Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Party Pics!

I'm horrible at taking photos at events, but here are the six I got. I think we can safely say a great time was had by all!

Next year's theme: Time Warp!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Party Week: Thursday Scenes

Blogger went down last night, so this is yesterday's post, finally up.

My main mission today was to finish painting the graveyard fence black - mission accomplished! Of course I forgot to get a picture, but there will be plenty once we get the tombstones out tomorrow. After letting my hands recover for a bit (I don't love spray paint!), I headed downstairs and set up the autopsy room:
Cool in regular lighting, but way spookier with the red bulb in!
I spent the rest of my time today cleaning, putting totes away and working on the main activity for the party. We're very close to being done with all the scene setting - here are some shots of the pediatrics ward:
What's that they're playing with?
We also brainstormed the party ideas our guests will vote on for the 2010 party. The themes are:

Heaven & Hell
Worst Fears/Superstitions
Time Warp

Which one would you vote for?

More to come...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Party Week: Wednesday Report

A lot of cleaning today - putting away unused decorations, getting the glassware rinsed and put out, finishing up the last loads of laundry so I can turn that area into "Autopsy". Not too much to show though...just a quick pic of what I was working on late this afternoon: Sorry, I can't tell you exactly what these are for. Don't want to spoil it for the party guests. I'll let you in on it after the party. Should be pretty fun, I think.

Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be decent, and I'm headed outside to finish painting the fence, and set up the graveyard in the front yard. Hopefully it won't be too cold. I'd also like to finish up the stuff in the photo above, and maybe get the gift bags done. We'll see how far the day goes.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Party Week: Tuesday Report

Today was half taken up with errands this morning, one of which was gathering up and donating Halloween stuff we don't need/want anymore to the local rescue mission store. Most of what I did this afternoon involved cleaning, vacuuming and putting stuff away.

So I thought I'd share some pics of things already mostly done:

Our bartender this year - the creepy lab technician.
Brent's crematorium - looks creepy this way, but with the lights and fog...primo!
Our MRI machine - another of Brent's brainstorms. This one will have special lighting/sound too.
This afternoon I put the x-ray box up...looks pretty good here, even without the lights on!
Why am I showing you a gray shower curtain? Hint: our normal curtain isn't gray. Doesn't it make you wonder - what's on the other side?

I'm running half a day behind...tomorrow morning, I'll be finishing up the basement as much as possible. Tomorrow afternoon, time to assemble party bags and start prepping the contests. More photos tomorrow...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Party Week: Monday Decorating

It's party week at Chez DeBree, and time to get serious with finishing up the decorations and other preparations. Today was the day to finish up all major decorating on the main floor, and while I didn't get everything I wanted to done, I got quite a bit done. A couple of scenes have to wait until Saturday to put up, and I scrapped one other decor project (no, I'm not telling what) due to time constraints. Here's some of what I did today:

I set up the corpse buffet under our new giant bat. I love that guy! His eyes flash red...scary!
The skeletal centerpiece, ready to serve.
The windows have eyes! Or one window, anyway.
And some creepy faces around (and in!) the fireplace.
Tomorrow I'm finishing up the basement decor - photos tomorrow night!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Two Weeks to Party Time!

Everyone should have received their invitation by now, so here's what they ended up looking like. Turned out very well, I think, but I forgot to add that costumes, as always *are* required. Oh well...we'll have plenty of costumes for anyone who "forgets".

We're at crunch time now - and thank goodness we have a three-day weekend to get some things done. Here's what we worked on today:
Brent downloaded some old medical certificates and documents that we replaced the pirate pictures from last year with.
Then I got the Dept. 56 village set up in the living room: Next, a bloody border and some dangling skeletons:
And finally the Lemax village in the basement:
Doesn't sound like much, but we did some cleaning & reorganizing as well. Tomorrow, I think we'll be able to get pediatrics/therapy/surgery mostly done, and some work done on a few more rooms as well.

