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Halloween 2014 - The Creep Machine & Maleficent

2777 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Diaval
Hello All,

I bet you have been wondering where I have been the past few weeks as I wasn't hanging out in the forums as I normally do just before Halloween. Well that is because I been working on a very large project since September and even earlier than that.

This year I had two major things going on. The first I planned back in July and that was to make my wife up as Maleficent for Halloween. I saw the movie the 2nd week it was out and completely fell in love with Jolie's performance as Maleficent. I got very attached to the character and I suddenly got the desire to make up a costume for my wife. This presented many challenges as my wife doesn't look anything like Jolie and she has much darker skin too.

But after much toiling and some trial and error my wife and I came up with a Jolie inspired but different take on Maleficent. I must say that I am very pleased with the results.

Since I am on DeviantART, I posted some pictures as well as my explanation of her costume there, and will no reiterrate those details here. Here is my journal entry on making the costume for those that want all the details:


Keep in mind the Halloween footage you see in the linked video was LAST YEAR's (2013) as I was explaining to people at DA what I do for Halloween.

For my main attraction I ended up doing a play on an old film that used to be shown in grade schools during the 70's. This was a film that was designed to help kids face their fears. The show was called, "The Creeps Machine." However, over the years I seemed to have forgot the title somewhat, and remembered it as just "The Creep Machine."

I posted a message about the film here in the Halloween forum and the results are here:


The film wasn't a Halloween film it its own right, but schools did show it at around Halloween time.

The original film had 4 scare vignettes over a 9 minute length for the entire film. I recently managed to come across a copy of the film and upon viewing it, I got the idea to enlarge it to full size and make it live and hence you see the machine at it was on Halloween night in the picture I posted.

I managed to get my show down to 6 minutes and 15 seconds, including an intro and outro. One scare I directly lifted from the film, one I modified and two I came up with on my own.

Here is the text from my post on DiviantART as well as the link to my Journal entry there:


Ok, so what is a "Creep Machine?"

Basically this device was the center of attraction in a show that featured 'scare vignettes'. Since the covered patio didn't offer enough room for a full walkthrough, I got the idea to bring the scares to the people instead. All they did was line up in front of the barrier you see (I could hold 8 people at one time, on the 'stage'), and I pushed a button on the machine. Then a computer would take over and introduce the narrator and The Creep Machine and what it does. The square with the diffuser on the lower right corner would flash in sync with the narrator's voice. Then narrator would then introduce each scare and The Creep Machine would deliver each scare in turn based on intensity. This intensity would reflect on the 'Creep-O-Meter', which ranged from 'Wuss to Danger'. Between each vignette I played song clips to reflect the situation.

There were four scares in all (Their levels on the Creep-O-Meter):

Level 2 - Fear of the dark:

This scare featured a set of large eyes (set on the window above the Creep Machine) and a monster growl. Pretty much everything else was off as I wanted it to be as dark as possible. Song clip: Bump In The Night - All Stars.

Level 3 - Fear of Insects and Spiders:

I had a Spirit Jumping Spider sitting to the left in the pen next to the Creep Machine which triggered the spider. A spot light shown on the spider. (sadly this caused me trouble as the spider kept going off on it's own even with the switch in the right position. So I disconnected it and shut the spider down for the night :( ). Song Clip: Spiders And Snakes - Jim Staffford.

Level 4 - Fear of Electricty (Thunder and Lightning):

The Creep Machine fired off devices that are called 'electronic firecrakers' which made a loud popping sound. Clearly this ended up being the most intense scare and the one people liked the most. Here I kicked in the Plasma globe and Laser light show that I had pointed at the roof of the Awning. I had two clips for this: The Power - Snap (this was the light show part) Knock On Wood - Amii Stewart (for the electronic fire cracker part).

