Judging by Lauren Hoeffer
Whether it’s spooky and scary ghost stories, or trick-or-treating in your favorite costume (with your friends and their ponies), there are so many fun things about Halloween! That’s why it’s definitely my favorite holiday! I had a spooktacular time judging all of the entries for this month’s “Haunted Halloween” Photo Show! I wasn’t surprised to see that everyone put their creativity on display for this challenge! There were so many wonderful entries, it made my head spin like Beetlejuice! Picking only my top 6 was challenging - if I could I would hand out candy prizes to everyone!
Like any good ghost story… the details matter! For this month’s theme, I focused on the details included in each photo, and how they helped tell the overall story. Bonus points were earned for creative framing and composition, as well as the atmosphere created within the scene. Halloween is all about setting the mood!
I also really appreciated all of the handmade details, whether they were costumes or props. While there were some great uses of Photoshop enhancements, I was really drawn to the entries that utilized more physical and handmade costumes & effects. That’s not to say using Photoshop to augment your entry was at all detrimental. I just found it, at times, just a little too distracting overall. Regardless, thank you for all of your amazing creativity; I had a spooky good time!
Elise F., WI
I chose this photo for 1st place, because I absolutely appreciated the amount of effort put into each pony’s costume! It grabbed me right from the start. I love the classroom/pony parade setup; and the fact that everyone is in matching costumes? Too cute! I could definitely see this scene playing out at a school Halloween Party. (Though if it was up to me, I would have awarded champion to the crayon pony. Haha!)
Mia O., TX
My 2nd place is another amazingly creative photo! This time... the ponies themselves are the trick-or-treaters! I absolutely love the angle, and the composition. It struck me immediately as if it was a flash photo taken on Halloween night! Excellent job setting a spooky, but fun mood!
Anneliese O., CA
My 3rd place photo is another fun trick-or-treating scene; this time... at the barn! I loved the props and details used (I mean, that tiny Breyer bag is too much!) and that the family dog got to join in the fun! The composition and lighting are also fantastic. A very clear photo that tells a cute story!
Kiley C., AZ
I’ll admit, this photo had me at “Brighty!” It just made me snicker out loud! Great details throughout... including the informative little flyer. The lighting and blurred background adds to the realism. I certainly hope that burro is as patient while trick-or-treating as he is while being painted!
Madisyn B., ID
The unique angle on this photo really kept me coming back. While not as spooky as some of the others, it does still set the mood for the girl as she reads about the Headless Horseman. I hope she finishes the book before the sun goes down, and the forest around her gets even spookier!
One suggestion for the future... the mare’s front hoof (closest to the camera) isn’t really “sunken” into the ground. Her muzzle is, but her front hoof isn't. It’s a small thing that would help with the realism of the scene.
Mica Z., IL
I found this “costume performance” scene (sponsored by Breyer!) to be quite endearing. The crowd is cheering the pony on as he jumps a spooky obstacle with this witchy rider! The background is a nice contrast to the scene, but in the future, I would either move the pony and the jump closer to the camera, or crop the excess foreground out of the photo. It’s a bunch of empty sand without much going on, and it distracts from the scene itself.
There were several photos that I felt deserved some Honorable Mention shout-outs, even though I did not place them higher. Each one of these photos was well-composed, creative, and most importantly... very spooky!
Jerri B., WA
This photo may be on the simpler side… but I just loved the camera trick it utilized! Is that a fairy horse emerging from the tree stump, or maybe an equine ghost? Either way, the story it tells spoke to me!
Cate L., CA
Sometimes light and shadow are all you need to set a spooky scene! I really liked the color palate, and atmosphere of this photo!
Audrey S., IL
This was another one that made me giggle! Definitely a very appropriate scene to set for Halloween. Good job on the character costumes!
Catalina T., TX
I loved the crazy energy in this photo! I can totally hear the laughter and happy screams of the trick-or-treating ponies as they come and go from this haunted house.
Chloe W., SC
This photo also struck me with its story. Is that a spirit rising from the ground with the horse? Are those offerings made to bring this horse back from the dead? I’m not sure... but I love that I have questions!
One thing you might consider next time - adding some dirt on top of the model’s head or legs. This will remind the viewer that it has just emerged from underground.
Morissa Z., NY
This photo, jumped right out at me as soon as I saw it. The composition, the lighting... it just screams “Halloween selfie” in the barn. Right down to the piece of pizza! I can almost hear the mare sniffing as she reaches for the slice! I wonder if she’ll be able to grab it before Dorothy realizes what she’s doing?
Rebecca G., MA
This was another photo that told me a wonderful story. I adore the cat and her kittens in the foreground, watching as the girl paints the skeletal system on her horse. Not to mention the Jack o’ Lantern, perfect! The lighting is very atmospheric (though a touch on the darker side), and the composition is very pleasing. Wonderful job!
Marla M., NJ
I loved the creative story told in this photo. Poor Pharoah must have been spooked when he realized that he was running through a “Graveyard of Champions"... literally! Very creative!
Maddie M., FL
This photo made me giggle! Being arachnophobic, I’m not sure I could wear that costume, but I loved the addition of spider webs around the horse. The props and details in the background are also very cute!
Lauren S., CA
Can you hear the hoof beats rumble, as these spooky spectral horses rumble through the woods? I loved the color and spooky setting created here. Definitely a fun story to be told!
Patricia A., MO
This was another photo that I was attracted to because of the color and composition. I loved the little tidbits and details in the background... and who doesn’t love some glowing rats and lizard legs?
These photos definitely deserve an Honorable Mention shoutout for their creativity! It was so hard to pick just six placings... especially with so much effort put into creating these wonderful scenes!
Carley B., PA
I loved all of the tiny little details in this scene. There was so much to look at in every inch of the photo! I would say, however, that sometimes “less is more.” If you had removed a few items (or maybe just had smaller shavings for footing), it might be easier to stay focused on the subject: the horses.
Josephine H., NY
I just kept coming back to this cute little custom! I wonder if she’s sweet… or sour? A perfect Halloween treat!
P.J. R., OR
Once again, light and shadow can set the stage for a spooky story! This photo reminds me of many a ghost story told after trick-or-treating all night. Good job!
Thank you again to all of our participants - we'll see you again in December for our final Photo Show of 2020!
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