Still haven't found my Halloween clock though. *sigh* I hope it turns up soon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fence Panels & Clay Toes

We made good progress last weekend, assembling all the new fence panels for the graveyard this year. Each panel is comprised of two wood furring strips and nine pieces of PVC.
Much measuring, drilling, screwing and innuendo ensued...
And voila! 31 fence panels, ready to be spray painted black this weekend!
I finally finished the clay toes this weekend too - 25 little toes made of modeling clay, with a ring through each heal.

They were baked for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and Brent painted the toes black for a final touch. Now they're all ready to go!
Wait a second...what are these toes for? Anyone care to take a guess?

Photos of some of our new props coming soon, and I need to finish the invitations to be sent out on Saturday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Progress on the Fence

Last weekend we made good strides with our new graveyard fence. We started out by cutting all the PVC pipe into three and four foot sections. Then Brent set up a "painting table" out of sawhorses & plywood, and started spraying. It takes a lot of black spray paint to cover white pipe!

Then we cut the furring strips into six foot lengths, and traced nine holes on each. There's Brent, hard at work...
The drill press made drilling the holes go at a fairly fast clip, once we figured out that we needed a sharper bit. Still, it was a lot of holes, so we didn't finish up until late in the evening. Voila - the first small pile of rails drilled and ready for paint. This pile was much larger by the time we got finished.
We did a lot of shopping last weekend too, which I forgot to get photos of, and bought some clay for toes. I'll post pics of those this weekend. We got some new Scene Setters for the operating room (surgery), and a plasma ball (remember those?). We also got some cool salt & pepper shakers, and a nicely spooky napkin holder. We found the shot syringes too, nice not to have to pay shipping for those! I need to mix up some jello shots, and make sure they'll work okay with those.

More to come soon...time is flying right by, and the party is just 5 weeks away! Yikes!

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Graveyard Fencing

Last year on Halloween night, we had problems with parents stepping over our low fence - followed closely by their kids. Because we have all kinds of electrical cords, etc snaked through the lawn decorations, we prefer that kids especially stay out of the graveyard proper, just to keep anyone from tripping & hurting themselves. So we decided it was time for a "proper" graveyard fence.

We got the instructions online (see the link to the right), and Brent decided to build a panel just to see how it would look, how hard it would be, etc. Turns out it was pretty darn easy, as you can see above. These 6ft panels just stake into the yard with rebar, and are made of 1/2 inch PVC pipe and 2 inch furring strips. Obviously we need finials to put on top of the posts...we're still looking for something suitably haunting.

We need 32 panels to do both halves of our graveyard, so today we bought 90 PVC pipes and 60 furring strips, 2 more boxes of nails and another box of black spray paint. Once all the panels are finished, we'll add some moss & creepy cloth to finish off the look. Can't wait to see what it looks like all put together!

This weekend we also bought bloody tablecloths, and cheap MP3 players with cheap speakers for sound effects around the house. Can't believe we didn't think of it before, but it's the perfect solution for getting specific sound effects to match individual "scenes".

Now if we could just pin down the invitation format...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't Forget! Magnets Done.

I finally got our Save the Date magnets done! And I have to say, I think they turned out quite well. We decided to send these out this year in advance of our actual invitations, to both let people know what the theme was early, and to get the date on people's calendars so they could rearrange schedules, find babysitters, etc.

This was one of the easiest things to do for the party. I just made up business cards in publisher with themed images and printed them out on business card stock (perforated, of course). Then I removed the needles from syringes I'd cleaned, and wrapped red thread around the plunger before putting it back in. I stuck the thread on a business card magnet, then the card over the thread. The most time-consuming part of the whole project was getting the business cards lined up well on the magnets!
As you can see, there's no address or name - just a return address on the envelope, and the "Details coming soon" in the corner. Our blog address too, of course - which is new for this year.

We're mailing these out tonight - I hope our guests are as excited as we are for this year's party...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Box of Goodies & Fence Building

Less than 100 days to Halloween, and we're revving up for this year's party & yard haunt! With any luck, I'll be posting weekly updates now through the "big day".Yesterday we got our second order of Halloween goodies, as you can see from the photo above. I just love the new "evil pumpkin", and we're already "testing" one of the props in a jar of water there. Some cabinet covers for the kitchen, body bags for treats, and some craft items for our main activity this year. All very exciting! Good thing I cleaned off the kitchen table last week, eh?

