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I do a distinct theme each year. I have a large set of jack o' lanterns. About 25 of them are new and share a distinct theme. Last year, it was Super Mario Bros. This year it will be American Traditional tattoos. It challenges me to switch gears and I like the cohesiveness/continuity it brings to the display.
 

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I do a new theme every year which takes planning and building all year long. I’ve done thus far:
  • Papa Legba/Voodoo
  • Trick r’ Treat (in 2017 before it became mass commercialized)
  • Jack the Ripper
  • Spider/skeleton invasion
  • This upcoming year: Terrors of the sea (sharks, corpsed mermaids, octopus)
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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I would love to do a changing theme every year, but I don't have the time, funds nor the space to store all those changing props. So I tend to to just re-arrange the props I have to keep thing varried. I've considered some more simple theme's that I can just adjust the props I have. I'm thinking of a Scarecrow theme for this year and just getting creative with all the skeletons I have.
 

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Do most of you guys do new themes every year or do you keep it the same and just add on to your existing theme? the past few years have done different themes but running out of storage room..
I started with a single theme and kept adding too it each year. However, I soon became bored with the same props every Halloween so a few years back I started creating new themes that would only be displayed once. That only lasted for 2 years until I came to realize that it wasn't feasible from a production, storage or financial standpoint. So I compromised by developing a story broken into chapters. Each Halloween I display a new chapter of the story with characters, scenes and props displayed in such a manner that it’s building on the prior year’s display mixed with new items. For example Chapter 1 “The Risen” started with a black figure emerging from a pile of bones. The next year I presented Chapter 2 which was entitled “Garden of Souls”; it displayed the same black figure but now I added souls that were rising from the ground. This year I will present Chapter 3 “The Summoning” that will include the original black figure, but the souls become more of a backdrop as I present new characters. It’s like progressing through a scene in a movie where the main character becomes less important and eventually just fades completely out of the scene. Displaying my haunt in this manner resolves a bunch of issues such as storage / cost; I can sell older unused props as the story evolves which will free-up storage and provide funding for future builds.

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Chapter 1 - "The Risen"

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Chapter 2 - "Garden of Souls" (the green rainbow effect is from rain water that had collected on the LED lenses - not intentional)
 

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I think a lot of themes or no themes really comes down to the props. You buy a lot of pirates and mermaids, it just makes sense. I can totally see how after some time your props might feel “stale” if you’re doing the same thing over and over again. I’m very thankful theme or no theme there are so many amazing ideas and displays. Definitely helps keep it fresh!
 

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What a great question, after 10 years of growing our haunt, I sometimes wonder where it will end, probably storage!
Our central theme is always our graveyard, as we have a large circular driveway, we place our graveyard in the middle of our yard, coffin with levitating body, grave diggers, 15+ gravestones, transparent ghosts etc. My husband does an amazing job with fog, lighting and sound. We fence the entire yard, and add the spanish moss which is easy to get down south where we live. We also do up our front entrance way to really scare, with grim reaper, giant spiders, not to mention dracula hanging, and more skeletons than I can keep track of. Last year we added a fortune teller tent, and pirate ship with mermaids, but due to weather issues, most of it was kept indoors. Hope to do a real blow out this year. We go for different areas of our haunt with different themes as we have a pretty big front yard. We usually do up our house inside as well, as we have lots of friends who like to party for Halloween.
We do a prerun the night before Halloween, to test everything, Devil's Night, for friends who can't make it on Halloween, then our big event on Halloween, and we usually take everything down the next day, which always amazes our neighbours.
Store everything in our garage attic, which is a walk in. It looks like a haunted house itself.
You all are amazing what you do, and so inspiring! Hope everything works out this year for a great Halloween!
Family portrait from last year!
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We do a new theme every year. It has become my year round hobby. LOL. Sometimes i daydream about what it would be like building on something year after year but i know I'd miss the whole process of creating a new theme every year.
 

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Do most of you guys do new themes every year or do you keep it the same and just add on to your existing theme? the past few years have done different themes but running out of storage room..
I guess you could say our Halloween changes are an evolutionary process and not a revolutionary process. Though I add to it each year, I haven't changed the theme much. It has taken years to build what I have, and I add to it regularly, but the theme stays the same. Classic Halloween monsters only, no slashers, no psychos, no babies. I add to it and move things about a little from year to year, but it is still basically a cemetery with individual vignettes for witches, werewolves, and vampires. I spent too many years, and dollars, building this stuff to give up on it, not to mention that the response is so good that I am hesitant to make big changes. Now...storage, that is another matter all together. One full 10x12' shed, one nearly full two-car garage, and overflowing into the house. What can I say, I married a saint!
 

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It's a little of both for me, actually. I normally do our front yard and porch, but one year I opened up our back yard and had a walk through display just to do something different. Our front layout allows for multiple scenes. I usually do two on the porch, but may do one coordinated display this year. I've got enough stock so I normally rotate some of them, so even when the base scene stays the same there are changes in content.
 

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Blue Pill? or Red Pill?
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Every year a new theme. Some themes much more grand and elaborate than others. Keep the basics in storage - skellys,lighting,bones, spiders, fabrics, cages, things that you think will be a hard find later. All the rest, I sell to local haunters. I do keep some of the pieces I have handmade. And yes, even with the sell off, it gets tricky storing it all.
 

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We just add to our display a little each year. Not exactly a "theme" but our wedding, many years ago , was a halloween theme and so our display is concentrated on a rather bizarre wedding. We have collected a number of tombstones with a bride and groom motif and last year we added a projection of a skeleton dance party which I viewed as the reception. We are on a corner lot so our side yard is pretty much separate from the front, though both are small, and it has a more spider focused theme. Storage is an issue and I really don't see how one can change themes radically due to time and material constraints. I am in awe and jealous of those who can pull off a new theme each year!!
 

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For 10 years I did the same set up - tombstones, zombies, lighting, fog and music and added at least one new item each year. Two years ago I did a walk-through in the garage with 6 themed walk-ways/rooms. Corn field, spider hallway, clowns, butcher/body parts, zombies and the final room had dolls and a fortune teller scene. Last year I kept the walk through the same but added quite a few new props (ended up needing a storage locker to pack everything away)
This year I was hoping to change it up but due to Covid-19 and not knowing what will happen in the next few months I'm not sure if I should.
 

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We change themes every 3-5 years. Our current setup has a 40 foot spider web in the center with a graveyard and scarecrows
on the right and on the left I change it up yearly. This year I have toxic waste barrels and skeletons in gas masks will make up a
toxic waste scene.
 

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They call me HeebieJeebie
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Not really a theme, per se. I have my cemetery that stays the same and a busload of skeletons that I arrange doing different, usually goofy, things every year. I'm thinking I have enough skeletons where I can do a family reunion - with them portraying me, my husband, daughter, grandson, Mom, siblings & nieces/nephews.....
 
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