Halloween is approaching quickly but for many of us, it's not fast enough. One of those people who might agree is Greg Cummings, whose year-round efforts to prepare for his Halloween haunt have us mightily impressed. Called Oak Lane Cemetery and based in Hopewell, Virginia, his elaborate displays — many handcrafted — earns him our most recent AtmosFAN of the Week honor.
What we love about Greg's Halloween display is the detail. One of our favorite pieces is the creepy skeleton-infused Vine Arch, which Greg completed last year. It was one of his favorites, too. It was made 100% by hand, he says, "often from things that would be considered 'junk' by most people."
Greg says he makes most of his props by hand, with the occasional store-bought props mixed in. What makes these displays special is how he'll modify store-bought items like skeletons and animatronics to create something that goes far beyond what you might find in a shop.
Greg says it takes him about two or three days to set up his haunt, which he likes to have ready by October 1. After that, he says there is about another week of "fun-tuning," like improving lighting or adding little details like dead leaves and grass and spider webs. The detail is what makes Oak Lane Cemetery so extraordinary.
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't highlight his window display. Greg has built a playlist of several AtmosFX Digital Decorations, including Macabre Manor, Ghostly Apparitions, Phantasms and Bone Chillers. He picks his favorite scenes from each and runs them in a continuous loop.
This winter, Greg has been working on a new animatronic prop he has built, called the "Coffin Puller," which depicts a skeleton attempting to pull another skeleton out of a half-buried coffin. It too has been created from what many might call junk — though the result is anything but. And here's the best part: As with much of what Greg creates, he's posted a tutorial video on his Oak Lane Cemetery YouTube page.
While Greg doesn't exactly call it "promotion," we are really impressed how he gets the word out on his home haunt. Of course, the most effective promotion is word-of-mouth with his nearby community. Oak Lane Cemetery also has its own Facebook and YouTube pages, which allow him to post videos of his event, as well as DIY tutorials showing how he created some of his props like the Vine Arch and Coffin Puller. The videos keep those who have previously visited Oak Lane Cemetery excited for the upcoming Halloween season and are a great way to inspire others, too.
From one outfit that thinks out Halloween to another: We love your work, Greg, decidedly worthy of an AtmosFAN of the Week crown! Keep up the great work — and make sure to keep posting what projects you are creating for this upcoming Halloween season!
We know there are a lot of you that, like Greg, are already working on your Halloween displays for 2018. Share your ideas with this incredible AtmosFAN community by sending your photos and YouTube links to firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only will you inspire others, but you just might earn our next AtmosFAN of the Week!