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Discussion Starter #1
Guess I just need to vent and I'm wondering if anyone else has ever felt this way.

We've been in our new house for 2 months now and between home improvements, unpacking/organizing, regular housekeeping, regular life, and with Halloween looming...I'm already overwhelmed and feeling suddenly paralyzed by it. We picked this house for it's Halloween potential (yes, really), it's PERFECT for decorating AND entertaining AND we're sure to have TOT's finally! Halloween is THE holiday for this house. If I don't get it together and do it up right it's a majorly wasted opportunity and I'll have to wait an entire year to have another shot.

I'm planning on having a Halloween night open house with a TOT station, plus snacks and drinks for the adults. Then the next day I'm planning to have a dinner party. So not only does the house need to look great outside for the TOT's, it needs to look great inside too since most of our friends will be seeing the house for the first time. There are SO many Halloween projects I have to complete, from making invitations, to designing the dinner party tablescape and the TOT station, to practicing the dinner party recipes, to the tombstone reinforcement, to the pumpkin carving, to the Spooky Town setup, etc, etc, etc. On top of that we have curtains to hang, rooms to paint, art to place, unpacking to do, a bathroom to rehab, windows to clean, steps to repair and paint...and that's just the first floor!

We've been plugging away at it as much as possible and I thought we were doing alright, but September is almost here and that's officially the start of the Halloween season to me. I'm already starting to panic and I feel like...there's no way I'll be ready in time, just pass on it this year. But that's SO depressing because I've had to pass on celebrating Halloween properly for the last 4-5 years (for actual, real reasons). Now that we have the perfect house I just want Halloween to be perfect too, finally! At long last! This is what I've been waiting for! But I'm overwhelmed and immobilized...

It's a lot of pressure I'm putting on myself, I know, but I can't help it. Can anyone relate? Advice?
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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Advice...stay off the internet and get busy.

I see three weeks work there tops if you really are focused. I have the same where to start issues and think that I'll never get them done, but my daughter got bored over summer break and just knocked them off the list without blinking. Stuff I thought would take days, she did in hours or even minutes....it's just about focusing and doing.

The other thing is, you don't have to do it all. There are a lot more Halloweens and parties in the future. You just moved and if the friends can't understand that things aren't done yet, send them home. Other than having candy for the TOTs, there aint a single thing on your list that HAS TO BE DONE. Just relax and enjoy the season...this stuff is supposed to be fun, and if it's not fun, it's not worth doing.
 

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You do sound overwhelmed right now. Hopefully you will get some things taken care of soon and can do something this year.

Halloween is my favorite holiday too, but a few years ago things were pretty hectic for me. We ended up just setting up a pop-up canopy over the sidewalk, walled it in with black plastic, and put a fog machine and a laser vortex in it. The whole thing took about a half hour on Halloween afternoon and people in town still talk about how great that was, even with our doing a much bigger, more elaborate walk-through in the years since.

Sometimes you don't have to go all out to make an impression.
 

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AKA - S.M. Barrett
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If it ain't fun, don't do it.

Take a breather, have a nice meal and get settled in. This Halloween will be fantastic for your new neighbors, no matter how poorly you judge yourself, and here's the funny part...

Those poor wretches have no idea what you're going to do for them next year, the unsuspecting sheep! Heh. Heh-heh.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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If it ain't fun, don't do it.

Take a breather, have a nice meal and get settled in. This Halloween will be fantastic for your new neighbors, no matter how poorly you judge yourself, and here's the funny part...

Those poor wretches have no idea what you're going to do for them next year, the unsuspecting sheep! Heh. Heh-heh.
I don't think I've ever mentioned it, but I really admire the pictures you paint with words there Spats!
 

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I fully get it HexMe, I've been cutting and installing baseboards, painted the upstairs hallway last week, and now I'm working on re-texturing and painting the kids' bathroom. And the whole time I'm thinking about all of the props I need to be working on. Then to top it off I decided to sign-up for scuba lessons with my oldest one, so I just threw another log on the fire.
 

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Wow, did you bite off a lot! I feel your stress. If you haven't already, I'd say make a list of the top things that are important to you and if nothing else gets done this would be it and work to get those done first. When those are done, make another list and so on. Try to focus on small manageable lists or you might feel totally overwhelmed every time you look at a long list.

Try to involve others. Either rope family or friends into helping out on some of the projects, but I know sometimes it can take longer to explain than do yourself. Remember to have some fun with those helping you out and not be too critical of what they do or you're libel to be doing this all by yourself from now on. You really want to remember this as your first Halloween there and so make it fun for everyone including yourself. Some stuff can be overlooked and probably only you would know that you wanted to do it. Honestly, do what you can but try not to stress out over it or you will not have fond memories of this First Halloween.
 

