I ended receiving a couple of tricks this Halloween. The weather was, at least dry, but was too windy to carry out my "Halloween Tree" lit up with well over 100 of the classic plastic jack o'lanterns. I also ended up with a low grade fever (as did my daughter) on top of the ear infection I was already dealing with, so I didn't end up taking too many pictures of what I did end up putting together.
You can take a look at last year's Halloween for a better sense of the Halloween Tree, though with much less buckets.
I found last year that planting clear glass jars with tea light candles in them in the leaves around the base of the trees in our yard had a pretty nice effect. Since these seemed to be better buffers against the wind I set about do this again this year.
A couple of days ago, I whipped together this sad little paper mache, coat hanger and packing material ghost. At night, he actually looked pretty good. You couldn't see the strings or the coat hanger wire, so his limbs seemed to be floating intangible along side of his amorphous body. Did I take a picture of this? No.
This seven-foot tall skeleton is a holdover from last year. It's essentially a huge marionette controlled by the wind and the tree branches. My original plan was to build a bunch more, but my summer was taken up by another large scale paper mache project. I'm shooting for next year.
Here's the skeleton at night. Unfortunately the flash eradicated the numerous tea light flames around the base of the tree, though you can see the reflection of some of the jars. In the background my kids are returning from trick-or-treating before the ever present nosferatu in the window. The table housed the candy in a severed bald head bowl, which had a motion sensor and made sounds and pleas. There was also the animated witch spirit head from Target which really unsettled some of the trick-or-treaters, two cast iron jack o'lanterns you can sort of see, and a boombox playing a sound effects CD I cobbled together a few years back. There was also a fog machine, which at this point was turned off. Again, the wind didn't cooperate too well with that effect.
Here's my daughter as her faceless phantom/Ring Wraith/Dementer...
...and my son as a skeletal "Gate Keeper." I told him that when I was his age, that costume would have had a thin, garishly painted plastic mask that stayed on with a cheap rubber band, and there would be a big picture of the character on the vinyl coveralls which would also have the words "Gate Keeper" printed across it.
That would have been pretty cool, actually.
Here's our jack o'lanterns. The kids designed the faces, my wife scooped them out, and I carved them. We all ate the seeds.
I noticed this year that all the jack o'lanterns were carved from huge pumpkins. Was this phenomenon nation-wide, or just a regional thing. I never saw a pumpkin for sale that was smaller than one of those cement buckets they use in construction.
Here's the nosferatu in the window in the dark. I think they were the most effective, and easiest, thing I made this year.
Not a very good photo of the huge light up inflatable tarantula that was set alongside the house. It looks much better in person, and really casts that eerie purple glow. One of these years, I'm going to make it a giant web, with a wrapped victim stuck in it.
Here it is under the harsh light of the flash.
After a night of Trick-or-Treating, here's the reward. I'm glad the tradition of sorting the candy continues, though it must be some part of the Jungian collective unconscious, as I never instructed my kids on this tradition.
They also collected about $16.00 for UNICEF.
I'd like to thank everyone for visiting, and in turn, for sharing so much of their own collections on their own blogs. I apologize from my absence here, and elsewhere the last few days. I've tried to peek in to see what was being posted elsewhere, but haven't really felt up to commenting.
I'm curious as to what people liked best, least, etc., and what you'd like to see brought back next year, or omitted from next year's countdown. I had a bunch of stuff that I never got to post, and hope I remember it next year.
In the meantime, following a few days break, I'll be putting up all sorts of other stuff, though not on a nearly as frequent basis.