Thursday, November 2, 2017

Halloween 2017

Well Halloween has come and gone and now I'm trying to recall some of the more fun moments.  Let's see.  First off, my actors.  Oh my gosh.  So Hannah had several bits/sketches that she adapted for different age groups.  She warned them of the snakes on the ground as they approached, sometimes holding her 'torch' up to the snakes to ward them off.  Her main bit was to warn them of booby traps on the porch, but that she would lead them through the grid system safely.  She managed to get small kids and teenagers alike to follow her on one of the funniest looking (from my perspective waiting at the end) games of follow the leader.  I took over at that point by telling them they had to choose, but to choose wisely.  Choosing once also got added as it turned out that most kids didn't quite understand the concept of 'choosing' and instead shoved their hand in all three holes before picking a prize.  Once I figured out the choose once phrase to use, a lot of them were a lot more nervous about picking anything.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A haunting we will go...

Went for a wee family outing in search of some other haunts.  Or as Sam put it, "checking out the competition."  We first went to my personal mecca, on 1152 Stratford Ave, 1145 E. 84106  It's on a corner and it's this lovely haunt that this woman has been doing for 25 years (#goals) and there's not really a theme other than just ALL THE HALLOWEEN!  It ranges from spooky to more scary,  but there are at least 80 (more like a hundred at this point) pumpkins, mostly foam, some real.  And lights.  Oh, the lights.  This woman knows how to do Halloween display proper.  You don't. neglect. the. lights.  I try and stop by every year and gawk.  Got to chat with her this year and she pointed out some of the new stuff--there's always at least one or two additions.  She picked up some fancy lights that she used really well.  Just lovely. 

The second stop was to the now infamous 9th street (900 S, 1700 E.) that does amazing designs (dragons, pirate ships, trains, etc) but that are over the top epic.  This year was King Kong.  We almost missed it driving by just because the trees out front somewhat hid the lights.  But the building is like a full story taller than their house.  I checked out the how to that they did--which is incredible to see how it all came together. 

After that we drove by a couple of side streets with smaller decorations.  Mom knew about one that had a full on haunted graveyard complete with hearse.  But as it turned out, NO lights.  *gasp* Like, what is the point of doing a haunt that NO ONE can see at night.  I was a little offended, not gonna lie.

Anyways, a great little last Halloween jaunt.  I picked up pizza for my actors for tomorrow night, and I've spent the day giving the pumpkins baths, freshening them up so I don't have to do it tomorrow--because I have to put down the chalk at some point.  I'll make a run for some dry ice around 4ish, then it'll be settling in to make sure everything gets turned on.  Most things are on timers, but I do have a few things that need to be manually set up--mostly the snake projector and some tea lights in the goblets, but other than that we should be all set.  Getting excited!!

Halloween previews

Sam did a couple shots me all dressed up.  I always forget to get some the night of, so here I am all ready to go.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

8th, Final carving of 2017

Last pumpkin.  Zombie Pumpkins came out with this one and had to do it.  David S. Pumpkins pattern.  Accompanied by some skeleton cut out.  Because? They're part of it. ;)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

6th and 7th Carvings

A snake pattern that was picked after it didn't have any holes in the pattern that would disturb Sam, and a few spider patterns to complete the Indiana Jones patterns. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

5th Carving

I ended up deciding to go with Indiana Jones themed patterns this year.  Mostly because there weren't any that really cried out to me that absolutely had to be done.  Except for a few Game of Thrones ones, but I'm considering a Game of Thrones theme in the future and wanted to save them for that.  So.  The next carving was a little difficult to find, but I was going back over Zombie Pumpkin patterns cause I really do think he makes superior patterns, when I came across "Tarman" which is apparently from The Living Dead, but I also think it looks like that scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark when the main nazi guy gets his face melted off.  I have no nazi stuff in my haunt for super obvious reasons, but I'm fine with having the one representation of nazism in my Halloween haunt from when they get their face melted off and they die in an extremely painful and agonizing way. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

It had to be snakes

Yay! The snakes are up!  And that right there is something I never would have thought.  Ugh.  So. Many. Snakes. So Sam came up with the idea of getting a video of snakes and using my projector to cast them all over the driveway.  I scoffed.  Surely not.  This is impossible.  Then I found some stuff.  Aka, a dvd made for projectors that involved the ability to loop video of snakes crawling around.  Also I found a mini projector I had bought years ago tucked away in a closet because it was too small (it was meant for more like business presentations and such).  But it's perfect to use for the driveway--not because it's all that big, but because it's not a couple hundred dollars like my nice big projector is.  So I'm not risking as much.  This is important.  So after some tweaking of items, I figured out a way to hang the mini projector (also easier to do when it's not a large one) so that it fell on the driveway.  There's also a setting on the dvd that allows for different light modes, one of which is a moving flashlight.  This is perfect, as the area the projector hits isn't that large, but it gives the illusion that it's larger than expected.  And when all was set creepy.  I mean even Sam, who has no real phobia of snakes...was creeped out.  So YAY!  That was the last real bit of setup for Halloween decor, except maybe some dry ice in the water bucket on the day of.  But I'm super happy about getting something that's so awesome set up.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