Level 6 - Fear of Clowns: The right side of the double glass door you see in the background, I had rigged up a life size scary clown prop behind a scrim. At the right time, the Creep Machine would fire off a light bulb that would light up behind the scrim onto the clown and thus you would see him through the glass. (While an effective scare, it didn't work right until it became really dark. Then it was awesome). Song clip: Pop Goes The Weasel.

The intro to the show started with the Halloween movie theme, and outtro to the show ended it with Arcadia by DeadMau5 (Dead Mouse).

I will be posting a link here soon when I post some video up on You Tube.

The clown scare I directly lifted from the film, the fear of the dark scare I modified and other two I came up with on my own.

Most of the scares in the show were 'startle' type scares that caused people to 'jump'. For me, I like these type of scares the most as opposed to things that are gruesome and gory.

I had the area sectioned off so those that didn't want to be scared didn't have to go to the backyard. That is another belief I have in that I like to warn people before they go into an area that has scares. I don't particularly like it when I see houses that set up scares on paths where kids have to go to get candy. What if someone has a health problem? What about the elderly? Or simply what about those that just don't want to be scared. So I always separated my scares from other parts of my display.

Ok, that being said, time for the other 'star' attraction in my display. While I was running the show in the back yard, my wife, dressed as Maleficent was giving out candy next to my singing pumpkin display. I made a spot for her (which you will see in the pictures), that consisted of a bench and some lights. The bench was large enough so that if people wanted to take pictures with her, they could. However, mother nature decided to turn down the thermostat and it became too cold for her to sit outside and she moved to the front door. The sad thing was that the area I set up for her didn't get much use. But people still did use the area as a photo op spot. Overall, everything worked out well with her costume and she handled things very well with giving out candy. We had plenty candy and even had left overs.

The costume turned out excellent and I am happy that a simple thing such as a comb and hair pins were all that were necessary to fix the problem with the horns. My wife found a good makeup scheme that worked for her eyes and I just ended up with a good selection for her clothes. The staff didn't turn out too bad either. It really came nicely together. My wife did get tons of complements on the costume.

The last attraction I had was a reprise of my Singing Pumpkins. This was the same as I had been always doing so I will not go into much details here. I just moved the pumpkins from where they were outside last year, to inside the vestibule for this year. The song line up was the same as last year:

Monster Mash
Grim Grinning Ghosts
Monster's Holiday
I'm Your Boogie Man

I wanted to add "Black Magic Woman" by Santana, but I just ran out of time. There was just so much that wanted to do this year that I didn't get to do due to time constraints.

The evening went well overall, with a smooth steady flow of people coming to the yard from 4:00pm on. Since the Creep Machine required a set up period and worked better at night, I started that at 5:00pm. Later on mother nature decided to play ugly again, as she always does for Halloween, and it started to lightly rain. So at 8:00pm I took a cue from my neighbors across the street as they started to wrap up their pretty elaborate lawn display. So I started to wrap things up too by taking my signs down and other items I had outside that shouldn't get wet. I kept the pumpkins and the Creep Machine on until 9:00pm, but pretty much things died down after 8:00pm and between that time and 9:00 only one more small group showed up to see the Creep Machine.

When everything was done I took some more pictures of my wife without the cape on and with her staff inside the house so you can get a good look at what the costume looks like without the cape.


Ok, I have the main video of Halloween night posted on You Tube. I will have the narrative up soon! Enjoy!


Here is the narrative (night before) video:




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Wow, awesome! Your wife looks great , btw! Glad you got it done this year. I had to work in the city the next day so I planned on no animatronics and a smaller setup. I was also suspicious about the weather forecast too. Was I ever glad I didn't do the full blown haunt. When that rain came down at 8 pm, I was so thankful I had nothing out to really run for. It was all things that could mostly get wet. I grabbed some stuff, but if I had all my animated props my head would have exploded with that rain, and wind! So all in all, we had fun and there was plenty for the kids to see and enjoy. Plus I scared the dickens out of most of them at the door too. All your pics are great. I have my pics from 2014 in my signature. I'll have a video soon too.
Wow, awesome!
Thank you very much!

