Halloween Forum banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #1



Ok, here are where the pics are going to be:

Login to a private Photobucket.com album

If it asks you for a password, its "skelly".

I will use photobucket because it is easiest basically. I can upload lots of pics quick and add descriptions.

I will organize the pics by prop, such that you can scroll through a series of pics for one prop and see them in order. If I add pics of a prop, I will put it next to the last pics of that prop. I will not create separate albums for each prop, etc. Descriptions may be minimal.

I may from time to time post a pic here in this thread (like the invite cover above).

For those who don't know, this is our 16th annual Halloween party. Last year was only the 2nd time in an 18 year stretch that we didn't have one. I just threw the mental health flag after a busy summer last year, I basically do everything myself and it is very draining. It is an ugly snowball effect (as I am sure many of you know) you have to out do yourself year after year.

These are adult parties, the invite list is now well over 100. Last few parties I think we had about 45 attend. I am an engineer and Disney Special Effects Designer wannabe. I love the "big show". Last several years we have done a "blackout event". I have the whole house wired on X10, and after a few prep moves by me and my wife, I take a wireless remote out of my pocket, press a button and the whole house blacks out. I mean completely blacks out.

Then the fun begins.

Anyway, the Hotel theme (thanks to Lady of Chamberwell Manor) is new this year. I am fortunate to have a house that BEGS to be made into a psuedo walkthrough and has tons of open space for large groups of partiers. So "new" for this year:

The reception/check-in desk, with all sorts of old 40s props including an old hotel guest register. If I get my group buy Buckys in time, I'll have a skeleton behind the desk.

My wife an I will be dressed as dead hotel employees, me a "Night Manager" and she a maid.

I bought another 750 watt strobe (3200 watts of mega strobes was not quite enough, dontcha think?) and this year the lightening will be outside, not in the house. Will hit the front (blasting through the front windows) with the 1800 hypersonic strobe, and three 750s light up the backyard. So when the house blacks out, there is a storm outside (thought of last night, wouldn't it be SUPER cool if house blacks out, strobe/lightening flashes hit the backyard every 1-4 seconds..... and ZOMBIES come walking out of the woods out back toward the house!!!!!).

Coffin cooler will be set up in the front dining room, not the back "big" room like years past.

Will make an "ice pipe" fog chiller to (hopefully) dribble fog down the staircase into the family room. Some tattered sheeting will cover the stairs under which will be some blue rope lighting for effect. Also blue light in the upstairs hall.

I am converting the 150+ LED tealight candles I bought 2 years ago to hardwired on a wall wart. This is so I can turn them on and off (X10) all at once. Will to the white hot glue stick drip (another excellent idea here) and make clusters of candles. Love the LED flicker lights, don't like 150+ button batteries and 150+ tiny pushbutton switches. Watch for pics of that conversion on the Photobucket site.

I may steal a projector from work and project some music videos on the family room ceiling (it goes up 22 feet), I particularly like the Shakira "She Wolf" video.... Not sure if I can pull that off.

So there ya go, save the link if you want (I will try to put it in my sig). I like to take pics of my work, but just can't afford the time to upload, create sites, links, attachments, etc. I feel pretty good that I am off and running full stride before Oct hits, and friend are already asking me "You ARE going to have Halloween party this year, aren't you?????".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
So saving this link! I too have a haunted hotel in the works thanks to Lady Chamberwell. I love your invite and all your great ideas. I've followed your 'black out' events in the past and I'm so impressed with the effect. I wish I had the techo savy to do such a thing.

I also understand the issue you had last year and not having a party -- things have been difficult for us and I've contemplated cancelling becauswe I'm not sure if I am up for it but...plans are still in the works -- they are just dragging. Trying to convince myself -- the party's just what I need. Following along with everyone's progress is inspiring!

My husband and I are doing similar costumes -- love to see what you've put together.

What have you decided to do outside your house this year with props? I plan to have a couple sitting on our porch with their luggage and typically I have monsters everywhere but I'm not sure I will have time at this point to do as much outside and I usally do (as I usually have the inside mostly done by October 1st).

Can't wait to see the progress!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I find the best way to keep from going nuts is to make a list of what I think I want to do by late August, start on the stuff in Sept on the things that have to be "built" (after all these years, there is a lot of stuff that just needs to be brought up from the basement). And in Oct, actually start setting stuff up. If it comes at me all at once in late Oct, and I feel pressured, I tend to loose my "cherub-like demeanor".

