What a strange year 2022 turned out to be….lots of highs and lows, and a lot of the time simultaneously!
My wife had not one, but two good sized surgeries, one in February, another in July, both successful, but definitely stressful.
I turned 55 in June, and, just in time to celebrate with my wife and loved ones in Chicago, I end up in an ER with asthmatic bronchitis the morning we’re supposed to leave…two hours and one breathing treatment later, we still make it….
In July, after four years, I *finally* receive my due from a former employer, and this precipitates all kinds of Halloween purchases….we have three big Purchase Parties and secure all kinds of goodies!!!
August brought us a tremendous amount of sadness as we lost two of our beloved cats, Skylar, whom we'd had for 18 years, and then Cougar, whom we'd had for 15, within three weeks of each other....truly heartbreaking...but we rallied, and now Tigger and Snickerdooldes rest between us...
BTW, let you in on a little secret: sometimes SHOPPING for the goodies is far more fun than PLAYING with the goodies, but I digress…
A couple of the pieces we bought we were REALLY unimpressed with…
…for instance, a scarecrow that was very cheaply done – nice work, there, Home Depot – pffft! –and a Jack Skellington Lamppost by Gemmy whose internal projection motor croaked inside of two weeks…jeez...too bad on that, it looked really spectacular, but, where there’s a will, as they say…put that on my project list for next year.
Another tip: sometimes wholesalers will give you amazing deals, sometimes not. It really depends, but you can find all kinds of out of circulation stuff at these things...we hit one in Indiana this past summer and scored some interesting toys...and we got burned on one, but hey, so be it...
…speaking of which, our collection got *thoroughly* purged - there was just so much stuff there, and most of it not used in I-don’t-know-how-many years…at the very least, some of it ended up in the hands of other needy home haunters...
Our big goal this year was to change our display up significantly, and, in that regard, we certainly did...my wife and I were truly overwhelmed by the positive response we received, not to mention the number of drive-by photographers and a lot of families checking us out, which, really, is the prime reason we do this anyway....
One thing that caught us completely unawares was taking first place in our town for Best Halloween Decorations, something we were definitely NOT aspiring to…again, we thought there were FAR more creative displays than ours - some of which I've posted here - but it lead to us meeting a lot of fellow haunters...we figured, hey....we're not alone here, let's go meet some of our brethren!
Our original plan for the patio was a "Monster Mash" theme - we took inspiration for this from a few local haunts, which, again, which I've posted here as in prior years - and were going to do another treatment based on Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man....well, you know that old saying about the best laid plans...?
We purchased a pair of life sized stuffed figures, and, having had absolutely no prior experience using them, tried to build Drac and Frankie, and, well....needless to say, the figures have no support structure, so we really struggled trying to get them to stay put....and that is the big drawback with this kind of thing. Just a lump of jello shaped as a body. Argh.
At the end of it, we got the figures to cooperate (somewhat), but, after putting out our Jack Skellington and Sam figures next to our trusty Werewolf animatronic, we kind of pushed them to the back of the line...look carefully on a few of the photos...
Have to give a BIG shout out and THANK YOU to Colleen Staver for giving us that marvelous Dragon Skeleton that graced out display so magnificently. Thank you so much!
Overall, we were quite happy with the final set up, lots of color, lots of lights, lots of action....it actually bummed us out that we had to take it down so fast. 😄
I think what made it so remarkable was the TREMENDOUS amount of support, encouragement, and visitors we received this year, many almost pleading with us to keep going and thanking us for doing this as long as we have (this was our 17th year). Truly humbling and gratifying. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!
BTW? check out the app FrightMaps...it's a terrific tool to find both commercial and home haunts, and for folks like us who love to travel and see what other people are doing, it's indispensable.
We didn’t do a tremendous amount of haunted housing this year due to my wife’s arthritis…oddly enough, after all the injections, therapies and what not, the piece that is doing her the most good in reversing the damage is a customized knee brace. Go figure. She still has some pain issues, but NOTHING like before…here’s hoping next year will allow her to travel and experience far more.
So, what's next?
We already have a few cool ideas and variations for the lawn scene, and as for the patio?
Let's just say it'll feature on the last of the Classic Universal Monsters *OR* a more subtle play on a classic children's spooky game...
Until then, Adieu
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