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Here's how I got my start. This is a true account. I want to hear where others first for the idea! True stories like mine or make up something crazy!

At 14, I hit the streets trick or treating, until this magic moment. Some guy dressed as Michael Meyers jumped out at me from a bush. Scared the crap out of me!!!! I went straight home, running the whole way! I Hid next to the door. Scared other trick or treaters the rest of the night. Changed my life!!!! I went back to that house the next day to thank the man. Jamie Lee Curtis answered the door, holding her Activia yogurt. She told me that Michael Meyers died in that house 25 years ago. That's how I became a haunter.

How bout you!?
 

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It was Halloween night in the early 1980s. I was trapped in a basement with a werewolf, all at the tender age of 2. The 80-year-old neighbor rammed his cane against the window until it broke, then he, magician style, threw down a seemingly neverending scarf and pulled me out, but it was too late for my older brother and sister, who were torn apart right before my very eyes. As the werewolf lunged toward the opening, the elderly man aimed his cane at the beast and twisted the handle, which caused the tip to shoot a silver bullet through the beast, ending its unholy existence and bestowing upon us the gift of survival. The moment has haunted me ever since, and I cannot escape it no matter how I try. I use Halloween as a catharsis to aid me in facing the horrifying memories and, also, to honor my fallen siblings.
 

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Oddly, I just used the word cathartic in a comment on another post! ***crack of thunder, flash of lightning*** Spooky!
 

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I can't remember why I started decorating (you couldn't call it haunting yet) but I remember my friends and I dressed up and had a little party at my place while the TOTs came and went. We did that for a few years. Then I moved and didn't do it again until I started dating a guy who was huge into Halloween. We did a haunt for the four years we were together then we broke up and I moved again. I've done it at this place for five years now. The ex's friends still haunt with me every year at this place although I don't see the ex anymore. We are in the same sports pool (again, a leftover shared interest from when we were together) but that's all done online.

Not the most interesting story but you asked!
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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It started when I was 15. After watching Friday the 13th Part II at one kids house, we figured we'd play "Friday the 13th" as well. So off to the woods we went. After setting the rules, I lost at rock-paper-scissors because everyone disagreed that pirates beat all (and ninjas weren't quite an American fad just yet, otherwise I would have karate chopped them all into submission!). Anyway, we didn't have access to a machete, so we substituted a hatchet.

Unfortunately, we left out a rule. I was only supposed to simulate attacking them. They went down so fast once you chopped them in the head. When I was done, there were 11 fewer kids in the neighborhood. But I won the game!

Yeah, that was dumb. I should have realized I had to simulate the attacks. But at least I realized I had to hide what I had done! And hide them I did - right in plain sight. My first yard haunt consisted of 11 decomposing zombie props, in various stages of decay.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Palladino, I like the story! Keep on haunting no matter what!
Blarghity, they can't expect a 15year old to know its a simulation!!!!! And free decorations are the best!!!
 

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As a young tot, Halloween was always my fav holiday.. I distinctly remember wanting to put skulls on our Christmas tree.. When I was about 11 or 12 I started to listen to my dad's Alice Cooper records and it was all progressive since then... :D
 

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I've told the story a couple times on here, so I will recap.

I was 8, my brothers were ill, and my dad was working. Trick or Treat was just not going to happen that year with the whole 'razors in the candy' scare, no way I was going alone, and it's not like I really had folks to go with. Mom and I were going to sit in for a movie night, though, and it was going to be fine. One of the channels was broadcasting The Bat remastered in 3d. To you youngen's the early 80s say a resurgence in 3d movies, and the studios were pushing out their old movies, this was, at the time, billed as the first time 3d would be broadcast (at least on a local channel) and the glasses were acquired via kids meals at a local fast food joint.

The Bat...is not a good movie to begin with. Was unwatchable without the glasses, and my brand of colorblindness meant they did not work for me to begin with. So, I was sitting and sulking on the porch while handing out candy. Mom come to sit with me, some teens commented on 'what a neat dummy' I had made there, she moved, they ran, I was asking for props that Christmas, planning for the next halloween when I was going to deck out the patio.

I use Halloween as a catharsis to aid me in facing the horrifying memories and, also, to honor my fallen siblings.
For me, this was very true early on in my haunting life. At age 5, walking home with my friend from church, his dad had taken a shotgun to his mom, then himself. As he broke down, I waded through the place to call the cops.

At age 9, I discovered theatrical makeup and became obsessed by gore. Age 10, I started working at a haunted house to learn more about it. By age 13, I was DOING the makeup at the house. They asked me to come to work in costume at age 16 (Burger King). My depiction of a shotgun to the head was a little too realistic and I was sent home...

Ironically, I've not really done gore since outside doing some makeup for mock disasters or playing around. Guess I worked through that.
 

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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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In 1984 I escorted my two kids, then 8 & 6, around the neighbourhood. They were dressed as the Devil and the Grim Reaper, truly righteous costumes and makeup. One of the last houses we hit had a dummy sitting in a lawn chair outside the front door, and the owner opened the door wearing a werewolf mask. When the guy slowly opened the door, my normally raucous kids suddenly became silent and still. Very respectful. They got their treats and stiffly retreated back to the street. I asked them if they were scared, was it scary, they responded like I must be crazy. I remember saying, "Scary? Next year, I'll show you scary..."

