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So I have my own pet peeves when it comes to "features" I don't like in mass-commercially sold props. A couple of the trends I'm seeing so far this year, that I don't care for are:

- LED eyes of strange colors, that usually blink to the rhythm of the voice if the prop has a sound track.

- Props with a spoken track and a stationary mouth. For example the zombie from Spirit that lifts the headstone over his head... if he just screamed or moaned or something rather than chattering on an on I would like him much better... or if he's going to chatter, his mouth should at least move with the words.

- Sound FX and/or music in prop tracks that make no sense. I saw one skeleton prop that had a talking track, but it started with the howl of a werewolf and then continued to have the sounds of church bells and other noises in the background... why? lol

Don't get me wrong... I'll probably end up buying most if not all of the animated pieces from Spirit this year (and have spent in the thousands of dollars with them every year for the last five or six)... but still if I had my preference I would tweak those minor pet peeves.

Am I being too picky, or do you all have your own similar pet peeves?

Jim
 

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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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Scale.

The few "props" that I've seen in stores are too small to ever scare anyone but a small child,

The big stuff that can be purchased on-line are so costly that they are beyond the reach of almost any Home Haunter.

In short - Build-It-Yourself is the only way to go.
 

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Commercial props are ok... for a commercial haunt. I prefer to make everything that I am going to display. I choose the clothes, the size, the face, the position etc...
 

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I reallyt can't say I have any prop peeves since I make my own props, for some of the same reasons Pumpkinman & Wolfman notes above. It also lets me have unique props that noone else in the area would have and I can set the prop & my haunt to match the effect I am looking for instead of possibly having to do it the other way around.

I guess if I did have a peeve it is that I need MORE time! There is never enough time to make all you want each year.
 

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I totally agree with you Dalloween. I know these commercially mass produced props have a target audience but I know I don't belong to that group. I'm not really even sure who their target audience is? I suppose they (producers) assume that the average consumer will see the cheap molded plastic doctored with a terrible paint job with a spattering of blood and will buy it. More blood spattering, more sales? I don't really know.

So often the things make no sense. I understand Halloween is about the unimaginable and things that make your skin crawl but over 75% of the stuff makes absolutely no sense IMHO. Just the other day when I went through Michael's there was some skeleton thing that went off with a sensor and the scream was from that of a potential victim and not of the skeleton ... things just make no sense too often.

Maybe we as home haunters are a special breed that actually thinks about the reason behind the prop and how it will be used and how effective it will be, or how it can be changed or integrated into something else.

But isn't that how most people function? That is they evaluate the purchase prior to making the purchase. I guess there are just too many impulse buyers who swipe the card first then think how they use it later? And as long as they keep buying the junk the same junk will be put out the next year.
 

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I think if I was a rich guy I would buy only expensive props that are realistic. As in mouths that move up and down to a voice. Or not be working and be able to spend my time learning how to make the really cool props. But I am ok with the blinking lights because the little electronics knowledge I have, I know that making an LED blink is alot cheaper than servos to make a mouth move. Also when I took the family to disney the last time I noticed that the suit actors that spoke had blinking eyes controlled by a nod of the head. This was done rather effectively with the rythm of their speaking. So maybe the older generations don't understand it fully, but I like to think the young kids are catching on.

But beyond that I am not a fan of the gore props! Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of horror movies. Gore done well in a movie always gets an A+ for me. But when it comes to showing my friends, family, and neighbors I really try to limit it. I really think halloween gets a bad rap because of it in this day and age. With all the violence, kids shooting up schools.. No matter how much you personally think violence in media does not cause violence in real life I try my best to stay away from it. You just never know who you might offend. There are plenty of ways to display halloween without torn up bodies.
 

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AKA - S.M. Barrett
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Cheesecloth wings on 'stone' gargoyles and grotesques.

Hair on otherwise perfectly smooth skulls.

Skulls nowhere near the size or proportion of a human head.

Hanging garlands and bags filled with nothing but right arms, or left feet.

Tons of photo-realistic insects and mice, but not a single realistic bat, either in flight or asleep.

The severed head - Ya know, I can understand why they were all the same bald, startled guy a decade ago. That particular prop company was just getting started in the faux body parts department, but ten years later, we still have nothing but that wide-eyed, slack-jawed egg head? No women? No people with hair? No heads fixed with that half-lidded, drugged expression you see on actual French Revolution castings from wax museums?
Really?
 

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Chocolate is my BFF!
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My pet peeve is that most of them are too expensive.
The huge increase in gore or blood splattered all over them.
cheesey looking props that has no sense to it.
never the money when you need it when you see something you likey to much.
 

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Mine is the cheap a** quality you get for the expensive things you buy. I don't mind paying the money for a quality item, but don't want to pay lots of my hard earned dough, just to have it fall apart like a paper mache pumpkin caught in a sprinkler.
 

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- Sound FX and/or music in prop tracks that make no sense. I saw one skeleton prop that had a talking track, but it started with the howl of a werewolf and then continued to have the sounds of church bells and other noises in the background... why? lol
Probably my biggest pet peeve. We modify every store-bought prop at least a little, so cheesy cosmetic things don't bother me too much. Can't do anything about dumb sound effects, though - except disconnect them, which we've sometimes resorted to doing. We bought the skeleton grabber at Michaels this year and made him into a scarecrow - looks great, but he said such stupid things. Seriously, "I am...your designated driver" was one of the phrases. SO dumb!!!!
 
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