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Howdy,

We've just bought a home in MN and plan to stay. Although we both have previous Halloween experience in props (him) and decorating/costuming (me), we're starting from scratch this time.

Our plan for our Halloween yard is a witch's cottage (leaning slightly more toward whimsical than gruesome). Our initial ideas are a fenced, lit area by the sidewalk of either gravestones or singing pumpkins; a webby archway along the path to the front door; maybe zombie candy corns or mid-size spiders lurching across the lawn with some rolling fog; bubbling cauldron; giant Halloween flowers in front of the house; front door area set up as a witch's kitchen (there's no porch, just steps and the front door); broom parking; black cats... somewhere... idk...backlit in the windows maybe?

I've just read back over that list and it's hard to spot what would make it obvious that it's a witch's cottage. Possibly we need to brainstorm more. It would be nice if some props (like spotlights and archways) could be reused in our Christmas yard decorating (also starting from scratch!) Does anyone else here do that?

We don't know yet what the neighbors do, but judging by the inflatable Christmas M&M's on nextdoor's lawn right now, I think we're in good company.

Any suggestions on what to focus on this first year for the most impact? Obviously we cannot make all of those things I listed in 10 months. Well, possibly... What would you do if you were starting from scratch?
 

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Whatever you can do most practically is my suggestion. It is no good to get too stressed. Lots of people do not even bother decorating, so the ToTers will likely appreciate seeing anything on their rounds.
 

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I haven't done this myself, but for whimsical witchery, what about hansel and grettle style. Foam insulation cut and painted, attached to a 2x2 frame, to resemble a candy cottage. It could double as a gingerbread house for christmas. In the near future, I'm planning on doing a foam crypt for Halloween, and on the reverse of the foam will be the gingerbread house. Only have to flip panels over and add/take away to complete the look.
 

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Thanks SO MUCH for the welcome and the precious feedback. Yes, doing anything will be better than just turning on the porch light, and we do intend to do as big a display as we can for the first year, then build more details into the display in future years. Really liked the GhostTown display that Matrixmom linked to (oh and the pinterest link - boards and boards of Halloween badness! thankee!) Lighting and one focused display is definitely what I'd prefer. We can also use Icepick's idea of having panels that can be flipped around with Halloween decor on one side, Christmas on the other (our plan for Christmas was...ahem... a Gingerbread House...we have a cute, small house with shutters, what more can I say?)

I think these ideas will help us narrow down what we can plan to do this year in between home improvement projects and whatnot. Would love to do a pirate theme or a four year rotating theme, but to start with we need to be very focused... we know ourselves well enough not to give ourselves too much scope!

I'm thinking now that our theme is more like a Witch's Garden rather than house. Thanks for helping me ponder where to begin with this! Very glad to have found this community and I hope I'll be asking more specific questions from now on!!
 

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WELCOME livingforwards to the forum , from a horrible wet England , as for ideas for your haunt i,m with Icepick , a cottage type style of decor made from sections of panels would look cool , what we call in England a Mock Tudor look with dark stained beams made from foam with white or cream colored stacco type painted flat panels inlaid and you can make as many as you wish and keep adding to them each year if you wish , the kind of old cottage found all throughout all old European villages , and could be re - used as a kind of German/Swiss village type fascad for your xmas display .
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the welcome and ideas for the cottage, Pacman :) I'm actually an ex-pat Brit (Berkshire). Spoke to my mum this morning and she said Gloucestershire is rather soggy - her nursing home took everyone out for a drive in their van to view the underwater fields. Gives a new meaning to "field trip." Here in Minnesota it got so cold this week that the windchill was -48F (-44 centigrade) - it's a new part of the USA for me.

Our house itself is what we'd like to turn into a witch's cottage / xmas gingerbread house. It's a fairly small house with 2 windows and shutters on the front, so we thought if we built some kind of panel covers for the shutters and door we'd be making progress. When the weather picks up I'll try making some temporary cardboard panels for the shutters and see if it'll look okay from the street. Would be great if 1. it works 2. we can make them reversible.

I haven't lived in the UK really since 1990 when there wasn't much done for Halloween. I'm glad it's becoming more established there now - I think it's more fun than Christmas.

