Thursday, October 20, 2011

The End is Near!

Time to start Halloween. For a number of reasons, this will be our last Haunted House in Paradise. I am sad about ending our 16 + years of providing a safe and fun Halloween for the community. On the other hand, I am really looking forward to spending future Halloweens with my grandchildren in southern California!

For the last 10 years I have wanted to add the garden's side path to our Haunted House. Logistically it would have been a nightmare keeping track of all the people wandering through our front and back yard so we have never done the side path. But years ago my husband promised me I could do the side path for our last Halloween. The path is only 80 feet long, but it's narrow, with tree branches hanging over the path creating a perfect tunnel of foliage. Shrubs and perennials further enclose the path making this a very creepy place at night. I call this the "Tunnel of Terror." All of our other scenes have been balanced to provide just the right amount of entertainment for adults without scaring small children to tears. The Tunnel will be an in your face scare area - no small children allowed.

For starters I am making scarecrows out of Funkins I purchased at Michael's (70% off) after Halloween last year. If you've ever tried to carve a Funkin (foam pumpkin) you know what a pain in the ass they are. I purchased a small Stanley saw at OSH  and it does a pretty good job of carving the foam pumpkins. Since the pumpkins were white I had to paint the insides black and then spray paint the outside in a two step process. Each pumpkin will get a strand of orange mini lights. After painting all of the pumpkins I discovered the orange pumpkins didn't show up at night so I had to repaint all of them white! Nothing like doing the doing the work twice!

So anyway, here's the carving/saw knife I got at OSH.

Have I ever told you about spray construction foam? It's the best stuff ever invented (even better than duct tape.)  I used the foam to make pumpkin vines, hands and rib ages for scarecrows. Guts for the butcher's shop. Bubbling goop for the toxic waste barrels. And a camp fire for the witches cauldron. The vines were easy, I just sprayed 3 foot foam vines on a cloth. When dry, the foam peels right off of the fabric. 

Scarecrow hands were made from coat hangers that I cut to length and wrapped together. Using the foam I sprayed finger lengths of foam on paper and when it was almost dry I inserted the coat hanger wires into the foam. Once the foam was dry I peeled the paper off. Using scissors, I gave each finger a final shaping. 

To make the rib cage I drew it on cloth, then used the foam to "build" the bones. The cloth was draped over a roll of carpet to give the ribs some shape. Once the ribs were almost dry I spray painted the fabric between the bones with black paint. I painted the vines, hands and ribs with black, then white so they would show up good in the dark.  

I have been "haunting" thrift stores for the past year buying used black choir and graduation robes that I can use for my scarecrows. After a bunch of ripping, tearing and generally messing up the robes they will be ready for the scarecrows. Here's one of the finished scarecrows.

This is an upside down garbage can lid I filled with foam and bones, then spray painted. This goes in my Toxic Waste Room.

I also made a new guy for the Butcher Shop. I used an old piece of foam from the hot tub store to make a "body" and wrapped the foam in visquine. I then added a mask, painted the whole thing with blood and hung it upside down in the Butcher Shop. Unfortunately, the bloody paint on the mask has not dried (some kind of reaction to the soft plastic mask) so I have to figure out how to fix the wet stickiness.

We made a new character for the Deliverance scene. It's Ma and Pa's oldest son - Bubba. My friend Brenda helped me make Bubba, two new clowns and a witch this year. So much fun sharing the insanity with friends!

Our friend, Jerry Mendon with Mendon's Nursery, grew a lot of corn this year and he was kind enough to cut, bundle and save the stalks for me, so I have loads of corn for the "Tunnel of Terror."  This scare is really coming along. Last night we were doing a lighting check and I got the creeps just walking down the path. Imagine how much fun it will be with the volunteers jumping out!

I think it's a good thing this is our last year. My arthritis has been a big issue this year and the work has literally been a pain. We open tomorrow night and run for 10 straight days. We put a small notice in the Chico paper and the Paradise paper came by yesterday to take photos so I'm hoping for an extra good turnout this year (our last hurrah.)

1 comment:

  1. Amazing - Looks like everyone that visits your haunted place is going to have a fun time. You two are very talented in putting this all together.