LOL your right about the cake. After spending so much time working on it I wouldn't want to destroy it. Some things are to good to ruin lol! One day I will dabble with the stuff! I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your pics while sipping my coffee! I could have commented on every single one. Your lighting and placement of your props are spot on and you really have an artists eye!!! Have a great one!
Thanks so much for the nice comments on my pics. I wish I could give myself credit for that cake but it was one I found a pic of and really liked it. Never used fondant but that would be a good one to try it! I love to decorate the fireplace, it just has that air of creepy to it already!
To sum up: Lemax: cheaper, more animation, noisier, less durable, wider variety of themes, made of some kind of resin, available at Michael's (use a coupon and go soon), with online stores having a bigger selection
Dept. 56: More expensive, porcelain, quieter, more detail, figures are more oversized compared to buildings, and often high gloss, (a bit of a downside for me), a little more restrained, and I would say better designed and painted.
I have a tougher time finding Dept. 56. Usually we track it down at the garden centres. There's also different collector village by Hawthorne collectibles (Nightmare Before Christmas, Universal Monsters, etc.) http://www.bradfordexchange.com/search/halloween+village.html
Most of our collection is Spooky Town stuff, but this year we just bought a couple Dept.56 pieces. The Lemax stuff just had too much going on for our tastes. Maybe we're getting old. :P Hope this helps.
Haven't been around much recently. Have a very ill family member who is hopefully on the mend now, but will know more soon. So sorry to be a downer right up front, but it's usually not this way. Looking forward to the haunting season and to getting to know you better. Will be back here more regularly soon.