Monday, May 9, 2011

Right On Schedule

After the National Haunters Convention I'm all excited about getting to prop building. This coming weekend I'm working on my cemetery pillars and since the NJ/PA Make & Take group is having a bunch of scheduling conflicts, there may be a few haunting buddies stopping by to work on their own props. It will be another mini-M&T.

But I find that my prop building routine is rather scattershot. I'll work on a paper mache skull here, make some paper clay finger bones there, and occasionally screw on some insulation to my pillars whenever I'm walking by them in the garage. It's not the most productive allocation of my time.

The other day, though, I was watching a vlog from one of my new favorite haunters, Halloween Hellmouth, and I noticed on his bedroom wall a whiteboard with various to-do projects on them: the prop car he's building, house, and some intriguing item called "Hellmouth 4 Resurrection." Maybe that was that particular video since it was Hellmouth 4 (if you're interested, it's at about the 5:05 mark in the video). And there are all some bullet points underneath each.

That got me to thinking that maybe I needed to organize my prop building efforts a little better. Create a list of props I want to build, divide it up into the major sections that need work, and write it all down. For example, I've decided I want my gravedigger prop to be pneumatic. Nothing special, mind you, just that he's going to be in a hunched over position as if he's digging a grave but then as the ToTs walk by he'll be triggered to snap his head up to look at them.

So in addition to making his body, I'll need to construct the cylinders that will make him move. That may necessitate ordering the cylinders or making them from PVC (yeah, yeah, I've heard all the pros and cons about it). So my project list for Madog might be "Make PVC body," "Order cylinders from Monster Guts" (there, ya happy?), "Attach cylinder mechanism to prop," etc.

Another prop I'm contemplating will be The Cellarer. In monastic life, the cellarer was the one who provisioned the abbey with food and drink. My thoughts on him are for a life-size monk to be carrying a large crate, but in reality it would be a Monster-in-a-Box. As the ToTs approached, a motion sensor would trigger the MIB. So there would be a whole bunch of steps needed to bring that to fruition.

Point is, by organizing my thoughts I'll make better use of my time and I'll see how well I'm progressing on my prop building. I'll know when I'm done when I check off the last item on the list (yeah right! There's never an end to a haunter's list).

I've started the process so far by creating an initial list of props I want to build. Some of it's rather ambitious like the two above, plus a mausoleum to house my FCG. I also want to finish my cemetery pillars (c'mon Saturday!). But others are relatively easier or less time consuming, like making another groundbreaker or two and a few props for inside my house, like a severed hand standing on its finger tips on top of a stack of books, and a PVC candle in a skull. There are some that seem to be somewhere in between, like a moving shelf of books (saw a great example on the HauntForum boards by halstaff, which he adapted from a Halloween Forum member maureenpr).

(at 1:44 in the video, but yes, let's all join in on the hate for halstaff having completed so much stuff already)

So I have given myself a full plate, but idle hands are the devil's tools, or some such saying. Trouble manages to find me when I'm lazing about doing nothing, so what better way to occupy my time than building Halloween props? I don't know either.


  1. Good luck with all your projects. We have a three ring binder broken into sections that we carry with us everywhere. Almost all the restaurants in our area are used to seeing the binder :D

    Might not always do everything we write down...but we look organized! LOL!


  2. This is always a point of contention for Jayson and I - because I want to organize it and he wants to make what he sees right THEN! I have made a Google doc that we share, and put both ideas in for dreaming, and then the more realistic - what can we afford to do with time/money. I am going to be very interested to see what you come up with as far as HOW you organize it - what works for you may work for us too!!

  3. Looks like you've got a lot of work at hand. I do need to list my projects too. I have a lot of them dwelling in the darkest corner of my mind but unless I put them on paper I might end up with nothing to show on Halloween night. Thanks for reminding me that I need to address that asap.

  4. OMG! I just began the process of writing down my projects and adding the steps necessary to complete them. I started off with my pillars, and while cutting stone and skinning second column were easy enough, things started getting out of hand from there.

    I want an arch with the word "cemetery" spanning the distance between the two columns. New project. I also want two fogger gargoyles perched on top of each column. New project. Each of these has multiple stages of work.

    A simple second project, such as making a foam wall "ruins" scene, entails having two MM props in front of it, one possibly pneumatic. My MM "cellarer" monk will be carrying a Monster-in-a-Box. Another project-in-a-project!

    Only 163 days to Halloween?! I better get going! I don't have time to write updates! LOL!



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