God Jul

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! I've decided that for the first time in quite a few years, I'm skipping the annual Christmas day posting of the "Grandpa scene" from Silent Night, Deadly Night.

Instead, I'm just going to post this wonderful little video from Pär Boström. A beautiful clip of his music set over a cool little scene of his father's homemade Santa village. (But don't worry, Boström's masterful ambience still draws on a bit of the darkness. So there's no for concern that I have suddenly gone soft!)

Everyone have a wonderful Christmas day, and we'll get back at it in short order. Enjoy!


The Shortest Day, The Longest Night

We've made it to the Winter Solstice. The official start to our winter season. With the ending of another autumn, I actually look forward to the coming cold and darkness. 

The balance continues and the cycle completes.

Back in 2020, dark ambient label Cyclic Law released this incredible playlist for the Winter Solstice. And while they haven't released anything newer, this one still captures the stark mood of winter cold and darkness so well. Hauntingly desolate, yet oddly comforting.



A Major Award...

So a few months back, I posted on my excitement of the seasonal return of the Monster cereals. To relive my hyper-sweet childhood breakfast memories, I ended up buying a box of Count Chocula (the gold standard of Monster cereals) and Frute Brute (a horrifically sweet, cherry-flavored mess that I won't take a chance on again).

The thing that caught my attention was this year's customized Monsters, designed by famous street artist, KAWS. Nothing mind-blowing, but kinda cool.

But the thing that REALLY caught my attention was the contest on the side of the boxes, where you could win a limited-edition set of 4 KAWS Monster figures. Cool. I jumped on their site and plugged in the code from the box. And then thought nothing more of it. Because I never win ANY kind of contest like this...

Until now.

I ended up receiving a "Congratulations" email back in the middle of October informing me that I had in fact won a set of figures. I got really excited, then quickly went back to work on the upcoming haunt build.

Fast forward to this week, when a package from General Mills showed up in my mailbox...

My KAWS Monster Cereal figures! I actually won a contest, and they actually showed up!

Now having said that, I'm actually not really sure what I'm going to do with them. For now, I'm keeping them in their sealed bags and they will go back in the mailer envelope. I'll keep them in my closet until I figure out exactly what I'm going to do. Still, a really cool prize from a most unexpected win!

And I have seen a few other Halloween bloggers showing off their figures, so it looks like there were quite a few winners out there. So congrats to everyone who won, and if you didn't win (and you REALLY, REALLY want a set) you're still in luck. People are already posting them up on eBay for silly money...

But wait, there's more. In doing a bit of research on the Monster cereals, I found a most interesting fact...

Are you ready?

Did you know that Count Chocula has an actual first name??

It's Alfred. Count Alfred Chocula.

Do you want to know another interesting/kinda gross fact? I'm warning you on this one, though. Click the next link only if you REALLY want to know.

Learn all about "Franken Berry Stool." EWWW...


Fröhliche Krampusnacht!

Gruss vom Krampus!

It's Krampusnacht, and that means that all of the bad children will be visited by Krampus tonight! Krampus, the Christmas Devil and evil counterpart of St. Nicholas, is a cloven-hooved, goat-demon that punishes bad children with a lash of his birch branched switch, then transports them to Hell inside the wicker basket upon his back.

Have you been good this year?

Photo courtesy of Liv Rainey-Smith/Xylographilia.

Photo courtesy of Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of Matej Divisna/Getty Images.

Photo courtesy of Miguel Walch.

Photo courtesy of Hexe Productions.

Photo courtesy of Fest300/Krampusnacht 2013.

Photo courtesy of Stefan Koidl.

And a little homage to the horned-one himself from the 2015 Michael Daugherty film of the same name to put you in a ghastly yuletide mood... "Cloven" by composer Douglas Pipes. Enjoy! 


C.W. Stoneking - "The Zombie"

A perfect track for the weekend! Classic American roots blues by C.W. Stoneking with a really great illustrated video by Patrick McHale (of Over The Garden Wall fame).



