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Discussion Starter #1
Yep.

I've gone off the deep end.


It was bound to happen eventually.

So...long time folks here know my setup thus far has been a very tribal/voodoun/headhunter deal that draws from several african, polynesian, and south american influences.

A number of things have led to me wanting to change it up. Boredome, tedium, and a general feel of needing a little break from the last 6 years of working on this.

The idea was for this to be our last year, and shift to the new design NEXT.

Now, I had this great plan this year of building on my lab side-project, and fleshing out the plans. Thus giving me a break (can't get much further removed from tribal than mad scientist, eh?), and prepare for a clean slate next year.

Well, the lab is currently in limbo. It was for my Mother-in-law, who was a teacher for a less-than-privaledged school. They do a Halloween fund-raiser event to pay for field trips each year. Well, she's quite possibly changing jobs, and I've been frankly struggling with getting motivated on the lab with it in limbo.

Now, the inspiration for 2010's theme, REALLY boils down to the end of last year, when Shadow showed up.

It's raining, Halloween night. Some of my stuff is just not going to make it. So, we're shoving it all in the shed. This black cat shows up, and starts chasing all the chords I'm dragging behind me. I shoo him out of the shed at the end of the night, and don't think much of it at the time.

By Christmas, I'ld seen Shadow plenty, but I noticed he had lost tons of weight. One morning, out in the snow, I'm leaving for work, and he's there right under my car. Won't budge. Just sitting there. So...having 2 cats inside, I grabbed some food and bribed him out....

And, you guessed it...guess who was there the next day...and the next...

He wasn't sleeping at our place, so I thought, so one morning after his breakfast, I followed his footsteps in the fresh snow to discover he had been sleeping inside a massive barrel I had found along a road, and was intending to make into a cauldron. But, it had begun to fill up with snow drift, and he was huddling in a little clear spot under it.

It was at this point, I knew Shadow had no home, and did a thurough inspection of him. Declawed, neutered, and tail run over. Half starved, sleeping in a cauldron, and tailing me EVERYWHERE outside, whether it be shoveling in a blizzard, or putting up Christmas Lights, the cat was always my little Shadow.

We took him in to be checked for a radio chip. Nope.

So, I went home that day, shovelled him off a spot on the back patio, and made an impromptu shelter out of that barrel/cauldron, a big ole box to protect it from drifts, and a box IN the barrel with blankets and whatnot, since we just can't keep 3 cats indoors.

He perched atop it in approval....and I deny anyone to see him and not think of witches...



Now, one thing with me, though, I can't just say "we're doing witches."

The who's and the why's and the wherefor's have to be answered, and I started really STUDYING witches.

And, I fell upon the Spider Woman.

A legend throughout South America and the Native American nations. Spider Woman really spoke to me. And, the plans have been building.

Key elements of the Spider Woman are:

Bones of the victims.

Used as decoration in her walls, and as pavement in her lair. I also see some non-traditional spider victims being suited for this as well.

Doorway of Webs:

The door to Spider Woman's lair is made of webs so thick no man can walk through. When the correct words are spoken, the door enlarges itself to allow passage. When not...it insnares the perpetrator for his fitting reward.

Gateway to the underworld.

To many of the south american religions, some version of a spider woman type being (many different names) was the goddess that guarded the underworld. Knowing something about most of those religions, this was most likely a cave and/or sinkhole.

Servants:

Spider Woman makes her company with spiders (naturally), Owls, Jaguars, and more human servants. These human servants are known by their shields, which are constructed of spider webs.

Things I'm adjusting for our use:

Bones of the victims:

I'm frankly incapable of constructing a cave large enough to my satisfaction to serve as her lair. As such, I'm borrowing from a close european cousin in yaga Baba, and utilizing the bone fence, and lighted skulls.


Temple:

I still wanted something to feel like you were really enterring this other realm. And, I've recently come up with the temple to the Spider Woman. A long hallway, basically, with a small 'L' corner at the far end, just so they can't see the exit.

The entrance will have 2 undecided adornments on either side of the doorway.

The interior is going to be lit by 2 firebowls centered in the hallway to allow walking on either side, one at either end. Directly over these firebowls, for safety and utility, the cieling will broken, and have gaping holes, through which vines are falling down into the temple. This should cast their shadows on the walls and make those dance.

