pcsmart.typepad.com > halloween 2009

the theme for '09 was "the bride of frankenstein/mad scientist lab". we created the lab inside the garage because the weather was rainy. it was a lot easier because that gave us more time for set up than when it is all outside. we were able to set up with the door down and raise it for 'showtime'. a lot of people felt this was a scary year, but we didn't think it was as scary as previous years. maybe we are jaded?

dinner?

dinner?

some of the specimens that were waiting to be put in jars or displayed....notice the plastic container behind the cookie sheets....that's dinner.


one of these things is not like the other

one of these things is not like the other

if you look closely you will see one of these skulls is actually real....(another reason not to piss me off - lol)


my little corner of the lab

my little corner of the lab

left back corner of the lab - i love the blood drip tablecloths, i buy a bunch every year


right side of the lab

right side of the lab

view of the backdrop scenery/operating table/torch/lab rack (you can see how i am propped up on a dolly wedged on a sawhorse)


feeding the masses

feeding the masses

we started serving popcorn last year and it was a hit. we also can keep track of how many victims/visitors we have from the number of bags we go through...usually we have between 150-200 a year. angelica manned the popcorn machine this year and kept me sane as i was trapped on the table


no heartbeat? no heart?

no heartbeat? no heart?

angelica checks to see if i have a heartbeat


heads up!

heads up!

the lab table with various heads, limbs and organs....


some refreshments?

some refreshments?

the hospitality table complete with refreshment tray, candy cauldron and creepy candelabras


are you sure she is strapped down?

are you sure she is strapped down?

samuel and wes goofing off while i lay trapped on the table


you gotta have heart...

you gotta have heart...

and don't forget the brain.... although the ear jar was one of my faves....love the rat, he is so cute


every good scientist has specimens

every good scientist has specimens

a view of one of the specimen shelves on the lab rack


a peek into the lab

a peek into the lab

this is the view as they walked up the driveway


the butler

the butler

chase made an excellent butler - he had the posture and voice down perfectly


the house staff

the house staff

maria and chase at their hospitality station (we had candy for those who didn't want popcorn)


beaker or flask?

beaker or flask?

i picked up these beakers in party city (they had these grow in water organs that were bogus). i happened to have the stand in my studio and it fit perfectly. a little dry ice and the effect is magical....oh yeah, that is a squeeze bottle of 'blood' in the background, we always use homemade. there are the rats eating the heart and one of my fave skulls, it is really heavy cast resin


dry ice, it's a wonderful thing

dry ice, it's a wonderful thing

top shelf of the lab rack at night with the dry ice going....


just take the %$^#&*  photo!!!!

just take the %$^#&* photo!!!!

i think at this point they just wanted to curl up on the couch with a bowl of candy


my family, i think i'll keep them...

my family, i think i'll keep them...

maria, samuel and sam - they really go all out to make my crazy halloween ideas come to life


and then the bat flew over my head....

and then the bat flew over my head....

not really sure what wes was trying to accomplish here...but then i don't think samuel had a clue either


this is thriller....

this is thriller....

wes, maria and chase doing the thriller dance....yes, it was a loooong night for them, they got pretty goofy


i'm melting....!!!!

i'm melting....!!!!

this is wes, he joined our merry band of lunatics this year to help scare/herd in the cul de sac and driveway. this was after sweating and being out in the rain for hours (notice maria in the background, not sure what the heck she was doing)


family portrait

family portrait

maybe this should be our christmas card photo?


a family who scares together....

a family who scares together....

my family, who puts up with my halloween madness every year. last year we missed maria, who was at honor chorus, but this year she came home just in time. sam as the mad scientist/frankenstein, me as the creature, maria as the surly maid/housekeeper/zombie and samuel as igor


left wall of lab

left wall of lab

geesh, i look like roseanne barr. here is the left wall of the lab-column at the opening of the garage, scene setter on wall and me propped on the table (in front of a hidden refrigerator). i have a black/white wig on, pinned up and loads of cheesecloth and bandages over white thermal undies


scene setter

scene setter

this is a scene setter i picked up in party city, we didn't use all the parts but it is 8x12ft with extra pieces like the skeletons you see here. there was also a nurse and some rats. pretty sturdy material, the whole thing was around $20. i really wanted the butcher shop one last year but everyone was sold out.


who does my make up?

who does my make up?

sam gave me a scar with scar putty and liquid latex, it was gooey but comfortable. you can see the black backdrop closely here, along with the torch. the backdrop is actually landscaping fabric. we used it horizontally to just create a blacked out area, it didn't go to the floor because we didn't want to cut/piece it. it worked really well, just attached i to the rails from the garage door track, the door could still raise/lower.


