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Hi everyone! This is my first post but I've been lurking for a long time; there's so much inspiration and enthusiasm here!

I have wanted to create dark rides forever. Scary or otherwise, it's been a dream of mine since before I even knew they were called dark rides. This year, I'm taking a step toward making it happen!

I'm planning a walkthrough that will be open for a week this Halloween. I live in New York City and wanted to keep it close to home, so I've booked a small theater in Queens that I will transform into a long-forgotten graveyard.

scene-1.jpg

My setting is inspired by a real-life cemetery in the East Village: The New York Marble Cemetery, at 2nd Avenue and 3rd Street, was founded in the 1800s. It's rather tiny, totally surrounded by tall apartment buildings, and the last burial was almost a hundred years ago. My idea is, in a place that quiet, why don't the interred come out to play?

My haunt will be called Graveyard Swing. It's a family-friendly walkthrough featuring puppetry and theatrical scenery—think of the last scene in Disney's Haunted Mansion and you get the idea of what I'm going for.

I've built a couple iterations of a scale model and have just begun working on the full-size, final props. Here's one of the characters from the finale scene:

mudded-ghost.jpg

It might be hard to tell at this point, but that's a ghost holding a saxophone. (It's part of a four-piece jazz band; you'll see.) The figures will all be papier-mâché covered in monster mud; I went as far as I needed to with just one figure to ensure that this would work how I expected, and now it's time to start building the rest.

I have lots more to do, lots more to learn, and lots more to share! I'll be keeping this thread updated as I progress and would love to hear from all of you about how it's going. This is the most exciting thing I've done in a long time and I'm so eager to talk about it with you!

John Holdun
 

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I love how whimsical this is! Your first prop is shaping up wonderfully. How much space do you have to work with in the theater?
 

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I love how whimsical this is! Your first prop is shaping up wonderfully. How much space do you have to work with in the theater?
Thanks, NCRX! The total space is about 1500 square feet but the walkable area is only about the center half of that. It's a fairly large black box theatre, but it features three built-in risers for seats which force me into a particular layout: I'm using those spaces to house my scenes and putting the audience on the stage, which gives me just enough room for three scenes that are about 15 feet across. Here's their floor plan with my sketches overlaid:

haunt-flow.jpg
 
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