Halloween Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Jack-O-Lanterns and Spiders
Joined
·
632 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All!

I have finally posted my video for this year's Halloween Display.

Here goes:


Lifting the description right from my post:

For those of you following my Halloween displays each year, I have been doing the Magic Mirror routine for 9 of the 12 years I have been putting on displays for Halloween. This year was mostly a rehash of last year as I had continued with the rules for Covid-19 since many rules surrounding the virus were still in effect for this year. Keeping that in mind, I had not changed my signs and they still reflected the 2020 year. Yes, I know, I was cheap and didn't want to make up new signs, but they have become expensive! Instead I have invested my money in a few new props for the yard. The grandest one being the huge Reaper Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin that I had set up on the front lawn. Now, I am not one for inflatables as I worry they would get ruined with the high we have here around this time of year. But, I had seen the pumpkin on display at my local Lowe's Home Improvement store and I HAD to have it as I just love the face on it. I only put it out on Halloween night so to put my mind at ease about it getting ruined. The pumpkin did draw much attention to my display, especially at night. Another new item I bought was the large spider web with a large spider inside of it. This seemed to be a popular item this year in the neighborhood and, again, I liked it and wanted it, so I found a good deal on a spiderweb kit on-line and bought it. I had put the web up minus the spider since the week I bought it, we had bad rainy weather, which I must say, the web itself held up very well through wind and rain and only one of the five securing pegs pulled out. So that was a plus. The last new item was a huge coffin shaped Welcome sign that I situated next to the garage to "Welcome" TOTs (Trick Or Treaters) to the Magic Mirror. Vlen The Magic Mirror hasn't changed for this year as I did the same performance as last year. I had added some songs and had offered TOTs to see Vlen sing or dance. I didn't go too heavy on this and preferred it on only smaller groups just to see how it would go over. For the most part it went over well. Now for the day itself. Well, we had rain for the whole week right up to Halloween, but for the day itself it was partly cloudy and we mostly had sun in the morning. That was a big help as the yard was saturated from the days before and needed to dry out. I also had to set everything up for the day and that took a up a bit of time. However, at noon I was ready to go. I know last year I had said I should open up at 2:00pm and I really should have went with that as I didn't see my first pair of TOTs until a quarter to 3:00pm. So now I know not to open before 2:00pm. As for the turnout, I managed to get 40 kids this year. While not stellar, that was still a much improved turnout from last year, in which I only had 18 kids. I had mostly groups of more than 2 kids this year and in some cases, the groups were as large as 6 in one shot! Those groups seemed bigger because there were many adults with the kids. While I did get some teenagers as well, I mostly had children. I have to say that I had the nicest and most decorated house (at night) for Halloween, but sadly, the action dropped off at about 7:00pm and my last TOT came at about 7:30. It started to drizzle a bit and I had started to pull my signs in. I did stay open until 8:30pm, but sadly, no one else came after 7:30. All in all, it had me thinking that only 6 TOTs had experienced the impressive night-time set up that I have and for all the work I put into the lighting, that really is a let down to see only that many kids experienced the display at night. So I am thinking about cutting back on some of the lights for next year. I have noticed that some neighbors have wooden pop up figures and decorations like my small coffin sign and the Happy Halloween sign. I figured these wooden signs are sturdy enough not to blow away in the wind and they might add more to the display in the daytime. I will see about that for next year. However, next year, Halloween is not going to fall on a weekend and thus with kids coming out of school first, I will go to the during the week opening time of 4:30pm. Next year I have been dabbling with the idea of not doing Vlen and perhaps doing something else. Even for 40 kids, the Magic Mirror does take up a lot of time to set up and take down. BUT, that is still another year away, so I guess I will worry about crossing that bridge when I get to it. Hope you enjoy the video!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,683 Posts
About to start dinner here but so happy to see the new video thread. Been watching your posts for years now and enjoy your magic mirror set up. Will be back to watch the 2021 fun after dinner. Always enjoyable to see what changes people make year after year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,683 Posts
I love watching the kids (of all ages) interact with Vlen! And fun watching your repeat visitors, dancers too. I think you’ll have some kids disappointed if he’s not there next year.

