It has been a tough Sunday in the projects category. First off I made a rookie mistake while winterizing our RV which ended up costing me hours to recover from – basically had to flush the entire system and then start all over again – a mistake I will likely never make again so at least there was a teaching point. Then spent the afternoon battling the electrical gods trying to get the power phase done in the new garage to get the inspection out of the way. Big thanks to Rocket who came over and taught me how to wire GFI breakers into the circuit box. That project ended in an epic struggle to get a conduit successfully through an interior wall. If I ever get that project finished, I’ll share all the gory details. This guy needs some rest and relaxation – can’t think of a better way to do that than posting about my favorite night of the year!
Yep, it’s finally time for the epic Haunted Trail night post (I could hear the cheering from all the way out here). As the standard has become, this post is loaded with images – If you are on crappy bandwidth like us, you will definitely see the lights flicker a bit once you hit the jump to see the full walk through. This will likely not going to be a big text post – better to just let you experience the sights (sorry, haven’t found a way to bring you all the eerie sounds yet) with minimal distraction.
Hit the jump to experience the full walk through (might want to lock the doors and turn on all the lights if you get scared easily ha)
As outlined in the previous trail posts, the trail is set up so it gets scarier as you progress. This allows the faint of heart and the kiddies to still enjoy as much of the trail as they can before turning back.
We tend to put the air-blown decorations at the beginning. Although they tend to have spooky features, they basically look like a bunch of Hero 6’s so they tend to keep the heartbeat down.
Did I mention yet, it was very dark that night! Ron let me know a few weeks ahead that the moon cycle was going to be in the sliver range making our woods extra dark – perfect for a haunted trail!
This year we named the trail – They Sense Your Fear in honor of the new trigger mechanism Ron helped me build. There will be an upcoming post on the details (if he ever sends me the final schematics – I think he is trying to keep my posts down hehehehe). As a brief overview, we hooked body heat sensors to almost all the animated decorations this year. When you passed by, their animations would trigger
You can see one of the sensors in the bottom left of the above picture. Most of them were painted black so you wouldn’t see them in the darkness. Interesting enough, the witch has been in the trail for a couple of years now – never knew it had an animation in it until I accidentally stumbled on a suspicious button burred in her sleeve. She has a very menacing talk box.
Oh, almost forgot. A big thanks goes out to Paul for once again being my partner in haunt. He has a ton of Halloween decorations as well and brings them all over to add to the experience.
After all Ron and I’s work on the sensors, all new Posey experiences and new home made mechanicals, you would think everyone would be talking those up after their walk through – nope, the talk of the trail was the green light shower that Paul set up. Trust me, those were very cool – they basically lit up all the trees in our open area with green lights. They even fooled some people who thought we literally took the time to put individual light strings up in the trees.
It was tough to capture the effect with the camera, but imagine little green lights wherever you looked – up or down. Will definitely be a mainstay from here on out.
The spider scene expanded this year thanks to a bunch of new spiders picked up at last year’s Halloween store close outs.
This next decoration was also new this year (again, purchased after Halloween last year). It spins around 360 degrees while lighting up and emitting chilling banter. We were unable to put a sensor on this one due to the 360 motion – might have to check into this next year since the built in sound activation was flaky.
More new decorations – specifically the owl and Chihuahua skeletons – these were actually bought this year (after seeing them I had to have them). Andreas from work gave me the pumpkin mask.
The camera didn’t pick up the fact that there was a full skeleton laying in the grass right in front of Paul’s skeleton stakes.
Holy crap, we have clowns in the woods – kind of ironic that this year there were report after report around the country of creepy ass clowns terrorizing wooded areas. When will people finally understand that fear of clown is NOT IRRATIONAL. This particular clown was picked up at Party City and then glued to a thick foam backing. Paul took the foam cutter and simply followed the pattern.
This is one of the non-animated hangers but it still looks really nice out of the trail.
