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The brain is always running and just doesn't stop. I know most, if not all of you must have some sort of binder to write all your ideas in. It just sucks having to choose only one for a year. I'd love LOVE to be able to combine them but alas they're polar opposites of what i want to do lol....I think this is just a semi rant now. Oi. I'll give a “for instance" 1)this year I want scary (all years I want scary) so I am going to do pumpkin patch demon, basically just demon jack-o-lanterns that walk on the hands with disemboweled torsos. 2) I want to do a pirate scene, but I don't find pirates scary but I want to do a shipwreck. I can picture it its just not all thought out. 3)twisted wizard of oz 4) dragon 5)goblins... and so forth. Any who...just thought I'd say that... lol sorry.
 

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I hear ya. We're going all in on Pirate this year, but even there, financial resources limit which items hit the to-do list. Do you have any neighbors where you can join forces? On our street, the guy across the way picks up the Gothic cemetery, and I get the pirate. We help each other and get to end up doing both in a way.
 

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Far Away Eyes
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Do different scenes on different sides of the house? Inside the house? That's what I always did before I got so into it that the one theme took over everywhere!

I like the idea of working with the neighbor.
 

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I don't see anything wrong with staging different themes in your yard, make it like a walk through or use some sort of divider between each one.
And yes, my mind never seems to turn off. I carry a notebook with me everywhere. It has ideas for my theme, sketches, pictures I've printed off and taped down on the pages of images I would like to recreate, a list of everything I've already purchased, my guest list, food ideas etc.
And Pirates may not be scary to you but I'm sure they are to some people. I've done Pirates and everyone loves them. It was a great haunt.

Good luck and just have fun.
 

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Pirates of the Carribean movie was scary to me..especially the whole Davy Jones thing. Dark and scary...i would even say bordering on gross.
 

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Miles, I'm a bit like you...have a lot of favorite ideas. And I have a computer folder with a lot of springboard ideas stored. Plus on my iPhone I use Notes to keep track of halloween ideas and such as I think of them when not home: Halloween Ideas, Halloween shopping, Halloween windows (dimensions of our house windows....well because you never know when you'll need that info!). Plus my camera roll is full of photos of halloween shopping.

If you have a full yard haunt, I've been working towards one so I can combine themes, you can do the same. Here's a few ideas from a few of my themes--pirates, witches, swamp, cemetary, Skull island. Pirates is the theme that runs primarily thru these first 2.

This is for my front yard only..... Garage, driveway and right side fence are my pirates theme area. Pirates ship has beached itself along the fence. The driveway is part of the ocean with a pirates raft, leading to a swampy shoreline (walkway to front porch to the left of driveway) inhabited by gators and snakes. My croaking toads will be used here as well. Swamp leads to a bayou shack inhabitated by witches. Small cemetary as you approach the shack. Probably a dead pirate will be cooking in the witch's cauldron. Hand out candy at the shack.

When I'm able to run with the whole yard, things will change a little theme wise. Still start off with pirates, the pirates are shipwrecked and survivors made their way to the island jungle (my Skull Island) in search of treasure. ToTers pass thru the gate there into the jungle side yard. Snakes, a bridge to cross, zombie headhunters, talking shrunken heads, lead to the cave (dining pergola whose sides are tarped off) where they'll wonder thru the darken cave and face spider, snakes, until they reach the crystal skull which will illuminate as they approach. Bats, jumping spiders, zombie monkeys, maybe an ape, etc will be used along the way. After surviving the jungle, they make their way to the other side of the house and pass thru a bat cave and then thru an explorers hut where they get their candy.

Another year I want to start off with a military base that was investigating an alien life form (kind of Area 51 and mad lab in a security area with alarms, laser protected hallways, security cameras). A virus has infected them, leading to zombies who attacked and escaped the base, outside the base the zombies reached a farm house, infecting them (this will be kind of like an X-Files "Home" episode) and then they proceeded thru to the Haunted circus/carnival that was in town wreaking havoc. Eventually they reach the candy handout area. So Zombies would be the thread that connects this type of set up.