Your wife looks great
Thank You. It literally was a labor of love on two counts, one my wife (of course), and after I saw the new Maleficent movie this past summer, I just completely fell in love with the character. In mid June, we (my family) discussed Halloween over ice cream at Friendly's and the idea was born to create a Maleficent costume for my wife. It was very involved, but I very much got into it and I was overall pleased with the results. Really the only thing that I didn't do were the eyes. My wife wears perscription lenses with astigmatism correction and that would make the $30 costume lenes, $130. Obviously it wasn't worth it. (Because we didn't do the eyes, I opted to do her pointed ears instead). She just changed her makeup scheme that would work with her dark eyes. Outside if the makeup, I did everything else. I bought all the items for the costume and created the harness for the horns and also built the staff. I even came up with the hair style for her because her hair had to be styled in a certain way to cover up the harness. The whole point was the make it look like the horns are growning out of her head. Needless to say, we did achieve that goal. Then came the accessories, such as her raven skull themed necklace and slave ring bracelet. (I had a woman on Ebay make those for me). The cape was an afterthought as we didn't know how cold it would be this Halloween and as you can see from the pictures, the entire top of her costume is all open. Even with the cape, she couldn't stay outside for long periods of time. But she did come out and I tried to get as many pictures as I could. The only shame is that after I took everything down, I realized that I didn't have a picture of my wife next to The Creep Machine.

, btw! Glad you got it done this year.
It was tough going and much blood, sweat and tears were shed over this project. It was my largest to date and I can officially say, I did an actual HAUNT! The idea for the Creep Machine came to me late and it was based on that thread I posted about that movie short, The Creeps Machine.

Up until that point, I was going to do some sort of interactive electric chair which I had planned from the start of July. But then after I saw The Creeps Machine movie, then the idea hit me. Since I didn't have enough room on the patio for a full walkthrough, why not have the scares come to the people as they stand in one spot. The scares would come as vignettes, just as they did in the movie. But now it was September and I had to shift my gears entirely to get the project underway. So there was much scrambling to do. The control set up for the Creeps Machine was much more involved than with the interactive electric chair. I ended up using the SAME program as I have on the singing pumpkins to do the job. But the task was heightened as the program for the singing pumpkins is only 16 channels, where as The Creep Machine ended up being 48 channels. Granted about 12 of those channels were just audio cues and triggers. But I did have music chases going too. You will see that all once I post the video. I only have a teaser up right now on You Tube.

I had to work in the city the next day so I planned on no animatronics and a smaller setup.
Wow, I thought you had something big planned and wanted to do something in your back yard. I guess the city gig was somewhat last minute and you had to change things?

I was also suspicious about the weather forecast too. Was I ever glad I didn't do the full blown haunt. When that rain came down at 8 pm, I was so thankful I had nothing out to really run for. It was all things that could mostly get wet.
Same here! Given what happened last year, with that threat of rain, I found myself scambling to get my singing pumpkins down and the rental speakers out of harms way. Luckily it only drizzled last year, but that was when I said that I was going to do something different. I knew then I was going to move the singing pumpkins into the vestibule where all I had to do was pull a couple plugs and close the door if it rained. I also knew I was going to use the backyard patio, which has a large awning over it. So basically all I had out this year were a couple of signs that had some props on it, and my Pumpkin Head guy that works with the singing pumpkins.

Yep, around 8:00pm I could feel the drizzling and I saw my neighbor across the street (of whom was his first year with a large Halloween display himself), start to pull things in. Even though I wanted to stay open until 9:00pm, I noticed that once it started to drizzle, the action almost completely stopped. From 8:00 to 8:10, I didn't have one person. Then I noticed the rain was picking up and I took a cue from my neighbor and started to pull my signs and lamp posts in (and everything else that couldn't get wet). I would say I had everything in in less than 15 minutes. But by 8:30, I started to shut down the singing pumpkins when I got a few more people for the Creep Machine. Then after that nothing. I left the lights on in the back yard just in case, but with all the lights already off, except for the one over the singing pumpkins, if anyone was passing by, they probably thought I was done for the night. I DID keep the Creep Machine open until 9:00pm and I started to dismantle my signs during this time.

