Monday, July 28, 2008

Planning for Halloween 2008

Anyone who knows me well can probably guess my favorite holiday: Halloween. OK, sure, Christmas is more meaningful and Thanksgiving is more sentimental. But hour-for-hour, I enjoy the times when Jenny and I design, build, and execute our annual Wood Family Halloween Theme Porch more than any other ritual of the year. Thus far we've done a pirate dungeon, a corpse wedding, an alien autopsy, and a psycho circus (check out the video from 2007).

This year I think it's time for "Dr. Frightmarestein's Haunted Laboratory of Horrors" (and, yes, I got the character-name from The Simpsons). Off and on, I might return to this post with thoughts on props, scripts, and other inchoate notions. Right away, I envision the construction of a demented mad scientist's lab with eerily lit jars filled with body parts, some sort of creepy electrical device that creates cool effects, and a gory medical experiment gone horribly wrong. As usual, Jenny and I will dress the part and develop some funny patter to add life to the scene.

We always post signs up the stairs announcing the PG-13 rating for our porch, not wanting to traumatize kids too young for our brand of Halloween fun. But each year some parents still choose to trundle their wide-eyed moppets into our lair, inspiring Jenny and I to downshift our act to a more toddler-friendly vibe. But our "target audience," pre-teens from 8 to 12, loves the show. Some years we've had to shoo a few off after they'd seen the entire show and couldn't pull themselves away, producing a traffic jam of kids waiting to climb the stairs. As usual, I hope that this year will be the best Wood Family Porch yet.

Any suggestions for ways I can flesh out the Mad Scientist theme? I hope you'll post a comment.


Carol said...

My sister and her husband decorate their entire garage every year. It's a scaled down version of "Gyro's", but still has quite a bit of stuff. It takes them about a month and a half of 8 hour days (my brother-in-law works from home so he has lots of time) to put it together - it's quite the show. This last year they did a section of beakers with different color liquids and of course dry ice and actually had a "mad scientist" handing out candy. The kids needed to approach the mad scientist to get the candy, which was quite fun apparently. I can call her to see if she has any ideas - she and her husband are quite the decorators. This last year they went to the Halloween convention in Las Vegas. I'll let you know what I find out when I speak to her.

Andrew Wood said...

Awesome! It's cool to hear how much time and love go into these things. Your sister and her husband take this to the next level! Any tips from that Halloween convention will be most appreciated!