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Prince of Arkham Asylum
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Hey all. With all the craziness lately, I have to refocus my mind on other things, so I’ve been thinking more about Halloween 2020.

I was thinking about creating an illusion of a corn field on the side of the house that I’d light up with faint orange lights for a creepy factor, and add a creepy scarecrow in front of. Realism is big with me. I want to create a realistic feel rather than painting it on a backdrop, and figure if I can create a few rows of staggered cornstalks. At first I was thinking of buying some real cut cornstalks at the local pumpkin farm nearby, and attaching them to poles in the ground. Problem is I want to have this be a recurring theme, and don’t want to purchase a ton of corn stalk every year. My next thought is to make some using conduit. I just need to find someplace that sells long broad leaves that I can use to help simulate a corn stalk. I looked on Hobby Lobby’s website and didn’t find anything I felt I could use.

Any thoughts? I suppose I could try to find thin plastic “poster board” or something like that and cut leaves and weather them… if plastic poster board even exists. Cardboard obviously won’t work since it has to be weatherproof. Ideally, I’d love to find a company that makes fake cornstalks, but haven’t found anything on the Google machine. Any other ideas?
 

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A couple ideas (and I am 100% on board with Let's Think About Something Else as a theme for right now).
  • I think Stiltbeast Studios has a cornstalk making video, he used black trash bag plastic (I think) and thick floral wire to make the leaves and bamboo garden stakes for the stem. He uses water bottles for corn cobs. It looks good, but it also looked time consuming. stiltbeast cornstalk - Google Search
  • AC Moore is going out of business, it is looking pretty picked over in my area but if they have some silk/plastic plants or greenery near you, that might be a good option for something to work with.
  • Ripstop nylon is a pretty cool fabric for replicating leaves if you can find it in the right color. I like that it has a little stiffness while still being floppy. I think a khaki or deep green would work, when you add some accent colors of green and brown over it. Good time to use a JoAnn's 40% off coupon.
I am excited to know what you go with. For non-Halloween projects I found that A'zon has surprisingly good prices on bamboo stakes in 6' lengths.
 

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The most realistic DIY cornstalks I've seen are: diy cornstalks - Google Search
They are time consuming but very realistic. If you coat the finished product in a clear urethane sealant it should be durable outside. I grown my own real cornstalks every year so I haven't had a need to try this yet but I will for some upcoming props that I'm making.
 

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Here are two videos I really enjoy. The Stiltbeast approach is fast and cheap. I think Allen could have taken everything a bit further for a more realistic cornstalk (adding more leaves, a bit more realistic green, etc.) , but the man knows his craft. He rarely does things over the top realistic because he knows what people pay attention to and what they just sort of see as part of a bigger scene. The work you do creating corn stalks will be largely overlooked by those viewing it in the dark. You don't have to create a cornfield. You just have to create an illusion of a corn field that works for the viewer.


The next is for those who simply have to have a field that really fools the folks who just stare at it for minutes at a time. (Yeah, there are some of us who do that when we see a prop or effect we love.)


Lots of good advice in this video about the nature of making things with wire and how to keep things looking realistic. If you opt for this approach to making cornstalks, I would really recommend that you spray every stalk down with some kind of Scotch Guard like water-proofing. These aren't going to stand up to a rainstorm, but they could with the proper preparation in advance.
 

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Blue Pill? or Red Pill?
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I know you said you wanted realistic, but I did some a couple years back with a tim burton theme and use pool noodles cut in half at top edge and curled and painted in kooky white and black stripes like the tim Burton vibe. I also used empty 8 oz (or 10oz?) water bottles and sprayed them yellow, added details etc.
 

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Caretaker of Eerie Manor
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I'm not sure where you live in relation to any farms but it might be worthwhile to look into getting real corn stalks. You don't necessarily have to purchase them if you find a farmer who is willing to donate them to the cause, and many will. We have an abundance of farms in our area and have never had trouble finding free corn stalks. I put feelers out to friends and there is always someone who knows a guy that knows a guy! We typically get two pick up truck loads for free. We have to cut/load/haul them but it's worth it and the real corn just makes for some great atmosphere. It rustls in the breeze, has a great organic look and smell. Back light it or throw a strobe on it and it looks creepy as heck. Once Halloween is over, it's compostable and you don't have to store it. Obviously if you can't get them cheap/free, coming up iwith an alternative is a good option but might be worth cultivating some contacts early on so that when the season arrives, you can get the real McCoy.
 

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I'll share my little video on how we made our cornstalks for our home haunted called "Rose's Haunted Graveyard." We made these all the way back in 2014, and I used them last season. In fact, I've used them every year since they were made. So I hope you find this helpful!

 

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I'm not sure where you live in relation to any farms but it might be worthwhile to look into getting real corn stalks. You don't necessarily have to purchase them if you find a farmer who is willing to donate them to the cause, and many will. We have an abundance of farms in our area and have never had trouble finding free corn stalks. I put feelers out to friends and there is always someone who knows a guy that knows a guy! We typically get two pick up truck loads for free. We have to cut/load/haul them but it's worth it and the real corn just makes for some great atmosphere. It rustls in the breeze, has a great organic look and smell. Back light it or throw a strobe on it and it looks creepy as heck. Once Halloween is over, it's compostable and you don't have to store it. Obviously if you can't get them cheap/free, coming up iwith an alternative is a good option but might be worth cultivating some contacts early on so that when the season arrives, you can get the real McCoy.
I used real ones as well free from the garden . I sprayed them with green fluorescent upside down marking paint so they would glow in the black light . Been using them for 2 Halloween’s now , loose a few leaves here and there and a tie wire them up and hang them in a overhang shed . . Spray painted fall leaves with orange and spread them around the walls . I stack em and tie the stems together keep them in the same shed .
 
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