Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Haunters, start your Dremels!

Haunting season has officially begun! This past weekend, my daughter and I started work on the first props of the year. What are they? Well, you'll just have to come to the party to find out! We have never done a 'theme' party before, but this year we are thinking of loosely doing a kinda sorta type theme, maybe.

In other news, this coming weekend I hope to start construction on a brand new cemetery fence. The fence I've used in previous years was a rickety old thing pieced together from scraps and held together by duct tape. There is no turning back on the new fence now, as the old fence was used for bonfire kindling on Friday night. This project is long overdue, though, and I'm looking forward to making something that's a little more sturdy, and a lot more compact as far as storage goes (the old fence was basically kept together year round, and the sections were hid behind our house underneath the deck - an eyesore!)

I'll try to get pictures of our various projects, and hopefully, with my little helper, we can get the fence knocked out in a weekend.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It Came From The Garage...

It’s that time of year again. Well, at least for your average Halloween home haunter it is. Even though it’s late July – with 97 days to go before Halloween – time is already running out.

What is a home haunter, you ask? The basic description would be thus: anyone who goes above and beyond to make their house, yard, garage, car-port, deck, or living room/basement just a little bit spookier. These are the people who swear by duct tape, use terms like FCG, Pepper’s Ghost, TOT’s, pneumatic pop-ups, and fog chillers to name a few. They can be seen in late summer sweating away in their garages, bent over foam core gravestones chiseling epitaphs with a Dremel, or figuring out a new and improved way to make their rickety graveyard fence withstand the wind and somehow make it through just one more year.

This will be my fifth year haunting my home (both inside and out) and it seems to just get bigger every year. What started out as a few jack ‘o lanterns and hay bales has turned into a – for lack of a better word – monster. I have enough props, masks, and costumes under my stairs to outfit a small army of ghouls.

The question I get asked the most about my hobby is: “what do your neighbors think?” Thankfully, I’m surrounded by a great group of folks who understand that Halloween isn’t just a single day at my house, but an entire month. Props go up the last weekend in September and come down on November 1st, the standard schedule for most dedicated home haunters. In fact, my neighbors seem to get a real kick out of coming over to see what new devilish design I have going in my garage – whether it be an 11 foot scarecrow, or last year’s big project: The Fog Chiller (a converted Igloo cooler packed with ice that traps hot fog from a fog machine and cools it through a chicken-wire tunnel, the end result being a spooky, ground-hugging fog rather than a thick cloud of noxious fumes).

As wonderful as it is to have understanding neighbors when home haunting, it’s nothing compared to having a patient spouse. My wife has been recruited into some pretty ridiculous schemes over the years when it comes to Halloween (like laying out on the freezing lawn covered in leaves to give passing trick-or-treaters a scare), and has pretty much accepted the fact that all weekends in September are spent in the garage, repairing old props and building new ones. Through it all, she has been more patient than I deserve, and, I think, has actually come to enjoy the process of haunting our house (although she’ll have no part in taking it all down and putting it away when the time comes...)

And speaking of time, did I mention it’s running out? I have so many projects going at once that it feels like everything is ‘last minute.’ In fact, it’s common to still be tinkering, taping, pounding, and sawing as the night’s first trick-or-treaters are coming up the sidewalk. At some point, you resign yourself to the fact that, while imperfect, you did the best you could and try to remind yourself that darkness is your friend when it comes to all the things that didn’t get fixed. In the end, it all seems worth it when you hear the screams of delight (and sometimes just screams) from the beggars at your door.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Goot eefning...

Good evening... and welcome to my blog. Here you will find my thoughts, ramblings, ideas and the like regarding Halloween and other stuff that interests me. Be warned - I'm pretty lazy about writing, but hopefully I can get around to posting a few things of interest for your reading pleasure. Check back often, especially in the month of October, as I hope to keep track of my progress with this year's haunt. Thanks for visiting - and happy hauntings!