Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Okay, I give up

I can't take it anymore. I want to try creating something out of papier maché. You all make the coolest stuff, but with all the raining, I cannot envision anything surviving outside for 32 days in October, in Portland, Oregon.

(my first monster mud maché prop for the yard and it was a lot of fun!)

So I am going to have to make some props for the party. They can stay warm and dry inside the two story shop that we decorate once all the props are outside.

And, like my yard, it has a theme, there is a church facade in front....so I have been going with the church idea on the inside. A dark and evil church, with the upstairs as a store room of relics that the church should not have :)

So my friends, since I won't put pumpkins in a graveyard.....I can guarantee you that I will not put them in the church. (Don't get me wrong, love pumpkins - just have to put them in the right setting.)

BTW - I have been very particular about having almost nothing religious in the yard (I have too much going on in October to worry about the crazy people protesting my yard :)

But as I have said, when it comes to the inside,all bets are off anything goes, as long as it is creative. (I have a few sketches of my own...but I always enjoy suggestions.)

So, people, what things can I make to decorate the inside of a (likely very evil and full of demons) church?

Monday, March 30, 2009

I lost something

We say that last year was the 10th Anniversary of the Davis Graveyard, but we are just counting the years we we are willing to admit to :)

If you go back to just me and my sister (and at times my youngest brother). We can go back a bit further.

All the way back to living in California - where we put on a haunted house at a friend's place. Check out the Davis Graveyard website for more details.

When we moved into the house we are in now. I believe a few years with nothing in the yard passed and then my sister moved up from California and we put a few store bought tombstones and a bad witch costume and mask on a stake. I believe that someone stole the plastic cauldron Halloween day. :(

Then my sister and I carved tombstones from foam with a steak knife and soldering iron the were wired to pieces of dowel staked in the ground. I remember them falling over a lot. We put a blucky hanging in the tree and some pumpkins down the driveway.

Added a few more tombstones the following year - and convinced husband to create body forms for my three witch costumes out of rebar, one straight piece and another piece bent in a U for the arms. They looked dreadful.

Then we learned to carve tombstones, similar to what we do now. We still did not paint them well, but they were an improvement. We spent many weekends in the fall carving by the outdoor fireplace as husband went off to Corvallis to watch his brother play college football. He laughed at us crazy people as he drove away.

Then the pumpkins got more elaborate and plentiful, they took a whole weekend to carve.

This went on for years until about 10 (11 now) years ago I found the plans for a FCG. I showed it to husband and asked him to build it for our shop window. He did. The response was amazing. We had people coming from all over just to see it. Husband was now hooked and ready to help.

So while he designed and built me structures and mechanical parts for all my crazy ideas. My sister and I learned to make mud men and carve foam to look like stone.

Each year we got better at making things so we replaced props and made more. We started in summer instead of fall. Although we had more help, we learned that we were in charge of all the small details, and there were a lot of them. We joked when we were planning that we had to make sure whatever we planned to do, although we had help, we, the two of us, had to be able to make it happen.

Up until last year (mostly), that was how it worked. She was my consistent partner in crime and would do anything we needed done from cleaning the patio to carving so many pumpkins, (including working on props during her vacation), helping with the events and handing out candy on Halloween. Looking back, I probably should have said "thank you" more often.

Honestly, this yard is a lot of work. It is not just something we set up on Halloween - it is now a large project, not just the props, but the whole process and the events attached to it, it can easily swallow your life.

I am living proof of that.

Last year, she had a lot going on and was not there as often. I got the feeling something was up.

So recently when we went to dinner with her and her new man, I asked (a bit jokingly) if she still wanted to be involved with the yard.

The rolling back of his eyes and look on her guys face told me what I suspected. She was done. She never said it directly.

But I am pretty sure I have lost something.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Attach of the robot spiders

One of our many helpful minions sent me this link for a robot CNC machine. Husband is a big techie person so I knew he would find this cool as hell :) But there is a surprising twist at the end that gave me shivers.