New for this year (bought last year) was this pirate. The eyes glow multi-colors . I always try to use our decorations to help direct our guests along the path – this worked nicely to direct the people away from the shortcut to the part of the trail not intended for kids (you get to that part off the back of another trail).
I see you there my pretties
The 6 foot ghoul bride made another appearance on the trail. We skipped putting a sensor on it after we realized it had a built in motion detector in the base. Never knew it was there and always wondered what that extra wire connector was for – live and learn.
We did have a sensor on this next skeleton – seemed to work fine during setup, but started flaking out as the night went on – really the only decoration that was having problems that night compared to previous years when we had to rely on the built in sensor to trigger the animation.
Picked up this next hanging skeleton at Target this year. Obviously can’t tell from the still image, but this dude would shake uncontrollably and taunt the unsuspecting visitors.
New for ’16, but again bought in ’15. This large foam skull would glow in various colors. It stayed on all the time so no need for a sensor. Paul gave me a great idea to go ahead and give it a full body – maybe a giant Posey!
Another new for ’16 but bought on the cheap the previous year. For looking fairly cheap in daylight, this decoration ended up being really cool at night. The hands would light up, then the face would light up like it was full of lightening/electricity.
Got this next one at CVS this year. It was so awesome, I ended up paying full price for it. The wolf skeleton’s eyes would glow red as it howled to the moon. The bottom jaw even open and closed during the animation. Thinking next year I might hook a motor up to the neck so it can raise and lower its head.
The full 6′ skeleton was purchased at Menards this year. I had been watching it for some time hoping it would go on sale. It can be posed, but the total extent of the animation was the eyes glowed. Way too much for the original 30 or 40 dollars they had on it, but when it went down to 20 a few days before the party it left the store with me. Remember in the layout post I mentioned it ended up like it had recently eaten at our local Flat Top grill and needed to purge (for the non-informed, that restaurant is constantly failing their health inspections)
My favorite hanger in action (imagine the wings flapping and the arms moving erratically.
Can’t remember if I picked this one up the previous year or not – might even be Paul’s. That is one downside to buying decorations a year before you get to use them.
This decoration’s eyes light up and then it literally drops about 6 feet to the ground before slowing winding back up (all the time informing you that the night belongs to the undead).
This decoration was loaned to us by John. He also lent us his really nice zombie ground breaker. It is so nice we put it out at the end of the setup so it doesn’t get damaged in any way …’cept we ended up so busy this year we forgot to put it out D’oh.
I ended up breaking a twin to the decoration below. The arm got a little screwed up during setup (the arms jerk up and down when triggered). While trying to take it apart, it ended up exploding in mechanical parts (gears/levers etc). It is sitting on my workbench at the moment in hopes I can get it back together for next year – luckily we had two!
Another closeout from next year – they eyes light up and has a really nice voice box.
The graveyard continues to grow over the years. This year, Paul added a bunch more tombstones and we spiced it up a bit with some ground breakers and extra limbs.
My new animated crawler in action. One of two wiper motor decorations that I added this year. I’ll have a post in the future which will detail how these were made.
This ground breaker had our nerves on end during the build phase of the trail – we used it as our test decoration while we were building the heat sensors – Ron and I probably heard this decoration about a thousand times before we were done. Ron must have put that tea light in the hand – nice touch.
One of my older model Posey’s appear on the trail. I bought some very bright, all weather (actually submersible in water) LED lights off the web. They are intended as mood lighting for weddings – maybe good for that … but better as decorations accents! Yes, all my Posey’s are runners (hehehe)
Take basic hanger – add accent LEDs and presto.. pure evil
Think this skeleton came from Target. They had very nice 3 foot posable skeletons for only $15 – ended up picking up 4 of them. Like my light placement? (they stayed there the entire night and they were just sitting on the hands)
Taking Paul’s advice, this might also look good on top of a large Posey.
