Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of my fellow haunters, haunted house freaks, Halloween enthusiasts and fans of the macabre a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Highbury Cemetery!

(And yes, I post this clip every Christmas, but it remains one of my favorites!)

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

Apocryphos, Kammarheit & Atrium Carceri - "All Dreams Mined"

So I'm revisiting some older releases in my ever-expanding dark ambient library while I'm cleaning the house, getting ready for Christmas celebrations. As I shuffle through the songs, I land on "All Dreams Mined," a collaboration between dark ambient heavyweights Apocryphos, Kammarheit and Atrium Carceri. And wow. I literally stop what I'm doing to listen to this track. And then I listen to  it again. It's THAT good.

"All Dreams Mined" is the final track on the collaboration's 2017 release, Echo. Buried at the end, but definitely the most atmospheric track, making an easy bridge from dark ambient into the larger realm of soundtrack scoring. It immediately calls to mind something from Blade Runner 2049 or other dystopian science fiction film.

And it also plays well as a track for our winter season. Cold, bleak and dark, yet somehow warming in its melancholy. Such a perfect track to put on repeat. Enjoy.

Spital am Pyhrn Krampuslauf

So in these days leading up to Christmas, I have been checking out all of this year's cool Krampuslauf (Krampus Run) videos from in and around Austria.

Such a cool annual winter tradition! And as I have written in the past, a true "bucket list" item of mine would be to go over to Europe and experience one of these Krampus Runs in person.

But this year, I have decided to amend this a bit. After getting a chance to guest act in a local haunt this October, I really want to go to Europe and be a PARTICIPANT in a Krampus Run.

As I watch video after video, I realize that this is the European equivalent to haunt acting here in the US. The interaction is basically the same as being a queue line actor, and the parade watchers have the same reaction as our haunt guests. Fun and enjoyment, while trying to hide the fear and dread from those swinging birch sticks.

One of the best videos that I have seen this year comes from the Austrian town of Spital am Pyhrn (and although is says 2019 in the initial description, it may actually be from 2015--but let's just ignore that for now).

From the Youtube video description:
Accompanied by dull rumbling and roaring bells, around 600 Krampus performers and their companions marched through the snowy Austrian town of Spital am Pyhrn in Upper Austria in 2019. Due to the early darkness of winter and the impressive surroundings of the baroque collegiate church, this Perchten run in Upper Austria, which according to the custom is supposed to banish evil, receives a special touch.

I was blown away from the very first scene in this video. I had never seen the start of a Krampus Run and the vocal track along with the squatting band of Krampuses that spring up with flashing flares and fire on cue is quite powerful.

The entire parade takes place during an amazing winter snowfall, creating the perfect juxtaposed backdrop to the grotesque, frenzied figures parading through the town.

And this particular parade had some really incredible, outside-the-box characters throughout. Alongside the standard Krampus masks were an absolutely STUNNING angel with large flaming wings, an odd duck-billed surreal mask, a talking goat puppet head, a grim reaper with a flaming scythe and a lot more.

Enjoy this one. And if any Austrian Krampus actors wanna give me a shot as a Krampus in their local Krampuslauf, I'd be there in a heartbeat!!

"A Creepy Christmas 2019: Krampus Returns" at The Factory of Terror

It's hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner. It seems like Thanksgiving was just last week. Where does the time go?

The only good thing about the yuletide season's quick arrival is the return of Christmas-themed haunts! And tonight, I'm going to blow off some steam with some good AARGH (Akron Area Regional Group of Haunters - cute, no?) friends down at the Factory of Terror for their annual Krampus haunt!

It wasn't that long ago that we were going crazy celebrating the Halloween season, but now it's time to get our Krampus creep on. And what better place than the Factory of Terror

If you're in the Northeast Ohio area with nothing to do tonight, why not meet us down in Canton for some jolly good scares!? And did I mention themed drinks and snowball fights?

Die Pagger Buam - "Kramperl, Kramperl, Besenstiel"

Ummmm, what??

Fröhlich Krampusnacht!

Gruss vom Krampus!

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...

Have you been good this year?

Fröhliche Krampusnacht!

Photo courtesy of Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of Matej Divisna/Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of adobestock

And enjoy "Cloven" from the 2015 Michael Dougherty film, Krampus. Douglas Pipes' perfect track to accompany you on your trip to Hell...

