Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Visit to Gods & Monsters

Killing a few minutes before a movie this past week I stopped in at my favorite nerd store "Gods & Monsters", and took a photo of their Christmas display.

I always forget "Gremlins" as part of my Christmas movie collection but certainly rates up there with other non-traditional Christmas movies of importance at my house, i.e, "Lethal Weapon", "Die Hard" etc.

"Gremlins" at Gods & Monsters
Missed the guy hanging off the tree when I took the photo. Wished I would have gotten a closer photo of him...

If your an avid comic or super hero person, and live or are visiting the Orlando area, "Gods & Monsters" rocks!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Halloween Dream Vacation

Romania in the Fall, Carpathian Mountain vistas, carriage ride to Bran Castle... How the heck did I catch this contest so late?! Winning a stay at "Dracula's Castle" on Halloween, I'd think I was dreaming!

Bran Castle

Maybe my blogging friends that have some writing skills and money for a last minute flight can still make the deadline? There are rules though... "No garlic or garlic scented items" etc.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ghosting 2016

I put together this year's "Boo" baskets for the annual "Ghosting" of my grandson and son this past week. 

"Ghosting"(aka "You've Been Ghosted" or "You've Been Boo'ed") is our annual tradition that I learned of in my neighborhood when we first moved in. Now the ghost has moved on to my son's neighborhood. I have seen the tell-tale paper ghost taped to peoples windows in my neighborhood indicating they have already been ghosted though, so maybe it's still alive here as well.

My Ghosting Procedures are as follows: ( Procedures may vary according to your "Ghosting" ability)

1.) Ghost creates basket with instruction sheet on how to pay it forward;

2.) Ghost has a couple mixed drinks while waiting for darkness;

3.) Ghost walks the basket(s) of creepiness and goodies to the door of the person to be ghosted while trying not to trip over bicycles and other objects in the yard, because the ghost's son didn't turn on the outside light;

4.) Ghost rings the doorbell realizing he's just walked into a spider web on the porch prompting rapid flailing of arms and hands after baskets are set at the door;

5.) Ghost runs for parked vehicle, while passing neighbors look on in bewildered amusement at old guy pretending to run while flailing arms.

6.) Ghost trips over yard object anyways, smashing shin, and screaming string of expletives;

7.) Ghost goes home to tend wounds;

8.) Grandson opens door and is delighted.

This year Grandpa paid a visit during the annual night time pumpkin carving at my son and daughter in law's home. My Grandson was fully immersed in pulling the seeds from the pumpkin for some sort of family pumpkin seed recipe. Six "almost seven" is such a cool age for Halloween. Everything is still magic. 

Wouldn't you know it, ten minutes after Grandpa left, they got ghosted!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Zombie Cake

I didn't attend the Zombie Fest in Lakeland Florida again this year. It's not far from home but seems like I always have something else going on each year they have the event.

This year I missed the cake they unveiled at the festival. It was done by my friend Scott Fensterer co-owner of "D'edible Delights" with Amber Santos, and their friend Lea Williams of "Got Candy". I thought it was so amazing I had to share their photos.

Scott states everything was edible including the hair?
I don't care if it's edible or not, I'm not eating that!

Some  people may recognize Scott's name from Season 9 of "Face Off". If this is any indication of what this group can do, I'd say they may want to be looking into Halloween Wars on the Food Network...

Friday, October 14, 2016


Due to personal difficulties this year, and honestly a complete lack of motivation to create anything, reluctantly, the Shingle Creek Manor Halloween display is cancelled this year. 

While it's a relief to avoid that last minute stress to finish projects and get everything set up that so many of my friends are going through, I am also a little sad that I have nothing to entertain our friends, neighbors and most importantly, trick-or-treaters. 

I'm trying my best to keep up with the Halloween social networking including various blogs I follow, but ask for a pass that I haven't been my chatty and witty self (though some of you probably never did notice much wittiness!).

That being said, I am trying to find my Halloween spirit and get a few more posts written on our blog of some Halloween related things that are happening. Meantime, I  wish my fellow haunters a great season and wish everyone the creepiest of Halloweens...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Halloween Wall Art at Kirkland's

Kirkland's has it's Halloween offerings out at our local store.
Once again they have their fantastic back lighted wall pictures. Most times these lighted pictures don't have an outside frame. This was the only one of the 4 or 5 they had displayed that had a pretty nice designed frame. I felt the glossy black color had no character but that's an easy fix with some dry brushing or a re-paint.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Skull Island Reign of Kong

I used to take my son to the King Kong (Kongfrontation) attraction at Universal Studios Orlando when he was a little kid. We remember vividly the size and intensity of the King Kong animatronic and being suspended in a cable car over New York City. The attraction had us evading the roaring Kong, catching only glimpses of the monster, and hearing the thumping of his walking. Finally he captures the cable car in his huge arms, shaking it and it's screaming passengers. I don't know how many times we rode that attraction until it closed in 2002. It was one of our favorites though.

Jump ahead fourteen years and my grown son, his family and I are waiting for the opening of the new attraction, "Skull Island Reign of Kong. As luck would have it, Universal was doing random soft openings, and after a lengthy wait in the heat  a couple weeks ago we were able to ride the attraction before it's grand opening.

