Well, Halloween has come and gone. Usually, I drop a link to my Flickr album with the year’s display for viewing. That will still be attached to this post, but those who click through will note a much smaller set of pics compared to prior years. The story why follows -
For the unaware - my wife and I put on a big yard haunt every year. We put a couple dozen full size zombie figures, a cemetery, a witch display, werewolves, and more out for all to see. We’re proud of it; we’ve been doing it for over ten years now. The neighborhood likes it, we get a couple hundred trick or treaters, and we just like the season. It’s a hobby; figuring out new figures year over year, carving tombstones, etc. Good times.
We secure the zombies, but we’ve never had an issue with anyone disrupting the haunt. We make friends with the kids; those kids become teens who still like us, and through those relationships, everything has been fine.
This past summer, there was a rash of car break ins in the area. We didn’t even think of that. So imagine our dismay upon waking up and finding that someone had taken two of our figures and one of our tombstones. It was gut wrenching, and just removed a large amount of the fun of the season for us. The tombstone especially; the zombies are pretty much just a collection of “pieces” that we put together. We will find a mask or display head we like, piece together the pvc frame underneath, get an outfit from Goodwill that matches the character we’ve ascribed to the figure, and either make hands, or adapt some prop hands we own. The tombstones, on the other hand, are ours from top to bottom: we design, cut, carve, and paint those.
Anyhow - it made it hard to enjoy the holiday; probably our last in this area. On the upside, we posted it to the Facebook page we’d made for our haunt, and the response was insane. On pages like that, Facebook shows you the “reach” for a post. We’re just a small little yard haunt with some neighbors and friends for followers; in the past we’d reached a few hundred people at a time. The post about the theft got shared so much, we reached about 50k people. Local news got wind and came by to do a story, and I had a load of people telling me they saw me on the news, as they ran the bit three times that day.
And for all that, the community then turned out. We had easily two or three times as many visitors and trick or treaters as we had ever had. So many people coming by just to see it, and to let us know they were upset at what had happened. It was amazing, and despite our upset, it was incredible to get the human reminder that, by and large, people are good. Our community is good. “This I Believe” and all that. I mean, that’s half the reason we do it. On the night of Halloween each year, we meet so many new people, and even though what we do is maybe a little nuts, all we hear is people telling us how much they like it, and how much it means to them. Some families have now been coming for years; we’ve watched their kids grow up, one day out of the year, every year. We’ve got a lady that came by while we were setting up to tell us how she couldn’t come by on the big day because we’d now inspired her to do her own big home haunt, and she’d be busy there on the 31st.
Anyhow, that’s what happened recently that was interesting. Here’s a few photos of the display; I only captured a few of the new items. I didn’t do the exhaustive capture of the whole yard because we didn’t really want reminders in the form of gaps in the display.