We are in the final stretch to Halloween. While most other haunters have had their displays up for days or weeks already we will be building, painting, and setting up until the last minute. I blame this on ambition creep, the urge to make it a little bit bigger, a little bit better each year. We have been doing this for 6 years now. We should have it figured out, finish on time or early, and not be rushed or panicked.
This is the prop I am not going to try and put out this year. I had to finish building all of the sets, make all of the other props, and handle the electrical work this year. I didn’t have enough time to make him to the level of detail that I wanted. If I had done that then all other other props would have to be lacking in detail for the time taken away from them. So I abandoned this prop for this year to add detail to all the other props and sets. He’ll be in the haunt next year for sure.
However I will be resurrecting this guy, our 3 axis skull. I made a trade for him in 2009 and he was featured in the final year of our Haunted Tiki Island theme.
This weekend we rented a U-Haul and brought all the sets that were built at my house and took them over to Simi Valley. We started painting the sets and leveling large set pieces to compensate for the incline of the driveway.
Patty and Kendra started painting the gallows.
Joe started painting coffins. Lots of coffins.
I started painting all the props that were built but not painted. Here are some of the signs with their final paint jobs.
There are only ten more days to finish making props before we have to set everything up.
This week Bill (my Dad in Law) and I finished the Gallows (redesigned after we finished so no pics), some coffins, and the tree to which witches would be tied to when burnt alive.
These trees are concrete form tubes that have been mached with cheap ground covering cloth ($7 a roll at biglots) and latex exterior paint. We added some limb stumps with pink foam. These will get a Great stuff rub down to give them some bumpiness then spay paint them flat black and a touch of grey dry brush for ashiness.
This is one of the coffins that will be half unearthed in the grave yard. One of 14 coffins in our haunt. Coffinriffic!
Today I built the Scabtree facade where you would enter the covered section of our haunt. This is the sketch and then the plywood facade.
I have been working on a lot of other props but I gotta keep something secret until Halloween so stayed tuned!
Whew! After weeks of hard work designing, building, and putting together the Confession House, we can finally say that it is DONE! Overall, it wouldn’t have taken that long to complete, but we’ve been bouncing back and forth between various projects, so it just seemed to take a long time. It’s been really fun to have it assembled in our backyard, and we’ve been playing around with the scares by yelling, “Confess! You’re a witch!” Which surely has been perplexing to our neighbors.
The final piece to be completed for the house is to fabricate plexiglass windows that we can bang on from the outside for a scare. But we’ve already framed them out, and we’ll install the plexiglass when we construct the house on-site in Simi in a few weeks.
Here are some pictures of the construction and final product:
Here’s a close-up of the sign. It was carved in pink foam using a dremel, and the wood texture was created with a tool from the Hot Wire Foam Factory kit.
Craig stained the outside of the house using a paint sprayer (we chose the stain color “Early American,” which seemed very appropriate). The fumes were terrible! Shortly after this photo was taken, Craig wised up and put on his respirator.
For the roof, we used different stains and a template to create a shingle pattern on lightweight luan panels.
We’re also working on filling up the inside with props. Craig and Bill constructed a “torture table,” and we’ll be hanging up ropes, chains, and other scary implements.
Finally, here are some photos of our slat-light test. It was hard to photograph with just a handheld camera, but it looks really cool in person. We can’t wait to hear all the screams coming from the Confession House on Halloween night!
Construction on the haunt is coming along, slowly but surely. We are close to completion of the Confession House and Coffin Wall. These two things are our main “set pieces” for this year, and our goal is to complete them this weekend. Our last major set build is the facade of the interior entrance, which will be formed to look like a giant tree, in which the witches of ScabTree Hollow reside. Most of that construction will have to be undertaken at the actual Hellizondo location in order to get the fit and scale just right.
In the meantime, we present “The Watcher.” This prop was actually finished a few months ago, but we haven’t posted it here yet. The Watcher will be positioned in the interior of the haunt (on the porch), where he watches and points the way for victims. The design of his face will be a motif in our haunt, seen also on the “wraiths” in the graveyard scene. The face design was inspired by the artists Wayne Barlowe and HR Giger:
Here are the photos of the completed prop:
And here’s a video of the prop in motion: