Mill Creek Haunted Hollow: Chronicle

Consider this my BLOG. A collection of thoughts, ideas, builds, events, happenings, and other stuff that occur throughout the year to make Mill Creek Haunted Hollow what it is. some of it is Halloween, some of it is fun, some of it is family, and some of it is just things that inspire.

April 29, 2016
Just finished teaching my first class at West Coast Haunters, and it was great! I really enjoyed it. Everyone was really nice and I had a lot of fun. I hope I wasn't talking too fast and I hope I gave out good information to people. Everyone seemed interested and entertained, and I would definitely do it again. And now, I have the rest of the weekend to enjoy the convention, the tradeshow, and all the other classes!!

For anyone interested in downloading the class handout, here's the PDF: Clay Sculpting for the Home Haunter

October 23, 2016
I saw this video on Facebook and followed the link to Youtube. I think this is a fantastic idea for an outdoor haunt or a parade. Large (4 in.) wheels would probably make it pretty smooth.

August 28, 2016
Painting. Then seeing flaws and sanding. Then more painting. And this is just the base coat. As soon as I'm happy with the base coat, or finally come to accept the last few flaws I just can't get rid of, I'll be able to really get into the painting.

August 27, 2016
Still working on the DeSoto. Lots and lots of sanding on the exterior in preparation of painting. I'm also looking to re-upholster the interior in black. My current plan is to change the pattern to a tufted back.



August 17, 2016
Okay, this is my best guess for the wiring of the DeSoto. 12v battery goes straight to the starter. Starter splits to the main switch and the ammeter. Main switch keeps the electrics from draining the battery. Main switch closes circuit to fuse panel. 40 amp to the alternator via the voltage regulator, 20 amp to the ignition coil through a press button. To start the car, you flip the main power switch, push in the start motor lever in, then press the ignition button and the car starts. Does that all sound good? Or do I need constant electricity beyond the first burst to run to the distributor? If so, anyone have suggestions?

August 11, 2016
I apologize for not writing more on this page. I know I should, especially with Halloween quickly approaching once again. I have been spending a lot of time taking care of the girls while my wife recovers from corrective hand surgery she had in June. It's been fun, but there's a lot of running around in summer.

I've also been trying to work on the DeSoto. I really want to get the car running, and I've made some great progress. I finally admitted I needed help and found a mobile mechanic. He came over and looked the engine over and gave me some homework. Take out the sparkplugs, spray the heads with PB Blaster, and take the front off the car in case we need to remove the engine. So, that's what I did.

June 18, 2016
I know I need a better crew, but at least they can hand me tools. Actually, I love it when the girls help. I wish they would come out more often.

Removed the gas tank and found over a gallon of old, red gas. I'm guessing I'll have to replace the tank, as it may be beyond salvaging.

May 27, 2016
The cheap carport canopy I purchased online was of poor quality and was destroyed by wind and rain. It was not made for weather. So, today I went to Costco and purchased a real canopy carport. This thing is solid and substantial. (Should have purchased this a year ago and saved the $80 I spent on that P.O.S. party tent.)


May 10, 2016
Okay fans, back to the DeSoto!! I've got two months before parade season and I'd love to get it driving by then. Working on the new wiring harness right now. Also continuing to sand and prep the body for new paint.

Saturday morning and I need to move everything out of the way of the garage.

Driveway is clear, now it's time to open the garage.

Driveway is clean, time to open the garage. Right side door. (Looks like a bay window, doesn't it?)

Right side open, time to push out the DeSoto.

She was all tucked in for winter. Now it's time to get her outside and (hopefully) running.

In the driveway with the right garage door closed.

Need to clean the car up and remove the fake lights I put in for Halloween.

Lots of cleaning and sanding. Hoping to save all the chrome. (Need to get the skeletons out, too. Also from Halloween.)

Sunday morning and I have the tent up. Ready to start working!

The wiring harness is a lot more than I needed, but it gives me a lot of options down to road.

Thank goodness the wires are all labeled, or I'd have one hell of a time trying to remember where I left off.

May 2, 2016
Our official Costume Ball pic from Topher Adam ( Still need to find and download the full size version.

May 1, 2016
Having a blast at the West Coast Haunters Convention costume ball. Got downstairs too late for judging, but I think we would have lost to the Beetlejuice waiting room anyway!

Molly and I as Steampunk Mary Poppins and robot B.E.R.T.

