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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

As most of you might already know, this will be my third year doing a Halloween event. Up to now I pretty much have centered my Halloween events around Imagineerieing's Magic Mirror digital puppets.

For 2009 I used the 'free' Magic Mirror puppet which I set up in a glass vestibule on the side entrance of my house. The entrance had it's own walkway to the street and it was a perfect spot to set up the attraction. Well...it was almost perfect. I did have trouble with the sunlight in the daytime and such I was forced to open the attraction much later than I wanted to. However, I was the victim of late planning here. Overall the event did go well.

For 2010 I used the 'Gordo' Magic Mirror puppet and went with a non-scary pumpkin themed event. I also added 'singing pumpkins' to the foray which I added to the front lawn of the house. I gave myself much more time to plan this event and corrected some of the issues I had the prior year. Overall it went much better.

THIS year I am going to take a different turn. Since Halloween fell on a weekend the past two years, TOTs came early on, and there wasn't much going on for the evening, so I kept the past two years 'non-scary'. This time around Halloween falls on a Monday, so kids will be in school for the early part of the day. Most TOT's will be out just as it is getting dark. So this is the first year I am going to add some REAL scares to the attraction (rubs hands together in an evil fashion).

Ok, so now comes the area I have to work with, or the canvas (so to speak). While I have thought of some ideas on my own, I am going to keep it open to discussion and listen to what the haunt community thinks or what ideas they have in mind. However, I do have some rules in regards to the types of props and scares.

1) I have a storage problem, so I really don't have the room to store large props. If it is something large, then it has to be easy to setup and can store into a small space.
2) While I have a larger budget than last year, I really can't do anything very expensive.
3) When I said I want to add some scares, I mean that in terms of scares that are startling in nature and NOT gruesome or gory. So no blood, guts, and gore. Think Disneyland Haunted Mansion here, albeit a bit scarier.
4) I would like to stick with a "We will not touch you, so don't touch us" approach. I don't want any of my props to come into contact with a guest (intentionally). Water jets are also out. I don't want wet my guests either. While I would permit air-jets, I don't have an air compressor. Which leads to #
5) I don't have an air compressor and I am not going to buy one this year. So no props that would need compressed air.

Ok, now onto the canvas:

Picture #380 The walkway *& Vestibule:

This is pretty much the setting for the past two Halloweens in which I had a walkway that lead from the side gate right to the vestibule door. Within the vestibule I had the Magic Mirror set up for both 2009 & 2010. For this year, I still want to use the vestibule, but I intend to move the magic mirror out of this location. Instead I had in mind moving the singing pumpkins into the vestibule. Since the singing pumpkins are customizable I COULD essentially use them as greeters to the haunt.

Other thoughts I had were to perhaps put a Madame Leota Seance Crystal ball in here. While it would be a cool 'Pepper's Ghost' introduction, I don't know if I could customize this into a greeter. So I am somewhat open to ideas of what to do with the vestibule. I would like to do something with electronics here as the vestibule is protected from the elements.

For the walkway up to the vestibule, I intend to use the same pumpkin tealights as I did last year. I am just going to get a few more to lead people to the entrance to the back yard.

Picture #381 The entrance:

Ok, so this is the entrance to the backyard and as you can see I have a bush on the left AND right side of the gate. In these bushes I will have flashing eyes. I am pretty firm on this idea and I am going to run with that. While I am not 100% sure yet, I might have an extra person here to guide guests in/out. If so, I would like this person in costume.

Picture #383 Reverse side of entrance:

This is the back side of the entrance as guests would see when walking back out, but the reason why I show it here is because I would like to locate my first scare right here. On the right side by the walkway (left side to those entering), I would like to put some kind of Trash Can Trauma or other startling effect here. I am open as to what can go here. The side by the bush I would like to keep clear as that is where people would exit (yeah, unfortunately I have to use the same door as entrance and exit).

Picture #382 Trees by fence:

I had in mind of lining up a few tombstones here that have whimsical sayings on them. One of the tombstones would hide a 'surprise'. Since this would follow the exit path more so, it would be one of the last things people would see on their walk back out. In the trees I had in mind of hanging orange and purple Halloween lights just to light this area up some more. Again, I am not 100% of what to do with this area.

Picture #384 & 385 Sliding glass doors:

Ok, this is an interesting spot. I have a stoop here with a double glass sliding door. This SCREAMS (pun intended) for something scary. What I had in mind of doing on one of the doors is to have a light that shines a pattern on the door. Behind the door is a scrim that is concealing a scary full size prop. When someone gets near to the door, the pattern light goes off and the lights illuminate the prop from inside, revealing it. A scary sound would play out of some speakers at this time.

