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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've asked a lot of questions and have had a LOT of help and great advice on here. I've had issues with analysis paralysis, not finishing what I'm starting, doubt, fails, etc. etc. Wanting to do a yard cemetary and just decorating for Halloween has been a desire for years. I've always carved foam pumpkins and love to decorate for Christmas. I'm in a contest with a guy down in the cul-de-sac it seems :p

Went into a Michaels today with my wife and was just overcome with all the goodies they had in there. She wanted to go because she had her crafty groove on and wanted to make a fall/halloween wreath for the front door. So, I tagged along. Like I said, I was amazed at all the stuff. We were laughing by the time we walked out because we felt like 1.) it was a frenzy for us running around grabbing stuff and 2.) we decided we can't ever go back into a craft store together. One of us is bad enough...two - double trouble.

On the way up there, I mentioned to her about how it sure seems like a LOT of work, frustration, evenings and weekends out in the garage, trips to the hardware store, etc. for ONE night. I work in the accounting field and my group is responsible for month-end, financial reporting, and we're moving into budget season. So, I can't take any time off the month of October. It is seriously not allowed for us. That leaves me either rushing home on 10/31 - getting home at 5:00pm and trying to put fence, tombstones, props, fog machine, lighting, etc. out ORRRR I am going to have to do it a day or two in advance. But, the thought of that scares the crud out of me. I've read the forum posts of stuff being stolen. We live on a corner lot and have a lot of traffic. It might be that I do the fence, lights on the 30th, leaving me tombstones, static props, etc. on the 31st.

Long post but just curious when people start putting their stuff out? Has anyone had or facing the same situation I am? It's a lot of time and money (nickels and dimes add up quick) to put it out early and have it disappear. :mad:

So, just curious. I welcome any thoughts on it.

Hope you all had a great and productive weekend - or relaxing if you chose that too :D
 

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I put mine out on the 31st in the early afternoon and take it all in the house that night in a spare room and then just put it away neatly over the course of a few days.
 

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I like to start on October 1st with my giant web which hangs between the trees and house. Then the fence to 'protect' the goods. I had an issue with some vandalism a few years back, but since I made the fence haven't had any issues. Over the course of the month I'll put up my flying crank ghost, tombstones and boarded windows. During the last week I'll put out the lights, sound and any other electronics, saving the computers and more fragile/expensive items for the last few days. I'm more worried about weather than theft or vandalism now days.
 

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My fence went up last weekend with the blow mold skellys trick or treating and the corn stalks the weekend before that. Tombstones are this week. Didn't get a chance to work on anything this weekend since I was at halloween horror nights. Will set more during the week. My plan to have most stuff out on the Monday before except for a few items.
 

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My daughter was asking me that today as I was working on a tombstone. I think I'll put up the tombstones and fence about a week or so in advance, add the lights a few days before Halloween if the weather is good, and then put the easily-stolen and desirable items (skeletons, cauldron creep, fog machines) out during the day on Friday. I'm lucky in that I don't work on Fridays, and that we live in a pretty safe neighborhood. We're also on a dead-end street, so very little traffic from people who don't live on the street.
 

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I think we all worry about vandalism and theft, but you can't let it dictate your haunting. If my only option was to rush home on the 31st and setup, I wouldn't put much time or money into Halloween. I take a lot of time off in October and put lights on the house the first weekend and start rolling out the big stuff the second weekend and then I am building and setting up pretty much everyday up to Halloween.
 

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I also have a corner lot but live in a small town of about 20K people so I haven't had any theft or vandalism in 13 years. I normally don't start until October 1st to set up but this year I got a windfall of materials to play with and I started putting stuff out last week just so I could make pathways, lol. As for the 1000's of man hours going into it for just 4 hours of enjoyment, you just can't look at that or you'll discover you truly are insane.
 

