1 day ago
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Accolades, Rain, and Guillotines
Last night I got a pleasant surprise when my doorbell rang at 10:00 p.m. and my neighbor was there boo-hooing that I didn't have my haunt lit up for the evening. Seems she and her husband had been raving to some friends about our haunt setup and they took a stroll down the block to show them. They were disappointed that the lights in the yard were off, but I had to explain that because of the rain we've been having, the GFCI outlet keeps tripping (yeah, I gotta work on protecting the connections) so I was waiting for things to dry out.
Still it was nice to hear that people do notice the work that's gone into the yard (meager though it is, to my thinking) and make an effort to come by and look. Actually, when I was setting up the display, one of my other neighbors was driving by with his kids and stopped to look. I heard him make an appreciative comment (I happened to be behind the Reaper so I was unseen) and then five minutes later he and his kids walked up the block to have a look around. They were pretty excited about coming back on Halloween to trick-or-treat here.
I had that last year, too, when a family piled out of their car in front of the house and the mother said the kids insisted that our house be a mandatory stop on their ToT travails. They were actually "working" our particular neighborhood, but because the kids had seen the set up beforehand they wanted to be sure to come by.
That is part of the reason why I set up early. It helps build up anticipation, and might be why we get the amount of ToTs that we do, which isn't much really. The Halloween yard haunt is simply a labor of love on my part (and my wife's). We enjoy the season and despite there not being so many people that actually come by, it's great to see the reaction of those that do.
And so I plan on adding on to the display each year. I only really got the bug this year (and in September at that) so my haunt isn't all I'd want it to be (though I guess no one else really knows that). And since no one else on the block decorates -- and I mean no one -- I guess there is some level of anticipation by the neighbors and kids as to what we will do next.
But the rain is a bummer. As I mentioned previously, I took in my zombies for fear of their becoming damaged by the constant soaking we've had, and I haven't been able to put them out again. As a matter of fact, it's raining now and a big Nor'easter is supposedly heading this way. We'll see, but I'll be keeping an eye on my Reaper to make sure he doesn't blow over again when the winds come.
Off with their heads!
And under the category of WTF, despite all the effort and time placed into my Reaper, zombies, tombstones, and set up, the thing that has gotten the most comments has been my guillotine. I don't get it! This was a prop I threw together last year, debated even putting it out this year, and am not even happy about its construction (or look, for that matter), yet I've had more people comment on the "cool"guillotine than any other prop.
As you can see from the photo above, the head chopper ain't all that. The frame is just 2x4's, the "blade" is simply a piece of hardboard I had laying around cut at an angle (with a little blood added to it) and I'll be putting a bucket in front of it to catch any heads that roll its way. Because it was a last minute, thrown together in a hurry project (I was trying to use up some extra wood I had laying around) I didn't even seal it for protection. So the blade and stocks are a little warped and I had to hot glue the blade in place because it had come apart. Yet this is what people like! Go figure.
Just goes to show that although I can appreciate all the time and attention to detail that goes into some props, sometimes the simplest things are the best. And when you consider that most ToTs will be taking in the scene for a minute or two at most on Halloween, they're probably not going to be seeing all that detail anyway. Sometimes when I participate in prop builders forums I wonder if it's even the ToTs that we build these props for, and not the accolades that come from our fellow prop builders instead.
Posted by FoolishCop at 8:25 AM