All Hallow’s Eve

By Mark Manship

Unfortunately, we knew that given the current state of the house, we wouldn’t be hosting any wild costume parties this year, but there’s no reason you can’t get in the spirit, even if it means whipping together your very own Halloween landscape and Mad Scientist’s Lab in a few short hours.

I’m a sucker for everything Halloween; I’m not sure whether or not it’s the decorations, costumes, the late night TV specials, or pumpkin carving. Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a fun holiday where you get to be creative, take on another personality, and put a scary twist on everything.

Or maybe it’s just the candy! Mmmm…Reese’s….

Either way, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t spin up a spooky setting and accompanying skit for our trick-or-treaters this year. Of course, no front porch spread is complete without a few Jack-o-lanterns to light up the scene. Here’s Ines and I cutting with flourishing speed to bring our pumpkin-heads to life:

We used the tried and true knife-from-the-drawer method instead of buying a pumpkin carving kit. We always manage to lose the tools from year to year, urg…Unless you’re planning on carving something like THIS, or maybe THIS, it’s safe to say you can get away with a plain steak knife and maybe a pairing knife if you have it.

After all the hacking and slicing, here’s our three be-yutes from the Walmart pumpkin patch for 2013:


If you’re wondering what the devil we’re wearing while carving the faces to our front porch greeters, I roped Ines into joining the theme and wearing a bloody apron to accompany her crazy husband. Here we are, all Dexter’d up, waiting for the kiddies to show:

Oh, don’t worry, Shiner didn’t miss out on the fun:

He plays quite the stoic jester, right? 
Amazingly, Dollar Tree has some pretty good gear if you’re looking for some cheap, or last-minute spooky spritzing; aside from some paint, and a few things we picked up from Big Lots, it’s the place to go if you’re looking to furnish your lawn with some hallowed pieces:

The work light we purchased to work on our interior rooms worked out great to give attention to our house (since we live in a cul de sac); I used some sheets draped/nailed over a pallet with some craft paint to create a sign, and stuck a few decorative $1 tombstones around the front of our house.
For the entry I had a second table up with various items, but it ended up being a little too dark to notice. A few masks haunted our bushes and walkway (I used some balloons behind them to give them shape and depth). For some added features, I included some tiny hanging skeletons, spiders, rats, and skulls of different colors and sizes, all from…you got! Dollar Tree!
Don’t forget about the cobwebs. Normally, I’d spend a few hours trying to make the stringy decor look realistic, instead of just throwing it up on the walls, but given such a short amount of time to prepare, I did what I could.

Of course, you can have the coolest setup in the world, but without some ambient music, it’s really missing that final punch of scary that will set your little porch of horrors over the top.

Here’s a short video walkthrough of our setup:

The idea this year was to have the little rugrats walk up to the Mad Scientist’s table as he whips them up a concotion from his grotesque supply of parts and liquids. I’d give eventually give them the candy they wanted, but only after a little show of course, mwuahaha!
Ines captured a little bit of the routine; what can I say, I’m a kid at heart on Halloween!

It was a fun night; at first, we didn’t think we’d have many kids come by, but after it was all said and done, we probably had a few over 50; it’s crazy how much Trick or Treating has changed though. Gone are the days where kids roam the streets from dusk to late evening, pillow case in hand, going door to door with their friends for their candy stash. Now, the parents drive them from door to door, and skip over houses that appear a bit too scary (as happened to us a few times).
Oh well, times are changing, but I don’t think I’ll ever get too old for this night of frights! Happy Halloween everyone!