Friday, November 14, 2008

The Crypt Kickers


My Singing Skeleton Quartet

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Halloween 2008 Daytime Shots




















Making Skeletons (Instructables)


Please, please, please vote for my my Skeleton building Instructable November 10-16 in the Instructables Halloween contest, and maybe even learn a little something while you're there.

You can also toss a vote to my Madame Leota Video in the same contest.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Madame Leota

The first of a series of videos documenting the 2008 display. Yes, I will get photos up soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Play With Hot Glue Guns

Okay, so I'm normally totally opposed to gore, but I got some makeup at the after Halloween sale last week and...


Time to spoil the magic. It's a layer of liquid latex over stretched skin, followed by a piece of Kleenex, which got another layer of latex on top of it. I tore out a little hole and worked it around, then applied some black and brown creme makeup and a drop or two of blood gel. I put a third layer of latex on one side to see what it would look like, and I kind of like the paler, shiny texture it made. Perhaps we'll see more of this in the future.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November 1

WooHoo! I made it through the night (despite periodic showers)! This is what the garage looked like at 10:30 (an hour after we closed).
And here's my big score from the 80% off sale today at the party store. Guess how much. If you guessed $20, pat yourself on the back and eye me jealously. I'm planning to use this guy's body for a skeletal organist of my own design (ie: some combination of Brent Ross's DC Cemetery version (which I got a chance to see last year), Dan Oberly's, and Tom Marchak's). And yes, I am quite aware that the picture is not rotated. Just tilt your monitor on its side if it bothers you.

Actually, because of the rain, we only got somewhere around 150 people (which is 50 less than last year, which wasn't as good).

I'll post the haunt pictures soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2008 Countdown #6

Despite threats of rain, we WILL be open on Halloween night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

2008 Countdown #5

Having not updated this thing in a while, I am pleased to present a rather mysterious preview of upcoming events (why, yes, that was a Rear Window quote - so glad you noticed).
Anywho, this is Stanley:And this is Rear Window, quite possibly my favorite movie*:*Not that it has any connection to Halloween, but feel free to add it to your Netflix queue.

*Edit: Notice the new title of the blog. My allusions are now justified.

From Concept to Reality: Creating Characters

I want to post all the actual 2008 display pictures together, but I couldn't resist a couple of previews.
For now, enjoy a few of my sketches and the finished props.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008 Countdown #4 - Tombstone Carving


On October 1st, I put out my tombstones, and I figured I'd take the opportunity to show how I make them.
Design: You'll need to create an epitaph, preferably on the computer, and scale it to fit your styrofoam tombstone. Then, use the printout as a stencil and draw the lettering onto the foam. I've already used my Wonder Cutter to cut the shape of this one.
Carving the Letters: Okay, here's the exciting part. Use the heated tip of a hot glue gun to carve the letters into the foam without letting glue out. This works much like a hot-wire cutting tool, but it's cheap and can still be used for gluing. A smaller glue gun enables thinner, deeper cuts. Hold the gun just above the hot area and work slowly along your lines. The width can be adjusted by the depth at which you carve.
The melted foam gathers in these stringy plastic things around the letters. Pull them off carefully or you could damage the lettering.
Paint in the letters with black paint. I used tempera paint (but acrylic is longer lasting). You don't have to stay inside the letters, since the main grey color will go on top.
I use the hot-wire cuttter to make a slot in the back for about ten inches of 3/4" PVC, which is then hot glued in place.
A small paint roller or large paint brush is useful for getting the main grey painted on evenly and without slipping into the letters. If you're using a paintbrush, make your strokes diagonally for this reason. I made my grey paint with some old white house paint and a bottle of black tempra.
Detailing time! There are thousands of ways to bring a little more life into these tombstones. Here, I speckled black and white paint using an old toothbrush (you know, when you pull back on the bristles with your thumb)...
On this one, I put small blobs of black paint at the top, below he letters, etc., and wiped it down with a paper towel. Straight, downward strokes are key.
I'm sure you can come up with may better finishing ideas, but it's the glue gun that I wanted to share.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2008 Countdown #3 - Window Silhouette


Inspired by Dave Lowe, I decided to make myself a little homage to Nosferatu, the 1923 German silent movie (if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it). In a couple of hours, I managed to recreate the classic scene in which Count Orlock creeps up the stairs.

I began by bringing an image off Google into Photoshop, where I fixed the perspective. I then projected the image onto a scrap piece of foam core in order to trace the outline.

I cut out the outline and taped it together (hey, nobody said it had to last a hundred years).
After taping it to the back of the curtain and turning on the light......I was pleasantly surprised to see the image at the top of the post. It's worth noting that the tape line is barely visible in person.

October 1st is tomorrow!

Friday, September 26, 2008

2008 Countdown #2


Yes, Sir, I just put up my first Scarecrow. In September. Hey, it's the weekend before the first of October, and plenty of people have scarecrows up throughout the season...except theirs aren't skeletons in burlap.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2008 Countdown #1

I thought I'd share some of the artwork I've been working on for this year's yard haunt.

The Poster for my new graveyard quartet:

...and the skeletal hand that will point the way to the Magic Mirror

Friday, September 5, 2008

Halloween 2007

Well, folks, I'm back again with the pictures from last year, 2007.

Frank welcomes you to the Skeleton's Hand.
Back from the dead (or at least last year), Walter and Vern have all new pirate jokes and songs.
I finally got that Karl's oscilator to work when I want it to, and gave him some new hands.
Maggie the witch and a little pirate skeleton.
There was a crowd around the Magic Mirror all night long.
I bought the new magic mirror, Gordo, from ImaginEERIEing this year.
Isn't he just great?
My neighbor commissioned me to make a witch for her this year.
Alf, Earl, and the New Grim Reaper: the Reaper's head is an original Boris this year, though I didn't give him anything to say (Walter and Vern would have drowned him out). Incidentally, the large block on Boris' stand is exactly the right size to fit in a 3/4" pvc coupling.
Karl Again: I love the lighting in this shot. Remind me to turn his head off before taking a picture next time, though.
Will, the Mummy, Sculpted to look 90% like Boris Karloff in the 1930-something "The Mummy"
I had Walter and Vern rumming* off of a cell phone charger and an iPod this time around.*a typo, but a rather fitting one for a couple a pirates.