Another year of Halloween fun has come and gone with all the decorations now tucked away. But the season still lingers fresh with the sounds of trick-or-treaters’ screams prompted by the gentle scares at my own front door.
As always, I added a new batch of animated figures, special effects, and other surprises to the ever-growing home haunt that I set up and take down all within the anticipated date of October 31. This year’s display took around 7 hours to assemble and 3 hours to tear down, all in the name of entertaining the neighborhood for around 3 hours.
I stayed mostly away from the zombie theme this year, as Universal Studios dominated that with Halloween Horror Nights centered around “The Walking Dead.” Instead, a sincere pumpkin patch and a skeleton-filled cemetery were my themes for 2013. Somewhere around 90-100 people enjoyed this year’s eerie entertainment, shared below via photos and video, including the return of the now-infamous Trick-or-Treater Cam.
Video: Halloween 2013 at Ricky’s House / Inside the Magic HQ
The left side of my house this year was turned into a pumpkin patch, a twisted take on the Charlie Brown classic. Though Linus and Lucy were both present, so was the headless horseman – or is that the Great Pumpkin?
The pumpkin patch continued across the front yard, with a few new Jack-O-Lantern faces.
The right side of the house once again turned into a cemetery filled with fog and undead creatures emerging from the ground.
A glowing skeleton waved hello to visitors next to a haunted house sign, boarding up a big window.
Improving upon the projections added over the last couple years, the “evil entity” animatronic was enhanced by ghostly apparitions rising up across the garage. It was a great effect that I will definitely take even further next year.
Having visited more haunted attractions than ever this year, I was left without enough time to come up with an entirely new scare. So I combined a new animated cemetery angel statue with two pop-up figures from the past and a winged skeleton flapping overhead in an attempt to create a sudden onslaught of startles as trick-or-treaters approached the front door. Sadly, the foot pads didn’t always trigger and the main pop-up scare had some technical issues, leaving fewer big scares than last year. But many visitors expected something big at the front door, leaving them cautiously approaching, ever-anticipating something to happen. Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t, making it all the more amusing.
Also new this year was the coffin one of the pop-up ghouls was laying in as well as a skull fountain by the front door. Behind that was a flame-filled reaper head and a black winged life-sized skeleton overhead.
Trick-or-treaters came in phases, first a huge number of local kids all at once, later followed by children from nearby neighborhoods, finally finishing up the night with kids driven from farther away. I received many compliments on the decorations from kids and adults alike, including one man who said my house was the only one of the night he bothered to get out of the car to see up close, yelling out, “This is hot!” Many children came back to see the decorations again, some bringing friends, siblings, and parents to see for themselves.
I’m always happy to see the smiles on everyone’s faces as I help bring some Halloween excitement to my relatively dull neighborhood. It’s exhausting to pull the decorations out of storage, put them up, entertain, then take them all down and put them away again, but the result is well worth the efforts for my favorite holiday of the year.
More photos from Halloween 2013 at Inside the Magic HQ: