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Halloween 2022 - Magic Mirror - Singing Pumpkins and a Covid in Pear Tree

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Hello All!

Well after dodging the Covid-19 bullet since 2020, I managed to get it. Worse, I didn't know I had it and I ended up getting everyone in my family sick, save for one of my sons. I am VERY surprised he didn't get it, since the entire house was contaminated. Now for me, I didn't get the symptoms bad, in fact, I just felt under the weather and figured I needed rest. My wife and my one boy (on the other hand), felt worse and my wife felt that her sickness was 'different' and that was what spawned her on to take a Covid test. It was positive. Given that my one boy was hacking up a lung, I told her to test him too. Sure enough, he had it also. My other son was fine. However, I didn't feel the need to test myself as I seemed to be feeling OK, just very sluggish. When the sluggishness didn't go away the next day, I took the test too and it was positive! So now I had to stay home from work for 5 days and this was Wednesday last week, so that would mean I would be clear to go back to work, however, I had taken Monday and Tuesday off for Halloween. So in the end, I ended up getting a week vacation due to Covid!

Ok, now moving on to Halloween. Well, I went a bit crazy this year and I regretted it. More on that later.

So my plan for this year was to fill that dead space that is in the corner where my front stoop was with The Singing Pumpkins! Yeah, I had decided to bring them back. I didn't make up new songs mainly because no one at this location as seen them yet. In my decision to bring the pumpkins back, I looked through all my old signs. Low and behold, I did find one from 2013 that fit the bill. However, it also mentioned "Spydro-The Jumping Spider". At first I was just going to cover that part of the sign up, but then thought that it couldn't be too much work to add to the lineup and I would have a well rounded Halloween! Further, being that Halloween was during the week, the signs reflected the right times of 4:00pm through 9:00pm.

I proceeded to get everything set up in the few weeks leading to Halloween. The plan was to set up the Magic Mirror in the garage, as usual. Put Spydro on the side, next to the garage so it could make use of some of the garage's soffit lights. And finally, put the singing pumpkins up front next to the stoop.

Now the thing was that I had wanted to capture people getting scared by the jumping spider and even though I had the one Go-Pro set up by the Magic Mirror, I had no way to monitor the spider. So I ended up buying on of those trail cameras. I figures it has PIR triggering, it was waterproof and it could pretty much do what I wanted...idealistically. Realistically though, the trigger times were much more than the manual stated and this posed a problem that forced me to relocated the spider so that the camera had a longer chance to react and would start recording before TOTs would trigger the spider. Luckily I managed to find a good spot and tested the triggering. Now this was Halloween day, mind you as I redid the spider setup in the morning.

The Magic Mirror went without a hitch, and (for the most part) so did the Singing Pumpkins. However, I was reminded HOW long it was to prepare the Singing Pumpkins and I kept hoping that I would have a good turn out for the day. I figured that more people would come later since it was a school day and that I would have more TOTs for the night.

Last year I had 40 Tots and was preparing to get at least that amount, so I bought 3 bags of candy...initially. But on a whim, when I went back to the supermarket to pick up a few items, I ended up worrying about falling short and I had picked up another 80 piece bag of candy.

Enter Halloween day/night:

The day looked promising even though the forecast predicted rain late in the day. Even though my signs said "4:00pm" for a start time, I was ready to go at "3:00pm", just in case. So I wasn't disappointed that no one showed up for the first hour. Around 3:30, my boys went out for TOTing and I helped them get ready. So they left and I still waited. It wasn't until 3:45 until the first pair of girls came by...they ended up walking right by the house!!! This is with my singing pumpkins blaring Halloween tunes and that big a$$ pumpkin I had out on the front lawn! Now, this wasn't the ONLY time that happened during the night. It happened twice more in which people came up to the Singing Pumpkin display and after watching it for a bit, they turned around and left without coming down the driveway! So I don't get what happened with that.

Overall, the day was a bust though. I didn't count how many kids I got, but it was more like the first year when I received about 18. Maybe it was a little more. I don't know. But as I was wrapping things up, this was the first time that I felt that I had wasted my time. Luckily it was a warm night and I wasn't freezing my colyouns off in the garage.

Wrapping up, I could feel it drizzling off and on and I wanted to mostly the electronics, props and signs pulled in before 10:30pm as I was expecting it to rain harder.
This morning, when I woke up, it felt like I was hit by a Mack truck, (it might have been a Peterbuilt, I didn't catch the name on the badge). I was completely worn out from wrapping things up last night. In fact I didn't get up until 11:00am to start to wrap up the Magic Mirror display in the garage.

