Well - it really was a great week. I had taken the whole week off and lazily worked to get things together during the week, spending many evenings working on my new costume. We gutted pumpkins on Tuesday and carved them on Thursday and Friday, something I won't do again since gutting them early caused them to rot a bit earlier than I would have liked.

Saturday I made a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up a fitting to add a drain hose to my trash can chiller so I could use it in the garage with the witch cauldron and allow the ice melt to drain outside. This didn't work out so well, and it didn't produce low laying fog.. just clouds of fog that "hung around" after leaving the cauldron. I think the fog had more velocity coming through the chiller than the mini-vortex and did not chill the fog enough, but then it was also in the mid 50s and too cool to get really low laying fog out of it.

I managed to have everything for the haunt set up, hooked up and tested by 3pm and time to take some pictures and video, helped get the kids in costume and we took some pictures before they went off to trick or trunk at a few local churches.

Some friends of ours were able to make to help out with the haunt and they spent much of the evening in the witch shop handing out candy. This was probably the most valuable help I could receive, since it allowed me to wander around the garage, witch shop and street to "work" the folks who were out and about. Another friend of ours lent us their 16 year old and he helped "haunt" by playing the part of the grim reaper and wandering around. For a while he was sitting in the chair in the garage holding our sleeping 4 month old and some folks actually thought they were both props.

My costume was probably the biggest "new addition" to the haunt - I was dressed as Jack Skellington wearing a suit I pieced together from Goodwill and striped myself, home-made bat bow-tie and mask from Ebay. I initially had added additional nylon material to the eye holes but visibility was so poor (around 30%) I wound up removing it which left me with about 70%. I was asked to pose for pictures numerous times and was a big hit with most of the kids and adults alike. I spent the evening walking like Jack, knees high and toes forward... my legs were very sore by the time I went to bed.

All the props worked flawlessly, though at the end of the night the MIB seemed to want to cycle longer on the motion detector "test" function than normal. It was a big hit as usual... got a few screams out of it. One of our friends kept telling kids that there were full-size candy bars "over in that box" which worked well. I had loaded the jack-o-lanerns with two sets of candles (tea-lights) and when the first pumpkin started to go out I light the 2nd set in all the pumpkins which lasted until the end of the evening... this helped not having to worry about fussing with finding the candles and putting them in the pumpkins. This was also the same time the fogger for the witch cauldron ran out of fluid, so I refilled it and topped off the MIB fogger as well. One thing we did not have this year was fog outside, which probably wouldn't have worked so well due to the low temperature anyway. This was due to my fog commander having died last year and I couldn't muster the interest to fix it for the 3rd year in a row.

It seemed like we got the Tot's bit late, I think it was around 6:00 when I was finishing up my last piece of pizza and the first few early tot's started to trickle in. There were only two or three times when there was a real rush of toters, and we didn't have the long line out of the garage like we have had in years past. Overall we had about 190 toters which is down 80 from last year and it seemed to lack the synergy it's had previously. One thing didn't notice were the trailer-loads of kids pulled by trucks. We got our last TOTs around 9pm and a few adults came by around 9:30 to check everything out. I shut down at 10pm and had everything packed up in the garage or put away by 1am.

November 1st I pulled off a personal record. I got almost everything put away. The only things left out were 2 bins that go up in the attic and I still had to put the MIB under my workbench and park the witch / cauldron by the freezer. Everything else goes in the crawlspace under the house including 12 bins of stuff, 3 potion shelves, not so deep, obelisk, etc etc etc.

So... overall, a great year. Don't think I'll compose a video though, I didn't shoot much and what I got wasn't anything to write home about.