Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting the "Treats" Together

Much fun as it is to put the scariness of Halloween together, there have to be treats. Probably easier just to get individual large candy bars and keep count of our treaters that way, but I think the kids like those little boxes of Halloween tattoos we started giving out with the candy a couple years ago, so the bags are easier.

We did 100 bags last year and then started with candy from a bowl and figured between 120 and 130. This year we made up 120 bags. Even though we have always had an increasing number of Trick-Or-Treaters turnout each year, in the back of my head I always think, "what if no one comes?" Actually, the candy is the least expensive part of this holiday for us, but for some reason getting together the candy is when I think  about it. Maybe it's because I worry we'll eat the candy that's left over and we'll both go into diabetic coma...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Behind the Screams"

We attended the RIP Tour at Universal Studios, "Halloween Horror Nights" again this year. This is a lights on day-time tour of the set designs for each of the scare houses at HHN without dead people and monsters and such jumping out at you. Last year was our first year doing the tour and it was such a good time looking at the designs and detail that goes into creating these sets that it required a return visit.

AMC's Walking Dead House D Block!

Belinda visiting the jail cell
This year they had 8 eight houses and we got to see 6 of them in the morning and afternoon tours. "The Walking Dead" house was back with scenes from last season. The Walking Dead are also roaming throughout the park to attack you between the scare houses during regular HHN hours. We decided that Belinda is pretty much a zombie magnet during our night visit to the park... if a zombie epidemic breaks out I'm thinking shes on her own. Sorry babe!
Our guide gives us a rough demo of how the scareactor works with this zombie victim prop. He was entertaining and had good knowledge of all the behind the scenes stuff.

Everything is glued down in every scene in the houses...including body parts of course.
Most of the houses were after shows or movies, "Walking Dead", "American Werewolf in London", "Cabin in the Woods", and "Evil Dead".

Belinda and I got to pose with a couple of the "American Werewolf in London" puppets.

"The Slaughtered Lamb" pub from AWIL
Facade in front of the tent for the "La Llorona" house. Amazing detail!
Three of  the houses are creations from Universal Studios, including "Havoc", "La Llorona" and this years 3D house, "Afterlife: Death's Vegeance". We didn't get to see "Havoc" or "Afterlife", but "La Lorona", which is based on a Mexican Urban Legend, was visually spectacular!

"Resident Evil" house in one of the sound stages
The final house was based on the "Resident Evil" game. I've never played the game but the house appeared to be very detailed with specific scenes from the game. This was the exterior of the house in the game's venue called Racoon City.

Resident Evil was a huge set of building facades, streets, and alleyways.

Hated the "Cabin in the Woods" movie but this scare house could have been the actual movie set. Very well done.

If you go to Halloween Horror Nights Orlando, try to make it a point to take the "Behind the Screams" Tour. We enjoyed ourselves again, and although  it was a very long day, I'm pretty certain we'll be back again next year!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dollar Rats

Not sure very much can be done to upgrade the rats we can get every year at the Dollar Store. For a dollar you get two rat positions, one in scurry mode on all four legs or one sitting up on it's hind legs. Not that the rubber rats aren't an excellent deal for a dollar each.

Belinda wanted to add some of them to the Shingle Creek Mausoleum facade under construction but we were afraid the all black rodents would get lost in the shadows. Around the same time we were debating this dilemma, prop master, fellow haunter, and proprietor of the Haunt Calendar, Hector Turner, posted a photo on Face Book of some of the rubber rats that he had dry brushed with some brown that really made them stand out in the photo. And so we borrowed Hector's idea and added some color to our rats - What a difference!
A little white dry brushing to make the details pop

Heat gun to straighten the tail on this one
Found them a place on the mausoleum roof. Should cast a nice shadow against the light color of our house.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Started out the season "Ghosting" my son and his family!

We've enjoyed this tradition for the past few years, anonymously leaving baskets of Halloween treats and novelties at the door of neighbors, friends, and family, ringing the door bell, and running like hell. Admittedly, in some cases it has involved hiding around the corner of the house or behind a tree because I'm getting too old to be running like a mad man up and down the street.

You can Google the particulars of the tradition including the various "Ghosting" poems that explain to the unsuspecting victim what has happened and that it is their Halloween duty to repeat the process to their neighbors, friends and or family. You also get a picture of a ghost, or some variation thereof, to place in your window indicating you've been ghosted.

We did two baskets this year, one for the my son and his girlfriend and one for their four year old. Four year olds at Halloween make it all worth while. They sent us a short video clip of his excitement carrying his basket inside and sorting through it's contents, Good feelings for Halloween!

Blinking LED's and candy in a bowl always look good on a dark porch to a child

Treats differ for adults, bottle of witch's brew (Sangria) and some cheddar cheese instead of candy!