Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nothing Warms The Heart....

....during the holidays than zombie flavored snowflakes. Cutting paper snowflakes has been  a tradition in our house for many years, this year I added a zombie "twist" to the snowflakes. Here is the link to the original instructions, I folded the paper the same way but used my own designs. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What's Up With All The Old Photos?

Blasts From The Past

Over the next several weeks you may feel you've stepped into some weird backwards space-time continuum as you see a lot of old photos being posted on this blog.

No worries, I’m in the processes of working on a short documentary that will serve as my demo reel and am in the process of sorting and scanning thousands (yes, thousands) of old photos.

Some of the photos are needed for my demo but I’m also finally transferring all of our family photos so that they are safe, organized and preserved for our two sons.

The prints are the first step, next I need to go through about 500 discs that contain all the digital photos we have taken over the past decade.

If you enjoy seeing the old stuff that is cool.

If you want to see new creations you will have to wait for a bit.

Back to scanning.

A Motley Crew

Danger County Mine was a 1993 commercial haunted house that was a fun but exhausting experience yielding a lot of lessons.

The most important lesson was that tons of naïve enthusiasm does not necessarily make a financially successful haunted house.

In the end we broke even, recouping the majority of the money spent to pull off the project but a factor in that was our family and friends donated their time working the haunt for nothing more that our gratitude.

Here’s some photos of staff all decked out in their best "Danger County Mine" costumes.

Formaldehyde Fred

The year was 1992, after seven years of living in apartments I had finally moved to a house with a nice front yard that could be decorated for Halloween. 

The decision to haunt our house was made in September which gave us about a month to build the display.

When October 31st rolled around we had completed five papier mache creatures and about a dozen crude tombstones and a misspelled “cemetary” arch, which makes me wonder how many other people have misspelled the word cemetery in their displays. 

We also managed to misspell the word formaldehyde, I guess a dictionaries weren't invented in 1992, but hey the drippy white letters are cool.

Notice the spelling of "Cemetery"

One of the characters for our 1992 display was called Formaldehyde Fred.

Fred was just your run-of-the-mill papier mache skeleton, but was designed so that he could fit inside a small wood barrel and pop up to scare the children that ventured onto our porch in search of candy.

A circular piece of plywood served as the barrel lid and Fred’s hands were attached to the plywood.

A wire attached to the lid and running through a pulley on the porch ceiling allowed Fred to pop up from the barrel.

Fred did his job well in 1992 and went on to pull the same trick in our 1993 commercial haunt.

The barrel skeleton known as Fred continued to haunt our yard for several additional years until he was replaced with new creatures made in 1995.

Formaldehyde Fred continues to be one of my top five favorite props I have ever created.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's A Trap!

In 1992 we did our first yard display for Halloween. 

The entire display consisted of some tombstones and about five papier mache creatures. 

One of the things I did that year that I still love is placing rat traps all around and each one contained a cartoon-style rat skeleton.

 Recycled coat hangers formed the spine and tail with the skull and ribs made from foam board. Simple and fun.

Polaroid: This Is Not The Candy You Are Looking For

Halloween 1999 and our four year old son decided to dress as a Storm Trooper...way to make your dad proud!

Polaroid: Scale Model

Circa 1993: A miniature version of our walk-thru haunt called "Danger County Mine."

The miniature was built to help with the design and construction of the haunt.

Polaroid: Forced Perspective

An old Polaroid from 1993 showing some experimentation with forced perspective panels.

 Forced perspective will figure greatly in my plans for 2013. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No Hibernation

In years past I have usually taken a break from Halloween during November, December, January and February.

Not this year.

Our front yard decked out for Halloween.

Now that everything is packed away (and organized rather well thank you) the goal is to start work on the 2013 season immediately.

Our yard with Halloween all packed away.

Next year will be the year that I debut a new theme featuring all new props and a lot of rather innovative ideas.

This winter will be filled with testing and refining new techniques, ideas that have been festering in my mind for years and are now ready to be realized.

No hibernation. Maybe a nap here and there but no hibernation.


Fifty-seven ToT’s was our official total this year, not horrible seeing that the weather was cold, damp and on a school night. 

Our display was set up on Friday, October 26th and taken completely down on Monday, October 29th due to the coming wind, rain and snow from Hurricane Sandy. 

Late afternoon on Halloween the weather calmed down and we threw up a small display for the ToT’s, a quick and dirty display that lacked the finishing touches of the original but worked enough to entertain the kids and adults. 

Looking forward to the 2013 season because I have plans….oh do I have plans. 

You can view the entire gallery of photos from Halloween 2012 by clicking here.


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