Ideally, these firebowls will be atop Jaguar styled statues. But, we'll have to see if I can pull that off.

Between the 2 firebowls will be a Tzompantli. I already have all the tools to whip up a Mayan style one, anyway. And, likely, some of my Crystal Skulls, lit by color changing LED's.

On one wall, we will make replicas of the actual Spider Woman Murals. (I'm thinking I can project images and copy easy enough)

On the other wall, I am thinking about People of the Clouds (Chachapoyan) styled mummies. The way they're bundled is not hard to imagin them wrapped up in webs...

The far wall is open for debate at the moment. Carvings, a calendar disk...quite possibly a sacrificial altar.

Turning the corner, will be the spider web doorway.


WHERE I AM STUCK.


HOW in the heck am I going to manage this temple???

Right now the idea is foam walls and cieling, coated with one of the foam coating products. But, where does one really GET that much foam? How much do I need? How much does it need to be reinforced? And who knows what other questions are going to happen...


The Mummies. I'ld LIKE them in little cubby holes in the wall... Whole host of problems with how to do that.

The Crystal Skulls: More a wiring problem, as HOW do I get power to this thing in the middle of the temple without creating tripping hazards.

BIGGIE:

What does this SOUND like? Soundtrack/effects...I'm at a loss.

BIGGIE:

What does Spider Woman LOOK like???

....

I'm feeling like I'm missing something as well....


yeah...I'm off the deep end...

(this is likely going to be a project for several years, so...hope you don't get sick of hearing about it)
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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What?! No one told me there was a deep end?!

Build the temple with 1" styrofoam sheets glued over 1x1 frames. This will allow you to build the basic shape relatively easily, and the components will be light. This is also a great way to built a faux ceiling to the cave. If you are working more with a temple style enclosure (rather than a more organic cave structure) the sheets should be great.

I am building several facade features out of the sheet styrofoam this year.

Prop Showcase: Haunted Hollow Mausoleum Build

New Cider Shack for 2009

Best Glue for Styrofoam?

As for Spider Woman, there's Arachne:



Or these images of "Mistress of Pain":





Or you could forgo the spider imagery and just go with an Aztec-type goddess or princess, but with a spider-themed head dress.



 

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It's funny how animals often adopt people, instead of the other way around:cool:

I really like your theme, UnOrthodOx. It's something very different, and, to me, that's a good thing. I wish you luck in pulling it off;)
 

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Going bump in the night..
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Don't forget Craigslist and Freecycle for collecting styrofoam.
TK421's idea for the wood framing is a good one - I'm just thinking of any added weight on ceiling pieces of you add a skim-coat or whatever to the foam.
Since they're going to be "stone", the texture of styro is a good starting point, without a coating.
You can carve mortar lines and seams into the foam, and paint it up, thereby eliminating a lot of the weight that any kind of covering for the foam would add.
(perhaps using the "tape and spray" method to make mortar lines - tape off the areas of the foam you don't want damaged, and use spray paint on the rest. Assuming you leave thin gaps, the paint will etch your mortar line in the foam)

For your Crystal Skulls - how much power and wiring do they need? If the power consumption is low, and one extension cord will do it, can you put the rest of the needed wiring and accouterments into a pedestal or similar in the center of the room?
Otherwise, could you have a "pile of debris" that's accumulated in a pile running to the center of the room? Run all of your wiring under that, and no one will walk over it?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, Spider Woman exist in the Arachne legends, but also in the tales of the Norn, the Fates, and Yaga Baba. The traditional Crones. So...the fact this is SO open has given me pause.



It is said that seeking Spider Woman opens one's eyes to these connections, and allows you to witness the threads as they comingle on the web.

I do like the headdress idea. Especially when coupled with some native american art depictions.








Great Mother

Thank you for this day, My life,

My strand on the Web,

The vibration it makes.

Keep me in tune, In harmony

With your purpose.

Let me serve.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The coating I'm looking at is a product used to make actual signs and statues. I've seen it, felt it, jumped on it, and failed to break the styrofoam under it. It's there to add strength and waterproofing...because, it's likely these walls/panels are going to need to be stored OUTSIDE. Actually, I kinda WANT them stored outside for some natual weathering.

And the roof will need to be spanning 10-12 ft wide, I think. (still need to get measurements)

8 ft high, 10-12 wide is sounding about right to give ample berth from the firebowls in the center. I'm a little concerned with how to span that width, and make it easy to set up and tear down.

