Merry Christmas!

Yep, it's that time of year again!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Highbury Cemetery!

And yes, I posted this clip the last two Christmases, but it's so good, I just have to share it again!

But be warned. Santy Claus only brings presents to them thats been good all year. What about you, boy? You been good all year?

Sephiroth - "Now Night Her Course Began"

A wonderfully dark, atmospheric soundscape from Ulf Söderberg, aka Sephiroth, from 2005. And with the Gregorian chanting, this would make an incredible audio track for a haunt video. Just sayin'...

Red Fang, Live In Cleveland 12-9-16

Not much going on in the post-Halloween Cemetery, but we braved the Lake Erie snow machine last night and made it up to the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland to catch Red Fang, Torche and Whores. All three bands killed it! A few more dates left to go on their tour, so go check them out if they happen to play your town...



Fröhliche Krampusnacht!

Have you all been good girls and boys this year? If not, you'll be visited tonight by Krampus, the European cloven-hooved, goat-demon who punishes bad children during this holiday season. With a flick of his long tongue and a lash from his birch branched switch, you'll be placed into the basket upon his back and transported to Hell to receive reprimand for all of your misdeeds...

Fröhliche Krampusnacht!

All photos courtesy of Fest300/Krampusnacht 2013.


Black Mountain Transmitter - "Black Goat Of The Woods"

 From the Black Mountain Transmitter Bandcamp page:

An ode to the Lovecraftian lore of Shub Niggurath, Black Goat of the Woods was conceived as "the soundtrack from some lost low budget horror movie, rediscovered on an old and faded VHS cassette found mouldering in a deserted house in the depths of the woods."

Black Goat of the Woods pays homage to the dark denizen of the nocturnal glades, and is a true paean to backwoods horror.

Composed/decomposed by Black Mountain Transmitter, December 2008 - October 2009.

Walt Disney World

We just got back from our first family vacation down to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and what a time it was! It seems like only yesterday that we were wrapping up Halloween, and now we were already hopping into the car to go celebrate the start of the Christmas season with Mickey and friends.

And while everything there was already set up for Christmas, I was still able to find a few spooky-themed elements amongst it all (this IS a Halloween blog after all, and I was still in full Halloween mode!)...

We ended up camping at Fort Wilderness Resort and the first thing I noticed was all the wonderfully eerie trees draped with long strands of creepy Spanish Moss. I could have collected a metric ton of this stuff and brought it back to use in next year's haunt display. No one else seemed to notice, but I was constantly looking up into the trees...

Cinderella's Castle was lit with various holiday colors, but at certain angles and certain color combinations and shadows, it gave off a slightly less cheerful vibe.

Squawking blackbirds were perched all around the Fort Wilderness marina...

And an incredible animated steampunk dragon made its way to one of the Main Street parades.

We took a day to visit Epcot Center as well. No visit would be complete without a stop at the Mexico village, complete with a full collection of Dia De Los Muertos sugar skulls and figurines.


And finally, yes OF COURSE we visited the Haunted Mansion! It was the highlight of the entire trip, especially for a haunter like myself. I couldn't wait to experience it with my 4-year-old-son for the first time. 

Once inside, he was a bit frightened by the darkness and creepiness of all the ghosts, but he didn't cry and made it through the ride with flying colors! I was so proud of him!! I shot some of the incredible tombstones around the house before the ride itself, but wasn't able to shoot much inside, as I was making sure to keep an eye on the little guy...


When hinges creak in doorless chambers
and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls,
Whenever candle lights flicker,
Where the air is deathly still.
That is the time when ghosts are present,
practicing their terror with ghoulish delight...

And if you happen to make it to the Haunted Mansion yourself, why not visit Memento Mori, the gift shop just outside the Mansion's exit and get yourself some cool shirts and the official soundtrack CD like we did! And while you are paying at the main register, why not stop and check out the last page on the guest registry booklet at the counter for a good laugh...

Yes, I am a dork.