Stay dry!
 

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Great livingforwards to hear that you may get to test run your panel idea when the weather picks up , sorry to hear about the crappy weather for your mum as well , this is the worst floods in our particular area for 20 years and nearly as bad as the 1960s , the weathermen tell us here that the terrible freezing vortex you got in the states has drifted across to here and its warmed hence the incessant rain , we had January's average monthly rainfall in 6 days . I hope the weather breaks for you all over there soon guys , and the Halloween thing is still hit and miss depending on where you live but seems to be becoming more popular . keep us updated how the panels go , by the way do you miss anything from the U.K. ? , i guess your mum may send you stuff anyway , my friend says he cannot get good tea bags over there , lol take care.
 

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Me again. I see your looking more towards actual home transformation. If you have the available yard space, maybe projection mapping is something else to consider. I'm dabbling in that myself a little. This upcoming halloween will be my third using it. Mostly just music done to lights and movie clips, but did have a clip with stonewalls that made it look like my home was a fort, and a gingerbread house clip for christmas.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
housefront.jpg

not sure if this really has attached my pic...

so, this is the front of our home. It's very light colored siding which would be good for projection, Icepick, something my other half is keen on learning how to do. Maybe that would be a good solution for Halloween. For Christmas we want something that will look good in the day as well as in the night which makes us lean more toward painted, waterproof props rigged with lights

The sidewalk is down a little slope; path has another little set of steps that aren't in the photo. We've also got a lamp-post (a slightly fancy one, no less) and a tall tree beyond the sidewalk.

Pacman - I humbly apologize for sending the polar vortex your way. Glad that "all" you got was rain and not the intense cold. We were able to throw boiling water up into the air and watch it freeze into little clouds. Youtube is full of videos of people trying it with water guns - much fun!
 

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Sounds like a real great idea Icepick , sounds like it could long term be quicker and maybe a lot cheaper .
 

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Sounds like a real great idea Icepick , sounds like it could long term be quicker and maybe a lot cheaper .
It's deffinately faster using projection effects. And in the long term cheaper as all you have to do is change your displayed images to make changes (be it video or stills) and not buy more stuff. The downside is daytime display. The way I do my halloween (and christmas) is I decorate the yard and sides of my house. Projection on the house to work with my actual items. For christmas this year, I used a remote control outlet to power on my lights in between the "show", and turn all inflatable and lights off during the show.

Livingforwards, your house looks like a prime piece for projection mapping. Depending on how much available yard space there is, would determine projector type and lumen count. My current projector isn't short throw so I don't cover my entire home. Hopefully I will get a short or ultra short throw this year and fix that. As it is with my current projector, I have to be set up in my neighbors yard to cover 3/4 of the house, and I'm about 50 feet away. If it's a real consideration, projector central has a good throw distance calculator. It can be daunting making the movie (if you go that route) unless your familiar with a movie editing software program already. It was a whole new learning curve for me as I never used anything " editing" related till last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Icepick - Yes, a projector is definitely a wanted item and it seems like it would be easier to figure out a display to go with it from the beginning than to start building stuff and try to work a projector into the mix. All I have seen in person with projectors was a house a few years ago that had little ghosts flying up the walls - very effective, but I didn't know we could do more. I'll have to google. I was saying "yes" to my fiance's projector idea when I thought it would just be little ghosts and such, but if there's the possibility of transforming the entire front of the house then it's "YES!" Do you have any video of what you have done previously with your projector? I know it's tricky to get photos and video at night.


Thanks for the projector central calculator suggestion. There's not a whole lot of yardage out in front of the house, but he does have some movie editing experience. He made this (not halloween related!) as his first stop motion movie

I'm really glad that I joined this forum and started asking questions - we're really gaining from other people's experience which is what I love about specialty internet forums. Thanks so very much for everyone's help - I feel pretty optimistic about our first Halloween here now :)
 

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Glad you getting some pointers livingforwards , by the way showed my 18 year old daughter your proposal video she cried she thought it was so special , i think your man has a true good heart , the amount and time and effort shows how much he meant it ..... now lets hope he has good projection skills .... lol looking forward to hearing how you get on with the project , keep us informed please .
 
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