Hardee's Fun Machine 70's Halloween Commercial

I've been sitting on this one for awhile. I wanted to drop this into my annual October Countdown to Halloween hullabaloo, but I just ran out of time. Fortunately, this little nugget of sweet, sweet Halloween nostalgia is way too good to not share!

I don't think I have ever eaten at a Hardee's, but had I known they had a Halloween Fun Machine, I would have been there daily.

A few things about this hilariously awesome commercial. It must have originated somewhere in Long Island with Speedy McGreedy and Frankenstein Mouth's wiseguy accents. Honestly though, I will from this day forward always pronounce "hamburger" as "boy-gah." "I want juicy boy-gahs!"

I will also call a centipede a "creepy crawly Halloween thing." Amazing.

And that jingle? GAH! Take it away, Frankenstein Mouth...

The Scooby Doo Misfits

I love the original Scooby Doo. And I love the original Misfits. So you KNOW that I love this!! Absolutely brilliant.

"Cold Survival Music" - Dark Ambient Mix By Atrium Carceri

I almost hate to admit it, but it's been lazy days around the old Cemetery. Most of my props and other assorted Halloween doodads are safely stored away, allowing time to get ready for that other holiday coming up in December...

And it isn't even Thanksgiving yet, but we've been hit with an extended, winterlike cold spell. Couple that with the seasonal time change where it gets dark by 5 o'clock, and an early season snowfall and I really don't feel like doing too much.

It's the kind of weather (and season, really) where all you want to do is throw on those trusty comfy clothes, crawl under the warm blankets, and dive deep into a good book.

And luckily, Atrium Carceri has just created a really great dark ambient mix to go along with your winter retreat. Cold Survival Music is a new mix created for the Cryo Chamber label and it really nails the cold, bleak and dark aspects of the upcoming winter season, yet it offers a respite of warmth to get you through it all. The perfect background soundtrack for when you're all curled up under the blankets, snow falling outside the window, deep in a good book.


Highbury Cemetery T-Shirt, 2019

Every year, I start October's Countdown to Halloween with the unveiling of the season's new haunt logo. I then silkscreen that logo on shirts here in the Cemetery basement to give out as a thank you to anyone who helps set up, run, and tear down the haunt. It's a tradition that now stretches back 16 years! It's not an easy job to run a haunt of this size in a single day, and I want to make sure that I show my appreciation for any and all help.

The 2019 shirts are FINALLY done and ready to be passed out. I hit a snag in late October when my original screen exposure didn't turn out quite right, forcing me to completely wipe the screen and start over. I was forced to push the printing 'til after Halloween, as I just didn't have the time to get it done before. But, a week after the big night I was able to get the shirts printed up, and I'm really happy with the way they turned out!

This year, I printed the logo onto black shirts with a cool new metallic gold ink that I had just picked up. I'm really happy with how "sparkly" they turned out, and I hope everyone that receives one will be, too.

A big thank you must go out to Mrs. Highbury, who helped me print the shirts up in the kitchen this past weekend. After 16 years of doing this, we have really streamlined the whole printing process and every year, the shirts turn out a bit better. Even if you have to do it a second time. A week after Halloween night.


Rick Baker On The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast

Special FX legend Rick Baker appeared on the latest episode of The Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, and while I'm not a huge Rogan fan, I really wanted to hear what Baker had to say. Two hours of Baker talking about his middle class upbringing, his early love of classic monsters, his first masks produced in his boyhood bedroom, and how he turned it all into a legendary career with such special effects credits including Octaman (his first, low-budget film), Star Wars, An American Werewolf In London, Michael Jackson's Thriller, and The Wolfman

And the best part of it all was Baker's genuine, humble demeanor. It was really fun to sit back and listen to him talk about everything with a youthful excitement in his voice. It really makes for an enjoyable and informative listen. Enjoy it!


For the third year in a row, I was able to sneak out and get creative with my jack-o-lanterns after the Halloween celebrations. Back in 2017, I decided that I wanted to do something different instead of simply tossing them into the trash, and ended up covertly setting them up in a local metropark to much surprise and joy...

Last year I again found a unique, highly-visible area in a local cemetery and was able to set up another display, remaining undetected. It was such a success, I even had friends taking photos of the set-up without even knowing who was responsible for it!

