For 2011 I really tried to concentrate on finishing off projects that had been outstanding for some time. To that end the cemetery fence had some touch-up black paint applied and then I took the time to sponge on some rust coloured paint to give it an old, rusty appearance. I only got one shade of rust applied (I normally use a medium and lighter rust colour for highlights) but it looked so much better and the details stood out better at night under haunt lighting.
The paper mache witch's cauldron had also been under construction for a number of years (I really don't like paper mache) but I was able to finish it up and get it ready for Halloween. I also made a faux fire pit for it that looked really great at night. My Sam figure from Trick r' Treat was also completed which I'm really happy with. He really creeped people out standing in amongst the corn - not knowing if he was real or not. Later in the evening, once almost all the kids had come and gone we lt up his flaming pumpkin. I was standing by with a large bucket of water and one eye out for the fire deptartment but it it really looked awesome! I might have to make it a yearly tradition. :)
Of course the other BIG project is the ongoing work on the mausoleum. I didn't really get too much more done on it in terms of the front and side walls to complete the facade but I did do quite a bit of detail work including a 2-tone sponge paint job to make it look more like stone and also carved exposed brickwork into the archway to add visual interest. Work will progress next year with an eye on getting the front and side walls done.
So without further a-do here are the 2011 photo set. I was very pleased with how the display looked this year with everything really coming together well. The camo netting, burlap and fake leafy garlands worked well in hiding the back fence and made the yard seem so much bigger. I'll be doing more of this next year for sure. Having the thunder and lightning up and running along with the new fog machine (an American DJ Fogstorm 1200HD) made a big improvement as the flashes of lightning and bursts of rolling fog really gave life to the display.
Pumpkin Carving and Costumes
I always have great plans to carve a ton of pumpkins but never seem to get the time. Now however it's a great activity to do with our daughter so we try to carve at least 1 or 2. She loves scooping out the insides and pulling out the "guts". :) For her pumpkin this year we used some really cool glow-in-the-dark pumpkin fangs.
For costumes I was working on a new oversized stalkaround type costume built on a backpack frame that would increase my height to alomost 9 feet tall! I got most of it done and almost had it completed but ran out of time. I'll continue to perfect it and it will make its debut next year.
My daughter picked out her own costume and I'm pleased to report she wanted to go as Darth Vader from Star Wars!! I swear I had nothing to do with that. I even tried to convince her to go as Princess Leia to which she responded "Does Princess Leia get to have a lightsaber?" I said "No, but she has a cool blaster!" Nope, she was set on Darth Vader and the lightsaber. She wanted the deluxe helmet with the voice changer which cost more than the rest of the costume combined so we said we would would buy her costume but if she wanted the special helmet she could use her birthday money from her piggy bank to buy it. So she used her very own money and bought the helmet. We were very proud of her for using her savings on something special she wanted and she was happy too. She looked great - just like the little Darth Vader in the car commercial that was making the rounds on YouTube. Next year she says she wants to be a zombie and help scare people in the cemetery!
Halloween 2011 Pictures
Aftermath, Clean-up & Storage
After everything got taken down and put into into the garage for the night the true clean up began. The one question I'm asked more than any other (and one I ask myself many times) is of course "Where do you store it all?" The short answer is anywhere I can! :) I do have several storage areas available that work out pretty good. Almost all of the Halloween stuff goes into the unfinished cold storage space in the basement. It's a tight fit - first to go in are the scarecrow, spider victim, skeleton corpse, almost all the tombstones and numerous boxes of pumpkins. Then the stacking bins and bigger items like the inflatable giant spider bag. By the time I'm finished it will be stuffed floor to ceiling almost right to the door but it does take a huge amount of stuff given the size of the space.
Other storage areas include an overhead rack in the garage, shelf brackets for the cemetery fence and most of one side of the garage although I try and leave room for a work space. The archway and pillars from the mausoleum are off to one side of the garage on sawhorses and that is where it will have to stay. It's too big to take into the basement. When the wall sections are finished they will be designed to break down and store flat against the wall behind it. All that said, at this point storage, or lack of it, has become my biggest issue and must always be kept in mind when building new props.
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