Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thoughts on Hollinger Hollow 2012...

Hey everyone,

Well, I've looked over all the pictures taken of this years preparation and display and I don't think there's anything left to say.  I'm afraid I've exhausted every topic worth talking about.  :(

Still, there are things we didn't get to do and I may as well discuss those.  If you look at one of the first posts from this year you will see a list of things we wanted to accomplish.  Let's take a look at that list and see what we were able to do.

Professional Fog Machines:  This year we were able to pick up a couple of really, really good fog machines.  We weren't able to get the big, bad ones we wanted as the place we went to get them didn't have them in stock and couldn't get them in the time we wanted.  We ended up buying two that in appearance looked just like the ones you could buy at any party store but the truth is they are built better and guaranteed to work or they will be fixed for free.  This was good enough for us as they worked wonderfully and we couldn't be happier.  Next year, we need to pick up two more and put a fog machine in all four corners of the Hollow!

New Bridge :  Absolutely finished this one!  The new bridge made the Hollow completely handicapped accessible for the first time ever and I couldn't be happier!  Not only was the slope commercial grade (12 degrees for wheel chairs and walkers) but it exceeded the required width of 32 inches and instead was 48 inches wide.  Plus, with the addition of some really cool skulls and some moss it looked really creepy in the green lights and fog.  I am so very pleased with this new bridge.

Animate Hell Hole Guy:  This we weren't able to do.  The Hell Hole guy was exactly as static as he's been for the last couple of years.  That's OK though.  He still looked very cool.

New Fence Columns:  Done!  If you've read the blog then you've seen the new exit columns.  I am very particular with everything I build, building it first in Google Sketch-up so I can figure out what I will need to build it and figure out how much it will cost.  For some reason, I didn't do that when I built the first columns.  When it came time to build the new columns I couldn't even get to the old columns, which were buried in the back of storage so I basically guessed on the dimensions.  I got the height right but guessed a few inches too big on the length and width.  Consequentially, these new columns are a little bigger than the old ones.  Still, they look great and I am hoping nobody noticed how much larger the exit columns were than the enter columns.  If they did, nobody told me.  Let's see if anyone mentions in next year.  :)

New Fencing:  Another project completed!  For the first time, the Hollow was completely surrounded with our "iron" fencing.  This was a huge improvement as we initially used landscape fencing to mark the pathway and perimeter of the graveyard.  I am so happy do be done with that.

New Mausoleum Guy:  Well, we kind of accomplished this.  We weren't able to find a popup guy for the mausoleum that we liked better than what we already had, which was a sound activated reaper.  Prior to this prop we had a similar looking reaper but he was remote controlled.  When he broke, we weren't able to find a remote control reaper but did find a sound activated reaper.  Last year we had a problem with people not being loud enough to trigger him consistently.  This year, thanks to the new "iron fencing" the mausoleum was pushed closer to the pathway and that seemed to make all the difference with how easily he was activated.  So, we didn't need to get a new pop-up prop but we did add something new to the mausoleum, the creepy picture of the kids and a sound activated bat prop.  You can see them in the video and they are very creepy.  So, I'm calling this one kind of accomplished.  

Swampify Graveyard:  Not accomplished.  We simply ran short of budget to convert the Hollow into more of a swamp graveyard.  Maybe next year.

Tombstones:  Another sort of accomplished one.  We didn't make any new tombstones but we did add the Coffin Breaker Buy and the Ghost Face Tombstone to the graveyard so in a way we did add some new tombstones.  Still, that's now really what I meant when I said I wanted to add new tombstones so that's why this is kinda accomplished.

Finish Sarcophagus Guy:  Alas, no.  I was really hoping to close the lid on Sarcophagus guy and install a motor that would shake the sarcophagus back and forth while quickly thumping the lid making it appear as though something was trying to free itself from it's tomb.  I even bought the sound effect which would have been a low growling and snarling effect but in the end I ran out of time and wasn't able to install the motor.  We ended up throwing Bucky 2 in the sarcophagus which looked cool, but ultimately wasn't what we wanted.

New Front Facade:  Yes!  Well, no. Well, yes! No, I guess not. I did add a fake stone pattern to the gables in our facade but I didn't do anything around the windows and I truthfully don't think anyone could actually see the decorated gables in the low lighting conditions of the Hollow.  So, no, I guess I didn't finish this one. Plus, I really don't like the look of the gables.  I've got a plan for next year though and it will be interesting to see if I actually get around to it. 

Upgrade Coffin Guy for Electricity:   Nope.  I wasn't able to free the Coffin Guy from his pneumatic lifestyle.  This year, he was still powered by air and not electricity.  This is actually an interesting dilemma.  You see, most professional haunters, as well as amateurs, seem to prefer pneumatics.  This could be due to price, as after spending days looking online for deals on electric actuators the cheapest I could find them for was $250-$300!  Air power is cheaper but the compressors are loud and can be distracting for the haunt.  If we had more pneumatic props that would be one thing.  I could definitely see the advantage of pneumatics over electric.  Still, I do want more pneumatic props.  I'm really going to have to look into the pros and cons before deciding what to do next year.

And that is the end of the list.

All in all, looking back at it, I feel we accomplished more than I originally thought.  Perhaps that, along with the amazing turnout, is why I feel this year was so successful.  Still, there are a few things on this list we weren't able to do.

So, now what?

Last year I promised that we would work year round to make this year the best Hollinger Hollow.  We then did nothing for ten months and it really kicked our butts.

That's why we've decided that this year we actually WILL work year round to prepare for Hollinger Hollow 2013. 

So, keep coming back from time to time and see if we are keeping our word.  I wouldn't expect daily or even weekly updates but we plan on building one or two props a month starting in January (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year although not being as big as Halloween in our house still takes up a lot of our time) and if we do then we will definitely have plenty of updates and pics to share.

See ya!

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