Happy Day of the Dead, Ya’ll!

Halloween is my favorite holiday. FAVE. OR. IT!! I geek out annually to a degree that is probably not healthy to myself or my bank account, but you know what?? I don’t care.

Okay… that’s a lie… I do care about my bank account. I need it.

But otherwise, seriously, the geekery is intense.

This year my lovely better half and I decided (or rather I kind of forced the issue) that we would do a tribute to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. That’s right DisneyLAND. Not World, Not Paris. LAND. The original and the bestest Mansion (in my opinion).

And boy oh boy was this a perfect choice!! Our house on its own, has a nifty spooky, yet approachable , vibe. (Much like the Mansion itself). Plus it has columns. Columns are awesome for holidays. You can wrap things around them, hang stuff on them, drape things from them, you name it and columns make it possible.

So, here is what we started with:

And here is how we finished:

A closer look…

I know, awesome, right?! Even I was standing back after it was all up and going and I was like, “awe!” Yes, I actually said “awe”, because I was in it!

Okay, so super quickie breakdown of the whole dealy-bopper.

I decided early that the front door was far too jolly a red to work for any Hallowe’en theme, so I went to the fabric store and bought some muslin and elastic strap material, and then went to the mega-hardware store and bought some primer, some dark green paint and a can each of white and black spray paint.  Then (after covering the front door generously in plastic drop cloths), I strapped the muslin to the door using the elastic bands (cut holes for the knob and deadbolt), primed it in two coats and then painted it that lovely dark green color. Then, I used some old poster board to create a stencil and spray painted on the beveled accents.

Do I have progress shots of this amazing crafty action? No. Because I didn’t even think about the fact that I have a blog now. But can’t you see it in your mind??? Yeah… yeah… there it is – and it is so COOL!

Moving on…I used an open-source graphic program to take and stretch jpegs of the stretching room portraits to the exact size and width of the windows next to the front door. And, yes, I could not stop giggling insanely at the notion that I was stretching the stretching portraits. I told you, too much geekery can cause brain damage. Then, I very nicely asked a lovely friend of mine who uses one of those nifty large format plotters at work to print the portraits out for me. A cup of sugar goes a long way, peeps.

For the larger window panels, we went back to the fabric store and bought way too expensive white fabric and some more reasonably priced black fabric. Using a graph system, I sketched out the silhouettes on graph paper, and then drew a scale graph on the black material in chalk, copied the image from the paper to the material, and finally cut it out and glued it to the white material. Voila, awesome panels.

Pumpkins!! Okay, I created custom stencils for the pumpkins to represent the three “Hitchhiking Ghosts”. And um… yeah, that’s about it. Oh!! Did you know that the names of the Hitchhiking Ghosts are Phineas, Gus and Ezra? Did you know they even had names? Did you know that I’m a total dork for this stuff? Yes? Oh… well, you had me at “Welcome Foolish, Mortals…”

Um….what else? OH! The plaque!

Yeah, I didn’t do that. But EBay is AWESOME!

Madame Leota. I created a whole media experience using an open source audio editing program and Windows Movie Maker. I won’t go into any real detail here because it was a true “had to be there thing”, but suffice it to say, the trick-or-treaters loved it! Oh… and I rear-screen projected Leota’s image onto the window.

Everything else in the yard was either store bought or re-purposed from previous years, but over-all we were very, very pleased with the outcome.

And now to start planning for next year!!


3 thoughts on “Happy Day of the Dead, Ya’ll!

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