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I just found this site a month ago and it is great. I have been in Texas for a handful of years now but am originally from California. My background is in technical theater and electrical engineering. For 5 years I worked seasonally at Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt doing lighting, which is where I caught the Halloween bug. I just started decorating again a few years ago and my wife has been gracious enough to let me spend way too much on the after Halloween 50% sales and building things.
My big project last year was a 3 foot by 4 foot EL wire talking face that is DMX controlled. This year I am working on a pelican case that houses 24 1kw relays and 24 1kw dimmers. Hardware is a mix of pre made relay cards and home made dimmers. Processor, like a lot of things these days, is arduino with a 485 chip added for DMX control.
I shy away from building props as I really can't paint. Even the simplest single color coat of spray paint looks horrible if I have done it. I dream of casting tombstones out of cement or plaster, but I won't because I know painting the details will make them look horrible.
 

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bone collector
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Welcome Stranded Patrick! Don't give up on the painting..several people here have great tutorials on how to do tombstones & the like (Terra, for one). What might not look perfect during the day looks fantastic at night with the right lighting...which you know all about. Dive in, have fun!
 
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