Saturday, May 23, 2015

Decorating One Weekend in October

First thing on a Saturday morning, I wired on the new pumpkin LED light strings to the plastic chain I had ordered and wove it around the top of the fence. I need another length of chain, probably two for sure and already ordered the 4 more strands of LED lights to complete it.
Normally, I wouldn't want such a bright light like that, it's too happy, but I need kids to find this and to be able to see it from far off. I plan on doing this until I get my own place and will do this probably the first year or two until I get a good crowd. Then I can remove them and put them away or use them elsewhere. I am wanting to really create more of a spooky atmosphere, very creepy and Poe-macabre style. But until I am settled and can do that and yet still have people find me, I have to use the bright lights.

We had a stroke of luck however with the military base community as they are offering a haunted hay rides and guess where it's at? Yup, just down the street from me so that means everyone will have to go by my place now which is awesome! They put up this sign just when you get thru the gate and then it points the way down the street and then another sign points them up the hill right past my house! I will get plenty of traffic then from the military community. Wonderful! Of course, I'd love to help out with their haunted hayride and may go peek about there if I can get some time.

I have rounded up some wire coat hangers so I can start to build the 3 monster trolls for the haunted cave. I hope to get those done in the next couple of weeks--but ended up saving them for 2015.

The 4 extra fence pieces came in and so we got them put in as well now, completing the cemetery. I took out the cutesy tombstones (2 of them) and replaced them with more of my creepy ones, completely filling in the graveyard. Got the newest tombstone out there too that I made with the Davis Family during one of their classes. The wind kicked up tho' and bent/broke the garden stakes I used to help it stand up. The ground is just really awful here, very rocky and sandy and so doesn't really hold well. So I had to take it in and will set it out there on Halloween. I sanded down the Gorilla Glue I used to glue in the pvc pipe and painted the back. There must have been a crack in the pvc cause the Gorilla Glue got in there and clogged it up and I had to tap in a garden stake back and for to get some of it out. I still need to redo a lot of my tombstones, but just don't have the time to devote to them at this point. It's a job to do over the off season months and perhaps I might be able to get to it then.

Organized the garage to get all the pvc fittings moved to inside the inner wall to be readily available for when we set up the front entrance. I will have to do a trial run with the front entrance however to be sure we have enough sheets and all that jazz. Will do that in a couple weeks.

I corpsed the skeletons this weekend too. Don't they look awesome!? What I love about these is that they don't all look exactly alike. They are all different depending on how the plastic bags are melted on them. 

We did put together a tomb to house the projector, receiver for the outdoor speaker and iPod for the singing pumpkins display. Came out pretty good!

Splooged some more brown craft paper and got more of the walls up in the haunted cave itself. Also added the skinny long black table so I can hide all the giveaways and extra candy. I got the gift bags in so I can start to put those together once I round up all the novelty items I had picked up last year and what I picked up this year.

I did get those paper cupcake boxes and am going to make some cupcakes but I am unsure about it here as the lady at the community center kinda frowned on it as she said all the candy and such goes thru an x-ray. I am ok with that and don't let kids take those unless their parents are with them, tho' I know some get them anyway. So I decided not to do any cupcakes, which is a bummer but I can understand. I am lucky I got away with it in Texas.

So just catching up here on the blog, been a while since I've posted anything and wanted to get some of my old drafts out there. :) I still have a lot more yet to share coming up!! :)

*bugs n hisses*

Just Because You Can

Doesn't mean you should.

Yep, that's my motto:

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

I wanted to touch on the extreme end of Halloween. As most know who read my blog here, I am not into the gore and blood of Halloween. I prefer the macabre, creepy, eerie and spooky Poe type of haunt. To me, blood just isn't scary, it's just gross.

But to others, blood is scary. It's the gore and the horror and extreme things that cross over the line and dabble in taboos that really scares the woogies out of them. To those people some of my things might look lame or just old school.

Everyone has their thing, that one thing that really scares the heck out of them.

I had some little girls not afraid of my cauldron creep while they watched me making him, but turn out the lights and they saw him at the end of the hall moving and glowing, oh yea, that freaked out many adults!

Others? They were so scared to see the rubber cockroaches on the floor they just wouldn't go inside the cave! Wouldn't step foot because of the bugs. Others? It's spiders!

That brings me to the point of this post, the yard displays. With The Walking Dead and other zombie and vampire shows, people are encouraged more and more for the gross and gore. And they are displaying it out on the lawn. Now it's their lawn, a sign of the times, but no one is thinking about the little kids. I had a lady come by who was walking her two dogs as I went out with the chain to put on the rest of my cemetery fencing and she called out how much she enjoyed the video projections and especially the skeletons. I asked her which ones and she said the one with them playing and I realized she meant the ones in the band. They are cute with playing in the band but I told her that usually on Halloween, it all becomes scary. She was asking if I could play that one on Halloween night and went on to say she watched it for hours and said if we played that one we would have people there for hours on end. She told me how nostalgic it was for her and brought back her childhood memories.
I was touched by that and said I would. So I began to think about all the scary and the little kids.

