Farewell, 2012

So here I sit, with mere hours left until the new year, feeling somewhat nostalgic. One last post for the year with a chance to look back and recap.

First, I'd like to wish all of you in the haunt community a belated Happy Holidays! I was ready to post something fun up when I got blindsided by the flu, only to drive to the doctor's office with a 103 degree temperature and find out that I in fact had pneumonia. Five days in bed with antibiotics and I'm still trying to shake this thing off. A bit of a stain on an otherwise great year.

Here now is the Christmas funny posted one week late:

In retrospect, 2012 was a really great year for Highbury Cemetery. Scrapes and I got in a couple of great make & takes with the Northern Ohio Home Haunters Group, making foam tombstones and an incredible talking skull:

I finally got the chance to see Ghost play live in Pittsburgh (where I almost got beat up by an angry bouncer for taking these photos):

Scrapes and I went to the Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus, Ohio and got to attend our first Masquerade Ball:

And as an added bonus, we were featured in Sic Nic's 2012 MHC Costume Ball promo video!

In October, I got to apply my first makeup on a friend:


Mother Nature tried her best, but Trick-or-Treat still went off, even if 3 days late (and although Highbury Cemetery was scaled back this year, we still had a fun time!):

And we were featured in the new 2013 Haunted Halloween Calendar (thanks, Hector!!)

But by far, the highlight of 2012 was in August when Mrs. Highbury and I welcomed Little Christian Highbury to the world. Our finest prop yet and already set to carry the Highbury torch for years to come!

It really has been a great year for everyone here at Highbury Cemetery and 2013 looks set to be even better! We are going to have a Little Scrapes running around, we look forward to attending MHC again this June and I've got some big, big plans to celebrate the tenth year of Highbury Cemetery. I can't wait to ring in the new year and get the new plans rolling.

Thanks again to everyone who stopped by and followed us this past year. We hope you've enjoyed our little slice of madness and we hope you come back for more! Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments and stop back often, as we intend to post more frequently in the coming year.

Now I'm off to take another antibiotic pill and start the countdown.

Everyone at Highbury Cemetery wishes you all a Happy New Year!! Only 304 more days until Halloween!!

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Tim Burton's Original Poem

A beautiful animation for the original idea of The Nightmare Before Christmas!!! Narrated by Christopher Lee.

Dennison's Bogie Book for Halloween (1920)

Highbury Cemetery, 2012

Five straight days of rain, huge time commitments at work, a last-minute weather-related rescheduling and taking care of our newborn son. Even through all of that, we still managed to pull it off. Somehow we all got together and managed to get through another incredible Halloween season. Saturday's rescheduled neighborhood trick-or-treat left many questions as we set up a scaled-down version of our haunt through some light morning rains. Would the weather ever break? Would anybody show up? Would anybody think a scaled back version of Highbury Cemetery would still be cool??

In reflecting on last night's mayhem, I can happily answer "yes" to all of the above! The skies cleared up and allowed us to run all of our lighting. We still had over 100 trick-or-treaters, neighbors and curious onlookers stop by. And we had many compliments and photo requests throughout the night.

After all of the stress of trying to get everything set up and organized, 2012 goes down in the books as another successful year for the Highbury family.

So without further ado, I present Highbury Cemetery, 2012:

A big, big thank you goes out, as always, to everyone who helped set up, scare, and then tear down this year. You all earned your shirts this year! The Golden Zombie awards go out to Sharon, Karen, Scrapes, Andrew and Neighbor Joe for helping making this year so much fun. We couldn't do it without you! 

And of course a big thanks to everyone who cooperated with the trick-or-treat reschedule and made it out to visit us. We enjoyed serving you. And especially the kids that I got to chase all the way down the street. You guys really make trick-or-treat fun!

But a special Platinum Zombie award goes out to Mrs. Highbury, who couldn't help out this year, as she had her hands full with one very special little skeleton:

I can't wait until he's old enough to become one of the members of Highbury Cemetery. I'd say he's already got the look down! 

