In the previous 3 installments of the pumpkin arch project, I’ve brought you the details behind the creation of the pumpkins (link here), the structural arch support design (link here) and recently the fabrication of the supporting arches (link here). Now that all the major pieces are finished, it is time to put it all together and bring this concept to life. At this point I was feeling really good about the progress. Except for some minor glitches it was shaping up to look amazingly close to the original idea. The Haunted Trail event was quickly approaching and any major changes at this point would be difficult to fix in time. To help tamp down any lingering concerns, decided it was time to do a test assembly.
Hit the jump to read more about this year’s signature addition to The Haunted Trail of Tears.
Thankfully Brad is taking care of the wild side of Intrigued while I try and recover from a mighty beat down. Not really up to going through my image catalog to find, process, upload, prep and then think of something clever to say about the creatures that are targeted for that sister site The images for this Halloween project were already ready to go, so I just need to give some narrative on the elements of the build …sooooo much easier (and these I can do from the couch with bags of ice on my legs ha). Just to bring everyone up to date, we’ve covered the following so far:
Pumpkin Creation (link here) The Arch Support Structure (link here)
Now if you look at the revised sketch, you will notice that the plan includes two columns to support the pumpkin arch.
Admittedly, there was a quick thought of making the guests limbo under it, but Linda gave me the quick, hard, no uncertain term “No” response on that one. I let her think she swayed me, although there was a critical design consideration of having to get my UTF under it. This way she gets to tell the story to her friends that she kept them from having to get their butts dirty hehehehe. Anyway, I needed to build two columns and I basically used a lot of the same approach used in the Gargoyle platform (link here). That column turned out really nice and, therefore, no need to deviate too far at this point.
Hit the jump for a behind the scenes look at the columns supporting our new entrance to the Haunted Trail of Tears
We are back with another post covering the creation of this year’s signature piece for the annual Halloween Haunted Trail of Tears event. If you recall in a previous post (link here), I took you through the making of the pumpkins themselves. Although a key component of the overall scene, there were still a number of parts that needed to come together to realize the vision from the original quick sketch.
Hit the jump to see how this early sketch of the arch started coming to life.
Welcome to the Halloween Season — well, technically we here at Intrigued are haunt focused 364 days a year (we take the day after our annual Halloween Haunted Trail event to rest up before starting on next year’s new additions. Speaking of the trail, this year’s extravaganza was held last weekend and based on the feedback we are getting – another complete success! As usual, we learned a few things, have a few things to tweak and more importantly, a bunch of new ideas to make next year even better. Taking a break from putting everything back in storage to give you a behind the scenes look at one of our signature props we added for our guest’s enjoyment this year. Definitely one of our larger projects and will likely take several posts to get you all the pertinent details. Let’s get to it shall we?!
I have always wanted an elaborate entrance to the trail. A defining start vs just pointing them into the woods and telling them to have fun. Depending on the moon, it can also get rather dark in the woods making it even harder to locate the right path to the trail. Unable to remember the exact video, but one of the haunt centric YouTubers I follow – GrimmLifeCollective – (link here) showcased a place that had a stacked pumpkin arch in one of their scenes. That got the juices flowing and started investigating ways to produce one of our own. I do not have the budgets of some of these large production scare factories, so cost was a key element – that and the ability to store it. A big shout out to Allen at Stiltbeast Studios (link here). for getting the ball rolling. His video on making a foam pumpkin (link here) was the basis for what became our signature piece.
Clearly I would need BIGGER pumpkins to use in our entry arch and I wanted to be able to carve and light them up like real pumpkins. Allen’s approach did have a hollow core, but also required you to essentially have a beach ball buried inside each pumpkin. When I saw the cost of beach balls that were the size I wanted to use, that approach had to be improved. Noodled on it for a couple of weeks and then it hit me – I don’t have to create the entire pumpkin at once. With a working plan, materials were ordered and set to work.
The first ingredient was the beach ball. The initial vision was to have three different sized pumpkins that got smaller as they were stacked up – smallest being the size of the standard ball you see kids playing with or bouncing around concert venues. From there, found two more offerings each significantly bigger than that. A bit shocked at the prices – the largest (42″) was $30, the medium (36″) was $23 and a pack of 3 standard (20″) were $13. Per comment above, needing one for each pumpkin was cost prohibitive. Note, a quick look at Amazon revealed that they are heavily discounted now that the swim season is coming to a close. Now with the pumpkin forms procured, there needed to be a method to help hold the foam and still be able to reuse the ball.
Hit the jump to see how these everyday beach accessories evolved into our latest Haunted Trail of Tears signature addition.
It’s the middle of August and that means the stress is starting to build fast. We are around 8 weeks before our annual Halloween Party and a big element of that event is the haunted trail (link here). The Haunt Factory lights are on and the machines are already running double shifts. We try to bring you a lot of our Halloween project, although due to the time crunch those usually come after the haunt. As I just finished the latest design for our Halloween Prop UV Light Bombs, l thought it would be a good time to feature them while the details were still fresh in my mind.
These UV lights have gone through several iterations over the years. I’ve never been happy at the price point of these units and each iteration was focused on trying to get the components as cheap as possible and still deliver the effect we wanted. Our first version was actually born out of a need to put some light on areas that required extra caution by our guests, a dip in the ground, a step up, maybe a low hanging branch. The safety of our guests is priority one. Scares are a distant second.
Hit the jump to learn how we have evolved the design our of our haunt lights over the years.
A week into the new month and I am just now getting around to a post – I can see another last minute postapalooza coming toward the end of the month, big sigh. Seems like just when I get ready to sit back in the pool with an umbrella adorned drink someone (or something) drops a cinder block of to-dos in the water deviously tied to my ankle. Written on one side of that block was the words “Your Halloween Party is only 8 weeks away!” and the other side was some bizarre scribbling that looked like “Al yur seeds r belong 2 us” . I am painfully aware of the quickly approaching party date, but the other… no ide…wait, wait – THOSE BASTARDS!!!
