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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 TOTALSA 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_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.
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!