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We all have those moments that make our year of building props and days of set up worth it. So lets hear some of them. For me this halloween was filled with those moments, from my favorite tot's spending a long time examining my work, to chasing the local high schools football team down the street. But the best was when a pair of sisters around 8 years old, one a witch one and angle came. the angle loved our house but the witch was so scared she ran down the street.

Later they came back with some friends and the witch said she refused to come into our yard as long as 'that thing' (me in a skeleton mask) was there. a young boy gave her his sack of candy telling her to hold it, then walked right up to me and standing a full four and a half feet tall told me he wasn't afraid and to not bother them. I played along and shrank back, hiding in a dark corner of the yard.

As they were leaving the same kid came over and thanked me for playing along and 'tipped me' with a million dollar bill. Then ran to catch up with his friends taking the girls hand.

So what were your best moments this year?
 

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Resident Potterhead
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one of my first tots came up and she just wanted to inspect everything. as different things started going off she had to stop and look at it for a few seconds and take it all in. it was so cute. had one lady park her van across the street and yell out that she loved our yard, tons of people (adults) came up saying how great of a job we did and that our pumpkins look awesome. makes all the stress and money spent worth it. probably my best halloween yet, but im only just getting started (first year haunting) so im sure there are many more best halloweens yet to come.
 

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Vintage Halloween'er
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We had kids yelling from the street..I am not coming up there if any of those things are alive!! My favorite moment though was a huge truck stopped out front..they had skull and Halloween decor on the truck, loaded down with kids in costumes and even had thier dogs dressed up. I tried to take a pic but the kids jumped out so quick, all I got was kids running to the house! We were the only house on our street lit up and we went through a TON of candy.
 

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We had a helicopter that kept flying around shining a spotlight at our area. We kept watching it, wondering if there was a missing child or some crazy person on the run. About 1/2 went by and a lady came by an saw me looking into the sky and said " Did you know that is because of you, it was on the news that they were sending helicopters out to patrol areas that were getting hit with lots of T.O.Ts. They mentioned your area and some place else in St. Pete. How cool is that?
 

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Lots of little moments: I heard one kid announce, "this is the real deal" about our haunt. Two people from the neighborhood said they stopped by daily to see what was new (one of them took regular photos). One grownup suggested that I teach some kind of class at the local community college (maybe someday, but I hardly feel as qualified as some of the folks here). All of the people who I counted as "maybe helpers" showed up, were enthusiastic, and said they'd do it again next year. And; DW enjoyed the whole thing and is talking about what we might do next year - I thought she was gonna' divorce me over the haunt last week.
 

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The people that want to take pictures are always my favorites. The yard, our costumes, anything. Then there's the ones who are afraid to come up the sidewalk. Or the ones that loudly exclaim "EEEWW!" looking at the corpses. You can't make me choose just one! :p
 

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This was the 1st year of my haunt, I got a lot of great comments on yard. Many parents ask if they could go in the yard and take pictures of kids next to the cauldron and skeletons. One mother ask if she could get a picture of her child in the old coffin. I explained that there were lights and a skeleton in the coffin and was no room for a child. Which gave me a idea next year I will build a set something like a skeleton setting on a old bench, with top hat, just for the kids to take a picture with. This was a Great year and all the hard work paid off. I really got blast watching the kids and parents enjoying the yard. But the best comment came from a little girl around 6 or 7 and she said Mister, your yard is awesome, will you come a decorate my yard next year.
 

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Capt o' the Mourning Star
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For several years we had set up a Pirate Ship haunt at our house that drew lots of ToT's. In 2011, my lovely bride and I retired and moved to the mountains of New Mexico. The folks that bought our house are friends of ours and they kept all of our pirate props with the promise that we would come back and help them set everything up. So this year, that is what we did!

Pretty much every parent thanked us for setting up the Pirate ship haunt again. All of the ToT's thought it was awesome. Several parents asked if I worked for Disney or Lucas Films and when I said that I didn't, they said that I should.....:D

Despite the rain, it was a great night!
 

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Despite the rain and school night Halloween, the turn out was pretty good at the Witches of Wright Dead & Breakfast. I had several inquiries along the lines of " are you a set designer" - Always a good sign! While younger kids have a tendency to just notice the big props, I love it when people really look and notice the fine details and the story in my sets. This year the wedding couple borrowed a page from William and Kate and stood on the balcony to greet Trick or Treaters.

