Halloween Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

Just want to get some feedback from you.

This year i will be doing a theme in my lounge room - Haunted Hotel, as stated in other posts. The idea was that my lounge room would be a different theme each year and outside would be kept the same with little bits added to it every year. As I've mentioned before, being in Australia, Halloween is only just gaining momentum and I was wondering whether I should change my theme each year or just keep the haunted hotel for a few years or permanently as I wander whether word of mouth brings new people the next year expecting to see a haunted hotel but seeing something different. I'd hate for people who have seen my house this year to tell their friends or neighbours about "this cool house that has a haunted hotel inside" and they come the next year and it's a different theme. I think that it's a lot of work doing one theme for only one year when I can keep that same theme as long as it keeps the interest of ToT's.

If anyone does repetitive themes, do you find regular ToT's become bored or are they still excited to see the same thing every year? Also, do you get new ToT's every year that haven't seen the theme therefore you keep it the same?

Your feedback would be much appreciated :)
 

·
Imitation Imagineer
Joined
·
1,130 Posts
Apologies in advance for the length here. :D

I don't know that there is any single answer to this question....there are so many variables to consider (time, money, storage, etc.) that every perspective will almost certainly be different just due to personal circumstances/preferences.

However, if it helps, I will say that we have been in the habit of changing themes annually since 2007, and I would say that, in my experience, there are very real pros and cons to this approach.

I've listed a few of what I would consider the 'biggest' in each category below:

Pros:

- Creative interest remains high: I never have a chance to get bored, and always get to experiment with new props, projections, music, etc.
- ToTs seem to enjoy it: the general response has been "I can't wait to see what you do next year"
- Party guests: Attendees always want to 'experience' the next party...similar to the ToTs

Cons:

- Storage: it requires a significant amount of space to house enough props to have multiple themes as options
- Cost: Even if you are constructing your own props, materials can add up
- Refinement: everyone can learn from their display each year, but if you don't repeat it, it's hard to implement those takeaways


Having been rotating/changing themes for a number of years, on balance, it has been the right way to go for us. However, I will also say that I frequently consider going with a more 'traditional' haunt that would allow me to really hone, and develop it.

I suspect that in the next few years, I'll probably actually transition to a semi-static haunt that will be just be added to each year, and tweaked over time. I am spending more time each year lamenting my missed opportunities to enhance the previous year's haunt.

Then, as the season approaches, some new theme/concept/element will capture my attention, and I'm glad that I have brand new things to try.

I'm not sure if that helps, but I wish you the best of luck as you try to work through it. :)

Happy haunting!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
What ya say Aussie Boo, you will drive yourself crazy trying to come up with something new each year. I have used the same ole stuff for several years just rearranged. Remember those kiddos that was in a stroller, the year or two before are now out walking around and probably never saw what you had before. Don't get me wrong I would love to have a different theme every year. But my last name isn't Gates, in my opinion move stuff around and add stuff when you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,866 Posts
Lots of possibilities to consider!
Kids tend to be very ok with repetition. It looks like you have at least one little one in your life. Think about how many times they'll watch a favorite movie or program, or sing along with a favorite song. Also, to a smallish kid, a year is a huge span of time. If they haven't seen something for a year, they're not real apt to get tired of it.
If you're still enjoying the theme, and it sounds like you are, that's what counts. Do what's fun for you! Moving a few things around and adding a few things here and there will keep the sharp-eyed kids and the adults interested without the time and money input that a whole new theme would take.
 

·
Insert Witty Comment Here
Joined
·
4,484 Posts
I use the same stuff over and over...it gets moved around and new stuff gets added but I have never claimed to have a theme that needs changed up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,265 Posts
We don't really change themes, but we do add new items, props or scenes each year. I can see that there are pros & cons to both options, but this is what works for us.

Even if you have the same overall theme, you can change things up by rearranging things, adding or making something better. We started out with a small graveyard but keep expanding it, and it's been getting better looking every year. In our experience, the TOTers seem to like it and some even look forward to seeing their favorite items again. I think we add enough new stuff each time to keep it interesting, and we're not at a time in our lives where I really want to start over each Halloween. We have 2 little kids & don't have the time for all new props, arrangements & electrical layout. I like thinking about what we'll do to expand our display though - for example, I got my first witch prop this year and already am dreaming about a small witch shack that we can add to our yard someday.

I definitely agree with the previous poster who mentioned that when you keep a regular theme, you can really learn from past experience. That's really helped us - figuring out what works, what doesn't, how we can improve things, what kind of lighting works the best in different areas of the yard, etc. I like being able to look back on notes from past years (we always write stuff down after Halloween) and then make the changes we thought about.
 

