed by the ongoing construction at Universal Studios. These were the patrons of death that summoned all the other creatures on the streets of Halloween Horror Nights This year. Belinda managed several run-ins with these things and they were pretty intimidating. We determined that should there be a zombie apocalypse, everyone with a smart phone would be the first to die. It's hard to watch for zombies and stay current on Face Book, Twitter, emails, etc...

We had a blast at Halloween Horror Nights this year. Four maybe five of the houses were top notch, two were just "ok". Everyone agreed "Silent Hill" was in the top two. I've never even played the video game but I still enjoyed it. Something about screaming, faceless, nurses with giant syringes suddenly jumping out at you with that strobe light animated movement... VERY unnerving...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ghosting my Son

Started off our October "Ghosting" my son his girlfriend and her two year old son.
We had never heard of ghosting until moving into our neighborhood about 4 years ago and we got ghosted. It's called "You've been Ghosted" or "You've been Boo'd". There's a bunch of websites that explain it, but basically it's putting together a basket of some sort containing little Halloween treats and assorted items like candles, and other simple Halloween decorations. Then you place it on their doorstep, ring the bell, and run like hell. There's a little poem that wishes a Happy Halloween and explains to the recipient their job to make up two baskets then "ghost" their neighbors. There's a little ghost image that gets taped to your front window or door so you don't get re-ghosted. Nice little neighborly gesture for the holiday. We always put little blinky lighted things in our basket because it looks so cool for the little ones to see at their doorstep.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Missed October 1...WTH!

OK I got distracted and missed day one of "Count Down to Halloween". Maybe I can do some sort of blogger penance...

I did however watch both new episodes of Travel channel's "Making Monsters".  Actually I never saw the ads or previews because I don't watch Travel Channel that often, but it was scheduled on our DVR to record from last years episodes and sure enough I had two brand new episodes waiting for me on October 1! What a nice treat!

If you didn't watch it last year and enjoy Halloween prop building it's an excellent program about "Distortions Unlimited", a mom and pop monster making shop in Greeley, Colorado owned by and operated by Ed and Marsha Edmunds. They're always under some ridiculous time constraint to create and deliver a new prop, but it's fascinating to watch the builds and realize other people have bad luck sometimes trying to get their props together too!

So That's my excuse...I was watching TV...

Ed Edmunds airbrushing details on new zombie prop