October 01, 2023

Happy October! #countdowntohalloween2023

 Welcome to October and the 1st post in my 2023 Countdown to Halloween!


Join me as I set up my Halloween display, explore real cemeteries, check out cool local places, see what kind of Shenanigans Chuck gets into and whatever randomness happens to pop into my head! 

I wasn't able to do much Saturday 9/30 due to various family stuff, so I let Marvin go out there with his safety gear on and let people know that Maple Grove Cemetery was under construction!

So make sure you follow these self care tips and let's get ready for Halloween season!

Quick reminder of what 2022 looked like.

September 23, 2023

It's officially fall and things are stirring!

**scheduled to post at 2:03am, the exact minute fall begins according to the Almanac**

And yes!  The Countdown to Halloween is coming!

Anyhoo.  I feel all sorts of stressed because I think I'm way behind, but in all honesty - I do have another weekend before I NEED to set up.  

The headstones / fence / sign are all out.  A few touchups in the paint might be needed, which is pretty normal, considering the varmints that enjoy my shed in the off season.  

Exhibit A.  

A big ol' orb weaver who is was happily hanging right in the middle of my shed. 


Evidence B... 

Exhibit B.  
Damn rodents anyway.  He's got an entrance to a burrow under the mower up in the upper left corner of that pic and throws dirt all over the red mower that we use.  But as I was looking for a pic, I found an article of things that are groundhog deterrent - including used kitty litter.  With 3 cats, we have an unending supply of that!

Can't forget the squirrels who got in there & knocked all my critter skeletons all over the place.

I found a dollar store version of Flex Seal and grabbed a couple cans to hit the tops of the headstones. I think it looks pretty cool. 

The critter skeletons that were also in the shed are out & have been hosed off.  I know it's silly to get rid of the dirt & spiderwebs from something that's going in an "old" cemetery.

Blowmolds are also out.  I need to remember earlier in the year to order some new light fixtures since I have to keep switching them out with the Christmas and/or Easter molds! 

All nice & clean-ish.  

So I actually have the stuff to make 2 non-static props!  
One is going to make a little skeleton pop out from behind a headstone. 

 I'm a very visual / hands-on person so I've been searching YouTube and HalloweenForum for idiot proof instructions on how to put it together.  Sure, I see plenty of examples, but nothing that says HOW to do it, step by step.  

The other was supposed to be a make & take with the Motor City Haunt Club, but the day they did it I had something else going on, so I made arrangements to buy the kit and do it at home.  This does in fact come with step by step instructions so it should be do-able. 

Now just to do it.  

August 24, 2023


I currently have 2 cow skeletons from Tractor Supply in my possession!
But first - don't ask me why I wasn't patient and just order them online!
I don't know.  Because I was NOT patient! 
But that's exactly what I ended up doing.  

So going back to my last post - August 5/6 saw me driving around to 9 different TSC stores and returning home sad.  

I made another trip to the one closest to my work on August 11, I was going to use it as a gauge if I should bother looking elsewhere.
But then I saw them (finally) on the TSC website!

I checked all of the stores in SE Michigan and all of them were only "ship to store" and all said "unavailable".  Except for one!  But as soon as I went thru the checkout process, it wasn't available anymore.   
I didn't know the mini horse as a thing, but I had to get one!
The definitely NOT horse teeth bother me slightly, but there are worse skeletons out there. 

His name is ThumbTack
...since my full sized horse is ZipTie and the pony is DucTape.

I started watching the site closer this past Sunday on and Monday morning, I saw a store had them available!  I already had 2 cows sitting in my cart, so going thru the checkout process was quick & BAM - got my confirmation #!
Chuck approves!

I got the text Tuesday night at 9:19pm (after the store was closed, of course) that my order was ready to be picked up - so the Spouse & I drove out there after work Wednesday (yesterday).
They're super cute and I'm so glad I was able to snag a couple! 

August 09, 2023

My Cow Quest

So it looks like a popular item for Halloween this year is the cow skeleton from Tractor Supply Co!  

I don't do TikTok so I screen-shotted my Google search to give credit

I may or may not have gasped when I saw it on IG.

Now let me tell you about my weekend. 
I visited a total of NINE Tractor Supply stores and only 2 had any Halloween decorations of any note out.  Apparently, SE Michigan just doesn't have much out yet.  

Friday after work.
Stop 1 - Rochester - endcap

 What's funny is that 6 other stores had the exact same endcap of stuff!!!

