The Countdown To Halloween...

The annual Countdown To Halloween blogfest is nearly here! 31 posts in 31 days, celebrating all things Halloween, culminating in the unveiling of our annual, one-night-only yard haunt display.

Every October I get really excited for this and 2016 is shaping up to be quite the celebration. I have a ton of new posts in the can, just waiting for the official start! Halloween art, Halloween music, Halloween photos, Halloween freebies, and yes, Halloween contests! It's the big party over at the cemetery! Join me daily, starting Saturday, October 1st and we will get this party started.

Or better yet, join in on the fun. Head over to the Countdown to Halloween blog, get your own badge and get your Halloween posts a'going!! 

Just remember: No Costume, No Candy.


Ghost, Live in Cleveland 9-21-16

At this point, I don't think you can see the band Ghost too many times. Wednesday night's show in Cleveland is the fourth time I've seen them, and each time seems to get better visually AND musically. Fresh off the release of their newest ep Popestar, the band embarked on another tour and made an early stop in town. I was able to bring my camera in this time, without any problems, and made my way down to the front to stake out a position to get some good shots.

To my pleasant surprise, Pittsburgh-based horror synth duo Zombi opened with an incredible, somewhat Carpenteresque set. I had seen them before when they opened for Goblin on their first U.S. tour back in 2013, but was amazed at the lush sound produced by only two people this time around...

Once the opening act was done, it was time to begin the night's ritual. Ghost exploded onto the stage, playing their newest track, Square Hammer, and didn't let up for the next hour-and-a-half. They played a nice variety of songs from their 3 lps, and had a cool stage and light show, along with a new female Nameless Ghoul on bass, a mid-set costume change and the usual dry humor from Papa. And even though the sound system seemed to cut out a couple of times and one of the confetti launchers malfunctioned, it was still an incredible experience. I HIGHLY recommend seeing this band live at least once (or four times), just for the all-encompassing experience. The Popestar tour has just kicked off, so go check them out if they play your town.

I'm REALLY happy with the photos this time around and had a hard time narrowing down the best shots, but here they are, in all their glory. Enjoy!! 

 (For some reason, this shot reminds me of the poster for John Carpenter's The Thing!)


Red Fang - "Blood Like Cream"

With a full weekend of prop building out in the garage, I need something to power me through. Nothing like cranking some Red Fang to make it happen!!

Now back to the garage...

Ghost - "Square Hammer"

Yes, it is well documented that I am a big fan of Ghost. Isn't everyone?

Today the band dropped their first new single from the upcoming EP entitled "Popestar," which will be released September 16. Wait, that's this Friday!! The release coincides with their latest North American tour, starting in Rochester.

Anyone wanna meet me and Mrs. Highbury at the Cleveland show on September 21?

(Thanks, Damian!!)

I Will Be Ready...

I snapped to attention upon realizing what day it was. It was already far too close to dusk as the jolt of sudden horror materialized within me. As I looked out across the grey front yard, I noticed a side-by-side, single file line of tombstones stretching from one end to the other. I found it bizarre that my wife had placed them in such an odd array. Fencing formed a makeshift path from the driveway over to the neighbor's yard, ending roughly near the empty, cracked sidewalk. My dumbfounded gaze quickly flashed to anger as I realized that the yard was still barren. As the darkness settled in, I panicked at the realization that no one was on the street. Void of any movement throughout the entirety of the lifeless neighborhood. Where was everybody? 

No reason to visit this house tonight...

I jolted again, struggling to focus my blurred vision in the darkness of my surroundings. Where was I? I searched the space around me, trying to find some reference of location. My heart pounded in my chest as I noticed the red numbers beside me. 513... 

As the numbers registered, the reality finally became clearer.

5:13 am. I was lying in the darkness of my pre-dawn bedroom, dripping with sweat and heart still pounding. September 9. Another 52 days until Halloween...

It seems that every year at this time, the anxiety of Halloween preparation manifests itself into a chillingly nightmarish dream. And it's always the same thing. I realize far too late that it is Halloween night and I have nothing set up. And nobody comes to the house. I always jolt awake, fearing that what has just played out in my sleep-filled confusion is reality. Until I slowly realize that I am, in fact, still in bed, in the middle of the night, with weeks left to go before the big night.