If you challenge yourself, I'm sure you can come up with a sceanrio where many of your favorite themes can be run together. 'Course there's always the eclectic approach and they walk from one different display area to the next!
 

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The Duke of Spook
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Just to add a different opinion, cuz mine always seems to be different, I'm always very strict about picking one theme and doing it to the best of your ability. I've always felt that when there are several different genres going on then you never get the full impact of any one thing. Displaying many different types of props may be impactful do to the large amount stuff you have, but it's more like visiting a wax museum than experiencing a single spooky situation.

One solitary scene/setup/full single themed walk through "haunt" that your visitors imagination might be able to make semi-believable is what I've always stood by.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Spookie you are awesome. Great stuff right there and yeah your filing process sounds juuuust like mine Haha. Sectioning off parts of the yard is good idea too,I don't think I could do it though, I mean I COULD but I like the 1 central look Haha. I think oddly I'm beginning to want to do pirates this year. Geez I'm all over the place today. I think though I'm going to attempt a shipwreck and a kracken. Basically all destruction ..I do like this idea. I'm probably going to sketch something up.
 

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Vintage Halloween'er
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I am like OCD...everything has to match or go together, sometimes this makes it hard because you spend time making things for one year and can't use them in what you are doing the following year..this is why I really never changed themes in a big way...this year will be my first not doing the basic cemetery. witches. skeletons and pumpkins...maybe..lol
 

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so glad I'm not the only one. Thank goodness for notes on my Iphone!!! I'm like that about outside things in general...landscaping, patios...
 

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Imitation Imagineer
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For what it is worth, I'm a one-theme per display kind of person as well. I simply can't cross the streams.

So, I can only plan for one theme to be on display in any given year.

However, like everyone else I'm sure, I do run across great ideas, concepts, or trigger images from all manner of themes all of the time; especially on this forum. So, I have folders on my Halloween computer for just about every 'genre'. Each of those is subdivided into inside and outside prop folders.

This allows me to have a place to put all of those good ideas, and not feel compelled to implement them as I know I'm storing them for future use. ;)

Once one of those folders reaches a tipping point, it will become the theme for the next year. Right now, my 'Haunted Hotel' folder is basically bursting at the seams to become this year's theme, and the only reason it isn't a slam dunk is that it's in direct competition with my long standing desire to build a full-bore pirate ship wreck to add to my pirate stuff.

I guess what I'm saying is I can sympathize, and have managed to find way to categorize the ideas until one 'theme' becomes the overwhelmingly obvious choice...
 

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I have fallen back over the years to one themed haunts when pressed for time or maybe dictated by the weather. However as my halloween decorating collection grew there just became too many special props or ideas that I had acquired that I felt that if I didn't try to combine, well....life has a way of throwing you a curve ...for example my friends needed to take care of an ailing parent and had to move closer to her....and...well time also goes by quickly and at some point I might be unable to set up the way I want to. As it is my husband only offers a little bit of help with set up. I decided I would hate myself if I didn't get to use these favorite items before that curve ball comes my way maybe. It really would be a shame if they and the kids and even myself never got to see them used. So despite starting out as a one-theme kind of haunter, I started brainstorming how to tie at least some themes together.

My yard has some natural divisions to it like a gated fence at both sides. I could never do a walkthru made up of wall panels due to construction skill level, tools, supplies and money involved, storage too. However, our house has a double and a single car garage, a covered porch area, now a walled courtyard off the porch and a dining pergola. Our bbq island could be set up as a separate area if panels are used or is curtained off (only 7 feet from the house at the narrowest point). It may end up being a carnival wagon or a carnival tent area with a little help. I wish we had a large yard with a wooded area but we are pretty limited in that way. Our HOA has fences separating the houses and common area so I do have plenty of fence to create a scene by adding backdrop material to it...like Scene Setters castle walls, forest, beach setting, jungle, etc. so that helps alot too. The garage doors can be covered as well or used with a projector and screening material. So that "ocean with pirates raft" I mentioned in my first post can be in front of a projection of a rolling sea with thunder and lightning. Two poles in the yard with a screen attached might be a solution for creating an area to do a projection. Or the area between our bbq posts to the pergola above it can be used to mount a screen between them. The house windows are an obvious choice as well to create space. Until I began looking at members' photos and videos of their haunts, I hadn't really looked at the possibilites for set up that my house and yard had to offer.
 

