The cartography of Halloween


I touched on it a little yesterday, in the first of what will be many posts about Halloween this month. My annual Halloween display is bigger and more involved than ever. That means I need to figure out how to map my driveway. Or, what I like to pretentiously call, the cartography of Halloween.

Boxed in

Like last year, I plan on using my personally spray-painted edging stones to create vignette enclosures. Unlike last year, the scenes will not use the length of the driveway – individually.

Painted by Yours Truly

Since each skeleton is five feet tall and there needs to be room for multiple animal skeletons, I have to guesstimate the spatial needs for each vignette.

The question remains, do I have enough of the supplies I need. For that answer, I need to know my layout. That’s where the cartography of Halloween comes into play, big time.

A path! A path!

Originally, when I thought up this idea last year, I envisioned creating a walking path, guiding the trick or treaters up through the driveway to my door.

In that scenario, the vignettes would be on either side of the path (I keep hearing the Knights of Ni every time I say “path”) as they walk to the door.

I would imagine my need for edging stones would increase dramatically under this concept. Also, I want the path to “undulate”, which I think would give it a spookier feel. That means there are going to be some gaps between the straight stones.

Just big boxes

The other, simpler, solution, is to just create “boxes”. That is, build simple squares within which the vignettes can take place. I can set them up sporadically around the driveway and people can just amble around.

This would be a whole lot easier, but hardly much fun. I’m leaning towards the more complicated, but possibly outstanding path design.

The cartography of Halloween

The biggest problem I can see is that I just don’t know what I don’t know.

Sure, I can do measurements and estimates and calculations. All that usually ends up meaning very little once the real building begins.

What if I can’t find the same edging stones anymore? Or, what if, in the path display, too much of the driveway is left unused? What if it just looks doofy?

Part of this, obviously, is hit or miss on aesthetics. But, post my trip to Home Depot this morning for other supplies (can you say “black mulch”?), a lot of this is about the cartography of Halloween.

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