Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amityville in Teaneck

Suddenly the Amityville Horror house is in the news again. Even the venerable Wall Street Journal had an article about the new owners of the home where Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his parents and four siblings as they slept in their beds back in 1974.

While the new owners say they're not happy about the attention their purchase of the house has brought, you have to wonder why they're granting interviews to the media. And they were unaware of the home's history till after they signed the lease?

It's true the house doesn't look the same as it did back in the 1970's as the iconic quarter round window have been replaced with regular double hungs, but you'd think when you're moving into Amityville some bell would sound in your head and maybe ask, "Hey, this isn't the house from that horror movie is it?" Apparently not.

But I never bought into claims by DeFeo that the house was possessed and he heard voices telling him to kill his family. As much a I love Halloween and all the creepiness it entails, I don't actually believe in ghosts and spirits, supernatural beings, or paranormal normal activity. Hey, I love watching Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures just as much as the next guy, but I don't believe a word of it. In fact, and at the risk of offending those who may be religious, I'm also an atheist. So I think that when you die that's it. You go in the ground and rot. The possibility that your corpse might arise again -- however cool the concept is for my haunt -- is not something that can happen.

Having said that, about four year ago I bought the house I live in and had converted the third floor room into my office where I would sit and write all day. Built in 1921, I expected it would have its share of creaks and being very much a realist, I'm always able to find a rational explanation for "paranormal" activity that occurs, or at least to know that there is a rational explanation even if I can't find it at the moment.

Always, that is, except for two times. While sitting in my office one morning working assiduously on the day's output, I was suddenly brought upright (I sit hunched over) at the sound of a footstep on the stairs on the first floor. At the time I lived in the house alone and no one would just walk in unannounced. Having been the victim of a burglary one time before, I always have my doors locked, even when I'm at home.

I sat there listening for a moment when I very clearly heard someone ascending the stairs from the first floor up to the second. This wasn't just a creak or two, this was solid footfalls on the wooden treads. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up as I imagined someone had broken in, so grabbing my trusty .38 cal. Smith & Wesson from the draw next to me, I quickly ran down the stairs to the second floor. It had happened so quickly -- from hearing the footsteps to grabbing the gun and going down the stairs -- that I should have actually run into the person coming up. Except there was no one there.

I went down and checked the doors and windows and they were all locked and secure. I wasn't able to find a rational explanation for that incident, and it happened one more time with no one being on the stairs. I still like to refer to it a my run-in with my ghost.

My ghostly friend visited me once again, just a month or so ago. I was sitting in my living room watching TV and home alone once again. My wife had gone out with her daughter and I was thoroughly enjoying my alone time. As I sat there, I felt like a puff of air on my left arm. It ran from about the middle of the forearm up to my shoulder.

Now it was summertime and the windows were open and I had a fan running in the dining room so I dismissed it as coming from one of those sources. About two minutes later, though, it happened again. I looked at the windows and the sheers my wife has hanging across the windows were completely still. The trees in my yard were also still. In fact, the air was completely dead.

Now I thought it possible it was the fan in the dining room, except that the dining room was off to my right so presumably any breeze from the fan would have been felt on the right side first, no? Also, it would have had to go across my body, but this breeze went from front to back. In essence, if it was the fan, it entered the room, completely avoided my right arm and chest (okay, stomach, I'm not petite), made a left turn and ran up my left arm.

So real was this breeze -- really, it was like a puff of air someone might blow out of their lips -- that I thought maybe my wife had snuck back into the house somehow and was hiding behind the couch and playing with me (she loves to hide around corners and jump out and scare me. I'm sure she's after my life insurance money). Except that would have required the air to run from back to front instead of front to back. I checked the doors again and they were still locked.

So those are my two run ins with activity that I can't give a rational explanation for. At least I didn't hear anyone telling me to "Get out!"

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Terror in Pittsburgh

I've been a big fan of Steve Hickman's "Terror Syndicate" and his Dark Works haunt ever since I stumbled across them last year. For a home haunter, Steve's got a set up that could rival many pro haunts I've seen and visited.

Although I've said that for my own haunt I'd like it to have a theme, and for the props to be coordinated and not just a haphazard collection of props, what I like about Dark Works is that it is all coordinated but there's no set time period for it. As I've read Steve's description of it, the name implies what it is: a "dark" haunt with props that reflect that theme. You might have Monster Mud monks, but you'll also have granny having a problem with her toilet. The odd thing is, they easily and naturally coexist.

