Martins Pond Haunted Playground


This is Hobbit's set of pictures. Denise's set is also hosted here for convenience.

Each small picture links to a larger copy. Use your browser's controls to navigate back and forth.

Various preliminary tasks on Friday: assembling the tent canopies.

First the top part is put together. The turnbuckle tension rods come in three sizes, but it's for two nearly-identical kits. The shortest + longest are one set, and all the mid-size are the other. No clue why they designed it this way and didn't keep it consistent.

Once the top is assembled and the cover stretched over it, the legs go in underneath. It's best to tilt the top *upwind*, in this case toward the pond, so the wind doesn't catch it like a sail and flip the whole thing over.

For reference, this is how the frames go together -- because not everyone could remember the exact configuration between events.

Deploying lots of snow-fence as crowd control barriers.

Tents and snow-fence is about all we did on Friday, leaving the rest to start attacking Saturday morning.

Testing the PA and wireless microphones.

The truck came in and got unloaded, and then placed where it would be part of the skits.

Making sides for the party-tents out of tarps. They needed to be fully enclosed to house the skit stations.

Once the tarps were up, set construction could proceed inside.

Meanwhile, the fencing around the graveyard was going up.

I took a look at the electrical box and brought in some stuff to fix one non-working circuit and temporarily reroute another, in the hope of balancing the power demands for the heavy-duty stuff.

Power cords were laid out and trenched into the ground across traffic areas. It's fairly easy to slice diagonally into the lawn with a shovel, push the cable into the slit, and then sort of flop the dirt/grass back down on top. Pulls up easily later, with minimal disturbance.

Over on the other side, power would be taken care of by a generator in the middle of the tents, with a fairly scary spider of electrics hanging off it. None of this was really high-current, though.

A mix of candle-lit and electric jack-o-lanterns in the pumpkin patch got its own set of frightening-looking electrics.

There were plenty of other tasks to accomplish, such as inflating [and testing] some of the prizes.

Pizza for staff lunch!

One new feature was a cotton-candy maker. I had never really looked at one of these closely before. The head is a cylindrical heater that spins, and has massive slip-rings to bring power up to it, and the motor is down in the very heavy base underneath.

This thing is an absolute power *pig*, because it's got to quickly get the sugar hot enough to form threads as it flings out through the holes. This beast basically needs a circuit all to itself.

But we found one. After tripping the pavilion GFI with it and realizing it would never work over there along with the shop-lights anyway, its station got set up over near the outlet I had fixed that morning where it could have its very own 15 amp breaker right inside the door in case it tripped. Once the candy-making process got started, it seemed to work fine there.

A small stage set up in the basketball court.

The "UFO crash" dig site, which apparently turns up little treasures all year after the event is over.

The setup and cast of "Family Feud", er, food.

Set and cast of the dance studio. I cheated here, and asked the troupe to freeze in one of their momentary poses and hold it for the shot since they would otherwise just be a blur in the dim light.

Fortune teller set, and its cast practicing their routine.

The monster video-game cast working out their blocking, and the somewhat scary-looking "master control" center backstage. After a little debugging to remove one or two bad power strips, it could switch all the lighting in the "living room" and the huge-screen TV.

Meanwhile, massive construction was ongoing in the graveyard on the beach.

After all the fence pieces were up, the many decorations went in, including the same cannon that the Militiamen bring out on Memorial Day.

This is what happens when you let the adults play in the sand!

I mean, where else do you get a graveyard with an outhouse?

Back view of the graveyard from the dock. Nice attention to detail, including planting some fake trees in the background of the scene.

Testing the fog in the graveyard.

The graveyard needed a large cast.

Some of our fearless leaders, stepping into their roles for the evening ...

... and we were graced with his majesty King Henry the Eighth as our MC.

The tot-lot stayed in fairly constant use by people just coming in to bring their kids.

As evening fell and the house opened, people began streaming in to the ticket table and the activities beyond.

Soon the park was full of people!

The food pavilion did plenty of business as folks continued arriving.

But the core events wouldn't kick off until it got decently dark.

Inside the games tent.

The UFO dig continued most of the evening. Some of the inflatable prizes wound up being used as things to whack one's friends with, which I found somewhat perplexing.

What I completely missed covering here was the kids' costume contest, but Denise's set has several shots of it.

A couple of magic shows were presented, including one in a pirate persona. The kids loved this stuff.

Pirates like doing rope tricks!

The magic shows had several different performers ...

... and several locations, including "working the crowd" over in the lineup for tours.

Playground tours were split into small groups and led around to all the different skits and displays.

Including through the pumpkin patch, looking very different at night.

They'd cluster around the back of the truck to see the video-game play out, with the players getting lured into the TV, defeated in the boxing match, and trapped inside as the game characters escaped. The final "finish them off!" blows were administered under strobe light, to bring out that flickery TV effect.

As people turned away from the truck they were presented with the entrance to the graveyard, beyond which there were clearly sinister things going on. They had the option to skip the scary part and go around it.

This is more or less the same shot, without flash and then with. It shows why I like trying to capture stuff in natural light, as using flash tends to wash out the subtle details of the lighting and angles people would see as they walked through.

The valiant food folks kept supplying things people could warm up with, which was definitely needed as it got pretty *chilly* that night! There was ice all over the cars after we did a minimal pre-cleanup and finally headed home.

_H*   081019