Monday, September 21, 2009

Creating the River Styx 2009 (My Concept)

I had the privilege of re-imagining the River Styx from the Divine Comedy. The vision in Dante's story is a dark and muddy river filled with the souls of the dead forever trapped in its tides.

After much brainstorming, I decided to take a modern look into the river. Natural rivers are a little hard to do in the amount of space I have available (a corridor about 6 ft by 3 ft). I remembered a great documentary I saw about man-made rivers such as the New York underground tunnels and sewers. In taking this idea to our Haunt, I wanted to update the Styx and make it more relevant to today's audiences. If you look closely, you'll see old portraits of Dante's river as a homage to the original. I still wanted the souls trapped in the "river", so I designed them to be trapped in the pipes and ducts running back and forth in the sewer tunnel. Keep checking up for updates on the progress of this room!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Creating The River Styx 2009

Halloween Dominion's 2009 Haunt has many talented Haunters working on attraction. I'm in charge of a few rooms and corridors within that Haunt. One of those rooms is called the River Styx, after Dante's Inferno. I will post the progress of this room and final product here on West Coast Hauntrepreneur.
The theme of this year's haunt is Dia de los Muertos, which is a great celebration going back 3,000 years. The traditions in the last few hundred years has blended with traditional Roman Catholic beliefs and superstitions. One of the great Christian poets, Dante Alighieri wrote Divina Commedia, or the Divine Comedy which describes the afterlife as imagined by Christians in the 1300s.
In our dark attraction, we wanted to have the same blending of traditions. We began with Dia de los Muertos and as you "descend" into the haunt, you become Dante as he descends into the 9 Circles of Hell. Each Circle is designed by a different Haunter, and you will also have the opportunity experience their own unique talent and artistic expression. I was lucky enough to get the River Styx.
The River Styx, has its beginning in old Greek mythology and it is river that souls take to the underworld. In the Divina Commedia, this river is in hell and transports you to the deeper circles. The river is described as having the souls of sinners forever drowning in its deep and muddy waters. The picture above illustrates the how Dante viewed this river. Check in often as I take you down my version of the River Styx!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Sneak Peak at Halloween Dominion's 2009!

Without giving too much away, here is a look at one of the rooms in
the 2009 Halloween Dominion Haunt! The lighting is not complete, so to
see the final effect make sure to stop by "Dia de los Muertos"!!!
I help design this room, so I hope you like the finished product!

Disney relives the Golden Years

Disneyland California is getting in their fall mood by beginning to
decorate their theme park. I wanted to share this wonderful scene
display at Disneyland California Adventure Park, near the Hollywood
Tower of Terror. A very great reproduction of classical Golden Age
Halloween. Check it out yourself at Disneyland California!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

R.I.P. (Reserve-Invest-Plan)

"Now is always the best time"
Last week, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend of mine at a baby shower. Like me, my friend Nathan recently got married and we're both trying to build our savings during difficult economic times. Of course, I began to think of the effect of the recession on the Halloween Industry. As we begin build Halloween Dominion the realization of building a seasonal company that truly has one month (in fact, maybe 3 weeks) of operations that brings in cash is unnerving to say the least. For the last two years, the industry has heard researchers and analysts say that Halloween is "recession-proof" and showing "growth" almost to the level of Christmas (the biggest holiday in North America). That was all said before the real hard times hit. What about now?

Today, the industry suffers as much as any industry in America. The Home Haunter (maybe I'm bias) is the hardest hit. Home Haunters are the front-line of the Industry. They are not only purchasers, they are enthusiasts. Often times, Home Haunters can't run a business and depend on donations for their craft. Fellow Halloween Dominion member, Johnny and I spend small fortunes each year since 1996 until recently with the help of other creative members. Our haunts cost an average of $4,000-$5,000, with a decent inventory on hand.

