This is Halloween – Almost


Turning a cheep mask into a life-sized pirate head

It’s almost Halloween time! You may not realize this because it’s only September 12th but that is beside the point. I saw my first woolly caterpillar and a yellow leaf, the county fair is in town and all this means it’s almost Halloween.

 Since moving to my current home (which is located on a main road) Halloween has become an amazing event. Reminiscent of my childhood where entire neighborhoods joined in the fun and everyone had a good time. So, we are one of the only houses around me that decorates the way we do, but that’s okay. It will catch on.

The first year (this will be our fourth Halloween here) we had no idea what to expect. I bought a couple bags of candy, we all sat on the front porch and an hour into the night; we ran out of candy. We ran out of the individual serving size bags of chips and cookies I’d bought for school lunches. We ran out of cup-a-soup and little bags of oatmeal. I sent my hubby to the local convenience store for more candy. By the time he got back we were out of pens, pencils, complimentary hotel shampoos and soaps and those little soap pellets you put in dish washers.

The second year I thought, you know, I may not be Walt Disney, nor do I have the money the Disney Company owns, but this is a golden opportunity to entertain the masses, get in touch with my inner child, blossom in creative absurdity. I decided to make our Halloween theme, Pirates of the Caribbean bohemian chic style. This meant all my supplies had to be re-purposed from something else.


Pirate Body In the Making

I worked my arse off, sewing, stuffing, sawing, gluing, painting, dyeing, designing and redesigning. The neighbors would gather around as each piece was tacked up outside wondering what the h-ll I was up to. Then the hurricane hit and everything was in shambles. Crap, not a problem. I can fix this. I can make it better!  And I set out to do a miracle.


Ripping apart the old to make new things

Halloween night, everything was great. We had the sound effects and lighting set up, family members dressed as pirates to mingle with the fake, life-sized ones. And then it snowed! I looked at hubby and said, “Well, I guess we left the Caribbean and are now the Pirates of the Aleutian Islands. “


An unexpected snowfall

He didn’t think anyone would show up. Actually, I think since we bought twice the amount of bags of candy that year, the good stuff, he was hoping not many would show. Based on the candy count on the bags, we greeted about 500 children Halloween night!

People were lined down the street, came in cars, blocked the road, and got their pictures taken with the set and with us.  Parents came to me and said, they could never afford to take their kids to see anything like Disney World and this was probably the closest thing they would ever get to it. I was humbled – it really wasn’t that great of a display. I didn’t want the night to end.


Pirate first mate close up with canon

Last year I was doubly psyched. We had a reputation and with the basic set elements already built, I could focus on a story-line, learn how to make more complex elements and how to make my life size pirates move! Before we got any of the set out on the front lawn and porch, another hurricane came through. It did enough damage that Halloween was cancelled.

Despite all the damage, I couldn’t let Halloween just die. Kids had costumes! We had candy! So, I put out just a few things, we got dressed in our pirate best and waited in the dark, cold, wet night. We saw about 20 kids and happy parents welcoming anyone who was still able to make normalcy on a weather worn week. I was totally bummed but psyched for the next year – this year.


Post Hurricane Pirates Scaled Down

It’s almost Halloween time! This year I’m combining my two favorite Disney rides, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion. And, well, depending on how things go, maybe throw in a couple odd things here and there to beef up the humor aspect.  SO…..

This is what I have done so far.


Sheets, truck liner rubber spray and a great hat

This picture is of my grim reaper. It’s made of sheets I got from the Good Will, a coat rack, a plastic wrapped and tapped mold of my daughter’s head filled with crack filler, and four cans of cheap, truck liner, rubberizing, paint. Total cost = $15.00.

Next I realized I needed large tombstones but they needed to have a pirate-like theme to them. So, here are my tombstones so far. They are made from warped, plastic shelving left over from our flooded basement (compliments of the hurricane), dilapidated ceiling tiles from same basement, accessories from old Halloween costumes I found and from the Dollar Store, caulking, and my favorite item in the world –duct tape. They still need to be painted and made to look like stone. But I think they are coming along nicely.


Building Tombstones from Flood Damaged Items

I’ve also made new hands for my pirates. In past years I just stuffed winter gloves but I couldn’t do anything with the hands. So, this year I gave them a skeleton of wire so I can manipulate the fingers. They have a long way to go before completion.

If people are interested in this, I thought I would continue to keep everyone updated on the drama of my un-Disney, Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Haunted Mansion Halloween display as we count down the days.


Treasure chest made from discarded tub, found fabric and dollar store accessories.

Has anyone seen the weather forecast for October 31st? Hurricane? Yes or no?

About Debbie Hill,

Wellness Counselor, Author, Photographer, Interested in living a balanced, compassion centered life, travel, spiritual/supernatural issues, history, all things Disney. If that's not eclectic, I don't know what is.

Posted on September 12, 2013, in Misc. and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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