Welcome One and All!

For all you Halloween Fanatics....this will be a review and links site of the Best Haunted Houses in the country that my wife Lisa and I have had the pleasure - or displeasure - of gracing....

I've been a *huge* Halloween and horror fan since I can remember...I dunno...it just brings the kid in me out...by the end of September, our place is suitably adorned and we await each weekend with anticipation of which haunts to hit next....

We've been blessed enough to be able to travel quite a bit around the country and see some wonderful attractions and the cities they lurk in...and we're hoping to pass on the fun we've had on to anyone willing to listen in....

Sunday, November 13, 2022

HALLOWEEN 2022 - Do The Monster Mash!!!

What a strange year 2022 turned out to be….lots of highs and lows, a lot of the time simultaneously!

My wife had not one, but two good sized surgeries, one in February, one 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 f sadness as we lost two of our beloved cats, Skylar, whom we had for 18 years, and Cougar, whom we had for 15, within three weeks of each other....which was truly heartbreaking...we rallied, however,  we rallied, however, and now Tigger and Snickerdooldes rest between us...

Let you in on a secret: sometimes SHOPPING for the goods is far more fun than PLAYING with the goods, but I digress…

A couple of the pieces we bought we were unimpressed with…a scarecrow was very cheaply done – nice work, there, Home Depot – pffft! –and a Jack Skellington Lamppost by Gemmy whose internal motor croaked inside of two weeks…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: 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 …

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! 

Made some good friends, too...

Our original plan for the patio was "Monster Mash" -  we took inspiration for this from a few local haunts - again which I've posted here and in prior years - and were going to do another treatment based on Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man....you know that old saying about the best laid plans...? 

We purchased a pair of life sized stuffed figures, and, having no 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 figure. No structure or support. Just a lump of jello shaped as a body. Argh. Next time. At the end of it, we got the figures to cooperate (somewhat), but, after putting out out 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 patio shots...

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 it, 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 and 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. 

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































And, as is ever the tradition, here's some video of our set up
































A bit of a look from our perspective at the inner workings and layout





...and what would this be without an evening view...?
























































































The annual pumpkin carving went quite well, as ever....






The local neighborhoods had some really amazing displays....


































Up until this point, we were unaware of a neighboring charity haunt in Huber Heights, Ohio - Hemlock Hollow Cemetery - all proceeds benefits St. Jude's Children's - worthy of multiple visits - I mean, WOW...just WOW!!!!

































































...and even MORE videos!!!...


A good friend of ours did a wonderful display based the fourth season of "Stranger Things"...even made the local news! Hats of to them!

...in all honesty, you had to see it in person to really appreciate all the hard work and effort that went into this...really remarkable for our area....























Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!






And with that in mind, OF COURSE we had the annual Dayton Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow to enjoy...




























Cincinnati's USS Nightmare and Dent Schoolhouse never disappoint and ALWAYS have plenty of eye candy...
















































And to round this out, some final images...






Dedicated to the memory of our beloved Cougar and Skylar, both of whom left us in August….you were loved so much…



Until Next Time...

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