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Didn't see a thread dedicated to this yet. So I'll start.

1. Rusty old chains make wonderful wind tie-downs! I draped them over my tombstones and crisscrossed them over coffins to keep the wind from destroying my lighter props. Not only did it work, but the look was perfect... especially over the coffins! I'll be doing this from now on. MUCH easier than tying off to stakes and super fast to take down.

2. I will finally get a better system in place for organization. While my stuff is all back inside- it is not yet put away. I vow to organize as I put away and inventory everything as I go. I really see how a huge plan-ahead is invaluable. Thanks to all who've suggested organizing tips throughout the year. Muuuaaah!


What was your take-away from 2015 Halloween?
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I learned that I don't have to kill myself putting out tons of stuff when some hay bales with all my fake pumpkins will do. Granted I think I've got 50+ fakekins now (with some pumpkins yet to carve) but still, I don't need the cemetery (the wind doesn't like it much anyway), the figures, the groundbreakers, Hallowindow, etc.

I grabbed some of those window silhouettes, put those on the BR windows, & didn't do Hallowindow this year at all. I don't miss the projector being in the way either.
 

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I learned that inviting people to mod lodge Googly eyes to whatever they want is a surprisingly fun activity! I'm adding that to my general 'get together' list.
 

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Although I have been setting up my haunt for Halloween each year, for the last 20 years, my wife and I have come to an agreement as to when I should start. Each year I begin the first day in October by putting up the fence which goes around the entire front yard. From there the tombstones go up and wiring is run for all the lighting. My sound system along with the speakers for outside go out and lastly animated props.
No more. At my age I'm tired of watching the weather day in and day out, seeing if it will rain in the next several days forcing me to bring certain items in so they are not damaged. What do you expect here in Florida.
I know where everything is going to go when we bring them out so we are going to cut the set-up time in half and start two weeks before Halloween with the fence and pace ourselves from there. It will be easier on me and I feel I can still enjoy everything I do.
As for breaking it down and putting it up, that takes two days as usual because I know where everything needs to go. After today I just feel exhausted so the change is needed.
 

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I learned to plan early..... finish my plans which I didn't this time. The wind and rain are your enemy on Halloween day.... biggest one of all :)
 

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I do an annual craftshow with the wife and my parents in the middle of October. I usually am scrambling to finish craft items and try to complete new Halloween projects. No more! I am bound and determined to finish the craftshow stuff in the early spring. Get all that done and be able to focus entirely on Halloween in October. Then when the craftshow roles around, I can throw the completed crafts in the truck and haul them to the show. Then all summer long, I can build Halloween props, improve and fix old ones. I'm done this for 21 years, I really need to get my act together. I'm getting too old for unneeded stress. I need to invest in a better lighting system and sound system. I need to have a simpler way to do things. I have the setup down pretty good but I could use a better system. Organization is seriously lacking and I realize how much it stresses me out.
 

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LIGHTS!!!
I bought a green, purple, and red spot light for the house.... Next year my house will be eerily lit up!!!
 
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Didn't see a thread dedicated to this yet. So I'll start.

1. Rusty old chains make wonderful wind tie-downs! I draped them over my tombstones and crisscrossed them over coffins to keep the wind from destroying my lighter props. Not only did it work, but the look was perfect... especially over the coffins! I'll be doing this from now on. MUCH easier than tying off to stakes and super fast to take down.

2. I will finally get a better system in place for organization. While my stuff is all back inside- it is not yet put away. I vow to organize as I put away and inventory everything as I go. I really see how a huge plan-ahead is invaluable. Thanks to all who've suggested organizing tips throughout the year. Muuuaaah!


What was your take-away from 2015 Halloween?
I'd love to see an example of how you used the chains to hold the tombstones. I really struggled with that this year. I've tried bamboo stakes, fishing line, bricks, you name it. I don't have the carpentry skills to make plywood stones so mine are Styrofoam.

I also vow to super organize on the tear down this year! I get so sick of wandering around looking for silly things like tea lights and gorilla tape while I doing last minute checks. The biggest challenge is weeding out stuff I don't use or is damaged but still in my inventory - who knows why. The biggest challenge is the costumes. Do I inventory by theme or by type of clothing? Where do I PUT it all. I'm determined to figure that out once and for all this year.

One of the biggest things I (finally) learned this year is to let things go that I just don't have the time or resources to pull off. I usually poster the neighbourhood and put an ad on Kijiji (sort of like Craig's List). This year, both time and the weather conspired against me and I just didn't get the posters up. Did it matter? A couple local people mentioned they hadn't seen my posters but my online ad brought people from areas of the city that I would never have reached before. We had more people than the last few years so either our reputation is growing or people just rely more on online resources.