Next year will be thirty years of Terror.
 

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For me, this was very true early on in my haunting life. At age 5, walking home with my friend from church, his dad had taken a shotgun to his mom, then himself. As he broke down, I waded through the place to call the cops.
My tale was all malarkey (hard to believe, right?:p), but I do not see this response being anything less than serious. I am very sorry that you (and he) had to go through that, UnOrthodOx. In my early twenties, I came home from work one night and was told by my mother that a friend (who used to be like a brother) had committed suicide, and, although I did not actually see it firsthand (went for the funeral, of course), the experience/loss was damaging enough.
 

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I was in to Halloween from the time I was very little, coming inside from trick-or-treating to sort candy and start planning what next year's costume would be. But I got the decorating bug from my dad.

The first year of decorating I really remember I was nine or ten. Our front walk was in the middle of being redone, so Dad and I covered it in a tarp and some lose dirt, propped up one of the old flagstones with R.I.P. scrawled on it in Sharpie, and took one of Mom's kitchen gloves covered in ketchup to make a hand coming through the grave. Then we kept going - making scare crows from old masks and clothes and dumping more ketchup on them... All spur of the moment and improvised. My three year old brother came out, got scared and ran back inside to Mom. We got in such trouble, but it was worth it. I was hooked. Dad and I had fun for years until I moved away.

I still have some of those early decorations. This year my dad was in town while I was getting set up, and it was special to work with him on props once again.
 

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My tale was all malarkey (hard to believe, right?:p), but I do not see this response being anything less than serious. I am very sorry that you (and he) had to go through that, UnOrthodOx. In my early twenties, I came home from work one night and was told by my mother that a friend (who used to be like a brother) had committed suicide, and, although I did not actually see it firsthand (went for the funeral, of course), the experience/loss was damaging enough.
Yes, it was serious. It's ok, that was a long time ago, and I've come to terms. I still don't know what happened to my friend, to be honest. The local kids got the idea that I was somehow involved, so I was always the outsider. Didn't help that I found a couple more deaths in the years that followed andI was seen as cursed as a result. (big part of why I didn't have friends to go with at age 8 there) I have no doubts that working at the haunted house and the folks I met there kept me away from some of the more traditional means a teenager may choose to cope with such things.
 

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Mine started very early on... My Grandfather owned Stoll Casket Company, so we always had at least one casket to decorate with. When I was about four, my Dad dressed up as a Jolly Green Giant, complete with head-to-toe green paint. Mom was Sprout. When my Dad got overheated from the paint (obviously NOT for use on skin!!), he came home, showered and hopped in the casket to scare the living Hell out of the TOTers. I was completely hooked.

Then, when I moved to DC, I lived around the corner from not one, but TWO elementary schools!! I usually had about 600 TOTers, including the minivans full whose folks drove in from the surrounding areas. Needless to say, I had to start tricking out the ten square feet of "yard" in the front of my building. By the 13th year (the last Halloween before I got married and moved to the 'burbs), I had a whole haunted house with six or so skels and three or ten life-sized props crammed into 750 square feet.

NOW, I have a whole BASEMENT full of crap and still have about 250 TOTers... :)
 

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As a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s Halloween was a special holiday for me and my family. We always made cool pumpkins and ghosts in school and Cub Scouts so as an adult once I had kids it became even more special. Also as a kid I always admired the people in the neighborhood who would dress up and play scary or Halloween music. When I bought my house in 1992 it all started with a few plywood tombstones and pumpkins, 1 lil dummie dressed as a Toter dressed as a ghost, my Mother In Law found the lil guy/girl at some craft/bazaar somewhere. It has snowballed into what I have been calling The RottHaunt the past 5 years. This year I decided to rename it RottHaunt @ Market Street Cemetery since we live on Market Street. I wish I could add more each year, but I just don't have the storage for the stuff I already have. Would love to add a Mausoleum, Fence columns, or some kind of façade or archway. Even thought of building a Mausoleum with an entrance in the front and back of it and setting it up the length of the sidewalk out front, kinda like a tunnel with black lights and strobe lights inside that the Toters have to walk though. Maybe next year???
 

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I got dragged to a social function for my wife's job and one of her co-workers asked her why I go all out with the cemetery. Her response was: "Oh, he's one of the autumn people. You know, they come from the dust; they go to the grave. The night wind stirs in them instead of blood. We tell people he travels for work, but his time away is spent as the dog faced boy in Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Carnival. "

I coughed hot coffee out my nose because she delivered that little speech with an absolutely straight face.

A more accurate version is that my parents had a friend who did a massive Halloween display every year and it was awesome. This was 1970 and nobody in town did this. As a 5 year old, the awesomeness of it really stuck with me and I have been working to match it ever since.
 

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My grandfather used to do whimsical type settings outside in the front yard for the holidays-Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. They weren't extravagant or anything. For example, a simple scarcrow he made himself, a few homemade ghosts (sheets) in the tree, hay bale, real pumpkins, and a couple colored spotlights. It always seemed very magical & fun to me as a child.

About six years ago, I was shopping during Oct. and saw all the decor and thought "Hey, I want to do this, this could be fun."
The first things I ever bought were a bunch of plastic light up pumpkins, some styrofoam gravestones, a talking skeleton and a low lying fogger.:)


 
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