Because, as we know, I hate spiders, I found what it does when it is done completely creepy. Seriously, if I owned one, besides it NEVER being allowed in the house, it would have to go into a box every night. A box with a big padlock, put into a cupboard with another padlock....and I would probably prop a chair up against the door, you know, just in case....... and sleep with one eye open.

I go on to learn that they made the spider for the Harry Potter movie. I thought it looked familiar :)

I thought about getting one and making a creepy spider for the display. I would have it crawl down the driveway....but husband reminded me to go into EAD (Evil Artistic Director) mode and explain why there would be a spider coming out of the church and walking down the driveway.

What? You mean besides being creepy?

I hate when my logic turns on me :(

Congratulations husband!

Yesterday we got our copy of Haunted Attraction magazine and an article husband wrote on our video head project - the same presentation we gave at several conventions last year - is featured in this month's Haunted Attraction magazine.

Very nice four page article - I am so proud of him :)

This is a great issue , has lots of pictures of several haunts across the US - always good for ideas! I will get a link to it as soon as we get it posted on our website.

We also noticed our friend Dick Terhune, of Voice From Hell - who did the voice work for our animated coachman also wrote and article on marketing.
Can't hardly wait for Hauntcon!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do you notice something different?

It is very small....but I created a Favicon for this blog and the Davis Graveyard website. What is it? You see that small frog on the pumpkin image by the URL? That is a Favicon.

Here is a link that explains the basics

For Davis Graveyard I used the spider from my web page rather than our logo, because the logo was not recognizable in a 16 x 16 pixel image. I used Photoshop, but there are several other logo creators available.


You can save the file with the correct extension when you download this plug in for Photoshop.

There also ways to create the image in MS Paint and use an online tool to generate the .ico file.

You should put the link information it in the section of the code, and make sure the path to the icon is correct, relative to the web page.

You should see your image to the left of your URL next time you visit your site.

So, I decided to create one for my blog.

Here is a link to a blog that has a very easy walk thru for creating your own.

This blog has great walk thru that shows you where to put the code. You should have your own custom Favicon in no time.

(Also simplified the color scheme to make it easier to read :)

I know, this blog is full of useless information :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Davis Graveyard

Did anyone see their video? Who are these hacks anyway? Seriously, has anyone seen this display? What do they think they are doing? Total rubbish - well most of it at least.


In the last few months I have gotten a comments and a couple emails from people who do not know that when I jabber on about my haunt. I am in fact, talking about

I think I need to put a frog on a pumpkin in a corner of the display somewhere :)

The Candy Monster

It really exists!

For those of you who watched the Haunters Videos and wondered what the *&%! was up with that weird Dr. Warenskistein Star Wars intro type story submission.

Well, here is the intro we gave our crew when it came up during this weekends official "Video Party".

When we were in Salt Lake this past summer visiting the Rocky Mountain Haunters convention we met Dr. Warenskistein and got to see the actual, mostly-done, "Candy Monster."

It is a great idea and one he said he has had since childhood. :) What you did not see is that he is about 6 feet tall, made of about a million Popsicle sticks, packing tape, bailing wire, bubble gum and an erector set or two :)

Okay, maybe only a half a million Popsicle sticks. :)

(Actually, I just remember seeing a lot of work - I made up the parts list :)

Truth of the matter is that it is very sad that there is no footage because the amount of work he put this prop is nothing short of staggeringly impressive. A bit crazy (but then aren't we all) but quite a marvel to behold.

Seeing the heart and soul he put into that project, you could not help but be proud of it.

So when I read the story, I could envision the costume getting caught in the gears, the head falling off....him patching it back together. Him losing control and it tipping over :(

I am so happy he decided to at least submit the funny story.

It made me laugh. Laughing is good. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Poor, poor

Grant. (Who lives in Edmonton, that is practically in Alaska. Yikes! )

Grant is a fun guy. We look forward to hanging with him each year when he comes down for Frightfest NW. Very generous with his time and talents, he not only carves foam, but he also does great black light painting.

Grant is one of the Frightfest BC haunters that turned in a video that showed his haunt, well, mostly on the ground, because of a wind storm.

