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Discussion Starter #1
Like may of you I will be getting ready to decorate for Halloween very soon.
My question is, do any of you put everything up well in advance or do you save some stuff for the big day?

My wife seems to think putting everything out 3 weeks early doesn't give the display that wow fact on Halloween night because everybody has already come around to see it. Please give me a little insight into what you all do, because after slaving away on props, I want to show them off.
 

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We don't put some of our big ticket or electrical props out until the night of, mostly for security & so that the prop doesn't go out in the weather. But, even though the "wow factor" isn't a main part of our reasoning for keeping things back, I agree that it's fun to save some stuff for the end so that it just adds that extra unexpected something when the TOTers come by on Halloween night.

The full size props that we don't put out until the night of are still put together - they just hang out in our house in various spots so that we can enjoy them, or any company who stops by can see them too.
 

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Going bump in the night..
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I usually won't put too much out during the beginning of October, as we have an annual neighborhood-wide garage sale on the 2nd weekend of October. As we almost always participate, I don't like having props I want to keep, out on display. This eliminates confusion, mistakes and possible theft (yeah, we will invariably have things stolen from our garage sales, but c'est la vie).

After the garage sale, I'll put out some fun items for people to enjoy - some cutesy items and an inflatable or two (YES. I DO have inflatables. My grandson digs 'em). These stay out until the morning of the 31st.

The weekend before Halloween, I'll hang up the lines I'm going to need to hang my floating candles and flying skeleton torso. Sometimes, I'll even add a floating candle or two to start things out. During the week leading up to the 31st, I'll also put out some of the more "not-so-obvious" items for my set up, and add a floating candle or three each day, to build up towards Halloween. Some skulls may show up here or there, but nothing major.

The morning of the 31st, the inflatables come down, and I get to work on putting out my set up. I like to do it during the day when no one is noticing the change, so when everyone comes out for ToT'ing, our house has transformed into "that great Halloween house", from just another place on the street.

Everything is out until midnight, when I bring everything back in. The only things left out are items I'm willing to lose (we live in a nice area, but there's spoiled middle-class little pieces of **** that are happy to steal and destroy just to cure their boredom. I've lost things to them in the past).
 

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Wisp in the Mist
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I put things out gradually. Mostly due to weather and theft. I'd have the whole yard haunted already, if I didn't have to worry about either.

Some things don't go up until the 30th, but again, for the same reasons.

I guess it cuts down on crowds, too. No one else in town puts up as much as I do.
 

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I try to put my grave yard set up out the 1st week end in October. I don't have a problem with theft in my area but fall storms and wind does make me have to fix my scene several times. I don't have any "big ticket" items in my scene so really no worries there. But like the other posters said if you have some $$$ items it might be safer to wait until the big night.
 

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I don't do a haunt yet, so I don't have to worry about when to display bigger pieces. But in my decorating, I start at least by October first because only having up things for a week or a day limits the time I can enjoy them. I don't put things out at once because I like to spend October crafting new decorations (And also because for many years, this is time when money would run low.) I pick things to start with and enjoy.

Usually I start with a wreath on the door. This year I started with ornament balls on a tree. I'll wait till October 1st to put much else out.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I am building and setting up throughout the month. I can't say that I keep anything back as a surprise because in reality only a small percentage of ToTs see my setup before Halloween, so I don't feel that I am spoiling anything.
 

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We start putting stuff up on Oct 1st. The only things that go out on the 31st are the electronic props. We lost a jumping spider to rain one year... he sorta worked after we dried him out, but the poor guy was never the same. :(

99% of our props we make ourselves, and one of our design requirements is they have to be 100% waterproof, so we can put any non-electronic prop out whenever we get around to it. We do have an issue with a Jeepers Creepers Creeper that has a rather massive wingspan, and he goes on the roof. A couple years ago, we had a tropical storm blow through with 40-50 MPH winds and the Creeper decided to fly off the roof. :) So we now put him up later in the month after the weather calms down.

As for theft, I write about this every year... go to Lowes or Home Depot and get yourself some Doberman window alarms. They're about the size of a Pringles can lid, cost about $10, and emit a screeching 100db alarm when jostled. Just turn them on, slip them into a prop, and they'll last for close to three years. Cameras suck at night, you gotta sleep sometime, but those alarms will send anyone who trips them running in a hurry. $10 isn't free, but it's better than paying to replace an expensive prop.
 

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I see the common thread being, saving some WOW for Halloween night, but do all the other "work" ahead of time so you don't have to stress.

