Friday, August 30, 2013

Halloween Owl

This is the second year an owl has shown up at the house prior to Halloween, this time across the street above our neighbors house. I presume they want to do their part to spook up the Shingle Creek Manor but I've tried to tell them they're just too awesome to be spooky. Then again maybe they come here just for the snakes and lizards, hard to say, owls generally aren't too talkative...

Believe this guy is a Great Horned Owl
Sights like these I wish I had a nice camera with a zoom lens.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Travel Channel - Halloween Line Up (2013)

I can tell you by the number of our "Making Monsters - Coming Back for a New Season" page hits that a whole lotta people been looking for this date:

Sunday, September 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET - begins Season Three of "MAKING MONSTERS" with Ed and Marsha Edmunds, Jordu Schell and the gang!  Yes!!

Photo courtesy Travel Channel
Sept 29 will have with back-to-back episodes beginning at 8 p.m. and  moves to the regular 9:00 p.m. time slot beginning Sunday, October 20

The Travel Channel is one of the better networks for Halloween programming in my opinion. In addition to the return of "Making Monsters" this season:

Premieres Sunday, September 29 at 10:00 p.m. ET
"It's a heart-stopping spin through North America's scariest Halloween-themed coaster parks. America's beloved amusement parks by day transform into fright zones after dark, delivering the highest-octane Halloween thrills for adrenaline junkies. Whether it's high-speed launches and stomach-lurching cobra rolls, or haunted graveyards and zombie assaults, each attraction featured in this one-hour special promises you the ride of your life!" Produced by High Noon Entertainment with Travel Channel's Sean McKnight as Executive Producer.

Premieres Sunday, October 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET
"This one-hour special features the most terrifying, extreme and absolute best of what Halloween has to offer. From America's scariest, no-holds-barred haunted house in San Diego and a hair-raising coffin race in Colorado, to the ultimate custom body painting studio in Las Vegas and British Columbia's pumpkin drop celebration, each destination is more frightening and fun than the last!" Produced by High Noon Entertainment with Travel Channel's Sean McKnight as Executive Producer.

There are also some regular programming Halloween specials but the one that caught my personal interest premiers Sunday, October 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET

In this one-hour Halloween special, toy hunter and collectibles expert Jordan Hembrough is on the hunt for some of the scariest toys to sell at the Midwest's Horror Hound convention. Meanwhile, Hembrough's toy buddy Mark needs help with a special client - Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, who's looking for extremely vintage, scary toys. In between scoring Ghostbusters memorabilia in Connecticut and a 1972 Parker Brothers Ouija board in Salem, MA, Hembrough scours for the perfect and rarest monster memorabilia for Hammett. When he locates just the right item, he not only makes Hammett a very happy customer, but gains a new rock star client for himself. Produced by Sharp Entertainment with Travel Channel's Daniel A. Schwartz as Executive Producer.

Adding all these to my "Halloween TV Stuff I Wanna' Watch List" for sure!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hand Obsession

Maybe it's all the creative shows this time of year like "Making Monsters"and "Face Off", but we've really been inclined to experiment with molding and casting to solve our prop problems. Hands have always been a problem. No matter what you can find in the stores at Halloween and try to repurpose, most times it's just not the correct hand or finger position you need.

Hector our poor caretaker from last year is a classic example of hand problems, I mean really, who carries their lantern on their wrist?!
Today we experimented with casting hands and the front of a foot with a sandal using Alginate to make the mold and casting it with a hard plastic. We needed the right hand in a specific position and the front portion of a sandaled foot that peeks our from under a shroud for our new statue.

Right hand casted,  two experiments and the third one with the wrist is the one we'll use.
We were so pleased with how easy Alginate is to work with. It's pretty inexpensive, I paid about $25 for 3 lbs. which was enough to do three hands and the partial foot with some left over.You can cast either a very quick drying plastic resin or plaster in Alginate molds. We chose the plastic for it's light weight and the detail of every pore and skin crack was amazing. There are a number of places that sell Alginate, the one we used is a "Smooth-on" product I bought at Reynolds Advanced Materials. There are lots of videos on YouTube on how to use the stuff but even so the written directions are pretty clear.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Freddy" The Door Greeter - Reynolds Advanced Materials

Time to make the hands and feet for our new graveyard statue so I got to go to my new favorite art store, "Reynolds Advanced Materials". Actually I guess it's not an art store because it's all about sculpting and casting but what other art store can you be greeted by "Freddy" and assorted creature faces?!