Skull Island Reign of Kong

I think Skull Island is one of the more fun queue lines of the attractions at Universal Orlando. There were a lot of details and of course skulls. They also have scare-actors that pop out although I didn't get to see them myself. I did hear the screams of the people in front of us and later behind us. I suspect the intensity would have been a bit much for My 6 year old Grandson anyways. He did pretty well.. until we reached the room with the flaming skulls and the Shaman. After that, he'd had enough of the queue line! He put on his brave face for the ride attraction itself though.

I took a few photos with my iPhone but it was pretty dark so the quality isn't so good.

Mountain facade in the background looks real. Gives it great depth.

Skull Island has lots of... 'er skulls

Queue line entry

The ride itself seemed a little short to us, but it was some of the best 3D I've seen. Patrons ride through Skull Kingdom in what appears to be the back of an old military truck. Tip, don't sit too close to the cab of the truck if you can help it. There are events occurring on the left and the right and it's hard to see both sides if you sit up next to the cab. The attraction ends with an up close and personal view of the King Kong animatronic. I was thinking it may have been the animatronic from the original attraction but either way, Disney has nothing on Universal when it comes to animatronics.

Creepy stuff in the queue line

Flaming skull room

Shaman animatronic

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pre-Season Happenings at Shingle Creek Manor

Though it's early in the year for any haunt related builds (for us anyway), there have been some recent Halloween oriented things happening here at the manor.

First, we are excited to say our annual video won "Best International Yard Haunt" from the Canadian Haunter's Association, which was actually quite an unexpected surprise.

Special thanks to the CHA for hosting their awards program each year and letting us "international" folks participate. Also of of course, thanks to the judges for all their work. If you've ever tried to judge peoples yard displays, it really is quite a difficult task. We hope to attend The Midwest Haunter's Convention in June to receive their cool and unique trophy.
2015 CHA "Best International Yard Haunt"

Anyone that's ever had a one on one conversation with me regarding Halloween and haunting knows my all time favorite home haunt is "The Butcher of Provincetown".

The backstory, character development, costuming and set designs of the BOP are at such a professional level that it is hard for me to fathom this is at someone's home. Each year, the owner, Brad Goodspeed, does a top notch promo video which has become one of the few staples for our own personal "Happy Halloween". We love to see what he comes up with each year to further the development of his characters and back story and these are professional promo trailers like you would expect to see of a movie preview at the theater. If your unfamiliar with "The Butcher of Provincetown", check out their annual haunt videos and promo trailers on YouTube.

As circumstances would have it, I've had several opportunities to meet and talk with Brad Godspeed over the last couple years.  This year he and his family stayed with us for a couple days while they visited Universal Studios. As if the Halloween and haunter talk weren't gift enough during their stay, Brad brought me a latex mask he sculpted and poured last season. I am such a fan, that it's like owning my own little piece of the "Butcher of Provincetown". While it's not one of the current characters it has that same BOP "look" of his main characters. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Finally,  in addition to the walk thru of the manor cemetery for the obtaining of the candy, we have committed on doing an actual walk thru haunt this year. The scope of putting a walk thru haunt together has kept this on the wish list for a few years without much hope of reality. Finally, I think we are going to be able to pull off something this year for our friends and neighbors that will be visually spectacular and unique for home haunters in our area.   Financial investment in the project has been made, so now there is little chance of backing out. Pretty sure I'll be posting, maybe vlogging (?) the task of getting this all together. More specifics to come!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Spring Landscaping Equipment

I'm probably not allowed to have a hearse.... I wonder if I can have a back hoe... you know to do landscaping and stuff...

This Cadillac hearse was from an old episode of "Monster Garage"

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"Bat Ranch" and Other Weekend Strangeness

These gateways are pretty common to ranches here in Florida, usually with the ranch name or cattle brand on the top. This giant bat is a bit out of the norm though. Saw this on my drive to Apopka, Florida this past weekend.

I really don't get it... A defunct haunted attraction entry? Is this a bat farm? Winter home for a vampire? There was no sign anywhere, just the bat.

Looking down the dirt road all I could see was a pole barn, and the small fuselage of an old airplane both slightly overgrown with vegetation. While it was probably a Halloween decoration someone never took down, I like to think it was a bat ranch! Figured it was best not to trespass to investigate to learn for sure though. I'm betting bat farmers don't take kindly to trespassers!

Ironically, this wasn't the strangest thing I saw this weekend...

Dog's water diving contest

Pig races
There was lots of fun stuff to watch at "The Old Florida Music Festival" in Apopka, Florida. Unusual stuff, but fun nonetheless. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

...and So It Begins

Christmas is over.  2016 has arrived.

We had company for  Christmas, my wife's family came to visit. Nice to have children for the holiday. They brought me the flu to start off my new year.

My immediate thought has been this might not be a sign of good things to come for the year...

Flu be damned, between fevers, hacking, coughing and keeping the cold drug and tissue companies in business,  I managed to finish our annual Shingle Creek Manor 2015 video.

It felt like a struggle this year. Software changed and it was like learning it from scratch, couldn't find a song I wanted to use,  and once again,  kicked myself in the butt for not having enough video and photos to choose from.

Whining aside, ... it's done!

Wishing our friends and family a happy and blessed New Year!