Charles Dickens, in a Preface to The Christmas Carol

“I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly.......” Charles Dickens, in a Preface to A Christmas Carol

Friday, October 28, 2011

Village Landlords' Anniversary Celebrations: Bill and Debbie King's Open House and the Landlords' Halloween Display Competition

Village Landlords of the Ft. Lauderdale Area
20th Anniversary Cake, 2011
The Village Landlords of the Fort Lauderdale area have been busy celebrating 20 years as a collectors club,  and they have been celebrating in fine fashion.  Members Debbie and Bill King hosted a gala open house for club members,  and then the Landlords had a Halloween display contest with 14 of their members participating.  Here's how the festivities played out!

Debbie and Bill King of the
Village Landlords of Ft. Lauderdale, FL

According to Jerry Fernon, Program Chairman for the Village Landlords, Bill and Debbie King's Open Houses are always very well attended, because they go the extra mile to provide great food and fabulous village displays.  The 20th Anniversary Halloween Spectacular was no exception.

Created by Bill and Debbie King

With as many as 12 different Halloween displays, the Kings demonstrated their imagination and creativity.  Here are just a few of my favorites.  First, there was the Snow Village Halloween's "Helga's House of Fortunes," featuring Helga herself as a commanding presence over the display.  Anyone who wants to join Helga this Halloween can get a hat and cape at the "Costumes for Sale" shop.   Do you see "Madame Zelda at Work," on the left of the display?  Nice tree, too.

Created by Bill and Debbie King

Another great display, among many, was the suitably creepy "Dead Creek Mill," which featured not only the limited collector's edition building of the Snow Village Halloween series, but the "Dead Creek Mill Delivery," the creepy car crash.  Notice the abominable slime man in front of the mill.  On the right, one skeleton takes a break with his foot resting on a pumpkin.  Only he would be that comfortable here.

Created by Bill and Debbie King

The "Ghoul School" has all the elements of Halloween.  The school is appropriately dilapidated, and the "Little Ghouls' Field Trip" features the teacher leading the rather idiosyncratic students along, clinging to a rope. On the right is the "Spooky Farmhouse," with the American Gothic derivative farmers, with a warning, "Strangers Beware."

Created by Bill and Debbie King

While the Kings made many more displays, I am going to feature just one more here:  the homage to a Mickey Mouse Halloween.  Of course, the Kings included "Mickey's Haunted House," but they topped it with Mickey pumpkin ears!  Even better, they carved a Mickey-o-Lantern, and added Pluto wearing a pirate's hat and carrying a pumpkin to hold trick-or-treats.  There are just so many more details....

Required items for the Village Landlords
competition displays, assembled by Jerry Fernon

The Village Landlords club also celebrated their anniversary with a display competition.  Jerry Fernon, the Program Director for the club, asked members to create display vignettes about 12" X 12" in size (or just a little larger) using whatever buildings, accessories and materials they wished, as long as they also included some specific items, which Jerry provided to participants:  two skeletons, a coffin, fencing, a cauldron, apples, and white material that looks like either ice or water.

The response was overwhelming.  Fourteen displays were completed and entered into the contest!

First Place, Village Landlords
Halloween Display Competition,
Created by Susan Roberts

...And the winner was Susan Roberts! Her imaginative display included a really scary tree covered with dried Spanish moss and embellished with pumpkins, bats, a witch's hat and broom, and a hissing black cat.  Suspended from a limb is a tire, in which is ghost is swinging.  Notice the snake starting to slither down the rope!  Something creepy, maybe a gecko, is crawling over the coffin coming out from behind the tree.  The requisite skeletons are there, along with a cyclopean monster and a werewolf. A ghoulishly great piece, worthy of first place.

Tie for Second Place, Village Landlords Halloween Display Competition,
Created by Gisela Suarez

There was a tie for second place between Gisela Suarez and Mei-Hua Paige.  Gisela's display is shown above, a graveyard scene outside a spooky house.  The two skeletons are soaking in spas containing the required "water" element; one is using the cauldron for a spa, and the other is relaxing in a coffin hot tub!  Their guest, a skeleton "hottie" herself, is sitting nearby, dressed in Halloween finery.  One of my favorite details is the half-buried skelton in the center of the yard.  I also like the top window, where you can see the feet of someone that must be dangling from a rafter inside.  I don't think he is holding on to the rope with his hands!!  Netting surrounds the whole display, the required fence is in front, and creepy cobwebby tree branches overhang the scene. Scary Skeleton fun.

Tie for Second Place, Village Landlords Halloween Display Competition,
Created by Mei-Hua Paige.
Mei-Hua entered a humorous Halloween display that tied with Gisela for second place.  The center of her display was a totem-like skull, which is bleeding through a gash in its head, and out of its eyes, nose, and mouth.  The skull is producing so much blood, in fact, that it is pooling on the rocks and dripping down.....ooooohhhhh.  A gargoyle is perched on the skull, and to either side are skeleton candelabra.  The two required skeletons are bobbing for apples in the cauldron, a amusing touch.  Another skeleton is bursting out of the coffin, and, very creepily, a fourth skeleton has been jammed uncomfortably into a coffin the graveyard. A series of "candles" and gargoyles delineates the perimeter of the lava-looking base.

Happy Anniversary to the Village Landlords!  Congratulations to Bill and Debbie King for their popular and successful Open House, and to all the participants in the display contest, particularly Susan Roberts, Gisela Suarez and Mei-Hua Paige.  Finally, thanks to Jerry Fernon for providing the information and pictures.

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