Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Halloween From Hell

So, in retrospect, I think I bit off more than I could chew. See the pic? A screaming banshee...that's what I pretty much felt like for most of this year's Halloween. Hey, it started off great--beautiful weather, etc., etc. Everything I had been planning and working on for the past YEAR was coming to a delightfully expectant and right-on-target finale. My Haunted Forest, my "Deadwoods" walk-through haunt looked to be a smashing success, except for the fact that I just really didn't realize how much extension cords cost--and while we already had a good supply, it wasn't enough to cover the 250 feet from the nearest electrical outlet to my haunt location and it's many requirements for spotlights. So, about $500 later, I had enough lights and cords. And then, the 'nor easter' hit--cold, rain, and wind. The tent that was my witches hovel, went over, smashing many of the bottles, etc., so I had to start all over on that. Then, it poured Saturday night so that 'performance' of the haunt had to be cancelled. So, Sunday, rolls around and while it's cold, it's clear and sunny. Cool. Then, one of my actors leaves the door open and one of my cats disappears. All work stops for a couple hours and I am a complete basket case (I love my cats and yes, we did find him). Finally, it's showtime and yes, people showed up (altho' not as many as last year--too bloody cold--at least for those of us who inhabit The South) and had a great time at the haunt. So, after the evening's festivities come to a close, I'm feeling better--all my actors showed up, folks loved it, etc. I go out in the cold to take pics and the next morning I load 'em on the computer and lo and behold, halfway through, the computer decides it doesn't like the way the pics are loading and half of them disappear, kaput! In the meantime, my husband has been taking all the lighting down so another photography session is out of the question. So, I make do and smile (seriously? no, I did not smile, altho' I tried). Here we go, then--and this is a good one--I move a lot of the props that shouldn't get wet into the big tent for the night, intending to pack them up the next day. A slight chance of light showers is forecast. Okay, a few drops fall and then a few more. By midnight, all Hell is breaking loose and it's raining cats and dogs. I think, hey, maybe you should go out and check the tents and I do and OMG, the rain has stretched the top of the tents to the max (like halfway down to the blinkin' ground and I am envisioning the Atlantic Ocean blasting into my tent in much the same way that it did in that most majestic ship, "The Titanic"). I race back to the house, pounding on doors to wake my kin, "Help! The tents are collapsing! Get up!" After much struggle and sweat, we manage to heave the water off and for the rest of the night, I go out into the bloody monsoon every bloody half hour until four in the morning to rid the tops of the tents of water which then proceeds to flood onto the ground and my props are soaked anyway. Sigh. So, yesterday was spent trying to salvage what I could and I think most of my 'stuff' will end up ok but will I ever do another 'whatever the weather' haunt? Nope. Sadly, I feel rather like I missed Halloween entirely this year and while I completely accept the stress that usually goes along with setting up a Halloween display, this one was a kicker--it robbed me of what I truly love about Halloween--that it is a holiday unto itself--it is like no other; it celebrates death and darkness and makes light of it; it both lessens and enhances our fear of the unknown; it's FUN for fun's sake; when being scared makes us laugh in the end. I don't know, maybe I'm laughing a little bit 'cause I think, "Damn! How much worse could things bloody well get this year?" It's a blinkin' comedy of errors and misfortune. Dark stuff. Then, again, it's HALLOWEEN. It's supposed to be dark stuff. Maybe it's just a test...


  1. You poor poor dear :( What a nightmare, and unrelenting! I'm so sorry it was so stressful, costly and full of misadventure.

    Though now you DO have a story where, in future Halloween messes, you can say "At least it's not as bad as 2011".

    Those outside haunts, man. I love the idea of it, but so many stressors! I'll stick with my indoor haunt. It causes me enough agony some years ;)

    Rest up. Let yourself recharge. Then you can come up with new strategies for next year.

    And most importantly, I am glad your kitty is ok!

  2. Yikes! I must say, you're holding up remarkably well. As a coastal dweller, I've accepted wind and rain as an unavoidable part of Halloween. It's led me to incorporate more cement blocks into my displays than I'd ever dreamed I would. And sometimes, even they're not enough. Sounds like it was a challenging weekend. But there's always next year. :)

  3. This is just awful, Pam.
    I hate that you went through all that.
    So so sorry.

    So glad your cat is ok.

  4. Oh, I felt close to reaching that point, but I didn't get that far. My respite was that we only had 34 TOTs so I could get a few photos and video clips that the tight schedule otherwise would not have afforded me. I hate to read that you feel you missed Halloween. I love your haunt and wish I could have seen it. remember, we are our own worst critics and to put up more than a few store-bought tombstones really impresses most people.

  5. Thanks for the sympathy, guys. I'm feeling a bit more positive now--I actually laughed when I reread my blog entry this morning! A friend did some video taping so, maybe when I salvage some of the pics and combine with the video, things will look much better than they actually were. Hey, I'll never give up on doing something special and creative for Halloween, but next year, it will definitely be something a little less ambitious and stressful than a big-time 'walk-through-the-forest-with-live-actors experience'!

  6. Egads I feel for you. I am glad you found your cat, that would make me stop too. The good thing is, you have a whole year to get things back in perspective and plan the best Halloween ever!

  7. Thats crazy Pam! Sorry you had to go through that. I watched our cemetery pillars and sign tumble down with a crash this year twice, but nothing is worse than the anxiety of late night can never sleep. Kind of reminds me of some bad camping trips I was on.
    You deserve a perfect Halloween next year- here's hoping you get it.

  8. Oh no....and you was so excited about it for months! :-(
    But i didn't celebrate it at all...never in this tiny froggyland calling Holland...
    I know last year went very well huh? So don't feel sad. Yes, only for the 500 bucks.
    And sweet kittycat came home save :-)
    If i ever come to your place to celebrate Halloween for once in my whole life, you HAVE to make it BIG ok?

  9. Ok, now that I read this post after your last I see why you said what you did about your photos! Geez, and I thought a little snow was a problem on my end (ok, more than a "little" snow). But, yes, what's up with the price of extension cords?


  10. October boy: hope the cemetery pillars were ok and thanks for the "perfect halloween" wishes. (I'm gonna' remember you sent them next year! :)
    Donna: when you arrive some year for Halloween, I promise to go all out with the festivities!
    GhoulishCop: we just had to have so many due to the distance of the haunt from our electrical source (the barn) and the size of the haunt. and in the middle of the woods at night, it's DARK!