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Greetings from Santa Barbara, California.

1388 Views 18 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  nightrideproductions
Hello everyone. It's a pleasure to be here.

I have a wife and one child (recently turned 1). I am fortunate that my wife is supportive of my hobbies.

We both play videogames together and we run a site called CoopGamer.com, specializing in cooperative video games. Of course, being a non-commercial site, this ended up being more our personal blog than anything, so you'll find articles on our road trips as well as our Halloween events.

Way back when I was young, I had a friend whose dad worked for the special effects department for Universal. Every Halloween, their whole front yard was converted into what essentially was a professional maze not unlike what you would find today in Knott's Scary Farm. Animatronics, hydraulics, actors, etc. They didn't charge anything and lines were blocks long. They probably went through hundreds of dollars in candy.

Anyway, this inspired me to pay it forward now that I'm old enough to afford this stuff and have a house/yard at my disposal. This year will be our 6th and I expect it to be the biggest yet.

On the first year, we had recently purchased a Skee Ball arcade machine. For those not familiar, it's that arcade game where you roll the wooden balls down the ramp and try to get the ball into various point holes.

We decided that we would share the fun on Halloween and let kids play Skee Ball to win candy. On Halloween day, I also happened to stop by the local Rite-Aid and saw all Halloween props/costumes on sale for 50% or more off. So I bought a cheap animatronic pirate, some lame costumes, and a few other items. The important thing was, this started the obsession with props.

The "Skee Ball for Candy" idea was a huge hit. Note that our neighborhood is a bit on the stingy side. Most people are either at bars getting drunk or just turn out all their lights and pretend not to be home. So it's actually not a very appealing culdesac for the kids. But we had a decent enough showing to want to do it again.

Every year it kept getting bigger and bigger. We finished the garage into a full blown game room. My wife and I started building more elaborate scenes in the front yard and also started ambushing. One year I dug a grave for myself and wore a ghoul costume. As people entered, I didn't move a muscle. But after they played Skee Ball and were heading out feeling all happy and safe, they would pass by me again and that was when I would jump and scare the bejeezus out of them.

The year before last, my local Spirit Halloween had a big sale the day after Halloween (like 60%-70% off). Knowing that Halloween was going to be on a Friday the next year, I splurged and spent like $400 on what was probably around $1200 (retail) worth of props. I saved them in our shed for nearly a year to use them in 2008.

The best thing I bought was a fully animatronic Jason. This thing is worth its weight in gold. It has a motion detector, awesome movement, and great sound.
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Here are some pics from the 2008 event.

Crappy Youtube video (first time filming and editing - bear with us):

Halloween 2008

For this year, I'd like to build a couple more advanced props. I'd really like to build some sort of FCG, but I'm not really good with circuitry.

It seems like either you need to be able to solder and rig wiring or you need to buy the whole thing from a 3rd party ($100+). Does anybody know of a good place that is sort of the middle man? Somewhere you can get motors that already have AC plugs that I don't have to fiddle with? I've seen some ideas on here like hacking fans and drills and such. I was just wondering if there is a good source for motors that require almost no extra wiring work to run.
Thank you. I'm seriously humbled by the amazing stuff people have posted here. Something to aspire to! :)
hello, welcooome to the forum, good to have you aboard, just jump right in and enjoy!
Thanks so much everyone.

I stopped by my local electronics store yesterday and bought a few parts (small motor, AC plug wiring, connectors). I don't think this motor will be strong enough to suit my needs, but it will probably give me enough experience to advance my electrical knowledge. Gotta start somewhere, right?
Welcome to the forum!
Welcome to the forum.

I'm still looking for a decent (but inexpensive) 5-6 RPM to build a FCG rig. Anybody know a good electronics place to get one from?

I thought Radio Shack was supposed to carry stuff like this but they have jack squat.
spooky mama and bethene both are doing fcg. maybe check with them. or do a search on fcg, bet you come up with lots of information. love your skee ball game. we have a game room, i would love to have a skee ball game in it. welcme aboard
Thank you all for the warm welcome.

And thanks for the pointers hallorene.
Welcome Eltis, I love your story and hearing about your love for halloween, you will find that all of us here share that same love. What a great fun time of year. Glad to have you with us.
People here have been simply amazing. Thank you for the welcome.
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