I know I never had thoughts of what I was doing to be a waste of time before, but considering the efforts that I had put into the display to have a poor turnout like that is disheartening. I even began to dwell on that thought as I was putting everything away today. It has me really stopping and thinking about future Halloweens.

For one, despite putting new money into the Singing Pumpkin display to revive it, I am not so certain I would do it again. Then there is the Magic Mirror display itself. It takes a long time to set it up and dismantle it. Also, with my getting older, everything takes longer. Also, the weather is affecting me more and I start to feel cold in the low 50's. So I am not relishing the idea of spending entire Halloween nights in the garage.

Finally, there is the amount of lights I put in my display and it seems like only a few groups get to see them. At dinner time, which is about 6:30, only a half hour after dark, the amount of TOTs I see drops drastically. In fact, I only had two more (new) groups come and one from earlier in the day came as my last group and that was about 7:15. So from that time to 9:00pm, I had nothing. Hence for 6 hours being outside and only receiving about 18 kids for a school night, I only used half of one bag of candy and I was giving out multiple pieces for each kid too.

I know that between the candy and new items I bought for this year, I have invested about $400 into this Halloween and what do I have to show for it?

Needless to say, I am very disappointed with Halloween this year.

I don't know what I am going to do for next year, but for certain, I am not doing the Magic Mirror. It just takes far too long to set it up and take down.

I will be back with pictures and videos from yesterday.

That being said on my end, how was everyone else's Halloween?

Diaval
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Diaval, I hear you and feel your pain. We didn't fare well this year either. Like you, we spent tons of money/time/sleepless nights/frantic planning only to have a party where half the people showed up. It was a small and fun group, but quite a let-down as compared to last year. Our Trick or Treater numbers went way down too. I bought all this candy and only had about 70 but purchased enough candy for over 150 kids, and because of this year's sleepy Halloween, I'm wondering if I will do another party again, probably not. The best fun of the night was inviting total strangers who were TOTs, into our house just so I could show off my decorating skills and got all sorts of nice comments because my party guests didn't show up in the numbers I expected.

I am sorry you had such a disappointing let down, which was foreshadowed by everyone getting sick, but I did enjoy reading your post because it was so detailed. I like to read other's experiences about their Halloween across the US of A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Diaval, I hear you and feel your pain. We didn't fare well this year either. Like you, we spent tons of money/time/sleepless nights/frantic planning only to have a party where half the people showed up. It was a small and fun group, but quite a let-down as compared to last year. Our Trick or Treater numbers went way down too. I bought all this candy and only had about 70 but purchased enough candy for over 150 kids, and because of this year's sleepy Halloween, I'm wondering if I will do another party again, probably not. The best fun of the night was inviting total strangers who were TOTs, into our house just so I could show off my decorating skills and got all sorts of nice comments because my party guests didn't show up in the numbers I expected.

I am sorry you had such a disappointing let down, which was foreshadowed by everyone getting sick, but I did enjoy reading your post because it was so detailed. I like to read other's experiences about their Halloween across the US of A.
Sorry to hear you are in the same boat, but then again, I have been getting reports all over that many experienced a terrible Halloween this year. I will say that it was nice of you to open your hope to TOT's to host a party. While I like the idea of hosting a Halloween Party, I don't think I would do it with strangers. However, with friends and family I would, but lately they have proved to be unreliable. Two years running my boss wanted to come by with a truck load of kids and I been dissed twice now. In the end, I don't even feeling like inviting people over any more.

ONLY 70 showed up?!!? I WISH I could have had that turn out. My first year, I had about 18 kids, but that was because we just moved in AND that was Covid year (2020). Last year that number more than doubled to 40. Still pathetic by my standards, but it showed improvement. THIS year it plummeted back down to 18! It sucked because it was really the whole month in the planning. The past two years I have only done the Magic Mirror. This time I wanted to show those 40 plus people (assuming most would return) how much I added this year. So with the Singing Pumpkins and the Jumping Spider scare, I think I had a nice setup for this year. I had 3 full bags of candy and yet, I worried I might run out and in the last minute I bought an 80 piece bag on top of that. I didn't even get through ONE 80 piece bag! So I just felt it was a waste of time and money, and most over, my energy. I am not getting any younger and each year I feel it more and more. I had dismantled most of my setup on Halloween night, totally removing the Singing Pumpkins and Jumping Spider displays. The Magic Mirror I left for the next day since that was in the garage. I tried to gun it to get everything in because I knew that rain was coming.