Reynold's Advanced Materials
While  I'm there I realize that besides how patient and helpful the employees are explaining products and techniques to walk-in customers like me, they spend a lot of time helping people on the phone for their call-in or online orders. "Five stars for customer service," Reynolds Advanced Materials. The nice part is they don't even blink an eye when you tell them your building a graveyard statue... 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just Building and Dreaming About Building

We're still whittling away at our two main props for the year. We have the PVC skeleton portion of the newest graveyard statue and the platform she sits on finished but nothing photo ready to show. The mausoleum facade has taken most of our time and money so far. it is our largest prop to date. The doors are complete. The columns are 90 percent complete. Yesterday we worked on the roof portion. Lots of trips to Home Depot! Home Depot LOVES me this time of year.

I think we're close to being on target for completion time for these two major props by the end of August. Still have to buy additional lights and DMX cables to run them all to a controller. This was one of or more expensive goals for the year. Between the lights, cables and a replacement fogger I think our budget will be depleted even if we have time to get more props done.

These days I spend too much time on Facebook's "Haunter's Hangout" looking at the props being made, people's ideas and their YouTube videos. So much inspiration in one area, it is really hard to keep focus and not let the Halloween A.D.D. take over. If we were to do that we'd have a whole bunch of inspired projects started and none completed by Halloween. Still it gets me to dreaming about doing different things. Although I still like to use Halloween Forum, Haunter's Hangout is more convenient because we use Facebook daily. There seems to be more communication between haunters there too. I have met a LOT of people there! If your on Facebook and not on Haunter's Hangout you should consider it. The people there cover information on their props and upcoming Halloween events, and it's a good place to promote your FB haunt page if you have one ( on my "to-do" list ).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Next Year I'm Taking Weapons... Or My Wife

My son and I attended our local "Yankee Candle Halloween Preview Party" this past Saturday,  noting like last year, it really isn't a Halloween preview "party", but the employees did have on Halloween aprons and one wore a mask and there was a bowl of free candy. Oh and there was a lady in a cow outfit from Chik Filet giving away coupons or samples or something. I guess that counts as a costume. No Creepy music or cobwebs or anything. I mean really, how can it be a Halloween "party" without cobwebs?!

We were of the thirty or so people waiting at the door and once inside were quickly pushed aside by "SALE!" experienced ladies who were more decisive then us. Manners have no place at a sale, our mistake. I decided that if my wife can't attend again next year I'm taking a long pointed spear to give me a slight edge. There was one guy that quickly grabbed up what he wanted and was one of the first to the sales register... must have had specific orders and training from his wife or girlfriend I figure.

The haul for the day was Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein Boney Bunch candle stick holders with required blood dripping candle sticks, a Boney Bunch dog, a metal haunted house tea light holder, and some Witches Brew and Apple Pumpkin scented tarts. Most everything sold out very quick and I noticed as of today a significant number of pieces are sold out online as well.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Halloween Hot Sauce

A few weeks back we bought and received a bottle of Grinning Skull Hot Sauce from Victor "The Undertaker" Ives, proprietor of the "Halloween Hot Sauce" Store.

This particular one is being used as a Halloween gift for a relative so I can't tell you whether it is a really good hot sauce ( though I probably couldn't tell you a good hot sauce from a bad one). There are numerous reviews on YouTube that give acclaim to it's hot saucy-ness though. What I can tell you is the packaging and attention to detail in the products presentation is top notch.

Victor has three different levels of hotness in his specialty sauces, Spider Venom - mild, Bloody Bat- medium, and Grinning Skull - hot. Each bottle's art work is very well done and they each get their own wooden coffin complete with things you might find slithering and crawling around in a coffin. From the quality of his final product and his advertising/social networking, "The Undertaker" takes a lot of pride in his product which these days is reason enough for him to get my business. Check out Halloween Hot Sauce if you need a unique gift for a friend or family member. It's a reasonably priced and a fun gift, plus after using the hot sauce it will make a cool Halloween kitchen decoration!