I found a fellow robot amongst the humans.

My wife actually has video of me dancing!

April 28, 2016
Made it to West Coast Haunters Convention! So excited to be here. Rode down with Jody Bossert (Haunted Nightmare at the Nile) and had a great time. Going to hang out at the 'Meet and Greet' for a while, then back to the room to prepare for the class I'm giving tomorrow on Clay Sculpting for the Home Haunter. Wish me luck!

Sad News: My wife just called and told me Jack, my dog and buddy, has passed away. He's been sick for some time, but we all thought he was getting better. He was eating more and starting to put weight on again. He had more energy and just this morning was jumping around playing with everyone. I left for the Convention just after 11 o'clock this morning and left him on the back porch with his water and comfy bed. (The weather was fine and he has his dog run.) When Molly came home in the afternoon, he was lying on his pillow bed and had passed away. I feel so guilty that I wasn't there. I don't know why he waited until I left to pass away. I don't know how he knew I would be gone all weekend. I feel terrible that Molly had to deal with this on her own. I know I'm going to miss him, and I can't even say a proper goodbye.

April 25, 2016
My wife is helping prepare for the West Coast Haunters Convention. I'm giving a presentation on sculpting with clay, and Molly is painting a prop I sculpted for her Haunter's Ball costume.

April 16, 2016
Lots of plans for the West Coast Haunters Convention this year. Turns out I'll be speaking this year! Giving a class on clay sculpture for the home haunter. I'm also making new shirts this year. This is what they'll look like.

July 5, 2015
Thought I'd share my latest cider cart. As some of you know, I've been giving out free hot cider on Halloween for the last 10 years. I started with a creepy cider shack, then built a victorian cider hut, then moved on to a cider cart, and now, I have a new, smaller, more manageable cider cart! I'm finally learning to build things I can easily store later.

The original, creepy shack. Built with old fence boards and some scrap boards I had. It worked well for a few years, but was heavy and difficult to move around. Not to mention, impossible to store.

This was the victorian cider hut. Built from 2x2s and styrofoam, this lasted a few years and was very nice. The roof section could come off and the four support posts could slip out of the base. I could even unscrew the base into three sections for "easier" storage.

I really did like this cider hut, but I decided to get rid of it when I remodeled to house. That's when I decided to build my first cider cart.

My first cider cart. I built this think too damn strong. This thing could be taken to fairs and used. I have made the awning from marine canvas, and built the cart from very nice plywood. It was very heave and very sturdy. I built in drawers and cabinets and everything. I really overthought this one.

A nice drawer and cabinet for storing cups, napkins, cards, tongs, etc. And a large cabinet for eguipment, power cords, and the cider pot.

This thing was bad-ass! I just have to say, when I built this, it was sturdy, strong, and built to last. One complaint I had was the awning covered the cart, but not the person handing out cider.

So now, I have a new cart. Smaller, sleeker, easier to store. This one has good proportions and is easy to move without being too havy. I didn't bother building drawers or cabinets I will never use.

The umbrella can be removed and lowered. I'm still painting the cart and hope to do something fun with the umbrella before Halloween. And this umbrella will definitely keep the cart, and the person handing out cider, dry.

June 30, 2015
More work on the mausoleum today. I was able to get out this afternoon and finish gluing pieces together, sanding other pieces, and cutting and fitting the little "roof" section. With the help of my daughter, Samantha, we even got a base coat of grey on.

Front view of the decaying mausoleum.

This is the "near complete" build.

A side view.

The roof section is held in place with a section that comes down and slides over a secure section of pvc pipe. A plastic lid and a nail help secure it.

Here's the PVC pipe, lid washer, and nail without the roof section.

This is the first base coat of grey. I still need to paint the bottom, but I'll take the sections apart for that.

I will go back and touch up with a smaller brush to get in to the smaller areas. I'm also going to paint the back side of the side wall.

After the base coat, I'll start detailing with other shades, adding weathering and moss.

I think I"m going to have to add some aging and cracking to the piece as well. We'll see.

June 29, 2015
Building the new cider cart. Smaller and more manageable. Easier to move around and store in the off season. Of course, this means I have to make a new sign for the side of the cart.

I went through several designs, but this one became my favorite.

This was an earlier design, which I still like, but I thought a border would look better.

Had fun with this one, but I felt it was a bit more "50s diner" than Victorian signage.

