Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mine Cart

I have had the idea for this mine cart since I first put out the Spooky Gulch sign several years ago. Obviously, time was the largest hurdle, but somehow the stars aligned and I was able to get most of the construction done for the mine cart. As with the haunted mine facade, I was able to make this entirely out of scraps that I had lying around the garage.

The base is made from the pallet  runners and the rest is low-quality thin plywood. The corners are supported by these floating braces that will also serve as a ledge for something special. More on that at a later date.

I decided to put wheels on only two sides allowing the thing to have a crazy angle really works to the forced perspective of the whole haunt. Also, I don't have to cut out another set of circles. I have a few ideas on how to finish the wheels to make them look like they are sitting on a track.

With a coat of paint and some faux finishing, I think this will be a great addition to Spooky Gulch and Spooky Acres.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Few Pictures

Halloween set-up has become a multi-day affair around here. I started at the beginning of my fall break and I am still working on small projects. However, the yard is mostly up and spooky. Take a look at these pictures for a desert fright!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I have been mulling over ideas for the yard. I have quite a few more floodlights leftover from my efforts as a prom committee sponsor. I think I have enough to light up the entire Northwest side of the house.

I also am sitting (figuratively) on two pallets that--once disassembled-- will be a perfect source of material for the Haunted Mine on the left side of the yard.

The fence that I have used in the old yard has proven to be too dangerous to be in the walkway. Some people (me) tripped over it during the last haunted holiday and it is too wiry to be of any visual significance. I will need to enhance that by using some vinyl edging that looks like wrought iron fence. If I give it a little paint treatment, it will look just like a rusty old fence.

No pictures, yet just ideas. Hopefully, these ideas will blossom into a very spooky yard.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A New House, A New Haunt

This year we moved into a new house. We have more room than ever. That means more storage for Halloween.

Setting up the haunt this year has been a special, fun challenge. Our front yard no longer is grass. We have xeriscape. This type of yard is perfect for our desert environment, but I had concerns that a cemetery-themed yard display would seem out of place.

With trepidation I began setting out the headstones and, in short order, I found that they rock looked pretty good. To my mind it looked like a desert pioneer graveyard. Phoenix has such a graveyard. It's rocky and dry and completely different from what one would expect when you hear the word. But it's still creepy.

Because our new house is a little closer to the street, I was able to incorporate the lighting that I have used on previous haunts to make our home part of the display.

As you can see the street light makes the blue a little washed out. I want to add a few lore lights next year to punch up the color to something similar to previous years.

The coffin has made a reappearance, although it is more of a crate. This was actually a shipping crate for a piece of artwork. It's made of wood so it will last a few Halloweens.

Here you can see the rock against the tombstones. I used the same method as in the old house, but this time I also buried the tombstones in the rock a little bit. This gives them a little more support and it looks cleaner than simply setting the stones on top of the rock.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Up and Spooky

So, the plan to have everything up before the 10th proved too much for this yard haunter. The main delay was caused by last year's hail storm that pummeled the styrofoam headstones and put dime-sized holes in every surface imaginable. Most of the tombstones escaped a large amount of damage and were easy to fix; paint. The obelisk and mausoleum fared the worst. I was able to use some paint washes to hide most of the damage. It even gave it a weather-beaten look. The mausoleum wasn't nearly as lucky. It was so badly damaged from the hail and storage that I had to completely re-imagine it as a headstone instead. The results can be seen in the pictures below.

After the debacle of last year's overly-dispersed haunt I, again, increased the density. The stones are closer together and have a more crowded look. It's certainly less realistic, but gives a better impression.

I added a green flood light and eliminated the red spot. Last year's haunt had too sinister of a feel. I was deeply concerned that TOTs might be scared and less likely to come up and take a look. The red always put me off. It suggested cruelty and evil. I wasn't going to have any of that this year. My own son is 2 and he was really excited to see the lawn. Keeping the primary colors green and blue gives the yard a spooky look without any gory stuff. It makes families and kids more comfortable.

There are still a few pieces to install. Most of those, however, deal with Spooky Gulch. Primarily, I have to finish two signs and a few decorative parts. Those props will be added when I have a moment.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Countdown Begins

It's October 1st and the countdown to Halloween has begun. This year marks the last year Spooky Acres will be held at this house. We are waiting for our new house to be built. We are extremely excited to be moving, but the future look of Spooky Acres is fuzzy. That, however, is in the future. Right now I need to think about setting up the haunt. Setup will be on the 7th and I promise some pictures.