3rd and 4th Carvings

I finished the 3rd and 4th carvings of the season, though technically the first ones that were on real pumpkins.  I wanted these to have a bit of Indiana Jones, though I'm debating about future ones being similarly themed.  I prefer to feel like I can do whatever pattern comes along rather than be constrained by my theme of the year.  But I admit it does look cool when they do go with the theme.  Oye.  I've got to think about it a bit more.  I've already got 2 more already gutted, just waiting for some carving, and a few that haven't been touched.  So I need to decide soon.  In the meantime, I found this Indiana Jones one on a new site I discovered.  They're not great at doing portraits, but it was the most doable Indiana Jones pattern I could find.  The "Samhain skull" (which is a bit kali ma esque) though is from my usual (favorite) Zombie pumpkins site.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2nd Carving of the season

I'm in the midst of trying to decide my pumpkin lineup and I was looking for an Indiana Jones themed one when I came across a pattern I had to do.  On a foam pumpkin.  BEHOLD!  Lil Bub for Sam.  She was very pleased with it and made squealing noises. 

Pumpkin Nights (part 2)

So we went again to Pumpkin Nights with Mom.  Partly because we got tickets...and because it was awesome the first time around.  This second time was pretty cool just because I wasn't quite reacting like a total dork and actually caught a lot more the second time. 

Carving Night 2017

Had a lot of fun this year, got to see people I hadn't talked to in quite awhile.  Definitely a good kick off to Halloween week:)

Friday, October 20, 2017

First carving of the season

I found this last minute addition to my decorations--a stencil of "Eat, Drink & Be Scary" that I usually put some form of near the food.  But I had a half pumpkin that I had bought a few years ago and wasn't sure what I wanted to put on it.  So this worked out well.  I screwed up on the "B" (doh) but it's still readable, so I'm good with the result.  And the first official carving of the season:)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pumpkin Nights

Had a fun outing the other night with a few friends.  Pumpkin Nights is a kind of traveling collection of (foam) carved pumpkins.  They created elaborate displays that were just AMAZING to see.  Most of the carvings (with a few exceptions) weren't super elaborate--but the sheer amount of them was stunning, as well as the immense planning that went into putting them together.  Lovely night.  Sam and I onesied up and were nice and warm as we walked the roughly 1/2 mile display.  AND I got to see an extreme pumpkin carver in action, which was great. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Creepsy Vines

I had this little side project I wasn't sure I'd get to finish before I got too involved with cleaning and such.  But it was such a small project, I managed to sneak it in.  I found this tutorial that talked about making waterproof, bendable vines using great stuff.  I was intrigued.  Great Stuff insulation is one of my main materials I end up using and I'm always interested in different uses for it.  So the basic idea is to take natural fiber rope, tie smaller rope to it to give it a vine/root looking feel along with pulling it apart a little.  And then you take a dollop of great stuff (or many) and smear it up and down the length of the rope.  After it dries, you paint it.  Pretty simple, but it ended up looking amazing!  I ended up painting mine more of a brown so it ended up looking more like roots, but that works because a lot of the 'vines' that Indy uses in the movie are more like roots anyway.  I was highly impressed by how quickly the project went.  I started in the evening, took breaks between waiting for the foam to set, and the paint to dry (I went spray paint) and by the time it got dark, I was able to attach metal to the ends so I could insert them into my display.  They made a great way to add a little something to the ceiling towards the end of the porch. 


So I had to finally address the elephant in the room.  Why are there practically no snakes in this Indiana Jones themed display?  And the one snake you have is...questionable at best?  *sigh*  Because, like Indy, we share a fear and loathing of snakes, though I don't really have his excuse of falling into a vat of them.  That would be the worst. Ugh.  BUT.  Snakes are also a significant section of the Indiana Jones franchise, mostly poking fun of Indy's fear of them, but still.  So I came up with the idea of adding a small scene like in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy and Marion get trapped in the tomb with the masses of snakes surrounding them.  *shudder*

