Category Archives: Decorating

The Aftermath of Halloween

I’m happy Halloween is over for another year.  It’s a daunting task to put all my props, lights and decorations away.  The coffin is still out back, my characters have not been undressed or disassembled yet, the smaller decorations and lights still litter my front hallway and my garage and lower den are cluttered with wire, wood, tools and pvc.  Why can’t I be like Samantha Stevens (of Bewitched fame) and just “blink” everything away!

I’m determined to put all Halloween related items back in their places by tomorrow.  More important, I’ll have to remember what tools and supplies to keep on hand for the upcoming Make and Takes where we’ll be building new Halloween props for next year.

Oh, “what a world, what a world!”  I do feel like I’m melting sometimes…but everything will get done, eventually.  I only hope next year, we’ll avoid the wrath of the evil one and the weather will cooperate.  After all, we can’t let the TOTs down, now can we?

Screamin’ Sandy

Power just went out again, so I’m posting this quickly.

Hurricane Sandy has forced me to take most of my props inside to safer territory.  Gusts are between 30 and 70mph and are expected to worsen in a few more hours.  We’re waiting out this storm but will probably lose power shortly.

Halloween…Wednesday looks much better.  The storm will have passed and we will be left with just a few showers and some light wind; nothing like we are experiencing right now. 

I can put my decorations back up Wednesday morning and look forward to a handful of brave Trick-or-Treaters working their way up my path.  For now, I’m sure it will be a very long night…

Two Days and Counting…

It’s almost Halloween.  I’m trying to get into the Halloween spirit by dressing a little “halloweenie” when I can.    Unfortunately, I had to take down some of my props today because the wind started to pick up due to Hurricane Sandy.  We don’t have rain yet, but it’s expected to come tomorrow and be very, very heavy. 

Although I put together a nice little movie from video I took at a Make-and-Take gathering I went to back in August, I had forgotten how to do it.  Last night, I took some video on my camcorder.  Not too bad under the circumstances.  The music adds a nice touch.  I just wish I could have set up all of my props.  But there’s always next year.

I hope all my friends in NJ and PA are okay over the next couple of days.  Speaking with several online, I found most have disassembled their haunts due to the storm.  What a bummer!  Working all year for this one night and then having to take everything down because of the weather.  The main thing is that everyone is safe and hopefully, nobody has any structural or water damage.

There are still a few things out on my lawn including all my tombstones.  Keeping my fingers crossed that “something” is left standing by Wednesday!  We’ll have to see.  In the meantime, maybe I’ll bake up some goodies before my electricity goes out.  At least they’ll taste better than whatever canned food I may be stuck with!

Finally Finished

My other blog, FitnessandFunatFifty.wordpress.com details the completion of my Halloween decorating chores for the day so I won’t repeat it here, however I will say I’m glad I’m finished.  Due to the impending storm, some of my other props will remain in the lab, gathering more dust for next year!  As it is, I dread the thought of taking in all the lightweight props and decorations once the rain comes!

I managed to take a fairly decent video tonight with my camcorder, complete with some background horror music, fog and the rocking granny/Mrs Bates in action.  Once I do a little editing, I’ll post it.  It’s a lot nicer than my previous ones, taken with my cellphone and you’ll be able to see it on here, without heading over to YouTube.

Until tomorrow…thanks for perusing.  Ciao!

Whatever You Do, Don’t Fall Asleep…

http://youtu.be/SPMBYLiYG_0

http://youtu.be/n5Rrj8nOcH8

http://youtu.be/WJsJgxKl0hk

http://youtu.be/puGjmSPHQWQ

I took some video of the outside this evening with my camera phone – in 4 installments.  I’ve never taken video with my phone before and uploaded it to YouTube but I did tonight.  Don’t even ask why I did it that way.  Probably because I didn’t want to try it with my regular camera or put a new disc in my video camera until everything is set.  

These are just preliminary.  I sill have a few more static props to display plus my coffin and rocking Mrs. Bates.  I’ll be getting those out tomorrow and should be finished by Saturday or Sunday the latest.  Of course, I’ll be adding music and fog.  Hey, it’s not Halloween YET!

Hurricane Sandy is headed our way and she’s expected to start pouring her heart out in our area this weekend.  I hope not.  I’m getting up very early in the morning, going down to my laboratory and finish the last of my props.  I will probably post some still shots by Saturday and save the final video for Halloween.