Every year I pray for no wind. Because that facade in front of the garage is basically a big foam kite. In October if the wind gusts over 10 miles and hour, I start to whimper.

So this year he was plagued by wind. I believe he said last year that he could not take his props down until spring.....because it was frozen and covered in snow.

I would move :)

In the video he swears he is "Done with this shit!" Which he might be, because, I kid you not, he recently got a job carving tombstones, real tombstones. I guess that makes the foam ones seem a bit less interesting.

Monday, March 23, 2009

This is the first

of a few Red Dwarf posts. Let me be the first to say OMG! and do a happy dance!

They have filmed a new Red Dwarf special with the original cast!!

Hands down, the weirdest lyrics for a theme song ever.

I have been trying to wade through the first two seasons of Buffy - and it is killing me! (I don't see the attraction people.....seriously, I am trying...but it is a bit painful....) So I am so glad to see something to look forward to!! (oh, yeah, besides Doctor Who coming back around Easter.)

It has been too long since Rimmer, Lister, Cat and Kryten have graced my TV set. Yes, the series (started in the late 80's) is very dated, but I still find it funny. Something about campy UK Sci-Fi shows that I just love.

As you know, but fan of the new Doctor Who, but I fell in love with the show as a kid with Tom Baker. Oh, and the original Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The pinnacle of low budget special effect UK Sci-Fi shows :)

So here is the trailer for the upcoming show: (unfortunately, just/mostly clips from the old series)

Friday, March 20, 2009

I miss

my scarecrow.

I have given away and traded many of my props - many of them I never think of again. But this one haunts me (pun intended), selling him was a mistake. Death Studio no longer makes this mask so I cannot replace it.

He went in the year that I took a good look at the yard (with my Evil Artistic Director looking glass) and said....hum, why would there be a scarecrow in a cemetery? Or pumpkins?

And why are a bunch of monk figures coming down the driveway - they need a church or something, or they have to go.

So I gained the famous church facade,

but the following year I got rid of the scarecrow, and I have not carved a pumpkin since. (I have to be honest, carving 20 or so pumpkins every year was a big task....and not something I miss all that much.)

So last year I decided to create a scarecrow for my gated flower garden in the backyard. I did not finish him but I will this year, and I might have to add a few pumpkins. :)

"Weird as Hell"

That is a direct quote from a friend of ours who got the Haunters DVD set.

She says, "Did anyone see the Davis Graveyard video? Weird as Hell!"

Well, now that you mention it. I suppose it is.

It is just what happens when you know that you have no chance of winning an award and you need to get something out there to represent the yard. The sad truth is that there was so little usable video footage this year that we really had to chop and hack and piece together what you see, many of the features of the yard are missing in both photos and video. Part of the reason you get to see set up and take down images. (Normally pieces we keep for the crew - the ones that might actually care to see that part :)

Husband was just humoring me by using Christopher Walken reciting The Raven, because he knows I am such a fan of Poe and Walken :)

When I asked what about Vincent Price (and he knew I would)....he told me that his version was over 10 minutes......we don't really have enough material for the 8 minutes of our current version.

- hum....not what I wanted to hear -

I think the thing that drives husband the most crazy when we are creating the video is me asking "What about video/pictures of _________?"

He takes a deep breath and says "We don't have any."

Which is always followed by me saying "Really, are you sure?"

"Yes, really." He says, as nicely as he can, for the 100th time.

We do this for days until I finally resign myself to the fact that this is the best I am going to get and once again resolve that I will get better footage next year......which never happens :)

I think I am going to add a "filming/photo" night to the calendar - a weekday night that I don't advertise to the public - when we turn on all the effects and focus on filming and photography. I think it is a great idea!

If husband is reading this blog....he is going to kill me :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What do you do to say

"thank you" to the entire Milwaukie Police force who do a great job of watching our yard every year? You help sponsor their annual awards dinner, sponsor I mean supply the beer and wine:)
Aren't we nice :)

Well, they let us close the street for five hours every year and supply police cadets and police cars at each end of the street to make sure that the thousands of people that visit on Halloween stay safe and sound.

