Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Good-Bye Halloween 2013

It was a painful process to pack Halloween away for the season. Halloween storage now dominates our upstairs bonus room and part of the attic, but it is all finally cleaned and neatly put away along with some mental notes about needed repairs or changes for next year. Except for some after-season haunt contest submissions I doubt there will be many thoughts of Halloween activity between now and the New Year.

Single Creek Manor - Hooded Sorrow 2013

I will of course be trying to keep up with our fellow bloggers who routinely inspire us and of course Face Book "Halloween people" who challenge us to be better than the previous year.

After the eating of the Turkey and giving thanks for our many blessings, we are "Skipping Christmas" here at Shingle Creek Manor. This is not due to any disdain for the holiday, we enjoy the Christmas season very much... when it remains in it's appropriate place, AFTER the Thanksgiving holiday.

Actually we're not skipping it, ( I just enjoy saying that, mimicking one of my favorite Christmas movies), we're actually hoping to find and celebrate an "old world" Christmas void of the massive commercialism that seems to dominate it here. I hope our plans succeed but I'll save the specifics for a blog entry at a future date.

Celebrate your Winter holidays in whatever way you see fit and above all, be safe!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Just a "Thank You"

Noticed our video got linked and mentioned in one of Pumpkin Rot's recent blog entries. Highly unlikely your reading this blog and don't know who Pumpkin Rot is or not spent hours mulling through the photos and videos of his amazing creations on his blog and website. His was the VERY first yard haunter's site I had ever visited. I had no idea until then the amount of time and creativity people put into Halloween. Admittedly Rot is in a category all his own. His dark, organic style creations have completely redefined my vision of what a scarecrow looks like. The popularity of his site and creations has to be in no small part due to the creative eye of his photographer and wife, Bean.  If you haven't already done so, the photos of this year's "Scarecrow Catacombs" are amazing! Do any trick or treaters come to their door??

Of course it's always rewarding to get recognized by any of our fellow Haunter's or Halloween bloggers. Haunters by and large are a supportive community. This surprising recognition from Pumpkin Rot, with a kind comment from Bean was however,  ... "memorable."

Thanks Rot!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shingle Creek Manor 2013 Video

Might be able to get a submission together for the " Home Haunter's Video awards" if I include prop building photos.

Note to self, " find a friend that has a good video camera that knows how to take night shots for next year!"

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween 2013 Review or "How NOT to enjoy Halloween in 2014"

First and foremost a belated "Happy Halloween" to everyone!

I'm not sure what happened for us. The week leading up to Halloween, the Florida weather was cool and breezy, we were on-time if not slightly ahead of schedule with prop building, we were enjoying ourselves with some things that have become October traditions and then... a full reversal! The weather turned hot and sticky humid, took longer for my family and I to get the props from storage out and setup so having everything running the day before Halloween didn't happen. New mausoleum facade gave me repeated headaches during setup including continual  breaking of what will be forever known as the "Columns from Hell"!

Rose Family Mausoleum covering one of the garage doors. "Columns from Hell" finally not breaking and stayed in place nicely.

On Halloween day we started early in the morning to try and finish and have some relaxation time before the Trick-or-Treaters came - didn't happen... getting things set up, errands to the store, a fog chiller not working well, and then the icing on the cake, NO SOUND. Yep, no music, no sound effects, nothing!
Ipod wouldn't sync to computer I had Halloween music on. Our only CD player breaks and won't play the lullaby music for the new Rocking Zombie Granny prop, and the only good sound effects CD we have decides that three Halloweens is the maximum number of times it wants to play.

New Rocking Zombie Granny from Distortions Unlimited
With literally minutes before the first customer of the night, my family gets it all figured out using a laptop for Granny and an Ipad connected to an Ipod stereo player with some You tube storm sounds.

So without any rest we began Halloween Night 2013.

We had about 70 trick-or- treaters and probably double that to 140 total visitors including parents, some adults walking the neighborhood, and the return of a double decker tour bus that we saw a couple years prior.  Not sure what happened that there were fewer children.

Rocking Zombie Granny prop on the porch kept some youngsters from braving it up the steps where we sat on the opposite side, but of course they got their treats. Belinda delivered some candy to the street to a few very little ones. I'm sure just looking at the yard was too scary for them much less walking down the sidewalk. Overall the children and their parents seemed to be having a great time, which is really what it's all about. We even talked to some folks that moved away but returned to the neighborhood for Halloween just to see our haunt. We felt that was probably the ultimate compliment. There were also a significant number of vehicles slowly driving by or stopping in front of the house this year which I don't remember previously.

New "Sorrow" statue we built this year was probably the only thing that didn't give us set-up problems.
The final problem of the night was the inadequate number of photos and the quality of what I did get. The ones posted here are probably the best of what I have so I'm not sure the annual Home Haunter's Video is going to be possible. I really enjoyed doing that last year too.

Despite not being our best Halloween, in the end the yard looked great, children loved it, adults were complimentary and we got to spend time and talk to lots of children, neighbors, friends and our family.

As I'm cleaning up and putting away this year's Halloween, I'm mentally compiling a list of the mistakes that made this Halloween so frustrating. Not advance checking every little item to make sure it still works seems to be the first one, especially the sound and music!