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Halloween 2022

Posted in events on Nov 1, 2022

Probably my favourite part about halloween is the setups, even moreso than the candy. I love to see people put so much time and effort into a good halloween setup that might even end up becoming part of a kid's childhood.

Now, I'm a massive cheapskate, and I'm not spending all that much money on something that's going to be seen on 1 day of the year, but it doesn't mean that I don't at least put in the effort with what I already have.

The Front Porch
What would normally be the centre of the stage for most halloween setups, it's fairly sparse this year, save for some pumpkins that my mom has been growing in the backyard. Most of the show is scattered around the front of the house.

We also put out some spaghetti squash, and we were just about to fricken start carving squash because of how many we had. We really grew 12 squash from 1 plant. We put in 1 plant! And we were getting pretty sick of squash for dinner, so they make good decorations.

Anyways, apart from some other decorations my mom put up, I put up spongebob's spooky floating shopping list!!! floating around in the wind. I'm honestly not sure how many people got the joke, but it was a nice touch.

The Front Lawn
I didn't do all that much on the front lawn this year, but I did put up what was left of some styralfoam graves. I wanted to put "Youtube 2006-2018" on one of them, but it was a bit too dark for anyone to see it.

I also mention this here, cause I don't know where else to, that since last year, my brother's put this vinyl record of "Whole Lotta Red" by Playboi Carti in my 2nd floor bedroom window, and some kids that came by this year went absolutely crazy over it. It was a group of five 9th graders, and I could hear them yelling about playboi carti and roblox before they even opened the door, and when I opened it, one of them went up in my face and asked "YOO DUDE WHATS YOUR FAVOURITE PLAYBOI CARTI SONG" to which of course, I had to answer "Vamp Anthem". One of them also went up to me and said "BRO DUDE WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE ROBLOX GAME!??!?!" I said "its drive down the slide of doom, ever heard of it", he said "no" and I said "yeah, it sucks, don't play it".

The Nissan Cube

Now, you're not allowed to ask why there's a Nissan Cube parked out front the house, but there is, and it's a funny car, so I made it part of the display.
We got the big-ass ghost driving, with some friends hanging out in the back.

On the side of the car, is advertised what it is and where it's going. Nissan Cube express, next destination: Hell.

The Front Room
Next to the front door, is the front room, with 3 vertical windows. The positioning of this room has made it a great place to put "spooky" things in every year, and I've been stepping it up recently with my addition of the "Red Ambiance", and other things set up in there.
Last year, I set up several "spooky floating ghosts" that me and my brother made when we were kids. They make an appearance again this year in various places, but I put some other spooky stuff inside, like both of my Friday cardboard cutouts!

I made these with my brother a few years ago and they've made their way around the house over time but have mostly been hanging out in my room. I've started to put them out every year, and everyone who stops by actually gets to meet Friday the dog in person (such an honour)! I always love when I open the door and all the kids are way more excited about the dog than the candy!

Also, this is something that one of my friends was joking about, and I wasn't sure if I was going to do or not, was we were joking about "slenders" on Roblox as the scariest thing, and that I would make a big cardboard cutout of one, but I didn't know how many kids would get the joke, considering that half of them probably are slenders themselves since they're 12 years old, and I didn't want to have cringe outside my house for no good reason, but I still decided to print out a small one to tape to the front window, with the text BEWARE, SLENDERS IN AREA. DO NOT APPROACH.

Another thing, that not many people noticed, and my dad was probably thankful of that, was a paper cutout of his face from over 12 years ago that his coworkers taped to a balloon and floated around the office (lol). I found it in the attic a few years ago, and it's been kicking around the house ever since. I decided to tape it to the front window this year. Maybe next year I'll reunite it with a balloon once again and float it around the front yard.

Halloween Video Player (spookyTV)
Back when I went trick or treating, before I started to spend halloween giving out candy to stupid kids, I always thought it was cool when a setup played music! Now, you can buy as many inflatable zombies as you want, but creativity will always be cooler than a bunch of random Spirit Halloween decorations.

So, I decided to step it up a notch, to something I've never seen anyone else do, music AND video! How does it work? Well, I asked some of my friends for halloween videos, and I thought this would get me at least a 30 video playlist, but turns out none of my friends give a crap about halloween! All they care about is partying with their friends. People always act like the importance of Halloween outweighs every other holiday including Christmas, but turns out people don't actually care that much. I thought my plan was concrete, but I ended up having to curate my own playlist, which kind of sucks to be honest, but it's just how it is I guess.

Anyways, back to the actual setup, it was powered by my old custom built Pentium 4 system running Windows XP. The XP system has a WiFi card, so I connected it to my file server to play videos that I saved from YouTube with youtube-dl. I suppose I could've used a laptop, but this was more fun. (And my only laptops with VGA connectors are also WinXP laptops, so whatever)

For the videos, I used my trusty old Samsung SyncMaster 4:3 LCD display propped up in the middle window. There's an annoying line in the bottom half of the window, so I raised it a bit with some boxes. The middle window also opens, so I ran the cable through for my Logitech speakers for the most Hi-Fi audio.. for real.

It turned out to be a bit of a hit at least, I got a couple smiles and mentions about it, especially when I had the Roblox horror music playing.

Red Ambiance
This was something I did for the first time last year, and I've never really seen anyone else do something like it. Now red, is a spooky colour, especially when your house is flooded with it, so for a cool effect, I taped this red film plastic to a flashlight, and just left it on in the front room, and it creates a really cool effect.

Motion Camera
This was a first for this year, I've been messing around with security cameras, or more accurately, old webcams running on a Yawcam server with motion detection.
In the area I live, the fact that ‘ween landed on a Monday this year, and also because of the weather, and just the overall location of the house, I wasn't expecting many kids, seeing as we only got about 10 kids last year, but we actually ended up getting 23 kids, which I'd never seen before!

So, to be able to monitor the halloween situation this year, I decided to set up a webcam to point at the front porch at all times. Thanks to Yawcam, I can monitor it from a tablet that I had next to me while sitting on the couch near the front door, and with the motion detection, I can actually know, with proof, how many kids stopped by this year.

Here's some pictures that the camera took this year.

I know that the camera is pretty grainy, and is only in 320x240 resolution (were pulling back to the days before u could just set up a Ring camera), because I used a very old Logitech QuickCam Communicate STX webcam from 2001. I have better webcams, but they're in use quite often, and I didn't want to risk damaging any of them in the weather.

I would have liked for the camera to be facing the kids from the front door's point of view, but the cable just wasn't long enough, and I wasn't looking to set up a computer in the foyer to run it. I even already had extended the USB cable 2x but that's still the best view I could get.

The USB cable runs along the overhang of the house, and up to my second floor bedroom window, into a USB hub on the window sill (for my multi-cam window setup), and that hub runs over the closet door to my laptop server in there.

I wanted it to also serve as something of a record of what costumes kids had this year, but unfortunately the power had gone out earlier, and when I restarted my server, I forgot to enable video recording on motion detection, so some crappy pictures are all I have (and also, the lights moved and washed out half the image)

So in total, we ended up with about 23 kids in 3 hours from 5:30 to 8:30, which was surprising to me considering the stats of previous years, factoring in the weather and fact that it was Monday. I had a lot of fun setting this all up this year, and next year's setup will get even bigger, better, and it might even be scary.

~ 3k

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