fire...bad

fire...bad

a shot of me on the table and one of the torches i made. well, sort of made. they were lamps my parents found in the condo when they bought it. they had big ugly flared plastic shades on them. i took the shade off and put red/gold cellophane under the light collar, cut to look like flames. then we inserted orange candy corn blinking lights so they flashed like a flame flickering. they looked really cool in the dark at night, the daylight kind of takes away the magic


hospitality tray

hospitality tray

(pay no attention to the feather duster the surly maid left on the tray) finger food and bloody mary cocktails? jello with floating bugs and bone swizzle sticks


the surly maid

the surly maid

maria played the part of the surly maid. she took care of crowd control and kept people moving. in this shot she had backed up into the hanging mad scientist (hung from the basketball goal) and it attacked her


creepy birdbath

creepy birdbath

at the end of the night, they tossed some dry ice into the birdbath to give it a creepy look


the "hired help"

the "hired help"

angelica and chase worked so hard to help put this together. chase was a greeter and took care of the 'elmos' (little trick/treaters) while angelica manned the popcorn machine and kept the lab running smoothly.


angelica & chase

angelica & chase

angelica, the lab assistant and her son chase, the trusty butler of the manor. i could not have put this all together without their help. angelica talks me off the ledge whenever i start to spin out of control - planning all this is a lot of work for only 3 hours of fun.


top shelf of lab rack

top shelf of lab rack

an old weather instrument looks kind of like something you would see in a mad scientist's lab, small jars of assorted bugs along with another scorpion. there is a lava lamp behind the big jar (strangely enough it looked like it fit with the theme) and a jar with a nose - assorted mice join the party.


2nd shelf of lab rack

2nd shelf of lab rack

test tubes courtesy of power shots (protein shots from costco). i found a grid that would hold them, stole it from samuel's closet, and hung them. the eyeball jar, a small jar with a skull model (brain exposed), a spider, a scorpion, a jar of mouths complete with teeth and tongues, a scale, mice and a jar of severed fingers w/cling wrap to keep them below the water surface.


3rd shelf of lab rack

3rd shelf of lab rack

a brain, a heart, a scale and some furry friends. it was tough to get the brains, heart to not float. i had to fill them with water to get neutral buoyancy. two were hard plastic but one was a sponge rubber 'ball' that we had to keep squeezing under water til it was heavy. i like the jar with the ears, we put cling wrap in the center so the ears clung to the sides


lab shelf unit

lab shelf unit

this is a look at one of the torches and the lab rack. we filled it with all sorts of specimens in jars of colored water. there were containers of dry ice and some lab type instruments. a few critters were placed to give it the creepy movie look.


lab table

lab table

an assortment of goodies - the talking head in a ball, the groaning head on a plate, a plasma ball (the kids loved that one, very mad scientist like) and a few specimens such as a brain. we had a severed arm and leg as well as an animated piece with two rats gnawing on a heart (with sound effects too). a few syringes, one blood filled and a pair of forceps (bbq tongs). the microscope looks high tech but it was an old intel one for the computer. some of the beakers/jars had dry ice in them to add to the spooky effect


operating table and torch

operating table and torch

this is the operating table i created - a plank, covered in black pleather with silver wired ribbon straps. the board is attached to a long handled dolly with tie down straps (before covering it) and then propped up onto a sawhorse so it is at an angle like in the movies. i added an on/off switch by retrofitting a rat trap. i took off the spring, painted with silver spray paint and added the handle from a foam roller brush onto the cross bar. a piece of glossy paper with the words on/off complete this simple prop. the skeleton scientist is a bonus i found at worldmarket, he fit the theme so i had to have him!


corrugated column

corrugated column

the columns were actually a rip off of the roman columns i did for the latin club. instead of painting the concrete tube forms, i simply adhered corrugated cardboard strips to create a fluted look. (i happened to have the strips handy otherwise i would have used bigger pieces so there was no awkward join seams) i took pieces of rigid insulation foam and instead of coating/painting it like the roman columns, i covered it with craft paper like a package. i wanted these columns to be brown to match the torches otherwise i would have spray painted the cardboard. the finishing touch for the column was webbing spray in gold and white to create the veined look. while not as impressive as the other columns, these worked well for a quick fix. plus i can still remove the cardboard and create something else with the tubes.


eyeball jar

eyeball jar

this was my fave prop - a plastic jar with plastic eyeballs and red plastic lacing. the water had a slight pink tint to it. we used glue dots to adhere the eyeballs so they were all looking out (otherwise they float colored part down because of the weight of the paint on the ball). we put the plastic lacing in to look like veins, weaving it around and tangling it up. we kept this one intact for future use.