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I have been cruising all the stores looking at the offerings this halloween and it seems each year they come out with more and more elaborate props for the home haunter to purchase ready to go out of the box. Cheap copies of the FCG, stand up zombies that move and talk, skulls that interact with each other, heads in crystal balls etc...

Does it seem to anybody that the general tot public might look at our creations and just assume it was purchsed in a store and not the result of imagination and hard work? I remember a few comments on some of my props last year that my stuff was purchsed or ordered off the internet.

In the past when people saw the stuff we created they KNEW that it had to be homemade because you could not buy anything like it at a store. I got a boost out of hearing people freak out over or say how cool something I made was. I am starting to get bummed when I see something in the store that is similar to something that I created myself, although the commercial stuff is not as nice is most cases.

Anybody else have mixed feelings that the commercial industry is copying stuff that home haunters have always created themselves? The plus side is it indicates that more people are interested in the season which will keep it alive.
 

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You bring up excellent points here, HN. The increasing commercialization of Hallowe'en and the increased availability of the "prop in a box" is a double-edged sword, I'm afraid. While it does indicate that the industry is listening to consumers and giving them more prop choices for Hallowe'en decorating, that doesn't always translate into higher quality. Couple that with the fact that alot of the creativity, ingenuity and details that go into a homemade prop are often lost on the casual haunt visitor. Unfortunately, that means that the cool FCG or zombie crawler you put months of work into will be assumed to be the latest in Hallowe'en decor from Spencer's, Spirit, or the like. I guess it could be considered a compliment that one's self-engineered props look good enough to be store-bought, but I think that most haunters agree that part of the satisfaction that one takes from building his/her own props is that they have an original item.
 

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Many people are always surprised to learn that I made my props, bearing in mind these are the same sort of people who wouldn't paint their own living room letalone corpsify their own bucky. ;) They just couldn't imagine.

An original piece of prop-art will always be more special to me than something put together in China out of plastic bits and bobs, but that's me. However, I do like seeing it spreading, because if someone is making enough money to manufacture these things, it bodes well for Halloween's popularity.
 

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I totally agree otherworldly...

To me - it's much much more fun creating this silly stuff - and I bet it's the same for most everybody else here too. I have never really thought or been envious of store bought stuff.

We are tinkerers and puzzle solvers and artists. I can't wait to get this first year out of the way with all the basics so I can start using more of my own imagination instead of all of yours! I'd really like to give back at some point!

Kudos to everyone. Even Walmart/Big Lots/etc who in their own retailing kind of way - have help grow the holiday.
 

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I Know what you mean Haunted Neurons. I just came back from Target and
saw a prop very similar to something I made last yr.

A floor mat when you step on it it triggers Thunder & lightning. They had the
mat for I think 19.99 The only thing missing was the lights. I'm sure it will be there next yr.

But you what I got to thinking. It must have been a great idea for someone to think enough
to copy on a very large scale.

Not sure if you saw this earlier post.

http://www.hauntforum.com/showthread.php?t=3208

I take it as a complement that people think I bought my stuff. They really have a closer look when
I tell them I made my props.
:D
 

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What to say here? First, I am in awe of what a lot of you guys turn out. I admire creativity. Something you have to realize though, at least Halloween is being pushed and not pushed back. What would you rather see? Cutesy, crappy things like smiling scarecrows, cheap plastic skeletons and happy witches, or something that looks REAL prop quality and horrifying as it was meant to be for the season? This isn't a hard one for me. Hallmark can have all their saccharine decorations, I will take a Spencers monstrosity any time.

Not everyone can make the props you guys create. Just be thankful someone cares enough to keep the holiday alive. It probably sucks worse when you feel you are the only one who remembers it, and people treat you like some sort of freak or devil worshiper because you do.
 

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I have bought a few of the mechical props from Spensers and have been pleased very. I make some of my props but with the factors sometimes not in my favor - time, work, household chores, and just the lack of knowledge. I have bought some things online and still upgraded it to my liking. But overall, I am glad that the stores have stepped up and provided props for people like me that know what they want and have in their mind a type of scene/prop and can just buy it and yes, and just might keep that Christmas stuff a bay for a while.
 

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Yeah, all good points. There's something to be said for being able to buy stuff that's half-way decent. Not everyone has the creativity or skill or time to make their own stuff. There will always still be plenty of room for prop building, since that's really the only way to have truly custom stuff.

I swing back and forth on my opinions. Sometimes when I look at other haunts, I have a reaction of "that's cheap, and common" when they use nothing but off-the-shelf props and decorations. Then I remind myself that paying for something to save yourself the time and headaches can absolutely be worth it. It's all trade-offs.

So even when people don't realize you've made your own stuff, through great effort, at least they won't say things like "hey, the guy down the street has that too, but he has three of them!"

Heh, random musings. :)
 

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I'm not really interested in taking the credit for anything but giving people an overall quality experience on Halloween. If I like something, I buy it and incorporate it into my haunt. I prefer to build my own, but I don't care if anyone knows it, or appreciates the effort that goes into building it. If the stores want to carry the same stuff we've been building, that's fine to. At least people who wouldn't otherwise do anything, will have some decorations out.
 

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I like it, cuz when my hubby and I walk in a store where there is like... foam tombstones .. he will say, hey check this out... but yours are better... :) thats all that counts for me is his kudos....I just build for the fun of it, but quite frankly, I would purchase more of the commercial stuff if I had the money. It takes too long for me and Im not ever pleased with anything that I have created... thats my monkey.

So its give and take and we should feel good that our "creations" are so good that people and companies alike want to have them...
 