While I am somewhat set on this effect, I could be swayed. However, there is still the other door where I could do something with. Perhaps I could set something up there to lure people close to the first door, where the 'scare' is hiding.

Picture #386 House Cantilever:

Another interesting spot is the fact that the lower section of the house has a cantilever that is out 2 feet from the foundation of the house (see where I put my boy's trikes). This area too would be good to 'hide' something. I had thought about hanging some material here (cheesecloth maybe) and have a hole in it. Inside I could put a monitor that runs Big Scream TV's Terror Eyes.

I am open to what to do down here:

Picture #387 Piece De Resistance--Magic Mirror on steroids:

Alright, as mentioned above, I did the Magic Mirror effect for two years now, and frankly I still think it is the highlight of my Halloween events. So this year I want to ramp this up considerably. Instead of a monitor I want to use a video projector that projects an image on some sort of screen, this will make the Magic Mirror face very large. I would like to go with a smoke machine this time, I also want faux flame cauldrons (I need to know what brand looks the most realistic). I am also going to use a voice changer this time as well.

The big problem I have having though is coming up with a facade. I was going to go with a bazaar style 'tent' as anything based on curtain like material is very inexpensive and I can easily store it...however, this also presents another obvious problem, just about anyone could pull the material aside to reveal me inside operating the whole works. It literally would be a like a scene out of Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain". Naturally I would like to avoid this.

Lastly, I have not thought about a candy delivery system for this location. While I could use a duct like system I had been doing the prior years...my parents always get me potato chips to give out to the kids and it is hard to put these down a 4" tube. So I would like to do something different for the treat delivery system.

So I will say that I am pretty much set on having a larger scale "Magic Mirror" in my haunt, the execution is still 'fuzzy'.

Picture #388 Exit Run:

This is the proposed exit run after the guests have been to the magic mirror, the would loop around and enter the area under the trees as described in #382 above. Between here and the door I would like one last scare. As mentioned above, I was thinking about a tomb stone jumper or other scare here. Again open to discussion.

Alright so there you have it, my loose plans for Haunt 2011. Overall I don't really consider this a full walk through attraction since it is very small, but it is a little more involved than a simple display as the guests will walk in a somewhat set pattern. The overall challenges though are to keep costs down while at the same time offering a good way to store everything.

I also don't have a set theme for this event. While it isn't necessary, if there would be a way to tie everything in together that would be nice.

That'll be all for now.

Geo
 

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I'm no good with scares since we only get very small kids but your yard has lots of decorating possibilities. I love the high fencing just for security!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm no good with scares since we only get very small kids but your yard has lots of decorating possibilities. I love the high fencing just for security!
We do have small children of our own, so that is the need for the fencing, bushes, (etc) in that area. The kids play in the backyard.

For Halloween I wanted to make use of the awning because I do fear the worst and more often than not, the best of plans sometimes go awry when mother nature sticks her nose into the affair. For example, for both times I have done my Magic Mirror on Halloween, the day was awfully windy and because of that, I wasn't able to set up some of my props. However, things could be worse if I got stuck with rain.

Going on the level of a small haunt this time around, AND with the possibility of running for a few days, that does increase the possibility of getting caught with a rainy day. Most of the props that I planned are computer and/or electronic based. So they need as much protection as I could give them.

Enter the awning. Simply put, it is big, as it is half the house length. So it will most certainly protect most of my electronic props. Add to the fact that I also have a sliding glass door AND a window there does present more options.

The window is hard to do something with because the living room is on the other side. My kids play in the living room, and it would be tough enough keeping them away from any setup I have at the sliding door. In addition there is a couch underneath that window that is difficult to move. I had thought about using something from Big Scream TV or Hallowindows there, but that would require the use of a second projector set up in the middle of the living room. So projector + my kids = disaster. Thusfar I just plan to 'black out' the window so the living room light doesn't 'leak out'.

Well, if you have some ideas I am open to some thoughts now. This goes for everyone else too that wants to chime in. Just keep in mind the rules in which I want to keep it simple, easy to store, and no blood and gore.

Thanx,

Geo
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bump...only one response so far???? I thought the ideas would be pouring in!

Hmmm, perhaps too early in the season?
 

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I like your ideas. Maybe a Reaper or something at the entrance. Could be someone in costume.

You have the trees and awning that you can hang ghosts, etc. from.