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This is a question that has surfaced in this forum over and over through the years. I understand the strong desire to participate in the Season and also show your "wares", it's a very fun time indeed. Many people begin to set up early and have their static displays up ASAP and, along with that come the many stories of vandalism and theft.....so heartbreaking because, as a haunter, i know the kind of work most of you put into your haunts. I, like many others on this site, choose to put up my display ONLY on the morning of the 31st and take it all down after all of the "tot's" have come through. I place everything in my garage and lock it and then put it all away over the next few days. Having been here for some years i draw on the sad stories of the vandalism and theft and use that at a frame of reference. Although i have never been vandalized, i choose not to be. I have props and tombstones that go back years and i'm not about to let the one, random incident ruin it all in the blink of an eye. We also live in a fairly small town but, from time to time i do hear teenagers walking home in the wee hours of a Saturday morning yelling and whooping......these are the ones that will do the damage, the one's who have no respect for other people's property. Just last weekend, they were in the schoolyard right behind our house letting off fireworks.....AT 2:30AM!!!!! My motto has become...."better safe than sorry"......'Scruff
 

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I take a vacation day on the 31st and start early that morning and generally try to finish by 3:00 pm (we put out our cemetary fence the weekend before along with a couple of other things). We take it down around 9:00 pm. We live on a corner lot in a subdivision and get a lot ot ToTs. My wife taught elementary school for 39 years and gave maps to our house for her classroom and had special bags of goodies for them.

Sure, it's a LOT of work for a few hours but here's how my wife and I look at it. To see the excitement on kids' faces (and their parents too!) is worth all of the work. Many of them come back year after year. It's a happy memory they will have for the rest of their lives (and for some, it's one of the few happy ones). When they have kids of their own, I can hear them saying, "...there was this one house, wow, it was truly awesome! And they gave great candy too!.. That's priceless and worth every bit of time and effort spent on it.

Moral of the story? I'll trade all of the hard work for a few minutes of joy every time.


.....

On the way up there, I mentioned to her about how it sure seems like a LOT of work, frustration, evenings and weekends out in the garage, trips to the hardware store, etc. for ONE night. I work in the accounting field and my group is responsible for month-end, financial reporting, and we're moving into budget season. So, I can't take any time off the month of October. It is seriously not allowed for us. That leaves me either rushing home on 10/31 - getting home at 5:00pm and trying to put fence, tombstones, props, fog machine, lighting, etc. out ORRRR I am going to have to do it a day or two in advance. But, the thought of that scares the crud out of me. I've read the forum posts of stuff being stolen. We live on a corner lot and have a lot of traffic. It might be that I do the fence, lights on the 30th, leaving me tombstones, static props, etc. on the 31st.
 

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I started 2 weeks ago with just some green & red outdoor floodlights on the lawn. We live on a corner and our neighborhood kids & families look forward to the night so I really don't expect any vandalism (luckily nothing has happened since I started our haunt in '06) but with that said the big props, animated ones, fog machines/chillers, and anything electronic goes out starting at 8am on Halloween (usually finish midafternoon-ish).This past weekend I hung a large spider web, spider, and red light over the street corner area where folks have to walk and will start to gradually put out fences, tombstones, corn field, put in rebar stakes and lay out the power lines to the area where things will go...etc.

I can understand the time demands of ones job. I typically start very early in building new props (usually)..I'm always working on something new in Sept/Oct, as I am now, but my wife thinks I can be crazy at times when it is April or May and she starts to see a Halloween project taking shape.

My motto is do what I can when I can and start early enough to get it done. Just seems to work for me. ...best part is that when I get stuck on something challenging the good folks in this forum are always there to lend an idea or a how-to suggestion.
 

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I put almost everything up yesterday. I have a small display compared to some on here and it still took me 14 hours to set up. I cant imagine running around like that the day of. I completely understand why people don't set up until the day of but its not for me!
 

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I usually put some things out during the second week in October. My fence, columns and some gravestones will go out but the bulk of my things won't come out until the 31st. I like to put some things out to get in the spirit but then put out more that night so it's things that people haven't seen while driving by.

I'm in a new home in a city and neighborhood that I'm still becoming familiar with so I don't know how much I could leave out without getting stolen or vandalized. Only been here a little over a year but it seems quiet and shouldn't be a problem but I don't want to take the chance.
 

