Halloween in the Garden

Garden Ridge (now rebranding as ‘At Home’) has their Halloween stuff out!  My son David and I took a look.  David decided to make a video of some of the items we looked at.  Take a look yourself!

The selection is very good this year.  If you have a store near you, I recommend you check it out!

 

Full Size Skeletons are $49.99 this year

Full Size Skeletons are $49.99 this year

The Garden Ridge skeletons have metal hardware for 2014.  Hopefully this makes them sturdier.

The Garden Ridge skeletons have metal hardware for 2014. Hopefully this makes them sturdier.

more cute signs

more cute signs

Mickey and Minnie

Mickey and Minnie

Zombie signs!

Zombie signs!

Skull wreath with color changing eyes

Skull wreath with color changing eyes

What's better than chains?  Chains with huge hooks!

What’s better than chains? Chains with huge hooks!

This guy has popped his head off his shoulders

This guy has popped his head off his shoulders

The lantern in his bony hand emits an erie glow.

The lantern in his bony hand emits an erie glow.

Ghostly pumpkin with color-changing LED's inside the head

Ghostly pumpkin with color-changing LED’s inside the head

This witch shakes and cackles

This witch shakes and cackles

Perfect for a dungeon sceen

Perfect for a dungeon sceen

Standard Halloween candles

Standard Halloween candles

This skull is about twice the size of a normal skull

This skull is about twice the size of a normal skull

The exposed brain on this head is lit with color-changing LED's.  Perfect for a mad scientist laboratory!

The exposed brain on this head is lit with color-changing LED’s. Perfect for a mad scientist laboratory!

Skull with red LED eyes

Skull with red LED eyes

A good selection of Tombstones.  The 3rd and 4th from the top left are actually plaster.  The rest are Styrofoam.

A good selection of Tombstones. The 3rd and 4th from the top left are actually plaster. The rest are Styrofoam.

This guy screams and shakes

This guy screams and shakes

A hanging zombie figure with light-up eyes

A hanging zombie figure with light-up eyes

Hanging skeleton figures with light-up eyes.  Only the top part is a skeleton.  The bottom part is just cloth

Hanging skeleton figures with light-up eyes. Only the top part is a skeleton. The bottom part is just cloth

Ice, Ice, Pumpkin

The north Texas area had some freezing rain and sleet blow through recently.  Complicating this is an extended period of freezing temperatures.  SO everything has been closed and the streets and parking lots have been turned into ice rinks (literally – kids were playing ice hockey in the church parking lot down the street).

One of my traditions during cold weather is to build a snow pumpkin outside somewhere, like this:

Snow Pumpkin

Well the sleet and ice didn’t work with snow-building techniques, so I tried something different.

I give you.. the Ice Jack-o-Lantern!

Ice pumpkin

I took a old plastic jackolantern pail, and cut it in half.  Then I duct taped it together and filled it with water.  However, the duct tape was not as waterproof as I would like, so it took me 2 days of refilling it until I was able to get enough to freeze before it leaked out.

It didn’t freeze all the way through (I didn’t expect it to) so I drained out the water and was left with a hollow pumpkin.  I did put a little battery operated tealight inside last night, which looked OK.  But you can’t really make out the features so it just looks like a ball of ice.

If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t cut the pumpkin pail until after the after froze.  Then I might use a hot knife to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth.  But it was a fun experiment anyway!

Someone else online had a similar idea.  His instruction are over at Instructables.com

ScreaminScott says “dig it up!”

Halloween Night 2013

410 Trick-or-treaters!

Four hundred and ten!

A new Stonehaven Manor record!

DSCN2308 (1024x768)

After all the traveling this past month, including the 3-day conference just before Halloween, I finally got everything set up (almost)  There were a few new things, like the sign above.  And the sign below:

DSCN2342 (1024x768)

And a few items didn’t make it into the yard this year (the  skeleton/rat tug of war and the moving spiders).

But when it’s all said and done, it was a good yard this year.  I was especially happy about the weather.  We had a lot of wind, with gusts up to 35 mph during the day.  But it completely died down in the evening, allowing my fog to stay low and slowwww…

DSCN2330 (1024x768)

I could come up with humorous quips for all the other pictures, but I’m tired.  So here’s a selection of pictures from this years Stonehaven Manor

DSCN2335 (1024x768) DSCN2316 (1024x768) DSCN2345 (1024x768) DSCN2309 (1024x768) DSCN2346 (1024x768) DSCN2361 (1024x768) DSCN2359 (1024x768) DSCN2323 (1024x768) DSCN2357 (1024x768) DSCN2336 (1024x768) DSCN2325 (1024x768) DSCN2334 (1024x768)

Happy Halloween!

A Sign of the Times

Home haunters like to name their haunts.  Some call them “Bob” or Sue” (OK, not really).  Others think up really elaborate names like “The Dungeon of Everlasting Torment” (Actually, that’s not bad.. let me make a note).

But I’ve been calling my humble yard haunt “Stonehaven Manor” for a few years, if only in my head.  Stonehaven is the main street that runs through our neighborhood and past our house. The name has a nice imposing feel to it.

So I decided to make a sign for the yard.  I have a lamppost  at the corner of the yard that was a perfect place to hang it.  I also created a little photo-op under the lamppost, with a bench and a skeleton for kids to sit and roll their eyes while parents take pictures (and teenagers to create in appropriate poses with the skeleton… but I digress).  So I hope that the name of the haunt will make it into at least some pictures for posterity.

I started with a mockup of the sign, out of cardboard and paper, to get the size right.

mockup

That cool font is “Ravenscroft”, which you can find at mickeyavenue.com.  It was inspired by the font used at Disney’s Haunted Mansion.  I learned about it from Doombuggies.com which is another fun site you should visit if you are interested in all things Haunted Mansion.

The sign went through several revisions in my head, but I always wanted it to look like a old weathered wooden sign.  So when I cut it out of 1/2″ insulating  foam, I carved lines into it to make it look like three wooden boards connected together.  I have no idea if this is the way signs are made, but it looked neat to me.

carve lines

That tool in the bottom right hand corner is a hotwire engraving tool from Hot Wire Foam Factory. That’s what I used to engrave the lines in the foam board, and the wood grain below:

wood grain

The picture above actually skips several steps after the carving of the wood grain.  First, I cut another piece of foam board to use for the back, making my sign 1″ thick.  Then I made some loops at the top to attach the sign to the lamppost.  Those are actually the corners of a plastic coat hanger, heated with a heat gun to soften and bend them a bit more, then painted black.   I carved out some channels in between the 2 pieces of foam and glued the plastic ‘loops’ in there, then glued both boards together.  Finally, I used a different hot wire tool (the sculpting tool) to trim off the corners and make the rough edges.

Then it was time to carve out the lettering. This is the same method I used for all my tombstones

carving

I printed off the lettering onto plain paper (I changed the font color to gray, just to save a little ink).  Then I glued the paper to the sign.  Here’s the trick : use Krylon Easy-Tack  temporary spray adhesive.  It doesn’t bond permenantly (kinda like a Post-It note).  I used a Dremel tool with a 1/8″ router bit and a drywall cutting attachment to carve out the lettering.

It takes a bit of practice to learn to approximate the shape of the letters when you can’t make all the sharp corners with the round router bit.  And you need to carve in short sections, since the foam will melt and create little hard balls of polystyrene that can gounge out your foam.  But still, its not too hard, and the results are great!

finished carving

After I was done with the carving, I ran a heat gun over the entire piece.  You can’t tell it in this picture, but it rounded sharp edges of the carvings a bit, while slightly melting and hardening the surface.  I practiced this on a piece of scrap first!

Now it was time for the paint.

finished painting

There is a trick for painting textured items like this.  It’s called “dry brushing”.  First I painted the entire sign a dark gray.  Then I dry brushed a lighter gray over the top.  Dry brushing involves wiping most of the paint off the brush (I did it by painting back and forth on a piece of newspaper), then lightly brushing over the surface of the sign.  This technique only leaves paints on the high points, which really reveals the texture.

sign mounted

Finally I just attached it to the lamp post with some ‘S’ hooks

All in all, I’m pretty proud of the result, if I do say so myself!

Stonehaven Manor is almost for Halloween!

 

 

On Target for Halloween

Well, Target  has gotten it’s act together and finally put out the Halloween goodies.

Skulls

Skulls

Target Halloween

Target Halloween

As expected, the Target merchandise is good quality.  I was especially excited to see the skeletons this year.

Posable Skeleton ($40)

While it’s not the $30 skeleton from Walgreen, it’s a good quality and price for $40.  I bought one.

My wife wants me to bring it in from the car because it’s creeping her out.

I’ll probably put it in my car.

Anyway here’s a few more pictures from the store.

Wall Art

Wall Art

Party Supplies

Party Supplies

Skull Salt/Pepper shakers

Skull Salt/Pepper shakers

Skeleton Feet bowl

Skeleton Feet bowl

Skeleton bowls and candle holders

Skeleton bowls and candle holders

Flavored Drink Mixers (Sorry for the fuzzy picture)

Flavored Drink Mixers (Sorry for the fuzzy picture)

 

I’m hoping these drink mixers (above) don’t sell well.  Then I can pick them up on sale after Halloween.  I love the cool skull bottles!

Margarita Mixers

Margarita Mixers

Ice cube tray with Gummy eyeballs

Ice cube tray with Gummy eyeballs

There’s ton’s more that I didn’t get pictures of.  So, as always…

ScreaminScott says drop by and ‘dig it up!’