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Well, I got 172 kids at my yard haunt, by far the most ever. What amazes me is that I put all this work into my tombstones, making epitaphs, painting, and making a rocking tombstone, putting up lights and what STILL draws all the attention? THE FLYING CRANK GHOST!
None of the kids in my neighboorhood wore original costumes. I must have had 12 Power Rangers (I thought that show was off the air) and several princess and countless Jack Sparrow pirates. I did acheive the "make kids cry and not go up the driveway" with 3 kids falling into that category.
Next year-another FCG-and SMALLER tombstones! Do you have any idea how ferocious that wind was here on the East Coast!
Happy Halloween All!
 

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Haha, sounds like you had a great yard. I only had 13 kids total! Spent 2 months working on computerized lighting/music, etc. Got a lot of praise for my flying crank ghost, though.
 

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Our MIB got all the attention this year hell i was just happy the kids had costumes. We are really strick on the no costume no candy and last year was pretty bad
 

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We had about 225 people through the maze in the backyard....less than last year but better than nothing. Especially since it blew down AGAIN today and had to be reset....AGAIN. I hear ya on the East Coast wind this year. I just cut down all the rebar and wires and ropes, etc holding the maze up so that the rebar didn't go flying into the pool in case the wind picks back up. I also hear ya on the tombstones, noone really took the time to read them but I'll still do them because I like the way they make the yard look. I think the township was holding some sort of event for the kids tonight to keep them "safe" and all in one place, which cut down on our numbers, but still happy with the performance. So far I've found tons of candy that was dropped in the maze by kids that got scared...I know that makes me sound evil but that means my actors were doing their jobs!

I hope everyone had a successful haunt. You should all go get some rest..we all deserve it.
 

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We had 80 TOTs this year, which is just about double last year's haul! The treat bags were a smash and the Skeleton Comedy Club rocked everyone's socks. Hell, there were even a few kids that refused to go inside and a few that freaked out when the deer started laughing.

Best year ever. And now, most of my yard is already torn down. I gotta give big thanks to my help this year, my wife and her family are the greatest!
 

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This is the first I've sat down since 8:30 this morning! Rained until 4:30 p.m. but I had set most everything up in the garage and under the covered patio. Almost gave up on the castle wall across the drive but my son, a friend and myself got it up and it looked great! The rain kept me from putting out some of my lighting and the breeze was a bit much to use the fogger, but by 5:00 p.m. it had started to dry out a bit and was still pretty warm. We had 520 TOTs! Steady from 6-8 p.m. A lot of little kids, and a nice mix of older kids/early teens and adults who accompanied them. By in large a very well behaved crowd and a lot of appreciative comments. Couldn't believe the folks taking pics of the scenes. Two TV crews took footage and I was interviewed by one, which aired on the 11 p.m. news.
I really thought it was going to be a horrible night due to the weather earlier
but it turned out to be almost perfect. One of the highlights was the moon right over our house at the peak of TOT hours! Doesn't get much better. Already looking forward to next year but have two days of packing up to do and then will take a break from Halloween stuff.
Hope you all had a good one!:jol:
 

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A news story about us ran at 6am, noon, and 5 pm. That brought in a bunch of tots. I don't know how many but at least 300. Like jdubbya, we had a VERY well behaved group. Lots of high comments. " I've never seen anything like this in my 52 years of being." ( that one was my favorite. ) I was supposed to have actors to run the big scare at the end, but they didn't get here until after 7, so I ran the big scare myself. It wasn't quite as good, but I made it work.

All in all a GREAT night. I'm quite tired now, as I have been awake for almost 50 hours. I get to sleep until 7 tommorrow.( yippee) Then start the tearing down.

Happy halloween to all.
 

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Per my friend ... Tina's idea, we put up a fountain on the mauseuleum. NEVERMIND the fact that perfectly chilled fog oozed near sliently from the crack in the entrance to the tomb, NEVERMIND the fog creeps at damn near EXACTLY 5 inches and below to the ground, NEVERMIND that the fog continued to creep HALF WAY accross my neighbors yard...

"HEY GUYS!! LOOK A FOUNTAIN!!! WITH REAL WATER!!! IT'S MISTING!!!"

....... -.- ........

Also Tina is dressed like Alice (from wonderland) and she's in the haunt, she's the nice person in the haunt who gives you the candy... people were SO SCARED by the time they got to her, she waves and gives a friendly "Hello!" to them and I hear shouts of "OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN!!!!!!!!" people are DEATHLY afraid of Alice. I think Mr. Carrol's works should be listed in horror if these are the responses that come from it.


This neighborhood is FAR too easily amused....
 

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Had my first two "hit the pavement" victims tonight! Both fell over on the driveway, fortunately not on their heads. The second one went down when the mad dog came rushing out under the strobe light. What at scream!
The first - are you ready for this? - he fell over when a crash of thunder went off near him for the lightning system ????!!!!!
 

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What a great night!

First, for once I got an absolutely perfect, calm twilight, so the fog stayed right where it was supposed to. (Around here, dusk and windy are usually synonymous, so nice break for me.)

