Behind The Curtain: Halloween 2015 – What’s In A Name?

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Behind The Curtain: Halloween 2015 – What’s In A Name?

“What’s the Halloween theme this year?”

This may be the most asked question I get as a visual merchandiser at Rogers Gardens every year starting around, oh, April, at least by fellow employees (the most asked customer question is: “Don’t you just love your job?” to which the answer is YES!).


The theme name is the most defining aspect of our Halloween display. This year it’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. With this we set the tone, mood and merchandise selection for the season. We want an immersive experience for our guests, much like walking through a door to a parallel universe. It’s like Narnia. But maybe a little smaller. And we don’t really have closets.

I’m writing this in the middle of June and although we have a general idea of what Halloween will look like, it’s still just a concept. We know the inspiration and direction it will take and have the particulars on specific projects, but we are not sure how it will all meld together. It’s all part of the creative editing process. There are so many amazing ideas flying around, by the time everything is said and done some may have gone by the wayside, either shelved for another year or tweaked in a different direction altogether. Some projects can be labor intensive, taking more time than planned, but then sometimes the priorities change and new ideas occur as we’re setting up. 


Second hand furniture pieces waiting for their make-overs.


Starting from scratch.

We design and build everything in-house which requires a great deal of creative problem solving. Right now we are processing the ideas and researching/teaching ourselves how to make what we need and how to make it work. In the past we have been tasked with how does one make a Chinese dragon that breathes smoke? Or where do you start when you want to make tree roots that appear to be coming through the ceiling? How about a bed crawling with bedbugs? Or a drippy skeleton arm chandelier? A blown-up crow?  Once that is figured out there’s a whole trial and error aspect that comes into play during the actual set up. Things rarely work as planned on the first try and adjustments must be made. The ensuing whirlwind of flying from plan A to plan B and sometimes to plan C is what makes up the 2 weeks of actual set up.


It’s coming together now.

We have a pretty diverse group of team members so no matter what the idea is, someone can figure out how to make it. There are the builders who can construct any required structure or mad scientist lab with simple materials and a lot of sweat. There are the creative master-minds that can see the vision and make it come to life. There are the artists that transform unlikely supplies into unrecognizable masterpieces. And it helps that we have a little bit of crazy in our genes. I mean, really. Who could look at these:


Average wooden crates

and think “Let’s do this”:


It’s a really big…uh…big top!

to make this:



Grand Entrance

Sometimes we have a craft lesson.




Starting to take shape.

To get this project up and running, I taught my fellow Michelangelo’s a series of techniques for construction. It involved, in order: plywood, floral foam, mad carving skills, craft paper, white glue, canvas drop cloths, mad fabric-sculpting skills, and a few tears. Also the required amount of sweat. Let’s check on their progress.




Looks pretty good!


I knew you could do it! I’m so proud! *sniff*







Meanwhile this guy has been hanging around freaking everyone out.


Are you feeling OK? You don’t look like yourself…

Another team member had decided to do a little home decorating. Little home… because it’s a… oh, never mind.



Fast-forward to August and now the first week of Halloween setup is behind us. The transformation of the retail space is intense and quick. Employees walk thru with huge eyes, some exclaiming how they had only been off for one day and all this has gone up already?


Coming up…..

A look inside with some before and after shots and a sneak peek into our Halloween world, Something Wicked This Way Comes – Rogers Gardens Halloween 2015!

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  1. Cathleen August 29, 2015 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    This is my favorite time of year at Roger’s. Such a spooktacular place!

    • Sylvr Sharp September 7, 2015 at 3:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks and it’s my favorite time, too!

  2. Juli Riedel August 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I cannot wait to see the unveiling on Friday September 4th!!!! That circus tent painted on the crates is amazing! I always get so much inspiration from Rogers Gardens Halloween displays! Just beautiful!

    • Sylvr Sharp September 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Juli!

  3. KAREN wESTPHAL August 31, 2015 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    I live up in Saskatchewan, Canada, but love reading about how you set up your store. Each year I can hardly wait to see what scenes you creative people have come up with! They are always so fun and spectacular, and I love seeing the behind the scenes set up. I only wish I lived near enough to come shop and see everything for real.

    • Sylvr Sharp September 7, 2015 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Karen! I’m so glad you found us! I wanted to write this blog to show our guests what goes into the set up but the side benefit is that others who live too far away to attend can also enjoy the display. Thank you for your nice comments and maybe someday you’ll happen to be in So Cal around Labor Day to check it out in person!

  4. Deb Kennedy September 7, 2015 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Once again, you’ve WOWED all of us! I’ve been a visual merchandiser/display stylist since the age of 13, and having styled displays for over 40 years I am ALWAYS impressed and surprised by the wonders that the visual team at Roger’s Gardens creates. You never fail to delight, inspire, and scare the daylights out of me with your Halloween BOOtiques 😉 …and then comes Christmas! I also love these sneak peeks behind the scenes, watching your creativity in action. Bravo!

    • Sylvr Sharp September 7, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your kind words. As a fellow merchandiser I know you can appreciate all the hard work it takes to create a display of this size! Thanks again and stay tuned, Christmas is right around the corner!

  5. WAYNE BOWEN October 16, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    I am looking for a quarter moon decoration for holloween. It looks like a skull and has a spider web on ther face. I was told you may have them. Please advise. Thank you

    • Roger's Gardens October 19, 2015 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      Hello Wayne,

      We did not carry that particular item this year. We only had the nice witch sitting on a half-moon and are sold out. Sorry that I wasn’t able to help you in locating this piece.

      Thank you for your inquiry,
      Susan Munroe
      Holiday/Collectibles Assistant Buyer

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