Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Halloween - Day 31 - Finale

I hadn't planned to do any decorating outside the house this year. Last Spring we moved to a new neighborhood that was rumored to be pretty empty of trick or treaters. The three houses to the left of us are empty except during the Summer months, and we are on a cul de sac with no through traffic and invisible from the road we turn off from do to a wooded area surrounding a vernal pool in the middle of our circle. On top of that our whole neighborhood is in a geological depression, so we're really out of view to anyone passing by.

At the last minute though (almost literally since I hadn't really decided on this until almost noon today) I decided that I couldn't stand the idea of not putting anything out in the yard, even if it was for only one trick or treater. If I was able to transform Halloween night into something magical for one kid, then it needed to be done. They sure weren't going to get it at any of the other houses.

So I quickly dug through what I had tucked away from Halloween's past and threw something together quickly in just a couple of hours, but tried to use the sight lines leading to our house to draw any trick or treaters up to our front door. This is what things looked like before it turned dark.

Looking up from the foot of our long driveway (I am so not looking forward to shoveling this this Winter). Jars containing votives line both sides of the driveway creating a visible path leading upwards towards the house. Just before our mailbox is the first Jack O'Lantern. Just beyond it are the first tiki torches with bright columns of fire drawing attention to them. There are more visible beyond them.

The first Jack O'Lantern with our name and address on it was my wife's idea as a way to help the mother of one of my daughter's friends find our house when she came to pick up her daughter. It didn't work. She still got lost.

The first tiki torches come as a pair. Normally, i would have positioned them at the base of the driveway, but one side is lined with bamboo, and I worried about starting a fire. You can see more tiki torches in the background. Some of the skulls have eyes that light up.

Here's three more seen on the woods side of the driveway. This side of the driveway has a lot of potential for future Halloween projects.

Looking towards the house from the last tiki torch on the house side of the driveway reveals the figure of Nosferatu standing on the deck watch as the trick or treaters pass by.

Here's Nosferatu illuminated in red. You can't see it but his eyes glow also.

Moving around the side of the house, the votive jars lead to the first headstones, though the ones this far out will be barely discernible in the dark. There's a window above the tree branches on the left side which has an element of visual interest which I'll show later in this post. You can also see the first view of one of the yard ghosts and can start hearing the sound effects that are playing from the graveyard.

As you come around the corner you see the first yard ghost which is recycled from last year.

You can now see the second yard ghost beyond her; the beheaded bride. All of the support structures that are visible in these photos are invisible at night.

Here's a closer view of this ghost. She needs a little repair work, but I didn't have enough time today to take care of it. She looks much better in the dark, and none of the tape visible here can be seen in the dark.

Moving along as you come towards the walkway from the driveway to the front door (which oddly is in the back of the house, or the side facing away from the street). None of the other ghosts from the past couple of Halloweens were used this year. Some were just too beat up, and I didn't have time to try and fix them.

Now we're at the base of the walk with a better view of the beheaded bride.

My son's freaky Jack O'Lantern rests beneath the decorative grass at the end of the walkway which can be seen in the previous photo.

Looking up the walkway towards the front door. If I'd planned ahead, I would have put a lot more stuff on the sides of the porch flanking the door.

One of the remaining Jack O'Lanterns.

And the other, created by my daughter.

At night things look quite a bit different.

The view looking back towards the street.

Above is the element I mentioned that was positioned in an upper window on the side of the house. It's really hard to photograph, but this skull sticks to the window via two suction cups in the eye sockets and its jaw opens and closes. I found this at Walt Disney World last February and bought it because it reminded me of the Scooby-Doo villain the Space Kook. If I can figure out how to make the clear dome helmet, I'll make the whole costume some year.

Here's another bad photograph of the light up animated skull.

The whole thing took me less than three hours to put up, including time it took me to find stuff that hadn't been unpacked from our move and to run out to buy tiki torch fuel.

So, how many trick or treaters did we get? Excluding my kids and my daughter's friend; four. One was a little girl from a few houses down who said it was two scary for her. The other three were 6th and 7th graders who thought it was really cool.

That in a nutshell was Halloween at my house. I hope everyone reading this had a great Halloween. Thanks for dropping by.


Liz D-M said...

A lot of thought went into that display, and it's one of the best I've seen!

John Rozum said...

Not so much thought, actually. I really did it last minute, but I'm pretty good at working with what's at hand. Thank you, Liz!

Michael Jones said...

You're the McGuyver of Halloween. It all looks fabulous.

Wendy the (Very Good Witch) said...

Hi John! I was so glad to read that you caved in and put something together at the last minute. We live in a fabulous Trick or Treat neighborhood with tons of kids,teens and adults coming through every year. And this year we were SO busy that we also contemplated not doing the outside at all, because it still hadn't been completed coming into this past weekend. The inside had been done since the first weekend in Sept. but the outside kept getting put off.

But like you, I just could not stand not doing something, so we worked all day Saturday setting everything up for 2 whole days. But when the throngs of people started coming through tonight, and stopped to be photographed in front of our scarecrow or graveyard....well that's when I remembered why we always make the effort. Yes, even if it were just one kid whose Halloween was memorable because of us....that's the reason we do it!

Thanks for this year's countdown and Happy Halloween! :o)

Michael May said...

I don't know which is more awesome: the display itself or that you threw it together in a couple of hours with stuff you had lying around. Very very cool.

John Rozum said...

MJ - Dave Lowe is the McGuyver of Halloween.

Wendy, I enjoyed your countdown a lot as well. I didn't end up leaving many comments with anyone this year because I did most of my perusing on my daughter's laptop and was too lazy to log in on it.

I usually have the inside of the house decorated by Sept 1, but didn't do anything this year, mostly because the layout of the new house didn't make it easy without having to move furniture around to do so -- not a lot of flat surfaces on our main floor to put things out on.

Even though we only wound up with 4 trick or treaters, since no one seems to even bother with Jack O'Lanterns on the porch and paper decorations taped up in the windows anymore, I felt it was important that they got at least one house that gave them the feel of Halloween.

MM - When you have a basement full of headstones, ghosts and vampires it's not too hard. The biggest time consumer was lighting all of the candles. Putting up all of the graves takes about 15 minutes.