Well...the day got off to a rough start, but ended pretty well. Last night I began to develop the mother of all migraines (I assume due to the fact that I finally finished all of my time sensitive projects for the week and the weight of the stress was gone). I ended up not going in to work today and pretty much being all around worthless. I couldn't even keep water down until about three in the afternoon.
But...on the bright side, I got to watch my blog explode. My awesome brother posted yesterday's pictures on Reddit and hundreds of people came to check them out. Thanks!! The pictures made it to #1 on the pumpkin carving contest for Reddit and #8 on the pics site at their highest. I'm pretty impressed and very happy. Good to know this blog is good for something. I enjoy vindication on occasion.
As the evening wound up I finally felt well enough to leave the couch without feeling like I might take a header into the tile. I was able to help Collin put candles in all of the pumpkins and get the yard set up for trick or treaters. I didn't want to miss them, but walking back and forth from the living room was a bit too much (plus we had to monitor the yard - apparently signs saying "Please stay off the yard and do not touch the pumpkins" were too much for some people to handle) so we got out our lawn chairs and manned the candy from the front porch.
After his traditional bowl of Halloween chili, Dar suited up for his troll around the neighborhood. I think he looked pretty good.
During today's Reddit craziness, I had people curious about what the pumpkins would look like all lit up. I had already planned in advance to show these upcoming pictures so it was nice to know that people actually wanted to see them. Nothing in these photos has been altered other than a little cropping. The lighting is exactly how it was in the yard. I think things went rather well, but we did learn a few lessons for next year.
Based on our fun with the puker, the assembly system will change slightly next year. The second set of dowels (found randomly in our shed) were thicker and did an awesome job. We'll either be using these thicker dowels or some rebar next year - depending on comparative costs. We'll certainly be reusing the pieces that survive this year.
A lot of people showed up at our house tonight. Thank goodness we had the sense to prepare and didn't run out of candy this time (last year was CRAZY). The scene from the outer sidewalk looked pretty good and we got a lot of compliments on our hard work.
The yard decor lights did a pretty good job of keeping things illuminated, but were a bit of a tripping hazard that made us really worried about people coming across the lawn. We've decided that next year we're going to put up a Halloween fence and some caution tape to help deter wanderers.
We also had a small malfunction with the little pumpkins. Though their faces still look great thanks to the use of the petroleum jelly, their short stature made things get a little ugly as the heat from the candles wore on through the night. We had a few lids shrink to the point that they fell into the pumpkins and crushed the flames. We also had a couple catch fire (not bad, just a little smoke). Luckily we didn't have any damage beyond lids. (I also managed to get my photos before the carnage occurred.)
So based on that fun and the fact that tea lights apparently have about a 2 hour lifespan, we will be switching to artificial flames next year. Having to go out pumpkin by pumpkin and retrieve hot tea lights and replace them was not super fun. It will not happen again. I also managed to splash one of them when I blew it out, resulting in wax in my hair. Awesome.
Everything lit up rather nicely and we really didn't have any other malfunctions. We did have some people who were confused by the "downed runner" and thought that he had been accidentally knocked down and broken. We had to explain a few times that he had "fallen" after running from the monster. Most of the kids got a kick out of our puker.
We were a little concerned about the shaved skull at the beginning of the night. As you can see, his skin had started to stretch from the pressure of the dowel. We repositioned him before things got started and he did fine through the evening. We'll see what he looks like in the morning. He also glowed magnificently due to the awesome skinning job done by Collin.
Our neighbors seemed to enjoy the scene pretty well and we even had a few friends come over specifically because they knew we had been working on this project. It was really nice to have people come and check it out. It's always more fun to share this thing with other people.
We have already started talking about our plans for next year. There are some pretty good ideas. We will be doing another yard scene and we've also decided that we will be doing some sort of group themed family costumes for next year. There are some interesting ideas there as well.
We've already discussed it and the plan is to plant our own pumpkins next year. We're hoping to get a good portion of our supply from our own backyard. We'll probably start saving up for the rest of the fun after the New Year. (It's amazing what a couple of dollars a week can provide.)
I hope you all had a great Halloween! We certainly did. Although Collin had to go to work and I was under the weather for a good portion of the day, we still enjoyed every moment that we could. It was a good Halloween and a good anniversary.
And now that I've finished pureeing 6 cups of pumpkin and baking 9 cups of pumpkin seeds, I think I'll call it a day.