From what I understand Steve opens his walk through for three days leading up to Halloween. I had initially planned on visiting his haunt this year -- until I realized just how far Pittsburgh is from me. As cool as I'm sure the haunt is, a 7+ hour trip is probably not going to happen. Yet it is one of my new plans for the coming years, to take a few days off and visit my fellow haunters haunts and appreciate in person the work they're doing. There are a lot of talented people out there and I'd like to highlight them with reviews from personal visits.

Steve also has available a number of books and videos for sale detailing how he builds his props. At $30 a pop, they're not exactly cheap, but I figured for the knowledge they'd give I'd try them. I ordered the first two (of five) handbooks (as he calls them) and while I was expecting a slightly higher quality presentation -- I had in mind a book like "How to Haunt Your Yard" by Lynne and Shawn Mitchell -- they are filled with useful and helpful details and projects.

The books are spiral bound pages with clear plastic covers. While that initially turned me off, I have to say the benefit is that they lay flat on my work bench so I can easily follow the instructions as I build my props. Needless to say, I burned through the first two rather quickly and ordered the next two in the series. Last month I got the fifth and final handbook, but also ordered the first video in the series.

On the video Steve gives a presentation of how he builds certain props. What I liked was seeing how they actually came together -- and there were a few extras included that weren't in the handbooks (like a gargoyle prop). It was good to see how he actually constructs his body forms.

For each of the props made, a complete materials list is provided and Steve shows each of the tools needed to build them. Aside from a power miter saw (which is really optional anyway) these are tools that just about every homeowner has in their house.

What I was really impressed with was his discussion and use of Monster Mud. As most know, Monster Mud has been around for awhile, but it really took off in popularity and usage following Steve bestowing the name "Monster Mud" on it. I've built a few props using the medium, but it wasn't until I actually saw Steve using it himself that I really (and finally) felt I had a good feel for it.

The video is very good quality and the haunting sounds playing as background fit the mood of what's being built. The editing is also smart and looks professionally done (Steve's credited with doing the editing, so bravo, Steve!). Of course I'd prefer a cheaper price, and some of the photos were tough to make out, which probably results from photocopying rather than printing, but I think they're still a good value and recommend them.

As I said I'm a fan of Steve's haunt and hope that one day I'll actually make it out to western Pennsylvania and visit.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Devil

When I first heard M. Night Shyamalan was coming out with a new movie, my first reaction was...yawn! I haven't liked a movie of his since The Sixth Sense, and even then I was underwhelmed. At the time I didn't realize what the problem was but having been punished enough by sitting through a few of his films, I've found he has good ideas for movies, he just doesn't have the talent to complete them.

I actually had no intention of seeing Devil, at least not paying full price for it (and FWIW, I didn't pay this time either; Optimum's Triple Play gives you free movie tickets on Tuesday nights). Yet I heard that Shyamalan really had nothing to do with this film other than the concept. Cool! That's just what I could go for: a decent concept with a director who could pull it together.

As you've probably seen from the trailers, five people are stranded in an elevator one of whom is apparently the devil. It's a pretty good movie, not great, as it kept me entertained trying to guess who was who and why they were in the elevator.

There was a 2007 movie called Blackout, which wasn't a horror movie (more of a thriller) about three people stuck in an elevator and it's ultimately revealed one of them is actually a murderer. Told mostly in flashback that movie was actually a better film than Devil, but I enjoyed Devil nonetheless for the most part.

Like Blackout, however, you start off wondering how they're going to sustain a film for an hour and a half with everyone just stuck in an elevator, but they created enough suspense to keep you watching. I'm always left wondering though why these supernatural beings go through the process of killing everyone one at a time when they could just as easily taken the whole bunch out. And why does a malevolent spirit need to be creative in the way s/he kills a person? Can't they do it the same way each time? Of course, you wouldn't have a movie if that was the case, but it always jars me out of my willing suspension of disbelief.

In Devil there were no real scares. Only when the Evil One was ultimately revealed did anyone in the theater scream, but I'm actually not sure why. The ending of the film veered very close to the edge of a Shymalan buzz kill but managed to keep itself from going over. If you can't get to the movies, don't sweat it, you won't be missing all that much and renting it for $1 at Redbox is better than paying full price for it. It's an okay movie, just not a great one.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

Well, after looking at that last entry, a little self-editing is called for in the future! I'll try to keep future entries under 5,000 words when I'm writing about myself. Sheesh!