This vivid, strange nightmare caught me off guard, as I realize that I am again behind in my yearly build schedule. It serves and an alarm to get going on some major prop building. And because of it, I buckled down this past weekend and really started cranking out the work. A few more trips to Lowe's and some serious building time in the garage will ensure that everything on my list will get done. My enthusiasm has returned (yet again) and I'm amped to make some seriously kick ass new display work. We're already half way through September, and come October 1, the real fun begins. Or is it madness? Either way, I will be ready...


Stained Glass Window Project - Part 2

I know that it's been awhile since I did anything with this year's Stained Glass Window project, but I jumped back onto it recently in order to get it all finished in time for the big night.

In part one, I created the dimensions and the original artwork for a stained glass window that would be set in one wall of my new walk-in crypt. Since then, I have sent the artwork out for production and created the finished window frame, and it is now ready to go into the upcoming wall project. Let's get caught up on this one!

I ended up sending the artwork out to be printed on a permanent adhesive clear vinyl stock. This vinyl was basically a large sticker that I adhered to a thin piece of 24"x48"x.080" Optix acrylic sheet.

I peeled the plastic film off of both sides of the acrylic sheet and then slowly peeled the white paper backing from the vinyl printout. Because the adhesive was permanent, I enlisted the help of Mrs. Highbury and she slowly peeled the backing while I smoothed out the vinyl. Luckily, a few air bubbles popped up on a section that would later be removed...

With the vinyl completely adhered to the acrylic sheet, I switched over to making a template for the window frame. I tiled printouts of the frame at 100%, taping the overlapping sections together. I then traced it out onto the two sections of foam that were going to be used for the frame (I was going to sandwich the acrylic between the two foam pieces and then glue and bolt it all together).

After the template was traced onto both pieces of foam, I simply trimmed them out with my handy-dandy hand-held jigsaw (still my favorite tool in my garage).

When the frames were cut (and the inside edges were painted black), I placed the acrylic sheet between the two frame pieces. Once aligned, I ran a bead of Gorilla Glue around both frame pieces and clamped everything together. I let the frame then set up overnight.

Once the Gorilla Glue had dried overnight, I removed all the clamps and drilled and bolted small bolts around the entire frame for added stiffness.

And once the bolts were tightened down, I used a Dremel with a cut-off wheel and trimmed the excess acrylic sheet from the outside edge of the frame. Once all the excess was removed, I had a smooth, finished stained glass window frame, ready to be placed in the crypt wall on Halloween night...

I was very happy with the finished piece. The only thing I might work on will be a diffuser screen for behind the window when it's set up in the wall. The printout itself lost a bit of color when it was printed on the vinyl and is very transparent. With the proper backlighting, the diffuser screen should help brighten the colors of the window and evenly distribute the light across it, making a nice, strong glow in an otherwise dark and dingy crypt!

I have already started building the frame for the wall, and will share pictures once it's done. And after that, only two more complete walls to build. All before Halloween? No problem. I just hit my groove. Again...


The Return of The Misfits - Riot Fest, Denver 2016

Set List:
Death Comes Ripping
20 Eyes
I Turned Into A Martian
Where Eagles Dare
Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight?
All Hell Breaks Loose
Hybrid Moments
Teenagers From Mars
London Dungeon
Earth A.D.
Green Hell
Horror Business
We Are 138
Hollywood Babylon
Die, Die My Darling
Astro Zombies
Last Caress

Night of the Living Dead

Photo: Justin Ng/UPPA/Zuma, Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage/Getty

Yes, with the well-known and well-published animosity between Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, this does reek of an obvious cash grab. But there's just something about seeing the original band getting back on stage after 33 years and cranking out the absolute classics that I used to skate to way back when (oh hell, it's been 28 years of listening to The Misfits!!...) and not missing a beat and blowing an entire theater of fans away with an amazing performance...

I almost always skip these sorts of lame "reunion" tours, but if this were to continue, I would admit that I would get off my ass and get a ticket if they were to come to town. Once a Misfits fan... 

The Misfits will be playing Riot Fest Chicago on September 16-18.


So There's This...

It's now official...

Number one on my haunted house bucket list will be getting crossed off this October! Mrs. Highbury and I will be taking a trip to Salem, Massachusetts (right in the middle of build season, I know), and seeing as though Lee, New Hampshire is ONLY and hour away, how could we NOT go!?

And now I just have to wait until October... Good luck with that. I'll be sure to snap as many photos as I can and post them up for everyone to drool over. Is it October yet??