I hope everyone out there had a fun and safe Halloween. Our family saw over 300 people come through our haunted yard this year. We got well over 100 pounds of canned goods for the local food bank, and many people commented on how much they enjoyed our display.
This was the first year that we put together a haunting, at the request of my 9 year old grandaughter. I bought a 10×40 foot party tent, used 20 feet of it, and filled it up with mannequins and props all built from scratch. My wife and I split the tent down the middle with black plastic sheets, and set about building a maze inside. The tent has plastic windows and the material is white, leading to a nice easy level of lighting inside. The black plastic in the center provided just enough shadow to obscure the static characters.
[EDIT – Videos & Pictures Added! ]
I made some “guts” for the first character, a mask joined to my heavy survival jacket, greeting all who ventured inside. The guts were painted bright pink with green and brown, and the addition of some theatrical blood made them look extremely gross. Kids loved ’em.
As you rounded the first corner of the maze, you were greeted with 2 aliens, one on either side of the divider. Glow in the dark paint made their eyes light up. My son in-law’s sister did a fantastic job of popping out at this point, and scaring the bejeezis out of many teens. She wore the last mask we had left, an old geezer with pop out eyes and dark clothes.
A 6 foot zombie twitching in the corner a little further on moves the viewer around the next corner, and right into the outstretched arms of a 7 foot zombie. If the viewer escapes his grasp by staying tight to the wall, a series of rubber hands sticking out from the divider seem to grip at loos clothing.
A little further on is the bone room. Our 10 year old neighbor sat dressed as a skeleton under a 7 foot tall skeleton on a rack. As people looked at the tall skeleton bathed in red light from the window, Mason would pop up and get a few screams. My grandaughters painted up glow in the dark signage for me, indicating “This way to Mommy”. Through a narrow opening covered in webbing and cheese-cloth, a figure stands with arms slightly extended wearing a mummy mask and covered in rags and leaves. As the viewer moves towards the exit, the figure moves towards them.
The chase is on! If they’re quick they can hit the exit, where they are greeted by about a dozen spooky figures, including “Demonica”. Demonica, our first animatronic from the folks at Spirit of Halloween in Brampton, was a hit. She sits perched in front of her gravestone, and as people walked past, they either stepped on her pressure plate or activated her motion sensors. She begins to crawl upwards out of her grave, fog pumping, eyes glowing, and bones creaking. I know exactly how she feels.
All in all, a great event. We got to meet new neighbors, neighbors we never had an apportunity to talk to, and people from all over the neighborhood. We shut things down two hours after we ran out of candy at around 10:00pm. People kept coming, even though there was no candy. Kathy tells me (I was the mummy) that we had a line-up 4 houses down at one point. Even some of the teens came back a couple of times, with different girls.
Thanks to all who helped me build the manequins, the tent, and the graveyard scene. My family is the bomb, and I have some of the most understanding neighbors around. Thank you Kathy, for your patience while I toiled over flying ghost rigs and tested various appliances for their suitability to the task of moving a little bit of plastic and foam from point A to B and back again! I can’t believe it finally worked!
See you next year, spooksters!