Witches of Wright Greetings.jpg
 

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I had a few amusing moments 2nite, one I haven't mentioned yet:

I had my Harvester stationed at the beginning of my walkway (pictured in another thread) but I had not "turned him on yet". A group of 4 kids slowing came up my walkways, the tallest was probably a 12 year old boy who (my guess) was dressed as Darth Mall. He just stood in front of my Harvester for 30 seconds making noises and hand gestures. All I could think was "just keep trying, almost got him...don't give up. Oh wait, of course....I haven't even turned him on". Of course I hadn't forgot but it was amusing
 

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Didn't get many TOT's this year, but every group had it's moments. I always feel like a success when they stand at the end of my walkway, just staring at the front door and candy table and exclaiming that they are not going to go up there. This year was FULL of those exclamations. Parents were trying to get their kids to walk up to the candy table with them, and they still refused. All the parents came up and told me what a good job we did, and how amazing everything looked.

I do have two moments that stand out above all the rest though:

1. A little girl, 9 years old to be exact, caught a glimpse of me sitting by the front door, promptly turned around and walked into my driveway, around the corner of my garage and out of sight. She then declared: "I don't know if you're real, but I'm warning you, if you jump at me, I have a weapon!!!" Her weapon: half a bloody arm prop from Spirit! I about fell out of my chair laughing!!

2. A group of teenagers came walking up the drive and saw me waiting for them, teens are always the best because they're so easy to scare without putting much effort at all into it. They were with their parents, who were trying to push them into our walkway to get candy, FULL SIZE CANDY BARS I MIGHT ADD! The kids were protesting and refusing to even look back around the corner at me, and then I heard one say, "I can do without the candy, I just want to go home!!!" This has to be the best reaction I have ever had while haunting. What teenager openly refuses free full size candy bars and would rather go home??

I love these kind of reactions, and pride myself on being able to elicit them each and every October the 31st. I had many more good stories from this year, but these two take the cake. I can't decide which one is better: the bloody-arm-wielding-I'm-brave-from-out-here-in-the-driveway-where-I-can't-see-you-9-year-old, or the teen who turned down free full size Snickers in exchange for being able to "just go home", as he put it.
 

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My best moment was from a six year old boy, with his younger brother and sister. He said "I know that you will find this hard to believe, but last year when I was only five, I was afraid to come in your yard. Now I think they are cool."
 

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I had quite a few best moments. For me personally, it was seeing my giant pumpkinhead finally up, breathing fog all illuminated in all his glory. It gave me quite a feeling of accomplishment.

But the best feeling overall came from the pre-teen and teenage girls that attended and volunteered this year. The first was a small group of teenage girls that went through the Haunted Woods area. They were screaming so loud, i thought the cops were going to be called for people being murdered. It was AWESOME. And then there were my 2 actresses. 12 years old, with such passion and excitement to act and haunt, and they were so good at it. To see such enthusiasm from teens like that made me feel that i was doing something great for their future - giving them an experience that would fuel their artistic desires, the joy of haunting and the passion for acting and theater. Such a great feeling! And now i feel i need to do something with an arts program for teens during my haunt from now on. Not sure how, but i need to figure it out.
 

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Hauntless
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Made a blacklight ghillie suit that I hide behind a column that is made of the same material. I can easily see out of it but the ToTs can't see in:



Had a dad who got really curious and stepped right up next to my face but still couldn't see me - then I sprung. Scared the #$!&$! outta him ;)
 

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I had lots of grown-up make comments on my decorations and that was OK. The best is when they come from the kids. I had three kids out of 100 that made comments on my props. Two were teens and they just said how much they liked them. The other was a small boy, about 6yo, He said to his mom that next year he did not want to come back here because it was too scary. For some odd reason this made me smile all night.
 

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I had one little guy in a wheelchair...he made his parents drive him into the graveyard to take a picture! I offered to come down from the porch to give him candy but he wanted his dad to carry him into the house. He saw our haunted foyer and went "HOLY CRAP!"

We had one dad bring his son up to the house and then came back about 15 minutes later with his other son and his wife who had already gone home. He drove back and made them come to our house!

We only had one badish incident. One mother starting giving me heck for having a "scary" house. Her words *which I caught on tape* "You really should re consider this useless scary stuff. Little kids would be terrified and traumatized!" As she was giving me ****....my 1 year old ran up and yelled "BOO" and ran away laughing. I said, well the smiles speak for themselves."
 

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I liked the two teenage girls who came walking down the street, saw our display, and promptly ran screaming past it, refusing to look at it.

I was also fond of their accompanying teenage fella who grabbed one of them, picked her up, and was yelling, "No, you've gotta see this," and dragged her back over to try and make her look. Much merriment occurred.

The little kids were fun too. A lot of them inspected everything very carefully, came to get their candy, and solemnly informed me which parts were the most scary. Very cute.
 
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