Friday, November 13, 2009

A Few Things I've Learned About Prop Building This Season

1) No matter how perfect the humidity was for spray painting when you're almost ready to apply said spray paint, when you actually have the can in your hand and your prop before you, the humidity will rise to 110%, and therefore ruin all your hopes for decent coverage.

2) Ditto the heat index. It will rise to 110 degrees.

3) No matter how still it has been outside for the past three weeks, the instant you are ready to spray paint, 30 mph winds will blow in from nowhere. And stay long enough to put you at least seven days behind schedule.

4) Regardless of how perfect the gravestone pop-up worked during the test, the nuts will tighten to the point where, when you check your prop several hours later, you are certain the motor has destroyed itself in a puff of smoke which you, sadly, didn't witness.

5) The stirring witch project will work for everyone but you.

6) Ditto your Pepper's Ghost illusion.

7) Though you were sure you bought enough extension cords, you will be exactly one short on Halloween night. Even though you have twenty of the damn things.

8) Though you carefully checked your electrical box to verify the load before you plugged in your three fog machines, two air compressors, seven prop-1 controllers, Monster Guts Nerve Center, Flying Crank Ghost, pneumatic ground breaker zombie, and sundry other props, all circuits will blow the instant you plug in only half of these things.

9) Though you started building your props on November 1st of last year, on October 30th of this year, you will have a minimum of four props that defy all efforts at completion.

10) In spite of all your plans and successful tests, the head won't turn, the fog machine (which you know for a fact you switched on) won't run, and at least one of your spots (with the brand new bulb)will burn out-and you won't realize it until you review your pictures and video the next day.

11) The night you put out your tombstones, 50mph winds will destroy half of them, or at least pile them up in the middle of a major street, where they can be run over by the local grocery truck.

12) Though the weather report called for clear, still conditions, it will either snow or pour rain-and only for the four hours trick-or-treaters could possibly show up.

13) Some idiot will bring their three-year old to your haunt at 10:00PM. This child will get the crap scared out of them, bawl like you just killed SpongeBob, and their parent will give you the stink-eye.

14) Your neighbors will absolutely love you for it. And will thank you for all the effort you put into your haunt and the fun you brought back to the neighborhood.


  1. Ha! that was great--you very aptly put into words all the frustrations and irritations that I, at any rate, experienced this halloween! this time, however, I'm sitting here laughing instead of swearing! thanks

  2. "Some idiot will bring their three-year old to your haunt at 10:00PM. This child will get the crap scared out of them, bawl like you just killed SpongeBob, and their parent will give you the stink-eye."

    That's my favourite :)

  3. LOL! Found myself laughing outloud in my office.

    We SOOOOO hear on you the extension cords!! What is up with that!?!

    I will be happy to supply you with parts to replace the tombstones, just let me know :)

    Ah, I hear you. So sorry to hear about all the mayhem. But your video looks wonderful!! We would never even suspect the chaos you speak of :)


  4. FQ- Actually, the tombstone blower happened to some folks I know, sans grocery truck, though. A neighbor called me in time for me to take them down, but like a dummy, I left some flat in the yard and got a ding in one. Easy repair, though. That wall patch works wonders!
    The other chaos is at least partly true (what IS up with the extension cords?!), though embellished for comic effect!

  5. #15 - Remind yourself that even just one of the things you had on the lawn is still more than most do and made many go "WOW" never knowing what worked or didn't.

  6. You can add a week of rain, leaving the entire yard a giant Slip 'n' Slide populated with said electric cords.


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