Wednesday, November 5, 2008

to remember it by...

Some more photos from this years haunt.

My biggest regret is that I didn't have time to take some myself.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Thanks to Mike, Lindsay and Lesa for helping to carve all 8 pumpkins in about half an hour!

Haunt photos - the Haunted House

If the kiddies made it through the yard and still had some heart to carry on, we sent them into the Haunted House.
The door was ominously barred with the metal spiderweb my friend Graeme made for me, much to my delight! (and in August too!)
Once the door was opened you could hear the overwhelming sounds of a tinkling nursery rhyme, heartbeats and babies crying. Red strobes revealed...
The Nursery
With it's bloodied walls and gortraits, they would see a woman with long dark hair holding a baby, but what a baby!

From the Nursery the went into a dark hallway and felt their way through to the..
Dot Room
Mike did a great job of staying hidden until they came right to the end, and then the walls started to move towards them. He was so hidden that there was even one unsuspecting couple that took advantage of being "alone" and started making out. They were quite surprised when the dots started walking towards them!

He scared them back the way they came, or so it seemed, but then they walked right into...
The Spider Room
With it's spider strings creepily brushing up against them, they walked towards the spider victim, all webbed up. Touch sensitive spiders would drop and then suddenly someone was right there, screaming at them to "GET IT OFF ME!". A woman with a giant spider over her face, trying to rip it off and screaming.
Tonia rocked this room for the first little while, and I took over when she left. Though I couldn't bring the same level of classy spideryness to it, I did get pretty into my role and screamed until my throat was raw. It was the most startling I think from the amount of screams we got from the ToTs. Very satisfying.

From the spider room they shot out the door to the outside. I worked the entrance for a bit, and loved seeing the excitement and glee of people coming out. There were a lot of Whoas and Wows, and it really made it all worth it. We ran the haunt well into the night, and even much later for late arriving friends.

By far the most challenging to have built, the haunted house portion was a maze that snaked through my basement. Building it required 100 feet of black Poly and lots of black gaffers tape.
I had to build it to avoid all the furnace ducts and low portions of the basement, and I dearly hoped those walls would hold. I had visions of walls toppling and ducts getting knocked off, but even though people were wary and excited, they were also really respectful.
There was only one group of teenagers that were so scared in the dot room that they ran right through a wall! But after 5 minutes we were repaired and running again! (Thanks Mike!)

Everyone loved it and there were lots of gasps and screams.
I ended up working in the Spider Room for most of the night, and the strobes almost killed me.
I'm surprised I have a voice left from all the shrieking I did at unsuspecting groups of people.
Great to see the wide eyed thrills we gave people though.

Lesa and Mike were invaluable, and they helped make the whole experience a great one.
Thanks you two! I know it was really hard to stay in those dark and flickering rooms for so long.
Dan managed to get great photos even in that crazy place.
Sure made it hard to get to the laundry room for awhile though!

Haunt photos - The Cemetery

I went with my standard Cemetery setup for the yard, except with areas for the Gravedigger and Witch to work their magic. (literally, haha)
Because I was opening the backyard up to the public for the first time, I decided that a hay path would protect the grass and let the ToTs know where to go. It worked really well, and made it so the yard zombies and actors knew exactly when to expect people.

I had my 3 groundbreakers from last year, that I made with help from Mike and Nick, using SpookyBlue's method. This year I made two more, (see previous post) and adopted 2 more, one that crawled and moaned, for a total of 7.

Walking down the path, people would first be met by Kirsty the crawling Zombie.
She liked to lurk in the fog.

Next they would come to the Witches Hut.
She was crooked and cackling, stirring her cauldron and mixing her potions.
She had put a spell on her sister that made her unable to move. (see Witch Prop)

Right after the Witch they ran into the Gravedigger, with his unearthed coffin and his love of bodyparts. He was fantastic, telling them they had beautiful eyes and showing them his bag of bloody eyeballs. He would measure you for a coffin fitting or light fire in his palms. Then he would give the kids a candy body part to take along with them.

Heading back they would hear and then see a Zombie eerily playing a Saw.
Haunting and beautiful. Another lovely surprise from my volunteers. Thanks Brad!

Finally they reach the Candy (and Sodapop!) at the end of the straw path....
and if they are brave enough they head on.....
to the Haunted House!


It's done. Over.
The Haunt was a huge success, kids and adults alike were awed and frightened.
My volunteers were spectacular, and I could not have pulled off the night without them.
Having live spooks really makes a difference from just having a creative setup.
They really shape the experience, and I think they were having more fun than the trick or treaters.
The rain held off, and it was even kind of warm for October.
The only good thing about Halloween being over is that I get to checkout all the photos of other haunts and see what they got up to.
I just checked over at Pumkinrot and his Hollowman are fantastic.
I am saving the others for after I finish this post or I'll never get my photos up.
My only regret was that once again I was too busy to take photos myself. Crazy, considering that I'm a photographer by trade, but Halloween is the only time I never manage to take photos.
Luckily, I know this from past experiences and got my talented friend Dan to get some shots for me. My lovely and hideous witch Bryn also took some good shots that I'll be posting so you can see what was going on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Luring the children

I put my signpost up in the front yard yesterday. It turned out really well and I think it will help get the neighborhood kids (and adults!) excited for Halloween.
Today my Mom dropped off some vines and I made a scarecrow to put up by the signpost too.
Only 3 more days of work and then I can throw myself into Halloween preparations fulltime.
I keep having to talk myself out of finishing up the basement maze until the final week. We still have to be able to do laundry! It is hard enough to move down there right now as it is, every time you turn around you bump into a corpse!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

signs and crosses, ghosts and coffins

I felt like I hadn't done anything in the last week, but when I went to take some photos of props today there was more than I'd thought.
This sign is for the front lawn to get the neighborhood kids interested.

Also these signs will go on a post in front of the house.

I made some primitive looking crosses to go in the cemetery.

I got an $11 ghost that flies along a string, and it wasn't spooky looking so I updated it.

The head is two sided, skulls on both front and back so it will look rad not matter which way it is flying.

Yesterday I built a toe pincher coffin out of old boards. It was a complete pain in the ass but it will look pretty cool. I still want to get a cross carved in the front of it, but not sure I have the tools for it.
My brother is going to be the gravedigger in Cemetery 666, so I wanted a coffin to bury in the yard for him. He will be great I think. He used to be in a goth rock band and he's done improv acting before too. The perfect combination for a yard spook.

This guy is waiting for his grapevine body to be harvested and built.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Woke up in a Pumpkin patch

Drove out in the early dark hoping to get a foggy shot of a pumpkin patch yesterday. A stormy day but alas no fog. I did get some nice shots as the sun cracked through the clouds. It was lovely just standing in between all those soon to be jack'o'lanterns.

Friday, October 3, 2008

beautiful bones

Checking out The Art of Darkness today and came across the art of Kris Kuksi. My mind is officially blown. I can't describe his works, you have to see them.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The dark month is upon us

Bride's Head Revisited

(I couldn't resist that title)
Last night I updated my flying corpse bride's head. She had been one of the originals and had a horrible styrofoam wig head that had been mutilated and then hastily fixed up over the years.
She looks great flying from the clothes line with her corpsed son's body clutched in her skeletal hands.
Old head

New head:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gargoyle pedestal

I made a entrance piece this weekend, a gargoyle pedestal stand.
It will go at the front entrance gate, under the Cemetery sign.
Constructed out of Styrofoam and a cement form.