Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 – The Big Event!

Well, I’ve brought you 2/3rds of the Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 over the last couple of posts.  That included the prep, staging and day tour for the 2019 version of Halloween here at Intrigued.  As our guests continually mention, it is hard to really put the trail in perspective unless you are there to experience it.  There’s a natural spookiness brought on by being deep in a woods with little ambient light making for a pitch black backdrop.  Not to mention the sounds of a night out in the country that can make a city dweller shiver and bite their nails.  Now add to that hundreds of decorations and you have yourself a night of fun and scares that rightfully honor our favorite holiday.  One thing for sure, by the time the sun goes down and the trail fires up, my friends in haunt and I are pretty exhausted.  All that is left to do is grab a beer, stoke the bonfire and sit back and enjoy everyone have a fun night out.  Your image cache would catch fire if we showed everything on the trail, so instead, just going to hit on the highlights and provide a few comments where needed to close out the trail posts.  Hit the lights… its show time

“Halloween

You can finally see the latest addition to the trail in its full glory.  Super happy about getting that life-size horse on closeout from Home Depot the following year.  Linda had to put up with it put together in our basement for a whole year – totally worth it.  The Headless Posey also looked awesome illuminated by the flaming pumpkin.

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Hit the jump if you are prepared for a few scares.

Even our bonfire got a little Halloween upgrade – will let you find the surprises!  Note, there were some discussion on what to do about the kids when deciding to go ahead with the prop.  I don’t think they noticed hehehe.

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As you know by now, the first part of the trail is geared to the kids and squeamish adults.  Blowups are the go to initial decorations as most kids enjoy them and provide a lot more light than the decorations further on.

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Linda is a huge Minions fans and obviously had to pick this up when I saw it at Walmart last year.

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See, easy peasy.  Just a bunch of happy ghosts welcoming guests to the trail.

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The witches moved up earlier in the trail this year.  I made these gals up a couple of years ago (link here).  They still look great, but the heads are starting to take a beating.  Only thing I could find at the time were glass globes for chandeliers which makes them vulnerable to packing and handling mishaps.  During the off season will look at trying to convert these to less fragile materials.  For now, they still looked good.  Even the new fire worked well (link here).

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Those were not the only witches out that night.

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The dragon from Big Lots still looking awesome on the trail.  Even added a hatching dragon egg to improve the scene this year.

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Picked up these eyes on discount at Menards.  For how cheap they are, they had a very nice effect in the dark – not to mention projected extra light in one of the darker walking areas.

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Still not as much light as Paul’s spider emitted.  Those LEDs they put in that blowup are super bright.  A perfect decoration for an area that goes by one of our streams.  We try to protect our guests from danger areas as much as possible (see caution tape preventing people from accidentally falling in a gully right behind the spider). These areas tend to get the decorations with the most light.

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Okay, everyone tries to take pictures of the tree canopy at the midpoint of the trail – NONE of them come out or recreate the experience.  Paul has 5 or 10 lasers on the edge of a wide spot on the trail pointed into the canopy.  This produces an absolutely stunning effect.  Millions of green lights bouncing off the leaves like a green Milkyway.  If there is one thing that everyone always talks about it’s this experience.  Someday we’ll find a way to get a decent picture.

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Nothing is spookier than a haunted Christmas.  I think that penguin is like 20 feet tall covered with spiders and joined with a  Chucky masked Santa Claus.  This is a big jab at the commercial industry that keeps trying to push our little day out of the way so they can get their xmas wares out earlier and earlier.  This year both Lowes and Home Depot had their entire Christmas displays out a week before the 31st.  Linda can tell you how much this aggravates me.

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Remember that spider alley scene from the day tour? Well, it takes on a whole new look when the lights go out.  Can also kind of see the green lights in the background.

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Wanna dance?

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Wolfie is always a fan favorite.  Here he is howling at the moon.

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For a fairly cheap decoration that looks pretty weak in the daylight, the prop below sure transforms in the darkness.

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The night version of last year’s Home Depot clearance purchase.  Not bad.

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The long exposure blew the eyes out in the next decoration.  Looks really nice against the dark trees.

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Now starting to get into the more serious decorations.  Might be a good time to head back if you are already getting scared.

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Again, the long exposure blew the eyes out, but this clearance add from Home Depot worked well.  The animated lunges certainly garnered plenty of gasps by the end of the night.