The Delayed Countdown Is Finally On

So here it is, November 2nd. Halloween has passed with barely a whimper due to rain, rain and more rain and a last-minute rescheduling of the annual neighborhood Trick or Treat. Morale was somewhat low this year, as time constraints really put a damper on the building season and enthusiasm seemed to be waning among all of us.

But as I check the weather, tomorrow's updated forecast is actually calling for sun and dry skies. A look at the clock tells me that in a mere 20 hours, the highlight of the entire season will finally commence.

Highbury Cemetery will rise again.

The props are neatly organized in the basement and garage and a rough drawing of what goes where is almost done. The lights are all set and ready to go and all of the animated props that we are using are fully functional (at least for now). A few minor finishing touches and tomorrow the cemetery will once again spring to life. We will finally have our trick or treat.

It has been a strange Halloween season thus far. With the addition of our newest cemetery member, I really struggled with a shortened list of props to put up this year. I had a tough time admitting that I'd have to put a smaller haunt up. But maybe it's just what I needed. My gloom is turning the corner and I'm viewing this as a chance to hit the rest button. It will give me a chance to step back and re-evaluate everything we have. After a closer examination and a year to plan, I really think 2013 could be a breakout year for us. It will be our tenth year, so I really want to take it to the next level.

But that's 363 more days away. I've got a show to do in 20 hours!

I wanted to do a quick recap of a few things I had been gathering before I call it a night and prepare for tomorrow's transformation.

To start, I was really excited to do my first makeup job. I have been doing my own zombie makeup for years, but oddly enough I have never done makeup for anyone else. So last Saturday, I got the chance. A friend had seen a few of my zombie faces from years past and wanted one of her own. So I gathered up my kit and went to work. I had roughly two hours to get it done and I was actually really happy with what I came up with:



I also had a chance to sit down tonight and watch the new Chiller home haunter documentary, The American Scream. I wasn't sure what to expect, as the previews had me thinking that it portrayed home haunters as a bunch goofballs (oh wait, what? We are a bunch of goofballs??), but after watching it I was very surprised. I really, really liked it. In searching for a word that best describes it, I actually have to say "heartwarming." Each of the guys who were featured had their quirks and at times it was a little bit hard to watch, but the film did an excellent job of revealing the down-to-earth nature of each of them and their reasons for why they do what they do every Halloween. It's funny because I think I could have just as easily been in that documentary, as my reasons are the same: family and fun!

And finally, I'd like to thank everyone who stopped by and helped us celebrate the annual Countdown to Halloween. We didn't post every day, but we sure had fun sharing our little nuggets when we did post. We had a ton of visitors and we even picked up some new followers. We hope you enjoyed what we had to offer up. I have a few more posts that I need to get to, so stop by again. We'll keep this party going until that lesser holiday with lights and decorated trees and some other things we know nothing about is here! :)

Now I'm going to end this post with some traditional Halloween music. Samhain, The Misfits, and of course, Jan Terri! Highbury Cemetery 2012 photos will be up early next week. See you then!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 1984

I have just enough time to share one more set of photos of Halloween costumes of the 80s. Tonight, it's 1984.

The year Highbury discovered heavy metal and glam. No more silly costumes for me. I'm going full on heavy metal. Shredded clothing and makeup. I'm throwing the horns and blasting some Crue.

Unfortunately, I didn't quite know the difference between a pentagram and the Star of David. Oops. Mazeltov Crue!!!!!

And young Scrapes brought back the classic Dracula outfit. Complete with widow's peak, camouflage pants and garbage bag cape.

And dig those olive curtains!

Trick or Treat Has Been Rescheduled

So I hope that I haven't overstepped my bounds, but I decided to reschedule Trick or Treat for my development. I figured that because I was in charge of putting the trick or treat sign out, it was ultimately my call.

