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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so here is a total fear of mine on paper. I did up my haunt last year. I am making 1 prop for this year and hopefully more tombstones, depending on the time or cost.

I am NOT creative.

I am wondering how everyone keeps their haunt "new" each year. I am worried that I will just move stuff around and people will think BOORRRINNNGGG. or is that what most people do?

Im not talking about professional haunts though, just the back yard haunts. Does anyone have any suggestions to keep it interesting?


I do have a new reaper blow up for the front entrance too. But thats it. I hope it will be enough with the same theme etc.. for years to come. I am hoping I will be too busy in the next couple of years to add anything too.

What do you guys think about this?

Thanks for input.... Stressed in Brantford.
 

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Hi there Hellrazor,

We sometimes do move props around, but we always add new props each year, which we'll certainly be adding to it this year. Like many here, we are always faced with the question, "how the heck do we top last years haunt?"

This will be the first year we add thunder and lighting effects thanks to our i-Zombie controller. We're also adding good size simulated rocks thanks to the build instructions Ghostess provided the forum. Several new life size figures are being added. I'm going to be retiring some props and putting them on Ebay, so things tend to stay pretty fresh around our home haunt.
 

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You can try a whole bunch of things.

The witch looked good on the porch last year? It would probably look great on the side of the house this year. Move stuff around. This will keep people guessing.

Add accent pieces each year. Like Richie said, thunder and lightning, fake rocks, witch's ingredient bottle, more mice, rats, black cats, snakes and spiders would all fit the bill. These can be made with minimal time or purchased with minimal money.

And the best way to keep your haunt 'fresh': people really and truely don't pay that much attention anyway. They remember your house as 'cool' or 'scary' but don't remember individual things. Of all the years I've done a haunt, the one prop that stands out in all of my nieghbor's minds is a kicking hanging man I only TALKED about building. They remember how 'scary' it was. Thing is, I told all of them my plans to build it, but it never got past the planning stage. They all wish I would bring that prop out of retirement and use it again. It only exists in their minds.

We get a little hard on ourselves here on the forum, but people will remember what they want to anyway.

The most important thing about a haunt is having fun. You're having fun, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
that is really good advice guys. I didnt think about putting my witch on the porch.. go figure LOL. perhaps I will set her up there and make the garage only the Mad Scientist area... I could move the graveyard to the side more and such... hmmm... I like it. I guess since I cant remember exactly what I did, perfect strangers seeing it only for a short time may not remmeber either.

Thanks, I will keep checking this for ideas when I get discouraged.
 

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Small changes, moving props in different places, lighting changes, make something black light that wasn't, make something that was black light....not black lit, repaint....stuff like that?
 

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HellRazor,

One of the best things you can do for a home haunt is add outdoor lighting. Needless to say, no matter how great your decor is, if people can't see it at night and enjoy it, what's the point. I've found using the landscape lighting transformers and fixtures Home Depot and Lowes sells are great. I get the most use out of the 200 & 300 watt transformers. This was great for me because I use a good amount of landscape lighting throughout the year, so it wasn't just a purchase I made simply for added lighting for Halloween or Christmas decorations. I made my own color lenses too (color cans as I call them) to place over the 50 watt fixtures and it adds a great touch to the haunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have a lot of lighting. I got the floods from a local restore. I have about 12 or 14 that I use throughout. I also use about 6 pumpkins to light the walkway as well. But I can shake up the lighting... And Beepem, I didnt use my black light last year so I shoudl this year. Thanks for the ideas.
 

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definatly lighting! I had a strobe on tombstones last year but this year decided to move it and cast a blue over the graveyard. Moving the tombstones places works well!

I find that some people do get mad when their "faviorite" prop is gone or changed too much...
 

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I go through the same thing every Nov. 1st.. "Sooo what are our plans for next year?". And I've found out as well, something as simple as changing the light locations can make a scene look completely different even if you keep your props EXACTLY in the same position as last year. Say for example instead of having lights low to the ground, have a couple of colored floodlights high up so that shadows are cast differently. I actually use a 3D program and make my scenes in 3D, add my props and lighting elements and see where shadows and colors fall and where to lay things out at and how things look.
 

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Fog and lighting and soundtrack can make the same thing totally different.

Move around your tombstones... make them more crooked than last year (or less) and add chilled ground fog and people will be telling their friends "oh wow, and they TOTALLY built a new graveyard this year"... etc. Unless you already had ground fog last year. In which case put the fog somewhere else and scatter some bones on the ground with slightly different lighting in the graveyard. And play different music or sound effects. Changing what they hear will change the way they remember what they see, did that make sense?
 

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Even though I make new items each yr, I use the same things each yr also..
just use them in different settings as mentioned in above posts.
This is for our party every yr.
I set up about 6 Different rooms/and areas every yr with a dif theme in each..
I have made out a list with each room and what would go in each ,so i can pick from those ideas and start gathering things i need.
I also have food lists, drink lists..etc
also draw up sketches of how i want it to look ..sometimes that changes .
makes it a little easier than to have to think while you are setting up.
 

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This is year two and we are adding a handful of new things... remember - it's not a race. Each year add some new stuff.

Speaking of porches - we are turning ours into a castle wall with a giant dropcloth - paint it - cut it - string it across the porch on a wire - instant castle wall - cost probably $20 after paint.

I am making some colored LEDS - but again - this is a function of a little more experience in year two.

Best of luck.
 

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I only add a few things a year, and I have removed a few things also.
It can be as easy as stuffing some clothes and putting a $1.00 mask on it.

I have worried about that also but I think if things are just moved around a little and you change your music or background sounds then you have a whole new haunt.

I tend to change my music up every year to get a different feel.

People will be more disappointed if you don't decorate at all rather than have the same set-up.
 

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I'm in agreement with simply moving a few things around, and adding a couple of new elements each year. Figure the average visitor to your house/haunt spends maybe 10 minutes there. What they remember is not every prop or detail, but the overall effect it gave them, and this keeps them coming back each year. You also have a new audience each year by way of first timers, who will be pleased with the effort. I am at a point where my collection of stuff is large enough that I try to find a use for everything and not keep anything mothballed for a year. This is getting tougher to do, so I just keep expanding the display.
 

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Something I try to do in addition to adding some new stuff, reorganizing the old stuff, etc. is to alter an existing prop so that it does something new. IE. add head motion or sound or lighted eyes to a static prop, or flesh out an existing scene with some cool new details.

Even if someone thinks "aw man, they had that last year," when it does something new, it may cause a startle or make the viewer to question whether they really did see the same thing last year :)
 
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