Danny Elfman - "Sleepy Hollow" Soundtrack

So now that Halloween is over and everything has been put away for another year, I can finally get to a list of things I wasn't able to during the hectic haunt season.

First up is finally getting a chance to spin this absolutely gorgeous double-record soundtrack from Waxwork Records. Released 23 years ago this week, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow is his wonderfully dark and gothic, yet witty retelling of the Washington Irving classic, The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow.

And as with any Burton/Depp collaboration, you simply MUST have Danny Elfman creating an iconic, grand soundtrack to help complete the story. And what a soundtrack THIS one is...

What really sold me on this one was the stunning cover art, and the way it matches perfectly to the colors chosen for the vinyl. "Headless Horseman" black, blood red, and skull white swirled vinyl to be exact. The entire package ties into the film so well. Waxwork did an exceptional job on this whole piece.

And once you eventually get past the beauty of the package, you still get to drop the needle on the vinyl...

Another Elfman classic to be sure, and definitely a release to add to your vinyl collection. Keep an eye on the Waxwork site as even though it is currently sold out, this should probably reappear at some point in the near future. Enjoy!



For the sixth year in a row, I was able to sneak out and get creative with my jack-o-lanterns after this year's Halloween celebrations. Starting back in 2017, I decided that I wanted to do something more than simply tossing them into the trash, and ended up covertly setting them up in a local metropark to much surprise and joy... and it has become an annual tradition ever since.

Every year I look for a new, creepy location to set up my jack-o-lanterns and extend the Halloween season for a bit longer. An Easter egg of sorts to anyone who happens to see them, and food for the local wildlife at the very least.

This year, I had a partner in crime who ended up suggesting a perfect location for this year's dump - my brother, Scrapes! And he even volunteered to help on the unloading, which was a welcome offer!

I got up at dawn and loaded all 19 jacks into the car. I then picked up Scrapes, and we drove over to the darkened, abandoned building. 

Sitting empty since the end of 2016, the old Dimitroff's Furniture and Design building had fallen into quick disrepair with nature taking a firm hold of the structure. We stepped carefully, setting up the pumpkin display at an angle sure to grab the most attention. And then we simply slipped away, completely undetected.

Another perfect Pumpkin Dump to end a really great Halloween season. Thanks to brother Scrapes for helping make this another successful (and mischievously fun!) pumpkin dump.

Please enjoy my annual submission to the Great Pumpkin Project, the Highbury Cemetery Pumpkin Dump 2022…

And before we quietly slipped away, I was able to shoot a quick video of our work. A long expanse of perfect pumpkin bliss. This was a great pumpkin dump, and it is going to take some searching to top this location for next year!

Jeff Greinke - "Metal From The Sky"

So as I load up and take the very last pieces of this year's haunt display back to the storage unit, I see not Metal From The Sky, but I do see tiny white flakes from the sky...

A true sign that Halloween is over for another year is when tiny snowflakes begin to fall. But truth be told, I'm ready for the start of winter. The cold season. Bring on the darkness!

It's a truly relaxing feeling knowing that after the constant excitement and frantic intensity of the Halloween season, everything has now been put away for another year and I can finally decompress and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for a couple of weeks. Add to that a full sense of contentment from the fun and success of this year's Halloween celebration. This past October has been a damn good one!

And while I sit here in my subdued Saturday bliss, I wanna share one more dark ambient track for the season. I think it's a perfect soundtrack for our dark transition from Autumn into the coming Winter.

I discovered Jeff Greinke's work a few years back, and used his absolutely incredible track The Moor as my haunt soundtrack since then.

This track goes back to his beginnings (and the beginnings of the dark ambient genre itself). Recorded in 1985, Metal From The Sky still holds up to any of the current offerings in the genre with its dark, richly layered, desolate ambience. So stark, yet so completely soothing. Especially on a dreary day with nothing to do. Enjoy!