The following day I was DEAD tired! I didn't get up until 11:00am!

So, yeah, I had already made the decision that next year, I will NOT do the Singing Pumpkins. I probably will do the spider scare though. But the biggest changes I have to make are with the Magic Mirror. It just takes too long to set it up and take it down. However, for next year, I might give it a rest and do something different. I have been longing to do an interactive electric chair. Yes, it is something I have to build, but once that is done, set up and storage will be easy. I will have to see what I am going to do.

Anyway, thanks for the reply. Hopefully next year will be better!

Diaval
 

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Sorry to hear you are in the same boat, but then again, I have been getting reports all over that many experienced a terrible Halloween this year. I will say that it was nice of you to open your hope to TOT's to host a party. While I like the idea of hosting a Halloween Party, I don't think I would do it with strangers. However, with friends and family I would, but lately they have proved to be unreliable. Two years running my boss wanted to come by with a truck load of kids and I been dissed twice now. In the end, I don't even feeling like inviting people over any more.

ONLY 70 showed up?!!? I WISH I could have had that turn out. My first year, I had about 18 kids, but that was because we just moved in AND that was Covid year (2020). Last year that number more than doubled to 40. Still pathetic by my standards, but it showed improvement. THIS year it plummeted back down to 18! It sucked because it was really the whole month in the planning. The past two years I have only done the Magic Mirror. This time I wanted to show those 40 plus people (assuming most would return) how much I added this year. So with the Singing Pumpkins and the Jumping Spider scare, I think I had a nice setup for this year. I had 3 full bags of candy and yet, I worried I might run out and in the last minute I bought an 80 piece bag on top of that. I didn't even get through ONE 80 piece bag! So I just felt it was a waste of time and money, and most over, my energy. I am not getting any younger and each year I feel it more and more. I had dismantled most of my setup on Halloween night, totally removing the Singing Pumpkins and Jumping Spider displays. The Magic Mirror I left for the next day since that was in the garage. I tried to gun it to get everything in because I knew that rain was coming.

The following day I was DEAD tired! I didn't get up until 11:00am!

So, yeah, I had already made the decision that next year, I will NOT do the Singing Pumpkins. I probably will do the spider scare though. But the biggest changes I have to make are with the Magic Mirror. It just takes too long to set it up and take it down. However, for next year, I might give it a rest and do something different. I have been longing to do an interactive electric chair. Yes, it is something I have to build, but once that is done, set up and storage will be easy. I will have to see what I am going to do.

Anyway, thanks for the reply. Hopefully next year will be better!

Diaval
I think the low party turn out and the low number of TOTs could be related to the fact that it was a Monday night, the hardest day of the week for many reasons. The party people were mostly from work (lots of them flaked out) and the strangers taking a tour of the inside of our home were supervised the entire time. They were more thrilled about my decorating than the invited co-workers but it may be because half of them already have seen the same thing as last year.

I have another idea for next year; which is to nix the party. No more parties! Too tired, too much time invested and a lot of money wasted on prizes and food/booze. Next year I'm going to set up the cemetery in the garage, which is traditionally inside our home and is a big hit with people who haven't seen it before (complete with sounds of crickets in the night). I'm going to make a path for the TOTs to follow into the garage, and out to the side of the house - that way I can still decorate and show off my skills without inviting strangers into our home. The only people who will be invited into our home will be close friends and neighbors, and will be kept small. It will be low-key next year and I'll be able to relax instead of stressing out and having to host a party.

Well I am glad we both came up with some ideas on what we will do/will not do next year, and it will be to our advantage! I have you to thank for this inspiration! Here's to next year!
 

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Our house also got struck by various illnesses over the last two months, COVID included. So I didn't get to finish up a part of our display that I was really excited about. Worked hard on some other aspects I was pleased with, but when setting up a skeleton on a hay bale got me winded, I just had to cut the losses and admit I wasn't feeling up to doing as much as I wanted to do. We had a good turnout, but I was sitting there planning for next year the whole time. 🤷‍♀️

I'd say lose the parts of your display that cause you that degree of frustration. If the Magic Mirror is that time consuming, you're right that it might not be worth it even if it's a cool display.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think the low party turn out and the low number of TOTs could be related to the fact that it was a Monday night, the hardest day of the week for many reasons. The party people were mostly from work (lots of them flaked out) and the strangers taking a tour of the inside of our home were supervised the entire time. They were more thrilled about my decorating than the invited co-workers but it may be because half of them already have seen the same thing as last year.