The prop and lighting additions this year helped fill out the yard and that pumpkin inflatable caught my eye too. Shame little kids come by so early not to experience everything in the dark with the lights but daytime does make it easy to see them in their costumes and talking to Vlen. No doubt Magic Mirror will be something they will remember from their childhood and tell their kids about one day. Glad you had a good year with increased ToTers and the weather held up.
 

·
Registered
Jack-O-Lanterns and Spiders
Joined
·
632 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I love watching the kids (of all ages) interact with Vlen! And fun watching your repeat visitors, dancers too. I think you’ll have some kids disappointed if he’s not there next year.
Thank you for the kind words. With the addition of the Go-Pro camera last year, I am now finally able to take video of the TOTs myself and capture them interacting with Vlen. My wife was more cooperative this year than last year, and she had taken some footage too (like she did in prior years), so this year I had TWO camera angles to choose from. With the one group of large kids, my wife did zoom in and showed Vlen on the front (TOT) view and you can see how he follows through with the routine right up to dispensing the candy. So that was really good footage there.

As for wanting to do something else. Well, I think Vlen is old news since I did him for 8 or 9 times out of the 12 years I been doing Halloween displays. However, for this neighborhood, he is a new thing, so I am not sure what I will do. I just know that I do want to do something to get out from behind the mirror. Further, even though I have trimmed down the setup over the years as I have a more compact computer and I had eventually bought the Alto Trouper speaker system that I had rented each year, it still does take a while to set it up and take it down. I think if I had bought a more advanced camera system that I could not only record TOTs with, but also view them with, I could go with a more solid setup that is even easier yet to set up and take down.

I have been dabbling with the idea of an Interactive Electric Chair routine or a made scientist routine as I have a ton of electrical components that I been saving for just that very display. I think that would be something that would go over well and it is suited for both daytime and night-time use.

The prop and lighting additions this year helped fill out the yard and that pumpkin inflatable caught my eye too.
Yes, I had recognized that the front yard was lacking last year and I wanted something for the front yard. So when I went to Lowes and saw that Reaper Pumpkin, I thought that would be the perfect centerpiece. Even though I normally don't like inflatables, I figured that it could be tied down and I am only using it for the one day, so I should get many years of use out of it.

Shame little kids come by so early not to experience everything in the dark with the lights but daytime does make it easy to see them in their costumes and talking to Vlen.
Many years ago, it wasn't like that because they changed the time earlier in the month and Halloween was darker for longer back then, but the forces to be had listened to parents that wanted to take their kids out while it was lighter and they pushed standard time to after Halloween. So for haunters like me that bring out the spectacular effects at night, many kids miss out. For an example, one year I wanted to build an infinity mirror effect...an endless tunnel, but it is an effect that would only work when it was fully dark out. Even the Magic Mirror doesn't work well in the day and I had to remove the two way glass on the front and that does take away some of he effect as the astute will figure out that I just mounted a computer monitor in a wooden picture frame. The two way glass was MUCH better since it was actually a mirror until I turned Vlen on and you could see him through the two way mirror. However, for the effect to properly work, it has to be almost fully dark out. So that is the reason why I prefer it to be darker earlier. As for costumes, that isn't a problem. I do have plenty lights around the mirror so I can see pretty well.

No doubt Magic Mirror will be something they will remember from their childhood and tell their kids about one day. Glad you had a good year with increased ToTers and the weather held up.
Well, being that this year the Covid restrictions were more lax and there was really no need for masks (as I am fully vaccinated anyway), more people came out this year as opposed to last year. Still it was no where near the number of kids I received at my parent's home. Over there 50 kids was a bad year. One year...I believe it was 2013, I received 150 kids and I went through 5 large bags of candy. Here I barely go through one large 150piece bag.

