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I was thinking today I never posted any kind of introduction of myself. I also was thinking how much I enjoy reading about how others got started. So I will kick my introduction off with how I got into haunting.

Probably before I was born my dad would dress up as a witch and terrorize the neighborhood kids. I know he terrorized me as my mother told me stories about how I would scream and cry. My dad would put a green light bulb on the porch, he had this Lp by D Records just called Halloween. It had this amazing cover art, and the sounds are mostly witches and goblins. My dad would drag the huge cabinet stereo near the door and play the record as loud as possible. He also had this Seven-foot long plastic backdrop of a skeleton he would hang up so you couldn't see inside the house. My house was the scariest in the neighborhood, all the kids would tell me the witch was the scariest thing to get candy from on Halloween. So I suppose hearing the screams of the kids as my dad scared them was a factor in my interest. I think it was 1989 I finally wanted to do something to scare the kids as well. I cut up a bunch of cardboard boxes and duct-taped them together to build a crappy coffin. There was some white trim wood that I constructed into a picket fence and that was the first year of haunting. After that, the seed was planted and my desire to have larger buildings, props, and effects was insatiable. My brother and I constructed lots of new things and we were off and running. Our house was the go-to event for Halloween. We would have big crowds and we would work for the crowds and scare the kids. My brother and I built up the haunt over three years until I finally moved out on my own. No haunting occurred for quite a while as no location or funds. I met my future wife at a restaurant we both worked at and her parents allowed me to use their front yard to haunt their neighborhood. I used lots of free wood and whatever I could find to build props. Old fencing was my go-to to and I would drive around and collect it. I would build fencing, a run-down barn, and anything else I could think of. I did my first walk-through haunt during this time and it was amazing! The stream of trick or treaters who came through I could scare was great. This was before cities had a code or the fire marshal was even a possibility. It was much easier to build some crazy stuff. I did a haunt at my now inlaws house for about three or four years till my wife and I bought our first home. I received a huge donation of lumber and plywood from a friend and I was off to the races. I built large walk-thru mausoleums and other structures. It was really crazy how big it was becoming. My wife says those were the crazy years. I met a guy who was also into Halloween and he built animatronics for the haunt. Between the two of us what I then had named Blanck Mortuary was quite the event. But once again life had changed. I had newborn kids and that made it difficult to continue the haunt. Plus it had gotten so big it was becoming more manager-type job than scaring kids. I sold my share of the haunt to my partner and he went onto become a pro haunt owner. He has done quite well for himself in that arena. Although recently he did say he missed the simple life of the yard haunt. Over the years I would do a small setup to scare the kids. It wasn't until five years ago that I was finally in a position to build props and whatnot that I would keep for each year. Some of those small haunts were old fencing and I would just toss it out each year.

I just have a yard display now. I have a small cemetery scene with a broken-down funeral carriage, some tombstones, and a few animatronics. The area to store it just uses about four feet by twenty feet of my garage. In previous years the haunt required one full parking space in my garage and an area in the back yard that was twelve feet by forty-foot to store it all at about six feet tall. Miss those days and the screams it generated. I also miss the Halloween-L days, monster list, and whatnot. Steve Hickman, Bob Andrews, Doug Ferguson, were my inspirations.

So that is my haunt life/career.

What is your story?
 

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I never got around to introducing myself, either:)
 

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Hi Sblanck! Just want to say I love your belated introduction! I am so glad you posted this. I really enjoyed reading your history!!!!

I did introduce myself when I joined but I never had a big Haunt. I loved Halloween as a child and had neighbors that went out of their way to make it wonderful for children and I wanted to do the same thing. My Mother was also an influence. My Mother loved Halloween and would do simple decorations and go all out with the treats for kids (full sized candy bars, three per treat bag). She would encourage spooky creative costumes for my brother and I and became even more supportive when I started taking over the yard haunt as a teen. As an adult I added something every year, no matter where I lived, in an apartment or a house. In 2005 I stumbled upon HauntForum (then it was Unpleasant Street) looking to purchase a screaming floor mat (mine had died) ; something I considered as basic to Halloween as jack o lanterns. I had no idea there were people even more into Halloween than I was. I started building props, added fog machines and lights and I just never left. I still always have a screaming floor mat (replaced over the years but I have kept the original because I have never found one as good).
 
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