But yesterday was the NJ/PA Make & Take and I finally -- finally! -- got my flying crank ghost completed. Okay not completed, but up and running. I still need to drape it in whitened cheesecloth and tweak it for movement when I set it up, but it's otherwise ready to go. Also got another tombstone completed but still want to fill up the yard with more.

Of course, I saw some props yesterday from my fellow haunters and now I have more ideas on my list. This coffin mailbox from haunter Tinman quickly moved to the top of my list.

Anyway, I'm going to keep this post brief since I ran off at the mouth (fingertips?) last time, but now's the time when I put the details to props and try to squeeze in some last minute quickies.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pause That Refreshes

Well, I don't know how refreshing it was, but I had to take a day off yesterday from all things haunt related to get my little workshop space in order.

From the time I moved down into the basement (for some reason, my wife didn't appreciate sharing the dining room table with assorted zombies, groundbreakers, and other creepy things), I've had to share the space with a big, honkin' oil tank (oh, about 500 gallons or so). This cast iron (?) behemoth took up a good 20% of the space I worked in and while there was a shelf built over the top of it, it really crowded me out of a good work environment.

Fortunately, or something like that, two years ago my oil furnace broke and I decided to convert to gas heat...but I still had an oil tank in my workshop, and it had about 250 gallons worth of oil left in it. After tracking down someone willing to pump out the oil, high on my to-do list was to remove the tank from its place. Yesterday was that day.

It seemed like it would be such an easy task to accomplish. I convinced my cousin that "all" we had to do was cut it up into pieces, toss 'em in the back of my pickup, and cart 'em over to the scrap yard. Ah, innocence! If the oil smell was enough to knock you out running through six or so Sawz-all blades was infuriating. I finally made a trip to Home Depot and got a blade that was meant to cut through 1/2" think iron. It was like sawing through buttah when we got back.

So after three or hours of toil, sweat, cursing, and abrasions we finally got the tank cut into manageable pieces and did fill up the back of my truck. Amazing how much home heating oil actually stains your hands. I've been scraping and rubbing and washing my hands almost nonstop and it's almost off. And if anyone's interested, the old tank was worth $31.20 at the scrap yard.

One upside to all this was that I found this really amazing product at the Depot designed to absorb oil spills. I had bought two big 40 or 50 lb. bags of an absorbent product at Walmart ($3.88 each!) that resembles kitty litter and the it did a great job of soaking up the residue that was left behind. I got two smaller 5 lb. bags ($3.99 each) at Sears Hardware to get the remains of the stuff the Walmart product didn't get (and a box fan to help get rid of the odor)...and still had to go to Home Depot (for those blades) and found this other type of Absorb-all. It was like a fine, white powder and I wondered how it was going to do anything. Well I was surprised because it did better than all the others combined.

The bag says 3 lbs. is like 45 lbs. of the other stuff and I believe it! It dried out the inside of the tank before we cut it up and got rid of some of the small drops that were left behind. Oil can work its way into concrete and you'll have a heckuva time getting rid of the smell. I'm convinced this powered absorbent is the reason my basement has no smell now.

It also does a great job of removing oil stains from woodwork AND it helped remove Great Stuff from my hands. Anyone who's worked with Great Stuff knows you want to avoid at all costs getting that stuff on your skin. It will stick to you and just about short of using a belt sander is needed to remove it.

In repairing the wall where the fill pipes had been located, I squirted some Great Stuff into the cavity in preparation for patching it up later with cement, but ended up getting it on my hands. I went to the bag of absorbent power, plunged my hands in, and rubbed them together. The Great Stuff was gone!

Short story long, I now had plenty of space in my workshop to actually work there. I scored a set of old kitchen cabinets off a Yahoo Groups site called Freecycle and installed the base cabinets and a set of small upper cabinets today. I'll pick up some 3/4" plywood soon and I'll make a bench top for the work area.

To celebrate my day off yesterday, I worked for a little while today on a pair of skeleton hands I've been experimenting with. I made the individual finger bones out of paper clay, inserted wire into them, and bent them into shape. I made a palm out of rigid insulation and hot glued it together.

Now that I've got more room in my workshop, I look forward to filling it with zombies and ground breakers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It Rises!

