This video documents the creation of the Star Wars: Planet of Tatooine 2012 Albertson Halloween House. As you can see, it was a whole lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who helped bring it to life…and for working so fast. In the video it looks like you are all moving at 30 times normal speed!
The cool music accompanying this video was performed by Charles Laurita (https://www.facebook.com/charles.laurita.official). Thanks, Charles, for adding your talents to the fun!
What a night! This year’s Albertson Halloween House was a community effort, from construction to Halloween night. Over 800 trick-or-treaters plus their family and friends descended upon the streets of Mos Eisley to experience this year’s theme: Star Wars—Planet of Tatooine. Here are some photographs from the evening.
Ready for visitors! Poised for delivery to trick-or-treaters are Star Wars pencils, Star Wars magnets, bouncy balls, fangs, Mardi Gras necklaces and coupons for free video games (Plants vs. Zombies!). In addition to treats, the porch boasted local Tatooine flyers as well as some of Jabba’s trophies: the head of a Mon Calamari, the head of C3P0 and Jar Jar in carbonite.
Close to 20 costumed characters helped to make the scene come alive! Thanks to family, friends, co-workers, the Rebel Legion, the Golden Gate Garrison who made sure each visitor had a memorable night!
Overall, it was a memorable evening with visitors—young and old alike—enjoying the chance to spend a few moments in the Star Wars universe. The Force was strong that night and and I believe it will be a memory that will be with me “always.”
Photos by Eric Albertson, Michelle Albertson, Eric Kanemoto, Garrett and Amy Girard.
Apparently word of our house has reached the President. Not the one in the White House, but it is cool in a different way. We got this letter from the Jeffrey Armstrong, President of Cal Poly, the college that Michelle and I attended. Fun!
What is also fun is that Cal Poly folks comprise a large percentage of the group who helps to put on the house every year. Some 20+ Cal Poly alumni, parents of Cal Poly students or children of Cal Poly alumni who happen to have moved into the downtown San Jose area help to bring the house to life. (We have talented people from all over the world help, too!). So, thank you President Jeffrey Armstrong (and Cal Poly), we have definitely embraced and put into practice the ‘Learn by doing’ motto of our alma mater!
While we are still saving some things as a surprises for Halloween night, we wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the details that you will see at this year’s Halloween house.
We can’t wait to show you the rest! Feel free to come on by on Halloween night for even more Star Wars fun.
One of the original visions for this year’s Star Wars Halloween House was to have a giant Jawa Sandcrawler with lots of droids in front of it. After the layout shifted to the streets of downtown Mos Eisley, I still wanted to make sure that Tatooine’s abundant droid population was represented. But how?
About that time, I ran across Gonzolo Rojo Aguirre’s tutorial for how to make a Gonk Droid out of parts from IKEA. That corresponded to our thrifty approach and our limited timeframe, so we made a trip to IKEA and picked up some parts. I added in some drainage pipe, some wood and half of a take-out tray, and had all the parts I needed to bring a droid to life.
But why should I have all the fun? We host a Kid’s Day in our neighborhood and around Halloween we have the event at our house to teach project construction skills. Could kids build a robot? Absolutely!
So, we showed them the plan.
And they set to work, joining parts together by tightening bolts and nuts.
They added some ‘coverings.’ (C3P0 made sure we did that).
And, voilà! A Gonk Droid (or Power Droid if you are an action figure collector).
The crew also made a five foot Millenium Falcon by piecing together sticker-backed puzzle pieces that we printed out on our printer.
In no time they were done!
So, when Halloween comes around these kids can come by and point to the fruit of their labors—a droid any Jawa would be proud to sell and the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. Nice work!
In order to help plan out this year’s Halloween house, I employed the analog process of model making (that’s a fancy term for me printing out pieces of paper and pinning them to a large piece of cardboard). You can see here a 1 ft. : 1 in. model of the front yard (complete with costumed characters!)
In PowerPoint (yes, PowerPoint) I had built miniature scale replicas of the pieces of cardboard (coded with a number for easy cataloging). I even created a replica of our mini van (which will be donning painted cardboard to become a Star Tours shuttle)—and I call it the mini mini van. Once I had the pieces, I could try them in different locations and then use that information to decide which cardboard to paint sandy yellow and which to paint moisture vaporator white.
This was fun! I think I will make this part of my design process!
Recently, we had a painting day, where lots of cardboard got painted, but how do we choose the colors? I would love to say I had a fancy method for choosing the colors, but for me, it just comes down to figuring it out with some small acrylic paints, some paper plates and a piece of cardboard (to make sure the color will work when we paint it on cardboard later).
Here is a photo of my process for this year’s Halloween house.
I looked at pictures from the Mos Eisley scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope and did my best to approximate them with the paints I had. I knew I needed a yellowish-sandy color for most of the buildings. But, I also wanted those buildings to have a sand-like texture. I had seen people do that by sponging on a slightly different color, so I went for that approach and came up with a Silly Putty color that seemed to do the trick. Next was the rust-orange for the doors and an off-white for moisture vaporators. For the Star Tours vehicle I decided that the white that I was going to use for the moisture vaporators would work nicely for the main color, so all that remained was to find a blue for the tricked-out trim (I decided to go old-Star Tours and go with the blue and white motif).
Once I was happy with the colors, I cut them out, took them to Lowes (cheapest and fastest paint mixer in town) and was ready to paint the town red. Well, yellow, Silly Putty, rust-orange, off-white and blue.
What a day!
When they came, there were new paint supplies, upainted cardboard and a table full of snacks. When they left, there were 1,400 square feet of painted cardboard and a whole lot less snacks.
About 25 people including kids, teenagers and adults joined us for the first Community Painting Day of the year. Sporting painting clothes (some showing paint from last year’s Community Painting Day), individuals grabbed brushes, rollers and sponges to turn cardboard, sourced (for free!) from local businesses, into the scenery for this year’s Albertson Halloween House.
A fun day was had by all—young and old alike. Here are some photos from the event.
Thanks to all who came out (and to Kelly, Mei-Mei and Micah who brought home-made doughnuts)! Come by on Halloween to see their work!
On Saturday, September 15th from 9:00 am untill 1:00 pm, we will be having a Community Painting Day! Come by to help bring the city of Mos Eisley to life for our Star Wars-themed Halloween House.
There will be opportunities for all ages, so suit up in some paint clothes and come by! No previous experience required—it will be just like bulls-eyeing wamp rats in your T-16 back home. Young ones, we have projects for you, but make sure that bring a parent with you. We will have snacks and drinks to keep everyone stong in the Force.
You can find us at 497 North 16th Street, San Jose, CA 95112. See you there!