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Hello all!

I have come to seek wisdom from all the halloween experts on here for this year!

I do my yard up each year, but I also do a theme in which I dress up in character and play some sort of role, interacting with the public.

The first year I was a zombie (surprise!) and had full make up, and featured a corpse that had the stomach ripped open. I filled it with a meat sauce and hot dog links and would eat out of it much to the horror of the trick or treaters. It was a big hit... I would occassionaly look up from my feats or stalk people around the neighbourhood...

Two years ago I made a corn field and was a scarecrow. I would stay up on my stand, occassionally moving down and interacting with the public. Again... it went over great.

Last year was "Carnevil" which also worked out great...

Now, it's that time of year again and im struggling for a theme. The beauty of the previous years is that I could interact if I chose, or do my own "performance" part that isolated me from the public. I stayed in character the whole time.

So i turn to you... the Halloween experts!

My ideas so far are: (but each has logistical problems)


1: Butcher: Would have a Dexter-like table set up in the front yard and I would be dressed as a psychotic butcher. I would be chopping up body parts and my gimmick would be I would walk to the garage and disappear and re-emerge with a new bag of body parts, slam them down on the table and resume chopping and possibly eating. The problem with this one is what do i use for the body parts?

2: Old West Mortician: I'd be the mortician and would walk around measuring people for coffins.. and I could go back and work on coffins... occasionally stopping to measure people. Not my favorite idea.. but just one that crept into my head...

3. Saw theme.. with people caught in various traps

4. All black walkway to door... this would be a standalone blacked out walkway with strobe and various things popping out to scare the TOTers

So any help or input you can provide would be appreciated!!

Thanks and Happy Haunting
 

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All your ideas sound great, and would be a good place to start. I like 2 and 4 the best, since they have an old-school feel...

Personally? My favorite thing is to just do it, no theme to start with. A hodgepodge. I might have a general idea of how many lights I have and where to direct all that light and in what colors; but beyond that, as far as props are concerned, I'll just look through what I have and intuitively pick things out and start placing them.

The final result will look a little wild, and that works well for me. A little cemetery here, some ghouls over there, a giant spider over there, some odd thing of scary weirdness wayyyy over there.

I always like to have a "quieter" area somewhere that has mostly cricket sound effects and blue lighting suggesting moonlight. Somewhere else there will be a "warm" area with reddish/orange light, and there the sound effects/commotion/activity will be more obvious and pronounced. People visiting the haunt will feel safer near the quiet cricket area, and will feel more nervous approaching the warmly-lit scarier area.
 

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I go more of the hodgepodge road myself. I HATE themes because there's no single theme that scares everyone. Worse, most themes are going to be funny to one group or another. I prefer different effects and props so hopefully I'll give everyone at least one good scare.
 

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Your Old West Mortician is brilliant, simple, unique and something I have never seen before. You can interact as you see fit but build coffins when you need some downtime. I like the hodgepodge myself because it is less pressure and cost. This seems like a very imaginative and inexpensive idea while holding the simplicity to capture attention.

I see animal bones scattered, hides (or sheets distressed with tea stains and fabric stiffener to look like hides) as if you share a practice with a taxidermist. Tumbleweeds, empty coffins, amber and blue lighting...Fantastic!
 

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I really like the Old West mortician idea as well. Not only could you measure people for caskets, you could also ask their funeral preferences. ("Are ya new to town? Never been here before, eh? Well I'll have to do it as a rush order. Will you be needing flowers? A preacher man?") When measuring, you might suggest that some patrons are "too tall" for your caskets and that you'll have to shorten them :) I'd include a lot of crows and vultures, animal bones & tumbleweeds as mentioned earlier, perhaps a cooling table with buckets under it ("Ice'll cost ya extra but ya won't rot as quick"). If you can swing a cow skull, all the better.
 
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