Happy Halloween!

The big day is finally here! Happy Halloween from Highbury Cemetery!! The final props are being set up as I type, the makeup kit is ready to transform and we wait patiently for the children to come tonight in ravenous packs for their treats. I hope everyone has had an amazing season thus far and is ready to cap it all off with a bang. Months of planning and building all come down to this!

And like every Halloween, I'll drop a little teaser from the cemetery for everyone. This year, we're going high tech...

The QR code above will be placed at the end of the driveway tonight. Parents and their kids can scan the image with their smartphones for an extra little treat. Why not give it a try with your phone now? Don't have a smartphone? No problem. You can just click here!

And because I can't go through October without at least one mention of The Misfits...

Happy Halloween, everyone! Check back later in the week to see photos and video from the big night here at Highbury Cemetery!!


Glendale Cemetery - Akron, Ohio (Part 2)

Alas group, for we have reached the final installment of this year's Cemetery Sundays. Today, we are going to finish up our photo tour through Glendale Cemetery in Akron, Ohio. If you missed the first part, you can still check it out here.

At this point, we're only half way through this enormous cemetery. We re the tour as we climb through a hole in a fence where we come upon a treasure trove of old, German graves as well as finishing off on the row of creepy family mausoleums...

This one was made of wood...

A double-family marker with an interesting arch.

A cross tombstone made of iron.

Here are the shots from the final leg through the cemetery, a long row of family mausoleums.

This mausoleum was built into the side of the hill.

As was this one, right next to it.

With a closeup of the intricate door sculpture.

And this completes the tour. Hopefully I was able to provide some inspiration for your haunts with these photo tours. I know it has provided me with a wealth of new reference material to make our cemetery better. Feel free to take any of my photos for your own reference library, too.

Also, a big congrats to Daph, who made mincemeat out of yesterday's contest question and has won her very own 2011 Highbury Cemetery t-shirt! Go Haddonfield Huskers!! You have to be quick to win the goods here!

And finally, our hearts go out to all of the east coast haunters that had to deal with the snowstorm that wreaked havoc on their displays this weekend. All the months of planning and this happens. Ugh...

Current weather forecast for Halloween night:
52 degrees with a 50% chance of showers

Looks like we'll be haunting in the rain tomorrow. Be sure to stop by for an early morning teaser from the Cemetery. And if you're close, why not stop by? Our trick-or-treat is Halloween night, from 6 to 8. And I'm looking at you, dear Akron Beacon Journal photographers...

Night Of The Living Contest!

So I know we're a day behind, but here's the final installment of this season's Freebie Fridays. This installment is a little contest for all of our loyal followers as well for all fans of Halloween. The first batch of Highbury Cemetery 2011 t-shirts are done and we're giving one away to one lucky person for absolutely completely 100% free. Our Halloween gift to you!

This year's shirt is based on our 2011 poster, converted to a simple, one-color design and lovingly hand-screened in the Highbury Cemetery basement. This version features white ink printed on a dark brown, size large t-shirt.

And what do you have to do to win this piece of svelte couture? Simply be the first to answer this question correctly:

What is the name of the football team of Michael Myers' alma mater?

(And yes, we are talking about the film character, because, you know, it IS Halloween...). Be the first to drop the correct answer in the comments and the shirt is yours!! Good luck!! This contest will be open to everyone for the next seven days and will close at midnight, November 3.

I wanted this year's contest to be a little bit harder than last year's, as last year's was answered in about 3 minutes.

A big thanks goes out again to Skaight at Psycho Reindeer for help with this year's screen. As always, be sure to buy something nice from him, as he uses wonderful clothing models... 

2 more days until the big night. Unless you're Scrapes, because his trick-or-treat is tonight. So we'll be over there, helping spread the fear, err, cheer!
Current weather forecast for Halloween night:
51 degrees with a 50% chance of rain

Which means it's going to rain. Because it's jumped from 20% to 50%. Damn...

But then again, it's not snow.


More Tombstone Updates

I finished up another two tombstones for the cemetery this week. These two were part of the original cemetery many years ago, and were in desperate need of an update.

The first was our old Silas Long tombstone. It was one of the first stones we did. For the astute Scooby Doo fans in attendance, Silas Long was, in fact, the wolfman villain from the 1970 episode, Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Werewolf?

Why not take a second out of your busy day and watch the entire episode here? It's quite good!

So the tombstone was in pretty bad shape, as I had originally tried to mount it to a wooden stake by driving two screws through the foam. After a couple of years of wear and tear, the screws tore through the foam, leaving two nasty holes.

The first thing I did was repair the holes by filling them with spackle.

I then painted the entire thing with flat white ceiling paint. The moisture in my basement got to the spackle on the bottom hole and you can see a patch of brown mold discoloring of some sort...

Not a problem, as it was covered by a wash of watered-down black paint, followed by a quick wash of watered-down green. I have used this same color pattern on a few of my tombstones, as well as my new obelisk.

Next, I created a full-size epitaph. I printed the tiled 8.5" x 11" pages out and taped them together.

The difficult and time-consuming part comes when it's time to cut out all of the lettering and the flourish at the bottom.

I then traced everything onto the front of the stone with a permanent marker. After the initial tracing was completed, I used black paint to fill in the larger letters. I just filled in the small letters and detail areas with the marker.

After all of the lettering was complete, I wanted to add a few extra details, as Abigail Harrington is the new witch in our cemetery. She will also be flying around my new crypt on Halloween night (she is my new Flying Crank Ghost).

A hole at the top of the stone (from the years we used actual candles and the hot wax melted down into the foam) was perfect for a new PVC flicker candle, complete with melted wax down the front. The scribbled "XXX"s were taken directly from the mausoleum of Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. The story goes that if you put an XXX on her mausoleum, she would grant you your wish. And I figured, if Abigail Harrington is a witch, perhaps she would do the same. This also allows for her followers to leave flowers and other small offerings at her grave during the dead of night. I'll have some plastic flowers and other offerings (whatever I can find that will work) to place around the stone when it's set up on Halloween night...

I was also able to quickly update another old tombstone that we had created years ago. This time it was poor Solomon Grundy that needed a refresh. I'm not a comics guy by any stretch, but the idea came from a rather hilarious commercial that was done by Cartoon Network back in the late 90s...

"Solomon Grundy want pants, too!" was the catchphrase that entire Halloween. But after years of wear and tear, it was time for Solomon to be retired. In keeping with Abigail Harrington's witch theme (as well as adding a coven of live witches to this year's haunt), Mrs. Highbury did some research on the Salem Witch Trials and came up with a fantastic new epitaph for poor Bridget Bishop, the first convicted witch to be hanged at Gallows Hill. 

I filled two nasty holes at the bottom of this stone, too, but used two coats of a watered-down brown paint on top of the white base coat. This gives the stone a more sandstone appearance.

But don't worry comics fans. The spirit of Solomon Grundy lives on, because if you look closely, his original epitaph is starting to come through the paint. His memory of wanting pants will live on in Highbury Cemetery!!

3 more days until the big night!! All major prop building is complete and I'm into the frenzied state of sorting out all of the lighting and extension cords and stereo equipment. Once this mess is all sorted, I might be able to relax for a second, although I do have one last project to complete. But you'll have to check back later today for our final Freebie Friday to see what it is. Just be sure to bring your thinking caps with you when you stop back...

Current weather forecast for Halloween night:
54 degrees with a 30% chance of showers