But wait. We're not done. Stop back tomorrow as I have one last traditional thing to do before I turn out the lights on this year's Halloween season! I'm pretty excited with this one and I can't wait to share it with you all.

See you tomorrow...


"The Crow" Poster By Rafa Orrico

I'm quickly becoming a fan of
artist Rafa Orrico's movie poster work for Mondo. Back in September, Orrico's killer graphic design-based poster art for The Thing really caught my eye, and now a new poster is releasing tomorrow, this time for the 1994 cult classic, The Crow.

Another outstanding, stark black-and-white, cut-and-paste typography layout giving it a totally bold, unique look. And like all poster releases on Mondo, this one will be limited and will go fast...


Day 10...

Log entry, Day 10:

We are unexpectedly reaching critical levels. Our rations have grown very thin and the remaining stocks are barely edible. Surely we cannot survive on what is left. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out. The mere sight of this turns the stomach sour and there are whispers of madness, hopelessness... and even cannibalism... anything but this.

I beg of you. To anyone who can hear this. We are desperate and need help NOW. Please. 

Send more Snickers, Kit Kats and Twix...


Highbury Cemetery, 2022

As I stated in my recap post, 2022 was a very successful year for Highbury Cemetery (especially when measured against the weather problems we faced in 2021)!

An easy pace to set up, test, and perfect the prop placement and lighting, coupled with a VERY favorable forecast leading up to the big night made for a totally fun and enjoyable Halloween for everyone! And with the wind completely dying down allowing for some of the best lingering fog effects we've ever had, this year's trick-or-treat was a memorable one.

So without further ado, I'll stop blabbing and get to the good stuff... 

Ladies and gentlemonsters, boils and ghouls, I proudly present Highbury Cemetery, 2022. Enjoy!

The Trinity, my three new sheet ghost props for 2022, bathed in warm light while casting dark shadows. I'm really happy with the way these three turned out and I think they looked great positioned at the front of the Cemetery.

For 2022, I finally pulled out a classic scene that had been in storage since 2018. I brought back two of the three walls from my walk-in crypt, previously used in the front porch of my old house! I have a large, open paved area between the garage and the front door that I hadn't really utilized the previous two years, so with time to spare, I pulled the sections out and quickly rebuilt a new crypt corner! Bathed in cold, blue light, it really stood out from the rest of the Cemetery which was set in warm tones and served as a great focal point for trick-or-treaters to get their candy. This will definitely be used again in the coming years! 

Another addition to this year's display, my "upgraded" jumping spider animatronic prop, was a surprisingly big hit with many of the trick-or-treaters. I watched kids standing around triggering the spider's "jump" all night.

And yes, ELEVEN years later, Little Dustin Horner, my static trick-or-treater child prop STILL gets people stopping to see if he was a real boy!

And this year's final tally: 247 trick-or-treaters, parents, neighbors, friends, and curious onlookers dared enter the gates of Highbury Cemetery in just two hours. Seven more than last year and our biggest turnout in three years at our new location! I'll take it!

And before I end it, I can't go without giving a special thanks to everyone who helped put on the show this year. I couldn't do it without your help and your presence in just making the whole night a ton of fun. Highbury Cemetery thank you t-shirts go out to: Mrs. Highbury, Christian Highbury, Sharon, Karen, Brother Scrapes (who made his triumphant return to the Cemetery this year!), Stacey and Vince, and Sean, Jenn, Mason (my new, young protege!), and Bryce. And a special "ARRR!" to my crazy neighbor Jai, who showed up dressed as a barefoot pirate, complete with his own theme song playing from his back pocket. Hilarious!

--- XXX ---

So there you have it. Halloween, 2022 is done and dusted and the Cemetery is closed for another year. The success of this year has me REALLY motivated to start on next year's display...and we will be going BIG, because 2023 will mark the 20th year of Highbury Cemetery. Where has the time gone!? And how are we THAT old!?!?

Only 363 days until Halloween. Are you ready?