Time to get back on the path.. the Haunted Path that is! As mentioned in previous posts, we held our Annual Halloween Cookout October 4th. This was earlier than usual thanks to a race I participate in being moved from a Friday to a Saturday. Although it was stressful in the past having the race on Friday night it allowed me just enough time to get everything in place to have the party the following night. Then we were overlayed with a friend’s party that pushed us to the early October slot. One thing for sure, it was definitely better going not having run a half marathon the night before. Unfortunately there was a lot of rain leading up to the party date, but luckily it broke on the 3rd allowing me to finish clearing the trail and getting at least the danger areas cautioned off. That left me an early morning to start getting things in place for standard elements (firewood, torches, general cleanup). My friend Paul came over at noon and we started the long process of setting up the trail. This year we made a couple of key changes. The first thing we did was cut the path short and utilized a loop back to the start. That essentially eliminated a very steep hill our guests had to navigate at the end.. in the dark – we definitely got some thanks for that. The second major change is this year we took a different approach to the decoration order. Last year, you may recall, we produced some tears (link here). A badge of honor for us.. but probably not the nicest thing to do to your unsuspecting guests. To address that we opted for a “How Far Will You Go” approach. Translated – the farther you go .. the scarier it is likely to be. Your choice, turn back whenever you start getting uneasy or the kids start shaking.
For starters, the path has grown over the years and now has more decorations than I can feature in this post. Instead, I’ve picked out a few shots of new decs or wanted to provide a few comments on. The full trail can be found on the EddieSoft Gallery Site (link here). Be sure and check that out to experience the full Haunted Trail experience.
So, the start of the trail was filled with the tame air-blown decorations.
Nothing too scary here and something the kids will have no problems with.. unless they happen to be afraid for large purple arachnids in which case maybe not so good of a start.
Hit the jump to experience more of the trail .. if you dare!
This is one of Paul’s decorations – this thing is huge and looks awesome sticking up into the tree branches.
Now there is somewhat of a hill you come down at the start.. which, of course, you have to navigate back. Next year I might be able to utilize another path in a different area of the woods to give people an option if they do not or cannot handle the grade. Not sure it is long enough for all the decorations but at least we can split it up a bit.
Once at the bottom of the hill we continued the less scary items for a bit.
Nothing to scary about a small ghost and Frankenstein out for a little walk with his kid now is there?
Ummmm this next one is starting to get a little scarier. This item was found by my mother at a garage sale. A perfect addition to the trail!
Here is another decoration procured by my mom this year. Pretty detailed for a plaster skeleton.
This one came from Paul and is somewhat whimsical from a decoration perspective. We figured it wasn’t too bad to put early on the trail – besides it is laughing and having fun!
Okay, now it is time to start transitioning into the scarier stuff and likely the point where the younger kids were beginning to question their resolve. Another Paul creation. Something about a large spider and skeletons that always has a high creepiness factor.
Paul actually made this next decoration. Think he took an image and put it on a foam backing and used his new foam cutter tool to nicely outline the image. He was looking for a specific place that would look like it was hiding out … think he found the perfect place.
Did I mention skulls and spiders just seem to go together? Here is my take on that theme. The spider actually has wire legs that I stick in the ground to keep the spider suspended. Seemed natural to take one of the small skulls and put it in the spider’s fangs. It’s the little touches that keep the fans coming back.
New to this year’s collection is the crazed half torso man. It does not light up or have any built in motion. Just a creepy decoration that you can accidentally brush up against if you happen to miss it in the dark.
The mainstay to the trails are the lighted demons and ghosts scattered throughout. These typically have some form of lighting and animation with them usually motion or sound activated. This one actually has scary sounds with it .. liked it so much I have two of them on the trail.
This next one was new for last year’s trail. It stands close to 6 feet tall and has all the goodies – the robe and head lights up n a myriad of colors while the hands shakes and the jaw opens and closes to a number of sayings and songs – yes, songs – one of them is Who Can It Be Now by Men at Work – of course the lyrics are slightly altered to fit the Halloween theme.
Next up the winged skull. As with the previous hanging skull it lights up and emits a haunting while .. wait for it .. the wings flap and the body shakes. How cool is that!
This was the turnaround point for this year’s trail. Last year we extended it past the trees in the background which left everyone at the base of the big hill. Figured this was a good spot to put the ground breakers to help guide the guests to the rest of the trail.
Paul actually built those tombstones out of printed images and foam (again using the foam cutter). Hard to see in these pictures, but those looked fantastic.
John G brought over some of his decorations to add to the trail this year. This is his creepy ghoul.
. and this awesome looking ground breaker is also his – probably the nicest piece on the whole trail. It is actually plaster and looks amazingly lifelike down to the eerie blue eyes.
