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Discussion Starter #1
I only started my real yard haunt 3 years ago and I often wonder how long I will be able to continue. I love designing, building, and seeing all the people who enjoy my props, but I have to addmit the set up has been a real test of fate. I set up my whole display on the day of halloween and do complete tear down the same evening. In the past years I have taken 1 or 2 of my workers off the job we were on to help me with set up. Between props and labour I would say that I usually spend about 5 or 6 thousand dollars a year (dont tell my wife), all for 3 hours of excitement. Between the late nights as the day approaches completing those last few props and the day of setting up, by halloween night I'm exhausted, I'm not getting any younger you know. I love halloween and really don't want to ever give it up. I would be interested in hearing from others on the forum. What are your challages, budget and age.

I'll try to get some pictures on the forum as soon as I figure out how to manage my photo bucket account. I would also appreciate any assistance with this.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I think a big challenge we all face is fear....fear that someone is going to mess with our stuff, so we don't completely set up until the last minute...or at least don't put the good stuff out until them.

Money can be an issue. I'm definitely going to spend more this year than in the past..but I think you really don't have to spend to put on a great haunt. I've made a couple of props, that I probably could've got the same or a better reaction if I had used live actors. I'm sure you could find someone to fit in that Monster in a Box prop or a trash can trauma instead of spending for the pneumatics. Having someone man an on off switch can save on buying and programming controllers....and most importantly, this shouldn't be about keeping up with the Jones. I think a lot of folks think of decorating as a competition....it's not, it's about having fun. So if the setup time and the money are both wearing you down, back off and do enough that you can still have fun with. Haunting should never be work!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
My biggest challange is dealing with my inner thoughts. I am a perfectionist in an imperfect world, I'm my own biggest critic and unless every thing is built and set up just right I feel discontent. I'm always challanging myself and looking to improve from one year to the next. I don't feel my obsession is in any way due to the thought of trying to keep up with the jones', but only with my ambitions. I don't think that anyone that puts on a haunt can actually say that its not work because no matter how big or small or how much we all enjoy what we do it truley is a lot of work. But I can't imagine halloween now without it.
 

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MM, your last thoughts are so true! As far as I can tell, there's no other yardhaunt in my imediate area that's as elaborate as mine. So like you said it's nothing to do with competition, just to be able to improve on last year's and to be able to accomplish all the ideas we all have spinning around in our heads!

Perhaps, setting it up a few days ahead of the 31st would allow you to get more satisfaction out of it? We're in a townhouse complex and for the first time, I'm planning on running mine for about 3 nights and inviting the kids from the complex (about 100 of them) to come over ealy and have hot chocolate and chat with the parents etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The early get together with parents and tots sounds like a good time and I would love to be able to do the same. Setting up for a 2 or 3 day show would be amazing, but I still haven't been able to figure out how to pull it off. My haunt is a grave yard scene so building some sort of enclosure or large tent to me doesn't seem appropriate. The other concerns that I have with setting up early would be that certain props are not weather resistant, and lastly the concern of vandalism and theft. I am yet to face the inevitabe, rain on halloween. Rain on halloween would be a real let down, after months of preporation not being able to set up. If someone has suggestions I would love to hear them.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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I have big years and small years -- depending on when Halloween falls. This year, with Halloween on a Saturday night, I'm going BIG. The props I build this year will let me coast through the next several Halloweens as they fall on less popular evenings.

I'm always trying to "build smart" and build pieces that can be reused, or facades that can be used differently depending on scene dressing. This allows me to recycle a lot of elements from year to year and helps reduce the overall stress.

Also, building a little here and a little there really helps. It's a hobby for me, and like any hobby, I work on projects when I can. Sometimes I get a lot done and sometimes life gets in the way.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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I'm excited and hoping for a big turnout this Halloween (because its a Saturday night). To that end, I am setting things up the first week of October. That's when my "main facades" will go up. The rest of the month I will be adding all the set dressings little by little.

My hope is to have absolutely everything set up the week before Halloween, and then I am going to be hosting several parties that week. One for friends, one for extended family, a slumber party for my daughters, and then the big Halloween show on Saturday night.

I'm very lucky in that my neighborhood is supportive of my yard haunt and, living in a cul-de-sac community, I don't have to worry about theft or vandalism. Also, I build my props to withstand most of the wind and rain, so I'm comfortable leaving them out for the month.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
TK421 you bring up a point that has always interested me. you say that you start setting up early in October, what I was wondering was wheather having some props up ahead of time some how takes away from the trill of seeing it all as a complete set suddenly on halloween night? What do you do to protect your props that have electrical components?
 

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I can tell by the replies on this thread that you are mostly all Americans ..that is what I miss..living in the city, you cannot really create any spooky scenes living in a flat.
I don't know if Baron would agree with me, but London doesn't really "do" Halloween.
My English husband said, he never ever went trick or treating as a kid..nor did they carve pumpkins..how sad!! Being American, I get frustrated as I can not really find anything "halloweenish"...sure... sure ..some of the stores will have some Halloween decos..but not really enough to get all excited about..So I tend to haunt EBAY.
Heck to even buy that old American Halloween staple ,candy corn..I have to go to Partridges and pay like 3 times more than what it is worth : (
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi Little Evie; welcome to the forum. I'm sure as you said it must be hard to buy props in Britain, but that should't stop you from celebrating halloween. Consider making your own props and throwing a halloween party. Even in a flat there are oportunities to express yourself to the neighbours maybe check out something like Hallowindow.com and you can be a halloween freak like the rest of us.
 

