Sunn O))) - "Frost (C)"

Photo courtesy of Telekom Electronic Beats

Recently, I have taken a much deeper dive in the auditory greatness that is Sunn O))) (which I'm fairly certain is simply pronounced, "sun").

I find their incredibly unique work to be similar to the deconstructed rich atmospherics of the dark ambient genre, only filtered through the harsh distortion and resonant feedback of a large stack of electric amplifiers. And it works so, so well.

I will freely admit that upon first listen, I didn't really "get it," but after a few more concentrated listens (especially the track below), it finally clicked and I truly connected with the sound.

The long, drawn out, reverberating drone metal somehow became calming and meditative in its slow, deliberate pace.

I will definitely be adding some Sunn O))) to my collection very soon, and a highly-touted (and very loud) live performance will be added to my must-see list. Enjoy!


The Thistle Mansion - The Haunt of Edith Thistle

Here's another one that I wanted drop into October's Countdown to Halloween, but ended up getting bumped due to all of the other madness going on. 

Zillow, the online real estate marketplace, came up with a cool little listing just for the Halloween season.

The Thistle Mansion is a fictitious Halloween home listing for a haunted 1882 Gothic Mansion, complete with all the creepy must-haves including the ghost of its namesake, Edith Thistle. The listing is set up as a real Zillow home listing and has many wonderful/creepy photos of the mansion, as well as a great 3D home tour video.

Hats off to them for taking the time to create such a cool and fun listing just for the Halloween season. Hit the link to check out the full listing and photos, and be sure to watch the 3D Tour video!


Kammarheit - "Before It Was Known As Sleep"

From Kammarheit's lush, atmospheric 2021 dark ambient release, Thronal. This one really nails this weird period of time we're currently in, between the end of the fiery Halloween season and the start of the cold, dark winter.


Closed Casket Studios Haunt, 2021

One of the things that I really wanted to do this Halloween season was take time out of my busy schedule and go see other peoples' haunts. Fortunately, with the various weekend trick-or-treat times, I finally had an opportunity.

On the night before Halloween, I was able to make it over to Dave Shonk from Closed Casket Studios' amazing yard haunt.

Killer props featuring his signature Closed Casket work, tons of trick-or-treaters running around, and perfect weather made for a great time. Seeing his work really inspired me for my display the next night and gave me motivation to improve on what I have and to go even bigger next year.

Enjoy the stunning work of the Closed Casket Studios haunt, 2021:

While the display looked great during the daytime, it was absolutely taken to the next level after dark, when the lighting adding so much more depth and dimension.

That scarecrow head looks vaguely familiar... (it's the same Closed Casket Studios The Harvester prop head that I use on The Harvester of Brine, centerpiece of Highbury Cemetery! The only two copies in existence and both look amazing, if I do say so myself!!)


Ghost - "Hunter's Moon" (NES Version)

Just over a month ago, I kicked off the Halloween season with Ghost's newest song, "Hunter's Moon." Another super-catchy tune from the Swedish metal ghouls that ended up on the new Halloween Kills soundtrack.

And just over a month later, the internet has done its thing. An incredible cover version, done in a Nintendo style 8-bit audio complete with a really well done "video game" video.

And I'll be damned if it isn't just as catchy! Enjoy!


Haunted Overload Daytime Walkthrough

So you might have seen this posted over at Pumpkinrot's blog (does anybody still visit his site?? wink, wink), but this video is just too gorgeous not to share and share again. 

In 2016, Mrs. Highbury and I took an October trip to Salem, Massachusetts. But the true highlight was driving over to experience Haunted Overloada personal bucket list haunt in Lee, New Hampshire.

To this day, Haunted Overload is still at the top of my all-time favorite haunts list. And it's not even close. The design and scale is unlike anything else you have seen, and the organic decay throughout the outdoor wooded haunt gives a truly creepy feel as you walk from one absolutely stunning scene to the next.

And watching Grimm-Life Collective's amazing daytime walkthough video only pushes Haunted Overload further to the top. So much intricate detail on such a grand scale. And with a daytime walkthrough, you can stop and appreciate every little detail and take your time to really absorb each scene.

After seeing this one, I realize that it's probably time for me to head back up for another Haunted Overload experience.

Who's coming with me??

Hellripper - "Vampire's Grave"

How about some killer Scottish black speed metal to help get you through the week? This one was supposed to go right into the middle of my October Countdown To Halloween, but it got pushed for all that other stuff that I kept posting.

So here it is now. Dig that illustration! All hail Hellripper!


Winter's Slumber

My Halloween props have been put away after another incredible October season, ready for their hard-earned winter slumber.

Luckily, we still have plenty of posts to get through before we do the same...



For the fifth 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...

Three years ago, 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!

Two years ago, my new home opened up a vast expanse of new Pumpkin Dump locations, and I found the perfect sliver of rot nestled into a dense, overcrowded packing of retail expanse. It became a nice little social commentary on overdevelopment. Sticking a pumpkin-flavored tongue out to the oblivious hordes traveling in and out of the area.

