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Every year teaches us a lesson which may or may not be remembered. Here are three things that I learned this year.

1. I never seem to have as many extension cords as I thought.
2. Even though I took Friday off from work, you never have enough time.
3. A rainy Halloween can be fun and the kids appreciate your effort even more.


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I learned that it's time to change things up here. ;) Apparently a few of the things that have been a draw here, big spider on roof and singing pumpkins have been copied and are being used else where .. Time for something new!! :cool:
 

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Keep fabric clear of Shiatsu pegs!

Have a cohesive plan waaaaaay earlier in the year.

BUY LOTS OF FRESH BATTERIES - ESPECIALLY FOR CAMERA!!!!!! :mad:

After ten year's of generic spooking, maybe think about doing a theme next time.
 

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As obsessive as this sounds, we make a "Lessons Learned" list at the end of each Halloween, and we put it in a notebook in our "Open FIRST" fall storage bin that we drag out in September. That way we actually review it and have a few "Oh, yeah, we did want to do that!" kind of moments so we remember in time for the next year's event.

Lesson's Learned from this year -

1. We had too much food. Since we host a sort of open-house for family, friends & neighbors, we always have food inside. The meatballs did well but we made too much Potato Corn Chowder and hardly any of the desserts really got touched. Most people ate before they came by, despite being told we'd feed them. :(

2. We set up a lot of our cemetery earlier than usual this year, and therefore things weren't quite as hectic. As much as we love having our whole yard decorations appear & practically disappear all on the same day/night, I think we'll decorate as early as we can from now on.

3. Many people who RSVP "yes" end up not coming anyway, so making sure we have enough seating/food/drinks shouldn't be the priority that we made it.

4. Put BOTH kids for a nap before 3pm next Halloween - we had a cranky 3 year old for a while before she got a second wind.
 

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I've actually learned everything I need to know about doing my display the best and easiest way over the past couple years. But this year I learned that because I scaled back because of time constraints and a hunch about bad weather, the haunt was just as effective and well received. And the biggest bonus was saving my sanity and stress, which made for a nicer day for my girlfriend too. Extreme haunting has its rewards but also can come at a price of stress, anxiety, and grumpiness too. We often push ourselves way past the limit of what it should be; fun. So this year I had a manageable haunt, I didn't flip out when the rain came, we had fun with the tots, and break down was a snap. If I learned something, it's that it is okay not to be grandiose all the time. That vision has been realized and enjoyed. Back to basics can be a welcome change too. And when I say basics, I still had a haunt that was great to see.
 

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I learned that brand new AAA batteries won't last for 2 hours in a 5mw green laser pointer. Looked great for about 30 minutes. Then "worked" for about another hour, then went kaput. I also learned that just because everything works in the days or even weeks before the big night, doesn't mean every thing will work when it needs too. RIght at the start of ToT my Hurricane 1300 decided not to shoot fog. luckily I had a retired crappy Kmart special 400 watt fog machine sitting on the shelf and a new quart of fog juice. My cauldron creepy witch, which had been running great for 10 consecutive nights decided to keep trying to pop off the hand on the marionette arm. slight redesign needed I guess. I used 2 projectors this year for the first time and ran atmosfearfx Zombie Invasion! I had the zombie swarm shadows in the main front window and the zombie attack in one of the upstairs bedroom windows. The kids LOVED this, and I've run other projection effects in the main window for years. Here is a short video of the windows and creepy witch.
 

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I learned not to wear my wedding band and engagement ring while taking everything down on Halloween night after recent weight loss and extremely cold hands. They will go flying off into your festively long grass. Found the wedding band, still can't find my engagement ring. Ugh.
 

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that when your downstairs toilet's chain and flapper breaks, just call the plumber and don't panic while continuing to load up the batteries in the props.
 

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*Keeping build plans small and manageable will keep everyone happy. We only added one thing (fiery hanging cauldron), and we loved it. Simple, not time consuming, maximum impact.
*Setting up early in the month is very rewarding. My husband and I made it a point to go out early this year at night and tweak the lighting/display. This made Halloween day setup a breeze since we already had everything ready to go. A lot less stressful for the big day.
*This is the second year in a row I've made a entree-style dish along with all my appetizer food for our party, and the second year and in a row that it hardly got touched. People do not want to sit down with a plate and a fork. They want to grab a bite each time they walk by the food. Lesson learned. No more dinner entrees.
*It was so busy in our house in early October that I hardly had time to sit at night and enjoy the indoor lights/decorations. I'm making it a point next year to have less going on at this time.

Overall, this was one of our happiest, stress-free years. The five prior years taught us to prepare for what you can, and let go of what you can't. Enjoy the moment.
 

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1) We need to start preparing much earlier.
2) We need to wrangle more help for the haunt, to be characters etc during/for the haunt.
3) We need more light in areas than we've had.
4) We need to at least attempt to get neighbors in on the fun... even if that simply means giving out candy the same night we have the haunt.


Hmmm... there's probably more, but that's all my sleepy brain can think of at the moment.
 

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1. Need more extension cords
2. Be ready for ToT kiddies earlier
3. Don't sweat the small stuff
4. It's more fun to see adults shriek in terror thank kids
5. Have plenty of tent stakes on hand to secure wind-blown decorations

After a month of near perfect weather we had a wind advisory last night. Tombstones flying down the street, Limb Ripper Werewolf blowing over and smashing things, fog barely visible in the gale force winds.
Kids still had a blast running around my yard haunt. Fantastic night.
 

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Wisp in the Mist
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I learned that the weather will probably never cooperate with my plans. So, I have to invest in a new way to stake down tombstones. I lost 3 to wind this year, and didn't put many out. I have around 50, and maybe used a dozen small ones, none of the medium or large. Mostly, I learned that home made stones not only look better, but they probably stay down better since you can use rebar in them.

Similarly, I learned that draping Creepy Cloth over the arbor didn't work, it needs to be cut into strips, and tied on.

Again with the wind...creatures do not like to stay up, so rebar is a pretty good idea for staking them. I've known that for years, but have never gotten around to doing it. I HAVE to do it next year.

I also HAVE to make a fog chiller, which was in this year's plans, and I was going to make a super quick one...but I was pretty bummed out about everything, and didn't. We have two nights to ToT, and it was too warm for the fog the first night. The second night was very cool, and much better--but also very windy, which quickly dispersed the fog. A chiller may not have completely fixed that, but it might have made it better, OR at least I could have used it on the warmer night when it wasn't windy.

I need to be more organized. :( I could not find my box of a dozen bats. How does a person lose a DOZEN bats??

I re-learned that a digital camera is a must. My cellphone cameras have just not cut it over the years, and I generally buy phones with good cameras. Most of my pictures looked really good on my phone, but terrible once they were uploaded.

I learned that accent lighting is a must too, in addition to good mood lighting for the scenery. I added more mood lighting this year, but forgot accent lighting. I had two gargoyles in upstairs windows, that couldn't be seen when it was full dark. I should have added a DT LED light under each one. I did add accent lights within the cemetery, but completely forgot the porch roof!
 

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No matter how ready you think you are, always keep a list!!

I forgot 2 strobes and one glow light. Could have been worse I guess. lol
 

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I learned that when mother nature throws 40mph wind, rain, and snow at you....with a power outage that lasted most of the night.......you can still break out the generator and run the graveyard lighting and not give up.

Still had around 30 brave souls out ToT'n. :cool:
 

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I built a small wall out of foam for some singing pumpkins and think I can scale it up to something much bigger pretty easily.

Be sure to light everything you really want to call attention to.

Set up days early.

Velcro and zip ties are great.

Spiderhill joints are a godsend.
 
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