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Hello all you happy haunters out there! I come from a small town on the East coast of Ireland and although I wouldn't call myself a professional, I do like to try and put the extra mile in to celebrate the Holiday and give the neighbors something to look forward to when they come a knocking since not many people here build haunts for Halloween.

Two years ago I dressed in all black and would sneak up on the guests as they were given their candy. Unfortunately the reaction I got was mostly confusion and maybe a few gasps of shock. Deciding on a more direct approach, last year I rented a leaf blower and would charge at the guests while they were at the door, eliciting a much more satisfying reaction from the trick or treaters.

This stunt has generated a bit of hype amongst the neighbors about what I'm going to do this year, but I'm not really sure how I'm going to top it. I have the costume ready to go, but it's the big scare that is eluding me and I find myself clueless on what to do for it. So I turn to you guys for advice for a young enthusiast. And please note that I am but a humble college student who has just a few Euros to his name in the world, so my budget is woefully low. Thanks in advance.
 

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Here to burgle your turts
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I heard about something the first time I went to Knott's called "the bounce scare". Basically they would distract you on one side with something that looked like a big scare but was actually kinda lame. Then when you felt relieved that you "caught them" they get you from behind with the real scare. Not sure how you'd put that into practice just being one guy, but if they're expecting a fright, might be worth giving them something to throw them off before the big scare.

I'm sure the haunt pros will jump in here with better advice.
 

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>^..^<
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For creepiness factor, I'm really liking this stalkabout that a fellow HF member, dariusobells, is building.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mriney/9972112144/in/photostream/

You might not have time or budget left to build a really elaborate one, but with some PVC, a foam skull and some kind of covering... I think something like this could potentially freak quite a few folks out.
 

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A common but effective technique is to set up a distraction that sets them up for the real scare. One of my favorites is to have dummy props that look real enough to be an actor that could suddenly move and startle, then while the TOTs are inspecting and worrying about that, you get them with the real actor/startle.

Edit: or what GobbyGruesome said. I started typing and was distracted and finished 20 min later. ;-)
 

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My favorite is a classic: make yourself look just enough like a prop, sit still and breathe shallow just long enough to make 'em think you're not real. Then turn your head and give a wave - even just that much gets some people.

Also a fan of the "jump out of the bushes" scare. Or in my case, that was more like jump out from between two overgrown arborvitaes trees and rattle the gate.

People also don't like it when they're already a little afraid and you go outside their perceived boundaries. I don't mean doing a touch/grab scare, but more like wandering a little ways off your property to follow them. Especially fun if they don't notice you until they get back to their car or group of friends. Fun with a carload of kids too, you can just follow 'em back to the car, stare for a minute, and wave goodbye. I have fond memories of slowly walking down the street following behind a pickup truck full of screaming teenagers...
 
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