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Far Away Eyes
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Oh, GOS, you are really getting me thinking. You are making some very good points to which I can totally relate. I do reuse a lot of my stuff by just redressing, accessorizing, but there are a few specific props that I wouldn't mind finding a spot for every year. Hmmm....
 

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At 52 years of age my mind runs constantly with 90% devoted for Halloween of some sort. I carry a notebook for ideas, phone to take pictures of potential props, and several computer folders of pictures and tutorials for current and future props.
My main attraction is my cemetery which gets a little better every year, but with 0.6 acres, I have lots of room for other stuff - a creepy clown peeking around a corner, Micheal Myres on the roof of the garage, spiders in the front yard, and a butcher / deli / BBQ shop of horrors in the back. And still I want more.
Time is my enemy, and every year brings me one step closer to becoming my own prop. Maybe then I'll stop (for a while)
HM
 

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Another year I want to start off with a military base that was investigating an alien life form (kind of Area 51 and mad lab in a security area with alarms, laser protected hallways, security cameras). A virus has infected them, leading to zombies who attacked and escaped the base, outside the base the zombies reached a farm house, infecting them (this will be kind of like an X-Files "Home" episode) and then they proceeded thru to the Haunted circus/carnival that was in town wreaking havoc. Eventually they reach the candy handout area. So Zombies would be the thread that connects this type of set up.
These links should be of great interest to you.
 

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My mind does a lot of popping up with ideas. I don't write most of them down. I would just lose the writings.
I have met a fair number of young men over these last 27 years of having my haunted house who tell me they have had some similar ideas to the ones they see inside of my house .
Ideas might be the beginning of all activity but way too many people that I have met can't seem to stop popping up those new ideas long enough to ever get anything done.
My mind will also just run wild, pondering all of those "What If's" too for my own minds' entertainment, I guess? But there comes the time when you stop and take inventory of what you have to show for yourself, be it fame, fortune, reputation, trophies.. Ideas on a piece of paper can have great value if you can make them into a book of some sort. if not a blueprint.
My hands have always had to be fairly busy coordinated with tools held by them accomplishing something I can stare at later and fit into a master plan, that I make up as I go! (I feel that I am good at that too!)
I improvise, story tell, act totally insane or goofy, funny. I listen, watch how others are reacting and proceed accordingly to entertain them during the house tours.
It has definately been the "OFF-Season" for this year-round haunted house since the weather is so Arctic-like, so I spend many nights keeping my brain cells silly and active by posting on Facebook since 30 below wind chill in Northwestern Illinois is too cold to be in my garage working with tools.
 

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A Wee Bit Wicked
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The brain is always running and just doesn't stop. I know most, if not all of you must have some sort of binder to write all your ideas in. It just sucks having to choose only one for a year. I'd love LOVE to be able to combine them but alas they're polar opposites of what i want to do lol....I think this is just a semi rant now. Oi. I'll give a “for instance" 1)this year I want scary (all years I want scary) so I am going to do pumpkin patch demon, basically just demon jack-o-lanterns that walk on the hands with disemboweled torsos. 2) I want to do a pirate scene, but I don't find pirates scary but I want to do a shipwreck. I can picture it its just not all thought out. 3)twisted wizard of oz 4) dragon 5)goblins... and so forth. Any who...just thought I'd say that... lol sorry.
:) My...uhm...binder is my brain....but can I suggest something for you? Sketch your plans out on paper...they don't have to be big, drawn out plans, but just some sort of "plan" to get you started. Decide what you want to do for 2014 and go with a theme. You can make a plan from there....it'll be good, you'll enjoy it.:D
 
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