Home > Uncategorized > Take a Look At How One Guy Is Scaring His Neighbors for $10

Comments 2 Comments

Fun fact: You can comfortably fit about 30 plastic jack-o-lanterns in a shopping cart. Bryan Blackmon knows this because he’s bought more than 300 of them this month, after his DIY Halloween decorations turned into a neighborhood sensation. He paints the plastic pumpkin baskets to look like giant eyes, cuts teeth and a tongue out of plastic foam, places them in shrubbery and voilà: You have a monster in the bushes.

At this point, he’s made about 140 of these “monster kits” for his neighbors in Woodstock, Ga., but Blackmon didn’t start this craft project with the intention of running a decoration-making workshop from his backyard. He and his wife, Nancy, always liked decorating their house for Halloween, but with two kids and all their activities to take care of, they never gave themselves much time to do so. Now, with both kids in college, Blackmon decked out the yard early. They set up a large spider and web at the end of September, and while he was catching up on some yardwork, Blackmon thought he could expand the display.

halloween-decor-2“I had some big holly bushes on the corners of the house that I’d been meaning to prune. … And I said, ‘Hey, they kind of look like monsters,” Blackmon said. He made some teeth and a tongue using plywood scraps he had around the house, and he bought some inflatable toy balls and painted them to look like eyes. (The eyes eventually deflated, so he replaced them with the painted pumpkin buckets.)

“Now we’ve got these two monsters in the bushes, and it’s just Oct. 1. The monsters look so cool, I made some monsters on the smaller shrubbery,” Blackmon said. “It sort of became, ‘What can I do tomorrow?'”

Soon, fake tombstones joined the spider and monsters in the Blackmons’ lawn. Then he went to the dollar store, bought plastic, white tablecloths for $1 each and hung ghosts from the trees. People in the neighborhood started to drive by and take pictures of his increasingly elaborate lawn décor, so he posted to his neighborhood Facebook group, inviting people to come over if they wanted to take a closer look.

An Accidental Sideline

halloween-decor-3“People were just intrigued by it, so I extended an offer out on Facebook that if anyone was interested, I’d make them some, if they would just cover the cost of materials,” Blackmon said. He threw out a cost of $10, and the requests started coming.

Within two weeks, he made about 90 monster kits — two eyes, teeth and a mouth. He assembled the mouth with the foam, wires and hot glue. By the time he put out his last call for requests, he had 120 monster orders in his neighborhood alone, and some requests for friends and relatives in other states.

Given the volume of requests, Blackmon ran out of materials lying around the house and had to go into mass-production mode, buying paint and sheets of plastic foam in bulk. He estimates the materials cost about $4 to $5 per set. By day, the 54-year-old Blackmon designs power systems for the local utility company. Monster design is just a hobby, but his success this year has him thinking about setting up a website to sell the decorations next year.

halloween-decor-4He didn’t track how much time it took him to make all the monster kits, but Blackmon didn’t seem to mind making that investment. You can tell from the tone of his voice when he talks about the process that he’s had a lot of fun with it.

“Over the last few years we’ve felt a little less connected to the neighborhood, but this year now everybody knows me,” Blackmon said. He, Nancy and their kids have lived there for 17 years. “It’s really been kind of fun to get reconnected to the neighborhood through this unplanned venture.”

More Money-Saving Reads:

Images courtesy of Bryan Blackmon

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Greer Blackmon

    That’s my dad!

  • Bryan Blackmon

    Great job on the story. Very nice work.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team