This year my intent was to make my garage look like an enchanted forest. I planned on having pixies at the beginning trying to warn you not to go in, and gargoyles at the entrance to the cemetery. I had a lot of work ahead of me for this year, as I was going to try to make my first FCG (Flying Crank Ghost), and my first Trash Can Trauma.
These are the first props I made this year… the pixies. The first pixies to warn people were made from standard Bratz™ dolls. I glued fake leaves on them and glued some wires down on their heads for antennae. I used stiff floral wire to make the shape of the wings and covered them with white panty hose, and glued them to the back of the dolls. I wanted them to glow under a black light, and tried to paint them with Glow in the Dark Paint. But that didn’t work the way I thought it would. Next I thought about fluorescent paint and bought a can of green paint and just went to town on the dolls.
The “Evil Pixies” were made from Barbie™ dolls, using the same technique to cover and paint the dolls. To make them a little scarier, I used black paint to make their faces “evil-looking” and finally painted orange fluorescent “veins” running down them.
My first animated prop this year was a witch stirring a cauldron. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures while I was making her.
The body is constructed of wood and PVC pipe with chicken wire to bulk it up. I connected the arms with large closed cup hooks linked to each other to give it a loose jointed feel. I used pipe insulation to give the bulkiness to the arms. I bought a Cryptkeeper mask from ebay, but I wanted it to look more witchlike, so I made it a distorted nose complete with wart. The eyes are actually white ceramic door knobs I picked up at a garage sale with the pupils painted with acrylics and then painted with glossy clear paint to give it that wet look. The hands were from one of those hanging ghouls I picked up at Walgreens last year.
The cauldron was made from one of those large plastic buckets with the rope handles. I used foam and plaster cloth for the top and the center. The stick is actually a shaved pool noodle painted brown to look like wood. The wooden logs are also pool noodles carved and painted. I used a string of blinking red Christmas lights for the fire. For the finished piece, I covered the lights with some plastic bags from the grocery store to give it more of a fiery look. On the inside, I have green Christmas lights and I’ll be hooking up my fogger to hopefully have a nice green fog coming up from the cauldron. After several tries with different motors, I finally went with a rotisserie motor I bought at a garage sale for 50 cents. I must have spent at least 2 months trying to figure out how to get it to not spin too fast and how to hook up the proper metal pieces to the motor. UPDATE: I ended up changing the motor to a windshield wiper motor which lasts a lot longer than a rotisserie motor and is much quieter.
This year was my year for making props, one of my biggest challenges was the Flying Crank Ghost, which is like a marionette with a motor. My biggest challenge was getting the strings to not break halfway through the night!! I started with thick fishing wire, but the heat from the constant rubbing against the metal eye guiding it down to the arms I guess was too much and after a couple of hours it would snap. Luckily, I fixed it so it worked most of the night, but I had to find a way to fix the problem by next year. I ended up using a pulley system so the wheels turn and it wouldn’t have the problem of friction… duh!
The first pneumatic prop I made was at the Florida Haunter’s Make & Take. It was called a Trash Can Trauma. It was built inside a medium sized plastic trash can and had an arm that would come out and try to grab you when a motion sensor went off. Pretty high tech for me. And we had to get an air compressor (though to keep it quieter, I ended up using a paintball gun tank). I paper mache’d the trash can to look like the trunk of a tree so it would work with my haunt’s theme.
Other props that went into this year’s haunt was the Bleeding Tombstone and the Spider Victim. The Bleeding Tombstone was a prop I discovered at the Florida Haunter’s Make & Take. And of course, this one also took a lot of trial and error to final get it right. The Spider Victim was pretty simple. It was a bunch of plastic bags taped together and wrapped with the cheap spider webbing that you can get at the dollar store. I put a cheap mask and hand sticking out of the top for a little more creepiness. When I put it into the haunt, I used a spinning motor.
In the middle of the haunt was the orge’s house, I just used cardboard for the slats and painted them black and slimy. It seemed to work.
Here is the walkthrough map for the Enchanted Forest.