I have another idea for next year; which is to nix the party. No more parties! Too tired, too much time invested and a lot of money wasted on prizes and food/booze. Next year I'm going to set up the cemetery in the garage, which is traditionally inside our home and is a big hit with people who haven't seen it before (complete with sounds of crickets in the night). I'm going to make a path for the TOTs to follow into the garage, and out to the side of the house - that way I can still decorate and show off my skills without inviting strangers into our home. The only people who will be invited into our home will be close friends and neighbors, and will be kept small. It will be low-key next year and I'll be able to relax instead of stressing out and having to host a party.

Well I am glad we both came up with some ideas on what we will do/will not do next year, and it will be to our advantage! I have you to thank for this inspiration! Here's to next year!
I don't know if it was just because of the Monday or for the fact that it is during the week. I fear to expect the same poor turnout next year in which Halloween would fall on a Tuesday. I can't rely on friends and family as many just make excuses. I have invited family to at least 3 different events this year and every time they flaked out. Hmmmm, an indoor cemetery? I guess I can see that you wanting to have cover from rain and wind. I had totally given up on tombstones because there are many times when I had high winds on Halloween and the wind just blows the tombstones away. Last Halloween (2021) I was CONSTANTLY returning tombstones to my neighbor. Years ago I had tombstones myself, but most were lost to wind, so I don't bother with them anymore. I have those small 'plaque' type decorations that are a flat coroplast standup decoration. Those seem to stay put in the wind.

Glad to be of help and inspiration! I was going over some simple ideas for myself today just before work:
1) Simplify the Magic Mirror to fit on a door slab and wedge that into my main door frame. Yes it is heavier, but set up and take down will be VERY quick.
2) Mad Lab display based around a Mad Scientist and some sort of wacky experiment or invention.
3) Interactive Electric Chair. The initial project will be labor intensive, but once built, setup / teardown should be easy.
So I am probably going to go with one of those ideas.

Our house also got struck by various illnesses over the last two months, COVID included. So I didn't get to finish up a part of our display that I was really excited about. Worked hard on some other aspects I was pleased with, but when setting up a skeleton on a hay bale got me winded, I just had to cut the losses and admit I wasn't feeling up to doing as much as I wanted to do. We had a good turnout, but I was sitting there planning for next year the whole time. 🤷‍♀️

I'd say lose the parts of your display that cause you that degree of frustration. If the Magic Mirror is that time consuming, you're right that it might not be worth it even if it's a cool display.
I heard about that as well that many people had fallen ill this year. As I mentioned, I had dodged the Covid bullet for two years, but this year I got it and it couldn't happen at a worse time. However, I was lucky that I had only mild symptoms. And yes, I am fully vaccinated. However, I was feeling winded myself and often had to stop and rest, which is why set up took much longer this year. I was lucky in that my job required a 5 day self quarantine for Covid and that had bought me some extra days to set up. While I had much more energy by Halloween night, I bit off more than I can chew when I decided to tear down most of my display that very night. The next morning it felt like I was hit by a truck and I couldn't get up. I laid in bed until 11:00am!

Yeah, as I mentioned to HauntedGarden above, I am going to slim things down. It seems that the past Halloweens, the TOTs drop off dramatically at about 7:00pm. Which is only about an hour after dark. So it really doesn't pay for me to go nuts with lights. Perhaps I will only light the front yard and not the side anymore. The Singing Pumpkins were definitely a mistake and I regret investing money in it this year thinking it would be a big hit. Finally, as I mentioned above, I might do one of those three things. I am really leaning towards the Interactive Electric Chair. Yes, the initial setup will take time, but thereafter, setup and take down will be easy. I will have to see though as it is a year away.

Nice chat and hopefully things will be better next year.
 

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Our house also got struck by various illnesses over the last two months, COVID included. So I didn't get to finish up a part of our display that I was really excited about. Worked hard on some other aspects I was pleased with, but when setting up a skeleton on a hay bale got me winded, I just had to cut the losses and admit I wasn't feeling up to doing as much as I wanted to do. We had a good turnout, but I was sitting there planning for next year the whole time. 🤷‍♀️
I give you kudos for even trying to decorate suffering from the after-effects of Covid!
 

