Site for a great home haunt book

Saturday, May 29, 2010


With this weekend being Memorial Day and being forewarned that the beach is over crowded, we (the family and I) decided that a nice quiet weekend at home was in order. As I often do when I have free time, my mind wandered to Halloween and props and my home haunt. I have all of these ideas of what I want to do and how I want the haunt to look and I have come to a realization that I won't get there this year. So I am doing something that is out of character for me, I am planning things in stages; I am going to start over and build it the way I want without the short cuts I've used in the past. I have about 30 store bought tombstones, that to be honest were fine for me in the beginning, but now they are lacking. I have the cheap ground breakers that stores like K-mart And Wal-mart sell during the season. I have lots of lighting and fog machines. But the thing that I am lacking is the personal touches that I want the haunt to have.
Of course, I will finish the columns in the next two weeks... sooner if I can get the remaining materials. Then I think I will start with the tombstones. I want to get rid of all of my store bought and use ones that I make myself. (Or another option is to use the store bought as filler stones to accent my home built ones. and as my "inventory" grows slowly "retire" the store bought ones.)
I am currently waiting for a video to arrive. I found a site that rents "how to" vids and they had the Bad Boys Scenic Design title I was after. It has shipped and it should be here any day now. I still would rather purchase the dvd but it seems no one carries it. So I will have to settle for a rental and just take really good notes.
I have been looking at my favorite home haunt sites analyzing what it is about them that makes me like them so much. I've gotten plenty of ideas on things I want to do so now it's time to do it... wish me luck....


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Revised Book Review - How to Haunt Your House by Shawn & Lynne Mitchell

So after reviewing Steve Hickman's series I decided I didn't really do a good review on this book. So since I make the rules here I am going to re-do my reveiw :)
As I said before I got this book for Christmas. The first time I heard of this book was shortly after watching an On Demand video of's 2007 series "Route 666.. America's Scariest Home Haunts" featuring "The Mitchell Cemetery" created by Shawn & Lynne Mitchell in Pensacola, Fl. So after seeing this short video I thought "I wonder if they have a website that will share how they do some of the stuff they do...I stumbled across the website How to Haunt your House and realized that they have something much better than a how to section of a website they have a book!! This is another book I had wanted for a while. (And yes, my wife made me hold off on getting it because it would be a great present from the kids for my birthday or Christmas.)
I've already mentioned that the "Mitchell Cemetery" was a feature haunt on's 2007 series "Route 666.. America's Scariest Home Haunts". They were also a finalist for the Haunt X Awards Best Yard Haunt 2007. You can imagine how excited I was when the offer to be promoted and transfer to Pensacola was given to me... Is it sad that one of the deciding factors for me was that I would be able to see this home haunt in person???
First the things I like about this book... It is an actual book!!! the formatting is excellant.. I found no editing errors... the pictures are very clear and colorful... From a book stand point it is well put together and is professionally done. (Which is what I expect when I purchase a book for $35.) It is clear cut and easy to follow. So easy that my 9 year old son was able to follow the instructions on how to Marbalize props and successfully do it.
Okay, now the negative.... I wanted more info...yes I know I'm greedy, but it is brilliant of the authors as I now will have to buy any additional volumes they come out with.
I would love to see a DVD companion maybe of them demonstrating some of the techniques. I don't know how cost effective that would be but I like to "see" how things are done.

For me, more than anything, it provided several ideas on how to take my yard haunt to the next level. I recommend this book to anyone that is serious about their yard haunt or halloween party. Would I buy this book again?? Absolutely I can't wait to see more from these two talented individuals.
Thanks for reading....

Book & DVD Review - Home Haunter's Prop Building Complete How to Package by Steve Hickman

So I got this set about 3 months ago. I think I started wanting this one in 2008 but my wife held off on getting it for me. (My A.D.D. tends to make me go all out on an interest to the point that I get burnt out quickly and soon move on. My wife wanted to see if my "obsession" with Halloween and Home Haunting would last... It did and has....)
So this set is 5 "handbooks" and 5 DVD's. You purchase them from Terror Syndicate . The Author is Steve Hickman. My wife had originally told me she would only allow me the books, but due to an error she made when ordering I lucked out and ended up getting the books and the DVD's. (So be careful when you order. It's real easy to order the DVD's instead of the books. And understandably, there's no refunds) The customer service was great. And we received the books and the DVD's in a very timely manner.Steve also included a one of his CD's (Terror Syndicate's Dark Soundscapes 5) with the order as a "little something extra" which eased the pain of the error we made. This also sealed the decision that I would be willing to order from him again.
So I'm going to start off with the books and the negative things. I guess my biggest gripe is a trend I have seen. The handbooks appear to be produced either from a home printer or at a Kinko's or store like that. Also the formatting could be better. My assumption is that these are word documents that have been printed and comb bound (like you would use one of these for In several places it looks like the formatting is off as pictures cover up some of the text. For $30 a volume or $140 for the series I would have liked to have seen them be an actual book. Some of the techniques described have been frowned upon (i.e. using pvc piping for pneumatic cylinders, etc). Now for the good stuff... There's a lot of great ideas in the books and a lot of information that someone just starting out can benefit from.
The DVD's are produced from what looks like Steve's Garage or workshop and are low budget. They are burnt from a home computer. again for the price of $30 a disk or $140 for the series I would have liked to have seen them be of better quality. The pluses...I like Steve... he has some ideas on the DVD's that are not in the handbooks.
So bottom line... most of the info covered in this series you can find already on the internet for free... in fact before I got the series I had found a lot of it. (I just didn't realize it because I didn't know what was really in the books and on the DVD's) Would I buy them again?
Probably not. Am I glad I did buy them? Yes, because I helped a home haunter...
'Til next time....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Distressed Angel Statue

This is a statue that Jen picked up a local thrift store. She dry brushed the highlights to give it the look of being outdoors for ages....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where is the time going???? Only 174 days left

With the move to Pensacola in January, getting settled in my new position, and just life in general I am finding I am running out of time to build things for this year. Yes, it's true.... I still haven't finished my simple project of building the cemetery columns and gates yet. Hopefully I will at least finish the basic construction this week so Jen can have them for her part. My biggest hesitation in building a lot this year is I'm not sure if we will be in this house for more than a year. It was definitely not my first choice, but it is growing on me. Plus I am not sure how the city will take me fogging up a section of a main road since we are the corner lot that shares the
Anyway, my goal is to finish the columns and gates ....and then do at least 3 more projects... I think that is doable... maybe the oil spill will ruin my summer plans and I'll simply stay home every weekend and work on that case I may get more done.. (see... despite what my wife says I can look for the positive...)
I have a few more books to review this week.... the DC Prop Handbooks, Steve Hickman's Home Haunter's Prop Building series (books and DVD's), and Di Stefano Production's How to Build A Corpse. I have added to my wish list Bad Boys Scenic Design: Styrofoam Masons...I am a little hesitant to order from the supplier that carries it as I've heard some poor reviews of them ...but it's only around $25 and I might be willing to risk it..
Well, I guess that's all for now.........