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Well, Halloween is officially over here in my little area of central NC. All the Tots have gone to bed, if they aren't on a sugar rush, and things are starting to quiet down, and cool off, 78 degrees here. Not that I'm complaining mind you.

I learned a few things from my haunt this year that I can't wait to get started on for next year. Here's a few things I've learned:

1. Build a wall to block out our neighbor's light (we live in a town home so their porch light lights up our entire display.)
2. Animate the coffin. Plenty of Tots expect something to happen. Would be pretty cool if it actually did.
3. Don't use a fog chiller on the upper balcony. The chiller could and will leak and drip all over the props below.
4. Build a spooky tree to coincide with the cauldron and hot coals effect on the front porch.
5. If a fog machine goes down, it's not the end of the world. If 2 go down, it can be frustrating, but still not the end of the world. If the 3rd and final one goes down, you're screwed. But there's always next year to do the fog. (luckily only 2 of mine went down this year)
6. Sound effects need to be a little bit louder, but not much.
7. Build a FCG or projection set up. People missed the old ghost in the window. (It was the Hovering Ghost from Tekky Toys that broke last year)
8. People in the neighborhood I live in have talked about our display for the last couple of years and bring friends and family by to see it and take pictures. Gotta keep up the good work.

Boy, looks like I've got a lot to do before next year. Time to get started!

What did you learn from your 2013 haunt?


 

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1. Need to seal the fog chiller around the lid. The fog was creeping out. This was the first time we tried this.
2. Gutter ghost needs to go or be revamped. Part of him blew on to the roof and you couldn't tell what it was.
3. Bubble machine was a big hit. Need to try the black light reflective bubbles next year.

We got a lot of compliments too. Comments like "glad you add something new every year". So now I have to find something to add!
 

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1. I need 2 maybe 3 fog machines for my graveyard and the standard switch works better than the crappy $20 timer switch from Spirit.
2. Fog chiller made out of a 50 gallon cooler is huge and hard to maneuver around. Smaller chillers would probably work just as well with less strain on the back if I have to move it.
3. I thought my skeleton remains entryway was pretty sturdy until a woman trying to console her scared and crying child bumped it with her behind. The roof fell down on top of her (fortunately it was only styrofoam so it wasn't heavy and no one got hurt). It scared her little boy even worse though. Poor guy will probably be scarred for life. She kept apologizing about it, and told her it was fine. A little black spray paint to cover the gash and we were back in service.
4. When dressed in scary masks and costumes and a kid is freaking out nearby you, don't walk closer to them to try to convince them it's ok without first removing your mask...
5. It was colder this year, so I broke out my portable fire pit and had a fire going in my driveway next to my yard. This added some needed warmth, but also looked really cool when a big ghoul is warming their hands over an open fire. Going to keep this going every year!
6. Light sensor props don't work once it gets dark, unless you have a light pointed directly at them...stobe lights don't work...
 

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1. Build some kind of barrier (more tombstones?) around the cauldron creep so little kids don't walk up to it and stick things inside the cauldron. I swear, some of them were mesmerized by the special effects.
2. Definitely going to add black light effects next year over the skeletons sitting in our porch chairs. They got kind of washed out in the darkness.
3. We had only one creepy guy in the front window with light-up eyes but got lots of comments on it. Will add more next year to this display.
4. Remember to have a good time and give the kids compliments on their costumes :)

Edit: Oh - and I like the portable fire-pit idea.
 

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1. Apparently my idea of a kinder, gentler Halloween display is still pretty scary. Two groups of kids passed by without even coming up the driveway.:eek:
2. My idea of what a scaled back display should look like still has an awful lot of stuff to put out.
3. The 10 year old next door was really disappointed that I didn't go all out this year.:(
4. I need to figure out how to get just a little more light where the candy is.
5. I have a lot more blow molds than my wife thought I had.:)
6. Buy less candy. We got 2 big bags of candy from Costco and we still have 2 big bags of candy. Even giving the stuff out by the handful, we still have a lot of candy.
7. I'm glad I decided to get out the fog machine. Everyone loves the fog machine.:D
8. I need a kid friendly soundtrack for a kinder, gentler display. I knew not to use my regular soundtrack, but I didn't think about it until the first ToT came up and I realized it was absolutely silent. Grim Grinning Ghosts would have been perfect AND it would have given the neighbor across the street an earworm.:D
9. We really need to find a way to have a cute, toddler friendly pumpkin patch for the little kids while still having my scary gothic cemetery. Whatever the plan ends up being, I have to have a way to keep the wife from freezing in her pumpkin patch.
10. I still need to figure out the lighting for the whole display. I feel like a Halloween Goldilocks: This cemetery is too dark; this cemetery is too light. This cemetery is too dark again. When do I get the one that is just right?:mad:

EDIT: 11. The LED candles in the windows of the dark house looked really cool. I need to remember to do it in all the windows next year.:)
 

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I need better lighting for my graveyard and other props

A lot of my issues came from being rushed by the rain. It stopped raining about 4 and I had everything set up before the first TOT at 5:30

We also had a clear painters tarp with "blood" splattered all over it. People used it as a backdrop for family pictures. Really neat idea that wasn't intended. I'll be doing that again next year with better lighting there too.
 

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" When dressed in scary masks and costumes and a kid is freaking out nearby you, don't walk closer to them to try to convince them it's ok without first removing your mask." Jeepercreeper, my husband learned that this year as well.
 

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1. To post signs NOT to touch the actors. :mad: Stupid teenage boys.
2. Create a walkway or signs that direct people to the candy. An open driveway with lots of distractions is confusing for people apparently.
3. Maybe cover our candy pot so that people can't see how much we have. Pretty sure some of the kids came back at least twice.
4. Don't use plastic decor to cover garage opening. Scared kids will bolt anywhere without looking. (Tore right through our wall mural and ran into the car.)
5. Whatever isn't done on Oct 30th doesn't get done. Only makeup and costumes on 31st
6. Buy MORE candy.
 

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The Haunting Girl
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Stop procrastinating on projects!
Set up earlier so my landlord's friend can take pictures and write an article for the local paper.
Make signs and flyers.
Figure out a better system for handing out candy and treat bags.
Figure out what I need ahead of time from Lowe's so I don't make 3 trips on the 30th.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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Make everything windproof which will ensure that there's ZERO WIND next year. We had some rain but the 10-15 mph winds just killed the cemetery & all the standing figures had to be staked or tied down. I expect some wind every year so we have to shore up the tombstones, but this year was just ridiculous.
 

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The Haunting Girl
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Make everything windproof which will ensure that there's ZERO WIND next year. We had some rain but the 10-15 mph winds just killed the cemetery & all the standing figures had to be staked or tied down. I expect some wind every year so we have to shore up the tombstones, but this year was just ridiculous.
I learned that last year. Between the wind and the uneven ground my one figure would not stay up. So this year I used a big wooden stake, a spare piece of PVC pipe that fit snuggly over the stake and the one of the original metal rods for my figure. To be sure she didn't "walk away", I drilled a hole in the pipe and tied her to it, because it would take some effort just to pull the pipe off the stake (I dreading taking it out today).
 

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Luckily this year nothing in my yard display feel over or got destroyed from wind or rain. However, I think next year I will scale back. I know people love my display and all but every year I go in the garage and I realize how much of a pain it is to take everything out, fix it up, and get it put in the yard. Then, once I take it all down I have to shift everything around and get the holiday stuff out so I can put Halloween in the back of the garage again. It does become a pain and I really would like to just not deal with decorating the outside next year. Besides, I learned something this year that I will have to fix next year. I have a fencing all around the display to keep kids out. In the middle I have a cemetery entrance gate that is for display only. I noticed that a lot of kids were walking through the gate and through my display (lots of cords and wires that they could trip over) to get to my house. I got some caution tape and taped up the entrance and kids were still trying to walk through the caution tape even though I had a sign to please stay out of the yard and use the sidewalk to get to the front door. I just think it would be better if next year I retired the gate entrance and just do all fencing.
 

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Buy good stuff, I have went through so many smoke machines, bit the bullet bought $300 one did the whole street well built, and I'm sure if I added up how many replacements I've been through it would add up to well over what this new one cost
 

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1. Buy about 6 to 10 Lbs. MORE candy than I think is enough (emergency candy trips to store = lost TOT fun time)

2. Take more video of nights festivities to look back on and enjoy till next Halloween.

3. buy or make more Ice ahead of time form Rum and Cider drinks.....scaring kids is hot thirsty work in a mask!
 
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