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Discussion Starter #1
Obviously, many of you do a different theme every year. I, on the other hand, have different themes in different rooms, but put everything out every year. I am rotating the themes this year, and of course, I add to each every year, but I am wondering if my plan is too boring. On the other hand, if I only used part of my stuff each year I wouldn't get to see it all!
 

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We've had 3 Halloween parties so far. First 2 I had general Halloween decorations throughout our house and outside, last year (3rd) we had a Harry Potter theme so there was a lot of HP specific decor. This year our kids have chosen Super Mario, so we're doing Bowser castle (and costumes to match). Next year there's talk of more traditional, likely vampires, though maybe pirates or vikings (or even a Harry Potter repeat with the release of the new movies, though I think we need more than a year off before repeating a theme). But here's the thing, will this work in the long run? Changing themes entirely is a lot of work and money spent. Of course there are things you reuse yearly, repeat etc, but vampires to pirates to egyptian to vikings is a big difference. So will we eventually go for a more general Halloween feel with decor? Who knows... I wonder if I should plan ahead a bit better instead of ending up with a little of everything over the years (while inevitably not being able to keep some of the bigger theme-specific props). We're having fun with it of course for now though, we'll see what happens. I think i'd always like something different for that wow factor, but is it realistic? We'll see where our Halloween celebrations lead us....
 

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I used to do something different every year, with the plan of rotating back to the start. This proved to be to costly for me, or a lack luster amount of things to put out. I have started (in the past few years) expanding on my pirates theme. Last year I moved all my pirate stuff to one side of my driveway. On the other side I have started a "Haunted Mansion-ish" theme. I focus on the main yard now, with adding minor detail to the pirate side. My house is full projection mapped to look old and run down, with a garage scene that this year will contain my Leota and haunted organ.
 

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No theme here. Just classic Halloween with no gore, aliens, or pirates.

I have a lot of stuff and only put about 70% out - changing up placement and appearance each year. For example, last year, I had a Shiatsu-driven old lady in an antique wheel chair. This year, the chair will have a black draped static figure. An animated standing coffin that had a creepy ghoul last year will host a skellie this year. I move the fog machine and lights around each Halloween and this year- for the first time, I'll add green BlissLights.

So same stuff, re-imagined every year.
 

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DH & I first started decorating outside, and we would grab whatever we liked that we could afford. For the first couple of years, we could use everything because we had plenty of space, and even though it didn't necessarily "go" together, it did sort of work as an overall Halloween feel.

But then we started to get more organized & we had more & more stuff, and putting it out required more of an advanced plan since timing was an issue. We started to feel like narrowing down our overall theme was key, so we got rid of stuff that just didn't fit into what we wanted our yard to be. Right now, our yard has a graveyard area, a haunted cornfield/scarecrow area & a still-new & evolving Witch area that will hopefully have a shack sometime soon. If it doesn't fit into one of those themed areas, we don't pick it up.

Inside, we didn't plan so much to host a party, but Halloween night has sort of evolved into an Open House Buffet kind of event where family, friends & neighbors just pop in. So, we do a bit more inside decorating than we used to. I go for an Addams Family vibe - like a spooky family lives here. We do a lenticular family photo wall, fireplace & mantel decorations, stuff in the dining room, a few things in our powder room, and then we bring in some buffet tables & do some Halloween themed food & decor there too. Outside is more over the top than inside.

Maybe in years to come as our kids get bigger we will tackle one or two "themed" years inside. I would love to do a Harry Potter party, for example. But, I can't see that we will totally switch themes - too much work & expense for us at this stage of the game. We like adding a couple new things every year, maybe getting rid of things that just didn't work, but we like the ease of use that the same theme allows.

Many kudos to those who swap themes! I love how creative it can be but I would probably be exhausted! ;)

 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did Harry potter Christmas last year. My 12-year old was born on Christmas eve and she wanted a Harry potter party. I used a ton of my Halloween stuff for that, and may try and incorporate it into halloween. But I love my sleepy hollow and poe stuff just as much. It's just too hard to choose! Good thing I don't do gore. That cuts a ton of stuff out right there.
 

