Normally, I’d put this on my other blog, but since Halloween falls on a Bitchspot day, it’s going to wind up here this year. I am now and have always been a huge Halloween nerd, I grew up building haunted houses and decorating the yard and scaring the crap out of all comers, back in the good old days where you could get away with that kind of thing. And as I got older and got married, I never lost that. My opinion was always go big or go home and I always did. In fact, we had a house on 16 acres for many, many years where I intended to go ridiculously massive in my haunt efforts.
Two things changed that. First, society got a lot more litigious and you couldn’t do anything open to the public, at least anything big open to the public, without carrying a ton of insurance and secondly, the house we lived in got no trick or treaters. None. We got, I kid you not, two people coming to the door, total, over the course of 17 years. And why bother putting up decorations if nobody was ever going to see them? So over the years, the displays got smaller and smaller until eventually, I just gave up.
So when we moved into the middle of a neighborhood, it was an opportunity to get back to it. Last year, we had been here for only a couple of months and I was working 70+ hours a week so I had no time at all to decorate. My daughter handed out candy and we got a pretty decent turnout, so I knew that this year, I wanted to actually do something.
The problem is, a lot of our decorations are gone. We weren’t using them so we had thrown a lot out, sold a lot and some things were just not stored well so they deteriorated over the years. So when we started looking at what we had, we knew we had to start building. This year isn’t going to be extravagant, but we’re sure doing more than anyone else in the neighborhood, at least so far.
Unfortunately, where we live now is really, really windy. You might remember last year, a wind storm ripped our roof clean off. So wind, especially in the spring and fall, is always an issue and this is no different. Everything gets destroyed. All of our props have been damaged, some severely. In fact, I’ve had to bring in a lot of props and reinforce them because they have literally self-destructed in the wind. Our flying ghost in our graveyard exploded into a dozen pieces, so much so that I have had to brace it upright with 6′ rebar stakes driven into the ground, such that it literally can no longer move. And we’ve had tombstones blow up, even the ones with plywood backers. I have had to replace the 1/2″ plywood with 2x4s to have any hope of standing up in the wind. One of our other stand-up props now has 150 lbs of rocks piled on it’s base to keep it from falling over, because 100lbs wasn’t enough!
It might not be so bad if I could just drive rebar into the ground, but we have super high clay soil that is as hard as a rock and digging in it at all is nigh impossible. If you get it wet, it dries as hard as concrete, meaning anything that I bury is going to be there forever with no hope of getting it out. So just about everything is surface mounted and weighted with as much weight as I can get on it.
Luckily, we’re pretty much set, as I write this, for Halloween. All of the props have been strengthened as much as humanly possible, everything we’re building has been built and I’ve already placed some orders for things to do for next year. Because while we’re still the top haunt out there in the neighborhood at the moment, this is nothing compared to what we’re going to be doing next year and going forward. It feels really good to be back in the game. This is going to be fun!