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We just started setting up this previous weekend. For now it is only the larger structural pieces which create the framework for the scenes. Cemetery columns and fencing, the mausoleum, and the wooden fence for the pumpkin patch. The body of our pumpkin lord also goes up with the wooden fence, but mostly because it is so large and pretty much part of the fence. However, his head doesn't go on until closer to the big night. As the month moves on we will fill in more of the scenes in a week or two the spider scene will begin to get webbed up, the windows will be boarded up and a few other things. The smaller objects and more weather sensitive items come out within the last week. Witches hut, cemetery with all the grave stones any of the creatures. We like the slow progressive build up of the haunt and it seems our neighbors do too. They always comment how it builds up their excitement as everything slowly comes together as the day gets closer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow...great responses. Appreciate everyone sharing their experiences. We live in a nice housing addition but sadly there are always teenage trouble makers (I wasn't one I swear! ;) ). But, based on the input, I think I may start out this weekend with our fencing and go from there. At least that will give me a start and maybe a couple of weeks out I may put out the stones.

I wanted to start this because my daughter loves when I do stuff like this and I tried to start a couple of years ago and just didn't get my rear in gear. We had the idea a couple of years ago where she'd dress up in doc scrubs, wearing a gas mask and cook body parts on a grill in front of the front door. I enjoy hearing them say that they think something looks cool and am sure I'll get some satisfaction to see other kids enjoy something. Which brings me to another question for BigIron and well, really all of you. Are you gearing your yard haunts to little ToTs or bigger ToTs? Gorey...not gorey? I'm not going gorey....stones, witch lanterns on the fence, couple of 4 foot doc plague things standing around a cauldron....carved pumpkins.....and trying to figure out one other thing to put out somewhere. So, no blood or hanging limbs. Although, the idea of hanging skulls from some of the lower branches in the front yard appeals to me.
 

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Wow...great responses. Appreciate everyone sharing their experiences. We live in a nice housing addition but sadly there are always teenage trouble makers (I wasn't one I swear! ;) ). But, based on the input, I think I may start out this weekend with our fencing and go from there. At least that will give me a start and maybe a couple of weeks out I may put out the stones.

I wanted to start this because my daughter loves when I do stuff like this and I tried to start a couple of years ago and just didn't get my rear in gear. We had the idea a couple of years ago where she'd dress up in doc scrubs, wearing a gas mask and cook body parts on a grill in front of the front door. I enjoy hearing them say that they think something looks cool and am sure I'll get some satisfaction to see other kids enjoy something. Which brings me to another question for BigIron and well, really all of you. Are you gearing your yard haunts to little ToTs or bigger ToTs? Gorey...not gorey? I'm not going gorey....stones, witch lanterns on the fence, couple of 4 foot doc plague things standing around a cauldron....carved pumpkins.....and trying to figure out one other thing to put out somewhere. So, no blood or hanging limbs. Although, the idea of hanging skulls from some of the lower branches in the front yard appeals to me.
I've done gory in the past and I don't think I'd go there again. Is that my old age talking? Maybe. :)

Since I'm new to the neighborhood, this is only my second Halloween here, I didn't want to go too scarey and freak the kids out. Last year I got a good feel for the ages coming to my door and the majority are kids under 10. My gravedigger is as far as I go with scarey this year, which to me isn't scarey at all but to a little kid he or she might think he's real and be scared.

After doing this for almost 30 years, I think I'm at the point where I just want people to come into my yard and enjoy what I have. I don't think I need to go super scarey in order to feel good about my display. That's just me. Last year I had a few handmade gravestones and that was it and people loved it so I look forward to what they have to say this year. It makes you feel good when both the kids and parents have something nice to say! I do this for myself and for the kids so it makes it all worthwhile when you hear "that's cool!" :)
 

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I don't like to do gory either. We get a lot of ToT (2000 plus) of all ages. I go for the spooky feeling which insights a small amount of fear of the unknown in the grave yard. Last year we started singing monsters and that was a big hit. So spooky fun.
 

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I put all my stuff out yesterday (except for the lights and fog machine that I don't want to get wrecked in the rain). Never had any issues with vandalism or theft, knock on wood. I've seen some people attach wiring to all of their props as to deter thefts. Most people I've seen start at the first of the month and do it little by little, that'd definitely help you with your busy schedule.
 
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