I also had a number of life sized figures that I wasn't able to pull together and my front yard wasn't as full as other years. But letting go of those things meant I wasn't working on Halloween props and setup in the dark on October 30. Nobody knows what I didn't do. That was a huge lesson to learn.

The final lesson is do things right the first time. It's tempting to say, "That should hold," or "That's good enough" but when you end up redoing things, both big projects and irritating little tasks, that's just dumb.
 

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I learned that I don't have to kill myself putting out tons of stuff when some hay bales with all my fake pumpkins will do. Granted I think I've got 50+ fakekins now (with some pumpkins yet to carve) but still, I don't need the cemetery (the wind doesn't like it much anyway), the figures, the groundbreakers, Hallowindow, etc.

I grabbed some of those window silhouettes, put those on the BR windows, & didn't do Hallowindow this year at all. I don't miss the projector being in the way either.
That's funny - I always say the same thing, "we could just do nothing but jacks and no one would notice."
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd love to see an example of how you used the chains to hold the tombstones. I really struggled with that this year. I've tried bamboo stakes, fishing line, bricks, you name it. I don't have the carpentry skills to make plywood stones so mine are Styrofoam.

Mine are both wood and styrofoam. The wood ones were easy since they have places to "catch" the chain. The Styrofoam ones were a little trickier. Already having a long piece of re-bar through them, I planted them and then gently placed a thinner chain up and over one or two sides so that they could not twist side to side. The 10" re-bar out the bottom kept them rooted.
 

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Most of the things I learned this year I picked up from this forum! My tombstones were staked with pvc and rebar. They were so much easier to set up and I didn't have to keep climbing the hill to fix them because none of them fell over! My lighting was more dramatic thanks to a link someone posted. The only hiccup I had was an hour before trick or treat I broke a red light bulb. I opened the package and the stupid thing went flying and a giant chunk came out of twisted glass. My boyfriend volunteered to run to the store and grab me one while I finished up the house. I did most of my outdoor decorating the week of Halloween. I wish I would have done it a little earlier so that 1) the work would have been more spread out and 2) I could have enjoyed it longer.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I agree RCPM are the best band no one is listening to. Been listening to them since they were the Refreshments! Great band!!!!!!
YAY!! Another Peacemaker!!

Anyhoo, yep, did just the pumpkins. Ok, that's not quite the truth, I put the pose n stays in the cars with the old Ben Cooper/Collgeville masks on them, hung another 3 Walgreens skellys in the tree, put the skelly fish I got from Target in the pond (they float!!).

I think the key to the pumpkins was having them all grouped together. It's a pretty cool sight.

For the first Halloween ever I didn't feel like I was running around crazy town, working on details, making sure this guy looked right, propping up stuff that had blown over, etc. I just decided not to kill myself & yet I still slept until 10AM, got up got something to eat & went back to bed until 2PM.

But I blame that on the in-laws. They came over & didn't leave until 10PM so we didn't get everything down as quickly as usual. Usually by 9PM we start breaking down & are done by 10 but not this year. But it still didn't take us long.
 

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I agree with RCIAG - keep it simple! I am done killing myself to put up an elaborate display. The only thing people really noticed was the skeleton projection light I had shining on my garage door. Kids were mesmerized by it! I have to admit, it did look pretty cool. I set up a few tombstones on scrap pieces of wood so they would stand up on the driveway, spread a bag of mulch to look like dirt, added a few carved pumpkins and situated my projection light behind one of the pumpkins. The skeletons looked like they were rising up from the tombstones. The whole thing took 15 minutes to set up and take down.
Lesson learned: time to simplify!
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I have decided to go in the direction of the pumpkin display. I enjoy the carving & the reactions to them. I'm not ready to sell it all off yet & I'll still decorate like crazy inside because that's for me (& it doesn't seem like Halloween until I see certain things up in the house), but outside, I'm sticking to the fake pumpkins.

I also want to make some more mache-kins. Either the Stolloween types or something else all together, I want things I made out there too. Plus they're cheaper & easier to make & if I want to do them in February I can because you can't find the foam ones in February.

I'm the same way with Christmas, if I don't see the mantle decorated with the "right" things then it's not Christmas. I could have the tree up & decorated but without Mr. & Mrs. Claus, the white Santas on the mantle & my aluminum tree on another table it's not Christmas.

If we ever get off our butts & have a party then I'll go full throttle on other stuff but until then I'm good with the pumpkins.
 

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LED spots are the bomb. I bought up a bunch at the Spirit store post halloween sale last year. My "fire breathing" dragon never looked so good
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