I do have a feeling that once I change things up, I will get people asking about the Magic Mirror. They did that for 2014 as that was the first year I (voluntarily) change the display. I don't count the year I didn't have power due to Hurricane Sandy knocking out power (2012). I came up with a "Plan B" that year and did the "Hip Swami". But 2014, I really put an effort in and came up with the (now) infamous Creep Machine. It was a project I loved and I really brought the level of my yard haunt to a new level. However, it was something that wasn't well received by the people and many kept asking me about the Magic Mirror. The following year (2015) I concentrated more on scares and got myself out in front, while less people asked about the Mirror, I could tell they missed it. So I brought it back for 2016 and 2017. The latter was my best year yet. My father passed away that year and that put me in charge if his home, so the first time since I been doing displays at my parent's house, I finally took up the whole yard AND the garage. So if you follow my posts, that was the year I introduced the Path of Doom, which was built around a hidden walkway behind the bushes at the front of the house.

Since I did do Vlen that year, it was overall very well accepted. I didn't know the TOT count that year, but it was certainly around 100. The kids got a kick out the the Boo Tube that I did in the garage and the parents loved the Path of Doom! That was a really good year.

I do eventually would like to have a repeat of 2017 here, but I really don't know where I would put a "Path of Doom" here. One obvious place is the garage and I certainly could fit it in there, but that would mean I would have to do something else to hand out candy as that is where the Magic Mirror would be.

I also had the idea of "Blowing Up" Vlen to larger proportions and using a projector for him and redo the garage to mimic the setting like in Wizard Of Oz. It isn't an original idea as someone had done it here in the forums before, but it would make for an interesting setup. It might be even easier to set up. However, as the problem I had with the Boo Tube...it is an effect that works best at night.

Well, I guess that is all. Thank you again for the kind words and keep sticking around. You never know what ideas I might come up with for Halloween!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,683 Posts
Oh yes I remember when you did your set ups at your parents’ home and was sad to see you report on losing your dad and then of course change of locations. Our ToT count has varied over the years and always feels great when more kids get to come to your house.

What about making use of the empty backyard space you mentioned? Looks like a decent amount. Perhaps a tent can go up? Or Maybe create a maze walk thru of some sort? Something to add more interest for you. Any parents you know who might like to be the man in the mirror so you are freed up to enjoy your yard in other ways.
 

·
Registered
Jack-O-Lanterns and Spiders
Joined
·
632 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh yes I remember when you did your set ups at your parents’ home and was sad to see you report on losing your dad and then of course change of locations.
Well, in terms of Halloween, losing my dad was both a curse and blessing. My father actually didn't like when I put my display on at his home. However, at that time, I had an apartment that had only a VERY small amount of yard real-estate to work with. For 2018 and 2019, I put my display on there, but it was just regular Trick Or Treating. No Magic Mirror, but I did put my projector in the front window and did a smaller version of the Boo Tube. But I had my parent's house through 2017 as my dad passed in March. So as an all out hurrah, I went nuts at their house for Halloween.

Our ToT count has varied over the years and always feels great when more kids get to come to your house.
Same here, but I had always known that my parent's neighborhood had more kids and more through traffic. The town I live in has a lower child count and I am also on a side street that doesn't receive much through traffic. So it is like putting on a display on cul-de-sac in which no one from the main road can see the house. The best year I had was 2013, but that was closely followed by 2017. I lost count with that one as I had about 75 - 80 kids, however, the adults were the ones making use of the "Path of Doom", and I wasn't counting them. So I very well could have come close to 2013.

The apartment was abysmal even though it was off a VERY busy main road. The house was one house in from the main road and across from the grade school so I did receive some recognition from that, but again, it was around 50 or so kids. Still it was better than where I am now.