I thought about a pillar in the center for power. I'ld rather avoid that, but it's doable.

Never used craigslist, ebay, freecycle, etc...yer lucky I figured out how to use the forum. :D
 

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Instead of making your temple out of foam board, how about camo netting for that organic feel that one would associate with a preistess of a primative culture, you can still use the foam for your alcoves for the victims, but have the camo net overhead and coming down the walls, and have them covered with cob webs and such. This material is what I was thinking:

 

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Hauntless
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First, I love your story-telling. Spellbinding. Shadow is adorable.

Okay, here's some ideas. I like Partsman's idea of camo. If a cave wall is still desirable, what about Bear's? http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/69755-haunted-cave.html



In regards to lighting your skulls.... How about DJ lighting and shine it from above. The crystal should reflect it like it was coming from within. Also, you were mentioning that you wanted to give the ToT a sense that they are entering another realm, different DJ lighting that would sparkle and change to let them think they are being transported.
 

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Reaper
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Good story of your little Shadow! If you're not trying to get it in for this year I like the idea of a cave entrance to a temple.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Instead of making your temple out of foam board, how about camo netting for that organic feel that one would associate with a preistess of a primative culture, you can still use the foam for your alcoves for the victims, but have the camo net overhead and coming down the walls, and have them covered with cob webs and such. This material is what I was thinking:

Last time I looked into the stuff it was way pricey (even for surplus)...but something to keep in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think I've found the firebowl I need.



Small, self contained, running on those 16oz propane bottles the coleman stoves use.

I need to verify the burn time on them will be long enough, but it should be.

And, I stumbled on pics of a replica Mayan Stella of the Jaguar. Just looks like it's waiting for a firebowl on the head...

 

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What?! No one told me there was a deep end?!

Build the temple with 1" styrofoam sheets glued over 1x1 frames. This will allow you to build the basic shape relatively easily, and the components will be light. This is also a great way to built a faux ceiling to the cave. If you are working more with a temple style enclosure (rather than a more organic cave structure) the sheets should be great.

I am building several facade features out of the sheet styrofoam this year.

Prop Showcase: Haunted Hollow Mausoleum Build

New Cider Shack for 2009

Best Glue for Styrofoam?

As for Spider Woman, there's Arachne:



Or these images of "Mistress of Pain":





Or you could forgo the spider imagery and just go with an Aztec-type goddess or princess, but with a spider-themed head dress.




I had actually though of a type of spider witch projects. Went to the Ren Fair in Wi. And they had a spider witch. Of course I wanted to make it a little more scarier. But here is the photo I took of her. So much you can do with it.

 

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I love your idea for a haunt, and the story of your cat is so touching. That cat is a good omen.

An image of Kerrigan from Starcraft Broodwar comes to mind for the Spider Woman. Beautiful but deadly. She could have giant spider legs coming out of her back.

Because she is steeped in folklore, she could be anointed with beads, bands, and markings on her body...and of course the bones of her past lovers.

Her throne chair can be made from a plastic patio love seat covered with plastic bones, colored with walnut stain, skulls as hand rests.

Agree with foam board on wood frames for walls. "Brick" facades of thinner foam can be glued to it to add dimension, frames, and depth.

Can't wait to see pictures!
 

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will rest in peace.....
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First of all, that's an amazing theme! I have a couple of ideas-
• you could rig up some little air guns to shoot at the visitors.
•I really think you should make the enterance with the thick spider webs look good,I'm no mechanic but I'm sure some of the members on his forum could help you make a widening entrance.
• as for the temple portion, use styrofoam to build pillars into the wall and it would be cool to have a couple of fake torches hanging on the wall.
I'm really looking forward to seeig this put together! Good Luck!
 

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Forgot to add, the openning web door can be made from long bungee cords, sold in bulk by the foot. A concealed rope can open the web down the middle like a stage curtain. Releasing the rope let's the web slide back into position.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So, with 2009 over, it was time to start REALLY taking a look into this.

This is going to be a haunt in 3 acts, essentially.

The front is going to be something of a foreshadowing, act 1.



I see my own take on spider victims scattered about the yard, leading up to the fence, which will be the entrance to the temple. Green floods, maybe some blue mixed in, mounted to the roof, to glare down and cast the shadows back towards the street.