Crossing my fingers the storm doesn’t ruin Halloween for the TOTs this year.  It’s bad enough it Halloween is on a schoolday – if it rains I might not get anyone but the neighbors ringing my bell. 

One last thing; I haven’t decided on a costume yet!  Ha ha, nothing like leaving minor details like that till the last minute!  I’ve already had a handful of kids come into our cul-de-sac checking out the props and tombstones.  They said they love coming to see what I have each year because nobody else in the neighborhood really decorates for Halloween.  My pleasure is not so much in the decorations as in scaring the kids.  I’ve startled quite a number of them over the years (only the older ones).  The little ones I throw in the cauldron for a snack if they get out of line!

Soon children, very soon…

Weathering the Storm

Let me apolgize for the quality of the photo.  Night setting didn’t come out too well. I have to fool around with the flash more.  I took six shots, and this was the best I could show.  I’ll be working on it shortly.

For the past few years, Halloween day and night has been pretty mild here on Long Island.  However, the weeks leading up to Halloween were filled with severe thunderstorms and high winds.  Several tombstones cracked, my characters fell over and lighter decorations were tossed about.  The recent weather has been unpredictable.  Needless to say, I am leery about putting out my mechanical props until the weekend before Halloween, but I may change my mind. 

This afternoon, I managed to put up my witch but my LED spotlights aren’t working.  I’m not sure if I want to reconnect them with vampire clips on landscape wire or what.  For the time being, I have regular floods lighting what I have up so far.  I’m not too impressed.  There’s still more to do although I have almost everything ready to go.

Tomorrow Michael Myers, Scream, the Grim Reaper, Rocking Granny and my coffin will be put out.  I made the mistake of trying to repaint the coffin and I’m not happy with the brown paint.  Maybe I’ll add some wood designs and handles and change the color again.  All my medicine bottle labels are printed but I forgot I tossed my old shelves out last year.  Gotta see if I can dig up some spare pieces of wood and make another medicine chest… quick!

I still have a little time left.  I actually like to watch the scene progress in bits and pieces as props are completed.  It gives me something more to look forward to each day!

“We both know, that he’s alive. But you know where he is!”~ Dr. Loomis to Laurie – Halloween Movie)

I’m Getting Crazy

It’s the second week of October and I’m still not finished with my Halloween decorations.  Okay, so I’m preoccupied with school and stuff, but that’s no excuse.  I did manage to put out a few more things today but the weather really hindered me for the past 5 days.

I managed to get a few more things out today, a few more tombstones, but I’ll be removing the spotlights and replacing them with my LED’s this weekend.  They are less conspicuous.  I NEED MORE TIME!  Yikes, I can’t stand it!

My dirty rat is finished…not too bad for the first try after his surgery! 

I have boxes and boxes full of deocrations downstairs and none of my creatures are out yet!  This is the first year I’m so late and it’s killing me!  Part of the reason is that my “help” has gone off to college; the other being I don’t want to put out my animated things with the weather being so bad.  What a conundrum!

Setting my alarm for extra early tomorrow.  I think it’s supposed to be partly sunny.  Hope so cause I have lots to accomplish!

23 Days and Counting!

I’ve been unexpectedly busy the past two weeks; way behind in my Halloween decorating and I’m frantic trying to get everything set up outside before this coming weekend.  Today I had unexpected (but much welcomed) company so I’m posting these photos a little late.  Tomorrow I plan on working dawn till dusk and will have much, much more set up outside to show you!  I’m so excited.  A few of my older foam props were splitting apart so they needed some repair before I could display them.  Unfortunately, that’s taking longer than I thought.

“You dirty rat!” gave me a headache.  This creature was splitting all over.  I had to perform major surgery on him and he’s still drying.  My sutures were masking tape, then a coating with liquid latex.  I added some pieces of paper toweling over the latex while it was still wet to give it structure.  After that dries, I’ll add one more coat of latex, let it dry then paint. 

