Still in the midst of my whirlwind ride to the quota, I give you the next post in the 2011 Halloween Party series. This post (and the next in the series to kill the suspense) pertains to my quest to improve what I affectionately call the Haunted Trail. It started last year when a number of people wanted to see the nearly finished state of Serenity (link here). After talking about all the work it took to design and, a lot of my party guests were hoping to walk down to it. At the time this posed a slight problem since there was no power that far away from the house and even though there was a maintained trail to it, navigating in the dark was even difficult for myself (I am still apologizing for the group of people I managed to get lost in a ravine that year). Long story short, I purchased some solar lights to help navigate the path and decided to put up one of the new PVC ghouls and a sound activated witch to entertain the hikers. That turned out pretty well, so one thing led to another and plans were put in motion to improve it for this year.
The first task was to find ways to decorate the path without the use of power. The path is fairly long as well so decorations needed to be cost efficient. For about a week a number of brainstorming sessions were held generating a number of ideas… some good… some awful and some too ambitious – I should probably mention that there was another requirement in the mix – it had to be something I could do within a week. It is quite obvious that somewhere in my past life I wronged Father Time. Against all odds there was one good idea that appeared to fit the bill. All that was left was to find the materials at a reasonable price. With fingers crossed, Linda and I went to a local Dollar Store to see if there was anything there that could be used for the new decoration. While scouting around the store, we stumbled on some mini foam pumpkins a little smaller than a Nerf football. Carving is in my blood, they appear to be hollow and they are only ONE DOLLAR a piece. Linda must have seen the wheels turning and rolled her eyes while 10 of these babies quickly made their way into the cart. I’ll save the details for the original decoration idea for later.
Once home, it was time to see if these pumpkins were actually carve-able. If not, there was still value as a simple hanging decoration that could be placed randomly around the path. There wasn’t time to mess around with the formal pattern making so went old school on it. A few derivatives of triangles for the eyes, another altered one for the nose and a classic tooth mouth was all investment needed for the first trial. A quick trip down to the basement for a an experiment with the Dremel brought a huge grin to my face. Sure enough, the pumpkin was indeed hollow. It was definitely cheaper than the ones used for the official pumpkin collection in that they were thicker skinned and had porous foam. It also had a white interior where the more expensive ones were tinted orange. Carving wasn’t as smooth as the cutter had to go a lot deeper to make it through and the foam gaps kept pulling the blade off of the intended path. The first pumpkin ended up taking about 30 minutes trying to get comfortable with the speed required by the Dremel and the amount of force needed to push it around the pattern. The good news is this was doable and if I got through 3-5 a night it would be done in plenty of time. Here is how one of them came out:
Hit the jump to read more about this fun and inexpensive decoration