Anyone that has been by the property on Halloween night will tell you this is not just a good idea, it is a necessity! We live on the corner of a very busy street that gets over 10,000 cars through each day. So you can imagine the commotion the yard display causes! Halloween night is pure chaos :)

It is a good thing that the fence around the house is real, because a PVC fence could not hold back the tide of people at the front gate.

So tonight we are going to go talk to our amazing police force and our neighborhood businesses about what a great job everyone is doing to keep our city safe.

And hope that we are doing everything we can to keep the display from getting shut down. :)


Frog on a pumpkin
Frog on the Pumpkin from the Killer Pumpkin site. He has the best valentines day card/print I have ever seen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bigger is better

yes, I said it :))

I was talking about the Haunters Video Award bases...people, really :)

Husband and I have been looking at the Haunters Video Awards for days (they are sitting on a cabinet in the dinning room.) Anyway, after staring at them we have decided that the white bases are just too small/short to apply a readable plaque.

So we are going to get "pedestal" bases, similar to the ones the HauntX awards came one. they are at least 2 inches tall. Much easier to make a plaque for.

So, we are off searching for a vendor for the new bases. We will update the picture on the site as soon as the bases are in.

I need to find a sponsor for these for next year :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No way, never

never, never, ever, never ever - no.

There is no force in the 'verse (it always comes back to Firefly, always) that would make me do this.

To me this has to be the scariest thing - ever.

Don't even think about doing this to me.

I would kill you for trying. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Only if you have

a sense of humor - and I mean a good, working, open minded, not easily offended sense of humor - should you click on this link.

I found it hysterical.

Thanks to Toph ("the other Chris" ) for sharing this with me.

I should just

do it, and not ask if husband cares if I just paint the footsteps directly on the steps. Since the ones from last year turned into a moldy mess, meaning I have to redo them anyway.

Also, we have never been too happy with the feet. We took pieces of thin wood, painted black and then painted a footstep in UV sensitive paint (not glow in the dark.) UV because we want the footsteps to glow and then go to black when the next step is lighted. This is one of the more complicated props in the yard because it involves a video projector, a Prop1 w/an AP-8 and a DC-16, sound activated relay, 10W amp, special black light LEDs, painted feet, seperate speakers and a solenoid that rattles the gate.

See, I have the best husband - he can create almost any crazy idea I come up with. He is wonderful (I say this, because he is, and I need some props for this year :)

A great effect, but we didn't get any usable footage. So, here is how the effect works.

When you see the video with the ghost coming out of the front door (that is the other Chris) you are only seeing part of that effect. The rest of it includes footstep sounds, as if the ghost is walking down the stairs. These continue to get louder to give the idea that the ghosts is actually walking towards the stairs and down to the gate.

By about the 4th step down black light LEDs light up footsteps on each step coming down the stairs, then at the last step, the chained-up gate rattles as if the ghost is trying to get out.

It is the only "jumpy" type effect we have, we keep it a bit quiet and low key to keep the watchers from jumping backwards into the street and potentially getting hit by a passing car. :)

Got a lot of comments on that effect this year, just sorry that I don't have any footage to share. Maybe next year.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Softly, gently, wafting


(You Dr. Horrible fans thought I was going to say curtains :)

I would love my static monks to have flowing fabric - that moved slightly in the breeze with the fog drifting by.......

I have been watching the haunt videos and you have no idea how jealous I am of people that have billowing fabric on their props. Especially the famous Hallowed Haunting Ground ghost....I was talking with husband about any way to treat fabric so that it doesn't get soaked with rain and just stick to itself or the body of the prop.

But anything we could think of, dipping in latex, spraying with scotch guard, will keep the fabric from getting wet, but it will stick to itself. :(

I know I need to give this dream up, and just do what I already do better.

It's alive! It's alive

So, I am digging through one of the boxes of decor items for the yard to look for something I stupidly said I would lend to my work for a party....I will never learn. When I open up one of the tubs, there is this rectangle fuzzy thing stuck to the side of the tub. It appears to be moving.

