Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 3: Night Walk

Pretty sure your browser image cache is getting hammered as a result of these Halloween posts.  Good news, this is the last of the Haunted Trail 2020 series and in my opinion the best.  Even with all the images we selected for the posts, it still doesn’t cover the expanse of the trail, but it does give a good perspective of what you are in for the night of the event.  I’ve already covered a lot of the background in the other posts, so for the Night Walk I’ll keep the words to a minimum.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

I did want to cover the changes we put in place to make the event as safe as possible in the midst of the pandemic.  From our sampling it was clear most of our friends were really looking forward to the night.  Part of that was the chance to see how everyone had been coping during the lockdown.  We are a social species and interactions with friends is just plain good for the soul.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

Hit the jump to take a virtual tour of our big night!

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 3: Night Walk

Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 2: Day Walk

Bringing you the second of the three part Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears.  Last post I took you behind the scenes to give you a feel for what it takes to prepare for the event.  Putting all the props together, getting them staged out on the trails and then the creativity phase of actually placing and building up the scenes.  Today we are going to focus on what we call the Day Walk.  Once everything is built I like to go through and take shots of the trail before the sun goes down.  It takes on an entirely different feel once darkness falls which will be shown in the final post of this series.  Note, due to the dramatic change that occurs, some guests actually prefer to experience the trail during the light in order to minimize the trauma and nightmares ha!

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 - Day Walk

It is hard to really express how big the trail is.  I keep reminding myself to calculate how long the walk is with all the offshoot paths etc.  Each year that gets forgotten ugh.  Our guests are probably more interested in the elevation change as it actually sits in a valley requiring both a healthy walk down and then an admittedly difficult walk back up.  Although Linda and I discuss options every year to mitigate this (elevators, ATV shuttles, tow ropes..) there doesn’t seem to a viable resolution, although the idea of elevators sounds pretty cool hehehe.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 - Day Walk

Hit the jump to see a good representation of this year’s Haunted Trail of Tears.

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail 2020 – Part 2: Day Walk

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 – Prep and Setup

Well, the time has come for the massive end of the year summary stats padding.  If there is one set of posts that have a dramatic impact on those numbers it is the Halloween Haunted Trail Project posts that have the biggest impact – specifically in the number of images used during the course of the year.  Probably not an extremely relevant number for my readers, but one I have been keeping since the beginning in my yearly assessments.  If nothing else, it is a barometer for how productive I was.   It goes hand in hand with the word count.  Was the ratio of words to pictures in the ballpark as I am sure my readers prefer the pretty pictures to my ramblings.  The Haunted Trail posts are always skewed to the pictures due to the size of the event.  So, without further ramble, let’s hit the trail.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

Oops, before we hit the trail, we need to talk about all the prep work that comes with putting this event on.   Linda and I had long debates on whether we were going to hold the annual party this year.  As you know, the pandemic had taken its bite out of the year and we were not sure whether we could pull this off and keep everyone safe.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020

Hit the jump to learn what it is like behind the scenes at the Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears 2020 – Prep and Setup

Project: Flaming Pumpkin Rider

All I can say is thank god there’s 31 days in August.  Cutting it close with the quota this month, but all is good.  I knew it would be in reach as long as I got within 1 of the quota.  September is my stress month as it is usually a huge race month and more critical, the last month before our big Halloween event, the Haunted Trail of Tears.  Thanks to Covid, the race season has been decimated so that has been taken out of the equation.  We are still discussing what to do about the party, but for now it is still on assuming we can incorporate appropriate safeguards against the invisible enemy.  That means the prop factory is in full swing to close out the new 2020 editions.  To keep the momentum going, the final post of the month features the last of the new props from the 2019 event.

Headless Horseman Halloween Decoration 2019

Yep, the Grand Poobah of the new props.  I’ve already covered the other new additions, Westworld 2.0 Posey Line (link here), Ned (link here) and Johnny (link here),  The last new prop for the 2019 trail was big.. like really big…like lifesize horse big.  Whoever runs the Halloween decorations at Home Depot may actually like Halloween as much as I and that is saying a LOT.  Their offerings each year are incredible.. problem is.. they kind of know it per the price tags they slap on their items.  They had a life size Zombie Horse prop for the 2018 offerings.  Guess what the price was?  go ahead, pick a number…if you picked $200 you were to low!  Their horse was $300 which is too steep for this haunter.  I can build a lot of my own props for that much money.

Hit the jump to read more about the new addition to last year’s haunt

Continue reading Project: Flaming Pumpkin Rider

Westworld 2.0 Posey Line Goes into Production

Hello again folks!  If you recall, last post I did a little bit of house cleaning and finally go to one of my Halloween prop projects from last year’s Haunted Trial of Tears.  I must say, that gave me some extra motivation to get going on this year’s planned new additions.  If I manage to get all my honey-do items taken care of this weekend, I’ll definitely head down into the lab and try to make some progress (also excited as some new electronic parts I’ve been waiting for have finally arrived).  Since the last post was so much fun, thought I’d go ahead and double up on the Halloween prop posts and bring out the latest edition to the Posey line (link here and here and here).

ServoMan Posey Halloween Decoration 2019

As with the previous walk through, hit the jump and see how our new evil looking addition to the trail came to be.