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Come here for excellent advice! A whole bunch of it, all good.
27 years ago I had a "To-Do" list might have ended up on the Moon, all I had to do was unfold it! A big difference was I was opening a haunted house business and I Really had to have it ready to impress potential patrons when I went to advertise it to that big world out there.
It all worked out. It can happen for you too.
Make a daily list, a doable daily list to begin with.
 
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1. Prepare a simple setup with some bright, weird lights for outside the house.
2. A simple graveyard with a few tombstones and maybe a skelly or two.
3. Sound effects...prepare something simple and blast it out of a boombox.

Did I mention simple? Keep it simple and don't overtax yourself, you already have lots on your plate.

Invite your friends, add some corn chips and apple cider and a few miscellaneous decorations.

Carpe Spookem! :)
 

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A Great Pumpkin
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First things first, forget Halloween for a second. Now, take a deep breath. No, really, do it. Breathe in, hold it a moment & think of what you're happy for, then as you breathe out imagine all that overwhelmed feeling melting away. (Yeah, it's new-agey, but it works :) ).

Then with a centered, clear head, realize that you can do it, it just may be smaller this year. As everyone's mentioned, imagine the most simple & realistic Halloween you can do that still makes you happy.

Understandably, you're feeling a quick case of anxiety brought on by the immediacy of the move in, & once you get your house unpacked things will fall into place!
 

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Sounds like the Halloween celebration is top priority since you've missed the past few years. I say skip the baseboards, painting, ect....It will not be perfect this year anyway and in your rush, you may regret some of the design decisions you will make in haste that's pretty permanent (or costly to change). I'd concentrate on the Halloween side and make the best bash you can and that will please you! Enjoy the season...you have another year to concentrate on the house. (with all the lighting and other props, no one will pay attention to unfinished moulding.) Have a BLAST! :)
 

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Wisp in the Mist
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You have a lot more going on than I do, but I can relate to how you're feeling, for the most part. I'm sure that you are more anxious than I was last year. Some of that still lingers this year.

We bought our house last summer, and it's pretty good for Halloween...not great. It wasn't my first choice, but it was do-able. We got it for a great price, because it needs a LOT of work.

We have 4 kids between us (3 are mine and live with us), we both work, and he works longer hours than I do. One of my children is highly special needs, and another is a toddler. So with all of the "normal" stuff, I have to try to keep tabs on, and do most everything for the younger two, because they can't.

Last August, my handicapped son had some pretty serious leg surgeries, and was bed and wheelchair bound until Halloween. He got his full leg casts off on the 30th...maybe the 31st, I can't remember, but our town allows ToT both nights, so either way, I was very rushed. I don't decorate outside until the day of, because of theft issues.

We didn't have a party, and because of our schedules and the kids, we didn't rush to get the cosmetic house problems fixed. They're still not fixed a year later. It's something that bothers both of us, because we really thought we'd have it done by now, but stuff just keeps coming up.

All that said, I agree with "take a deep breath", and maybe scale back wherever you can. I know it's not as big as you want it to be, but look at it this way, there is always room for improvement, even when you think it's perfect. You will always find something that you wish you would have done, that you'll want to do "next year". So, if not everything is right this year, next year will be bigger and better.
 

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Halloween Nut
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I agree with the person who said breathe. Take a deep breath. Okay, now. like someone else said you need help. If you have family and friends you can call on, do. If you can afford a handy man for just a bit, to hang the curtains or paint the rooms, hire one. I know you want everything to be perfect, but does the bathroom really have to be renovated by Oct 31, or is is okay for now, not perfect, but okay. People will understand you just moved in and have projects to do. It sounds like Halloween and the dinner party are the big catalyst for the self imposed deadline, correct? Focus on those, put the packing boxes in the garage or in an out of the way location and take it one box at a time. Then you are not looking at all the unpacking and feeling overwhelmed.

Oh, and another thought I had. There is so much talent here on the forum, I'm sure someone would design a party invite for you if you ask, personally, I would just buy plain of the shelf invites at this point. Others would be willing to help with the menus and tell you tried and true recipes. Good luck and I know if feels like a ton, and it is. Just prioritize. You don't have to have instant everything like the home shows show. They have building crews and tons of $$ to throw at the problem. Hope this helps some. Enjoy your house, enjoy each other, and enjoy your party. The time with freinds and loved ones are the things you will remember, not the fact that the baseboards were not crisply painted.
 

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First--take a deep breath in and out. You are putting a lot of stress on yourself--that wonderful house and it's Halloween potential will still be there next year. This year--give yourself a break--I have moved a lot and it takes a good six months just to get settled--and more like a year plus to really get a house where you want it. This year do everything the easiest way possible--you can still have a party and TOTers--just go the simple route. You can buy or email invites, go easy on the decorating--creepy cloth covering everything is easy and looks great, order pizza, have food catered, or do a potluck--people will understand. Concentrate on atmosphere and fun, people will understand and next year you can really wow them. Just give yourself permission this year to not have the "perfect" Halloween for this one year. Believe me I have been there--do what you can, but only do it if it is fun for you---that is the point. You are going to have to change your attitude about this--other people are just glad to be invited to have some fun. Good luck--relax--have FUN!
 

