I don't like to do gory either. We get a lot of ToT (2000 plus) of all ages. I go for the spooky feeling which insights a small amount of fear of the unknown in the grave yard. Last year we started singing monsters and that was a big hit. So spooky fun.
If you just need the wire you could use a 26 gauge stranded wire. If you don't have any lurking in your scrap pile a old cat 5 computer patch cable will work. Strip the jacket off and you have a choice of colors. You will have to untwist them if you need a single wire.
My fence went up last weekend with the blow mold skellys trick or treating and the corn stalks the weekend before that. Tombstones are this week. Didn't get a chance to work on anything this weekend since I was at halloween horror nights. Will set more during the week. My plan to have most stuff out on the Monday before except for a few items.
Use a pvc sleeve burried in the ground that your mast can slide into. I have a 10 foot mast by my pond and it has been up all year. My pirate flag is now looking well worn. Your sails may have to have slits in it the keep the wind from flying it away. I use the same concept with my 20' Christmas tree.
Thats a nice large cauldron. You might want to look at Party City for a plastic one if you don't want all the work. If you want to rust it I would stay away from the oatmeal route and use great stuff. It will last longer than oatmeal and not invite the critters for a meal. Using a gloved hand, smear it on the cauldron and let it dry. It won't expand like normal and with a little paint looks like rusty metal.
I don't have a haunted trail but I have a walk through graveyard. I tried solar lights one year and not enough light. I use some LED floodlights from Lowes they sell with the Christmas lights but probably too much light. You could use rope light either laying on the ground or on light stakes. They sell spools in 150 lengths. LED could all be connected in one length and regular lights are limited to 150 feet per plug. The other option is use christmas lights. I used some white c9 LED at...
I had to replace a motor last year and I had to put the lights on a seperate cord. The original motor had the lights hardwired to the fan motor and the replacement didn't have that option. So what I would do is open up the inflatable and find the cord to the lights, cut it and make sure the motor side wires are not touching each other. Seal them with some liquid tape and put a plug on the light end. I have noticed some of the new inflatables are using LED lights and I haven't opened up one...
It all depends on your budget. I have a few of the cheap 400 watt models and they work okay. The new models I would stay away from since they no longer take the timers. I also use some of the 1000 watt Party City models and they produce a lot more fog. Search the forum and you will find a lot of opinions. For a starter I would go with a 1000 watt model, better to have more fog than not enough.
I use the wire from political signs. Cut them in half and you have two anchors. They will flex in a strong wind and I haven't lost a tombstone yet. I don't see many political signs blown away , wish they would sometimes.
I would stay away from the oatmeal, I tried that a couple of years ago. It seems that the critters in the shed enjoy the oatmeal even with a coat of paint. Last year I textured it again with spray foam and a latex glove. Sprayed foam on the cauldron and spread it around with the glove. The foam didn't expand much and looks more like rust than the oatmeal with a little paint. The foam also sticks to the plastic better than the oatmeal and paint.