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              SCREENSHOT of Alek's 2009 Controllable Halloween Decorations for Celiac Disease

Use the three halloween webcams for a live view of a buncha halloween decorations & lights and also CONTROL them - heck, you can even inflate (or deflate) the giant Frankenstein & Homer Simpson - D'oh! All three webcams are online from 1700 to 2200 MDT (GMT-6) which is when you can turn stuff on & off and "entertain" the neighbors. Plus send "Instant Messages via Webcam" for all to see. Watch lots of trick-or-treating on Halloween night!

If you enjoy the Halloween Decorations, please consider donating a few dollars to the over $40,000 raised for the Univ of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.
Franken-Homer Cursor: Remove - Tiny - Small - Normal - Big - HULK'in   Spooky Halloween Music


Halloween night is pretty crazy - both online at the web site plus hundreds of trick-or-treaters!
For those folks who want something less spooky - some nifty pictures from Antarctica, Falklands, and South Georgia.
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Halloween main page - also includes historical/future stuff

HULK says Puny Humans can add their spooky halloweeny comments in the Halloween Blog

While I appreciate the folks who have asked if they can donate/PayPal to cover the costs of the lights and (wind powered!) electricity, I've never asked for donations and don't plan to change that. While it is a bit of work to put up all the Halloween stuff, I do it anyway for the neighborhood kids and the web site is just my way of saying "Happy Halloween" and "Merry Christmas" to folks around the world. If you feel compelled to make some sort of donation, my kids have celiac disease so make a donation toward medical research - tell 'em Komar.Org sent 'ya! ;-)

BTW, for the actual night of Halloween, I have "HULK SMASH" audio playing really loud. So when the kids come by, I ask the smallest (and scaredest one) kid to tell the Hulk to be "Shut Up". It requires a little prodding, but eventually they will say "Be Quiet Hulk" ... and I, of course, hit the OFF button on my wireless X10 remote in my pocket and 'lo and behold, the Hulk is quiet ... since the speaker's power is toggled off. Always get a great response and that kid then feels pretty good! ;-)


Circuit Layout & Electrical Analysis for Halloween 2009
Circuit   X10-Zone   Amps   Lights   Description
Garage        1       6.0    2,600   Garage LED Icicles, Driveway RIP's & Graves, Lighted Arch
Panel-1       1       6.0    1,500   Upper Roof Icicles
Balcony       2       2.0      156   Bloody Hands, Pirates, Skulls, Spider, Hulk Light
Garage        2       1.5      300   Inflatable Grim Reaper and Purple Rope Light
Panel-2       2       2.0      207   Inflatable Grim Reaper on Motorcycle, Witch w/purple rope light
Balcony       3       1.0      550   Roof Pumpkins and Frankenstein
Garage        3       0.7      101   SpongeBob SquarePants and Lighted Frankenstein
Panel-3       3       2.5      250   Even more Pumpkins
Window-U      3       0.7      350   Upper Window Decorations
Balcony       4       1.5      400   Blue Rope Light around Skulls, RIP, Witch, Grinch
Garage        4       0.7      107   Inflatable Headless Horseman
Panel-4       4       0.7      207   Inflatable Giant Green Skull, Orange Rope Light
Garage        5       0.8      107   Inflatable FRANKENSTEIN
Panel-2       5       0.7      200   ON
Garage        6       0.8      100   Inflatable Homer Simpson - D'OH!
Panel-2       6       1.1      400   OFF
Office        *       1.0       58   Various stuff in the Haunted Office!   ;-)
                                        1:Groovy Lava Lamp     2:Witch Light       3:Pumpkins
                                        4:Exposed Brain Dude   5:Hulk Lamp/Skull   6:Rainier Beer Sign
TOTALS       17      29.7    7,593   TOTALS
A question I'm often asked is how much does it cost to light the holiday display - the electrical meter does spin a bit faster. That's easy to calculate - with all 7,593 lights ON, the current draw is 29.7 amps. Multiply by 120 Volts and divide by 1,000 to get 3.5 KiloWatts. The approximate cost of electricity in Colorado is 10 cents per KiloWatt-Hour ... so to run the display continuously for an hour, it costs 35 cents/hour - not much! But remember that Internet Surfers are turning the lights on & off ... so divide that by two and multiply by the 4 hours/day it's active, and the electricity costs 70 cents per day. Multiply that by 31 days and for $21, a whole month of holiday fun is provided to people around the world ... plus some awareness and thousands of dollars in donations for Celiac Disease Research!

