Thursday, July 22, 2010

A yard haunt or

not?

Some odd things have been happening in the background of the Davis Graveyard this past year. Since we needed to make some decisions about how to update the Haunter's Video Awards categories, I have been thinking about things a lot.

(Completely distracting me from prop making, and that sucks!) This post has been written and re-written for months. I have often thought of completely deleting it.....but it really haunts me (pun intended) and I have to say this is always in the back of my mind. . So I thought sharing it might help me understand it better.

This year, on several occasions, I have found myself out of place (in the this haunt world.) I thought I knew what I was, but I am finding that I don't anymore. Up until recently, I called myself a haunter.

But more occasions than I care to remember, I have been told well,....something to the effect of "Your stuff is not exactly scary."

True, creepy, yes...definitely not scary.

Is there or should there be a distinction between a "haunter" and "yard display"? If so, how is that quantified? What does it mean to have a "yard or home haunt"? I have been thinking......

What is a "haunt"?

You don't walk through my yard/garage/house, it is just a display. I get asked at least 10 times a day when will we "open" the inside of the church. They are usually disappointed when I tell them that it is just a facade and there is nothing inside.

They tell me that I really should have a "haunted house." I have no desire to a do that again - ever.

So, since you don't "walk-thru" my yard, is what I do a haunt? So, how does "scary" fit in? I don't really have anything in my display that is "scary" - unless you are a kid or very easily frightened.

With the exception of a few props, almost nothing in the yard even moves. I am purposely gore-free.

No monsters jump out or run after you, having you run away screaming, is a worthy goal, just not mine.

The short of it is, since no one walks through my display, and I don't "scare" people - is the display really a haunt?

Upon reflection I am beginning to believe that my goals are contrary to "haunting".

My desire is to be creepy and detailed. When I tell people silly stuff like ....

I have spent too much time hand painting every fake flower or vine in my yard gray to match the color scheme.

I have a set of skeleton keys that hang off the belt of the grave keeper. They are the keys to the mausoleum that is closed each day and opened each night...In my back story, that is what the gravedigger does. I can guarantee you, no one notices.

The "mourner", the standing monument of a woman has bare feet (that we cast) sticking out under her shroud, you will never see them.

I am going to stop there, because the impractical details are numerous; and I think you get the point. I know and I am sure you will agree, none of these items "scare" anyone.

Many believe that scaring people is the whole point.

So why would I not want to do that?

"Because it is not me" with a grin was my answer. "I like it fine...just not what I do best."

Worked for me for a long time. It felt right, I never questioned it. But this year several times, I have found myself feeling uncomfortable, like I should be apologizing for not playing by some undefined set of rules.

Usual responses from haunters are "I would never waste time on that stuff." or "Why don't you do "insert jump out and scare you prop" here?"

In that light, I guess I don't have an answer other than, just not my style.

We were recently called eye candy. I think it was meant to be an insult, but fair enough. I see their point.

Most haunters (who I love and appreciate) spend their time, energy, money and a large part of their yard or garage (even house) in the noble and much needed pursuit of creating a whole experience designed to make you scream.

I think generally, most yard and professional haunters would call that a haunt (and I do love them, all of them, home and pro haunts, have been through more than most and I never get tired of it). And I really have no problem with that definition. None at all. The label attached to what we create makes no difference to me.

I am just wondering, if I am not a haunt? What am I? When it comes to home haunting, should there be a distinction between types of haunts?

I call the Davis Graveyard a yard display these days.

Since talking has a lot to do with my problem, I am thinking of stopping talking to haunters, ah, .....er and maybe just people in general :D

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