What about making use of the empty backyard space you mentioned? Looks like a decent amount. Perhaps a tent can go up?
Yes, it is a good amount of space, but it is open space. My parent's home had much more in terms of overhead cover, especially with the huge backyard patio with a full awning. The problem with tents is the same reason why I have a problem with inflatable decorations...wind. There is just too much of it at around that time of year. Halloween day is notorious for bad weather and usually it takes the form of wind. So any structure would have to go up beforehand and then I have to set up the interior. God forbid I have both a windy AND rainy day and "my cover is blown". So that is a no dice situation. If I am going to do a haunt like a "Path of Doom", it would probably have to go in the garage.

Or Maybe create a maze walk thru of some sort?
I had thought of using the shed to put the Magic Mirror in and have an eerily lit path leading to it, using that backyard space, but again, any props I put down would have to be able to withstand wind and rain. Further, the shed as no power, and it is in the far corner of the yard, which is pretty long. So it would be pretty hard to run an extension cord there. Burying the Magic Mirror that far in the yard would certainly deter new TOTs and I don't know how well received it would be with the existing ones.

Something to add more interest for you. Any parents you know who might like to be the man in the mirror so you are freed up to enjoy your yard in other ways.
No, sadly. At my parent's home, there were a couple that volunteered for the job early on, but those people have disappeared over the years. I am trying to get my sons involved, but as of now, they are 14.5 years old and still have a child's voice. Their voices haven't changed yet!!! All of their friends at school have deeper voices, but not them. Believe me, I tried to put one behind the mirror and it just doesn't sound right. LOL! If either one would take over for the Magic Mirror, then the possibility of putting it in the shed could be realized. Then I would be out and about and could usher people to the back yard. It is an idea, but I am not sure if I am going to go that route. It is a year away, so I will have to see.

Anyway, thanks for the interest! Until next year...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Thanks for making that video! I loved seeing the kids’ reacting to Vlen. The little “ding!” When the candy comes out made me laugh. I imagine it’s helpful though since it lets the ToT know candy came out.
I’m generally not a fan of inflatables either but I agree with you on that pumpkin looking awesome. I look forward to your future haunts!
 

·
Registered
Jack-O-Lanterns and Spiders
Joined
·
632 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for making that video! I loved seeing the kids’ reacting to Vlen. The little “ding!” When the candy comes out made me laugh. I imagine it’s helpful though since it lets the ToT know candy came out.
I’m generally not a fan of inflatables either but I agree with you on that pumpkin looking awesome. I look forward to your future haunts!
Thank YOU for the kind words. Yes, over the years, and after several ideas of my own, (the Magic Mirror is NOT my idea, BTW, I can't take credit for that.), Magic Mirror proves to be a favorite. Out of my 12 years of putting on a Halloween display, I have done the Magic Mirror for 8 of those 12 years. For me, sitting behind the Mirror, I still enjoy it, but I would like to get out from behind the mirror and do other things. But I guess doing it for so long, I have pretty much honed my skill with it, and I DO try to change things up each year too. First I have added telling Halloween jokes, and with that came the sound effects. The drum hit for the jokes and the "ding" sound (you mentioned) for when the candy is delivered down the chute. For this year, I have added some songs in which Vlen could sing and "dance" to. The girl in the video that I got with "Kitty Girl" was downright impressed that I came up with what seemingly was on the fly. But truth be told, of the years that I have done Vlen, there are at least about a half a dozen girls that show up in a cat costume. Other songs I have used that I sang along with are "Dancing In The Moonlight" by King Harvest and "Monster Mash", of which you saw at the end of the video.

So yeah, I do try to change things up a bit, just to keep the Magic Mirror routine fresh and it doesn't get stale for me. Ironically, I didn't really want to do the Magic Mirror routine at the new location, but last year was my first Halloween here and that was Covid year, so I had to come up with something socially distant and the Magic Mirror is naturally so, so I just fell back into it. This year many of the Covid restrictions were lifted, but social distancing and wearing masks were still recommended. So in the very least, I wanted to still comply with that, although I didn't strictly enforce any rules, nor did I require masks on the property.

So next year, hoping the Covid scare is behind us, I MIGHT do something different. I will have to see.

Thank you again and have a Happy Holidays!
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top