SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Highbury Cemetery Has Moved!!

We’re finally back after a very crazy couple of months with a very special announcement. After 16 wonderful years, we have moved out of our old home in Akron, Ohio. We moved only 20 minutes further west to the city of Copley, but it is most definitely a world away, and it will bring significant changes to Highbury Cemetery…

Previous to our quick decision and subsequent whirlwind process of getting our old home ready to sell, I had been suffering from some serious post-Halloween burnout. I decided to skip the cons this year and basically step away from everything Halloween for a few months. I had begun thinking about scaling way back for the 2019 season to avoid the usual stress of planning, building, setting up and then tearing down on Halloween night.

Little did I know that those months away would quickly be filled with constant work on the house, getting it ready to hit the market that was currently exploding in our area. I managed to take everything related to the haunt and pack it all into one big storage unit. It was the greatest game of Tetris that you will ever see. There was so much, including some huge props that had to be crammed in!

Out With The Old…

We made the decision to finally sell our old home way back in March. We had entertained the thought numerous times before, but never got really serious about it until now. We met with a realtor, got the list of everything that we needed to do to get it ready to sell (which wasn’t an easy task), and then dove in full force. And by the first week in May, the house was ready to go on the market, looking better than it had in a very long time…

And all of our hard work paid off immediately. The house went up for sale on a Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday, we had 7 showings. And by first thing Friday morning, we accepted an offer. Done. Just like that. Sold in 48 hours. The whole process was surreal. 

15 years of an ever-increasing home haunt location was now sold. The emotions of everything we had established and how far we had come in those 15 years kept me in a constant, agitated state of internal conflict. Saying goodbye would not be easy…

But I couldn’t just sit around and wallow in my own emotional sludge, because we had a new house to look forward to…

In With The New…

With the craziness of the housing market in our area, we knew that we would have to move quickly in order to secure our future home while simultaneously trying to sell our old one. Luckily, we had daily updates from our realtor, and when this new home popped up, we immediately scheduled a showing.

The first thing I noticed upon driving into the development was the amount of kids running around. “Perfect!” I thought jokingly. “Plenty of new victims for the big night!!”

When we drove down the cul-de-sac road, I immediately noticed a couple of things. The houses were much closer together than our old neighborhood and they were much closer to the street than our old neighborhood. Less front yard to work with, although I didn’t consider it a deal breaker.

As we toured the home, the smiles on our faces continued to grow. Newer, brighter, and much more space. It really checked many of our non-Halloween boxes and by the end of the tour, we were well on our way toward putting in an offer.

With the speed at which homes were selling, we knew we would have to act fast (and beat the other two couples who were touring the home at the same time that we were). We quickly called our realtor and put together an offer.

And just as quickly as our old home had sold, our offer on the new home was accepted the next day. An enormous life event flipped in less than two weeks. Our heads were spinning. The only thing left to do was start planning a cemetery layout in my brand new front yard…oh, and also pack everything from the old place and get ready for a really big move.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the move was on. Movers packed everything into trucks and quickly shuttled it all across town. I opted to keep everything Halloween-related packed up tight in my one remaining storage unit. I really had no time nor desire to even think about anything Halloween-related at this point.

In one day, we had everything moved to the new home, and it was time to start making new memories. We lived out of boxes for the first few weeks, as we slowly unpacked and waited for new pieces of furniture to arrive. We went one room at a time, eventually establishing the foundation of our new home.

Fast forward nearly three months and I’m now stretched out in my new, bigger home office, listening to some creepy vinyl records and writing this entry. We’ve unpacked everything, hit our groove in the new home and have met an entire neighborhood’s worth of new friends and families. I haven’t spilled my October secret yet, as I don’t want to scare anyone off…yet. Perhaps I’ll just surprise them all on Halloween night with a little show yet.

And while I’m enjoying life in my new digs, I haven’t forgotten about the old one. 16 years is a long time to make friends and memories, and I won’t soon forget either. It was incredibly difficult for me when three separate neighbors came over to say goodbye when we left, all asking what was going to happen on Halloween. It really made me stop and think about what we had established in that neighborhood, what good we had done for the greater community, and how many people we really touched along the way.

Malvern Road, you will always occupy a large chunk of my heart. Neighbors became family and you will never, ever be forgotten.

And Where Do We Go From Here?

As I had said prior to even thinking about selling our old house, I was suffering from some serious post-Halloween burnout. I was seriously considering a drastically scaled-back version of my display for 2019, and I think everyone who helped put on Highbury Cemetery felt the same way.

So as of now, with the prospect of reestablishing my display in a new neighborhood, I have decided to start small. I want to get a feeler for how much this new neighborhood celebrates the high holiday. We have an incredible diversity of families and I really don’t want to start off on the wrong foot or leave a bad impression in regards to the biggest night of the year.

With the smaller front yard, it will force me to contain my display to a smaller area, yet allow me to get even more detailed than before. Think of Pumpkinrot and Marrow’s absolutely stunning 2018 display, Church. A small area just overflowing with lush precision and detail.

In thinking beyond 2019, my new display will get a thorough going-over. I expect that I may end up parting with some of the props that I have created over the past 15 years. At first, the thought of selling ANYTHING twisted my stomach into knots, but as I think more about it, it will be a good thing. I can reduce the amount of storage I’ll need and also free up space for any newer props in the coming seasons. Keep an eye on this blog, as I’ll announce anything going up for sale here first.

So there you have it. It has been an absolute whirlwind of the last three months, but the chaos and tension have passed and clarity, focus, and drive are all starting to return. We’re down to less than 70 days until the big night, and while some have hit their annual freak-out level for their prop building deadlines, I sit here oddly calm and relaxed.

Over the next month, I’ll assess what I want to set up this year and slowly bring carloads of props to the new home. And then come October 1st, I’ll be properly rested, fully inspired and completely excited to celebrate another Countdown to Halloween. I’m already amassing this year’s list of blog posts and I’m hoping to go even bigger than in years past.

With so much free time slated for 2019, I hope to check off quite a few Halloween-related things that I had been meaning to do for years, only to hit my own freak-out level and skip out on due to my own prop building deadlines. Visiting area haunted houses, finally seeing other friends’ yard displays, carving pumpkins, and just taking time to enjoy everything about the season. I’m really getting excited and I can’t wait to share the season with friends and loved ones. With each word I type, I feel the Halloween spirit flaming back up inside me.

Also, keep an eye on this blog, as I will be announcing the next release from Charnel House, my haunt-ambient audio project, in October. I am already planning a really cool, really limited physical CD release chock full of goodies, as well as digital files for use in your own displays. And it looks like my audio might be used in a legendary Akron haunted attraction this season, so I will be working overtime to get it all out in time.

And if you’re still reading all of this, thank you. There was a lot that I wanted to get out, and I just kept typing. And typing. And typing. This post literally took me over two weeks to complete. But after this, we’ll be back on the usual schedule of Halloween shenanigans, so buckle up and let’s enjoy the hell out of this ride toward All Hallows Eve!