This year went pretty well, had a ton of people come through and the Asylum was unbelievable for its first year. Zach was also back this year and did an unbelievable job as a crazy person in the only open room in the hallway of doors. With the positives, however, come the negatives. Our actors were a huge problem this year, couldn’t keep anyone where they were supposed to be and couldn’t keep half of them from constantly being on break IN THE HAUNT. For you other haunters out there, never take a break in the haunt where guests can see you, bad form.
The big negative this year, however, was rain. We have miraculously avoided rain every year we have done this and it finally caught up with us. It rained during the haunt on Friday and started pouring just after close. In a total downpour we had to take down the 14 foot clown entrance, both signs, all of the outdoor electric and several outdoor props. Fortunately nothing was ruined, but it was not a fun experience. Usually Saturday is a very relaxed day, but this time around we had to rebuild all the things we had to take down for the rain.
Once again Kacy and Rick were awesome, Paul was a HUGE help this year, Zach flew all the way out to have me bark orders at him (sorry Zach) and Kenny was there every day of the build AND teardown. This year will be a real tough call, both Kenny and Zach were incredible help and the best actors we had… hard to say who would win the MVP. And lastly, Sommer was once again the rock, the mother of the haunt. Thanks Junior! Below are a few sneak peek photos.
Without a doubt my favorite room in the house. We always have to include the tasteless prop and this year it was a doctor who just couldn’t take it anymore. Brilliant.
Everything about the Asylum was incredible, starting with the new fascade. Paul and I found those shutters (made of foam believe it or not) for $2 a piece, and we of course built the sign. A new paintjob on the door, some aging by Paul and we had a very convincing entry.
We split the porch into two rooms this year (it was one large room for the funeral home). It really worked out well as you passed first from a relatively safe reception area to this first room, the common area. This came out sooooo cool that while I was sad to see the funeral home go, I was equally pleased in here.
Here is a little closer shot of the medication area. You’d have to see the porch with nothing on to appreciate the changes we made, but all the walls along the left are new, the medication area is new and we hung a TV playing a loop of creepiness. You can download that video here (5.7 MB Quicktime).
Scary. Paul was an incredible help this year, it is fun to do this sort of thing with family. He not only helped every day of the build, he also shaved his head AND eyebrows to convert from the Ringmaster to the creepy clown version of the Ringmaster. Best costume by far.]]>
Also put a little TV into a little cage which for some reason really made me happy. Seriously.
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Also, I do work. No one ever takes my picture, but dammit, I do work. Proof below.
We also worked on a couple of other pieces of signage, and randomness. I totally abused employer resources by printing out a whole boatload of obituaries, newspaper clippings, medical diagrams, handwritten notes and other randomness to adorn the doctor’s office. Gotta love that. Check out the randomness for today.
Zach (the original autopsy specialist from California) arrives next Wednesday, next week should be awesome. We’ve got a ton of building to do, but overall I think we’re in good shape to have another incredible year.]]>
We are also progressing along on the Wheel of Death, which should be pretty cool. The concept is a light weight copy of an old school knife throwing wheel. Last year we had a clown with knives in him, akin to a knife throwing victim, but this year we’re stepping it up.
The concept is that a haunt theme lives for 2 years. The first year you get the basics out of the way. The second year you really perfect it, and then the third it is gone. This is the second year for the circus, so we’re building up the midway (to feature the Wheel of Death) and a Freakshow portion. Should be cool. Lots more to go on the Wheel, but Sommer came up with a cool design for it and I’m excited.
Part of the excitement of all of this is the stress of wondering if we can actually pull it off again. And here I sit, once again wondering… every year the hype gets bigger, the expectations get greater, the time gets shorter… and you know what? I still love it!]]>
Oh, and I don’t have classes this year (hooray for graduating!), so I will hopefully be able to contribute even more this time. On my to-do list now: Two more fatso costumes, a chicken costume (if i can find cheap faux fur), more tent stuff, the wheel of death, and the general planning stuff with Casey.]]>
We are retiring the funeral home this year, it had a good run and was probably about as good as it will ever get last year. So, time to move on to new things. Starting from scratch is always scary, but don’t worry, we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve to make this year (our 6th year) our best.]]>
I finally got around to adding the photos for 2005… I know, I know, I suck. I had uploaded them to a totally unstyled gallery right after Halloween but had grand plans for a redesign before I actually linked them. Reality set in and now I’m posting them as is.
2005 was incredible. We learned a whole lot both from the standpoint of running 2 haunts and from the standpoint of promoting a haunt. It turns out that the newspaper article last year was a huge part of our traffic, this year we figured word of mouth and promo materials would be enough (we actually feared having more people than we could handle) and it ends up that it isn’t. Despite having a very good turnout (estimated 1,500) we were disappointed to see less traffic than last year. Next year we’ll be going again for some news media coverage to help boost our numbers. We’re also talking preliminarily about running a second weekend, we’ll see how that pans out over the year.
Incidentally, check out a small video of how cool it is to have two haunts.]]>
I took a few pictures to give everyone an idea of what the breakdown process is like:
Most of the electrical components. Flicker circuits, extension cords galore, can lights, christmas lights…all neatly bundled and packed away for next year.
Randomness scattered on the front lawn and driveway. You can see the morgue freezer walls and doors, the front door to the funeral home, and the wheelchairs from the morgue. We usually try to carry everything out to the front lawn for a quick mental inventory, and because it’s a little tricky to load the trailer now that we have so much stuff. We have officially exceeded the limits of Rick’s trailer now; it can only hold about 90% of our haunting props.
The deconstructed circus entry. Not as intimidating now, eh?
To everyone who helped out, from building to tear down to acting, THANK YOU SO MUCH. We can’t do what we do alone, and we love to see other people discovering and enjoying the haunting process.]]>
This year has been really nice with a bunch of additional help I haven’t had before. Paul and Jenn have really stepped up and brought some great artistic support in, James also swooped in for some backup. I’ve had some extra construction hands with Kenny, Nick, Grandpa and Kawala. Rick continues to be a great guy to have around, providing mechanical know how I just don’t have and really bringing in a whole bunch of great ideas this year. And of course, my lovely wife Sommer has provided me with great support, a whole boatload of sewing, creativity and inspiration… I’m really lucky to have her around.
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