Halloween Haunting 101: Home Haunt Cinema-spiration

It’s a rather dreary Sunday here at Vespertine House. As your curator, I can say without a doubt that we are loving this weather here. πŸ™‚

It’s perfect for films and writing… and writing about films!

We’re officially at the 100-days-til-Halloween mark on the calendar and what better way to kick things off than with some Home Haunt themed cinema!

Last weekend I watched several documentaries about Home Haunters. Not only is this my favorite new documentary genre, but it’s also the most informative for those of us looking to break into the Haunting game. πŸ™‚

Maybe not that serious, but still… let’s get to it!

 

The American Scream, 2012

This film follows three deeply devoted Halloween enthused families in Massachusetts. Each family goes the distance by turning their homes into neighborhood haunts for one night a year.

What I loved most about this film was how devoted each haunter was. They work tirelessly all year to see their idea of the perfect haunt come to fruition for just one night. Not to mention you see the best bare-bones DIY prop-building. If you’re a home haunter you’ll completely admire the use of duct tape and PVC here.

Out of all the films I’ve seen so far on the subject this is by far my favorite. The people in this film display the greatest passion for Halloween and truly hope to bring some magic to the people in their community. Not for personal gain, but solely because they want to. I’m instantly reminded of how great Halloween was for me when I was a kid, a large influence in that being my Dad and his DIY attitude towards making it as spooky as possible while on a budget. No matter how much he worked, he’d make the time to make Halloween memorable and magical for me and my sister.

Shoutout to you, Dad. Thanks for keeping it creepy. ❀

Definitely check this one out- I believe she’s still available on Netflix!

 

Haunters, 2014

This film documents a Michigan family who operate their “Phobia” haunt every year. The owners of the haunt being year-round Halloween/Costume Shop owners who are devoted to building up the best for-profit haunt in their area. You see everything from conception to building to the launch. Plenty of melodrama ensues.

I enjoyed this one sheerly because it was great to see someone take the initiative to start their own indie haunt. We see plenty of these pop up in our own towns every year, but actually seeing what goes into that is a lot of fun. It was good to see so many people come together to help create an intricate full-on Halloween production.

Definitely available to watch on Amazon Prime- get at it!

 

Monsters Wanted, 2013

This film documents the creation of a large scale Halloween “Scream Park” in Kentucky. The Haunt is run by Rich Teachout and his small team who take the backlot of a paintball park to the next level with intricate builds and production. Lots of drama ensues.

This one documents a lot of the business side of the up-and-comers industry in haunts. This isn’t necessarily a large-scale, big time attraction, but it’s certainly one that’s well on its way. I can’t say this was at the top of my list as the best, mainly because there was a lot of unnecessary drama that was documented. It overall took away from the end product. I honestly felt that the team in this film spread themselves too thin by trying to create a giant theme park with minimal help and funds. There was a lot of great effort and plenty of amazing concepts but it really fell short overall.

It’s most definitely on Amazon Prime- Give it a shot and tell me what you thought!

 


All in all, i’m hoping to see more of these home haunt docs crop up. I absolutely love seeing what’s happening on the indie circuit. A common thread that these films shared was the passion for haunting and Halloween. Everyone creating these haunts are immensely dedicated to creating something amazing. I can totally appreciate that.

Have you seen these films? If so, which was your favorite??Β 

Until next time!

-Sarah

Nefarious News: Grandin Road’s Halloween Haven 2017 Release

I’m certain everyone here has assumed I’m dead. I’m happy to report I am not… If I am, I’m blissfully unaware and can vouch Β that the afterlife is identical to waking life!

I sure have missed Vespertine House and talking to all of my “House Mates” here! I’m pushing myself to get back to casual writing as I’m hoping to incorporate more creative writing into my schedule as well.

Lots of verbiage on my plate.

And I like it. πŸ™‚

In more important news! Today was a truly amazing day as Grandin Road released their 2017 Halloween Haven collection! I got the email and spent the whole day filling my cart and lurking every single item in their range of new decor.

This year the theme is a cross between “The Faces of Halloween” and “Cirque”. There were a lot of stunning circus/carnival themed items. Many are a lovely little nod to the classic sideshow acts of days of yore. Or you know.. the stuff you see at the super shady carnival that rolls through town on a whim. Either way! Bring on the entertainment, baby!

tumblr_o48p9zTikh1rm9sqwo1_400.gif

Grandin Road is known for beautiful home decor and offers stylish and unique options for decorating your favorite rooms in the house. They’re a little bit on the pricey side but, girl, they have a store card and, and, and that… that… makes it okay… right?

nope.gif

Moving on! The following are some of my favorite items that are absolute MUST-HAVES for your haunted home this season!

Victorian Busts

So, last year I made my first purchase with Grandin Road and bought the set of masquerade masks complete with pedestals for year-round enjoyment. I wasn’t expecting much really as I figured they would be run-of-the-mill items that would just be a good addition to my ahem, interesting home decor.