But given the amount of snakes needed to make the scene even close to the movie, it would be a little financially prohibitive to buy fake ones, and then I'm stuck with hundreds of snakes that I then have to throw away so I don't have nightmares, and then what kind of a fucked up surprise is that to leave for the garbage men whom I'm sure have seen some pretty messed up stuff, but an entire garbage can of fake snakes? One of my bucket list goals is not to be the cause of major therapy for anyone and I feel like that would prevent me from checking that one off.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Getting buggy

I put up a bunch of bugs tonight.  I painted them with some spots and stripes with black light paint from a few years ago.  My stronger black light will arrive in a few days so hopefully the bugs will light up a bit more.  The black light also has to compete with the orange and green lights I've got on the porch, so I'm not expecting a full black light experience.  But a little bit of light to make them especially creepy.  I also changed out the green led bulb in the mummy.  It was just a tad too bright.  I replaced it with a compact florescent light bulb, which draws more power, but is much easier on the eyes.  Might change my mind on that and go back--the dimmer light is nice on the eyes, but it also obscures a lot of the details of the mummy.  Bit of a balancing act that I may not win.  I put up two sections of spider web the other day, stretching it over about half the porch.  I'm a bit hesitant to continue it closer to the treat display--I don't want it too cluttered.  For the moment though the cockroaches look pretty sweet silhouetted against the backdrop and the red and blue light providing a cool light behind them.

I changed out the blacklight that now includes both an LED and a CFL.  So now the bugs are looking a little..shinier..

Friday, October 6, 2017

Knight costume

My costume for this year is of the grail knight that guards the holy grail and murmurs "choose wisely".  So to that end I've obtained some head chainmail.  It was $20 on Amazon, which is quite the deal for chainmail.  And it's pretty hefty chainmail--I feel fairly certain I could go into battle with it...if there were fake swords.  Larping.  I could larp in this.  I've also been working on some chain mail gloves.  Well, not exactly chain mail.

 The dragon scale gloves that I've made a bunch of look pretty similar--so I'm making longer gray ones that will be nice and warm and allow me to have my fingers free--important.  I've just finished modifying the actual chain mail.  It was a little narrow in the face--like enough to cause issues with putting on my glasses.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The wheel keeps turning

I pulled out the chain for the cage today.  A little work with some hot glue and I had some longer chain to put on the wheel I made today.  I say wheel.  It's a facimile of a wheel.  What it really is is a pool noodle with paint sticks glued on and painted.  I glued paint sticks on either side of a pool noodle (so the chains could lay over them and look like it was a functioning wheel.  Like the movie, I'm only doing half a wheel.  Which is convenient, cause a full wheel would have been a pain.  I have some shorter rebar I'll slide the two sides of the pool noodle over so that it will form a half circle and give it that wheel look.  I've now spray painted half of the pool noodle (and sticks) a brown 'wood' color and am just waiting for it to dry so I can do the other half.  It's actually 2 pool noodles taped together, so it's a bit long.  The only thing I'm a bit concerned about is that I added too many spokes.  Pfft, oh well.  Done now.  Oh, looking at this pic I realized I did buy a cheapo scimitar for Abby, I just haven't added it yet.  Doh.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

It's up!

So the yard went up rather suddenly.  I mean really there aren't that many pieces--they're big and awkward this year, but not many of them.  I also fiddled with the lights and while I'm still playing with them and will be adding a few details, the bulk of it is up and running.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

THIS IS HALLOWEEN!! (insert music)

October 1st is always a fun day.  I've been obsessing over Halloween props all summer and then the day arrives and I finally give myself permission to go full throttle in decorating.  Not entirely sure why I hold myself back--Sam has mentioned (with a suppressed amusement) that she wouldn't mind if I started earlier.  But part of waiting til October 1st is a kind of self imposed anticipation.  So the decorations in the living room came out.  The living room is always a very concentrated expression of Halloween and where the majority of decorations go (besides the front lawn...and the porch).  And lots of old favorites come out, ones that I'd forgotten about--it's just a lovely tradition.  Sam helped by being tape/bat girl with painter's tape while I put up my swarm of bats.  They're a pretty basic decoration but I do love the simple optical illusion.  My mantle has become a place to put some of my favorite pieces that people have given me over the years--this year made room for a lantern ceramic cat that Sarah's mother gifted me with--along with a bulb to give him a bit of a glow.
I also got some of the harder stuff up--like the poles on the porch for added infrastructure and the big one--the backdrop for the porch.  This is always a hassle and normally I have to pick the day very carefully.  No rain and no to minimal wind is best.  Anything more than a gentle breeze is havoc and misery.  But today behaved, so I cautiously continued.  I haven't used this type of background before--except in the dollar store format, but that was going vertically.  I had found a 100 ft roll of gold tablecloth plastic sheeting at Zurchers for $13, which worked out perfectly.  There was enough to cover the entire inside and outside of the porch, plus a bit extra.  I used to just do the interior porch, but it just looked a little weird from the outside, and also this way it's less transparent.  Tomorrow I'll do one more mow cut a little shorter and then start hauling out all my stuff.  Much work to do ahead of me, but it's exciting that it's started!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Kali Maaa!