As for the front, I am making a 4 x 4 foot foam Omenwood hotel sign, with a dangling and flickering "VACANCY" sign below. I will probably put a Bucky (if I get them in time) on the front porch in a rocking chair with old suitcases, and want to make a valet luggage cart out of our kids wagon if I have time. I also have a very neat flying crank ghost and have rigged a line up in some trees out front, but in my mind I have put that at the bottom of the list. Inside the house comes first.

I didn't mention that I bought a Minions webber and some UV glue and am really looking forward to webbing up the house a bit. I think it would be cool to be so sparing with the webs, that you only really noticed them after the blackout and when the blacklights were on.

My wife an I will be zombied hotel employees. I have an old Salvation army suit and will have a name tag "Omenwood Hotel/John/Night Manager" My wife will be a maid (she bought the costume yesterday) and will have a nametag also. I thought of something to put on her tag yesterday. Seriously, I came up with this myself. Ready? "Omenwood Hotel/Name/Housecreeping".

Looks like a rainy Saturday coming up so a good day to build stuff in the shop. Will upload more pics to the PhotoBucket album soon.
 

·
The Mrs. to a MysterE
Joined
·
2,362 Posts
Hallow and OMG OMG!! Such a completely cool idea to have the lights black out and Zombies appear from the woods!! What a way to kick a party into high gear! I can see the invitation -- "Cocktails at 8:00 Zombies at 10:00!"
How exactly will you throw the circuit breaker on the house? X10? Explain please... for we novices. I am not worthy...
boo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, the zombies coming out of the woods amid intense stobe lightening would be awesome, but that is not going to happen this year. (Sheesh, I should work in Hollywood....). Maybe one year I can have some "special guests", let them come and hang out in my shop (there is a beer fridge in there) and after the house blackout, do their thing. Would need to make a very big fog chiller. We live in the perfect place for this, very wooded lot and back of the house backs up against a march with thinned woods in between. Zombies staggering up the hill from the marsh through ground fog then banging on the back doors....

Yeah.

Check out X10.com (PAINFUL site to look at navigate), and smarthome.com (better with good tutorial stuff). It is very SIMPLE, and you can have fun with just a few modules and a wireless remote. I use it all over my house year round to turn on landscape lights and such.

Blacking out with X10 requires careful planning and testing to make sure that every light that is on early in the party is on an X10 channel. We even have a code "chicken wings" to make a sweep through the house just before the blackout. For example, the bathroom sconce lights are not X10-able, so someone slips in there and swaps out the normal bulbs with flicker bulbs. We use small table lamps on X10 modules instead of overhead/ceiling lights for example. We even put black tape over the DVD and cable box displays! I mean BLACKOUT. But no, we don't throw a circuit breaker.

So the code is when I tell my wife "lets put the chicken wings in". Then she will make her rounds and come back and tell me "chicken wings are done".

Do this 16-18 years in a row and you figure out all the fine details......!
 

·
The Mrs. to a MysterE
Joined
·
2,362 Posts
"chicken wings!"

LUV IT!! We too have a wooded backyard that blends into a bit of wetlands before it runs into a small condo development. Some of the teens in my neighborhood have been begging to help me this year! I think your idea may be worth a try - even on a small scale. THANK YOU for the inspiration!! and the helpful info. "Chicken wings - here we come! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Uploaded a few more pics to the photo bucket page (see my sig). Today was like Christmas, I got FIVE packages from the PO. My Minions webber, this cool old phone from the 40s (which I probably paid too much for), some white glue sticks for candles, a 3 volt wall wart to power all my LED candles and a fire alarm that I will use for the booby trap bathroom closet.

Here's a pic of the phone and a cast Valet Bell I got a couple months back:



I swear that phone weighs 10 lbs. The handset weighs as much as 20 cell phones. It will go on the reception desk with a cool old Guest Register from 1937 I also got on eBay, and Bucky skeleton behind it, ALL webbed nicely with UV reactive webbing.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain all day so I hope to get the front sign mostly done. I borrowed and overhead projector from work so I could project the Hotel lettering and mark it up.......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Finished constructing my reception desk tonight. Made from all scrap wood and two FREE wooden doors I found. Tomorrow I will paint, and "age" it. It will sit inside a doorway just inside the front door of my house.

A few more pics uploaded to my photobucket site, URL in my sig.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Progress on the Hotel sign. Employed a "bored" teenager with a Sharpie.




Never done this before, but I'm pretty happy with the way it is coming out so far. I carve the big section of the letters out with the utility knife, do some detail work and thinner parts with the soldering iron, then lightly pass a butane torch in the cavity to "cauterize" the foam, and melt away all of the "fray" and "crumbs".