This is when it started to come together. I had all the words, but didn't have the frame I wanted yet. You can see the evolution from this to the final design.

June 26, 2015
Some people have pet cemeteries, others have silly epitaphes. I think I may start a small section of tombstones for power tools that have died.

Here lies Skilz Tabletop Bandsaw.
You tried real hard, but you could never stay on the straight and narrow.

B&D Drill Press
The chuck stopped here.

Harbor Freight Clamps
You just couldn't hold on any longer. RIP.

June 24, 2015
I don't like having to wait for glue to dry, but the pieces of the mausoleum are coming together. I still need to build up the bricks on either side of the arch, incorporate the corner pillar, and cut and incorporate the roof sections.

June 23, 2015
The next generation is getting started. Her first tombstone.

It's time to let her start designing her own tombstones (with some supervision).

Not bad for her first two designs. I helped her with the symmetry a bit, but they were her designs.

June 20, 2015
Putting the mausoleum columns together. Built a little rig with some scrap wood and bungee cords to keep pressure on the sections while the Gorilla Glue dries (I'm proud of my ingenuity).

Drawing the mortar lines onto the corner pillar.

I built a rig to balance my sauldering iron as I go across the styrofoam so I can make even lines for mortar grooves.

Two complete columns, a short brick panel, and a finished corner pillar. Things are coming together.

June 21, 2015
Some carving on Father's Day.

The bucket (full of water) is on top so the sections won't pop up due to the pressure from the bungees.

June 13, 2015
Some work on the mausoleum entry arch. I wanted to take the entry and make a different shape, so I cut the pieces and then wrapped some sandpaper around my bottle of Gorilla Glue to sand a bevelled edge. Since I know the arch is going to be a stress point for the structure, I thought it would be smart if it could come apart for storage, so I put in a 2" PVC coupler and a length of 2" PVC pipe. The two are lined up perfectly and slip into one another to secure the two sections, but can pop apart for storage.

Paper template layed over some styrofoam blocks to get the proper angle for the entry arch.

Bottle of Gorilla Glue and some sand paper to create the concave bevel on the interior side of the arch.

A section of the entry arch roughed in with the concave bevel.

The arch, with the pieces resting together, but not glued.

Installing the pipe and coupler so the arch can come apart for storage.

Both pieces fitted into the foam and lined up before being glued.

When the pipe and coupler are fitted together, the seam is almost invisible.

June 8, 2015
More work getting done. Took me way too long to carve out the first column footing, but now that I know the angles, I'm hoping the other one goes quicker.

This is the corner pillar and a wall section for the front of the mausoleum.

One of two column bases.

June 7, 2015
5am and I took the opportunity to get some gluing done before the distractions wake up. I like the Locktite PL300 foam glue so far, but you need a good edge to bond to for strength. Don't try and bond large pieces AND fill a gap at the same time. If you put the PL300 on too thick, it doesn't cure strong.

This is the side wall.

Top section of side wall.

Better shot at some of the window frame detail.

The base wall of the side.

Sections of the wall in various stages of gluing.

June 5, 2015
Cutting the giant blocks to build a new mausoleum. Gorilla Glue takes a while to dry, and you have to make sure your pieces are secure. Also, spread the glue out evenly. Gorilla glue works great, but expands as it dries. The thicker you leave it, the more it will expand!

I use the clamps to hold the pieces together while the gorilla glue dries. Scrap pieces of styrofoam help protect the the carved foam from the clamps.

Some rough cut blocks glued together. These will be the base for the side wall.

May 29, 2015
Getting started on the new mausoleum.

This was my initial sketch for the new mausoleum. I wanted to go with a crumbling stone look.

This is my computer drawn design for what I'm hoping to build. I almost always draw things up on my computer first so I can get an accurate sense of dimensions.

Unwrapping the styrofoam blocks.

The best way to cut through the blocks is with a saw. I don't wave anything else that will cut through something 1 ft thick.

I cut a bunch of the blocks in half and started stacking them to get a sense of what I could build.

The wind was just enough it would blow the blocks over, so I had to use some duct tape here and there. This is the rough shape.

My little styrofoam fort from another angle.

May 29, 2015
Getting started on the new mausoleum.

I was able to get 30 blocks in my van.

Similar to pill insulation foam, like the white sheets you'd buy from HD.

