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Outside theme help - need ideas

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Hey folks. Long time no... message... boarding...

Well, it's August 3rd and I have done zero work for this year big day. I've got some ideas, but nothing is really hitting me like "that's it!". So I just want to pick your brains.

Last year I set up my yard/driveway in the Pirate theme - it was great, turned out well. My original plan was to do that for two years; that way I can recycle a lot of material, so I didn't have to create all new stuff each year. However, the pirate stuff just isn't doin' it for me.

I enjoy it, I wouldn't mind doing it again (I can come up with plenty of projects to enhance it), but I just want something different. With that said, I feel like I can't come up with any 'theme' that tickles my fancy.

I've got two that are at the top of my list right now. The first is "Train Depot" (creepy, haunted, dilapidated, etc, etc of course). I live in a fairly small city that was founded by trains. There are several tracks that run through town and all are used several times a day - trains are no stranger to this community... so I know it'd at least fit.

I'd transform my driveway into a creepy ol' train station. I've got the 20ft long facade from last year that has a tavern/stone wall painted on it now, that I'd just end up painting over to create the station.

There are two ways I'm thinking -- one is to make the facade into the old-style train stations (think 1900-1930's). The other is to create a "subway" style... old subway tiles, underground, lonely, abandoned, etc.

My other theme idea is "Cathedral Ruins". I love this idea and will eventually do it, but I think the amount of construction I'd need to pull off what I want will mean that I have to wait till the future because I just don't have that time right now -- 'ruined' columns, pillars, archway, church facade.

Other than that... I can't seem to come up with anything. What'd ya' got?!

Keep in mind I have 5 flats (4x8 foot wood facades) that I can paint, put together, separate, etc....

Thanks! Miss you all!

Edit: Also keep in mind that I love the "classic" stuff. Older genres... Don't care for aliens, toxic waste spills, "modern" scary... that sort of thing.
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Super Moderator
6,564 Posts
I live near the original transcontinental RR, and my son had to do a report on a county in the city last year for school that had NOTHING in it other than some old ghost towns from that era.

As such, we've researched a bunch of the old Transcontinental RR info, and the ghost towns, and ghost stories surrounding them out here. This may or may not be the period you are shooting for.

Many of these ghost towns were not but the train station, the water tower, and the Saloon/hotel.

Larger ones even had a cemetery.

Ghost stories include ghost trains, ghost lights, and phantom RR workers. It's said you can still hear the men working on the tracks on a summer night.

Devilishly Dutch
5,915 Posts
Not really sure it would qualify as an outside theme but you should check out the 'hotel' thread in the party section. They had so many good ideas flowing about that theme that I almost changed mine because of it! lol


1,157 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ahhh..Its the Depot of Doom.
I like the railroad theme idea around 1900.
Or what about a "Tower of Terror" theme. Base it on the Classic Mission Revival train stations of the 30's
Hmmm...hard choice
The Tower of Terror at MGM is one of my favorite, if not the favorite, ride in Orlando. Mostly because of the decor!

I love that old hotel ambiance (going to find that hotel thread MsMeeple). And, ideally, sometime in the future I could pull that off with a walkthrough of my house (it's a 1936 house with original wood floors, all that old architecture and characteristics)... but that's going to take years of effort convincing my wife to allow people to walk through our house :D

I don't think I want to do that outside. There are too many details, and small scale items that I want and it's just not practical setting them up outside yet.

But that is definitely the direction I like - that 20-30's era is my favorite.

I remember a thread where someone was wanting to do a train theme... I gave a bunch of ideas... I'll have to dig that up because I'm having "creators block".
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