And checking the forecast made the decision easier. After getting through a night of 50 mph-plus winds and another full day of rain, the Halloween forecast wasn't getting much better. ANOTHER full day of rain on tap...

But in looking at Saturday's forecast and seeing how many other cities have already rescheduled their trick or treat, my decision became easier and today I quickly put up a new sign with the updated info. While, of course, in the rain.

I just hope that the people in the neighborhood have enough time to see the new sign and can adjust accordingly. And I really hope they don't get mad! So far, those we have spoken to are in complete agreement with us, so maybe this Halloween season will still go off with a bang. And hey, I just got to extend Halloween by 3 more days!!

Feeling The Wrath

So here we sit, two days before Halloween. We've had 48 straight hours of non-stop rain and now we are experiencing 40-50 mph sustained winds. We're in for two more days of straight rain with continued winds through Tuesday. Things are not looking good for the big night.

Highbury Cemetery is located in Akron, Ohio, 438 miles from New York City and the center of Superstorm Sandy. The northeast is being ravaged by this monster storm and all the way over in Akron, we are feeling her harsh effects.

I'm lucky in that we haven't put any of our haunt display up yet, and if we did, I'm sure most of it wouldn't survive the night. Many cities in our area have already postponed Trick or Treat and have rescheduled for Saturday night. I was feeling very anxious about finally losing out to Mother Nature's wrath (she had tested us with morning rains for the past 2 years). 

As the keeper of our neighborhood Trick or Treat sign, I wrangled with the thought of taking over and making the decision for the entire neighborhood to postpone Trick or Treat until Saturday. The city of Akron's official Trick or Treat was this past Saturday night, so we operate as our own section when it comes to Trick or Treating. Unfortunately in a case like this, we're pretty much left on our own to figure it out.

So I had a long conversation with Mrs. Highbury and some neighbors and we've decided that I am in fact going to take over the decision to reschedule Trick or Treat until Saturday. I would hate for any children to try to venture out on a stormy Wednesday when they can do it in much better conditions three days later.

I now have to try and fashion a new sign cover stating the rescheduled day and time and have to somehow attach it to an already weatherbeaten sign all while in tomorrow's continued windy downpour. I just hope there is enough time to get the word out and we're able to salvage Trick or Treat this year.

And we'd be remiss if we didn't also send out thoughts to everyone dealing with this massive storm across the northeast tonight. I hope everyone out there stays safe and makes it out unharmed.


Halloween 1983

Today we show off our costumes from 1983. Another year older and another year bolder. This is my "Patches the Train Riding Hobo" costume. The beard was applied by my parents using actual burnt cork. I also used a ratty, old wig and a great looking hat. I believe my mom sewed the patches on an old pair of my jeans...

Poor Scrapes must have been an afterthought, because for the third year in a row, my parents brought out the old standby. That crazy clown costume...

Scrapes was in kindergarten in 1983, so he wore this to school on Halloween for their costume party. He also got to parade through the retirement home next to the school. In the same clown outfit that I did, five years earlier. 

Somewhere in a closet in my mom's basement, sits a slightly worn, slightly overused clown outfit. I wonder if it will be dragged out when it comes time for my son to go trick-or-treating??


Return of the Living Contest! Part II

So all of the Highbury Cemetery 2012 t-shirts have now been printed, tagged and are ready to go. The list is all accounted for, but there is one extra shirt left in the stack. What to do with it? The only thing we can do with it! Give it away to one lucky reader!

It's the Return of the Living Contest! Part II!

Just like our first contest, we'll ask a horror-related trivia question and the first one to answer correctly in the comments section below wins the shirt, 100% FREE*!
 *Free shipping only to residents of the good 'ol USA. A winner from outside the US may have to pay a small fee for shipping, depending on location. But don't let that stop you, because this really is the best shirt we've ever done!