Last week, we headed to the local hardware store, and got all the materials to build a couple of new fence panels for our yard haunt. We're using plans we found on (linked to the right) - if you're looking for new projects, go check it out! We're putting two panels together, and if it works well, we'll be making enough to do the whole front yard. I think it's going to look really cool, and be much more sturdy that last year's cobbled-together barrier. I'll post pictures of our first efforts as soon as we get a panel finished.

This coming week, aside from working on the fence, my main goal is to get our "save-the-date" magnets done and ready to mail out next Saturday. I have magnets leftover from a previous marketing venture, so it's just a matter of printing out cards, sticking them to the magnets, and mailing them off. Gotta find some hospital-themed clip art though...which is sometimes harder than one might think.

Better get to work!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Little Behind Schedule...

I know. How could we possibly be behind schedule already?

Every year, we say we're going to order things early. Plan things early. Make things early. And we always end up running late. So far, this year isn't much different (though we did order some early props, and have been saving up containers and used (washed!) syringes for various things.

At the moment though, there are two things we need to get going on:

1. A story for our Haunted Hospital mystery, and the poor souls who died there.

2. Save the Date cards. Magnets, maybe? It seems like every year, we have several people who can't remember the date of the party (different people, so I don't think they're just avoiding us). This year, we're planning to send out little items (magnets for the fridge, I think) to remind people when the party will be, and what the theme is, so everyone can clear their schedule and get costumes planned in plenty of time. I think we'll send them out in late July/early August.

We've got tentative ideas for both, but of course, I can't share the details just yet, or it would spoil the surprise! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Boot Hill/Graveyard Dip Idea

Brent came up with this the other night for a Halloween finger food. I think it’s a great idea – we’re going to try it for our snack table in the basement (ahem…the lab) this year.

The important part is the grave markers, of course. And unfortunately, I haven’t seen any tombstone or cross-shaped chips in the grocery store. So we have to make them. The idea is to buy thin corn tortillas, and cut out grave marker shapes (crosses, tombstones, etc). Then we’ll fry or bake them under a weight (think pie plate with stones or a cast-iron bacon press – anything to hold them flat). Voila – creepy chips!

Then just put your favorite nacho or bean dip ingredients into a suitable container, and top with the grave marker chips. I think either a rectangle cake pan, or a round mound of bean dip with toppings (for a “hill) would be great for this application.

Obviously we’ll have to test this out first – photos to come after the test run. Anyone else try something similar?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Halloween Bites

Two weeks ago, one of our dogs had two teeth removed. They’d gotten infected, and when the vet tech asked if I wanted to keep them, I almost let him throw them out. Obviously, I came to my senses in time, and grabbed the nifty test tube he’d put them in, remembering that our theme is centered around all things medical this year!

So now we have these nicely grotesque infected teeth to add to our prop collection. The tech suggested that maybe we’d need to clean them up before use…but I’m not so sure…

Friday, March 20, 2009

Scaryview Sanitarium 2009: IV's

A couple of our first props for this year's party! Always handy to have IV's on hand...

Currently on the planning table: A Corpse Buffet

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Treasure Island: Party Time!

Finally – party time! Our main activity, of course, was a treasure hunt. We hid the treasure pictured above inside of a large ottoman down in the basement TV room, and created 5 sets of 20 riddled clues that were scattered throughout the house. After the guests arrived, we divided them up into teams of at least 4, but no more than 6, and gave each team their own pirate flag, a notebook & pen for clues, and a beginning clue. The hunt was on, with Brent and I each on a different floor to help teams out when needed.
Costumes are required for our parties – and provided for those who don’t wear one. I think we only had a couple people show up without, and they were quickly assigned eye patches and bandanas.

The flashlight is for finding clues - we hid them inside and outside for more room to play.

Treasure found! The "all girls" team that surprising?
After the treasure hunt, pool and good times with friends. Our Pirate Captain host for the evening:
And yours truly, looking like a rather ragged pirate under our island-deco arch:
Everyone voted on the theme for our 2009 party, and when I tallied the votes at the end of the evening, the winner was a landslide: Haunted Hospital. Quick, someone call a doctor!