Apr 30, 2012

A Backyard Haunted Trail

The 'Point Of No Return' was born as a way to channel my desire to haunt for various reasons. First and foremost, my Halloween display is set up in a shop window. I wouldn't call it a Yard Haunt. For me, a haunt requires a destination. Be it a front door for candy, the exit of a labyrinth-in-a-garage, or the end of a trail. Somewhere you are headed. A purpose. My display is the opposite of that. Trick-or-Treaters and parents mill around the window, I give out candy and they eventually wander off to the rest of the neighbourhood. The haunt is enclosed in a glass space. There are some great advantages of this, but in a way it separates the viewer from the zombies and witches and creatures. Perhaps that is for the better.

Now, there are no Trick-or-Treaters around when the 'Point of No Return' is up and running (on the 30th of April), for obvious reasons. I do it for myself. I spend hours setting it up, arranging sticks, dead plants and Jack 'O Lanterns. I take pictures before and after darkness has fallen. And I sit and stare at the glowing grins of the pumpkins for a long time.

The second reason I created the 'Point Of No Return', is because, well, one haunt just isn't enough. I need something to fill the void between Halloweens. And the 'Point Of No Return' takes place exactly half-way between one October 31st and the next. Thus the name 'Point Of No Return'. (I picked up that phrase from Alien vs Predator, which was my favourite film when I was 9. I have since gotten rid of my DVD copy of it.) And over here in New Zealand, Halloween falls in the spring, so I decided to embrace what Halloween should be like, and go with an autumnal feel.

And the third reason was because I wanted to experiment in stripped-back, bare-bones haunting. Pumpkinrot once posted about this style of haunt, calling it 'Traditional Haunting'. A quote:
I joked last year with Bean telling her that I wished someone would tell me that I wasn't allowed to use any props at all in my display - just natural elements. That'd be a really neat exercise in building a haunt. 
You can read that post, and a whole lot of other amazing insights into haunting here. Since his haunt gets bigger and grander every year, I figured that this wasn't ever going to happen. So I did it myself. You can see photos of last years 'Point Of No Return' here.

The 'Point Of No Return' has returned again this year, bigger and better. I'm still going with the minimalist, rustic look, but there are some props. Small and simple, but props nonetheless. I want to be able to expand on the same theme every year. I expect that my Halloween window display will have a completely new, built-from-scratch theme every year, so it'll be nice to let the 'Point Of No Return' slowly grow over time.

'Point Of No Return' has been renamed 'The Backs', in reference to the amazing Peter Straub story from the amazing 'October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween'.

And Happy Halfway-to-Halloween.

Apr 12, 2012

October 30, 2010

My dad and I only had one day before Halloween to set up the display in 2010. 
Despite all the rushing and madness, I managed to snap a few photos.

Apr 1, 2012


Crude crosses of wood were posted into the dry ground. Sticks tied together with rough twine jutted from the earth at odd angles. It looked like an old burial ground, a final resting place that was built before tombstones existed. From a time when two sticks lashed into a cross marked that a corpse lay in the soil below.

But what sort of people put the skulls of their dead on their gravemarkers?