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I have fun building props, but I build when what I want is not available, or too expensive. I gladly incorporate store bought props, for example the spirit ball from Michaels, some gargoyles, and some foam tombstones will have prominent display in our haunt this year. My satisfaction comes from the feel I get walking through the haunted just before the party, or up to the front door before the first TOT, knowing I put it together store bought or not, then watching and hearing other people get that same groove as the night goes on.

The biggest reason I don't buy more is that I think a lot of the props are over priced, and I am glad to see more and better props available. Two reasons for this, one because that means better props that are worth the asking price are becoming available, and two that more people are getting into decorating for halloween.
 

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I'm about 50% home made and 50% store bought stuff. I like the 'upper end' stuff the stores are turning out. I think it's great that Halloween decorating is really catching on, and most buyers do not have the time or creativity to do what a lot of you on this board do.

Though most of the stuff I buy would work right out of the box but I paint on, or re-dress, or 'Great Stuff' the prop to make it fit my house better and to be a little more 'custom'.

Halloween is the most creative of holidays. Some of us are creative in building our own props. Some of us are creative in arranging and displaying store bought props. Some of us are creative in 'altering' already built props. As long as the creative aspect stays in the holiday, it will continue to grow.
 

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Halloween is the most creative of holidays. Some of us are creative in building our own props. Some of us are creative in arranging and displaying store bought props. Some of us are creative in 'altering' already built props. As long as the creative aspect stays in the holiday, it will continue to grow.
Very good point, slimy.

For me...if I had the time, knowlege, and ability to build a witch like ScareFX's....I would. I think his witch blows all store bought witches out of the water. But...the only way for me, personally, to have a witch stirring a cauldron was to buy the one from Gemmy.

I admire all the people here that can make their own props...you should take great pride in all your hard work.

:)
 

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For me Halloween is all about setting a scene that provides a memorable experience for the kids.

I love to build things but I also buy a lot of props and materials. I can't afford to spend the real big bucks on professional props for my little yard haunt but I do like to buy high quality items that would be difficult to make. And if I can't find what I need at a price I can afford, then I'll make it. I do love the realism of a good paint job on a nice piece of latex made from a great sculpt. So I like to purchase nice masks and high quality latex creatures.

I think it's great that there are more and more props available in the stores. I hope my neighbors buy a bunch! Whether it's built or bought, it only matters that you like it. And if it gets more people involved in celebrating Halloween, then it's fantastic in my book.
 

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I think overall this situation is a win/win. First, it indicates Halloween is not just alive, but thriving - more and more stuff each year. And you have to admit that as long as "our" websites are out there on the internet, there are guys at these creature companies spending the day surfing the web to see what they might be able to produce for mass market.

Lastly, this can work both ways too. My dungeon pillars are a homemade copy of the pillars I saw a few years back in the Fright Catalog. I thought they were so unbelievably cool I just HAD to have a set. Then I saw the price... over 2400 dollars! So I copied THEM. Works both ways....
 

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I think you're right... it does show that our holiday is thriving. However, I think it may also indicate that its thriving differently than might be expected. It shows there's a lot of money in doing halloween business. I've heard it said in recent years that Halloween seems to be turning more into an adult holiday... somewhat less focused on the kids. The current generation of adults who grew up in a kid-centered version of the holiday have moved on to being haunters and party hosts who have money to back up their interest. I'll certainly agree that there has been a growing interest amongst those who can afford it all, I just wonder what it means for the kids.
 

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I sometimes have mixed feelings about the store stuff, too. I like to look at their offerings and then go home and recreate it in a cheaper, yet more substantial way. So much paper and stuff on so many props, at least I know mine will withstand rain if not a hurricane! LOL

There are times where I will be able to say no to a store prop and not spend the money just because I don't want the ToT's to recognize it from the store. However, we live in a rather smallish town, with only a Kmart, Walmart besides the Walgreens. So if I see something in the city a 1/2 hour from here I know that not as many people will be familiar with it.

It is a weird situation, a win-win for Halloween, yet takes the specialness out of all of the home-made props that people work so hard on.
 

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Good points necroBones - I can give you first hand knowledge of what it means to kids... my 9 year old comes home from school and asks what we are going to work on tonight. I drop him off a drum lessons and he asks if we can go by Sallys beauty supply afterward to get a wig head. We come home he goes out to play and an hour later he brings his bud's in to show the progress on the mache heads. They all oogle.

The kids a freak. But I think he'll have the same fascination with it as a kid that I did the first time a Frankenstein's Monster talked back to me at a house. I was 6 and this was 1971 (the only year we lived in Ohio). This guy made the dummy and talked through a homemade speaker/mic. Every kid was freaked out and thought it was the coolest thing they'ed ever seen.

I hope my kid has a fraction of the fun we did when we were kids.
 

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Yeah, I know what you mean. Part of what sparked my interest many years ago was a family friend who built his own stuff. My family always had an annual Halloween party, so we were already used to getting into the spirit of things. But this guy used to make very professional props, with latex, not mache. He built things with articulated facial expressions with hidden control levers, that would move the latex skin very realistically. I'm still amazed, all these years later.

The irony is that I was so stuck on the idea that latex was needed for something to look good, I overlooked mache, Great Stuff, etc... I'd have built a lot more over the years if I really sat down and thought about it.

Still, in the end, I do use a mixture of store-bought and home-made stuff for my meager little haunt. :)
 

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I actually haven't encountered this as of yet. I think it's bound to happen though because you're right... there are more and more cheap knock-offs of some of our creations hitting the shelves every year. Just last year I saw a mini version of my shaking skellie cage. :p
 
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