Halloween Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
401 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, let me say a big thanks to all of the board members because without you there's no way this haunt ever happens.

I joined the forum last year when I fist came across the site. I was influenced by all of the great projects and committed to doing a big haunt on 11/1 as I started collecting items on sale.

I picked the campaign back up in July as I started collecting and building parts to do some pneumatic props. At this point I am mentally and physically worn out, and I'm just fearing that there's so many points of failure that I can only hope we make it through the night.

Here are a few pics of what was put together. I went from having a single, inexpensive animatronic thingy last year to this insane collection of stuff.

There are three pneumatic props, PIR motion sensors throughout the garage, and multiple items controlled through an Arduino micro controller. The pneumatic props are controlled by Tyler Straub's control board that I soldered up.

The theme evolved into a toxic waste kind of activity that involved a lot of black light with fluorescent paint that winds through the garage.

Initial entry takes you down a long hallway that has the creepy crawlies video projecting spiders on the floor, once past that you come across this pneumatic operated spider that is triggered via a PIR and controlled with straub's controller with an MP3 board for audio.
Organism Fictional character

You turn and see this hanging ghoul.
Green Light Ghost Animation Organism

But what you don't see is the Spirit jumping spider (painted in fluorescent paint) at the bottom. A PIR is hanging above that is monitored by an Arduino. Once motion is sensed the Spirit spider is activated via it's footpad input. The arduino then triggers the zombie hoard a few seconds later.
Organism Insect Darkness Macro photography Animation

As you do this turn you come upon the zombie hoard within a make-shift containment pen. Some of them are ground breakers that have been triggered by the arduino via the footpad input.
Entertainment Performance Music Stage Light

Right next to the pen is the zombie that got out and is pneumatically operated. Another PIR detects when someone has made it to the front of the containment area and then triggers the zombie action. The PIR input is sensed by the Arduino and the Arduino then tells Straub's controller board to go through it's routine. I'm using the Arduino to add delay and avoid multiple back to back triggers.
Performance Event Stage Music Magenta

We made a Halo like costume for Jr., and here he's laying waste to the zombies (he only has the helmet on right now. I put LEDs in his helmet that adds a nice effect at night.

Performance Stage Games Event Animation

Disco Event Performance Music Nightclub

Lastly, people are u-turned and then come across the toxic clean-up/chop-shop area. The skull on the far left was a last minute addition and is triggered with a try me button that feeds input into the straub controller to pneumatically pop-up and down. Also, when entering this area, a PIR senses the people and triggers an insane killer that was placed within a bag on the table as well as triggers my voltage box. I'm using the try me input on the voltage box so the door doesn't open. I really like that box and just wanted to find a way to use it.
Organism Performance Fictional character

There's no doubt several times I felt like I'd bit off way more than I can chew. My excuse is I was under the influence of all the great projects I saw on the forum.

I'm already looking forward to next year and all of the things I'd like to change/do better. Now I just hope to make it through the night without a PIR falling out of the ceiling, having a pneumatic solenoid fail, or worse yet have my new compressor fail.

Wish me luck ;-)
 

·
Celtic Spirit
Joined
·
2,100 Posts
You have nothing to worry about EvilEye. You are a full fledged Haunter - you have all the signs and symptoms :) and a freaking awesome haunt!! Have fun and enjoy all your hard work. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,463 Posts
Very nice set up and yes, how did it go? I love the photography, the colored lights and props really pop in the pictures. Great collection for just recently starting out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
401 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So?
How did it go?
Thanks everyone for the feedback and support.

Regarding how it went...well I'm surprised to say that everything worked as planned and nothing broke. I found early on that the kids were blazing through too quickly and props were not triggering fast enough. I had inserted delays to avoid multiple re-triggers as well as I was trying to time stuff. But kids would haul through it and not even see something jump out cause it would react a second or two after they'd gone by.

So when there was a lull, I quickly adjusted some PIRs to get them into a position to pick people up sooner as well as quickly changed delays in the Arduino code. I really hesitated cause with my luck I was afraid I'd screw something up. But the quick fixes made a world of a difference and tied everything together to react quicker.

Our ToT count was low, maybe 100'ish, but our kids had fun and in the end they and several of their friends kept going through back to back. My poor 8 gallon, 5cfm compressor was getting a workout at that point.