After 9:00pm, I shut the rest of it down and pulled the wiring in for the Creep Machine. By 10:00pm I was pretty much done. I took a few more pictures of my wife and then wrapped things up for the night.

Despite being a more complicated setup, the shutdown was much faster because I had planned for the rain from the get go. I know Mother Nature has never been nice to us Long Islanders when it comes to Halloween. So I was expecting her to pull a stunt like that. But at least it wasn't raining all day.

Glad to hear you weren't scrambling as much either and that most of the items you had out could get wet.

I grabbed some stuff, but if I had all my animated props my head would have exploded with that rain, and wind! So all in all, we had fun and there was plenty for the kids to see and enjoy. Plus I scared the dickens out of most of them at the door too.
I could imagine! Yes, we had fun too. I did have many asking about the Magic Mirror and it had me wondering that after doing the Magic Mirror for four years I figured the TOT's would want something new.

While the TOT's liked the Creep Machine, I just couldn't help but feel that they liked the Magic Mirror better. Well, I will say that since doing this from 2009, I thought it was time for a change, I guess I was wrong. I had one boy even 'look' for the Magic Mirror.

In the future I think I will go back to the Magic Mirror. I kind of knew that being that this is my last year doing this at my parent's place, The Creep Machine was going to be a one time thing. It was just too big of a project to do on my own. My entire September and October was consumed by this project, and I found myself ignoring my sons and even becoming irrate with them for disturbing me. But they have me back now and we been watching Halloween movies together the past 3 nights. I even told them I am not going to do something that big again unless I have help. It was just too big of a project. So sadly, I have decided that The Creep Machine was a one time deal.

I do eventually want to do the interactive electric chair, and much of the pieces for the Creep Machine will be used for that. However, that is something that is FAR down the road. Next year, I am going to take the year off...well, not entirely. I am going to plan costumes for my wife and myself and I might put a few things out at my parents place...such as the Jumping Spider. But it is just going to be something that I could put out in one day and then take it all back in.

As it is I really want to feel out how Halloween is where I live. Since I been living here, I do not know what the Trick Or Treater situation is out here. So I am planning to spend part of the day here and then go to my parents for the latter part of the day.

All your pics are great. I have my pics from 2014 in my signature. I'll have a video soon too.
Thank You, I will be sure to check them out. I am not sure if I am going to post more pictures, but I am working on the videos as I have to piece them together. I should have the first video up tomorrow evening.

Edit: Just checked out the video and pictures. NICE job! Cool! Especially the graveyard. The lighting is great! Did you have any animatronics out at all? Do you have video of you scaring TOTs?

VERY original and creative!!! Well done!
Thank you very much. It wasn't totally original as I did get the idea from a 1973 short film called The Creeps Machine. But working from that idea the machine concept and most of the scares (except one) are original. The 'clown' scare I did lift from the original movie. The narration and vignette concept I also lifted from the movie.

I will say that I would like to use this idea again since the concept of having the people in one place and bringing the scares to them seems FAR more appealing to me then a regular walkthrough. For one, less space is needed and I don't have to put up big walls that can be blown down by the wind. So the concept I might revisit, but that is WAY down the path. As I mentioned to Shockwave above, I do want to eventually do an interactive electric chair. As it was, that was the original plan for this year until I came across the idea for the Creep Machine.

Thank you again for the nice comments.

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Ahhh, I didn't know you lurk among us in the Halloween Forum as well.

WOW!! That is great! I love the setup!!
Thank You. Glad you liked it. Yes, between my wife's costume and shifting plans to do the Creep Machine, it certainly looked like I wasn't going to make it. But it did pull though in the end. The only casualty I had was that the jumping spider didn't want to cooperate with the Creep Machine. At first I had him running on his own on the side, but then the loud poppers would set him off. You can see this in my teaser clip.

