I was always captivated by theme parks as a child and always dreamed of building my own house with and a theme park out back. Of course as a child I didn't quite correlate how many millions of years of pocket money it would take to save up for quite such a project. Every once in a while I'd turn my bedroom into a "Haunted House" and scare the beejeesus out of my parents at how much string and sellotape an overactive child could destroy in an afternoon.
That dreamy inspiration has never left me though and every year I keep saying to myself I'm going to recreate that effect in minature at my current humble abode for Halloween night.
As some who loves sound and light and theatre, and knows a little bit about computers and electronics, I keep hatching a plan to put on a spooky outdoor experience for any would-be trick-or-treaters (in Scotland we called them 'Guisers') that dare to cross my boundary.
This year I really am going to try and get it done..
As I have my own recording studio, sound has not been too tricky to put together and I already have speakers in the garden concealed as rocks. From these will emanate wailing and gnashing and general moaning (sounds like a trip to Tesco), chains clanking and wind howling; so I just hope it's not too inclement on the night to drown it out.
Basic computer controlled lighting comes courtesy of my existing X10 home automation system - which allows remote control of 4 lighting circuits in the garden via a range of macros (e.g. to turn lights on and off in sequence). Lights can not only be switched on and off but dimmed, so I should be able to come up with some spooky lighting sequences. Some theatrical lighting gels allow me to colour some of the lights.
And of course a number of motion sensors can detect anyone creeping round the garden. I could, for example, detect the presence of a visitor as they enter the gate and trigger a spotlight on the dark secret buried under the decking. (Of course, I'm jesting. I don't actually have decking). Perhaps a skeleton scraping to get out of the garage door would do the trick.
Entrance to my gardenOfSensoryDelights would be through the underpass/carport at the side of the house. This is the perfect spot for a themed entrance. I can imagine an ominous sign here, warning visitors "Do not enter on fear of death" - assuming I can get it unstuck from my front door. The natural archway of the underpass is an obvious area to decorate with a few cans of 'spider web' - such that I can recreate that I'm-a-celebrity-get-me-out-of-this-pitch-black-tunnel effect. Once visitors make it past the cobwebs they'll be directed to turn and enter the GardenOfDoom at their peril.
The Ghost Train is still eluding me somewhat though - as it turned out Waitrose weren't too happy about me 'borrowing' a couple of shopping trolleys from their car park. Spoilsports! So, ideas on that front are welcome.