RIP, Garage of Evil

Yesterday, we all received the news that the Garage of Evil, once the central hub of the haunter universe, was closing its doors for good. While the news itself wasn't all that shocking, it still left me a bit sad as I read Steve's notice. With the rise of Facebook and newer, larger groups like Haunter's Hangout, users (just like myself) stopped visiting the GoE site in favor of the newer kids on the block...

When I decided to take my then-unnamed little Halloween yard display to the next level in 2009, the Garage of Evil was the first "haunter site" that I discovered. I joined and the inspiration exploded. An entire forum of people who were just like me. I perused the photos of other peoples' props and displays and quickly went to work on my own. As I continued to obsess over all of the amazing work that was shared on the forum, I then discovered local haunter groups. 

My mind was blown when I discovered a local chapter group, the Northern Ohio Home Haunters. A group of fellow enthusiasts right in my own neck of the woods. I still had to drive an hour for my first meeting, but I awkwardly arrived and introduced myself to the garage full of people. And every one of them couldn't have been more friendly and welcoming. I felt like I had finally found my tribe. I sat back and scribbled notes like a madman as I was introduced to the words "make and take." Show up and everyone builds something cool to use in their display. I had a ton of fun at those meetings, building props like a flying crank ghost and a talking skull, both of which are still used in my display today. It's been quite a few years since the group last got together, but I'm glad that I still keep in contact with a few of those members. I guess in time, like the Garage of Evil itself, all things come to pass...

One of the last things I did for our group was come up with a new logo. I think the group unofficially disbanded before it could be used, but I'm still pretty proud of what I created.

Another amazing thing about the Garage of Evil, and especially the Northern Ohio Home Haunters Group, is that they also introduced me to the convention scene. I couldn't believe that there was a convention for haunters just 2 short hours away in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2011, I decided to go check out the Midwest Haunters Convention. Mrs. Highbury and I drove down on a Saturday to go check out the convention floor, meet up with a few members of the Ohio group, and then go to the big Garage of Evil dinner meet up.

Upon entering the convention floor, I was shocked by what I saw. I was like a kid in a candy store, ogling over all of the props, masks and other haunt-related goods. I really loved the Garage of Evil booth for that year, the infamous shooting gallery (perhaps only outdone by the following year's "crashed alien spaceship" booth)!

After crisscrossing the convention floor, we made our way over to the dinner meet-up. I met a lot of the big names in the haunt world, and knew from that point that I was no longer just "a guy who set things up for Halloween"...

After the meet-up, we jumped back into the car and headed for home with a bag full of goodies, including a GoE patch and projection lights, both of which I still have! As I look back, I realize that this was the defining moment that send me down the path toward Highbury Cemetery and what it has become today. So I really do owe Steve and the Garage of Evil a debt of thanks.

Last night, I logged back into my old Garage of Evil account for one last trip down memory lane. I went through my old photos, curious to see the first one that I posted. And it was a great one! 

From 2010, my William Henry Pratt/Boris Karloff tribute stone. It was one of the first tombstones that I did where I really researched the epitaph and then pushed the creative with an ornate and detailed epitaph, recessed skull face and embedded LED light eyes. I still have this stone and it continues to be one of the highlights of my ever-growing collection.

So it's with an almost nostalgic smile that I bid the Garage of Evil a final farewell, with a huge thanks for what they did for the haunt community, and especially for its instrumental development on my haunt and for the wonderful memories that I will always have.

Rest in peace, Garage of Evil, and thank you for everything. You won't soon be forgotten.




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