The decorations are all put away and all of this year’s Halloween prop tutorials have been written and published on the blog. There is just one more thing to put a bow on this year’s Trail of Tears Haunted Trail – the walk through! Oops, to be more accurate there are just three more things to do. The trail itself has grown so big that it takes two posts to get through it even covering just the highlights. In addition, I like to add a behind the scenes post just to give a feel for what goes into this whole ordeal. This is that very post. Unlike last year (link here). We really didn’t get a lot of pictures during the prep phase – mainly due to the fact we were incredibly busy trying to get everything ready to go. Thankfully, my brother Ron, my friends in Haunt Paul and Brad along with another good friend Sung (not a haunter, but gracious enough to help us out in our time of need) all helped get this pulled off. My help came the weekend before to get the props put together, batteries tested and inserted, the extension cords laid out on the trail and Ron completed all the heat sensor circuits for the new decorations. Like last year, the basement was completely full of props by the time we got everything put together. This included all the new Posey frames that needed to be dressed! Linda was also insisting our mess (as she referred to it as) was out of the basement. Didn’t exactly meet her goal, but thanks to everyone’s help, we moved 90% of the trail props to our staging area in the external garage – imagine an entire stall covered from front to back, left to right with Halloween props. The one shot I did find from the garage on build day was late in the process and most of the items were already hauled out to the trail.
One of the tasks that was delayed way too long was finishing up the Zombies. Brad and I had talked a long time about what to do about properly lighting theses new props. The lights were attached to the back, but without something for those beams to bounce off of, the glowing silhouette effect wouldn’t materialize. One Idea was to put black sheeting behind them – attached to a PVC frame so they would free stand. Our initial tests of this concept didn’t pan out as well as expected. Brad came up with the idea to put silver (furnace) tape behind it and fold it out so it would extend past the cutouts and reflect the light that way. He also taped up most of the first one until we ran out – had to drop by Home Depot to pick up a few more rolls that Ron and I put on less than two hours before the guests were scheduled to arrive (cutting it way to close).
Hit the jump to read more about how our annual haunted trail comes to be!
I think I might be getting some tendinitis in my elbows from all of this typing as of late. I will be relieved once all these Halloween tutorials are out the way and I can get back to my wildlife posts. Suspect some of you are getting a bit upset with all the build projects. Bear with me, just a few more and we’ll be set to close it out with the actual trail itself. Let’s not get out in front of our headlights. Today I would like to introduce the latest Posey line – the Plunging Neck Line. Pretty clever there eh, I’ll explain the pun in a bit (and I meant it to be two words).
Went with two versions on the trail this year. High Priest Demon.
And Druid Demon.
Last year I brought you the Westworld Line (link here). This line doesn’t have the animation element (well, at least not yet), but it did fix an ongoing issue I’ve struggled with since the early Posey lines. What to do about the neck. It always seem like they stuck out too far and it just didn’t look the way I wanted it to (link here). Finally got a solution to that problem in my updated line. Might as well take you through the whole process for my two new Demons. It all started with two masks I fond on Amazon. Full over the head masks and fairly decent price point. All I needed to add was a pipe to use as a neck bone and some tubing.
Hit the jump to see how these two Demons progressed on their trek to make it onto the Haunted Trail!
Down to the wire now. Murphy has entered stage right and wreaking all kinds of chaos on my valiant attempts to make my blog quota for this month. Turns out my hotspot can’t even get a signal on one of the busiest highways in the Midwest. Everyone is excited about driverless vehicles and we can’t even get reliable Internet access driving on major highways. I envision some kind of Simpson’s episode where all the autonomous vehicles suddenly take a right turn off the road when then hit a dead spot. Well, no time to cry over spilt milk – I have typing to do (and hopefully upload if I ever get a signal again).
Decided the last post of month would focus on something that is taking a majority of the time left over after races and training. That’s right, I bring you the first of what is likely to be many posts on the road to Halloween. Our annual Halloween party is fast approaching which means work is picking up on the highlight of the night – the Trail of Tears our haunted trek through the woods. I say picking up, rather than start because the work on this trail is a year long event. Ask my wife who has to put up with all the decoration builds that are always cluttering up the basement. Thought I would give you glimpse at one of those new decorations
Although it is tough for me to admit it around friends, I do hang out on Pinterest a lot. I get accused of being a soccer mom by Linda. Truth is, the haunters are all over that site and a great wealth of ideas. One of the links that caught my attention was a backlit witches scene someone had posted. This got me thinking that would be a good idea for the trail. Seemed simple enough, cut out some shapes, add some lights and presto – new scare. To switch it up a bit, I wanted to go with a zombie theme. First task was to find some decent zombie shapes. That ended up being a bit of work searching through the expanse that is the Internet. Probably went through a couple thousand images and eventually narrowed it down to two – note, not sure the source of these images are, but all rights remain with that identity – this is a non-profit use and only documented here as a reference to the concept. Those images were placed on a grid and printed out on a standard paper. Using the tried and true method from my childhood, gridded up larger sheets of butcher paper and transferred images by hand. The key was to minimize cost (a critical theme in my decoration planning). I knew I wanted to use plywood, so that gave a 4×8 dimension to work with without having to invest in multiple sheets. With a few tweaks and rearranging, I got it to fit. Cut those larger versions out and laid them out on the plywood. Note, Linda and I spent a loooong time in Menards trying to find the cheapest option. Turns out, 3/4 sealed underlayment was the cheapest plywood choice – ~$15 a sheet. A bit rough on one side, but nice and smooth on the top side.
Hit the jump to see how these new decorations turn out!