Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Night

The big night is finally here. A few thoughts from the Sweeney spirits:

The haunted basement will operate from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. The line will form on the driveway. It can get long, but it moves pretty quickly. If the line wraps the the sidewalk, we'd request you respect our props so they'll be good in shape for next year. Don't lean on the fence, don't hit the column dweller with your plastic weapons etc. We thank you for your courtesy.

The haunted basement is best for kids 5 to 11 and parents, of course. Younger kids are welcome but it could be too scary for them. Older kids can still have a good time but may not find the basement quite scary enough.

Candy is first come, first serve. We have an ample supply, however, we've run out each come late at your own peril.

Be nice to the ghouls and they'll be nice to you. Touch nothing and nothing will touch you.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gothtoberfest 2006

Fun site for Halloween fans. Any SFH attendees recognize a certain laugh heard in the background?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sweeney Family Horror '06

A brief summation of this year's yard haunt. Nothing new, unfortunately. If you've driven by, you'll hear that we modified the story to mention a vampire. This was a new static prop we had intended to build, however, delays in getting the mask, kept us from making him part of the yard haunt. He still may make it into the haunted basement, we'll see. Hope everyone is having a spooky good Halloween season.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Installation Saturday

It was a great Fall day, perfect for installing this year's yard haunt. Sort of new, is the fence. Our old one will be taking a one way to the dump. This one looks much better and installed in half the time. Amy took her brush to it, and it was transformed from suburban to spooky in just less than an hour.

Here's the blank canvas, gives you a good look at how empty the columns really are.

Stuff is beginning to fill in. For tonight's opening, the column drop panel won't be active. We're still waiting on a repair for the controller that drives the lights, sound and action that go with this prop. So, I just hooked the strobe inside to a motion detector so that passersby would at least trigger something. Seemed to work pretty well.

It's good to see old friends finding their place. We have two of these column gargoyles. An internet purchase. They make our fence columns all the cooler.

The roof gargoyle is back. Take a good look. I don't believe the mask that makes his face so pretty can last another year. It's splitting and cracking. In a lot of places. May need to try to find some kind of replacement next year. You can see a new creepy cloth treatment. We still need to add some more I think. There's not much in the package. And it's really just cheesecloth so...

Once again, our venerable reaper found his place. He provides an interesting contrast to our fading garden. He does a good job. We watched more than one person stop and listen to the show thanks to him.

Our resident corpse found a new home this year as part of the main scene. We'd always used him elsewhere. He is "emerging" in front of the rocking tombstone this year.

Getting closer to finished. Along the way today, we were rewarded by several of you stopping by to say hello and telling us you're glad the Sweeney Family Horror is materializing again, this year. Just so you know, that means a lot to us. Normally, this day is a little stressful for me, however, I had a good time getting things rigged this year. We tried a new lighting scheme thanks to some tips from Skull and Bone, and I have to say, I was very pleased. If we can get some decent night pictures we'll share. In the meantime, thanks a ton S&B.

The Halloween season is here. Stay tuned to this address for more updates.

FAQ for 2006

Welcome friends to SFH 2006. Let's get right to your questions:

Where do you get all this stuff?
We make most of it ourselves. We've learned how from some of the Web sites we link to. We also buy some of the stuff that's beyond our time or talent to make from other "haunters." As a last resort, we'll add some stuff in from the Halloween stores. However, we encourage you to avoid the high prices and poor quality that's all to often found at the seasonal stores. There's a lot of satisfaction in building your prop. We're not really that handy. You could do it.

Where do you keep it all?
In our basement. It takes up room. But maybe not as much as you'd think.

So, what you your neighbors think?
Our neighbors have been gracious and supportive. In fact, some of them seem to enjoy it as much as we do. Frankly, the haunt wouldn't be possible without their yearly indulgence.

Is the haunted basement back this year?

How do you broadcast the radio show?
An FM transmitter. Similar (if a little bit more powerful) than what you might use to play an iPod through your radio in the car.

