Sunday, July 28, 2013

Yankee Candle Halloween Preview 2013

We enjoyed ourselves at the Yankee Candle Halloween Preview Party last year about this time. This is when they release their Halloween candles, Boney Bunch Collection and other Halloween collections.

I happened to notice the date was fast approaching and checked their website and FB page. As of yesterday, not one mention that the preview party is on August 3, a week away.  I found a flyer on a couple of Yankee Candle Store sites and called the last remaining open store in our area to confirm. I wonder if this lackluster attention to advertising is why they have closed so many of their stores? Next to Christmas you would think this would be a big deal for them. Then again, what do I know about candle sales...

Boney Bunch collectors have managed to scan the following pages showing the new pieces for 2013. Even though it's more of an "event" than a "party",  some Halloween scented candles and a new Boney Bunch piece is a nice way to start the season. We've been burning the last of our remaining Apple Pumpkin tarts in the shop this past week so the timing for some new Halloween scents is perfect!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Year of the Patina Look

We like the "old" and neglected look to our cemetery. Although we've experimented and read up on several rust techniques for our imitation metal, this year wanted to do the look of patina on the mausoleum facade.

Four of these smaller panels run vertically up each mausoleum door with a back lit medallion in each panel.
Thanks to Victor the Undertaker, proprietor of "Halloween Hot Sauce" we got some solid "patina" guidance and gave it a try!

We created these medallions out of plastic for the doors of our mausoleum using some "Smooth-On" products from Reynold's Materials as I mentioned in an earlier blog. Cool detail but certainly in need of some color...

Step One: Spray paint your metal or in this case, imitation metal to-be,  a flat black.

If you can hang your item vertically, you'll get some pretty good results on the next step.
Step Two: Once the flat black paint is dry, select the color of your patina. Victor gave me the combination of colors he used for the effect on his project, but in the end we just chose #481 Aqua acrylic paint by Folkart. I think this is where you'll want to customize it to your taste. These parts were small so we might have wanted a different hue if the areas being painted were larger.

Didn't have a good photo of the medallions being sprayed but here's some angels!

Put your selected color in a spray bottle and add water, roughly about 5 parts water ( maybe more) to 1 part paint.  Spray your item liberally and allow it to dry. The paint is so watered down that it takes quite a few applications, allowing each layer to dry, before you start to see the color you want. I think we guessed we sprayed the medallions 6-8 times.

Step Three: Select an antique gold acrylic paint (we used Decoart Dazzling Metallics, Venetian Gold). Apply a small dot of paint to a soft cloth and gently rub the edges and or high areas of your item with the gold paint. I think we learned less is more here.

These photos don't do the coloring justice but the medallion on the left  is without any gold. The one on the right is with some gold on the edge and on the cross.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Came home today to find a big box had been delivered, the second of our two purchases that we ordered at Halloween Extreme. Pulled this guy out of his packing and took a couple photos just before a big rain storm hit. I'm not saying one thing had to do with the other but it was sunny before I took him out of the box...

This was created by Gag Studios, Sylvania, Ohio.  Eyes glow red and smoke comes from the mouth and nose.

These eyes look good enough that with some up lighting we may not even use the red LED eyes.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Wasn't part of our projected budget this year but we wanted a logo to identify with the yard haunt as one of our future year projects. As opportunity would have it, haunter and graphic designer Derek Young, a familiar face at Facebook's "Haunter's Hangout", was offering logos at such a good price we couldn't resist and we pushed it up the priority list this past week.

Derek has been a graphic designer for over a decade who has worked specializing in name branding and re-branding existing logos of some pretty major companies, so putting together logos for some yard haunts is probably a good way to keep his skills from getting too rusty while our economy does it's slow recovery act. In addition to graphic design he also does video production work and some sound design. You can check out his work at

He is great to work with and given the fact I had no idea what we wanted, but just a few things we didn't want, I think he worked a small miracle over the course of a couple emails.

Here are just a few more of his recent haunt logos.

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Haunted Halloween Calendar" ...Okay, So I'm 6 Months Late

Always admired the tombstones created by Canadian yard haunter Hector Turner. Recently on the Facebook "Haunter's Hangout" I discovered he is also the guy that sells the annual Halloween Haunt Calendar. I ordered a reduced price copy of the 2013 calendar and received it in the mail today.

It's a pretty nice calendar as far as quality, full color, nice paper stock etc., plus each month it's got various yard haunt photos submitted by haunters proudly displaying their creations. I intended using it as a countdown calendar, which is convenient because each date also has the corresponding days remaining until Halloween.

Mr. Turner is still taking photos at his website for the 2014 calendar so it's not too late to submit should you so desire. While your at his site also go to his "Blackstone Cemetery" page and there are links at the bottom of the page to photos of some of the fantastic tombstones he has made. I pilfered a couple posted below to just to give you an idea of the amount of creativity and detail he puts into them. I also read he is doing a tombstone class at the Canadian Haunter Association's Scarefest . If your in that area I would try to make it.

Hector Turner's tribute to Howard Lovecraft, the tentacled have cheerios glued to them!

"Broken Tombstone" by Hector Turner

Simple yet lots of detail - Hector Turner

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Are We Behind?

Our garage door stays closed now from prying and occasionally critical eyes in the neighborhood.

"The people that live in that corner house, building HALLOWEEN stuff in the Summer!" If they only knew the time it takes.

2013 props are under way, albeit in small incremental stages. Belinda is building a detailed mausoleum facade covering our smaller garage door. She's been doing something different with the details and trying a new copper patina look. I'll share some of the results this week.

I am attempting a new cemetery statue from a photo I saw and collected on Pinterest. I don't know the actual name of it (if it has one) but it's from Verano Cemetery in Rome.  I am sure there will be several other smaller items added but these are our 2013 biggies I think.

One of our "store bought props" we ordered at the "Halloween Extreme" show has arrived. As there was a disappointing lack of production quality from a manufacturer we were excited to be able to buy from, I am refraining from any comments while trying to keep it in perspective. It may just be me overreacting to expectations about what you pay for verses what you get. More on that a bit later I think.

Anyways, there have been plenty of haunter updates on Facebook, haunter's YouTube videos, and fellow bloggers, I feel like we are running behind in comparison. Our yard haunt is not as big as most though and it is only July... then again how many actual "building" days are there until Halloween...