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Bummed Paul’s new decoration ended up having mechanical issues although it did still look really creepy.  As mentioned in the day tour, he has this fixed now and looking forward to the added rotating effect.

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Ron picked me up this sign for this year – heavy metal construction and will be a long term addition to the trail.  Thanks Ron!

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Watch your ankles, there’s creeps about.

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The new resin tombstone with the eyes lit up.

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Can’t wait to see how this will look with the florescent paint next year – the black wings are hard to tell in the dark… which does make them even more of a surprise when they start extending out.

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The zombie silhouettes in full display – as you can tell now, the white outline does a nice job of creating the glowing effect.

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Yep, there was more than one out in the woods that night.

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One of my custom tombstones from last year.

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Damn skele-dogs keep tormenting the locals.

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Another one of the elaborate tombstones I carved last year.

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Now you can tell why I mentioned Al’s tombstone needed some contrast in the lettering.  The second attempt at a ground grabber worked perfectly all night – last year it had a mechanical failure thanks to the burlap getting stuck in the linkages – all fixed now.

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Hello, can I holdz yur baby!?

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Looks like baby stew for tonight’s supper honey.

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Excuse me, I have to go change my pants.

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Now for another new decoration for this year – Ned (a play on arachnid).  Will be going in more detail on how this prop was made in an upcoming project post.  Always pleased when a plan comes together and even happier when it produces the exact effect I was going for.

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Hey, don’t judge, demons have to eat too!

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Clown in a Box worked absolutely perfect all night.  The new mechanics and base proved a perfect workaround for last year’s more dangerous version.  Did have some music issues causing that effect to be removed before the trail was opened -still worked well without it.

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The new upgrade to the dancing zombie proved effective as well.  The clothing didn’t get caught up in the linkages like it did last year allowing it to dance the night away.

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As a Stones fan, this sign is scary enough.

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You thought Paul’s heads were creepy during the day… well, check them out at night.

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Okay let’s take a poll.. is there really anything more horrifying than a clown.

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The third big addition to the trail was the new Westworld line of Poseys.  Not discernible from the still picture, but the head and shoulders all move randomly – random times, different speeds, random directions etc.  A full post is coming on this project as well.  It took a tremendous amount of effort to get this all working – was basically being tweaked the entire year as I had to figure out the servo mechanism and the corresponding Arduino programs to get it all functioning.  Nothing like getting to use all that higher education for fun and games.

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The granddaddy of the horrifying clowns that hang out in our woods.  This year we even remembered to turn on the eyes ha.  As scary as this might look, my great niece still had fun taking selfies by it – I have no idea what it is going to take to actually scare that little girl… but I will I tell you, I will!

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The Reaper is always watching.  Keep moving or he might get some bad ideas.

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Zombies, creepy dolls – same effect.

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Oh, there’s the zombies.

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Last year’s birthday present form Linda – such a cool mask.

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Come one, come all, the night is young and so many scares still to go.

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Paul’s Herman prop still brought the scares even though it ended up with a small mechanical issue – he tells me that is all resolved for next year.

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Just hanging out and enjoying the sights.

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Honestly, that guy in the web was here long  before we arrived.

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Has anyone seen our pet spider .. anyone!?!

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What is scarier than one pumpkinhead … you guessed it.

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Okay, the winner of the “Prop of the Night” goes to Paul this year for his Talkie Tina display.  Damn, this still creeps me out to this day and I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t haunt me all the way until next year.  See the day tour post for more details on this, but there is a lot going on here.

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She raises up…

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…turns her head back and forth…

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… all while she talks out the Twilight Zone movie it references. “Hi, I’m Talkie Tina and I’m going to kill you!” – yep, I’m pretty much getting the hell out these woods.  Kudos to Paul for bring that prop to life and officially freaking out all our guests.

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We had another flaming pumpkin down in the woods.  This one made a spooky reference to the new headless horseman prop.

 Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2019

…and produced a creepy ghost…

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…. and a scary rabbit (look close, you’ll see it in a bit if you didn’t already laugh).

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I’ve always contended you should using flaming pumpkins instead of Rorschach tests to judges a person’s mental state.

Finally, the traditional end of trail decoration – first prop I ever built for the trail and has been with us ever since.

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That’s all folks!  Hope you enjoyed seeing the trail production and a few insights into what it takes to put this on every year.  Truly a labor of love and already working hard to make next year’s even bigger.  Until then, Happy Halloween.

“Halloween

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