Girl.

I was wrong.

These masks were jaw-dropping. They not only sit around two feet high, but the quality is high enough that I feel like I might get in trouble with some parental figure every time I touch them!

I want to say that the Victorian Busts are probably this year’s version of the masks in the sense that they’re best purchased as a pair even though you buy them separately.

This suffices to say that I think these are so adorable and just creepy enough to keep me interested without feeling uncomfortable when making inadvertent eye contact in passing.

Margaret and Willem are made of sculpted resin and feature intricate details including the fanciest of ribbons ever to be fathomed by man and soft woolen hair.

Talk about blueblood…

Each bust is $79 which may pop your wallet a little, but snatching up something like this would be a 365 investment (aka decor you can display all year round)!

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 10.28.57 PM.png

The Skellierina

I have a love for music boxes, add a little goth and you’ve got my new favorite thing.

Admittedly, when I saw this particular item I let out an audible “Ooooh…” and proceeded to gawk before adding it to my cart.

This Skellierina (get it?!) music box is a subtle nod to this year’s Cirque theme that stays true to the classiness of Grandin Road’s finer Halloween Haven decor. Skellierina rotates atop her black pedestal as green lights emanate from beneath her. According to the description, she plays music and is activated with the poke of a button. Which song she plays and how long she plays for is a mystery that only her new owners can solve!

She’ll set you back just a few bucks at $29. Again, this is another item you can keep around the entire year. What better way to commemorate Halloween all 12 months than with a little “tribute to thee” perched upon your mantle?

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 10.46.20 PM.png

“Palm Reader” Neon Sign

As someone who’s into everything obscure and strange, it goes without saying that this particular item would be a staple for my haunt this year.

The “Palm Reader” Neon Sign gives off that mysterious back-alley-psychic vibe.

You know… Like the gypsy shop that our hapless protagonist stumbles into from the rain one dark night only to have his fate change forever!

…Or at least until the second movie comes out.

This little beauty screams “come hither” to all your neighbors and will guarantee you the most mystical house on the block.

Pick this up for $79 and call it a day with your decorating this year. Although… you might want to put a few more decor items out just so you don’t get any desperados knocking on your door after hours asking for advice.

Unless you’re into that sort of thing…

If so, I just helped you found your new Psychic Consulting business and on a budget too!

You’re welcome.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 10.56.57 PM.png

Animated Haunted Movie Projector

Every year I watch for the game-changing items debuting this season. I have to say that I was so impressed by this little guy…

The Animated Movie Projector is one of the more unique items I’ve seen in recent years. This animated projector’s reels roll as it projects an eerie vintage scene of a skeleton dancing to The Entertainer.

Girl.

I can get behind this.

I have yet to see this one in action which makes me a tiny bit hesitant to purchase on release day. I reached out to Grandin Road on Facebook about seeing a product video of this only to find that they currently don’t have that available. I’m hopeful it’ll be added shortly, but if not, I can’t feel too terrible about this prop as it costs a mild $39.

For a truly unique item that brings in a little vintage, whimsy, and horror, definitely pick this up!

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.07.57 PM.png

Six Arm Lady Shadow Box

This is the final item on my list and maybe my favorite.

This goes back to the whole vintage cirque thing Grandin Road is running with this year. And this displays it in a perfectly macabre way!

The Six Arm Lady Shadow Box displays a beautiful dancing shadow of a Medusaesque figure gently swaying her six arms up and down. This animatronic is downright hypnotic! Grandin Road thankfully added a product video of this item that I love more and more every time I watch it.

If you’re not sold with the projector as a unique Halloween prop, then this one might be the final nail in the coffin for you instead.

This old girl is a bit pricey, and is the most costly item on this list at $149. Fortunately, we can reference the whole store credit card thing again and justify it entirely because… Halloween. πŸ™‚

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 11.20.50 PM.png

Every item here counts as everyday decor… at least for yours truly.

Probably why I have no visitors.

Don’t be fooled- this is not the entirety of Grandin Road’s Halloween collection, there are numerous items that I loved and left out. I wanted to share my must-haves and grab your attention enough for you to at least browse their collection. If anything, you’ll be struck with inspiration to create your own little Halloween haven. πŸ™‚

So, spill your guts- what did you think of these items? Which were your faves and which were the knaves? I want to know. I miss you. πŸ™‚

-Sarah

Halloween Haunting 101: Outdoor Displays

We decorated the outside of our house this past weekend and man oh man was it brutal! 

Florida heat and sunshine is just unrelenting! πŸ˜“

I blistered my foot and scorched my skin so bad πŸ˜” I also had a touch of heat stroke halfway through the day. Such madness! 

