Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Revenge" tombstone

Friend and fellow haunter John "Spyder" Nilsen gets an early start on prop building with his version of Terra Lair's  "Revenge" tombstone. Terra always comes up with some really good tombstone designs and shares her excellent videos of their construct on YouTube. Search "Scaryladyvideos" if you haven't seen them.

Spyder added some of his own touches to her latest concept and Belinda and I thought it turned out crazy good! Your setting the pace and the prop quality this year Spyder! Not sure if we'll be up to the challenge...

Be sure to 'like" Spyder's page at "SPYDERWOOD" on Facebook. Hell of a nice guy and always shares his latest Halloween endeavors.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pinterest for Haunters

Admittedly, the Pinterest website is rather dominated by the ladies. At first glance, if your looking for pretty, frilly, lacey things, recipes, beautiful scenery and beautiful people, it's definitely the place to go find photos of such things.

I started dabbling with Pinterest this past year initially as an effort to collect graveyard images for faux tombstone inspiration. There are so many beautiful cemetery and graveyard photos that it's rather overwhelming trying to remember what keywords were searched to bring up a specific image or remember what cemetery has which specific tombstones. Collecting the photos in one location was so simple that it led to me creating other "boards" (themed collections) that I wanted to keep. Of course videos can now be included in your collections so I'm thinking it will be a great place to keep Halloween "how-to" videos instead of bookmarking the websites or forum and trying to remember which video shows how to make which Halloween prop.

I found several of my fellow bloggers also keeping Pinterest "boards" including: Emma from Little Gothic Horrors, probably one of my favorite organized boards, all keeping within the theme of her dark passions;  Marilyn Girling from Seeing Things, a nice collection of Halloween boards and some of her own creations, ( her shoe creations amaze me, although she is missing a photo of one of her best shoes with the Steampunk theme!); and Ked from WicKED Woods keeps a Halloween theme and even has a board dedicated just to Halloween Recipes.

Of course when you start searching for specific items relating to haunting and Halloween on Pinterest you quickly realize that while it is still dominated mostly of women, that not everything is frilly and pretty. There are endless boards containing photos and videos relating to people's love of Halloween, haunted attractions, ghosts, monsters and other things that go bump in the night. My first board "Of Graveyards" has gathered over 260 followers with over 200 images of tombstones, graveyards and cemeteries. "Fellow Haunters" also has over 170 followers. For the most part I'm guessing that the people following these boards of "gravely" images probably have similar boards of their own, and the followers of those people have similar boards and the followers of those people...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Part II

Maybe I should have a New Year's Resolution to stop procrastinating... Sorry about the delay in getting the rest of our goals out. I would be curious to see the goals of our fellow haunters too folks. Please send me a link to your Facebook page, blog, website or however it is you get the word out.

Here's the last of our Halloween related Goals for 2013;

5. Fog Chiller - We've been using a Chauvet fogger for the last three years that has lasted well so far, and one Spirit fogger that lasted exactly 1.5 Halloween nights. The half night being this past Halloween. Needless to say Spirit will not be making any further fogger sales from us. Not sure where Spirit stuff is made but they might want to watch the quality control. "Sad" Spirit, just "Sad".
Anyways, aside from the dismal failure of the Spirit Fogger we've never been satisfied with keeping the fog as low as we'd like. I tried to build an ice chiller last year but it failed to be chilly enough I think.. I'm guessing it was to small . I think another attempt at making a fog chiller is in order for this year. Since my last failed attempt I found a good tutorial using a plastic container that a certain brand Kitty litter is sold in. I just need to find someone with a kitty.

6. Halloween Horror Nights #3 - Ironically I have lived here for over 20 years a whopping 25 minute drive from Universal Studios but until the year before last had never attended Halloween Horror Nights. We've had enough fun the last two years with our family that year number three has to be part of this years goals again. I've even come across some friends our age that  are interested in going. This could be a super fun year!

7. This final goal has sort of perplexed us since we began putting together a serious yard haunt three years ago. We have a relatively small gated community and although most seem to participate in giving out candy to the youngsters, there is very little outside decorating. We have one neighbor that goes all out and a couple that live next to us that always put out something that adds to the holiday, but we would really like to see the rest of the neighborhood get involved. This year we even had some adults without children come by just to check out what was going on, hopefully inspiring themselves. We thought about maybe sponsoring a house decorating contest or maybe some costume contests, even a Jack-O-Lantern carving contest. I'm just not certain how to go about it and whether we would generate any interest. It would be fun to see more neighbors get involved...

So that's about it! Not too specific, a margin for modification, but overall do-able for 2013.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Goals Part I

We have survived the insanity!

While trying to pack away Christmas into it's respective boxes and tubs and consolidating them into the closets and antic space, the furthest thing from my mind is cluttering up the house and work shop with Halloween prop construction... but, I do find my mind wandering towards the possibilities for this year's Shingle Creek Manor. I mean,  it's the beginning of a new year, seems like an appropriate time for dreaming!

 So anyways, I thought a draft of our Halloween related goals for 2013 would be appropriate for the first couple blog entries of the year....

2013 Yard Haunt (related) Goals  part I

1. Transworld - Since we first heard of it, attending the Transworld Halloween and Attractions Show of professional and commercial haunters has sounded like a hell of a lot of fun. Getting to see the latest and greatest of Halloween props and meeting some of the renowned individuals in the industry has to be incredibly inspiring for the home haunter. As it's in March, we might not be able to do this one for financial reasons but it's at the top of the 2013 dream list.

2. Lights - With MAYBE the exception of a good fogger, nothing has had more impact in our graveyard than the lighting. Each year for the past three years we have purchased DMX LED "can lights" of the size and variety that music DJ's use. Our goal has always been to use them with a DMX controller so we could change the lighting to whatever color or intensity we like at any point during the night. We have been using them manually and setting the color on each individual light to date. The LED's color is incredible! I think we have enough now that cabling and a DMX controller is a good possibility this year. Sitting on our porch and controlling the lighting and prop activation from one location has always been the end dream.

3. Thunder and Lightning Machine - a "must have" especially if we can use a DMX controller and kill all the lights in the graveyard and turn on the lightning and thunder at any point during a Trick or Treater's walk through the graveyard.  I'm thinking awesome scary! This is another one of those financial hurdles I'm not sure about especially if we can get the DMX controller together. I'm Hoping we can see something spectacular and affordable at Transworld or some other show

4. New Props - This year we will probably limit ourselves to building one or two larger props for the graveyard although Belinda ( not me! ) has been wanting  to do a small walk through haunt in the garage. We do both agree that 3D has some fun potential though. I'm just afraid it's a bit much for two people. I need some "friends"! Prop ideas evolve from one thing to another so I have nothing specific in mind this early, just a whole bunch of ideas. The one thing we have agreed on since the start has been it's better to do several well constructed props than a bunch that are just thrown together without regard for any detail.

Although I am pleased with the result of our corpsified skeleton for 2012, the goal was that he should pop up a bit from the top of his coffin. I didn't have time to learn and assemble a pneumatic cylinder and couldn't figure another way to do it in time for Halloween, so besides any prop repairs that are needed, improving this prop is high on our list of goals as well.

(to be continued)