Anything new this year?
Well, not really. Or, at least, not yet. We had a new character planned, but started late and didn't get some of our materials in time. If time allows, and materials show, we'll add the character in later.

How many people stop by?
Carloads and carloads each night. Turn off your lights. Share the view. And, if you can't see well, just wait a minute. People come and go at a good pace.

Where can we take a photo?
It's not safe to enter the haunted yard. Too many electrical cords and hard-to-see guy wires. We suggest posing in front of the poor soul trapped in the haunted column. Watch out for the hot lights though!

If you have a question we didn't answer, leave a comment and we'll do our best to answer it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tall spots made easy.

If you'd like to raise a flood off the ground to light a prop on the roof or in a tree or whatever, here's an easy way to do it. Just use some black PVC, a cheap all-weather spot from any larger hardware store and some black duct tape.

Gothic lantern.

Generally, I don't love Gemmy Industries' products. Their products, while often inventive, trend toward cheesey and over the top. At least for my taste. So, when this lamp caught my eye in a store aisle, I was surprised to see it was a Gemmy product. Yeah, I know. It's still a little over the top, but, when weather allows, we'll probably make this part of the yard haunt. Should look pretty interesting from the sidewalk and street. We're trying to add more details such as this for 2006. Looking at last year's photos I was discouraged by the lack of texture and depth. Everything looked flat and sparse. So, while we hope to have one new character finished to add something new, we're really focusing on adding smaller bits of atmosphere to dress things up.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Perma-pumpkin Signage

Maybe not the most impressive of props, but some we've been meaning to get around to for years now. We hope these will help provide some friendly reminders for our guests for years to come. These foam pumpkins which are found at any craft store this time of year, seem like a great idea. However, be exceedingly careful when carving. They are less forgiving than a real gourd and intricate carving takes practice. Buy a couple extra and be sure to leave extra support for any "floating" pieces like the center of an "o."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The way things used to be.

A historical video of our haunt. Sweeney Family Horror vintage 2002.

Well, the gravestones are still around. The Gargoyle has been rebuilt. And we have a "new Kate." However, you'll note the graveyard fence has changed significantly. And there's no moving tombstone. Or haunted colums. This is also pre-radio show. You'll note, if you read the type, that this is part of an older storyline as well. However, it also might give you a hint to a new prop we hope to have completed in time for our 2006 installation.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mid-Summer Update

Whew. It's so hot that thoughts of cool, creepy October evenings seem far away. But we're less than 1oo days from Halloween. Planning for this year's SFH is about to kick-off. This year, due to popular demand, we're planning to bring back the basement haunt. We need to make a few repairs to some of our props, but not to the extent of last year. This should free us up to concoct some scary new additions. We'd love to hear from the countless hundreds of you that stop by our haunt during October. Please use this blog as an opportunity to say hello!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Early Winter Update

Well, the props are buried in the basement and the busy holiday season is now through and I find myself thinking of Halloween today. I have found some great inspiration on other's haunter's site's and have resolved to get started on the props earlier this year. I had one idea that I thought would be very nice for people standing in line...for the haunted basement. We've had a lot of feedback from you all and are leaning toward bringing the haunted basement back for next year. There are two factors. One we're pondering. The other is a deal-breaker.

1. We may (emphasis on may) finally have to succumb and either seek a sponsor or donations. This is something I hate to think about, and if I can find a way to avoid it, I will. Still, with no improvements at all the hard costs for the just the basement portion of the haunt will approach $800. Of course, we'll want to offer improvements and we'll want to improve the yard haunt as well.

2. We need volunteers! Volunteers to help us build out the basement and, more importantly, volunteers to help us staff the haunted basement. We hope that help will come from some of our immediate neighbors, but, if you're a Sweeney Family fan and would like to spend Halloween with us...feel free to leave a comment here or on the guest book.

Here's to a spooktacular 2006,

The Spirits of Sweeney House