Also, beware of weather, rain, wind, snow, ice and don't forget UV, that great Latex Prop will last longer the less UV it gets exposed to.

And last ,but not least, Items outside after dark, can&will disappear or be damaged. I've had items taken off the house overnight, so they walked up the driveway, (t 2 cars length) came up to the house and pull the item down pulling out the string attached to the house.
Some of the Gemmy's and Gag Studio props go out only on the DAY. I also put items closer to the street, (making them easy grabs) that I won't miss, and bigger more treasured props closer to the house and anchored down better.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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I have a few little items out already, but I usually do a big build over the first and second weekend in October. That is when all the big props go up and everything gets fixed in place. Once the outside is done I work on the Interior of the garage, mostly because I need to get the other stuff out first. The only items that wait for my party or the big night are some of the less weather resistant lighting and fog equipment.

I wait for a rainy day to do my inside decorating so I don't waste a nice day stuck inside.
 

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We have started putting up headstones but a lot of the skeletons and larger props will not go up until fencing is in place. There is so much involved with setting up the cemetery, lighting, fog machines, headstones, speakers, large animated props, skeletons and skeleton animals that things just get put up in stages as it is easier to do that with the AZ heat. The total effect comes on Halloween when everything is turned on.
 

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I love the surprise factor of putting almost everything up only on The Day. Right now, I have only harvest deco out. In October, some bluckies, lighted jack-o-lanters, and spider webs will go up... along with a few other minor Halloween deco. The rest- along with the electric runs- will be staged- but will remain out of sight until TOT night..
 

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Seer of All
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I'm a add-as-you-go haunter for the same reason as your wife. But like you, I want to enjoy it all month as well. I start with the basic setup the first weekend in October and keep adding props and detailing all month. It's fun for me and gives the kids something to look forward to, knowing there's more to come right up till the last minute.
 

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I've got a more complex cemetery set up this year than ever before, so I've been wondering about setup. I plan to set almost all of it up October 1, because the anticipation is killing me!

For my birthday my boyfriend built me this amazing pine coffin:
Coffin.jpg

It's really heavy, so I don't think it could easily be stolen, but I'd be devastated if it were, so I'm thinking of putting it up close to the house and locking it to the porch with a subtly placed bike lock or something of the sort. I'm going to weatherproof it so it can stay out 24/7 in the Iowa fall.

I have also been working on a cauldron setup (photos to come). It's all attached to a platform, so I think I'm going to set that up but move it into the garage every night? The cauldron/coals/frame are weatherproof, but the cauldron creep isn't. I'm also in a new neighborhood this year, so I'm not sure what kind of traffic and/or troublemakers we'll get.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you to all for the input. I am really loving the idea of gradually putting things out. This may be the plan this year as we seem to have a few rowdy kids in the neighbourhood this year. I'm pretty sure they are the same kids that decided to ring my doorbell every night and wait for me to answer, just so they could say trick or treat. Then would ask if they could walk through the cemetery. I hope that's the case anyway.
My wife says every yea that my "stuff" doesn't stand a snowballs chance in hell, and every year, thankfully she is wrong. Knock on wood.
Good luck to everybody this season, now..........GET BACK TO WORK!
 

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Crawling in my skin
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I will decorate the front bay window from the inside this weekend and all the rest goes up on the day of Halloween. Had an issue years back with theft. Would love to set up early and enjoy it but once it happened I can't get the fear of it happening again out of my mind.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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Everyone talking about the first weekend in October is making me sad. I will be out of town that weekend so I can't start getting my stuff up until the 2nd weekend. But I do have that whole weekend, uninterrupted (so long as the weather holds). I will get all the fencing, the gravestones and all of the large props out. Then I'll work on some of the lighting and effects. If I get the yard all done then I start setting up the garage. Adding some new "mad scientist" features to the inside of the garage this year so hopefully I can get some of that build done in the next two weeks. I'll probably get a few things out this week like changing the bulbs and fixtures on the front carriage lights and lamp post. I'm been luck so far, nobody has stolen or broken anything in my display. My only enemy is mother nature.
 

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They call me HeebieJeebie
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I don't have any elaborate animated figures, so mine will all creep out beforehand - no real worries (so far - knock on wood!) with anyone bothering anything but weather is a concern. We had rain & snow last year - the wind blew my real candles over and I luckily it was wet enough that fire wasn't an issue.

Set up starts tomorrow (today is the daughter's birthday, I promised to wait til after!) I'll start with the cemetery fence & stones & blowmolds. Then add the skeletons and other stuff after.
 
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