I'm debating whether to add fog or not at this point, will play with that when it get's closer.

The temple itself will sit on the side of the house. And will serve as act 2. Alfred Hitchcock often spoke of the importance of the staircase scene, showing a transition from the world of the ordinary, to the OTHER world of the picture. I intend the Temple to serve that purpose, a transition from the outside world, INTO the world of Spider Woman.

After pricing foam and foam coating, I'm thinking I might just end up going with some light plywood for the walls, and only do the roof in the foam.(weight).

A nice "L" shape can be made in the temple as it follows the wall of the house around back. With the house to be able to tie into on the one side, and a fence on the other, should be simple enough to support, protect from wind, etc.

Exitting out of the temple will be the web door.

IDEALLY, I want to make a ramp that as you step on it, it opens the door, then it closes again as you step off of it. But, barring that, I can rather easily make it actor-operated and have a servant placed at the door.

The back yard, act 3. I'm still playing with in my mind. I do know the center piece is going to be a modified Charr:



I'm turning him into a THRONE! I have a papasan chair I've been holding onto for a throne for some time. I figure if I add a little height to Charr's legs, and give him a couple more arms (to fit the spider theme), he'ld look to be coming right out of the back of that throne leaning over.

It is highly doubtful with the funds and time available, I can accomplish all three by next Halloween. Which to work on first....?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Klaatu Verada Nikto!

So....

What the heck happened? This was SUPPOSED to be my theme in 2010.

Instead, it got destroyed. Quite literally.

And was replaced by a hasty substitute.

What we have left from 2010:

Steve survived the destruction. In fact, 2 "Steve"s survived.

The work on the Stele was utterly demolished in a storm. But, they needed help anyway. Still, that was a disheartening moment.

With them, went the "Witches" in the same storm. That was a gut punch.

Since this storm also took out a shed that had been our 'hut' every year, and which was housing those two projects, everything got totally derailed. Fortunately, the damage was limited to ONLY those two projects, however.

Where does this all leave us heading into 2011, however?

First, of all, we really liked The Harvest. Most especially that front yard.



I've decided that can return as a suitable 'act I' for the Spider Woman with a couple simple modifications. Namely a few of the 'witches', and some webbing spread about as suitable foreshadowing, and to incorporate the local legend of those Witches.

The difficulty lies in marrying this with the rest of the idea.

Just looking over it already, I can rule out my ability to create the cave/temple area, financially.

I can invest in that direction, however, and want to get things lit by blacklight to feature Steve, and a number of skulls I've created for that lighting environment as well. we also have a number of 'green flame' canisters, which will look great in such an area, and give of practically no light on their own to interfere with the fluorescing.

Finally, we have the throne/Charr area.

This is the least formed area in my mind...

There is two competing concepts. One in a failed experiment of mine to create some unique spider victims. Well, 'failed' isn't exactly right. There were some counterweighting issues, which I briefly had rectified, and it looked interesting, but needed another direction with the model.

And then there is a matter of a whole other concept that's been now rattling around this head of mine. Just some preliminary sketches of some constructs to use bits and pieces of broken/abandoned/old props to form new...things...

Either way, my goal for 2011 there is to break new ground for me as an artist by embarking on my first animation and/or electronic effects (sound and/or led, etc)
 

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Ghastly One
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Wow! I wish I had found this thread back in August! Great stuff! I too ran out of money and time while putting my haunt together this year, The solution I came up for my "temple" worked pretty well, though now that I've done it once, I think I could do it better next time.
But I used the 'Scene Setters' Rock wall design, like this
http://www.halloween31.com/pages-main-category-11_12_65-sort-20a-page-3/decorations-and-halloween-propsdecorations-and-halloween-propsscene-setter.html
It looks better in real life than what this picture shows.

But we too had a terrible wind storm a week before Halloween, which had this been up (lack of time) it would have been destroyed. We had the slightest of breezes going on and the stuff was blowing all over the place.

I got them for $12.99 a piece at a local party store. They are 4 ft by 50 ft.
But in my mind, when I recycle this idea, I would use these for large spans then use carved foam-board embellishments. (like I tried to do this year but didn't quite get there)

Here is a link to my pics so you can kind of see what I mean.

http://s284.photobucket.com/albums/ll1/SivartYabb/Halloween 2010 - Yard/
 
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