The railroad tunnel monster rears up and reaches out to grab its next victim.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Turn a Weather Eye

As many haunters remember -- particularly in the northeast -- last year's Halloween was marked by some pretty disastrous weather, from gale force winds to torrential rains. I recall checking the Farmer's Almanac last year and it had fairly correctly predicted what the weather would be, so I put it on my list of things to do to check in again this year.

However, the Old Farmer's Almanac only gives a two-month window so I had to wait until now to check in and it looks like we're going to be in for it again. Although it says the New York/New Jersey region -- the "Atlantic Corridor" as it calls it -- will only experience 1.5 inches of rain for the month, some 2 inches below normal, it's pretty much scheduled to rain almost every week of October, and the 30th and 31st will be "rain, warm."

FWIW, the forecast for September 9-16 was listed as "T-storms, then sunny, warm" and the thunderstorms only just pulled out a little while ago. They were brief, but they did come through and that's what the Almanac predicted.

Of course, that rain forecast can mean a lot of different things. When the Almanac says "rain," it doesn't specify whether it will be a drizzle or will instead spawn Ark-like conditions (hey, they might be good, but can they really be that good, the current T-storm prediction not withstanding?).

And as many probably are aware, there's another "Farmer's Almanac" too, that's probably been around just as long (or maybe it's been around longer, I get the two confused) and its forecast is drearily similar (but it predicts some heavy wind gusts from the 8th to the 11th, so you may want to tie your props down especially tight those days). Its forecast for Halloween, which runs from the 28th to the 31st, is "fair, then showers." 

Sounds like us New Jersey-area haunters are going to have another wet Halloween. Sigh.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Casting an Evil Web

With the NJ/PA Make & Take group from HauntForum readying their next meeting (it might also be a props-and-a-movie night!) on September 25th, I've somehow latched onto the idea of making a web casting glue gun. It was an offhand remark on the discussion board, but like a zombie with a insatiable desire for brains I've been searching for how-to's on building a cheap model non-stop.

There are professional models out there, like this one from Haunt Your Home, but at $45 (plus S&H) it's just a little more than I'd want to spend. It does seem to offer great ease in adjustments though.

But I've been able to come up with two different models, both relatively simple, though one would definitely be cheaper than the other assuming the necessary tools were already on hand (I have 'em!). Check out the Devil's Advocate page where I'm listing haunt tools, props, and accessories that I want to build to bring my haunt up a notch.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Week's Best Updated

The week's best-in-blogs has been posted on the Fire & Brimstone page, including posts from Dave Lowe Design, Pumpkinrot, and Johnny Thunder.

Under Pressure

I've worked on a few projects I have going on simultaneously, though nothing's really come to completion. My Wall Crawler got his "blackwash" yesterday and while it does mute the bright color of his "Nehru" jacket, there are areas of blotchiness I wasn't completely happy with. Overall, however, I think he looks much better. I also blackwashed the face and I'm happier with that too as a result.

My phallic symbols
I had picked up a pair of wooden columns that someone was preparing to throw away and figured they would look good as either part of another display prop or just on their own, lending an air of neglect and decay. They each sported a wooden hub at the top over which a capital could have been placed. I cut that off, and since they're hollow, cut out a circular plug that fit in the space. Glued and caulked in place, I painted it in two coats of Dry-Lok to both give it a stone appearance and protect it from further decay in the elements. I may (or may not) attempt "veining" the exterior to give it a marble appearance. It will depend on if I have enough time.

Christmas Dogs?
Earlier this year I picked up two motorized Christmas reindeer to convert into rabid dogs. Actually I just wanted one moving one; the other I planned to keep static as I figured I'd harvest the motor for another prop. However, while building my Flying Crank Ghost I ordered five "reindeer-type" motors so I don't need that one anymore. Now I'll have two dogs that I'd like to have growl and move their heads when trick-or-treaters approach.

Only I think I'll probably only get to one of the dogs this year. I paper mached the head assembly on one to see if it would tax the motor too much and there doesn't seem to be a problem as yet, though long-term I can't say. It certainly doesn't sound like it's bogging down and the head movement actually seems smoother with the added weight. I gave it three coats of mache and am debating whether to use paint or a faux fur I acquired. There should be plenty of fur for one dog and just draping the entire piece of fabric of the head of the prop while it was running didn't seem to interfere with the motor either. Again, I don't want to put too much strain on the gear motor. I am leaning in favor of the fur though, but next year may just paint the other dog. Since the rest of the body is static on the prop, I'm not too worried about weight and think that if it's heavier than normal it will actually be better as it will stabilize it and help it stand.