The Kali maa cage is a pretty central piece and I've mostly been just collecting pieces for it, but I finally began construction on it the other day.  Lots of math and tweaking of pipe.  My hand was a bit sore from having to make so many cuts with the pipe cutter.  But the shape I'm pretty pleased with and it inadvertently will make a great photo op maybe next year?  For the Halloween party definitely I can sneak some people in there.  I painted it a coppery color, partly to add color and partly to make it shine a bit.  I also fixed a section that will go over 2 pieces of rebar so that it's more stable in the yard.  I ended up using yardsticks for the bars--which the only downside of is that the marks and 'home depot' is engraved in the sticks, so if you look close you can still see the writing, but whatever, I'm not going to worry about it too much.  **UPDATE**  Added some skulls to the sides which I know isn't cannon. know...artistic license!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bone Fence

I reconstructed the old Jurassic Park fence today.  It'll serve well as a Kali maa skull fence.  I'm going to steal Sam to help me get it spray painted black/rusty before attaching a bunch of the skulls and bones I've made.  I haven't made too many bones--or rather, I have supplies to make many more--just because I'm not entirely sure how far they'll stretch on the fence.  Some trial and error is required.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Eye can see you...

New toy obtained, though not for this year--doesn't quite fit into the Indiana Jones theme, so I'm thinking Mom will be borrowing it for this time around.  I got it at Walmart for $13, which has a quite respectable amount of cool Halloween stuff--I also picked up some cool paper plates.  The voice could be a little clearer--some phrases it kind of mumbles a bit, but it's all in a spooky voice, so you get the gist of the phrase.  Will have to figure out a year that I can use him properly.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Cauldron light

I finally constructed the cauldron light!
  • 1 Plastic bowl
  • Black decor chain
  • Great stuff 
  • Paint
  • Wire, 18 gauge
First off was to make some flames with the great stuff.  Pretty much like making seaweed from a few years ago, but not connected in one solid piece.  I ended up trimming pieces off a few of them to make them a bit more flamey, but generally easy.  I painted them with a layer of gold, then yellow and red.   I painted the plastic bowl gold inside and then black on the outside (or rather, the design that was already on a black bowl)

Once everything was dried, I used a socket light to put the extender in and used the wire to make a loop that fit around the extender.  I played with the chain a bit until I got a length that would be short enough to hide the bulb among the 'flames'.  I drilled 3 holes in the bowl near the rim and attached the chain pieces, then attached the chain to the ring around the extender.  Once all the chain was on, I went around the bowl and glued down the 'flames' around the rim.  Then I hooked in my new light that can change colors and played with a few different looks.  But ultimately, the orange light will go in this one.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let there be LIGHT! and MUSIC!

New Toy!!!  I came across this the other day and got very excited.  I had actually gotten a lightbulb bluetooth speaker for the back porch for music but this is a colored bulb that's a bluetooth speaker...and you can change colors with your phone.  Ooooh....Anyways, it arrived today and I've just been playing.  The great thing about it is that I can pair it with my phone and play Indiana Jones soundtrack via Spotify and it also doubles as an extra light out there.  I'm not sure that it will work real with a timer (may have to play a bit) but even if it's just for Halloween, that's a much cooler speaker.  It goes super loud (which has been a problem in the past) and I can get the music right out front where my trick-or-treaters can hear it.  And with the light, I can play around with different colors without plugging in different colors.  Verra excited.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Are you my mummy?

Twas time to begin construction on the mummy!  It was a nice cool night out and got the urge to really get a start on the mummy box.  I had a large 4'x8' piece of Styrofoam cut down a bit at home depot and did quite a bit of measuring (and well, remeasuring) and math to figure out how best to construct this thing.  That said, it's a pretty simple construction.  Basically a box with a half a lid.  The 'mummy' will only be a torso with arms and a head, the cover as if it was ripped out.  Still deciding if I want the arms to be outstretched or crossed.  Used gorilla glue on this one, and after a little patience, had a nice box that's about 5 feet tall by about 2 feet wide, with a depth of just under 10".  I'm going to let it set overnight before painting it or putting on the foam.  I'll probably paint it first before the foam.  The foam is just to give the basic form of a torso and something to stick the arms into (or rest on, depending on which way I go).  I've got gauze bandages that I'm planning on dipping in paper mache (or rather, watered down wallpaper paste) and building up some bandages.  But it's definitely on it's way!