The tombstones are a good idea in the grass. Maybe add some groundbreaker props as well.

You also might look at the coverings for the window. Might look nicer than just blacking it out.

Do you have any pictures from Halloween Past that you can share as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I like your ideas. Maybe a Reaper or something at the entrance. Could be someone in costume.
Yes, I had thought of that as well, but as of now, I am looking at possibly running things myself. But I really DO want someone (a live body) by the front entrance, just for the sake of flow management.

You have the trees and awning that you can hang ghosts, etc. from.
There is plenty of room for decorations like that, and the ghosts do seem like a good idea. As of now I am still on the fence about some kind of theme.

The tombstones are a good idea in the grass. Maybe add some groundbreaker props as well.
Perhaps...but I have seen the ground breakers many times before at haunts. For younger TOT's, they might get a good scare out it, but for teens and adults, they will know that it is going to do something.

You also might look at the coverings for the window. Might look nicer than just blacking it out.
I did think about putting two LCD TV's there and run "Terror Eyes" from Big Scream TV. However, rigging that up would present quite a few challenges especially when it comes to my kids as they might muck with the setup from the inside. If the kids were out of the equation, then it would have been as simple as running a DVD with Terror Eyes through a second video projector that would be perched on the living room coffee table and aimed right up at a 'screen' on the window. That would be extremely simple. But once again, keeping the boys out of the living room will prove to be difficult.

Do you have any pictures from Halloween Past that you can share as well?
Yeah I have the videos from 2009's show posted on YouTube. Just do a search with my name, "Jukingeo" and you will see multiple posts on "Magic Mirror". That was my first year setup. Last year (2010) was pretty much the same, except that I had a floating pumpkin where the frame is. I redecorated the whole thing to reflect my pumpkin theme.

Since this year, i am going to have my first during the week Halloween, having kids in school will work in my favor as they will do trick or treating later on...thus it will be darker. That is why I wanted to do something much larger this year.

One thing I had last year, which went over well, was the singing pumpkins. I had that set up in the front yard because I didn't want the music to clash with the "Magic Mirror" presentation. This year I would like to move the pumpkins into the vestibule and not only have them sing, but to also act as a greeter. The messages and music would be prerecorded and thus it is self running.

Last year, I bought some eyes that flash and I am going to put them in the bushes.

So for the most part I have an idea of what the front entrance part will look like. It is how to get everything in place for the backyard that I still have to think things through on.

Thank you for the input...always appreciated.

Geo
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hello all,

Just touching base back with everyone here. It seems that all bets are off on this location as I will be moving out. While I have been living here for two years, we (my family) are no longer wanted here. It is my parents home, and I have been living in a makeshift basement apartment, however my kids do come upstairs and play in the living room.

The problem stems from the fact that my dad is a full fledged a--hole and apparently can't take the little noise that his twin grandsons make around the house, citing they cause him to smoke more and jeopardize his health. I have always had long standing issues with my dad, but I never thought he would take things as far as he has. So he took it as far as to have me evicted(...yeah...my own dad wants to evict HIS own grandkids). My mom is against this, but she can do little against an idiot with a fat wallet and nothing better to do with his retirement time (and money) than to cause friction and arguments with everyone in the house. Needless to say his act of having me evicted marks the fact that he will not see me or his grandson's again...my wife will make sure of that. Therefore, I will not be holding Halloween events at this location any longer.

Since this is a happy place (the forum) and I enjoy my time with you fellow haunters here, I do not want to burden you with the details of my personal problems and bring everyone down. I will say that I am going to try my best to host an event this year, but the 'canvas' will be new and I probably will have to come up some new ideas, or work the ideas I been thinking of into the new place where we will be living.

So bottom line, please don't reply to this thread in regards to the pictures you are seeing, because I will no longer be living at this location by the end of the month.

I WILL be back with pictures of my new place (once I find it) and start the process over again.

Thank y'all for looking anyway and providing input.

Geo
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Update on this thread:

This thread represented my initial plan for 2011, however, that year I was presented with the difficulty of a double move, so the new location didn't pan out. The funniest thing is that even though I am living in a new location now, I am still holding my Halloween's at the location above. The plans above have totally changed, but I am still operating the Magic Mirror out of the vestibule.

Given much thought, I have decided against a maze type Halloween haunt and I am more or less creating 'stations' rather. Given this approach I am eventually going to adopt a Haunted Carnival type theme.

As of now, this thread is closed since it is no longer relevant to my current plans.

Thanx for looking and reading though.

Geo
 
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