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Witch-Finder of Lilburn
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2,033 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick, while it is still fresh on your mind.

1. Start with fresh new batteries and do not open until you have had time to get the lights just right, which you cannot do until it is dark.
2. Have the candy ready, have your costume ready, have everything ready before the lights.
3. Get help. Give them a specific job.
4. Set up in a way that will keep TOTs orderly so they cannot swarm you for candy. A line will give them time to enjoy your props while waiting for their turn to spin the wheel.
5. Luminaries made from treat-bucket pumpkins and candles can and will burn. Do not use in the woods or indoors.
6. Keep a ladder and 3 flashlights nearby. Have pocketknife and fully charged cell phone. Water and Gatorade.
7. Start with a fully charged mp3 player and do not turn it on until you are setting up the lights.
8. Kids go to school. There is no need to stay open until midnight on a school night.
9. One layer plus a cloak is very, very warm. You will sweat in that.
10. Antlers wider than your shoulders are going to break off in 10 minutes.
11. Buy half as much candy as you think you will need.
12. Do not go against your better judgment re: schedule; not for wife or kids or anything. You will regret it. Stick to your schedule.
13. Light entrances with a single large wide light.
14. Make and print a fire/emergency plan. Have your helpers read and sign it.
15. 99% of TOTs/parents carry flashlights. Design for full and dim light.
 

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Director of Ambiance
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1,816 Posts
Start your exercise regimen in July. Do 50 squats a day, increasing to 100 per day in September. If not, you will not be able to walk the day after kneeling down on the ground 100 times on October 31st, to take pictures with 3 foot tall peoples.

Make enough time to get into full costume AND take pictures of yourself in your haunt before TOTs start arriving. Your makeup will look like crap by 11pm when the Tot's are gone, and you can finally have your own picture taken. (Man, I forget this one every darn year. Hoping this thread will remind me!)
 

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If you find something you need for your haunt, buy it then. Don't wait & go back for it because it WILL be gone.

If you're building custom animatronic props or lighting, don't use oddball hard to find parts just because you happen to have one on hand. It WILL break at the last minute & you won't be able to find a replacement in time.
 

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Super Moderator
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64,109 Posts
I'm laughing about #10 - there's a story in there:)

As for #11. we always buy more than we think we will need because the past three years, the number of ToTs has jumped, which brings me to my Lesson Learned - Be prepared to deal with the effects of word of mouth about your yard haunt.
 

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1,317 Posts
My lesson is that my cordless hot glue gun is VERY HOT! and I seem to forget that when I am building/placing things that are attached with said glue :)
 

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174 Posts
1. Get a freaking timer for the fog machine! It is unacceptable to have to press a button to get fog, and it is unacceptable to NOT have fog.
2. Make sure everything works on October 30th. Adjust lights and check sound the night before.
3. A quick, light dinner an hour before TOTs, costumes on and be ready well in advance.
4. Have the tripod ready and take pictures BEFORE the TOTs reach peak!
5. Get more batteries and more extension cords.
 

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Super Moderator
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64,109 Posts
Wear really comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you on November 1.
 

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keep a handy container/bin that holds a roll or two of duct tape, black bungee cords, safety pins, transparent tape, push pins, a reel or two of nylon fishing line, a glue stick,
back up power strips, blank sheets of paper and some good sized black marking pens,
a notebook and pens/pencils for notes, making lists, etc., backup batteries, and a first aid kit that includes some bottles of sterile saline, asprin, and a roll of lifesavers. While the lifesavers may sound like an odd addition, they are a quickly dissolved sugar source for diabetics or people with blood sugar issues. Asprin is good for headaches, swelling, and as an emergency med for heart attacks, strokes, etc. The saline is great for flushing out eyes, wounds, etc., and it's not likely to get consumed by a thirsty cast member.
 

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1) Never count on anything to work once turned off, stored, then turned back on (this goes for as little as a few hours)

2) The faster you want spray paint to dry the slower it actually does. If you need a really quick dry, then that might be the can of paint which has gone bad and never really dries...it just absorbs more dust until the tackiness goes away.

3) Trying to solder with a hot glue gun just makes a big mess, not an electrically sound joint, or a great hot glue attachment.

4) Trying to hot glue with a soldering iron is not much better.

5) If you hold a wire, resistor, capacitor, or other component while you make a solder joint, you can count on the heat burning your finger and causing you to drop said component about 0.2 seconds before the solder solidifies. (Then you get to do it all over again)

6) Always count on batteries to go dead just before you're really done with them. This goes for everything from cameras, cell phones, cordless drills, props, computers, etc.

7) Most everyone will be amazed by the props which do work, the won't notice the one(s) which are faltering or inoperable - don't sweat it too much.

8) With the proper mixture of 3-prong grounded and 2-prong polarized extension cords, as well as 2-prong non polarized light sets, you can insure that absolutely nothing will plug in using a convenient end-to-end configuration.

9) You can never have too much flicker!

10) Its supposed to be fun!
 

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Old Bat
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2,823 Posts
1. While taking pictures of your own costume is best done early, it is better to get pictures of your yard setup after ToT's leave. We find the best time to be after 10:30 in our neighborhood.

2. When taking night time pictures of your yard haunt, make sure all moving props are made static. Otherwise, all you will see is a blur because of longer exposure time. It's a neat effect with flying crank ghosts, but doesn't work so well with anything else.
 

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Terrible Peril
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2,660 Posts
It's dark....all props need a light source or no one will notice them..............MORE EXTENSION CORDS.....!!!
 

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Volat cum ea suas alas.
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12,853 Posts
**Diagram how you hooked everything up with the mishmash of power cords, cuz next year, you will forget that you had needed to run a cord out the living room window as well...and will waste an hour trying to figure out how the heck you powered everything.

** Do not eat a lot of pumpkin seeds. TOO MUCH FIBER.

** Darkness comes quicker than you think.

**Drink more water.
 

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Don't try to be cool and let the first groups of early bird TOTs take a handful of candy. The kids at 8:30pm when you yell "sorry, I am out" won't find you all that cool.

If your neighborhood attracts an ESL clientele, learn rudimentary Spanish. I plan on making a cheatsheet titled "Halloween Spanish" by next year.
 
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