My first thought, because I hate spiders is to, jump back, hit my head on the low part of the ceiling and think OMG! That better not be some massive spider web/nest type thing. If it is, I will have to burn everything in the tub!!

I rub my head and gingerly peer back in the tub, telling myself that it was too big to be spider nest. (At least I hope it is. ) Upon closer inspection I learn that it is just mold - yuk, we put everything away in a hurry and wet this year (ah, there is a reason for that, if you were there, you know why) and apparently there must have been something on the "feet" for the walking ghost effect. Because what was once eight black pieces of wood with UV footsteps painted on them is now one big moldy brick that would likely grow real feet soon and crawl out of the container to conquer the world or at least eat some unsuspecting neighborhood pet!

For a moment I think that maybe I could clean them off and repaint them. but when they come out as one big piece that I cannot pry apart, they promptly end up in the garbage. Yuk, and then I spray the rest of the things in the tub with half a can of Lysol.

At this point I still have not found what I am looking for, so I open another tub.

OMG!! For real this time.

Those are real spider webs, and a lot of them. Not all together, just criss-crossed back and forth and all around in the tub of skulls with spikes that are used for the front gate. I am mildly curious on how many webs there are, so I pop the lid back open.

Okay, seen enough! It is closed now. Snapped it shut tight. For a brief moment I wonder how much superglue we have on hand.....

I know that tub, I have it committed to memory. Next year, when we are setting up, I am not going to open it. I am half tempted not to tell anyone about it and see what happens next September when someone else opens it :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On a lighter note

because that last post was just too depressing.

So now for something silly.

After watching the videos so far I know this.

I want to find the "blucky" (blow moulded skeleton) factory and destroy all their molds.

Someone has to stop this horror!! It is my duty to the world. :))

I knew I should have

skipped the Cody memorial video. Some may say it is long, but they used all the footage they could find, because that is all we are ever going to have. I was doing okay until the photo montage and the song. Yeah, couldn't take that.

It so sad to think we will never see him again.

I had to take a break after that and give husband a hug. It is so very sad.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Being clever

This is husbands clever lolcat attempt to let me know that the Haunters Video DVDs arrived today.

Apparently Dorie and husband are at home watching videos. :)

Some improvement

I reworked the Haunters Video Awards site this weekend. Fixed a few problems, but still not completely happy. My motivation was that we got the awards from Ghost Ride on Friday, so we took a picture to put on the site so that people could see the new awards. We also updated the site with the volunteer judge information.

The version of the awards are a golden skulls, similar to the Golden Bucky Awards (the original version of these haunt video awards.) Quite nice, a lot shorter than the Haunt X awards.

The only thing that I am thinking of changing is the base. They are very small and the plaques will only be 1/2 high. Barely room to fit the title. I am going to contact Ghost Ride to see if they have bases we can change out, if not I will cost getting larger ones made.

Happy Haunting.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

But this is cool

So, when I was looking up the Vampire wine site to link to my blog I found this offer from the distributor.
It is a Chateau Du Vampire package with two bottles of wine and both versions of the Lost Boys DVDs. Very cool.
They have a whole line of Vampire style items at a site called Wicked Old Wines Online. Perfect site for the vampire fans.
I am not a big shopper, unless it is online, so I am so excited to find this site. I am going to pick a few items up for the wine auction, gifts for friends and I think a few for door prizes for our Halloween party.

It has to be better

than the Vampire wine sold at Halloween. I have tried it, not impressed (both the cab and the merlot.)

So I was happy to find this wine, Ghost Pines, (I picked up the Cab, my favorite) when I was shopping the other day, a bit more spendy than the Vampire wine....I am hoping that is a good sign. Going to try it with dinner tonight.
Tasting notes to follow. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just to show how much

I liked Friday the 13th The Series (I got season 2!! Yeah!!)

I made a tombstone for the yard a few years back. I had a contest to see if people could find the references for most of my tombstones. This one stumped everyone. Not a single person came up with it (without help.)

No big surprise I guess.

To this day, it is one of my favorite tombstones. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

The videos are coming! The videos are coming!