So for 2019, I wanted to do it again. Living in a new area opened up a realm of possibilities for a great, anonymous display. I made a list, removing any locations that had a higher chance of getting caught. And on the night before the dump, I drove around on a quick recon mission, scouting out the remaining locations on the list.

By the next morning, I had a location picked out. I loaded up my jack-o-lanterns and quietly drove out of my neighborhood. The location was surprisingly close to my house, sitting inconspicuously within a dense, highly-travelled retail area. It was actually quite perfect.

In the previous two years, I wanted to find a location where the pumpkins would be able to feed the local wildlife population. But this time, it was all about the mischief!

Within the dense compacting of overcrowded strip malls, big box stores and agonizing traffic, lay an early victim of retail competition and overdevelopment. And just off the highway, within the shimmer of a high-end restaurant, hotel, and sprawl of retail stores sat an abandoned, broken down BP gas station. A small square of rot almost unnoticed and completely ignored in favor of the new sheen and shine of everything else around it.

I snuck into the back of the old station just after dawn, parking my car out of view by the remnants of the carwash, and quickly went to work unloading this year's 13 jack-o-lanterns. Even at such an early hour of the morning, traffic was already starting to pick up. I quickly set the pumpkins up, snapped a few pictures, and then quietly slipped away unnoticed. I had a laugh as I felt invisible to the people driving all around me.

Please enjoy my submission to The Great Pumpkin Project, the Highbury Cemetery Pumpkin Dump 2019...

Another successful pumpkin dump is now in the books. And I think I got lucky again this year, because brother Scrapes drove by a bit later to check it out only to find a police cruiser sitting in the lot, mere feet from the pumpkins. Oops!

But as I type this three days later, the pumpkins are still there, hiding in broad daylight. So if you're in the Akron area, feel free to seek them out and get some photos of your own. I really think that they are going to be there quite a while. They're in the middle of Montrose near I-77, on a small, narrow plot that's just a bit darker than everything else around it...


Highbury Cemetery, 2019

Halloween Night: It had been a constant downpour over the previous 24 hours and everything was soaked. At roughly 6 pm, the temperatures dropped into the 40s and a fierce, whipping wind kicked up. The utter misery was compounded when as the night ended, I actually saw wet snowflakes floating down from the incessant grey clouds above...

Luckily for us though, our new neighborhood had its trick-or-treat on Sunday, four full days before Halloween night! For once, we had outsmarted old Mother Nature, and after four years of getting rain on our Halloween display, we were able to finally catch a break.

Sunday nervously started with slight drizzle and strong gusts of wind. According to my weather app, both should have subsided by noon, but by 3 pm the winds were still a lingering problem.

Add to that the stress of basically starting over in a new neighborhood and wondering/desperately hoping that trick-or-treaters would actually come down our cul-de-sac road, and my nerves were completely frazzled.

But shortly before trick-or-treat started at 5, a wonderful thing happened. The clouds broke up, giving way to unexpected rays of twilight sun, and more importantly, the winds stopped. Not just died down, but completely stopped. It was incredible. It looked like the Pumpkin Gods were looking down upon us favorably this year!

And as the clock struck 5, we saw our first trick-or-treaters making their way up the street. 

We were ready...

For two hours, we ended up having a fairly steady stream of trick-or-treaters, parents, and curious neighbors coming to check out our Halloween display. And although we didn't set up all of our props this year, everyone was surprised and excited by what we had done.

Overall, I couldn't be happier with our first display here. With the weather finally cooperating, the total lack of wind gave us the best fog effects we had ever achieved, allowing thick, creeping fog to roll around the cemetery tombstones, across the sidewalk, down over the curb, and eventually down the street. I couldn't believe it. Check out this photo to see what I'm talking about.

Yes, there are things that I'll need to address for next year, like better tombstone lighting, a few more figures and animatronics, and a new cemetery fence, but I was pleased with the ways things came together and we were able to present a display unlike anything else in this neighborhood.

The next morning, we were the talk of my son's school bus. The seed has been planted, and Highbury Cemetery will be back bigger and bolder for 2020.

We're down to only 363 days until Halloween, so it's time to get started again! But for just a few moments, pull up a chair, sit back, relax and enjoy my photos of Highbury Cemetery, 2019...

My 2018 tombstone creep, complete with rotating upper body. I built it last year, but rain (of course) prevented me from ever putting it up in the display. He had his grand reveal this year and his Spider Hill Prop Works Compact Prop Turner worked flawlessly all night! Next year, I want to put more focused lighting on him and at some point, I'll post a full tutorial for this build...