Over the past few years, I have begun to toss out the happy Halloween, kid friendly stuff. Last year, I had the backyard filled with a happy pumpkin patch and the big friendly Halloween train and all the cutesy stuff. Whereas the front was more the scary. It worked out well as the kids walked to school behind the house.  Now in the cave, it has become very scary, this year we've corpsed some skeletons and made a short skeleton hall that I got the idea from Transworld Halloween Expo, although their's was closer together and a more narrow aisle.

I noticed who went by the house and what the reaction of the neighborhood kids has been this year as we set up and work on the front yard. All the kids love it, they love reading the epitaphs and some kids thought it was a little scary but another said "oh but it's all fake, it's not scary." I just smiled to myself knowing how scary inside the cave really is. But again thinking about the video projection, what of the little kids? Where is their fun? Yea, kids are more desensitized these days with not only those shows but just because they are around this more and more. My old neighbor's two little girls, about 4 and 6 were perhaps a little scared the first year but by the second year they came right over and would visit every day to see what new items I had up. They would want to play with the scary zombie gnomes or pumpkins and pick out their favorites. They told me they were no longer afraid and told their mom they wanted more scary things at their house and wanted to be more scary things for Halloween. I had to laugh that I had been an influence on them like that. It was good they won't be afraid then. They will remember that and hold that feeling throughout their lives.

I think it's because of those little girls that I don't do gore.
I think as home haunters, we forget that those shows are on tv at night and we have control over what our kids watch or see. Do we really need a little 4 year old to see blood and guts hanging out? Don't most haunters have a warning at least and their props are mostly behind closed doors and parents can choose whether they take their 4 year old inside or not. Nothing says we can't have it, but the choice is the customer's to endure it or see it or not. And yes, they can just walk on by, yes they can just not look, but just cause we can, doesn't mean we should. Kids will see it. It's like a train wreck, sometimes you can't help it. But I remember this one mother tell me that her kid was afraid of spiders and so they would peek around the bushes to make sure the video projection wasn't showing the spiders coming down so it was 'safe' for them to cross in front of my house on the sidewalk. I laughed as I thought that was kinda funny. It's just a video projection. But still it had an effect.

And yes, I detest being PC but I don't forget about those little kids. It's why I put together a gift bag for those kids who can't have candy or the stuffed animals for the little ones. It makes them smile and not cry and not be afraid. I want them to face their fears to remember that it's not really so scary, and it's ok to be scared and then to laugh at it. I like to have a little bit of both. So somewhere in there, there needs to be a compromise. It gives me pause for thought that I do want to have a cute little kid area when I have my own haunt. Something they can go oooohhh and aaahhh over. And not be so scared but something nice and fun for the little ones. And then, when they get bigger, they can brave the haunted, more scarier sections. I think it's a good idea to build the kids up to those scarier places.
Not traumatize them at too young of an age, but to let them have their fun when young and then more scarier fun when they get older.

So yea, I could do the zombie babies outside and have a bloody lawn, but this isn't a horror movie that can just be turned off.  And yes, this is just my opinion, but I care about those little kids. I want them to love Halloween and look forward to coming to my house, not just for the candy but for the bright lights and fun and yes, a little scary and for them to say, "Next year, I am going to go inside!"

The only other thing I want to lightly touch on, one of the forbidden things, is...politics in props. Oh boy this one is touchy! Recently, I've seen some tombstones with political things on them like the president's gravestone with question marks ??? at his birth date. I had to laugh at that. It's funny, it's a joke. But it did offend others to see a tombstone with his name on it. I had to wonder why tho' when they have masks with his face depicted as a vampire. I thought to pike it on a fence along with other heads and faces. But you have to think about the political backlash, do you really want to have to deal with that bs? Everyone has their opinion and bad enough we battle celebrating Halloween at times alone, much less bringing in politics to it. So I relented and didn't pike and didn't buy. I posted recently that I'd not waste my time and efforts nor my styrofoam on something like that, not when I can create something better and in tribute to someone I really liked and watched in horror movies growing up like Lon Chaney Jr!

Again, the choice is your's to make if you want to put that stuff out there. I think there is a responsibility to it however. Yea you can go hog wild and try to make a point, but sometimes you don't really need to do so. It's nothing new, nothing everyone hasn't laughed at or know of before.
I recently got asked about my Lon Chaney Jr tomb, would anyone really understand it or know what it meant? My reply was, it doesn't matter. I know. Those who don't may look him up and find out what it means, find out what the wolfman curse is, watch the movie and then, they will know. I created it however when I found out that Lon Chaney Jr didn't have a grave marker as he had donated his body to medical research. So in honor of him and all the great memories he gave us as kids growing up, I made him one, forever permanently in our graveyard. I intend on making more in tribute to the great horror movie actors. Setting them in the graveyard along with the great writers of our time. Tribute to those classic and even some new horror movie greats. It will be fun to create them, each year adding a new one. This year it is Lon Chaney Jr.

Next year, perhaps Bela Lugosi,

 then Boris Karloff...

Vincent Price...

Peter Cushing....

and when Christopher Lee passes, him too....all of my favorites!

That is my choice, that is my fun. Not some boring political statement, but focusing on Halloween and the memories and sharing them with kids all over the world.