Saturday afternoon.
Stop 2 - Washington - endcap.  
I had hopes for this one, since it's the closest to the famous Tillson Street!  But nothing. 
Stop 3 - Oxford - endcap
Stop 4 - Ortonville - a glimmer of hope!  They had the banjo skeleton guys everywhere and a lot of stuff staged up on top of the aisles.  But the only skeletons I saw were rats, ducks & spiders.  I actually talked to a couple ladies there and I found out they'd be getting a shipment of stuff in Tuesday (yesterday).  But I wasn't the first person to be in there looking!
Stop 5 - Davison - endcap
Stop 6 - Lapeer.  I'd actually been in there Thursday night and they had some stuff actually out on the floor - including an empty shelf that looked like where the cows should be staged.  So I was hoping they'd have some more stuff - and they did!  A box of 6-5 foot skeletons. 
Stop 7 - Imlay City - endcap (giving credit to my sister - she actually had to go there)

Sunday morning. 
Stop 8 - New Haven - endcap
Stop 9 - Richmond - endcap.  We had a nice conversation with a gentleman there who said I was the second person asking that day - and we went in 1/2 hour after they opened!!  He said they've also been getting stuff in every week but those in particular hadn't come in yet.  He was telling me & the Spouse about his skeletons sitting around a "campfire" that sounded really cute. 

So I guess I'll just have to wait for a little bit.  
I'm going to have to put word out to the search & rescue team I volunteer for and have them keep an eye out, too.  A lot of them have farms and go to TSC more often than I am able to.

Off in a different direction now....
Michael's has skeleton geese!
I stopped in looking for nutcrackers, and saw them but it didn't sink right away what they were.  They're more of a yellow color and the wings up like that kind of help give it away what they are.  I wish they were a little bit bigger, they're about the same size as the ducks, but that's OK.  
I got 2 anyway.  
I am getting more picky about my nutcrackers - I only got these guys and not the witch or cat!  

Oh, and everything was 20% off.  

So anyhooo.  My quest will go on. 

July 29, 2023

Shaking my head / laughing under my breath

Someone tell me - is there anything about this blog that you're looking at RIGHT NOW that would give you the impression that this was an actual business / office for a real cemetery???

Thankfully I have comments moderated, because someone left this comment on a post I made back in 2019.  

"I paid to have a headstone set at my grandmothers grave in March 2023.  It's now Mid July. Headstone is still not set.  Nobody calls me back after 7 messages.  The headstone was delivered and set against a tree.  Then moved and dropped on the grass where it's been for 2 months.  The management company cashed my check and never set the headstone.  My mother had been so disappointed and upset.  Shame on IMG Management and Maple Grove Cemetery for making this a miserable experience."

While this is sad this has happened to someone (who posted anonymously) I would love to know what they were thinking!  

July 27, 2023

HalloweenCostumes.com skeleton

I missed the big milestone again!  96 days doesn't sound the same as 100 or 99.  

But oh well!

Still no major happenings going on.  I haven't touched the headstone popper guy at all. I'm a weenie when it comes to being outside and it's been too darn hot!  

However..... we have a new friend!  

I ordered the 74" skeleton from HalloweenCostumes.com for what I thought was a fairly reasonable $60.
So let's unbox him!
Chuck for scale...
And of course, the grandkids saw pictures being taken, so they joined in. 
He's been named Marvin already. 
I really like that his head turns from both side to side and up & down with a nice range of  motion.
Elbow joints are pretty standard. 
So much for keeping the box!
The ribs are formed plastic but still pretty sturdy feeling. 
I like how it's all one piece. 
I also like how they covered the screws going into the ball of the hip. 
The feet & ankles also feel pretty sturdy. 
Standard knee joints. 
He's got a decent face.  
When I saw his picture on the website, the skull looked kind of small for the rest of the body, but it's fine. 
Jaws open & close. 
Neck is solid. 
If anything, the spine looks a bit long. but I didn't expect anatomical perfection! 

So overall, I'm quite pleased with Marvin and look forward to him joining the Clan in the cemetery! 

June 10, 2023

143 days!

OK, so I missed 150...  143 doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but oh well! 

So it's been pretty uneventful around here.  
Chuck (and the grandkids) helped me plant a gorgeous new rose bush.
But thoughts & plans are slowly being worked on. 
I found the ideal paint for the new headstones from my favorite place - the Lowe's Ooops Paint section!  I got this $50 can of paint for $13!  The swatch on top looked like a pale tan-ish color, but it's actually more gray, so the perfect headstone color.  
This kinda looks like a face!

I have all the mechanical parts (I think) for the little skeleton popper guy.  I just need to start putting it all together.  I have a thought in mind on how to make the holder for the reindeer motor & skeleton be separate from, yet attached to the headstone for ease in storage.  But I need to sketch it out so I can see it first.  

His stone is the one on the far right.   It's just got some basic scallops across the top.  
The one in the middle is sideways, but it's for my car that got wrecked - it's taller on one side.  The round one is for the Spawn's car that gracefully died in our driveway.   Then the little filler stones are on the bottom.  

Anyhooo.  After the headstones.... the next project will be skeleton repair.  But I won't be working on that until probably September, since once I unbury them from the back of the garage, I won't want to be be putting them back away!