Saturday, October 31, 2015

The 22nd Hour of Halloween - Home and Family Part 2

The entire prop crew worked late into the night the other day to dress the set with me for Home and Family's big Halloween show.

Paul discovered tying a noose is easy, but securing the victim was hard.


Cory was a master window silhouette carver...


But a lazy pumpkin carver. Kids these days, he used a Dremel tool. Back in my day, we only had blunt and broken popsicle sticks to carve with, and happy to have them.  


Tara ran around insisting we include baby dolls in the creepy decor. I reminded her this was for the Hallmark channel and that might be a bit too much. She said "Just parts of babies then?"


I kid, that never happened. I missed getting a picture of her working hard that night, the above is the only one I have from a whole other show.

And speaking of not having a picture of, fellow Halloween haunter, Derek Young, of Van Oaks Cemetery and Better Haunts and Gardens, joined us that night to help. Derek was more than willing to cut the baby dolls up for Tara. Awkward.

The 21st Hour of Halloween- Where Monsters Walked

Universal Studios' Court of Miracles set where Chaney and Lugosi once walked, as it looked tonight, just as I was leaving work.


The 20th Hour of Halloween- A Better Jason Mask

Making a cheap Jason hockey mask better. To the left, the before. To the right, the after.


Improving it was easy. First, being soft foam, I shaped into a more character accurate curve by heating with an ordinary hair dryer. Then it was just aging. I cut some chips and dents into the edges for a more well worn appearance and gave it a wash of watered down dark brown acrylic paint. Next I actually rubbed muddy dirt on it here and there. Once dry I sealed it with a very light coat of matte finish clear spray. Finally, a couple of random splatters of stage blood and done. Took a 1/2 hour to do. 45 minutes if you count drying time.

Photo by Jeremy Lee

The 16th Hour of Halloween: Home and Family Part 1

One upside to not being able to have my own haunt this year is using my horde of props to decorate the Home and Family set at work.

We have a signpost outside the set for the tour trams that go by. I thought a fun place to add our new crew member Mr. Myers.


The 15th Hour of Halloween: Creepy Doll

A sneak preview of niece Devin's costume this year - a creepy, undead doll.

Her idea, I love this kid.


Happy Halloween!

A happy Halloween to all.

My hopes to blog more this October have been thwarted, but I'm going to make up for it overloading today with posts counting down the hours left during the best holiday of the year.

First, a sad announcement, my own yard haunt and decorating is on hiatus this year. I've had to cancel my big night of fun for 2015.

My life has changed over the past several months. I'm no longer living in the home I did. The reason why is a long sad personal story that I don't want to dwell on today.

Needless to say, I'm going to be a bit down tonight not being what I hoped it would, but I'm determined to enjoy it all the same and look forward to next year.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

4 Days 'til Halloween: Set Decorating

A note passed to me by a senior producer at work in regards to decorating the Home and Family set for the Halloween show on the 31st.

They've released the kraken!

Friday, October 23, 2015

7 Days 'til Halloween: Goblin Brain

We had the family over for dinner on Sunday. Niece Devin arrived holding something clutched to her chest, hidden by her arms wrapped tightly around it. It was a belated birthday present for me.

"I have a story to tell you" she said.

Apparently, her softball team had an away game that day. In Russia. While there, they visited a national park. The park ranger showed them were an ancient tree once stood, before it mysteriously burned down. It was said to have a goblin living in it. In the ashes, something was found.

Her tale told, Devin handed her old uncle his gift, a custom prop, she made herself.

No cabinet of curiosities, anywhere in the world, has an oddity as wonderful and special as this one is to me.

Friday, October 16, 2015

15 Days 'til Halloween: Meeting Doodles

Work may be keeping me from spending the time I'd like to on my Halloween display, but it can't keep me from doodling Halloween during a long meeting.

Sketching in blue ball point always feels like I'm in High School again.



Wednesday, October 14, 2015

17 Days 'til Halloween: Happy Columbus Day

17 Days 'til Halloween: The 2000 Yard Display

For the fun of it, here are old (and lousy) pics of my 2000 Halloween display. That year, because I was living in an apartment, my parents let me decorate their yard not far away. Honestly, this might actually be 2001. I'm not sure. It was a long time ago. I remember decorating their place in both '00 and '01 before they moved. Now that I think about it, both displays didn't look very different from each other, so these pics work for either year.

Monday, October 12, 2015

18 Days 'til Halloween: New Yard Walk -Thu Test

I think I mentioned this in a post awhile back, but I'm trying out a new layout to the lawn this year that will create a winding path through the display for Trick or Treaters. Last weekend, as my brother Ted and I debated if where we placed the guillotine would work, niece Devin said...

"Well, let's see!"

Then she did an impromptu test walk-thru, that cracked both of us up.


19 Days 'til Halloween - Spooky Sign Post DIY

A few weeks back, I sketched this concept of a spooky sign post for my own Halloween yard.


I haven't found the time to create it until earlier this week. Home and Family producers needed a DIY project idea at the last minute for the next day's show. So I suggested the sign post and sure enough, it got made. 2 drums of midnight oil were burned getting it done, but working into the wee hours on a project like this is never painful. The completed version was a bit simpler than the original concept, but still captured the intended spirit of the sketch.




The complete "How-To" and video from the show explaining how the signs where made can be found over on the Hallmark Channel show site here.




Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Halloween Countdown Begins - Universal Creepiness

I'm back from the dead blogging world and ashamed. It's my favorite time of year and only now starting my Countdown to Halloween posts!

I'll be honest, the day job is to blame. After a 12 hour workday, everyday, eating dinner and passing out overrides my urge to blog. But I'm determined to not let these wonderous October days slip past without celebration anymore.

With work in mind, I thought I'd start my countdown with a small portfolio of creepy images I took over the past year around the Universal Studios lot, where I'm one lucky Halloween enthusiast and able to wander.


Oh and there is this place there too...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

25 Days 'til Halloween: Exhausted

My less than a month old new job is exhausting me. I've been out the door before dawn, working long days and late nights, including weekends, almost everyday.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I don't mind at all. I knew going in, trying to establish a well oiled prop/art dept for a new daily TV show finding it's groove would sacrifice most of my time.

But, I had hoped to find some free hours to create new props for the Halloween display. Unfortunately, one night after work, it became obvious that wouldn't happen when I actually fell asleep while bent over untieing my sneakers.

Truth is, I've been worried if I would even get time to decorate the lawn at all this year.

But the October gods have smiled upon me this weekend.

Knock on coffin wood, I don't have any homework for Monday. While my luck holds, I'm going to get busy and spent today pulling props out, fixing some up, and get them staged outside the garage - all ready to go.

Tomorrow, they'll hit the lawn at dawn, like some Halloween themed D-Day invasion. Niece Devin, her dad Paul, brother Ted, and his girlfriend Leah are all planning to arrive at some point to help. Should be a fun day.

There's still time before the big night, so I haven't completely given up getting new props made. Especially the crashed UFO, since it's so close to being done.