I'll paint the cavity with flat black, then roll the whole face with a med-light gray paint, then dab on some contrasting color with a painters sponge...

Stay tuned, more pics at the photbucket site, URL below...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I painted the reception desk. I spray painted the black in the recesses, then rolled on the gray with a foam roller, then dry brushed on some aging and misted some water. I'll probably age it a bit more, maybe some pea green, or dull red dabbed on with a sponge.

The top surface I rolled with gray and black paint that was not mixed together in the tray much at all.



Finished the first overlay roll of paint on the sign. It needs some more detail work, aging and "mossing." I want it to look REAL old. The flickering vacancy sign will dangle below it with one of its chains broken.

Pic is fuzzy, didn't have the camera set right.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Did some aging on the main sign, and added some lights. They are landscape lights on painted copper tubing and screwed to a brace on the back of the sign. They have 5 watt halogen G4 bulbs in them, but I power them with a 9 volt adapter, so the light is dim an yellow. I'll get a pic at night once it is on the front of the house. I did a little bit of webbing on it too with my Minions webber.



I am making a bunch of PVC candles by taking apart tealights and hard wiring them. I will be able to turn them on after the blackout with the X10 controller.



So far the RSVP response to the invites has been pretty good. All of the "fun" people are for sure coming, plu s a few "virgins"...... MWwwaahahahaha!!!

Lots more pics at my Photobucket, link below...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Wow! You sure are coming up with a lot of creative props! I LOVE the PVC candles! I am needing to make a trip to Home Depot and I might add these to my list of projects if you don't mind me stealing the idea...!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Some "ice pipe" tests:





Trying up high to see if the fog "drops". It does!



Built a luggage/valet cart out of scrap plywood, PVC and the wheels from the kids wagon. I think I spent less than $10 on it. Rolled the PVC with poorly mixed black and gray paint. This will go on the front porch with some suitcases, and something hanging from it. Any ideas? Was thinking of an old garment bag with my 3 foot skeleton poking out...



Getting carried away with PVC candles, although all of these ones I cut pipe for in '07 for our last party. Now I am hard wiring the LED flicker circuits and will run them off an AC adapter. This long board will go up high on a palldium window sill where you can only look up and see them. So I don't need to make "tops" for them...



More pics added to my photo bucket page, see my .sig...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
johnshenry -- That is some awesome hotel you are haunting! WOW!

Was the fogger hard to make?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
No new pics at the moment (none I have uploaded anyway), but a general update.

"Jam Week" is here. I had to take care of a lot of other stuff this week, so little time for H2009.

Good news is we have a "critical mass" in the RSVP dept, at least 30 people. Some will not show, but I know others who have not responded will come. It is looking like a good crowd.

I got my two Buckys yesterday! Holy crap those things are heavy!

Will start hauling the heavy sound gear up out of the basement this weekend.

I have finally got my "opening" sound track done, and am VERY happy with it. This is the sound effect, a minute or two of lightening and then music slowly fades in. I heard "Planet Claire" on the radio the other night and decided "that is it!" (I'm 47, guests are probably mostly 35-50).

I'll post the lead SFX .mp3 later this weekend for all to hear. Starts with a loud buzz/electric arc then "BANG" and lights out.

Two questions:

1) For those who have used buckys before, how do you post them? I have no problem running screws into their joints, but I don't want them to look like HW store rejects. One will need to sit up behind the check in desk, the other will lay face down on a massage table (Funeral Parlor and Night Spa.....).

2) I have 200 multicolor glow sticks (will do a party for our daughter Nov 1 night also), and for our adult party, we have people coming from 3 distinct social groups; work, church (no we are not Baptists) and "neighborhood". I had this thought about sorting the glow sticks by color and putting them in separate containers at the check in desk, with those names on them. Why? I don't know. Just thought maybe it would be cool if people figured out after the lights went out how to spot each other? Any ideas, maybe a simple game (although I am not too keen on "games" at our party...).

More pics to come this weekend. I have dyed over 100 yds of chees cloth and am starting to hang it...

Other funny thing, last night I totally convinced our 14 year old daughter that the Buckys were real skeletons from real people... and I think she still believes it. I told her that they were from people who donated their bodies to science in Asia (as were were untaping the bubble wrap off of them). She held up a leg next to her and siad "he was short, or was it um , him, a her...?"

She is still gullible.....
 

·
Mostly Harmless
Joined
·
1,328 Posts
OMG... I am super inspired!!!!
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top