I have to thank Pinterest for planting the seed for my next decoration. There were a few derivations out on their Halloween boards. Knowing I wanted to do this, I ordered an extra set of bones from Oriental Trading to help complete the effect. Just needed to pull out the wheelbarrow and a small shovel we used to put in the car over the Winter months. A small hole here, some bones scattered there mix with some dirt and pose a few skeletons.. presto, one entertaining decoration.
Here it is from another angle. You can actually see the bones in the wheelbarrow. I had to zip tie the hands of the skeleton to the handles but you really couldn’t tell that in the dark.
And here is the reaper I featured on the previous how-to decoration post (link here). John’s over 6 ft tall so you get a feel for how big that thing is. Big thanks to Paul for taking this shot for me.
The reaper placement marks the part of the path that probably isn’t for the kiddies .. and maybe a few adults. The following was a new addition this year and looks even creepier in person.
I thought it went well with the previous year’s purchases with a similar theme. Meat hooks just have a tingling feeling all to their own.
Keeping with the clown theme, here is the other creation for this year .. again. feature in detail on a previous post (link here).
Still makes me cringe every time I see it — even in the daylight. Of course Paul had to pile on with his clown themed decorations. John managed to scare the crap out of me while I was giving a tour of the trail to a group of people. He managed to get behind us with that decoration and sneaked up on us with it – NOT FUNNY!
The following witch was new for this year as well. Not a lot too this decoration, the body is just stiff wire and cheep felt, but the detail in the hands and face were really well done. It has a motion sensor and she screams out various phrases one about happy to see new ingredients for her stew – might look cool if I add a cauldron below her with dry ice next year.
Think this was a new item from Paul this year. I totally blew this one and didn’t realize it lit up and was animated. As a general theme we were having difficulties with the built in sensors this year – not sure if they are just wearing out or the cold impacted them. The next day I was prepping for the take down, touched it and I jumped when it activated. Cheated my tour group out of experiencing the full effect of this one.
Think this was also new from Paul this year. Pretty sure this one did not light up or animate.. but then again I thought that about the last decoration. You can’t say we didn’t warn everyone hehehehe
I bought this last year but forgot to put it out. In the heat of the build, time tends to get away from you. It has various colored lights scattered throughout the body and shakes and talks when motion activated. Not the most detailed of the items since it is basically plastic pieces hooked together with wire but it looks okay in the dark.
So you made it this far and probably pretty proud of yourself. No little Halloween decoration is going to scare you .. well at least in the DAYLIGHT. The real test is when you go through it at the dead of night within a tree canopy that blocks out almost all the ambient light. Throw in a healthy dose of Halloween themed noises, a barrage of strobes and the place takes on a completely different feel. This year Paul has the idea of pointing the strobes up at the tree canopy which gave a much more dramatic effect on the trail. We definitely encourage parents with kids and adults with fear issues to enjoy the walk in the early evening when there is still light.
To help give the full effect I included some night shots. Giving credit where credit is due, Linda took these shots but I had to properly position the light beam in order to capture the mood. Remember that not so scary witch … maybe that should have been a little deeper on the trail route.
Here is the skeleton all lit up – again, it shakes all over the place to enhance the scare factor
The bat ghoul activated.
Here’s John’s skeleton at night – the white outfit makes it jump out of the shadows.
I am incredibly pleased on how these scene came out. Nothing like being able to execute on an idea essentially on the fly – this was the last decoration I worked on before the guests started arriving.
He’s come for you, I hope you brought coins to pay the ferry toll. Unfortunately, you can’t really see the silhouetted arms flicking in the lantern in this shot.
And the centerpiece for this years rail – the Killer Clown. I actually forgot to put the lights in the eyes and didn’t notice it until it was too late in the evening. Bummer, but nonetheless – a fine addition to the collection. Already looking around for discounted costumes to pick up for next year! Note ,the sticks have LED lights at the top that give just enough light to reveal the decoration. I use those for helping mark the paths and to identify decorations that might get lost in the darkness.
That witch face is even more freaky when the eyes are lit up and the shadows dance off the body. As mentioned during the Thanatos post, there is something inherently creepy about longer than usual hands.
That’s all I wanted to put in this post. Definitely check out the gallery (link above) to experience all the trail had to offer. Another epic year for Paul, John and I and based on the comments I heard, everyone had a good time. No tears this year, but that was by design – The kid that cried last year did cut it short when she started getting scared – when her grandparents asked if she thought she would be able to handle the whole trail next year she responded with a pretty sure yes – when they followed up with “.. at night?” she immediately responded with a NO!
Another year for the Haunted Trail in the books. This year it took us from noon until 5 to get everything put up and in place. That doesn’t include the multiple nights ahead of that getting all the decoration put together, batteries put in and the props tested. This all comes down the following day but that only took us about 3 hours to complete. Most of that is wrapping the extension cords that are all over the place (unless you have walked the trail, it is hard to explain just how far we have to run those cords). Next year we are thinking of upping our game once again – maybe time with animatronics and motion lights (awesome).
Hope you enjoyed our epic Haunted Trail!