On the Fence

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We put the fence up around the whole yard before adding any further decorations.  I neglected to do that one year, and some of my tombstones grew legs and walked to another yard.

Funny how that happens.

I’m sure it was all in good fun, but I make sure the fence is up first these days, to keep wandering decorations at home.

The first items to get placed outside are the cemetery columns.  These are the starting point for installing the entryway arch and gates, as well as the cemetery fence that surrounds the yard.

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These columns are just big plywood boxes, painted to look like brick.  My secret painting tool? A brick-sized sponge!  The gargoyles on top were bought on sale from Target  around Halloween.  They aren’t really designed to be used outdoors, but for the short haunting season, they are fine.

Next, the arch:

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The arch is a collection of 2X2 lumber for the uprights, 1X2 lumber for the cross piece, and corrugated plastic for the ornamental ‘ironwork’.

You can find the corrugated plastic at any sign-supply store.  I got mine from N. Glantz & Son in Dallas.  I bought a 4X8 foot sheet, and they cut it in half so it would fit in my car.  I traced out the design with a white crayon, then used a jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade to cut out the designs.  The cut was a little ragged, but you can trim it with a good utility blade.

The gates are just like the fence sections, with 1X2 lumber and 1/2-inch PVC pipe.  They sag a bit, which annoys me, but my wife assures me no one will notice. She points out that it’s supposed to be a haunted cemetery and look old and decrepit.  She says these things, not just because she is right, but to save me from fiddling with it for the entire month of October.

I like her.  I think I’ll keep her.

The fence is made from 1/2-inch PVC irrigation pipe and 1X2 lumber.  Below you can see the unpainted lumber after I made some much needed repairs.

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The fence slides over 2-foot lengths of steel reinforcing bar (rebar). The fence posts are then attached to the fence before adding the next section. At Stonehaven Manor, the fence holds up the posts, not the other way around.

We’re weird that way.

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The fence posts themselves are made from 2-inch PVC pipe, with an endcap, and topped with a re-purposed skull drink container.

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You can get these from Oriental Trading company.  Before painting, they look like this:

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The finials on the fence are made from the same corrugated plastic as the arch.

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The lamppost on the corner is the same 2-inch PVC pipe, with a clearance-bought carriage light from Home Depot on top.

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I soldered the light into an extension cord for power, then frosted the glass with spray-on glass frosting.  Add a flicker bulb and it looks great!

As for the sign, you can check out my Sign of the Times post for more information and pictures.

Next up… Tombstones!!!

 

Digging up the bodies.. er… decorations

For the past few weeks, I’ve been pulling decorations out of the attic and trying to find time to put everything up before the big night.  One of the first things to go up were the window decorations.  Nothing particularly spooky about these, I just think they look cool.  Black and orange are the traditional colors of Halloween, and I like having the entryway in these colors.

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The side windows are images from, believe it or not, Martha Stewart.  They were originally for paper lanterns, but I resized them for the windows.  Click on these links for the images: Table Lanterns & Hanging Lanterns.

The top windows are cutout paper spider webs backed by orange tissue paper.  I don’t have the original pattern anymore, but Google “snowflake spiderweb” and would will find many instructions for practically the same thing.

The next decorations to go up were the pumpkins in the window on the landing.

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I try to carve a new foam pumpkin every year, and display them in the top window above the front door.  I used to just stack them up, and keep them in the window with fishing line strung back and forth.  But that fragile balance was just too much of a pain.  So I built a shelf.  If you have a similar window at your house, you might try the same thing.

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Each foam pumpkin is lit with a small 4-watt bulb.  I use a clip-in cord, used for lighting those ceramic holiday houses.  It looks like this:

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They sell these at craft stores.  Print the picture before you go there to buy one.  The employees will have no idea what you’re talking about.  Trust me.

In the next post, we move to outside!

Halloween at Target – Part 2

Well, I headed back to Target after the employees were done stocking the shelves.  It still looks like there are a few bare spots, but almost everything seems to be out on the floor.

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Personally, I think these dishes would look better holding human body parts, rather than candy.  But that’s just me…

Target_2014_part2 (11)Target_2014_part2Target_2014_part2 (9)Target_2014_part2 (6)The Skulls above would repeat your words.  I don’t have video because the employees and customers were already looking at me funny, and I didn’t want to be seen talking to the decorations.