I'd also like to add two yellow or red LED eyes to the prop when it's activated. Typcially I'm not big on red eyes as they're not natural. Of course, we're talking about a Halloween display, but I think red eyes have been overdone by Hollywood so I'm leaning towards yellow. We'll see what LEDs I have left though. Right now, looking at that picture, it looks like a coelacanth raised from the ocean depths. I trust that with perky ears, a slobbering jaw, and a longer tail it will actually look like a dog when completed.

Getting some more head
Watching a movie the other night one of the throw-away characters had her lips sewn shut with big ugly sutures. My wife though that would be a cool look for a prop so I fashioned another paper mache head, though again, finding the time to complete it will be a challenge.

An eye for an eye
One last prop I'll probably start (and complete!) will be a moving eyeball for my front window. I saw this last year on Dave Lowe's blog Dave Lowe Design. It's an optical illusion using the concave nature of a bowl to give the appearance that an eye is following you as you walk by. He has a video of the effect on his site:

Look like a quick and easy project to do and will satisfy my wife who wanted me to make one last year. With less than 50 days to go -- and a Halloween party to plan and decorate for -- I'm limited in the number of new projects I can take on. Pleasing my better half is always a wise choice, however!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Movie of Monster Proportions

Unlike some reviewers (I'm looking at you Johnny Thunder!) I'm not so opposed to the "found footage" style of movie making, though I'll readily agree that too many movies are using the technique and not always to good effect. Like 3-D or the endless parade of remakes, it is being overdone.

Yet when a movie like Cloverfield or Rec (and I actually preferred the Spanish version; even though I couldn't understand a word of what was said, I knew what was happening) comes out, I thoroughly enjoy the films. While the Blair Witch Project is the granddaddy of them all, I found the ending unsatisfying. We didn't need to see whatever it was necessarily, but it definitely needed more closure. That's why I feel Cloverfield and Rec were excellent examples of what a director can do with the found footage technique. It gave viewers at least an ending.

I recall from one of my creative writing classes my professor admonishing me because I took the lazy way out with the ending of the story. It was something along the lines of "I guess we'll never really know what happened." She was right. It was a B.S. maneuver because it saved me from having to think about how to end the story and diminished whatever else came before it.

All too often these days it seems directors don't know how to end their movies and they do some slapdash closing that ruins the rest of the film that preceded it, no matter how much you were into it. And with ticket prices being what they are, Hollywood needs to respect their audience a little more than they do. It's why I try at all costs to avoid going to the theater and prefer renting my movies from Redbox (and I'd never, ever think of watching a bootleg movie!).

All of this ranting is coming about because of a new movie that's due out next month called "Monsters." Supposedly made for something on the order of $15,000, it's not exactly a "found footage" style, but it has that flavor to it. Nevertheless, the trailers have a lush feel to them and according to one review I read, it is something of "Cloverfield meets The African Queen" (hopefully you do know what The African Queen is).

I have to thank Patrick Nottingham of The Raven's Barrow for cluing me into this movie. He posted a trailer of the movie and it looked so good to me that I went off on a hunt for other information. I found another trailer, as well as a small clip, and this movie looks like one I'm going to like.

The synopsis is that a U.S. space probe went looking for other life forms and apparently found them, but crash landed in Mexico with them aboard upon its return to Earth. Now northern Mexico is a quarantined zone. A photojournalist hired to capture shots of the devastation the aliens have wrought has to accompany his publisher's daughter back to the U.S. border, but their journey goes awry and they travel through the heart of the infected area.

Here's another clip from the movie:

From the reviews I read from people who viewed the film at various festivals, the movie is that good, all the more so because of its miniscule budget. And despite its title, there are actually very few shots of the aliens. "Monsters" turns out to be more of a road trip love story (egads!) than an actual blood-and-guts gorefest, but there is enough suspense, drama, and thrills built up along the way that it compensates for the lack of actual monsters appearing in the film.