Unfortunately, gone are the days of buying on a whim and minimal planning. I think that all Home Haunters must do 3 important recession planning steps:
  1. Reserve: start to save now, for your Haunt.
  2. Invest: purchase (wisely) items that can be reused over and over again.
  3. Plan: plan every detail of your Haunt, so you have a goal of how much to save, and how much to spend.
In the R.I.P (Reserve-Invest-Plan) blog, I will not only introduce some great Home Haunting techniques I've learn over the years, but I'll bring you news of how the economy is affecting the Halloween Industry. Maybe it's a little too late but now is always the best time. It's a call of action for all Haunters, both professional and home to prepare in advance to survive the hard times. If you, like me are building your own company---now is the time to learn and plan for the financial health of your dream.

I also welcome ideas and thoughts about your financial best practices. Please comment below and help the community at large!

If you're interested in great Financial topics, visit Nathan's blog Mischief.Mayhem.Soap for some great advice and savings tips.

And on that note: Click the ads on this site! It's a win-win for both advertisers and West Coast Hauntrepreneur!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Seasonal Food & Beverages

As the Fall season descends upon us, I am reminded that some of my
favorite foods are associated with this time of year. So a new section
of this blog will introduce you to several of my favorite dishes that
I hope you'll enjoy. And I invite you to share some of you own

One of my first traditions comes in the form of Starbucks Coffee
Company's Pumpkin Spice Latte. This blend of espresso, steamed milk,
Pumpkin Spice Sauce and whipped cream is the perfect balance of sweet
pumpkin pie flavor and coffee. The best part is that you can customize
it the way you want it.
As a home haunter, October is a busy month, usually with long nights
and early mornings. A little coffee break is much needed during our
long building night. I customize my latte with non-fat milk and no
whipped cream. Depending on my mood, I might add an extra shot of
espresso. I truly believe that the best way to serve your customers is
to be alert, awake, and healthy at the same time. Have this drink with
low fat or non fat milk and maybe a less pump of that delicious sauce
for a healthier alternative.
Interested? Click the link below for the nutritional information. I
hope you enjoy Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, and don't forget to tip
your Barista!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Historia de Dia de los Muertos Parte 1 (1492 A.D.)

"Life is a dream"
During the Spanish Conquest of Meso-America, Spanish Conquistadors were astonished by a ritual performed by native Aztecs, in what is modern day Mexico, that seemed to mock death. They had been practicing this ritual for almost 3,000 years. Skulls were predominate in this ritual that lasted over a month beginning in August.
The ritual was celebrated during the Aztec month of Miccailhuitontli, and it was believed that the Lady of the Dead or Mictecacihuatl presided over the ritual. Skulls were kept as trophies by the Aztecs and other Meso-American cultures. They also symbolized death and rebirth. The skulls were used to honor the dead, and during their ritual Aztecs believed that the dead would visit the living again.
In this time of conquest, the cultural differences between the old and new world were experienced.
The Spaniards believed that death was the end of life, while the indigenous people saw it as a continuation of life. According to Carlos Miller of The Arizona Republic, the native's culture did not fear death, " they embraced it. To them, life was a dream and only in death did they become truly awake".
Similarly to the assimilation of the Celtic ritual of Samhain, the indigenous ritual of the dead was moved to the Catholic celebration of All Saints Day and All Soul's Day on November 1st & 2nd in an attempt to make it more Christian.

Special thanks to Tomascaste at Wikimedia Commons for the great images of Dia de los Muertos, a candidate for Picture of the Year 2007.

Miller, Carlos (2009) Day of the Dead history. The Arizona Republic. Arizona Central, Arizona's Home Page. Retrieved on September 3, 2009
The Pacific Coast of Mexico (2009) Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The Pacific Coast
of Mexico. Retrieved on September 3, 2009 from:
Tomascastelazo (2007) Day of the Dead Images. Tomascastelazo. Wikimedia Commons.
Retrieved on September 3, 2009 from:

Welcome To Eternal Image

Most people know I'm a huge Star Trek fan! These urns and caskets look
great, but would I have to pull a "Spock" and die saving a starship to
be in one?
For most people, death is a serious and sad stage of life. However, it
can also be a celebration of life and all the wonderful things we
enjoyed. My mother-in-law reminds me that the Irish celebrate and
remember the dead through lively wakes. I'm sure being in tomb in a
Photon Torpedo Casket would take the edge of another wise morbid event.
Check out Eternal Image, if you love Trek consider one of their urns
when you bodly go....