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Cost and time constraints

767 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  EdgarWhelp

Just joined here as I wanted to get more ideas and feedback on my own ideas about Halloween.

I am in the UK where Halloween is not yet as big a deal as in the US, props are harder (though getting better) and more expensive to source so creativity plays a large part of the fun..

Halloween is also really just celebrated for one night ( I have seen comments about people leaving props set up for a month on here) so everything has to be pretty easy and quick to set up and take down.

My question is simply what is your favourite budget prop based on not only cost but also time to make and time to set up and take down.

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To start a response to my own question, I always open out a black bin bag and tape it above the front door to hide the top of the door. I then have rigged up on a piece of string a prop (bat, spider, severed head) which I control as the kids hand out the sweets, making it drop onto the trick or treaters as they put their hands in the bowl. Scares the adults watching just as much as it scares the kids. I think it really works because it is so unexpected, and I can time it just right to scare them the most. Quick and easy to set up and cost next to nothing.
Trash Can Popup. All decorations optional. In fact no decorations makes it more better as they never expect a thing.
I'm in much the same boat here in Australia. A few tombstones always goes down well if you have space in the front garden, and a few years ago I made a "body bag" using plastic garbage bags stuffed with old clothes. I rigged the body bag up with string so I could make it sit up on command - got giggles and screams from just about everyone.
Hi from a fellow UK haunter. I have been with with the forum for a quite while now and we always make a big deal of Halloween. If you have a look over some of my previous posts you will see some of the props I have made. I very rarely purchase any I always make my own, surprising what you can do once you get going and the forum is great for ideas or anything you are stuck with! It's a great group of really creative people :)This year we are doing Carnival, previously we have done pirates, haunted hospital, scary fairytales and a re-make of Thriller. Look forward to seeing your posts in the future:)
We have done a but the last few years. 2 yrs ago we had a headless corpse hanging in the tree, and I dropped the severed head into the sweet bowl on the trick or treaters, which was cool. Last year we had some DIY tombstones, bodybags, and a dungeon effect with chains, strobe lights and lots of sounds (we heard more than one kid saying they did not want to knock at our door, so job done!). That is on top of pumpkins and costumes etc. This year is going to be even bigger, I am hoping to turn the frame of an old gazebo along with some massive balloons and lots of bin bags into a giant spider for people to walk under... Trying to work out the logistics of it at the moment. And a bit if time on here now means animatronics from desk fans and trying to source a massager too... I have found that now is the best time to order masks etc off ebay too.
Sounds like you are getting some good ideas going there:) I have just put a couple of posts with pics n for a grandfather clock and ghost bride I made at the weekend. We are doing carnival this year, and as part of it we are having a Haunted House/Ghost Train so these two props are going in there. You will have to post some pics of the giant spider on!:). I got some really cheap dummy security cameras off ebay from China like a couple of pounds each they are great for props, as still have sensor on and move from side to side when someone goes past, I have used one for my fortune teller so far
My favorite scare has always been the classic "sit still until they think you're a prop, then start moving" trick. I got to a lady last year, just as she finished saying to her companion, "You know what they need is somebody to jump out at you right here." She was looking right at me as she said it. She freaked when I stood up, and the guy about died laughing.

So, simple is good. Setting up their expectations, then flipping them on their heads.

Another favorite? People really don't like it when you follow them. You're supposed to stay on your property, the street is supposed to be safe. The car is supposed to be safe. I'm not advocating for chasing people into traffic, but there is a certain charm in walking slowly and with purpose behind a group of teenagers screaming "it's following us!!"

Again, defying expectations.

As far as actual props go, it's hard to beat lights and fog. Some carefully directed lights, or one of those laser light show machines, and a creeping wall of fog does a lot to set the mood.

If you need some kind of large structure, ask around at appliance stores for a refrigerator box. It's big, a person can fit comfortably inside, and it's already built. We made a fortune teller booth from one, just by making a couple of cut-outs and painting. There was a rather long line.

And don't underestimate the effect of some creepy, gauzey ghost like figure hung from a tree limb. There's one we always put out so that it is lit by the street light, and seems to be a perennial favorite of the neighbors.
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Oh I got the impression you were looking at your first halloween haunt - sounds like you've got all the basics covered!

Some good startle/scare tactics I've used:

- A well-timed squirt of compressed air as the kids reach for the lollies (some people jump a mile so make sure the area is clear). This year I'm also making them reach into a gross spider sac to retrieve their treats - I got the idea from Nightfisher's rotting pumpkin bowl.

- A PC/laptop with a webcam, iSpy software to detect movement and trigger a video scare such as AtmosfearFX. I did the haunted portraits last year - there was a lineup!

- As others have said, fog and lighting are important - however for me here most of the ToTs are gone by 7:30, so it's not truly dark which can spoil the effect a bit.

My theme is spiders this year so I'd love to see what you come up with for your giant spider.
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