I don't mind this really. Character and plot development count for a lot more with me than simply seeing monsters, blood, and terror (not that those are bad in and of themselves). But think of all the movies you've seen that have had plenty of the latter but little of the former -- and how much those movies sucked -- and you get the picture of why I'm looking for a director who invests time in his script.

From the looks of the trailers Monsters is a movie I'd actually pay money to go see (or maybe just use my Optimum Rewards card and go for free on a Tuesday). So long as the director doesn't shoot the pooch with a poor ending, I'm willing to go along for the ride.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Erin Go Halloween

My daughter recently went on a two week trip to the Emerald Isle and discovered the joys of Guinness. Actually, while she did like the "meal in a bottle," there was another brew there that really caught her fancy (if I could only remember its name), but it's only sold in Ireland, not here.

Splitting her time between Dublin and Galway, while staying at hostels (I said "Are you nuts?! Didn't you see the movies?"), she apparently got an advanced degree in Pub Crawls. Ah, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. But she's got musical talent and can play a mean set on the drums and while partaking of some fine food and ale at Ireland's oldest pub, The Brazen Head, she met the lead singer of a local Irish band who during one of their sets invited her and her girlfriend up onto the stage where she proceeded to play the drums with them. Needless to say it was the highlight of the trip. You can't beat playing with a true, traditional Irish band in a pub that was established in 1198.

However, since this is a Halloween blog and not a family travel guide, my daughter also unwittingly provided her father with an endless source of inspiration for his haunt (isn't it annoying when someone writes about themselves in the third person?). In between grub, grog, and merrymaking she also took vast amounts of pictures of the countryside and architecture (I do need to tell her though she needs to visit some cemeteries once in a while).

Yet if you're building a haunt themed around the medieval period, you can't do much better than taking pictures of Ireland. I've included a few of the pictures she took, and it seems she's got a pretty good eye for composition too. But now I can study these photos and get some ideas for my haunt. As I wanted it in a decrepit churchyard it would appear I have plenty of sources of inspiration to choose from.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Halloween Creepin'

The ennui that had started to settle in last week is gone and I was infused with a sudden sense of needing to get things done. Could be that the calendar shows there's less than two months to go before Halloween.

But I did make a lot of progress this week. I completed my Wall Crawler that was modeled after instructions found in Terror Syndicate's prop building handbooks. The only major change I made was using a paper mache head instead of a mask. I'm not really satisfied with the head as my cloth mache technique still needs a lot of refinement, but the skill continues to improve and I already see how I can better the technique next time.

Speaking of next time, I've begun my next prop, which will be a bubonic plague victim. Not quite despatched to the nether lands, but not completely of this world still, the plague victim will be a shrunken shell of his former self. To that end I've been practicing new mache techniques using flour and water rather than glue and water. I've got to admit it holds fast and firm and is a lot cheaper than using white glue (I do add a little glue to the mix though).

This is the mache recipe used by Stolloween, though his also calls for liquid starch. Scott uses a brand called Sta-Flo, but being cheap I prefer making my own. Homemade liquid starch is very simple to make: 1/2 cup corn starch, 1/2 cup cold water (mix it together just as if you were trying to thicken a gravy) and add it to about 2 cups of boiling water. When it cools it should stay clear but you've got enough liquid starch to add to your mache recipes.

You'll also recall from prior posts that after my first foray into using Stolloween's cellulose insulation clay, I wasn't that enthused. However, I've persevered using it on several other occasions and the technique is growing on me. I just used it to build up the (shrunken) facial features of my plague victim and I used it to help create the features of my pumpkin creep character.

And speaking of the pumpkin creep prop, I also cloth mached his PVC body frame which will then be painted in earthy tones to give him a more organic feel. My idea is to weave real dead vines around and through his limbs once he's set up in the yard. I did like Grim Hollow's creep carrying three jack o-lanterns (I think they might be lit from within), though I'd like to do something different. What, I don't know just yet.

But I have completed the first layer of paint on my creep and once that's dry I will "brown wash" him to again give him an earthier, organic look.

So with the props I've built recently -- the Acolyte, the wall climber, and the pumpkin creep -- they still need to be painted and waterproofed, but they are largely complete. I want more, more, more! but I'm actually satisfied with how thing have progressed. And with a new make-and-take scheduled for September 25th, I'll finally finish my flying crank ghost. The main structure was built months ago, but the actual "ghost" and the frame to fly it from has been put off. That will be rectified this month. Still, so much to do so little time.
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