I absolutely LOVE the red leaves that were dropping from this tree in the front yard. I was able to rake them up and use them as an added natural, organic element sprinkled around my tombstones!

As always, a HUGE Highbury thank you must go out to Mrs. Highbury, brother Scrapes, Sharon, Karen, Laurie, Stacey and Vince for coming over, helping set up, running the haunt, and then tearing down all in one day. Without you, this haunt would never happen. (And yes, your delayed thank you shirts are being printed and will be delivered shortly!!)

And this year, I also wanted to thank everyone from Hillside Estates, our new neighborhood, for coming out and making Halloween a fun success. We had a great turnout of 180 trick-or-treaters in year one, and I'm looking forward to great things next year. Bigger and badder, so be ready!!




Bonfires burning bright
Pumpkin faces in the night
I remember Halloween

Dead cats hanging from poles
Little dead are out in droves
I remember Halloween

Brown leafed vertigo
Where skeletal life is known
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
I remember Halloween

Candy apples and razor blades
Little dead are soon in graves
I remember Halloween
This day anything goes
Burning bodies hanging from poles
I remember Halloween...

The big day is finally here. Our high holiday, Halloween! It's hard to believe that we have already made it through another October, but here we are, basking in the fiery orange glow of All Hallows Eve.

Looking back, it has been a hell of a ride. But it still seems so strange to me in that I won't be getting up like a bolt of lightning, ready to recreate the ghastly magic of Highbury Cemetery tonight. Instead, I'll simply be going to work on Halloween, the first time in over 15 years...

But honestly, I'm okay with it. I wasn't sure that I would be, but having our new neighborhood's trick-or-treat last Sunday night has given me an unexpected week of calm enjoyment. And today I can just relax and really reflect on the season and enjoy myself. 

We were very lucky to have great weather and a great turnout for our trick-or-treat, and it looks like Highbury Cemetery has started a haunting new chapter. There's a calm satisfaction and a small spark of excitement for next year's display already smoldering inside me.

But for today, I'm just going to take it easy. Halloween music cranking all day today, the last of my pumpkin beers and Halloween movies tonight. And I'm super excited for it.

I wanted to take a second and thank each and every one of you who stopped by this month and hung out at the Cemetery. I truly love sharing all my random Halloween thoughts and goodies, and interacting with my fellow haunters and Halloween enthusiasts really keeps me going. I actually still have quite a bit to post, so let's keep this Halloween party going well into November, shall we??

I also want to extend the happiest of Halloweens to all of you, especially my fellow haunters who are battling the elements in order to spread some frightful cheer and fear tonight. It seems that a large number of us across the country will be battling wind, rain, snow, and even fire to try and do what we do. Do what you can do to the best of your abilities, but more importantly  please stay safe. There's always next year and we'll need all of you to keep this wonderful tradition alive and kicking. And screaming.

And finally, don't forget to have fun! This is our night! It's what we have literally spent the last 364 days planning for, so go out and scare the hell out of 'em!!


Beware The Haunted House!

Imagine my surprise when picking my son up from school today he tells me that he has something for me. Perplexed, I ask him what it is. He proceeds to pull this out of his backpack, a proud smile glowing across his face...

It is by far the greatest gift a Halloween dad could possibly ask for. A beautifully hand-drawn, fully colored Haunted House picture from your 7-year-old son. I was genuinely moved when I got it, and I couldn't be more proud. Such detail in the tombstone and the green-lit entry way. And you can just sense the fear in the trick-or-treaters standing on the porch!

This will have a permanent place within the Highbury Cemetery office walls! And I do believe we have a young haunter in the making!!


The Mummies - "The Fly"

Iconic 90s mummified horror punk campiness bandaged together with the dried, withered remains of that electric buzz of classic lofi garage. THIS is my pre-Halloween jam!! Enjoy everyone, and get ready for the big day tomorrow!!

The Day After...

It feels weird sitting here on October 28th, penning a quick recap of the previous night's trick-or-treat display.

For the first time in over 16 years, we aren't celebrating on Halloween night (as I firmly believe we should be), due to our new neighborhood's schedule: Sunday night, from 5-7 pm. It really doesn't make much sense to me, but I'm not here to complain about it.