Time to plan for next year :)
 

·
Psychic or Psychotic?
Joined
·
720 Posts
I found early on that the kids were blazing through too quickly and props were not triggering fast enough.
This is something I learned many years ago. My family and I will wander slowly through a haunt and appreciate everything but most others will blaze right on through. All those little details that I put into it are missed by 90% of the patrons. I know because we always have video running to see who screams the loudest. I'll ask people if they liked a certain effect and they'll look all confused because they never saw it.

Then there are the other 10% who really appreciate everything. I have friends that will walk through multiple time and look at every little thing. They are the ones that truly appreciate all of the work. They are the few that keep me going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Our ToT count was low, maybe 100'ish, but our kids had fun and in the end they and several of their friends kept going through back to back. My poor 8 gallon, 5cfm compressor was getting a workout at that point.

Time to plan for next year :)
First time doinga haunt. I would say 100 TOTs is pretty darn good. Glad everything worked out for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
I am so impressed. We keep adding to our yard and our older kids dress to scare but we haven't taken the dive for the actual haunt. That is amazing for your first year!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
Looks like you did a great job EvilEye! For the past couple years I've been saying I want to start incorporating air props my hat is off to you for taking the plunge. Sounds like you learned quite a bit especially with traffic flow and how your planning can be all for not because the guests just don't do what you expect them to do.

Not sure if you plan on expanding next year but for us with our garage haunt we have been doing a pre-show about a week before halloween to help work out the bugs. We call it "Invite Night" and gives people we know across town a chance to come by without all the insanity of halloween night. We ask for feedback and it has definitely been very beneficial in tweaking lighting, positioning props/actors, etc.

Looking forward to what you do next year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
401 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Not sure if you plan on expanding next year but for us with our garage haunt we have been doing a pre-show about a week before halloween to help work out the bugs. We call it "Invite Night" and gives people we know across town a chance to come by without all the insanity of halloween night. We ask for feedback and it has definitely been very beneficial in tweaking lighting, positioning props/actors, etc.
That's an excellent idea and for sure I'll look to do that cause it was so frustrating to be off on the timing by a few seconds and then I was bent on fixing it. But the family was like...uhhh, not sure now's the time.

Like Jack Skellington posted, the majority of items seemed to be missed. I'd ask some people about something and they'd be like 'zombie?, what zombie, I didn't see that'.

My legs and feet are frick'n killing me right now, but for sure we'll be back next year with a vengeance. It's hard to find the balance cause the really young ones are too scared, the middle aged ones are sometimes freaked or not frightened at all. Next year's haunt is already named..."Out for Blood"...hehehehe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
177 Posts
It's hard to find the balance cause the really young ones are too scared, the middle aged ones are sometimes freaked or not frightened at all. Next year's haunt is already named..."Out for Blood"...hehehehe.
So true. This was our 3rd year doing the haunted house and traditionally the door greeter would relay via walkie-talkie if we were to do light scare or no scare; if no direction it was full scare. We would then relay the message along to each actor.

In theory it works well but in practice it seems like the light scare/no scare guests really slowed things down. They were so hesitant to proceed that it built our queue line up to 20+ people deep at some points.

I want to give the little ones the opportunity but it really hinders the others waiting (somewhat impatiently) who want the full effect. I think next year we may only give the option to guests for no scare/light before 7:45pm, but after that we will hold nothing back. It seems like most people show up once it gets dark anyways and we really have to pump out the guests at that point to keep the line from going into the street.

Out for Blood ... hmm very nice indeed ... might steal that one from ya.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
401 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In theory it works well but in practice it seems like the light scare/no scare guests really slowed things down. They were so hesitant to proceed that it built our queue line up to 20+ people deep at some points.
This was another lesson learned. I saw one time where a dad grabbed his son and said let's go cause they were in a line of about a dozen at one point. And what jammed it up was because we were letting only a few in at a time and then we had to wait until they'd made it halfway through the haunt cause of the delays I'd put in to avoid multiple repeated prop triggers. So we needed to wait for a timeout before letting the next group go in. I'd quickly fixed this but it wasn't until halfway through the evening...sheesh.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top