Last year, I went much more low key with a nice, quiet cemetery off the main roads, where the pumpkins would remain for quite some time.

This year, I found an absolutely fantastic location. An abandoned, run down house that sits right on a very busy road close to Highbury Cemetery. Yet, if you didn't specifically look for it, you'd probably drive right past it without a second look. It would be a perfect backdrop to set up my pumpkins and have them sit untouched for a long, long time.

I got up before dawn and loaded all 13 jacks into the car. I met this year's pumpkindump cohort, my brother Scrapes, and we drove over to the dark house. Even at such an early hour, there was still a good amount of traffic, so we quietly pulled into the driveway, turned off all the lights and got to work. We made quick work of setting up the jacks in a perfect arrangement, making sure each was visible from the road between the clumps of overgrown brush and random trash from other previous explorers to the old decrepit house. Once everything was set, I grabbed my camera, got a few great shots, and then we snuck out undetected.

Another perfect Pumpkin Dump to end a great Halloween season.

Please enjoy my annual submission to the Great Pumpkin Project, the Highbury Cemetery Pumpkin Dump 2021…

As an added bonus, I ended up throwing old tea lights into each pumpkin before leaving. I wanted to make sure these pumpkins were seen even after the sun went down, just to give it that little extra bit of creepiness. Can you imagine driving down the road at night, then seeing this out of the corner of your eye??


Highbury Cemetery, 2021

Where to begin on the 2021 version of my display? After the success of last year's haunt, I felt confident in setting up my display a week before the big night. Only after setting up most of my display, I immediately took most of it back down due to 7 straight days of measurable rain. The frustration became my biggest barrier. The unpredictability of Ohio weather has always been the one issue that I cannot control and has always been the one issue to infuriate me the most. What can you do??

I thought I had caught an incredible break with the clouds finally parting on Halloween morning and peeks of sun beginning to break through. I got up early and quickly put everything back up in anticipation of the night's trick-or-treat festivities. The props had all been placed and the display was looking great.

And then the winds whipped up. It ended up blowing my large scarecrow centerpiece over, snapping the base completely off. And then we saw a tombstone go blowing across the yard, hitting a retaining wall and breaking the skull that had been attached to the stone's face. After a few (okay, more than a few) F-bombs, we jumped into action, trying to fix the broken props as quickly as possible. We were able to get both props repaired and put back into place, but it put us way behind schedule for the rest of the set up.

We were somehow able to get all of the props in place, run all lighting and electricity, lit all of the jack-o-lanterns, and got into costumes just as the first trick-or-treaters arrived at the driveway.

In all honesty, I wasn't completely happy with this year's display. Having the rain kept me from getting a few nights to really dial in my lighting and I could tell. And having the winds damage my props really took me out of my groove. Overall, I ended up feeling rushed and I personally think this year's display reflected it. But I hope I'm the only one who notices...

But even with all of that, I will admit that this year was still a lot of fun. We hit a new trick-or-treater attendance record on our third year at our new location, we had the usual group of friends and family helping put the show on, and for the first time ever, we ended up having a Halloween party along side the display. So we had people all over the place, laughing, enjoying themselves, and enjoying the display. It added a fun new dynamic to the evening that will hopefully become a new tradition on the big night.

And even though I wasn't totally happy with this year's display, I had a lot of fun chasing my son's friends down the street as I was dressed in my plague doctor character. And my new props all worked great throughout the night. And we received a ton of compliments from everyone who came to check us out. It was our third year at the new location and word is getting out about the "spooky house." And that definitely gives me motivation to do this all again next year. Regardless of the damn weather.

As always, a humongous thank you goes out to everyone who helped out (and endured my F-bomb tirade) with this year's display. The annual Highbury Cemetery thank you shirts go out to Sharon, Karen, Laurie, Mrs. Highbury, Stacey and Vince, and my son's friends Mason, Bryce and Kyle, who came over to trick-or-treat with my son AND work the haunt for their first time!! I love nothing more that passing this crazy, unnerving, yet unbelievably fun tradition on to the next generation.

And an added thank you to everyone else who showed up for the party. I hope you all had a great time and I hope you'll all come back next year!

So ladies and gentlemonsters, boils and ghouls, without further ado I present Highbury Cemetery for 2021. Enjoy!

The Harvester of Brine. A little damaged and missing a few detail pieces, but he still looks great as the centerpiece of the display. He will be repaired with a few minor upgrades for next year.

Even after TEN years, Little Dustin Horner, my static trick-or-treater prop, STILL gets people stopping to see if he was a real boy...

This was a bit of a last minute prop idea. I ended up making a laser vortex up the walkway where the trick-or-treaters went to get their candy. Unfortunately, it didn't really work well until it got dark. And once the winds died down, I was able to get some really great effects! Definitely going to improve this one for next year!

240 total trick-or-treaters, parents, neighbors, friends, and curious onlookers visited Highbury Cemetery this year. Our biggest total yet at our new location. Not bad for 2 hours. The word is slowly getting out.

We'll see you all again next year. Be ready...