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Mad Monster Maker
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As many have suggested in this thread, take a deep breath and regroup. The most important thing to remember here is that you're in a new house, and a new neighborhood. I'd venture to say that if you only did half of what you originally intended, you'd wow everyone. Then next Halloween, when you go all out, you'll triple-wow them.

Many (most?) haunters, including myself, feel this pressure to have everything absolutely perfect. But often times those expectations are never met. Props malfunction, lights burn out, things go wrong.....it happens. What we, as home haunters, need to realize is that we're the only ones who know that everything's not the way we originally intended them to be. The ToTs and/or party guests aren't going to say "Why isn't that prop moving?" or "WHAT!? Only 5 tombstones? Well, I never...!". They are going to see what you have set up, and odds are, they'll really like it.

So relax and do what you can this year. And keep in mind that, as Spats so eloquently stated, those poor wretches have no idea what you're going to do for them next year.
 

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We all want to get more done than we have time for, its the curse of hobbies like this. That feeling fades right after the big night and the next year will be upon you before you know it. So don't stress yourself out.

I moved into my house in September 2008 from a condo, my first year was really small; I cut out about 5 tomb stones with no epitaphs and flat gray paint and picked up a fog machine at Walgreens. Kids still thought it was cool and the best house on the block. Don't think you have to look like a movie set, it takes years to build up props.
 

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Hello! I'm sending a big hug your way because I understand the desire to want everything done perfectly & putting too much on your plate. Last year I was close to my due date with my son, so our Halloween event wasn't quite where I wanted it to be. This year, my 3 year old & I have a birthday before Halloween, and my husband & 1 year old will have birthdays right after. We also go away for a long weekend to a fall amusement park event, which I love but takes up time with packing, going & unpacking.

So - my point is that you are at least in good company! Ha ha! Anyway, one thing to remember - your guests will never know what plans DIDN'T get done unless you tell them. No one will know you didn't get the that 6th tombstone finished, or that your invitations were supposed to have a 3D effect to them. Also, try to make a "must do", "would like to do" and a "hopefully next year" priority list and really think about where things need to be. Relax your standards on a few things - do you really need to do an amazing dinner or do your guests really just want to come over & hang out with you and would be happy with pizza & beer with one or two fantastic dessert options?

Life is messy and there's never enough time to fit everything in. This is a lesson I struggle to accept, but when I calm myself down and think about what's REALLY important, it helps to put things into perspective. ;)
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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It's a cliche but true, don't sweat the small stuff. It's hard to do sometimes but you just can't do it all.

Everyone else has said pretty much what I'd say, make a list, prioritize & realize that realistically some things won't get done & the world won't end if they don't happen.

Also, I think it would do us all good to remember that next year, HALLOWEEN IS ON A SATURDAY!!! No one will have to take off work for the day, you can celebrate Friday AND Saturday & not run into November, you'll have all day to set up if you set up only on Halloween (that's me) & since most won't have to work or go to school you can recruit from a bigger pool of minions!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You guys are amazing, thank you all so much for taking the time to read my post and respond. It almost felt lame to write it, like it was too neurotic for public consumption, and belonged in my journal instead...but then again, I wouldn't have gotten such great advice from people who totally GET what I'm talking about.

I do need to take my vision down a notch and cut myself a break. I'm going to set a date for working on "house stuff", and then past that date I'm going to switch gears and focus primarily on Halloween. You're right, you're all right, the house will be there to work on after Halloween, people aren't expecting it to be perfect. Plus I want to make time to enjoy the SEASON. I want to have time to go apple picking, on a hayride, celebrate my anniversary and birthday, watch scary movies, try new fall recipes, go on a picnic, all that.

And as for the big day...you're right, anything we do will be appreciated, I don't have to go balls to the wall this first year. I was impressed by far less than what I'm envisioning when I was little. Right now I'm planning on pumpkins, cobwebs, colored lights, music, and some tombstones.

I can't believe I was even entertaining the thought of doing NOTHING because I couldn't do EVERYTHING. Again, thanks everyone. I'm going to keep going back and rereading this thread anytime I feel that "all or nothing" creeping back up on me. I really did take a deep breath every time someone said to and I really feel better. OK, now off to work! Well, maybe make a few lists first...
 

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Funeral Crasher
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Yea, I would just scale back my plans for this year and only do what you can comfortably do with the time you have.
From my own experience, if you go all out this year, next year you will want to top that. And then wear yourself out trying to do not only everything you did the past year, but add even more to it, thus overwhelming yourself more and more each year.
It would be a lot easier to start fairly small and add one or two new things each year. If you show the neighbors everything now, they'll expect more and more every Halloween.
No need to "show your hand" on your first Halloween.
Just take it easy. Good luck with it all!
 
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