·
Blue Pill? or Red Pill?
Joined
·
4,163 Posts
I have a storage issue. So I sell a lot of items off. I keep big staples of props (life figures, some tombstones, all the lighting). But I think for the most part, whatever you make or set up, people will be amazed, because its not your usual stuff most people that are not halloween addicted have.
 

·
Here to burgle your turts
Joined
·
2,305 Posts
Everyone beat me to the punch. Our yard stays mostly the same each year and we've never had any complaints. With us, there's enough turnover with the kids that it's always completely new for a big percentage. (I think the older kids enjoy showing the stuff to the younger ones).We try to add a couple new things each year and rearrange things a bit. And there's always a few kids that are VERY proud of the fact that they can pick out what the new stuff is (although often they're wrong).

We have a couple things, like our witches and a pair of skeletons, that we do different things with each year (One year they're watching a moving Ouija board, the next year they're playing the "Life" board game. So that provides a bit of variety without having to start from scratch.

I think we've got a tendency to see our own haunts side-by-side with last year's haunt in our heads and we're always making that comparison. But in reality, the comparison people will be making will be between you and the people next door, and you're always gonna win that one. :)
 

·
Funeral Crasher
Joined
·
7,443 Posts
I've done the same theme every year for about 20 years now, which is basically Classic Halloween. Ghosts, witches, pumpkins, skeletons, black cats, tombstones, fencing, etc. I do rotate a few old and a few new props in and out each year.
The TOTs never seem to get tired of it all. In fact, a lot of them (and their parents) look for their favorite props every Halloween.
 

·
Wisp in the Mist
Joined
·
1,953 Posts
I have had a haunted porch theme since 1980. In 1996, I started decorating the foyer of the various places that I've lived like an abandoned haunted house, and then added the cemetery in 1998. I can't really decorate our foyer where we live now, so I am making the porch look like a haunted parlor. HOPEFULLY.

I have had exactly one Halloween party (1997), and exactly one person showed up. I learned that my friends don't care for Halloween. ;) (it wasn't even a costume party!)

So, since then, I have always done basically the same thing; cemetery and porch, and the foyer when I'm able to.

I add new things when I can, and I don't always put everything out year after year. I do take note of the things that everyone likes the most, and I do my best to put those out every year. That way, even when I can't do a full display as I'd like to (for illness, weather, etc.), they can't be too disappointed. And, there are so few houses decorated here (middle of the US), ours still stands out, regardless of how small the display is.
 

·
Far Away Eyes
Joined
·
3,354 Posts
We have been changing themes each year, but plan to revisit them in a rotation. Of course, this year was supposed to be back to the Medieval theme, but I went with an entirely new theme instead. Oh well, best laid plans...Good luck. You will find what works for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
You guys are amazing!!!!

You've really helped me out with all your advice, ideas and feedback. Ideas of changing things around in the themes and adding to it rather than doing a new theme each year made sense to me. I agree also that the young ones will grow older each year and it will be a different experience for them even with a repetitive theme.

I also agree about the excitement of a new theme....there are so many different themes that I would love to work with. However, I have decided to stick to the theme I have and review it each year. If I see a change is needed, then I'll do a new theme.

Again, thank you all. I've enjoyed reading all your posts and there are many points that I hadn't thought about that I'm now considering. xxx
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,338 Posts
I do the same crap every year with little upgrades here and there, never had any complaints from friends or otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,534 Posts
I'm pretty much in agreement with the majority of posts on this. I use the same props for my Haunted Graveyard Show year after year. I typically add one or two new things each year and sometimed change the dialog of my animated characters but other than that, same stuff. I find that most people can't remember a lot of it which makes it look "new" to them. I have seen my own show a hundred times and I never get tired of it!
 

·
Rutherford Manor Haunt
Joined
·
2,067 Posts
We are the same as others, our cemetery stays pretty much the same; we add new things every year, but really it looks similar. Every year we add new rooms to our haunt, this year we have added 3 rooms so that will keep it "fresh". We change up room themes about every 3 years, next year it will be time to redo a couple of rooms like the nursery and living room. We use as much of the existing material as we can; we repaint, add wallpaper, re-configure panels to create "new" rooms. It will seem new to repeat visitors, but a lot of the infrastructure will be re-purposed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
We re-use our stuff every year with a few new additions/tweaks and just arrange the props differently.. and we're running out of storage space, so I can't imagine how we'd handle different themes each year.

Nobody has complained (besides Ghouliet sometimes). It's still way more than anyone else in the neighbourhood does and I don't think the kids mind because they're still getting full sized candy bars. ;) You know, the important things.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top