to be a considerable inspiration on the construction of our own.
I’m a little behind with my posting this past week as I’ve been letting myself become overwhelmed by all that needs to be done to break down the Halloween display. This Halloween was, especially in comparison to last year, a great success. While the weather was far from perfect, it was much more tolerable than last years torrential rains and heavy winds.
Halloween morning was bleak. The weatherman’s promise of fair weather was overshadowed by periodic light rains and that familliar, chilly breeze of Autumn in the northeast. As late morning approached, the sun began taking occasional peeks through the thick blanket of clouds as though it were checking in on the ado of the day. As the day progressed, the temperatures dropped and those occasional spots of rain were quickly replaced by insignificant and short lived patches of sleet.
As the hours of Trick-or-Treating arrived, the last few pockets of precipitation move thru, but it was no more than a minor nuisance on the night, and seemed to do little if anything to deter the kids from their quest for goodies. The many labors of the past year had all led up to this four hour fragment in time, and we would be ready for them when they came. We were ready for them.
They came in groups of twos and threes and sometimes more, their parents in tow and treat bags in hand. Some would stop, pointing and shouting with enthusiasm as they passed by the Graveyard. Others would scurry by, trying not to look in past the gravestones in hopes to go unnoticed by that which might lie in wait from within.
The Blaircrows did little to deter them from their goal; an unheeded warning of what might lie ahead, and twenty two Jacks lit the path to the old witch’s house. The excitement spilled over as they would exit the Witch House, eager to tell their parents of the eerie things they spied while inside and urging them to go take a peek for themselves.
Yes, this year’s haunt was a great success. A few of the parents took the time to come up and thank us for the time and effort we put into our display. For many others, the simple nod and a smile was enough to say the same. But it was the children who were the real thanks. The smiles, the laughter and even the apprehensive stares, many local children will remember this Halloween for years to come.
Well, the Tombstone is all carved up and painted. I’ve decided to try adding some stray vines to the stone before calling it finished. This should be the last update before I can post the completed prop along with some video footage of the Chiller test.
The names and dates were fabricated at random, and any similarity to any persons either real or fictional are strictly coincidental. For anyone who cannot read the epitaph, it reads as follows:
March 13th, 1803
July 17th, 1866
My bones they lie beneath
these earthen mounds.
Yet cursed, my soul
still walks these
Well, it’s been a while since I posted the first photos of the Celtic Cross Fog Chiller, and for good reason. The next portion of this project was to complete the front of the base, where the Epitaph was to be bordered by more knotwork. The knotwork border ended up taking a total of 23 hours to carve, which is much more time than I really wanted to spend on it. Nonetheless, it came out looking good, and my peers on Hauntforum.com and HalloweenForum.com all assure me that it was time well spent. The next step is to finish up the epitaph, get it painted up, and give the Fog Chiller a test run.
So after several months of procrastination, I have finally gotten myself moving on a project that has been in the back of my head since Halloween 2009. The original plan was to create an Obelisk Tombstone from Dow foamboard that would double as a fog chiller. The idea was simple; apply the concept of a cat litter bucket vortex chiller into a hollow Obelisk. This would eliminate 2 of the issues facing the use of a cat litter bucket chiller; A. hiding the chiler, and B. insulating the chiller.
At the onset of the project, I decided to make a few changes to the overall design. Rather than going with a tall, thin obelisk, I decided to do a Celtic Cross atop a block base. This would allow a shorter, broader base that would provide more stability, and a larger chiller area. This would also give me more opportunity for the detailed tombstone carvings that I enjoy.
After a $40 trip to Lowes for foam, I set my plans in motion. The base/chiller proved to be very simple to build, and took only a few hours. The cross, which proved to be only slightly more difficult, came next. Since the cross was made of two layers, I was able to embed a 1″x1/4″ strip of hardwood down the center for added support. That should prevent the cross from breaking off in any wind. The finished structure stands just over 6′ tall (29″ base, 45″ cross), with the inner dimensions of the chiller being 22″x14″x14″.
Once the structure was finished, I started detailing the cross which took roughly 5 hours to complete. That’s not including the time spent creating the knot-work templates. And now, the hard part awaits. I have just begun carving the knot-work border on the front of the base which, based on what I’ve accomplished in the first 4 hours, I expect will take about 15 hours to complete. Wish me luck, as my eyes and my back are already killing me.