Yes! Husband just told me that he talked to Paul and he put the DVDs in the mail today!!! If we are really lucky, we will have them on Monday!!

I can hardly wait to see what everyone has done!!! Seven disks of haunt stuff!! So happy!

Oh, and Mike said he is shipping the awards to us shortly!!! Let the fun begin.

Favorite TV shows

Wait there was one TV show in the last decade that I liked

Dead Like Me

First of all, I will watch anything with Mandy Patikin (you know, Indigo Montoya from Princess Bride) in it. I came across it again because one of my design sites listed it in the top 35 show intros ever made. Cool!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The music

matters. Yes it does, especially in horror films! Been spending some time digging through old soundtracks for other projects. I am inspired. I downloaded the sheet music to Halloween, I am going to learn to play the theme on my piano. . . in this lifetime :) At least that is what I am saying today :)

Anyway after posting Billy Connolly it made me think about my second favorite comedian. Eddie Izzard. One of his earliest recorded routines (back when he was still working on his tranny look....I notice the horrible 80's/90's legging nightmare spared no one!)

He has given some thought to the whole horror soundtrack issue and has come up with some very sound observations.

The sound is terrible. I know. It was terrible on the original VHS tape, it was still terrible when they released it on DVD (finally) a few years ago. So just turn up the volume and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Board up the windows!

After you let the cat in of course.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

This is one of the reasons

I never had children. Nothing wrong with them, just not for me. They are great and all, don't get me wrong, love all my friends kids, enjoy buying them presents.....just never wanted any of my own. Husband and I cannot even make the commitment to have a dog. :)

So, last night I am at Red Robin - I know, chain restaurant, but do you know how hard it is to train a restaurant to make a vegetarian cobb salad (without any chicken or bacon), with extra other toppings? They usually look at you like you are an alien and you get a salad with a big hole where the chicken and the bacon should have been......and you are still charged $12. We have worked hard to get this particular restaurant trained! Plus they have large tables where we can bring "the book" (Davis Graveyard Planning Guide) and talk about what we need to do next, in a quiet environment.

Anyway, I had a point.....

Yes, we noticed recently that the bar at our particular restaurant has started seating families with children.....in the bar. Where the children get bored and proceed to wander the bar, knocking pictures off the walls and climbing on other tables.

All I have to say, is if I had done that in any restaurant as a child, I would not be here now blogging - I would be in an actual cemetery :)

Last night we have the staff in the bar singing happy birthday to an 11 year old.....and then about 15 minutes later, again at another table they sing happy birthday to a 3 three old - a 3year old in the bar. Okay, I really don't want to judge, but seriously - this is a huge restaurant with large tables for families everywhere (the bar has about 10 tables) and you choose to have your kids birthday dinner in the bar. Where the view is a large collection of bottles of liquor.

What? Are you kidding me? I am sorry, but that just seems wrong to me. Can't say why exactly, I just know that I could not do it.

It reminds me of this routine by our favorite comedian, Billy Connolly, where he talks about how someone asked him to put out his cigar in the bar. WARNING - ADULT LANGUAGE.

We are going to have to find a new place for salads.

Monday, March 2, 2009

You would think

with all the Halloween stuff I deal with, scary movies, ghosts stories, creepy cemeteries in faraway lands that almost nothing could scare me. But each year, around this time something scary happens, a simple two word thing, it seems harmless, but it is not. Actually I am finding them hard to type right now...but here goes

Annual Report
(cue screaming and Psycho music)

No matter where I have worked, I have hated that project. How can just a few pages cause me so much anxiety and grief? It is scary and not in the good way.

I was thinking about it as I was driving to work ...and thought, maybe it is my attitude, what can I do to make this fun? Then I thought I could make a Davis Graveyard Annual Report - something fun and creepy and I am the only one who has to sign off on it and not every important or semi-important person in the organization who also has an opinion and second guesses EVERYTHING....just me. Oh, and maybe husband.

Then I thought about how much work that would be and started screaming, which I thought was just in my head, but the cars next to me started looking me and I realize....oops, I said that out loud.

So see, they are scary in any form.

Blog Archive