After finding out when our trick-or-treat actually was (there were conflicting reports of Saturday or Sunday), I got to scheduling everything in order to be ready for the big night. Being that it would be our first Halloween in the new neighborhood, I wanted to make sure we made a BIG first impression.

By Saturday night, I had everything (albeit in a scaled-back version from last year) staged and ready to go. The only thing posing an issue was the torrential downpouring of rain accompanied by gusting winds.

As I woke up on Sunday morning, I quickly checked the weather forecast. The rain would stop by 9, and the winds would die down by 10. Perfect. Except that didn't happen...

We started setting up at 11, only to be hampered by gusting winds throughout the day. Tombstones were swaying and blowing around and my stomach was in knots. Not to mention the nagging fear that we'd go through the trouble of setting this all up and we'd get no trick-or-treaters. The stress was weighing heavy on me.

As we got closer to show time, the winds finally began to slow down, allowing us to quickly put the full cemetery together. As I stepped back, I took a second to take it all in. It actually looked pretty damn good! The knot in my stomach began to release, but I realized that I still needed to put my costume on with mere minutes to go.

As the clock struck 5, we took our places within the cemetery. And slowly trick-or-treaters showed up. Not as many as I was secretly hoping for, but they still came.

As we really got into our groove, a strange thing happened. The wind died down completely. And the sun broke through the clouds. It's as if the Pumpkin Gods were rewarding us!

And then I noticed my fog machine and chiller setup. PERFECT, lingering plumes of thick, chilled white fog rolled across the entire cemetery, creeping around my tombstones and stretching out into the street, creating the greatest fog display I have ever been able to achieve. It was AMAZING!

Mrs. Highbury snapped this photo as the sun began to set...

Perfection!! I was giddy with what was happening.

Trick-or-treaters, their parents, and neighbors began to file down the street, checking out this new display in their neighborhood. We ended up getting a nice turnout and I was pretty happy with this year's setup. 

As trick-or-treat wound down, it finally got dark enough out to get photos of the display bathed in its truly spooky lighting. I got a collection of great photos that I'll be posting up with a full review after Halloween.

Overall, our first Halloween was a huge success. The nervous planning and stressful setup gave way to a great weather, an ever greater display and a ton of fun with friends, family and new neighbors. We were the talk of my son's school bus this morning, and Highbury Cemetery has planted the first seed in becoming the new neighborhood "Halloween House."


The Rainy Jack

So here we are at the last Sunday of October, and unfortunately with the crazy winds and torrential downpours over the last 24 hours, there won't be a Cemetery Sundays segment. With everything else going on, I just didn't have the time to slosh out with my camera...

But late last night, after a brief, windy and rainy trick-or-treat over at brother Scrapes' house, I was able to get my jack-o-lanterns all carved. I wanted to get them set up on the front steps for a quick night time photo session, but the constant downpour kept me from doing so.

I was however, able to get my favorite jacko out for a quick pic. And under the pouring rain I set him up with a tea light, and snapped one single shot before diving back in for cover. This is what I got...

No filters, no Photoshop. Just a quick, spooky photo with a cool light streak looking like something out of a horror film. After getting back inside and looking at it, I couldn't believe what I had captured. Not bad for a quick shot!

And as I sit here typing this out, I'm keeping an eye on the weather. Because tonight is OUR trick-or-treat!! It feels weird that after 17 years, we're not having it on Halloween night, but regardless, I have everything staged and ready to set up for tonight's big show. We're set to reveal Highbury Cemetery to an all-new audience in a new neighborhood. I just hope that people show up...

Last night, the rains were unending and now we have a high wind advisory. But somehow, the Pumpkin Gods are looking down upon us favorably, as the rain has finally stopped and  the winds will die down by noon, giving us enough time to set everything up and perfect weather to celebrate trick-or-treat tonight.

I'm off to tie up those last few ends (like finally printing my haunt shirts!!), and then it's time to do this. If you are having trick-or-treat tonight, I wish you the best of luck and if you had your trick-or-treat last night, I hope that it was glorious!

And if you're in the Akron area with nothing to do tonight, come hang out with us! We're on Alexander Road in Copley, near I-77 and Rt. 18. Our trick-or-treat is from 5-7, but we'll be keeping it going a bit later to hang out and get some night time photos. But be quick! Just like our last location, if you show up too late, you'll miss it!