Continue reading Westworld 2.0 Posey Line Goes into Production

Meet Ned

So I was walking through Menards yesterday, doing a little window shopping as I already had procured the goals of the visit.  Cruised through a few of my favorite aisles – yes, the PVC section for sure and the power tool section because every guy likes the power tool section.  Picked up a few things for some props I’m working on and headed towards the checkout.  Almost made it there before I was completely stopped dead in my tracks.  Before me were shelves filled with Halloween decorations.  My heart skipped a beat – grabbed my phone and checked the date.  Okay, still July – what a relief.  Still a few months to go before the Haunted Trail for 2020.  Clearly the commercial chains are trying to blow right past Halloween so they can put out their damn Christmas decorations even earlier.  Pathetic Menards, truly pathetic.  It did get me thinking about the props I built for last year… then realized I had decorations still in the post queue and then looked back down at the phone and the heart skipped again thanks to realizing I only had a few days left before the end of the month and still had not met the month’s quota.  Needless to say, not a good day for the heart ha!  Anyway, made a point to get those concerns addressed, so here we are.

ArachNed Halloween Decoration 2019

Meet Ned, one of the new props for last year’s Haunted Trail of Tears (link here).  I must say for the record, the trail shot really doesn’t capture how creepy this prop turned out.  We ended up putting in in the adult section as we were not sure what kind of impact it would have on the kids.  Of course, I consider that a complete success hehehehe.  Hit the jump to learn how Ned came to be.

Continue reading Meet Ned

Flame On

I’m a post short against this month’s blog quota.  Luckily, the post material queue is packed to the brim and really more of a matter of “which” to bring versus “what” to bring which quite frankly is a big stress reliever.  I noticed there were still Halloween decoration topic from last year’s epic Haunted Trail event.  Admittedly, I’ve purposely avoided these posts as they tend to bring up some sad memories that occurred at this time. Problem is, if I don’t get to these by the time the new haunt season comes along I’ll be way behind – and as I have learned from the wildlife photography posts, as soon as you get behind there is no telling if you will EVER get caught up.  So, going to try and keep the eyes dry as I relate one of the new decorations for the 2019 Haunted Trail of Tears (link here).

Packing Tape Ghost Halloween Decoration 2019

Hit the jump to see how Johnny here was put together!

Continue reading Flame On

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.

“Halloween

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

Continue reading Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 – The Big Event!

Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 – Day Tour

It is time for part two of the Halloween Trail of Tears 2019 posts.  Last post I took you through the multi day..err..weeks…err months process just to get ready for the one night event.  That doesn’t even cover the work that goes on non-stop throughout the year to bring new additions to the trail.  That pretty much just gets us to the starting line.  Once everything is put together (to a point it can still be transported into the woods), it is time to start creating the experience.  Up to a few years ago we did this all in about a day starting after work on Friday and then through until ~5-6pm the next  day literally adding new and fixing stuff that wasn’t working right up to the point guests start arriving.  With the size this has grown into since then, I have to take at least two days off of work to even have a chance of getting done – still a battle against time. The way the trail works is it gets scarier and more adult the further you go.  The guests are responsible for how far they want to take it and more importantly how much to expose their kids to.  We spend a lot of time making sure the kids and squeamish adults can have a good time if they only get a portion of the trail.  Go the whole way and the nightmares are on you ha!

Keeping with tradition, bringing you the daylight tour.  There is one caveat this year.  We were too busy to get the shots done before the event started – as I said, a battle against time and Mr. Murphy.  These shots were actually taken the next morning before tear down and thus some of the props had already been through a night’s worth of wear and tear as in the shot below.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears October 2019

New for this year was the life size zombie horse and companion homemade headless horseman.  There was a lot of concern about a) fire deep in the woods, b) stability of the flaming pumpkin, c) how flammable the decoration might be and d) how hard it was going to be to get this monstrous prop down the big hills to the haunted trail.  As a result, I added a solid stand to hold the flaming pumpkin and opted to keep the decoration up by the house.  This way everyone could experience it and I could still keep an eye on it.  You will see in the after dark post the stand merged into the darkness quite nicely.  We received a lot of compliments for this new prop addition and can’t wait to take you through the build (upcoming post).

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears October 2019

Hit the jump to see some scenes from the Haunted Trail day tour.

Continue reading Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 – Day Tour

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears – The Prep

Well, it is time to get this set of posts out.  I have been avoiding it due to some emotional memories that come along with this year’s Halloween extravaganza.  Waiting any longer isn’t going to change the situation so I need to get the Haunted Trail of Tears 2019 taken care of while I can still remember all the work it takes to make this thing happen.  Original intent was to slam this into just two posts, but there are way too many images to force on you all at once.  As a result, went ahead and extracted the prep series out separately – this way you can ease into the barrage of photos that’s coming your way!

With Linda’s surgery, in August, we opted to push the date a week to give her extra time to recover and more importantly me time to make up for the lost weeks being up at Mayo.  I had spent a large part of the summer building the new all-weather prop sensors.  Think by the end I had produced over 60 of those devices building on our previous design with an added feature of being able to put the batteries in ahead of time so we could simply switch them on come event start – I cannot even begin to explain how great that was both in savings during the activation step and then more importantly being able to turn them off at the end and not have to worry about getting them out of the woods if bad weather hit us (like last year.. and year before that …).  Unfortunately, that meant rewiring all the props to use the new sensor.  Thankfully, Ron came to my aid and helped get everything converted over!

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears October 2019

I also had to finish up a number of new props that where being worked on since a month after last year’s effort (yep, there is no Halloween downtime here at Intrigued ha).  Here’s Ron with a major addition for this year’s trail.  Something tells me you can guess what that is.  Linda was excited about finally getting that life size horse out of the basement after 10 months.  Ron actually came down a week ahead of the planned date which was greatly appreciated.  It is hard enough to get all of last year’s props out and each year it grows bigger and bigger.  The zombie horse was just one of the new items making its debut this year.

Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears October 2019

Hit the jump to learn what happens behind the scenes of the Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears extravaganza.

Continue reading Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears – The Prep