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@Diaval - interactive electric chair??? Sounds totally fascinating - so do people actually sit in and get some kind of vibration or do they press a button? LOL.

I've posted some pics of my indoor cemetery - of course pics don't do it justice, always looks smaller than in real life, and you can't hear the crickets and the night sounds in the background. Looks small in the picture, but this took up an entire library room:

Purple Art Electric blue Plant Event

Blue Light Purple Azure World
 

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Not gonna lie, Halloween 2022 was depressing. It was a glorious day until nightfall. At sunset it started drizzling, then downpouring. We had maybe 30 kids.

Covid is no joke. I'm very happy to hear you & your family are on the mend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My apologies for not getting back sooner, but I had a bit of a mishap with my son and my computer and he had obliterated my Ubuntu partition on my hard drive. While the mishap didn't affect my Windows partition, it did leave me without 'free surfing' the internet for a while, and it also had set me back with creating a video for Halloween. I was out of Ubuntu for over a week until I finally was able to fix it. Once back in I had tried to work on the Halloween video only to find out that the video editor I normally use, OpenShot, wasn't up to the task of working with the new GUI environment I have. Since it is Kubuntu based, I have to use its video editor, Kdenlive and I have NO idea how to work it, so there is a learning curve involved and I don't know when I will be able to post the video of this past Halloween. I just will say, keep an eye out for it!

@Diaval - interactive electric chair??? Sounds totally fascinating - so do people actually sit in and get some kind of vibration or do they press a button? LOL.
Yes, it will have a vibrator in the seat, but I will have the fun of pushing the button...or rather throwing a knife switch! Of course, people could take pictures of family members in the chair without the vibration, of course. I am just looking for something simpler to set up and take down, but still will be quite fun. On nice days, I can set the chair up in the front of the yard. If it rains, then I can put it in the garage.


I've posted some pics of my indoor cemetery - of course pics don't do it justice, always looks smaller than in real life, and you can't hear the crickets and the night sounds in the background. Looks small in the picture, but this took up an entire library room:
That is pretty impressive looking. Yes, it does look much smaller than if it were outside, but then again, you get a windy day and all those tombstones will go bye bye in the wind! It might be cool if you had a big garage, such a two car garage and set up the graveyard in there. Then it is somewhat outside, but protected from the wind and rain.

Not gonna lie, Halloween 2022 was depressing. It was a glorious day until nightfall. At sunset it started drizzling, then downpouring. We had maybe 30 kids.

Covid is no joke. I'm very happy to hear you & your family are on the mend.
Wow! 30 kids was much better than what I had! I only had 18, which was about the same as my first year doing it...and that happened to be the "Year of the Covid" (2020). Last year was much better as I had 40 kids and it looked very promising for this year. So I did much more this year, only to be disappointed by the handful of kids that showed up. One pattern I have noticed the past few years at this new location. Once it gets dark and dinner time hits 6:30 to 7:00pm, it dramatically dies down. In many ways it pisses me off because I have a LOT of lights and it seems that only a handful of people get to enjoy them. The Magic Mirror is VERY much an evening to night prop and that is when it looks best, but does hold its own in the daytime too, but the effect of the mirror itself is a bit washed out because of the sun.

As I was saying to HauntedGarden above, I am toying around with the idea of creating an interactive electric chair for next year (2023). I know it will initially take some time to put it together, but once that has been done, it should be a very easy setup and take down and I should have the ability to move it around the yard so if it is nice out, I can forgo the garage and set it up in the front yard (probably where the singing pumpkins were this year. If it is rainy or windy out, I can set it up in the garage. Perhaps when I expect more kids, like on a weekend Halloween, I would go for the gusto and set up the Magic Mirror again. I will have to see. But for certain, I have to slim things down to just putting up what is easy and will look good in both day and night. I just have to face it and that I am not going to get more than 50 kids in my area...if that.

Well, do pop in every so often for that video, but I may not have it done before Christmas though.

Until next year then!

Diaval
 

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Good to hear from you diaval. Sorry to hear about the illness! Good to know things are better. It's amazing that my previously good turn outs at night have literally run almost dry. I used to have good numbers at night. Plus the kids around here have gotten older too. So numbers are lower than I'd like. That's why I've scaled back a lot too. Little skelly was a great scare though! He was busy and getting it done!

 
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