I took very few pictures this year, because I wound up participating
at run-time to take a "scare-'em" position over at the Graveyard. For
lots of general event details and info, see notes from prior years:
[Click on any image for a larger version]
My main role/responsibility was largely unchanged -- get lights in the air,
balance power feeds, and help out in general. This year I decided to try
flying more of the wiring runs to avoid having extension cords trailing
across the grass where foot traffic would pass and the likelihood that
someone might kick out a plug in the middle of the festivities. I swiped
pavilion circuit 2 which only has one outlet and found a neatly adequate way
to raise the wire nice and high using the second iron pipe assembly that's
been kicking around forever. A couple of other feeds went just overhead
near the storage building; that isn't supposed to be a traffic area anyway
so it was okay that they were a little low.
It worked well, I thought. The food stuff under the pavilion is fine on four circuits, even with the high-wattage cotton candy maker going full blast.
Having observed that someone simply flung a wire completely over a tent
to get power to the far side of it, I did likewise on the dance tent.
This wasn't my idea but it is far easier than bringing a cord in and
laboriously rigging it to go up and over where the patrons stand. The
guests never really see outside the tents because it's dark by the
time they come through.
Another difference was that the skits in the field were powered entirely off the big 240V inverter in my car, parked unobtrusively along a part of the walkway off the tour route. When the engine ran to top up the hybrid battery, you could barely hear it. Way better than the clanky old generator they used to use.
|Tour guides got the usual orientation.|
|Construction on the graveyard was finishing up; a new feature was a huge godzilla-like head on a rocker arm with a control rope to make it lean down toward visitors with big glowing eyeballs.|
Before it got too dark I went around just to shoot the sets. This year I
helped a little more with the flat painting a couple of weekends prior, and
wound up doing the big dead trees at either side here in the "witches ball"
dance-tent set. I was kinda proud of those, because I had no idea what
I was doing but they turned out rather nice in the end.
We were trying for a "horizon line" in the back with a hint of distance perspective but the painted cauldron wasn't really placed right. Well, whatever; as the redundantly obvious saying goes these days, it is what it is.
|Set for "Goodnight Moon", in which Vlad reads stories to his offspring before they go out for the evening to feed.|
|This was an amusing skit involving a substitute chemistry teacher trying to handle a Harry Potter style "potions" class and not quite getting what the students were expecting. In theory, the overall event theme was supposed to be a Harry Potter sort of thing.|
|The games area wasn't really up and running yet, and our community-service volunteers were still running around setting stuff up. Or taking a breather, or whatever..|
Finally we opened, and got a good crowd in. With some difficulty I negotiated
a steady stream of kids to get to the top of the slide steps to shoot this
overview of the costume parade and general attendee milling. It was really
a perfect night for this -- fairly warm, almost windless, and we wound
up running a lot of tours.
The Graveyard folks had loaned me a black cloak sort of thing which I was already wearing, and which I made the mistake of going *down* the plastic slide in. Lesson about synthetic fabrics and static electricity learned; I must have had inch-long lightning bolts going between me and the metal center post. Ow.
|There's a perfect time of evening to catch the pumpkin patch -- dark enough to show all the glowing stuff, but with a hint of dusk light still left over the pond behind it. I think I nailed it okay here.|
|I tried to catch one of the dance-school rehearsal runs, but they were way too active so this is really just the set in its final decorated form. At this point I had to get back to the graveyard to be "on duty".|
My role was to animate the Box. The Box is this ratty old wooden crate with
no bottom and chains strung around on the outside, large enough for a kid
or small adult to fit inside and push around. I don't have any pictures
of it. The idea was originally a packing crate shipped from some mysterious
location with a monster inside which was about to escape. In this case I
set myself up behind the Box, squatting in the little alcove of fence where
the gate to the dock is,
and the whole setup was alongside the walkway but not blocking it.
A drape of cloth on one side of the enclosure blocked the guests' view
of me and the Box until they came up right next to it, whereupon it
would suddenly jerk and rattle seemingly by itself.
This was before they even got into the graveyard area itself, a good location where they weren't expecting odd things to happen yet. I got some great startle reactions out of people, because basically anything that does a sudden movement and noise is the standard scare device in haunted houses. In fact I had gotten into the idea of participating in runtime like this because I'd been poking around some of the numerous haunted-house videos up on youtube and by seeing how actors run those, got sort of inspired.
|The next morning it was cleanup time, and I discovered that the big spiral lamp was mysteriously missing out of one of my redneck area lights. This must have taken some effort because the little guard wire was still in place, and it's actually a little tricky to extract the bulb without taking the wire off first|
It didn't take long to find the answer. Some little douchebag had evidently
come along the fence after we'd all left for the night, taken the time and
trouble to unscrew the lamp from the light past the wire guard-thingy,
then walked all of fifty feet with it and smashed it on the basketball
A fine example of the spoiled, over-entitled american youth of today and their tendency toward senseless and arbitrary destruction of other peoples' property. I mean, these lamps are all of $15 or so at the Despot, but this was just completely stupid and pointless and the first time any of my gear has been deliberately messed with at this event.
I stuck around to help load, and got to jockey the rental truck around the
grounds a little to go pick up flats and other stuff in the field. With
the flats in first that meant they could go on the *tail* of the storage
trailer later, which would likely ease the job of pulling them out for
painting next year. We did store them that way later in the afternoon.
Just tryin' to think ahead a little...