May 20, 2015
Ok, that's it. After attending the West Coast Haunters Convention I am overwhelmed with new ideas and the very thought of trying to get everything done has immobilzed me. I look at my planning notebook and I just get so tired, I need a nap.

May 17, 2015
A collection of photos from the costume ball of me in my werewolf costume, and Molly as "Red".

May 17, 2015
Molly and I won an honorable mention award at the West Coast Haunters Convention Costume Ball for "Creepiest Couple" with our twist on Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

Molly and me (as a big bad wolf) casually standing in the hall with Mike, dressed as Chaos, a patchwork of animals and furs too many to discern.

Molly standing with our trophy at the ball, holding my wolf head as her other "trophy".

May 13, 2015
Definitely crunch time for the costume. Still a lot of "little things" to get done in time for West Coast Haunters Convention.

Gloves (with claws) are done and ready to go. Very happy with how these turned out.

Upper and lower teeth getting painted and soon to be inserted into the head.

Head and chest is coming together. Fur is still being applied.

Shot of the head from the side, still need to add the teeth, eyes, comb the fur, etc.

A good shot of the articulated neck structure. This will allow the head and neck to move more freely on the armature.

April 26, 2015
Building the werewolf head.

All the various pieces of foam - cut out and ready to assemble for the head.

Beginning of the armature construction for the head and neck.

April 13, 2015
Fellow haunters, now is the time!! Just got back from Lowe's where I picked up 30 styrofoam blocks (each one is 12 x 12 x 18) for free! These blocks come in with the new trailors and usually Lowe's just throws the styrofoam away -- but if you ask -- you might get lucky! Each block is wrapped in plastic, so they're pretty clean, too.

I was able to get 30 blocks in my van.

Similar to pill insulation foam, like the white sheets you'd buy from HD.

April 6, 2015
Working on some digitigrade stilts for the werewolf costume.

This is all trial and error, but I'm doing the best I can. Don't know if I'll be able to get the m to work in time.

April 4, 2015
Resized for proper proportions.

More designing. Tweaking the costume to actually fit me, and figuring out ways to get in and out, as well as stay cool and work the neck and head.

April 3, 2015
Maybe...just maybe.

Here's a sketch of the type of werewolf I'd like to build, with how I would like to fit inside.

Here's a more flushed out version of the beast.

April 2, 2015
Coming together now...

Thinking if something cool for West Coast Haunters Convention this year.

April 2, 2015
Wait for it...

Thinking if something cool for West Coast Haunters Convention this year.

March 9, 2015
We're all set to attend the West Coast Haunters Convention in May. Don't forget to come to Portland!!

January 15, 2015
So excited! The new wheels arrived for the new cider cart!!

I won't start building this until the summer, but I wanted to order the wheels when I had the funds.

January 7, 2015
Some more work on the caretaker. He's mostly dry now and I've filled in more of the detail.

I'm happy with how he's turned out. The paint will bring out more of the features.

I'll paint him up and maybe add some stubble.

January 3, 2015
Started a new sculpt for a graveyard caretaker. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to rig up a shaking body to make him look scared. I want him holding a lantern in the graveyard.

This is air-dry clay over a styrofoam base.

I'll be taking some time to smooth and add detail, but these are the main features.

December 3, 2014
Having some fun designing a logo to submit to the new Northwest Haunters Association Facebook Page. Made a few versions, but this is the latest and greatest.

This wasn'ty the first one I designed, but I liked the spider and background details.

Here are some earlier concepts of the round design.

Wanted to try something different, so I went with a 3/4 view and the west coast outline.

Just having fun with a voodoo top hat.

Thought I'd try something completely different. More of a sports design.

Through everything out there and see what sticks!

Cut-and-paste earlier pieces into new ideas.

Cut-and-paste earlier pieces into new ideas.

October 22, 2014
Started carving a sign for the haunt today.

I printed out the design and traced it onto the pink styrofoam, then started routering with the dremel.

Slow and steady wins the race.

I use a homemade rig for the dremel that keeps it steady and gives me a broad surface to move on. I think it works a lot better than the small round attachment you can buy.

More progress after dinner.

More progress after dinner.

More progress after dinner.

More progress after dinner.

More progress after dinner.

Did a little dremel work before breakfast. Got the littles to hold the sign up before they went to school. (They wanted to make silly faces.)

Base coat of white.

Black paint applied with a small roller.

Black paint done and drying.