210 Days Until…

halloween-hauntLast year was the first year I organized The 6th Fright Halloween haunt at my son’s elementary school. Previously I had only helped out building and running the haunt, but decided to take on the responsibility after hearing there would be no haunt for the kids if it wasn’t build last year. What is a Harvest Carnival without a haunted house? It would have not been the same sort of carnival and I think many kids would have been let down.

It’s only the start of April, but not too early to start revising the layout I drew up after last year’s haunted house and begin building props to fill the haunt. The goal for 2014, make it better and scarier (Ms. Chadd really loves to be scared). The most important part of any haunt (after safety, of course) is the layout, which I have been working on since October. While the haunt won’t be as long, it could potentially be more involved this year with better use of space and props. Yet for any haunt to be successful requires volunteers. Unfortunately, beyond the PTA board members, volunteers are few and far between. Although I have been recruiting a few dads I know to give me some of their time come August and September, in order to be ready for October.

Learning from last year, preparation is key, something Mark and I lacked last year, as was evident by the amount of time and work during the days leading up to the Friday haunt. Still, everyone who walked the haunt enjoyed it, in my opinion it was the best one I had seen in 3 years, taking nothing away from the people who came before me and provided their time and effort in order to put smiles on the faces of people who went through the haunted house.

I won’t give much away too much at this early point, as I know there are friends who favor Facebook and I want many of the haunts to be just that, haunting to those who walk The 6th Fright. I will say I am bringing back one room from last year, but everything else for the 2014 haunt will be new.

A change for this year will be including some plywood walls in a few areas of the haunt because PVC and viqsueen won’t handle the load or stress planned on those areas. Unlike last year, I don’t expect to spend 2 weeks building the layout and hanging visqueen, something that should be able to be accomplished in a week. While I have haven’t started laying out any PVC at this point, I will be building each section in my front yard in order to decrease the build time when we are allowed to access the stage, which should be in early October.

Props, given enough time, anything can be built. I am already looking at a handful of props that are pennies on the dollar compared to their retail counterparts at retail establishments like Party City and Spirit. Thanks to input and suggestions from the Halloween Forum, I have been spending time watching videos on different props and ideas for The 6th Fright. In addition to the haunt itself, my neighbor just replaced his backyard fence, I was lucky enough to score about 50 feet of weather planks, which will be turned into a facade for the entrance.

I know we have approximately 7 months until the school’s harvest carnival, but it’s not too early to start. I continue to talk up the haunt when at PTA meetings, knowing full well we need to finish out this school year and the events the school is hosting. Still the advanced planning will improve this haunt for 2014. With any luck it will be better documented than last year.

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