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An 1870 House Numerous, 1950 Hudson cars crashed into the house (1950's Sci-fi ? sure.) One Hudson is on the roof of the cupola, ("It's a UFO!")
A Pterodactyl skeleton on the south wall of the house (It's really the RAVEN here! )
We have a spooky room, the huge wine cellar below the basement level, where a ghost has been showing up since at least 1925.(No fiction)
I have many odd things here not usually associated with a Haunted House.. because it is mostly my odd ideas of things to build and display here.
I am still waiting for someone to guess whose bedroom (Famous person) is the one really strangely decorated bedroom.
But then.. I was told last November that going through Ravens Grin is like :"Going through your mind, Jim."
I really work at not boring anyone or trying to copy other people's ideas. I guess it shows?
 
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we do different themes in different rooms. The entryway is a laboratory, the living room this year will be clowns (moving from the bar, as we have acquired more clowns), the kitchen and dining room are chop shop and the bar is babies and zombie babies. Outside in the back yard, we have a cemetery. We have lots of animated props, too many to put out. We have some that really don't go together, but I just cant part with, we have a Hannibal Lechter, Jason, Michael Myers, a butler, a witch. The half bath is usually nightmare on elm street but may have to change that this year.
 

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I usually have a different theme for each room rotating the props from previous years and slightly stepping it up a bit but, the main room where we all will be spendingmost of the night is where the new theme always is.
 

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I use to wonder how haunters could afford to change themes every year. My themes have always stayed the same but we just keep adding to the scenes. The garage scene is the only one I change every year and I rotate them. This season was suppose to be Tribute to the Walking Dead but due to severe health issues nothing got built.

I will say tho..... wow it was a lot of money to completely change scenes. I have a lot of the set materials and the cast members clothes bought and I can tell ya I still see a lot of stuff that has to be bought to complete the whole thing. This includes 7 rooms in the house & garage, and then the outside.....especially the yard where the cast members were going.

A lot of people have no idea what it cost to do a good size walk thru haunt. Good thing about postponing this until next year.......found a lot of new ideas to add to it and make it better. Still I know this year I'm gonna catch hell for not doing the Walking Dead...a lot of people were looking forward to that.

Our usual haunt consist of a foyer full of usual halloween decorations, the haunted hallway is a mad doctor scene, the bat room all bats, the spell & potion room is a witches paradise, the candy room is in the kitchen, the living room is usually the funeral parlor, the garage is either the cadaver cafe or dracula's pub. We have a gypsy display and an egyptian display. Outside on the back deck is the witches tearoom. There is a cemetery out front and various decorations on the lawn.
 

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I think the dream would be to do a different theme for our backyard haunt every year. Unfortunately, money, time, and storage space are limited so I must accept reality. I don't think anybody else minds, though. I don't do the exact same thing every year (I set things up in different places), but it's the same old, general, Halloween themes: graveyard, skeletons, pumpkins, scarecrows. I don't mind gore and violence, but we host a lot of families so it doesn't happen in my haunt. The kiddos always have a good time :)

As far as themed parties go, too many of my friends are strong-willed and would never agree to dressing up for a theme. This year, though, I won't be hosting a party as over half of the guests no-showed last year. Instead, I'll be hosting a family friendly trip to a pumpkin patch, home for dinner (probably chili), and a scary movie. That way, if only 2 people show up, it will still be fun.
 

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OK, different rooms, different themes are great - I was afraid you were talking about throwing them all together! It would be fun to go thru the different areas like you're doing.

I do the same theme every year. In a nutshell, a skeleton party in a cemetery! The basics are always the same - just moved around, tweaked & improved & add to, just like Boo Who? said. Speaking of.....

I'll add green BlissLights.
Oh, do tell! I've never heard of these!
 
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