Tell us what's happened to you recently (that's interesting)


Yea, gall bladder removal is pretty much out patient stuff now. But it does disrupt your digestive system, no matter what doctors might tell you.


Congrats to you and your family!


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.


Wow that’s really impressive, awesome even. That looks very bright too! Have you ever considered posting about what was taken, sometimes things show up after people find out what happened, especially when parents find out there kids took it.


Sorry about the jerks but that’s a cool pic.

We have a house in our neighborhood that does something similar, but everything they have was purchased. They must have close to $10,000 in stuff, because they have at least 15 or so figures that are animated. They probably have 50 figures in their yard. They set up a little walk for people to go through and have pads for people to step on that cause the animated things to do something. It’s pretty cool.


Wow, that’s a really wonderful thing you do every year, @nijimeijer.

Never forget the reason you do this, and please don’t let a couple of jerks ruin it for you. Remember always that it makes you happy just as much as everyone that comes to experience it, and by all means, carry on with it. Personally, I think it would be worth doing, even if something got stolen every year, just because of all of the happiness and excitement it generates, along with all the new friends you’ve made.

Halloween is far and away my favorite holiday, so I’d much appreciate it if you would post pictures of what you do next year. Stuff like this does my heart good. I loved your story, man.

Anecdotal side-story: My family used to do something similar on Halloween, although not on a scale as large as yours. Dad ran intercom speakers out under a ghost in the front yard, and he’d entice kids to come to the door by standing in the living room and watching out the window, and when kids would go by, he’d use his most “nasty, evil” voice over the microphone to speak to them through the ghost (sometimes a witch instead). The kids loved it. And Dad had a wonderful voice for it, though he was always hoarse the next day.

One night, he lured a father and a mother, the mother holding a very small girl dressed as a princess, to our front door. Dad answered the door wearing a hideous monster mask and a priest’s robe. Dad would spend hours seeking out the most awful and realistic looking mask he could find, cost be damned.

Anyway, when Dad answered the door and greeted the little girl with his scary voice, the girl instantly broke down in tears, and looked like she was about to panic. Dad thought he had gone too far, being the girl was so young (maybe 2 years old), and he felt terrible about it, so he began speaking to her in a calming, normal voice.

He then removed his mask.
The little girl screamed, and cried even harder.


That’s just awesome. I wish our city had someone like that (or what @nijimeijer does).
Instead, all we’ve got is “for-profit” haunted houses that charge you to go through. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still fun, but doesn’t have nearly the heart or spirit that these individual families put into what they do.

Anything is so much better when it’s done out of the pure love of doing it, rather than for profit.
I suppose that’s a very obvious statement, but all of the holidays seem to be suffering from it, more so every year, and it saddens me, and makes me more cynical about holidays whenever I see it.

Thus when I read stories like @nijimeijer’s and yours, it gives me hope that people like that keep on doing what they do.


We posted pics; the news story also ran those pictures. Hell, we give the figures names, because it’s easier to say “Hey, move Ethel over to the right” as opposed to “Hey, move the lady zombie with the blue dress over to the right.” The one taken was named Boris - so all night, we had people asking us about Boris. That made it feel much more personal all night, in a good way.

We don’t think kids took it. We had forgotten that the same group doing car thefts had done a few Christmas decor thefts even earlier in the year. The cops think it’s some groups from Chicago perhaps, that resell the items. Since our items are uniquely made, they don’t really have resale value, but who knows. Given how individual they are, and the community reach we had, they’d have been easy to spot. I don’t think it was anyone in town. Ah well. We will persevere.

On another note; linking to Flickr albums is apparently tough to do on a phone. I’ve replaced the pic above with the link to the actual Flickr album.


It’s too bad that the theft was a spoiler, but I guess the silver lining is the community support you received after the news. And the display looks awesome!


That’s really awesome @nijimeijer ! I love the use of lighting throughout everything too. Well done!


Aww man. I am sorry to hear that. It looks awesome though. Great job.


So, I’m at work, and I google “symptoms of heart attack” out of sheer desperation (I’m just stressed, but I was still curious).
10 minutes later, a colleague of mine comes up to my office and says that a guy downstairs (there’s a conferance at the place I work right now) has just been picked up with ambulance, because he had severe chest pain and thought he was having a heart attack.

Not googling anything else today.


Google “how to win the lottery”


Dude. Google “world peace”.


Well that was my second choice ;)


Yeah but then some basketball player shows up and disrupts the workday for everyone.


A Holiday Wish.


That’s Metta… :)



Look I just think I deserve credit for knowing enough to make a sportsball reference