Warning:  I never used liquid latex before.  When I opened up the container, there was a latex “plug”, something like you’d get when you open a bottle of glue; that little hard bubble of gunk before the real stuff comes out.  Well, I learned my lesson.  I squeezed the bottle too hard and the latex spurted ALL OVER THE PLACE!  On the floor, my tombstones, on the table, my exacto knife and accessories, paintbrushes, cups…EVERYTHING. My efforts to clean it up were futile – it smeared and left a tacky residue on the floor, table, chair, supplies and of course, my clothes!  Needless to say, I’m leaving the rest of the cleanup until after all my prep work is complete; who knows what may happen next! (I still have painting to do!)

The latex leg wasn’t too bad.  I had already taped over part of the foam with red electrical tape which held up pretty well for two years.  Again, I used a foam brush to cover it with latex, followed by some torn paper towel and will apply another coat before final painting.  I’ve also decided to give Mrs. Bates skull a latex facelift.  Not sure where I’m going with this one yet; maybe a little more dried flesh on the skull!

Some of the tombstones need to be touched up with paint and they should be ready for display tomorrow too.  I already have the holes made for the dowel inserts which will go half into the foam stones and half in the ground.  Even in strong wind and rain, the stones have held up over the years with only a few mishaps.  There are a couple of tombstones that still need detail painting but I don’t expect that to take too long.

While the tombstones, rat and leg are drying, I’ll be building my creatures.  If I can coat the coffin with a paint sealer, I’ll put that out early this year.  I used to wait until a few days before Halloween so the weather wouldn’t destroy it.  We’ll have to see.  By tomorrow night, I should have all the spot lights hooked up and will test my fog machine.  Still haven’t decided if I should make a creature for the pond.  I knew I shouldn’t have sold that old wet suit!

Giving Yourself a Hand!

Yeah, This might be a little strange.  While perusing one of my many boxes of Halloween decorations, I came across the one housing my hands.  Well not mine, but those for my creatures.  I wanted to lay them out to see which types I have, which I don’t like, how I may want to use them and which I need to make more of.

The creepy bubbly type skeleton type hands were actually my very first pair made with expanding foam.  OMG, using this stuff is extremely tricky to work with.  I made a pair about 5 years ago and still have little wads of foam stuck to my garage floor.  I’ve learned how to make different, yet similar type skeleton hands since then and need to put a couple together for my grave grabber or cauldron creep. 

The problem with the foam is that it isn’t pliable.  I think I’m going to use the plastic tubing, wire, cotton and latex method for making my new set.  This way they look will be more realistic – skelly looking.  It’s always a good idea to have an extra pair of hands around.  You can never have too many, I say!

Tips courtesy of HauntersHangout.com

After that, I’ll be working on my blucky corpsing.  Unfortunately I haven’t purchased my first official bucky yet (yes I know, I’m bad) but hopefully I’ll be able to nab one after the holidays at a more reasonable price.  In the meantime, I’m still sorting through my boxes, shed, garage and other hiding places in my house where I’ve stashed Halloween supplies I’ve purchased or made during the year.  It’s like trying to find a coccyx in a crypt!

Funny how around Halloween building props and decorating is paramount over anything else.  LOL!  I bury myself deep in my work and burn the midnight oil.  Thankfully, I have an understanding family who give me space and let me delve into my dark world undisturbed.  (I just come up for an occasional breath of fresh air when I need to cook dinner or else we’d all starve!)

 “Listen to them: the children of the night. What sweet music they make.” ~ Dracula

Get a Grave Grabber to Go!

At the last Make & Take meeting I attended with a group of my HauntForum.com friends, we tested a really cool Peppers Ghost projection from Hi-RezDesigns.com.  I purchased the Grave Grabber illusion which I will reflect off a tombstone on the lawn.  This will make the zombie girl appear as if she is climbing out of the grave.  See the video below:

I still have to create a background scene surrounding the tombstone, complete with old branches, a dirt pile and some other accessories (maybe a shovel?)  As soon as I figure out which device I want to use to project the image (TV, laptop or video projector), I can test it in the evening.  It may take a little time to figure this all out because the angle of the plexiglass needs to be just right as well as the position of the projector and the color/object I’m projecting off of. 

This is really going to be cool.  I can’t wait to try it out!  There are more videos online.  You can check them out at http://www.hi-rezdesigns.com/online_store_updated/

Here’s the set up you’ll get:

I have a lot of projects going on and time is getting short.  But Halloween only comes once a year right???  Until next time…

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