2009 Halloween Decorations Webcam Updates

2009_09_03: For reference, here is the halloween 2008 webcam updates and it should be a ton of fun again in 2009. I've re-enabled commenting on the Halloween Blog which has more extensive play-by-play than the summary here.

2009_09_10: As noted at the top of the page, the Controllable Halloween Decorations for Celiac Disease raises awareness and encourages people who enjoy the light show to donate to the University of Maryland. My two kids have Celiac so this is personal for me. Read more here and consider adding to the over $35,000 raised so far.

2009_09_15: I continue to use Wind Power for my electricity - wonder how many times I'll be asked this year where the windmill is on my property! ;-) What actually happens is you pay an extra surcharge (about $1 per 100 KWH) on your electric bill which goes to Colorado wind farms. My electric meter spins pretty fast when my thousands of holiday lights are on, so I hope those windmills can keep up! ;-) Along those lines, the holiday display will again be carbon neutral (Al Gore would be proud!) to offset the estimated 2 MegaWatt-Hours of electricity that will be used.

2008_09_20: My holiday webcams have been fairly popular over the years, so for the geeks out there, the configuration this year is three dedicated servers running Linux/Apache2/mod_perl. One web server will handle the main halloween decorations webcam (and X10 control panel) with the other web servers handling image refreshes for each of the three webcams. Each web server has a 100 Mbps connection, so the combined throughput is 300 Mbps powered by a total of 14.4 GHz of CPU power with 10 GBytes of RAM - bring on the slashdot effect!

2008_09_27: I didn't get much done this weekend since tons of family stuff. Some highlights were attending the Colorado Rockies baseball game on Friday night and stopping by the gluten-free stand with Kyle so he could get a hot dog - he said it was "yummy, especially the bun!" And among various family events on Saturday, we stopped by the Lafayette Street Fair and a couple of neighborhood kids had a "YoYo's for Celiac" booth which raised over $200 for charity - how cool is that.

2008_09_28: I've put up the Skulls visible on webcam2 and installed the first strand of lights - the upper roof icicles. Lots more to come, but I'm a bit behind schedule, so probably won't have everything up by October 1st.

2009_10_01: The winds have been gusting at over 50MPH, so I've been delayed in putting out the Halloween Decorations - only about a third of them are out there so far. But I've turned on webcams 2 & 3, plus turned on the X10 controls so people on the Internet can start turning stuff on & off.

2009_10_05: I turned on webcam1 in the morning since people were interested in watching the halloween setup ... but then the Comcastic Internet service at my house went down at 11:03AM - D'OH! Fortunately, it came back online a few minutes before the 6:00PM, just in time for the halloween show! ;-)

2009_10_10: Despite Global Warming, we easily broke the all-time record low temperature for October 10th and even had a couple inches of snow - an early, chilly, and white Halloween. Some gusty winds sent the inflatable skull into the neighbor's yard - it's now staked down better. Just about everything it setup with some final touchups/adjustments in the next day or so.

2009_10_16: Since the Colorado Rockies lost to the Philly's in playoffs, it's time to say goodbye to the monster baseballs - watch time-lapse video. And speaking of the Rockies, some friends had an extra ticket and took Dirk to game #3 of the playoffs last Sunday. It was darn chilly for baseball but Dirk was excited about scoring a practice ball and watching the game in person.

2009_10_21: I've had to replace a couple of X10 Super Sockets that started acting erratically - remember that these units are designed for much lighter duty cycles such as just turning stuff on at dusk and off at dawn - needless to say, Internet surfers from around the world just pound on 'em! Along those lines, I am trying a USB CM19 X10 controller from the laptop as a replacement for the serial CM17 Firecracker. There is some anomalous behavior that crops up under heavy usage that I'm trying to figure out. Also had a 9News TV crew out here shooting some Halloween footage.

2009_10_29: My "hack" solution to the USB CM19 X10 strangeness is to plug two of 'em, and randomly choose one to send commands too. This seems to have only failed once, so probably a strange race condition that is getting triggered in rare circumstances. Speaking of challenges, Colorado had a couple feet of snow, so while this adds a Wintery touch to the Halloween display, it does bury the lights and the inflatables struggle to get up. But after quite a bit of shoveling and sweeping, everything continues to work pretty well. Had a nice mention on THE TODAY SHOW about the Controllable Halloween Decorations for Celiac Disease. Web traffic continues to climb as we approach Halloween night when it is just crazy ... plus hundreds of trick-or-treaters!



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