Last year Erin and I introduced the neighborhood to Jack & Joe Momma’s Butcher Shop & Diner for the first time (though it didn’t have that name just yet…). We had big plans for this year but decided to make the Butcher Shop better this year and wait until next year to go big (lots of surprises for next year!). Either way, we busted out a lot of the same stuff from last year but made some minor changes and included some new additions:
- My Grim Reaper died a few weeks ago when I knocked over my oscillating fan. May he rest in peace but may he also rise from the dead for next year.
- We added two new skeletons this year: Jean-Philippe, our Maitre d, and our dancing skeleton, Jesco.
- Jean-Philippe was situated inside our shrubs welcoming guests with our new “Please Seat Yourself” sign painted on the back of our old “I’d Turn Back Now If I Were You” sign. Other new signs include “Let’s Eat!” and “Eat Kids Free” to accompany last year’s “Fresh Cuts Daily / Bone Appetite!” sign.
- Meat hooks were hung from our porch light and a dead crow and pig face was hung from them.
- We added two dog skeletons and a cat skeleton to the haunt this year – the dogs were chewing on a hand and a brain, the cat had recently eaten a mouse.
- We added two new bird skeletons that were situated in our potted plants – one eating an ear, the other an eyeball.
- I situated my ground fogger under the dinner table this year beside a red LED work light – this gave a nice rolling fog effect coming from under my table.
- The addition of LED spotlights in the graveyard were a big hit for me – they really added a dimension to the scene I didn’t have in previous years.
- Our fogger zombie’s head no longer turns. I don’t know enough about motors to fix him but hopefully I’ll learn soon!
- We bought these two metal rods from Bass Pro that are intended to stake in the ground and hold your fishing rods up. We don’t fish so one held up our little girl “Corner Kid” (wearing a clown mask – a potential hint at next year’s theme?) and the other held up dancing Jesco who was in a small cemetery by himself, across the sidewalk from the bigger flowerbed cemetery.
- Our Butcher fell off the house last year and broke his arm. I never got around to fixing him but still wanted to use him so we put him inside the garage window with a white strobe under him.
Here are some photos of the night – See all my Halloween 2014 photos on Flickr
So I took a day or two to set it all up and was so excited for the big day. Erin and I have gotten more ToTs every year since living at our house so I really wanted to be ready this year with plenty of candy. We loaded up 3+ bowls of candy in preparation and still had high spirits even when we heard the weather forecast called for a cold, rainy and potentially even snowy evening.
…And it delivered. The weather was wet, cold and windy. We didn’t get our first ToTs until about 8:30 – three little girls, all fascinated by their surroundings, accompanied by their dad. Dad told me they considered not coming out due to the weather but he was glad they did because we had “a really nice set-up, here!” Thanks, dad! Erin said she heard the girls talking outside the office window about how cool and scary everything was. Awesome!
Unfortunately that was about it. We didn’t get any more ToTs until about 9:30 or so – two teenage girls who seemed fully aware it was a bit odd to be going door to door at their age but I was happy to see them anyway. I emptied the rest of one of my first bowl into their pillow cases and overheard them talking as they left about how they were making a (candy) killing that night because nobody else was out – I assume every other house was just trying to get rid of the candy at that point as well.
Casualties for the night include a tombstone that I accidentally snapped in half while trying to secure it into the ground after it fell over, one of our window ghouls that was attached with a screw that fell out of the wall ended up wet and covered in mulch after crashing down and I had to pick Jesco up after our last ToTs left, another apparent victim of the wind. Also: my Halloween ego.
This is not to say it was a failed night, however. No, there were some things that were great! While I hated the weather sucked and that we had a poor turnout, I was stoked that I didn’t have any more damage than I did considering the wind and rain. I was happy that the youngest of young kids and the older kids all seemed to enjoy the house equally, and above all else, I read on the subdivision Facebook page that the lady who claimed to have a big “Halloween Show” didn’t even set up because of the weather…
…And that’s a big deal because Halloween is OUR night – not yours, Christmas show lady…
Finally, Erin made a lovely Halloween-inspired dinner for us in a mushroom, spinach and green bell pepper-stuffed “mummy calzone”, some syringe-style Shirley Temples and a lovely pumpkin dessert pizza! What a woman! Best Halloween dinner yet!
Despite a bruised ego, I brushed it off and busted out a highly successful November 1 shopping day – arguably my favorite day of the year. We hit Spirit Halloween in Cleveland, TN, and hit a Target and K-Mart while in town, another Spirit in Hixon, TN and then back to Knoxville for a stop at Costco, At Home, a second Target, World Market, Party City, a third Target, Kroger, Halloween City and a fourth Target. I almost feel like we doubled our Halloween collection yesterday but I can’t be certain. What I can be certain of, however, is that next year will be out of control! I have big ideas for off season projects and a set-up next year that will outshine any Simpson Halloween to date!
I’ll end with these walk-through videos of our home haunt. Please forgive the poor lighting in the night walk-through. I guess that means we need more lights (which we remedied during November 1 shopping day!)!