Picked up the cinder block, grabbed my umbrella cocktail and leaped out of the pool …okay, maybe not leaped – those blocks can be heavy and awkward .. but I did get out and run to the bird feeder. Sure enough, those devil spawn Raccoons had done it – a frayed wire looking heartbroken having let my precious seed slip from its clutches. Apparently the devil spawn I caught going for my feeders the day before came back with vengeance on its mind.
As if I didn’t have enough to do, now I needed to reconstruct my feeder system. I knew this was going to happen at some point due to a design decision I had made that ended up biting me in the ass – more on that in a bit. The good news is the Feeder 2.0 is done.
To make lemonade out of lemons – or maybe should say soup out of Raccoons, decided it was time to finally document the process and make a post. That is the real reason for the late post this month as I was busy taking pictures during the build and needed to get those collected and uploaded. So, if you are intrigued on how this project went, hope you enjoy the walk-through below. Almost forgot – this design is for a 2 feeder system. If you only want one, then a single wire system with one upper arm is all you would need.
Hit the jump to get to the nitty gritty details of my self-developed feeder stand (rights restricted to non-commercial use only unless permission explicitly granted).
I always underestimate the amount of work it takes to get the multiple posts out covering the Haunted Trail of Tears each year. Thinking this is why I subconsciously put it off so long ha. The good news is the hard part is past. The prep/teardown (link here) and day walk (link here) posts have a ton of shots that all have to be processed and then I try to focus more on the details and backstory when presenting them. Today’s night walk post still has a ton of pictures which need even more work due to the limited lighting on the trail, however, I can just focus on the experience writing it up thanks to the those other two lead ins.
So, less words today, but hoping you enjoy a sampling from the big night. The Headless Horseman prop is the prop that gets the most attention throughout the night, both from our guests and us. The flaming pumpkin is quite the entertainer, but a hollowed out pumpkin full of kerosene in the woods takes extra caution.
Hit the jump to see the various sights on the Haunted Trail of Tears 2021
And we are back into this haunted March. In the last post I took you through the Haunted Trail of Tears 2021 prep phase and went ahead and covered the tear down while I was at it. It is time to once again to burn a hole through your browser’s image cache with the fun part of putting on this annual event – taking the run through and hitting some of the highlights and features our guests have come to expect to jump start their Halloween season. Today, the focus is on the “Day Walk” while I try to power through the work needed to get the “Night Walk” post prepped – yeoman’s work for sure.
Unfortunately, I forgot to get a shot of the Headless Horseman the first day of the two day event. Corrected this oversight the following morning, but the first pumpkin had already been through the burner ha! You will understand that more when you see the night shots.
The Headless Horseman (link here), has definitely been a guest favorite since making its debut a few years ago. He is placed up near the house instead of on the trail so we can keep an eye on the flames pouring out of the pumpkin. Last thing I need is to set the woods on fire – although that might actually be the only way to flush the rabid clowns out of there.
Those that have been following the March Haunt here at Intrigued are already aware that I discovered a huge gap in last year’s post cycle. I completely forgot to put the traditional recap of our annual Haunted Trail of Tears event. Not sure how that happened and I can’t even us the work crutch now that I’ve crossed my 1 year retirement anniversary. Admittedly, there was a giant sigh when this came to light as it is daunting work to get the images ready for such a post. The good news is the background tasks for the prep and tear down phases is now complete. Time to get that checked off my to-do list!
Each year the first item on the project plan is to open up all the trails in our woods. Since we have a large number of guests that attend, we want to make sure the trails are easy to walk, free of downed obstacles and even more important, falling hazards addressed. Adding to the importance is the fact the event happens mostly in the dark with little to no ambient light. The month leading up to the date requires a lot of time on Big Orange.
Mow all the grass/weeds down, haul off dead trees, smooth out the mole highways and cut back the god-awful invasive Multiflora Rose – a constant pain in my ass. At least our Locust Trees drop their thorns within the perimeter of the tree where the Rose sneaks under cover of night and plants itself where it can inflict the most pain. After a month of hard work and buckets of blood loss, the trails are in good enough shape and ready for a final mowing a couple of days prior to the big date.
During this same timeframe, night activities turn to prop prep. All the tubs have to be brought down from their storage racks in the outbuilding and those requiring assembly and/or batteries are brought down to the basement. That also brings on one of the bigger reoccurring expenses for the event – BATTERIES. Took this picture of a small portion of the required DC power. I stopped counting when I got to 100 9Vs, 35 AAAs and then 245 AAs.
Hit the jump to go behind the scenes at the Haunted Trail of Tears! (don’t be scared, we turned the lights on)
Hopefully with this latest barrage of non-wildlife posts, I am putting to rest all those false accusations Intrigued has completely gone to the birds. A quick count puts this at the 5th consecutive post featuring non-living topics. Some would say this is getting out of “hand”! Speaking of which…
Yep, we are bringing another Halloween prop project that was first introduced in last year’s Haunted Trail of Tears. Halloween may only be a day in most people’s standard year, but around Intrigued it is 363 days a year (we have to take two days off from prop building in order to hold the actual two day event ha). Today’s feature was in the works for probably 3 years and the pieces were just not coming together very well. Made the head first, wasn’t really happy with it as there were issues during the foam filling process. Fixed that issue the next year, got the iconic Freddy hat and then ran out of time to build the Posey frame (link here and earlier versions here). It wasn’t until Covid (more accurately the Covid “response”) that it finally provided the spark …err needle to get me going.
Hit the jump to read about how the key element of this prop came to fruition.