I really feel for those people that are getting blasted by Mother Nature. Sometimes I miss weather, we don't get what I'd call weather here. It does have some advantages though.
Fire though is an entirely different story. It felt like I was living inside a BBQ smoker all Summer.
While I'm working on props I listen to the music mix for our party. I have just under 1300 songs on that playlist right now and as I'm listening I'll occasionally remove a song or think of a new one to add. All in all the music keeps me in the mood. I haven't listened to radio in probably 15 years and I refuse to pay for access to music I have no control over so sat radio is out as well.
I attach a block of wood inside an old brake rotor and drill a hole in it for a 4' long piece of 1/2" conduit. Paint the whole thing flat black and attach a skeleton or whatever. The black stand virtually disappears in the dark.
How do you quantify too much but not as much as you'd like? As best as I can guestimate it's been somewhere around $700 to $1000 a year. This should decrease over the next several years (yeah, right) mainly because I've run out of storage space. I've just about built all the big/ expensive props I want anyway.
There's a product called "Backer Rod" that comes in several sizes and foam types. It would be fairly easy to run a slit down the length half way through the foam then insert a wire and glue the foam back together.
You can't beat the webcaster webs for authenticity. I made my own from a spare hot glue gun and during testing I had a hard time telling the fake webs from the real ones. The garage/shop seems to accumulate cobwebs at an amazing rate. Hmmm...Now if I could just train the spiders to put them where I want I'd be set.
I do tend to use the bagged webs on or around stuff that might be damaged by an errant glob of hot glue.