But because this is the last shirt we have and it's a sequel to our first contest, we have to go a little bit bigger. You'll have to strap the thinking caps on tight.

So the first one to answer the three trivia questions below gets the prize!

Here we go. Three questions based on popular horror movies:

1. What cult sci-fi horror classic was originally going to be titled, "Star Beast"?

2. Popular comedian Dana Carvey's first film role was in this popular 1981 horror sequel, in which a blond reporter interviews him in front of a certain house. Name the movie.

3. At one time, TV evangelist Billy Graham claimed that a real demon resided in the celluloid reels of what 1973 horror classic?

The first person to answer all 3 questions correctly in the comments section below wins the last Highbury Cemetery 2012 t-shirt (size large), printed in glorious glow-in-the-dark ink!

Good luck! This is the last shirt that was produced this year and once this one is gone, there won't be any more. So get cracking and win yourself some new threads for the 2012 Halloween season!

Halloween 1982

Continuing on through the costumes of the 80s we visit 1982. Another year older, but some things stay the same...

1982 saw me as the Skull-Faced-Army-Guy-with-Dad's-Belt-as-a-Plastic-Sword-Holder, which yes, is pretty funny, but is the first year that I didn't go with an off-the-shelf costume. Perhaps this was the point that put me on the path to the Halloween blogger that I am today. So I guess I owe a debt of gratitude to 1982? Not a bad year after all.

And then poor Scrapes gets the recycle job again. Same costume as last year. You'd think he would be in the circus today, but alas, he must have been too young. In his defense, the makeup and that pose make for a chillingly creepy photo. Perhaps 1982 was the point in which he became the haunter that he is today, as well.

Highbury Cemetery. Since 1982?

As an added bonus, I found another photo from '82 that shows a 4-year-old Scrapes and 9-year-old Highbury, proudly posing with their enormous jack-o-lanterns. Such craftsmanship!!

And yes, I made the mistake of looking at the local weather forecast for Halloween night. Looks like we are going to get a little of Sandy's wrath even here in Northern Ohio (although the forecast has again just changed, so it's not all doom and gloom for now!).

46 degrees and partly cloudy skies with a 20% chance of rain

Halloween 1981

Today we continue our look back at Highbury and Scrapes' Halloween costumes of the 80s, as we remember 1981.

The Star Wars craze had subsided and it was on to the classic movie monsters as I channeled my inner Lugosi with a spot-on recreation of Count Dracula, complete with my trash bag cape and plastic fangs. 

My parents were early recyclers, as was evident in Scrapes' costume. The home made clown outfit that made it's debut some three years earlier...

Halloween 1980

One week to go and the posts keep coming! Two years ago, I pulled out the old Halloween costume photos from 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978(especially creepy!) and 1979. I've got a few more, so I've decided to pick up where we left off.

On to the 80s!!

1980. The start of the new decade. The Empire Strikes Back had just been released and Star Wars mania was all the rage. Every kid wanted to be Luke, Han, Chewy, Vader, Yoda or Boba Fett. Me? I wanted to be C-3Po, Human Cyborg Relations. Protocol Droid. Speaks Bocci. Ended the movie in pieces.

Scrapes, who at the time was two years old, decided on the horrifying bird-creature-to-stalk-your-nightmares, Woodstock, from the Charlie Brown comics. Apparently he was going trick-ot-treating and then heading straight to the pumpkin patch to meet up with Linus and await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin...

Haunt Soundtracks: Lustmord

Antique Ruins in Black & White, by Michal Zebrowski

Well, with another full day of work (yes, on a Sunday), I was unable to get out to any of the local cemeteries to get any photos, so for this week's installment of Cemetery Sundays I present the incredible work of Polish photographer, Michal Zebrowski:


Shelter for a night

Breathing fresh air

Rain stains

Utter abandonment

Cross in a circle


Cast out

View his Flickr page here. View the rest of the Antique Ruins in Black & White collection here.