I am hoping to get the video ready by this weekend this way you can see the 'big picture' of what the Creep Machine was like.

Maybe I will post the narrative tonight. That should help too.

Main video is up for the Creep Machine.

Hello All,

Just to let you know I put the main video up on You Tube tonight. I am going to put the narrative (where I describe everything) up tomorrow. The main video features highlights of Halloween night. The narrative will explain things not in the main video as well as showing a full run through of The Creep Machine show.


Looks great and much fun had by all! Good for you!
Yes we did have quite a bit of fun, especially myself. This was the first time I was out and about the whole night. Since 2009, I was trapped behind that Magic Mirror and would only come out during slow periods. This time I could actually get footage of the action. I think I mentioned that I ended having my camera around my neck the whole night. This was unintentional, but with so many people up and about my yard, I wasn't going to put a $300 camera down anywhere and have it walk off. So between my spiked blonde wig, blue hoodie and the camera, I guess my 'costume' for the night would be a 1980's fashion photographer. I did spend quite a bit of time taking pictures of my wife and the camera does video too, so the one camera did it all. So it never left my neck the whole night.

Basically all I did was 'tend' the line for the Creep Machine, ushered people into the backyard and then start the show for them. She show itself was totally automated. It used the same controlling software as the singing pumpkins on a separate computer of course. So it did test my theory that my Christmas lighting controller could be used to automate a haunt using one computer.

They should change the tagline for the Vixen lighting controller: "Vixen...It is not only for Christmas anymore."

Well, next month the controller will be used again but FOR Christmas.

So the last thing on my agenda for now is to put up the narrative video and then I will bring Halloween 2014 to a close.

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WOW!!! You put a ton of thought behind your creep machine, and it turned out fantastic! The voice! The lights! The music! That was fun!

And your wife looks incredible!
Good pics and decorations, FRAT.
WOW!!! You put a ton of thought behind your creep machine, and it turned out fantastic! The voice! The lights! The music! That was fun!
Thank you very much. It was a fun night for all. My kids got a kick out of it more than anyone else. I did have my share of technical issues, but most I was able to work around. The only one that was a complete fail was the jumping spider trigger. It was something I should have worked on earlier. But it was something I was sure was going to work, but 2 days before Halloween and I found out that it didn't work. I tried to fix it, but to no avail.

The voice behind the Creep Machine, Sinister Sid, is me. I just tried to make my voice more evil sounding. Believe it or not, the entire show was run from a program that was meant to sync Christmas lights to music. Over the years, I found out the controller actually makes a good controller for Halloween too. Since it supports simultaneous outputs and triggers, you could run a whole haunt with it.

And your wife looks incredible!
Thank you. She is a beauty to begin with and that kind of worked against us when putting together the costume. I just thought she was just too sweet and lovely looking to pull off a menacing look like Maleficent does. However, when we were experimenting with the makeup and finally came up with something good, she lays this look on me (see attached). I didn't pay much attention to it when I took the shot, but later when I went through the pictures I was like Holy Crow! Now THAT is a menacing look. Her eyes just went right through me and I was like YES!

On Halloween day I had a surprise for her and that was her staff. I managed to somewhat complete it for her (there was more I wanted to do with it), but at least I had a staff for her. Color changing to boot!



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Narrative (behind scenes night before) video is up!

Hello All!

Ok, I posted the narrative video on You Tube tonight:



So that will be all for Halloween 2014!

Keep in mind this was the last year I have done a Halloween display at this location, which is my parent's home. I mostly will be doing costumes for my family next year, but at the same time I am going to get a feel for what the Trick Or Treater situation is like here at my own home.

So we will see what in store for next year.

I will still be sticking around a few days to answer any messages here, but for all purposes outside that, see you all next year 2015!
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