Second, I got the full benefit of moving the graveyard to the back of the house, where it's nice and dark. (One mom actually thanked me for moving to the back it because her daughter is one of the ones who cried last year; that's the very reason I put the scary stuff in the back.) A lot of people said they were worried that I had moved, when they came to the front and the graveyard, ghosts, and flying bat were nowhere to be seen. But there was general agreement that the move was a big improvement. Everybody ooohed and aahhhed over the new lighting and fog on the graves. Lots of comments like "this is the coolest!" "this is the best house in the whole neighborhood!" "every year you set the bar higher" et cetera. Lots of appreciation for all the ghosts, especially the revamped Kmart Line ghost (which is brain-dead simple to fix up, but the effect is great).

Got a few screams with the wearable ghost puppet; one pair of teen girls actually took off running when it lunged at them. I love it when someone shrieks, then as they leave they say "Wait'll I get [Mom/Dad/my wife/etc.]!"

I didn't count ToT's, but I estimate somewhere between 100 and 200. Since I stayed in the back yard all night, I have no idea how many came to the
"friendly front door" who were too young or too chicken to go the scary stuff in the back. I got somewhere around 100 in the back yard.

Happy Halloween, everyone!
 

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Just some observations about my display. UV LED mini spotlights sucked. Wasn't worth the expense or time. Other colors, especially the blue were great, particularly when they cast a beam across the fog. Blue and green floods looked much better this year than yellow, especially when directed to cast long shadows. New foam tombstones looked great, and I will be phasing out my old wooden ones other the next couple of years. My new 1000 watt fogger really uses the juice, even on a low setting. Had to refill it twice. The oscilliating fan I used to move the head on my witch and cauldron overheated in the first hour and had to be unplugged. I should have followed Woody's advice. First thing to be rebuilt next year. Next year I will make sure that props are secured better. I nearly lost my brand new "Spirit Ball" when a little girl pushed it off the stand onto the driveway. As I watched it drop to the cement, I am sure all of the neighbors heard my pained, "SSSSSHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!" Fortunately, the only damage is a burned out right eye, which actually makes it look a little more sinister. This is the first year I created backgroud sounds and played on two different laptops. One was for general background and included MS music and the requisite noises. I added an overtrack of wind and it came out great even if I say so myself. Second CD was for my witch and cauldron, and one track was a continous bubbling sound and the second was an assortment of witch cackles, "Double, Double," and "Here little pretty." Played both on repeat and I never had to mess with them all night. Next year I am going to try to record a more realistic bubbling pot.
Thanks to everybody who answered all my questions, especially the stupid ones.
 

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Sheesh, the wind!

It's rarely ever that windy in Portland, but last night was one of the windiest nights ever. I'm thankful it didn't rain... but sheesh, did it have to be SO windy? I never did figure out whether my fog worked, since it blew away as quickly as it came out of the tube.

Lost two tombstones, lost the shade covering the streetlight, and lost a box covering one of the floodlights in the yard.

Next year I'm going to have to plan for heavy wind and rain both, I'm sure.
 

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We had a ton of kids (maybe 100 or more), most if not all were in really awesome costumes and had a lot of fun. Perfect night, weather wise, although my outfit was pretty warm and I was soaked through by the end of the night. The kids and some parents seemed to really like the costumes and decorations and we got a lot of thanks and compliments. The skull whistles (thanks Vlad and Black Cat) were a huge hit too. Besides a CD that kept skipping, it was a pretty cool night.
 

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Well, I got 172 kids at my yard haunt, by far the most ever. What amazes me is that I put all this work into my tombstones, making epitaphs, painting, and making a rocking tombstone, putting up lights and what STILL draws all the attention? THE FLYING CRANK GHOST!
Yeah, the items that draw the most attention are sometimes the oldest or simplest or whatever. It can be surprising. Back when I was a teen and ran my little indoor tour haunt, the thing that kept getting the most interest was the falling spider (about 12" leg-span, would fall from the ceiling on cue to land on some hapless victim). Never mind all the work that went into the levitating objects, and controlling the lighting to make the strings invisible.

:)
 

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one observation i made was my foggers hissing makes me crazy...........lol

hate that sound

how can i fix that?
 

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Might consider some kind of cover for the fogger, something that can let air through just fine but muffles the sound. Perhaps a hacked rubbermaid tub lined with foam insulation inverted and placed over the whole thing.
 

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i thought about something like that.........course a chiller would probably take care of all that ...........lol
 

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I know, build a toe-pincher coffin out of foam board, divide it in half put the fogger in one half and the ice in the other. Close it up and voila, muffled hissing. (be sure to cut a generous inlet on the fogger side somewhere inconspicuous, otherwise the fogger will draw a vacuum and your output will suffer.)

The sound I really hate is the fogger pump whining, which means it's out of fog juice ("What, again? Already!?")
 

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I probably got about 70 kids this year, many of which were brought back my direction by other kids who'd already been. Lots of them were repeat visitors, though, so my number is a loose guess.

Things that made all the work worthwhile:
*Being able to set up at a slow, relaxed pace, and not rush everything like last year.
*Being told multiple times by visiting parents, "This is what Halloween should be."
*Friends and family driving from across town just to bring their kids to trick or treat my house, and see my display.
*Scaring that one group of kids twice, the second time so bad they all ran backwards and broke one of my tombstones (sooooo worth having to fix it).
*My sister-in-law bringing her kids over to my house for Halloween costume pictures because "the pictures turn out way better over here."

Things I will have to work on for next year:
*Something to hide that big, ugly fog chiller.
*Higher output fog machine, on which my timer will actually work!
*Motorize that dang crank ghost... How did that get lost in the shuffle again?
*Stalkaround costume. 'Nuff said.
 
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