Haunted Playground 2012

Christmas in October?

Once again, into the whirlwind of volunteerism that is the Martins Pond Childrens' Haunted Playground event. This year was supposed to have a Christmas theme, possibly driven by the observation that the local stores were *already* full of Christmas stuff even well before Halloween -- it appears more and more ridiculously early every year.

I think only the graveyard had a few hints of Christmas-y stuff, and everything else was pretty much status quo. We were fortunate to have gotten done with a brief but heavy nor'easter the day *before* the event, leaving a gorgeous albeit almost too warm Saturday in its wake that segued into a lovely Indian-summer evening. Possibly due to that, the event was pretty well-attended.

I got relatively few pictures worth presenting this time around, but prior years amply document how the event
gets put together: 2011,   2010,   2009   ...
And here is a flat list of the large image URLs to help a bulk-download process.

[Click any image for a larger copy.]

Repositioned games tent Notable this year was the games-tent positioned 90 degrees to where it had been in the past, creating a better flow between there and the sort of main gathering spot near the pavilion. We still needed to fence along under the volleyball net so people wouldn't run through under there and clothesline themselves on it. Extra unused tent sides were battened to the pavilion on the windward side to shelter it, but today the wind was so light that evening it was hardly needed. Still -- strapping battens with two or three screws each is a far better way to anchor tarps to this thing than trying to staple them on.

We also banished the cotton-candy machine to *outside* the tarps, so it wouldn't fling sticky sugar mist all over everything inside.

Food pavilion The usual food setup in the pavilion. Chili, chowder, pulled pork, hot dogs, pizza, baked goods, !!coffee!! and other refreshments ...

    Features in the daylight

Zombie prom set Set for the Dancing School's "Zombie Prom" show, sporting a mirror ball and a couple of narrowish-spot LED par38 lamps to light it. They're a small enough emission source that they actually work okay with a mirror ball, albeit with a throw that's a bit "washy" around and past it. But this makes it clear that some sort of narrow-focus LED sources are the right replacement for the traditional "pin spots".

Roadkill Cafe set Set of the "Roadkill Cafe" skit. This is evidently a recurring theme that comes around every few years, but the first instance of it I'd seen.

Building the pumpkin patch Pumpkin patch being constructed. Peter had a brilliant inspiration with the "floating" candles suspended on string; they added real eerie depth to the whole picture when viewed at night.

Graveyard entrance The graveyard had yet another impressively creepy entrace portal.

Graveyard lower half Lower half of graveyard path, relative to water's edge and slope of the beach

Graveyard upper half Upper half of graveyard path

Graveyard corner Main "surprise corner" of graveyard, where visitors turn the 180 bend and have no idea what they'll run into.

Video setup in truck We did another projection setup inside the truck, this time using a section of my old rear-screen I used to hang for my laser shows back in the eighties. It's built from vinyl mattress covers or something like that, some material which has just the right thru-diffusion characteristics. I remember going shopping with a portable laser and using it to evaluate many products at local department stores; they all probably thought I was nuts but I came out with a surface that handles rear-projection really well.

Some staffers in costume Some of our staff, after swapping into costumes.

Cast of Roadkill Cafe Roadkill Cafe cast and crew

Prom queens from Dancing School Dancing School prom queens on their set

Spongebob skit One of the skits involved something about Sponge Bob and trick-or-treating; I didn't really understand it but then again I don't watch Spongebob.

Spongebob squid EEP!   Monsters!

This makes it clear that Spongebob is just a front for the Great Old Ones.


Big backup at the slide As evening arrived and the park filled with patrons, the kids formed a traffic backup at the big playground slide the likes of which we rarely see.

Tour intro point Tours lined up and gathered at the start point, where the introductory schpiel was greatly aided by having both light on the tourguide and a small microphone and PA so everyone could actually hear what was being said.

The blue thing behind them is part of the dance tent ...

Vivid blue dance tent ... which was lit up very vividly blue from the 5000+K LED mirror-ball lights and the Philips ersatz UV light I brought back in.

Pumpkin patch at night The pumpkin patch looked awesome, and this year's story involved a living, moving scarecrow that lit up and walked toward the onlookers at the right moment. Rather impressive.

Monster trivia on Truck TV The "truck TV" was a little less sophisticated this time, simply running a "monster trivia" powerpoint loop but the video itself looked great, lots of crisp brightness over a large viewing angle. I don't think we need the "professional" screen anymore.

Updated doors on trailer Having stuff out of the storage trailer was an opportunity to clean it out a bit, in which some old junk air-handling equipment the town was never going to use again was kicked off the tail with extreme prejudice. Then Eddie had the great idea to put some actual doors on the back to replace the ratty old tarp, and I stuck around to help him install them. We also beefed up the stairs a little and made a simple drop-in cleat to actually attach them to the trailer but in an easily-removed way.

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