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Creepy Nights on Calamo

About Us:


Come see the graveyard and Halloween music & light show!

Click here for a Mapquest Map

The Haunt:

CnC (Creepy Nights on Calamo - also short for Chris n Catherine) is the name of our haunt in Springfield Virginia. It's been an annual affair, but only since 2006 have we really begun to go overboard. We do a haunted (front) yard, and sometimes a fenced off walk thru the graveyard as well as a Halloween themed computer synchronized music and light show. In 2006 we also closed off our front porch and carport for additional haunted areas... 2008 saw a walk thru all the way around the lot. Sadly due to family health issues for 2009 we were only able to setup the music and light show. For 2010 we again did the music and light show, but decked out the entire front yard and made a short haunted walk up to the porch and setup some surprises on the porch. Recently we've gone to a every-other-year schedule for the walk-thrus; in 2013 and 2015 we had walk-thrus and will have one in 2018.

There are very few decorated houses in our area, so we definitely "stand out" (for better or worse). We also have relatively few TOTs (Trick-or-Treaters), since the houses are relatively spread out and it's a relatively old neighborhood with no sidewalks. Still, word of mouth has been spreading, and the number of visitors has been doubling every year for the past 4 years.

Planning for the next year walk-thru always begins shortly after Halloween (or sometimes before). You can see technical info on some of the props in the "Projects" area, and a photo gallery of the last several years haunts in the "Gallery" sections on the left.

2005 debuted our first completely home-built prop, a set of evil witches flying around Glenda the good witch, who is burning at the stake (pictures and some short video are available in the Gallery 2005 area). 2006 debuted several home-built props, debuting electronic controls, pneumatics, and multiple sound devices, plus a custom choreographed light show (broadcast on FM radio) with singing ghouls on the roof! 2007 saw our biggest jump in visitors yet, and also saw the debut of 5 completely new props and significant renovations to several old props. 5 different air-powered props rocked the night, and sets, lighting and other decorations greatly surpassed any previous efforts. Every year since then we've added new areas and new props.

We collected over 120 pounds of canned food donations for the local food bank - E.C.H.O. during our haunted walk thru in 2006; and had a record (for us) of over 200 Trick or Treaters.

In 2007 we had over 380 TOTs on Halloween night alone. In 2008 we were also open for the weekend before and the Saturday evening following, bringing the total of visitors (that made it as far as the front door) to over 400. Much candy was dropped, many TOTs forgot to get candy (or were too scared and ran past it), and dozens of visitors were too scared to make it to the front door (and the beginning of the indoor part of the haunt).

We cut back a bit in 2010 and 2011, having limited volunteers and energy. In 2012, energized by new volunteers we expanded the walk-thru again to a complete route around the property - and built several completely new props and an entire haunted mine shaft in the back!

We collected over 180 pounds of food for E.C.H.O. in 2007 as well. Quite a success all around.

In 2008 we had almost 500 TOTs and collected over 200 pounds of canned foods for E.C.H.O.

In 2010 we had 232 TOTs on Halloween Sunday, with another 16 visitors on Friday and Saturday nights.

in 2011 we had 306 TOTs on Halloween.

in 2012 we had 91 visitors on our opening weekend, and an even 200 on Halloween night.

In 2013 we were open 3 nights and had a record-setting total of 715 TOTs!

IN 2015 we were open 2 nights but did less advertising and had 309 TOTs - but more screams than we've ever seen.

And now, a little bit about the organizers:

 

Chris:
Chris has been a Halloween nut since very early childhood. Growing up in the 60s in suburban USA meant Halloween was a wonderful time for kids. You can see from some of the pictures here that Chris got an early start as a haunter! Halloween night was a 4+ hour adventure, walking miles, and coming home with SEVERAL bags of candy. Preparations in those days was rarely begun more than a few days before the big event, and aside from some eerily carved pumpkins, Halloween decorations consisted mostly of paper cutouts pasted on windows and doorways. Costumes were either store bought pullovers with face-covering hard plastic masks (with that wonderful elastic band strung around your head) or a homemade job. Unless your mom was an accomplished seamstress, these homemade jobs often involved cardboard, aluminum foil, or hand-me-down clothes from older siblings or relatives.

Chris' costumes tended toward the cardboard and aluminum foil, with creative but primitive moving parts. More often than not they looked better than they wore :-)

Today Chris is a computer geek and still loves the hands-on of building things (time permitting!). The CnC haunts (Creepy Nights on Calamo) have evolved significantly in the past few years, due mainly to the encouragement and wonderfully gory creative influence of Catherine (the better half of CnC). Catherine purports to be a (gasp) "Christmas person", but her wonderful creativity really shines in the October moon, and soon I'm sure she'll come over to "our side"!



Catherine:

Catherine is a transplanted New Yorker, who moved down to Virginia in 2002 after meeting Chris in 2001. She and Chris were married in 2003, which is coincidentally when the first real "Haunt" began. Though construction work on the house that year prevented much of a show, the seeds were sown. Catherine contributes to much of the creative touches throughout the haunt - creating most of the porch "torture chamber" herself, and handles finishing touches on most of our costumed props. During the 2006 haunt she was the greeter working the front gate; in 2007 she worked the torture chamber porch - startling visitors and giving out candy to those that made it that far into the haunt. She does all the detail work and costuming of our static and animatronic props as well as makeup for most of our actors. She continues to oversee the gate, making sure our "victims" are prepared for their terrifying trek.
 

Christopher Clark:

Our resident chief of construction and assistant designer. Christopher is Catherine's brother and also a recent transplant from New Yawk. Christopher built some of our sets, assists with the lighting, and has worked in the "creepy carport" scaring visitors.

 

Wild Will:
Will joined the crew in 2011, assisting with construction, setup, and acting in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015. He assembled the controller and mechanics in the "mike" popup used in '11 and '12 and helped create the electro-cuted prop in '12 - as well as performing all manner of repairs on several other static and animated props. He also ruled the carport and porch during our shows... No one escaped without screaming!


Haunt Statistics:

Though their neighborhood has very little TOT foot traffic, our annual TOT visitors have more than doubled every year through 2006, and we experienced an even larger jump in 2007. Traffic had all been due to word-of-mouth up to through 2005, but for 2006 we actually posted notices on some community bulletin boards and online event directories, and did the same in 2007 and 2008.

2005's haunt saw the first complicated homemade animated prop (a pair of black witches, flying around Glenda (the good witch) who is tied to a stake. Besides the motor and assembly mounted to the top of the pole, there was a separate small mausoleum built to house the "Blaze" flame projector and a fog machine. We also built our first homemade "fog chiller" creating an eerie low-lying fog effect. See our "2005 Gallery" for pictures of the props.

CnC also acquired an air compressor just before Halloween 2005 - too soon to develop anything in time for 2005 - but they were put to good use in 2006! 2006 saw a large jump in visitors, a computer controlled music and light show that ran evenings throughout October 2006, and many new animated props and several volunteer actors to assist in the scares... 2007 saw an even larger jump in visitors, but found us short handed when it came to running the show (there were only the three of us running the entire show while having over 400 visitors throughout our season!).

CnC is located in Springfield Virginia, and our "Creepy Nights on Calamo" has always been a free (front) yard haunt; though we have expanded to a haunted "trail" around the house and through the back yard as well... The haunt will remain a free attraction, though we solicit (optional) donations for the local food bank from visitors.

 

Best witches for a safe and SPOOKY Halloween! Now get to work on those props for 2013 and BEYOND!

  -Chris 'n Catherine (a.k.a. CnC)

   Email: hauntmaster@creepynights.org