Your source for custom-made, handcrafted Christmas village houses and churches
Written by Paul Race for Big Indoor Trains™ and
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Welcome to Spook Hill™

Imagine you've just boarded an old-fashioned train that has a lot of orange and black in its color scheme. There's something "unearthly" about the conductor and the other passengers. But the ride is smooth. Then you disembark at a Victorian station that seems just a little "dark." As you move around the town, you see that the houses seem a little "off-kilter," somehow - the walls aren't all quite straight, and doesn't that one house look rather like it's glaring at you? You sense that the residents of these houses may not be quite ordinary, either. You begin to wonder if this town is permanently stuck in October 31. There's no telling who - or what - might be lurking around the next corner.

Welcome to Spook Hill™, an entirely original way to bring seasonal charm to your home each October. Its name is inspired by an attraction in Lake Wales, Florida - a stretch of road where you can put your car in neutral and it seems to coast uphill. Our Spook Hill™ community comes from the mind of Howard Lamey, a retired designer who likes reproducing those vintage cardboard Christmas houses with celophane windows and holes in the back for Christmas lights. The Spook Hill™ collection, though, celebrates a distinctly different holiday.

Depending on your color choices, some of these buildings would look good with any holiday village, O gauge, On30, or S scale train, including:

If you start now, you can have a complete Spook Hill™ village by Halloween. Each project features:

  • Lists of recommended tools and materials (Xacto knife, glue, acid-free paper, various kinds of cardboard, etc.)
  • Downloadable scale plans (in PDF and .jpg format)
  • Step by step instructions (with hints, tips, and options)
  • Links to other useful articles and resources.
In the meantime, if you want to visit Spook Hill™ this October, please start saving cardboard now. This includes cereal boxes, the backs of writing tablets, corrugated box panels, anything flat, firm and clean, that you can save.

The following Spook Hill™ projects are currently available. We already have three more projects on the drawing board for 2009, but if you get started early, you can have a nice Halloween community by this Halloween.

Click to see the Shakey Pane Manor project.
Click to see the Spook Hill™ Station project
Click to see the Spook Hill™ Water Tower project
Shakey Pane Manor - the first building specifically designed for our Spook Hill™ collection. Spook Hill™ Station - The FIRST EVER model train station designed specifically for Halloween. Spook Hill™ Water Tower - Any easy and unique structure to complement the Spook Hill™ Station.
Click to see the Spook Hill™ Billboard project
click to see the 'Frost is on the Pumpkin' house project
Spook Hill™ Billboards - The easiest Spook Hill™ project to date - great for kids, works with almost any Halloween village. Howard's "The Frost is On the Pumpkin" project - the one that started it all.

New for 2009! - Halloween Updates to Popular Projects

In 2009, Howard and Paul cooked up a number of projects based on early 1900s stamped metal buildings that were sold to go with tinplate trains (and in some cases, in Christmas villages). Then we figured out that at least two of these "Tribute to Tinplate(tm)" buildings would make great Halloween projects, simply by repurposing the graphics. We have also supplied new graphics for one of our Glitterhouse projects, to repurpose the "Picture Window House" for Halloween as well.

Click to see Vine Covered Tinplate-Inspired Cottage, with new Halloween graphics.
click to see the Jeckyll Park Station, a seasonal twist on a tinplate classic.
Click to see the Halloween-themed options for our 'Picture Window House.'
Click on the picture above to see our Vine-Covered Tinplate-Inspired Cottage, now with a Halloween graphic option. Jeckyll Park Station is the Halloween version of our Lewis Park station. Click on the picture above to see the Lewis Park station with new graphics for a Halloween version. Click to see the Halloween-themed options for our "Picture Window House."

Click to see On30 Collectible Halloween Trains.Update for September, 2009 - If you're planning to set up an indoor Halloween train or town this year, check out our Halloween Trains and Towns Primer page. This page is designed to answer questions about Halloween trains and villages, and to point to other articles for more informaiton.

What if you like these structures but can't build them yourself even with our instructions? Howard has often been "commissioned" to design and or build vintage-style cardboard houses for collectors and fans of this delightful, but usually underrated art form. That's why he started his own web site, If you would like to ask Howard to bid on a project for you, or if you have any questions for Howard, stop by there and you'll find direct contact information. If you have any questions for Paul, use this link.

Finally, if you have a similar project you'd like to share with your fellow readers and hobbyists, let us know. We'd love to add it to one or both of our sites, and we'll be sure to give you full credit for your contribution.

Other Articles about Halloween houses, villages, and trains include:

Other Articles related to vintage pastboard houses include:

  • What is a Glitterhouse? - an introduction to the history of those Japanese pasteboard Christmas houses, and the hobbies of collecting and reproducing them.
  •, Howard Lamey's own site about glittered cardboard Christmas houses, featuring many he designed himself.
  • Building a Glitterhouse - A detailed primer on building your own vintage Christmas cardboard houses.
  • Winter Trees from Floral Picks - A quick and inexpensive way to add interesting textures to your putz or Christmas village.
Click to see Halloween Trains and Towns for your seasonal displays.

Click to see unique Disney Halloween village collectibles and more

The Munsters(TM) Express Halloween Train Collection

Universal Studios Monsters Express Halloween Electric Train Collection

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Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page Return to Family Garden Trains Home page Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingBig Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads

Note: Big Indoor Trains™, Big Train Store™, Family Garden Trains™, Big Christmas Trains™, Garden Train Store™, and Trains and Towns™ and™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( Spook Hill™ is a trademark of Howard Lamey. All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.

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