Already talked about how this decoration came to be in the layout phase – Brilliant idea whoever put those tea lights on the front of the tractor (probably Ron)
We picked up these light up skulls this year at Menards (on sale of course). They had scary voices and the heads light up like they were being electrocuted. Think we picked up three or four of them. Once again you can see the sensor trigger in the upper right (another one that escaped the black spray paint)
We forgot to turn the tea light eyes on the reaper this year – but we did hook up the lantern to a sensor so it finally worked reliably this year. You can see a bunch of arms in the lantern while kids’ voices beg for you to let them out.
The Westworld Posey was busy looking for victims (it will get an upcoming post of its own)
Old school Posey out for a jog. Think this was one of the first versions we came up with.
Another Posey – this time a burning man zombie. One of the newer models but next year it will be upgraded with all the ’16 features to help bulk it out.
My head collection is growing nicely – picked up another one this year at the Spirit closeout.
Can you tell we are in the evil part of the trail now.
Ah yes, the zombie out for a late night snack. Say what you will, seeing it during the day doesn’t really prepare you for witnessing it in the dark of night. Add in the effect Ron gave it by putting a red gel sheet over the sensored spotlight and let’s hope you brought a change of underwear. Next year it will be animated to bring a little extra nightmare to your life.
Picked up this unlucky soul at last year’s closeout – a fitting end for an evil clown.
Wait.. this is even more of a fitting end for an evil clown.
Unfortunately, this clown slaughter only caused the other clowns to go bat shit crazy. There is something about this particular clown that causes our guests to second guess taking a stroll down the extra evil path. Can’t remember if that staff was new for this year or not – either case very happy with how this custom decoration turned out – wonder what a wiper motor might add to the experience (evil laugh).
Damn, for some who is personally scared to death of clowns, we sure have a lot of them on our trail.
Good god, another one – this was another one we got a Party City and glued to thick foam – another nice job by Paul.
Welcome my pretties – all that is missing is some flying blue monkeys.
“Feeling a little light up here, how’s it going down there? Shhh, I think I saw a puddy cat!”
Our neighbor gave us this next skeleton. The animations were no longer working but simply adding a color changing light in the back of the head gives it really nice effect.
This was Paul’s new decoration this year – Jason lives!
Taming it down a bit on the path to the flaming pumpkin.
Well, just a bit.
These are Paul’s hangers – for latex foam decorations, they still send a tingle up your spine when you come across them in the dead of night.
Almost there – just a bit more ground to cover (by the way, the tingle effect is amplified when you put tea lights in their eyes.
Hey, we warned you….
The last of the decorations with the heat sensors (picked these up last year on sale at Menards)
Probably going to give this decoration an overhaul next year. Spend way to long getting everything untangled and working on it this year – worth it though.
You made it! Paul once again brought his kerosene filled pumpkin for the trail. There is always something int4eresting about large flames pouring out of a scary pumpkin. See what you can see in the flames (note the exorcist cross in the top left)
Some more of Paul’s hangers to round out the path and get people back to the final part of the trail
Fangs to see ya!
Here’s the new skeleton raising scene after dark. You can see the purple LEDs under the skeletons which cast an evil hue across the scene – the camera flash did brighten it up a lot more – the darker cast with the purple accents provided a spookier feel.
… and closing it out are Paul’s 6′ foam board characters. Paul was noting how their coloring gets a bit washed out in the limited light down there – during the day they look pretty awesome especially at a distance. We might try to put a bit more light on them next year and see if we can’t get their coloring to pop a bit more.
Well, you survived. Hopefully you already realize that the pictures really don’t give the true experience. Just wanted to give a feel for it if you haven’t had the opportunity to see if for yourself. It also gives those that were there a chance to see if they missed anything – to be honest, one of the real reason we do the walk through is to give us a reference for next year. Thanks for taking the time to enjoy our work and of course, a huge thanks to Paul and Ron for all their work on the trail this year. And no, I will not forget to thank my lovely wife for taking all the pictures in this post … she went back out there at 2 in the morning to get them – if you think walking the trail at night is spooky, try walking it at 2 in the morning when there isn’t anyone else around and all you can hear are the evil animations and the sound of creatures scurrying about the woods.
Remain calm and scary on.