In the end, after two days, we finished and I think the final product is well worth it all! ☺️

  
There were a few major issues, for one, Gemmy really needs to consider some sort of long term warranty for inflatables. Our large animated organ inflatable is losing air because the heat down here has worn down the fabric. πŸ˜” makes me sad because it’s beautiful and now it’s only inflating the organ and platforms, but our dancers are just falling limp after a short while. πŸ’”

On the upside, my Dad insisted on rigging it up to at least stand under our porch. β˜ΊοΈπŸ’œ

  
Overall, our biggest wow factor are the stand up props and gravestones I made! πŸŽ‰πŸ˜€πŸŽƒπŸ’œ lighting has also added major awesome points to our display! I spent the money and bought a Fire and Ice LED Spotlight in Toxic Green from Spirit Halloween, and I have to say it may be one of my favorite new things this year!  Great swirling green light with flecks of orange, wide range, and stays cool to the touch! Gorgeous little thing! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸŽƒ

  
So, itchy sunburn and chaos aside, I really love our display this year! And our neighbors lost it when we decorated! They love it! Their daughter sits in the front yard in the evening waiting for us to turn on our lights! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ So sweet! πŸŽƒβ˜ΊοΈ

VIDEO: Walk through my yard with me! 

So, what do you think? Did you decorate yet? I’d love to see! β˜ΊοΈπŸ’œ

πŸ’œπŸŽƒπŸ’œ

-Sarah

Halloween SoirΓ©es 101: The Effectiveness of a Scavenger Hunt

Every year I spend a lot of time from August through October planning the big annual Halloween party.πŸŽ‰πŸŽƒ

It’s thee greatest party ever! And I always put a lot of thought into themes and nitty gritty details, because that’s just what I do. ☺️

Anyways, this year I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do, and instead of our traditional party with the games and contests, I want to really give my guests an experience. 😏

Each Halloween we have a scavenger hunt at some point during our party. Over the years my scavenger hunts have become more elaborate and clever. Typically most people really have a blast with it and love the game, but, as with anything, lots of people get upset that it’s too hard or too easy or something along those lines.πŸ˜’

There’s no pleasing everyone and it’s a real thorn in my side sometimes as I put so much effort into the riddles and clues and layout etc. πŸ˜”

So! This year! As a way to prevent such discrepancies and get my jollies on torturing my guests 😏πŸ”ͺ, I’ve got a very interesting scheme brewing in my brain. 😏

image

This year’s plan: This year’s party will center around a very large and intense scavenger hunt. 😁

This scavenger hunt will more or less involve puzzles, riddles and dares that must be completed accurately in order to win. The first team that completes everything correctly will win.

Thing to note for this scavenger hunt:

  • All participants must be in a team.
  • At least one player should have their cell phone on them.
  • Players must collect all clues in order to win.

This year, instead of a clue list I’m going to provide all the clues via phone numbers. A player must call and listen to the voice greeting in order to retrieve the clue. This particular scavenger hunt will not be limited to our home either, I’m going to set this up as a walk through the entire neighborhood.Β 

One element that I hope I can incorporate areΒ dares. πŸŽƒ

Let it be known that I live in a relatively normal neighborhood, however, there are plenty of abnormal things that have happened. For one, the house next door is abandoned. The man who lived there previously was very cranky and died in the home, where no one found him until the neighborhood started to smell. 😐

Spooky I know.

Creepy back door. We boarded it up after some hoodlums busted in one night. Suffice it to say the boards are barely holding on and rotting off. Creepy, no? ☺️

Creepy back door. We boarded it up after some hoodlums busted in one night. Suffice it to say the boards are barely holding on and rotting off. Creepy, no? ☺️

The house is creepy and run down and has lots of potential for serious spooks.β˜ΊοΈπŸŽƒ

I plan on using that area and a roadside memorial area for the dares. These dares would include sending one team member to the site to have a 5 minute EVP session or playing Bloody Mary in the bathroom of the house etc. 😏

Yes, I’m a very dark and twisted individual. ☺️πŸ”ͺ

The thing I love about doing scavenger hunts is how easy it is to get people excited about them. More than likely your guests will totally be down to scavenge just for the fun of it. Adding a small incentive like a plastic trophy, ribbon, or goodie bag will definitely draw them in.

This year, I think I’ll make the prize a big bucket of candy with cans/bottles of beer or liquor thrown in. The team who wins can divide it amongst themselves as they see fit. ☺️

The beauty about this year’s elaborate concept is the fact that setting it up is completely free! Even the phone numbers can be set up for free through Google voice. πŸ˜†πŸŽ‰

Scavenger hunts are just a great way to get everyone involved and having fun with each other. πŸ’œ I really think, if I have the time to plan, and the run-through goes okay, I can really give my guests an experience they’ll remember. β˜ΊοΈπŸŽƒπŸŽ‰πŸ’œ

So! I wish I could give you all the full rundown of how I hope to plan this out but I’ll hold off so no one finds out all my secrets this year. πŸ˜‰

So what do you guys think of this idea? Do you want me to make some of my previous games from years past available here for your haunting season party planning inspiration?! πŸ˜ƒπŸŽƒ

πŸ’œπŸŽƒπŸ’œ

-Sarah