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jester girl
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little evie, you must love this forum with all the how tos. my advise is build, build, build. myra, have you checked out the cemetary thread? there's even a guy there who builds his cemetary in his garage, and it's pretty cool. since you spend so much on halloween, could you build a fence around your graveyard? one that would add, not take away. i start putting my decorations out the first of the month. that way people have all month to enjoy them. i put out what i have time for each day. but nothing is turned on or lit up untill the day of halloween. then it is the big tadaaaa! i do worry every year someone might mess with my stuff, but so far so good. one year some of my flower bed decorations got taken, that put a damper on me. when i decorated that year i put out not as much as other years. i would think maybe you could put some money into some kind of video surveliance. if i had the money i would. as far as trying to outdo yourself, i agree there. every year i try to have better. i even write up what was done, and then if i ever do it again, i can change what wasn't a hit and also try to make it bigger and better.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have considered putting up an iron fence or reproduction, as well as video cameras but I guess you can say I'm PARANOID because I'm still not sure that it still will stop someone. We don't live in a bad area, but there are unscrupulous people everywhere.
 

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crossfit zombie
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I put mine up 10-1 .We live in a rural area even with that said I still bring in certain stuff every night.My hats off to you for putting up and taking down in one night I couldn't do it.I know you do enjoy it tho or you wouldn't do it.
I did tear down h night because it was on a Friday so I thought some mischef my go on.It's much easier tearing down than putting up.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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TK421 you bring up a point that has always interested me. you say that you start setting up early in October, what I was wondering was wheather having some props up ahead of time some how takes away from the trill of seeing it all as a complete set suddenly on halloween night? What do you do to protect your props that have electrical components?
I don't think so. The facades I put up help to set the mood, but I don't bring out "the show" until Halloween. That's when the lights, fog machines, and other effects are working. I love Halloween and I don't think I could stand to just put stuff up and take it down in one day -- maybe not even in one week. I really enjoy looking out my window and seeing the decorations.

Also, because I live in a cul-de-sac, putting stuff out early gives people a chance to get the buzz going. I don't get a lot of drive-by traffic, so it's good to put stuff out to advertise and let people know that something big will be going on.

I also like to set up early because I get the local paper to come by and do a story. Having lots of stuff set up really helps the photo shoot.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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I have considered putting up an iron fence or reproduction, as well as video cameras but I guess you can say I'm PARANOID because I'm still not sure that it still will stop someone. We don't live in a bad area, but there are unscrupulous people everywhere.
I'm really sorry you have to worry so much about your props and decorations.

If you think it will help, some sort of divide between your property and the public may help. If it's a faux rod iron fence, or a nice gothic picket -- any physical division may deter would-be hooligans.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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Also, I have seen some camera kits you can purchase very cheaply that are not actual cameras, but are decoys. They look like security cameras and even have little red LEDs, but they don't do anything -- they're just props. One or two of those may also cause potential "unscrupulous people" to hold on to their scruples.
 

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jester girl
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i do tear down halloween night. i have some of my more responsible haunters help. we put everything in the garage and then i put it away as i find time. leaving stuff out halloween night after all the tot and parents are in might be asking for it. with the haunters there to help it goes real fast. last year i just had one haunter, but it still went fast. my one neighbor was concerned last year because all my stuff was gone the next day. lol. she was going to bring the grandson over to walk through the cemetary and read the tombstones. lol
some have in the cemetary thread mentioned they put up a fence and they feel it helps to deter mischief.
what about these cameras that you can put up outside and deer hunters use them. they are like motion detectors. they turn on with movement? does anyone know if something like that would work?
 

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My biggest challenges are cost, time, and space.

I only have a two car garage to work with, (that is if I get to do a haunt this year), and even then, I spend too much money. I just bought some Froggy's Fog so i can fog up the place easily and it will hang around for a while. The biggest expense for me is the lumber for the walls. I am still trying to find a simple solution for cheap walls. And time. I have a lot to do around that time of the year and I just don't know when I will find the time to do my haunt. Knowing me though, it will probably be done... Somehow...
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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My biggest challenges are cost, time, and space.

I only have a two car garage to work with, (that is if I get to do a haunt this year), and even then, I spend too much money. I just bought some Froggy's Fog so i can fog up the place easily and it will hang around for a while. The biggest expense for me is the lumber for the walls. I am still trying to find a simple solution for cheap walls. And time. I have a lot to do around that time of the year and I just don't know when I will find the time to do my haunt. Knowing me though, it will probably be done... Somehow...
I don't know what you're currently using, but there are some fair alternatives for lumber. If you're building in your garage, something you might try is 7/16" sheathing. I saw at Lowes the other day it was selling for less than $5 for a 4x8 sheet. That's really good! And 2x4s are pretty cheap. If you rip a 2x4 into two 2x2s they'll go even farther.

If you're looking for texture, the 1/2" pill styrofoam sheets are only $8 for a 4x8 sheet. It's also a great alternative to plywood or OSB is you're looking for background facades and such.
 
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