Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Haunt Theory: Traditionalism

Was thinking about how traditional a haunt should be. Every Halloween morning, when I first start building the display, I spend a significant amount of time arranging cornstalks and pumpkins. I need my haunt to feel like Halloween before I even consider placing any groundbreakers, witches, or scarecrows. If the Traditional side of your haunt is covered, it'll enhance the entire display, regardless of the theme. Leaves, cornstalks, and jack 0'lanterns can make a haunt totally memorable in the absence of any homemade or store-bought props. I joked last year that I wished someone would tell me that I wasn't allowed to use any props at all in my display - just natural elements. That'd be a really neat exercise in building a haunt.


JHMDF said...

I spent a lot of Halloween day last year placing moss on everything, and then setting candles around. Took more time to do that than put the props out.

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

:) Very big smile.

Although I don't do a traditional haunt, mostly because the house lends itself to a graveyard so very well, I have to say that lately I have been morning the loss of all the traditional props that I gave away when I decided to stick strictly to the graveyard theme.

It was timely to see your post as that I am toying with the idea of decorating my back gated garden area with the pumpkins, corn stocks and the scarecrow that I miss so much. Missing all those elements for the last three years has felt a little less like Halloween to me. I know that does not make any sense...but then I rarely do. :)

Sorry for rambling. :)


Nev said...

Yeah, I agree. Traditional makes it great. Old fashioned... natural.
You could do a haunted with all traditional and lighting. I bet it would look amazing.

Anonymous said...

Now that's an intriguing idea.

I challenge you to do a weekend-before-Halloween display without props? Because I look forward to your props every year too much to go without. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree. Throughout the year after a storm I go around picking up large broken branches that have fallen. I just dont pick up anything either. They have to look natural and scary. I have a large collection under my porch. I will pull them all out and make arrangements. If one does not work it goes back under the porch.

Sam Kadi said...

Hey Rot, do you always set up on Halloween morning? I usually like to set up a couple weeks ahead of time to get it dialed in and enjoy it a little bit. Do you sketch stuff out prior or do you just know in your mindseye what you want to do. I find myself sketching stuff all the time, even in April.

Ivy Hall - Actual said...

Sorry about the delay.



Ivy Hall - Actual

Sam Kadi said...

BTW, I think that you make a good point with the traditionalism point. You need to establish your 'stage' prior to setting it up. Last year my front yard tree still had alot of leaves and it just killed me, it didnt look dead and I didnt get many leaves from it either.

Anonymous said...

o.k. this year you can only use one man made prop...create the DARKEST scarecrow you can think of. the rest has to be all natural.:)
you should start keeping a journal of all the "HAUNT THEORIES" that you come up with and when you think you have enough, put them in a book form.

AllHallowSteve said...

Nice pic and I couldn't agree more!

Halloween needs to at least have the "basics": jack o' lanterns and/or pumpkins, autumn colored leaves, dark trees, signs of Fall.

Not only do these things instantly invoke the FEELING of the season, but they make your haunt display feel like HALLOWEEN instead of just a horror film set.

Maybe I'm biased in my set ways... said the guy who runs a website called "HalloweenAddict.com"... hmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

Rot said...

I'd be tempted to try the all-natural haunt, but I have high hopes for my theme this year, which requires a lot of props this time around : )

Totally not a hypocrite! I'll focus as much energy on the Traditional side as I will on the Prop side.

My haunt is a one-day event. I only set up on Halloween morning. I travel to my parents' home where I grew up to ruin their property for the night. They get more kids at that location.

I will sometimes do a rough sketch of an idea, but mostly it's in my head and develops as I build each prop.

ghostofhalloweenspast said...

I think the idea of an all natural, no store-bought Halloween haunt would be creepiest of all. Think of that scene from Blair Witch with the twig bodies hanging suspended from the trees in the fading light, with minimal or no sound? That was really creepy. And Rot with your talent in building earthen type creatures it would be spectacular.

Rot said...

Thanks a bunch : )

Marrow said...

Old post, I know. I've been commenting on plenty of old posts recently.

I will be making an all-natural, no-prop haunt this year, at the end of April. Why April? I live in the Southern Hemisphere, so Halloween is in spring over here. Ick. I will also be doing my real halloween haunt, this is just a thing on the side. Plus the real haunt this year will have no organic elements, so I kinda need this.

Anyway, so it's just a little spooky trail in my back yard leading to the shed door. You could walk the whole thing in seven seconds if you wanted. There's tons of dried up vines and plants, sticks everywhere, there will be little blair witch things and plenty of luminaries and jackos
Focus on atmosphere. Ultra-traditional. So far, it's looking awesome.

Let me know what you think rot, any advice? I might even email some progress photos if you want.

Marrow said...

And PLEEEEAAASSSEEE post up another Haunt Theory before the month is out. Just copy and paste one from the book draft itself. We'd all love you this much *stretches arms out as far as possible, strained look on face*.

Rot said...

I think it sounds great.
From the photos on your blog, I don't really think you need any advice : )

I'd love to see progress pics.

I think organic elements should be number one on everyone's Haunt list. It ties everything together. Even if it's a Circus or Pirate theme, organic traditional elements will always enhance.