However, I do have some videos of this owl and raven/crow.

ScreaminScott says “Dig it up!”

Halloween at Target 2014 (Part 1)

After several days of empty Halloween shelves, Target finally started stocking Halloween merchandise.  I wanted to take pictures of everything. But the employees were falling over me as I got down onthe floor to get close-ups of the Cat Skeleton.  So I decided to split these pictures into 2 parts.  I’ll post more after the shelves are fully stocked (and I’m not tripping Target employees).  So here we go….

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As you can see in the picture above, there are still a few items missing.  But the important stuff is out… Skeletons!

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And more skeletons…

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Lots of skeletons!

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Bird skeletons…

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Cat Skeletons (Some would say that this is the best use for a cat.  Not I, but some would)

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This Resin Griffin was a good deal for $25.  (The white stuff is just bits of foam packing material.)

Other assorted goodies…

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This little display had a fan that blew tiny ‘bats’ around the house while playing spooky sounds.

And don’t forget the Halloween greeting cards on the way out of the store!

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Stay tuned for part 2!

ScreaminScott says “Dig it up!”

Halloween at Dollar Tree

Took a quick jaunt to our local Target store to see if any of the Halloween merchandise was up (it wasn’t).  So I meandered next door to browse through Dollar Tree.  Last time I was there, they only had a few items, but they are fully stocked now.  Here’s a grave full of pictures for you:

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I’d like to point out this item, because it’s not clear what it is.  This is sort of like a ‘bobble head’ skull, but the spring is too strong for the head to ‘bobble’ much.  But you could paint it gold or silver and it would make a great trophy for a Halloween party costume contest!

Check out the rest of the pictures below (click on any picture for a larger version)

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ScreaminScott says “Dig it up!”

 

Halloween at Lowe’s

As I was picking up supplies for another Halloween project (updates soon to come!), I spied this collection of Halloween decorations at Lowe’s Home Improvement in Dallas.

The largest decoration was this hanging caged skeleton.  It had a motion sensor that would set it screaming and shaking when you walked past.  To be honest, the shaking wasn’t all that noticeable – I think it needs a larger motor for the size.  It appeared to be about 5-6 feet tall.  Check out the short video clip below.

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There were a few other animated decorations, some of which were were not set up or not yet plugged in.

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This illuminated skull had a interesting lighting effect.  The video below doesn’t do it justice.

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There was a good selection of inflatables this year.  I was especially impressed by the Dragon and Archway Haunted House

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And, other assorted Halloween items…

 

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SceaminScott says “dig it up” at Lowe’s!

 

Feeling Bookish

I found some neat faux book boxes at a Michaels Arts and Crafts store, while looking for Halloween items.  I immediately knew I had to try out Dave Lowe’e Creepy Book treatment on one.  I like the end result on the test run:

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I started with a small book box to test out the idea.

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I used a diluted mixture of Mod Modge, brushed on top of a crumpled paper towel, to give the ‘leather’ effect.  You really have to soak it.  Crumpling the paper towel beforehand will help create creases.  Take care to avoid bubbles.  Even after it dries they will look more like bubbles than wrinkled leather. I trimmed and wrapped the edges around the edge of the cover.  THis was a bit messy, since I didn’t know exactly the dimensions of the crumpled paper towel before it was applied to the book.  I ended up with a very messy pair of scissors as I cut the cluey paper towel  But I don’t know what other way I could do it, since the paper won’t lay completely flat until the Mod Podge is applied.

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After it was dry (about a day), I broke out some acrylic paints for the final step.  I decided on some burnt umber for the outside and black for the inside. The ‘bark brown’ make be used later to dry brushing highlights.

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This is the end result.  The odd partial leather effect on the inside cover is a result of me changing my mind halfway through the process.  I originally intended to apply the paper towel on the inside as well, but changed my mind.  I’ve decided that this was more of a trial run instead of a final product.

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Here’s a closeup of the ‘leather’ effect.  It could probably benefit from a wash of diluted black paint for shadows, and a dry-brush of lighter brown to bring out the highlights.  But I’m happy with it so far.

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So check out your local crafts store.  These books are spring and summer items, and should be heavily discounted.

ScreaminScott says “dig it up!”