Samhain - "Novembers Fire"

Night calls on summer's end
Dark aspect, breed divine
Knee-deep, the blood of swine
Come season, come reborn

Samhain-grim (Samhain-grim)
And then it all comes down

Arms to flail in flame
Waving, trembling
These things breed to flame
All things must come to ash

Samhain-grim (Samhain-grim)
And then it all comes down

Embrace the night air
Summer's end, Heaven sent
Breathe the fire's musk
Insatiating full

And then it all comes down

And then it all comes down

Highbury Cemetery, 2016

To say that another "successful Halloween was in the books" would be a huge understatement for 2016. For once, everything in our yard haunt display seemed to go smoothly and was set up on time, and we were finally granted an evening of zero rain and calm, cool air for the entire night. I may have been working at a fevered pitch all the way up to late Sunday evening trying to make sure that everything was finished, staged and ready to go bright and early for Halloween morning, but we got everything set up without any major hiccups and were able to put on an incredible trick-or-treat show for everyone who came by.

I will confess that I had a slight doubt about Halloween 2016, as most of the surrounding neighborhoods had celebrated their trick-or-treat two days before, on Saturday evening. I hoped that everyone would resist burnout and still make their way to visit Highbury Cemetery on Halloween night. 

And visit they did! We had a record turnout and 2016 was most definitely our best year yet! A huge thanks to everyone who made their way to our neighborhood to come check things out! Without the neighborhood (and surrounding) trick-or-treaters, their parents, neighbors and friends, we'd have no display. Without you, there would be no Highbury Cemetery. So thank you, all.

And an extra-special, monstrous thank you must go out to Highbury regulars, Sharon and Karen for their constant help in getting the walk-in crypt display finished and set up in time for the big night. Without their help, I would STILL be trying to finish it all! They were here to set everything up on Halloween morning and they stayed to tear it down on Halloween night. They have definitely earned their Halloween Service Awards this year! Now that Halloween is over, you can finally get caught up on some sleep!

And of course, Highbury Cemetery shirt thank you's go out to all the following people for their help in setting up, acting and tearing down: Brother Scrapes, Laurie, Andrew, James, Neighbor Joe and Stacy, Stacey and Vince Rager, Mike D., Dave from Closed Casket Studios, Chad, Mrs. Highbury, Little Christian Highbury and Nana.  Without these fellow Cemetery ghouls, the show wouldn't get set up and torn down in one day and it wouldn't be the incredible show that it was. Thank you, crew!!

So without further ado, I present Highbury Cemetery, 2016:

The Highbury Crypt
This was the only major update to our 2016 display, but it took the entire season to plan, build, paint and set up. And outside of a minor fog machine adjustment for next year (cough, cough, sorry Sharon and Karen!) and some slight lighting adjustments, it went off without a hitch. And somehow, I got all of this to fit together AND fit inside the walk-in front porch!

This was an homage to the beginnings of Highbury Cemetery. This "Highbury" board, buried in the ivy, was part of my original cemetery sign, dating back to about 2002.

Even after a few years in our haunt, our little "trick-or-treater" Little Dustin Horner still gives a few scares to the unsuspecting!

The newest member of the Cemetery, Walden Friedrich. The First Gravedigger of Highbury Cemetery. This was repurposed from an old gravedigger figure I had created back in 2009. I had to get some new clothing (thanks to the mice in the garage) and a new Wormfood prop head from Closed Casket Studios. Thanks, Dave! At the last minute, I named him and gave him his own tombstone. A full prop and tombstone how-to will be coming soon!

The 2016 Highbury Cemetery Crew.

When all was said and done, we had shattered our previous year's attendance record. In just over 2 hours, we had 504 trick-or-treaters, parents, neighbors and friends come through Highbury Cemetery. What a night! Each year, we get more visitors and each year we get more excited, driven and motivated. I already have my wrap-up list for 2016 done, and I have already started on my 2017 list. Next year, we plan to go just a bit further with the haunt and we can't wait to celebrate the high holiday with all of you. Just remember, this show is only one night a year. Be at the cemetery on Halloween night, or miss it for another year.

Halloween 2017 is only 360 days away. Are you ready?