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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!

I'm throwing my fourth annual party this year, and one of the aspects I really want to ramp up a bit is my lighting. For the past three years, I've relied on orange and purple Xmas lights strung through the rafters of my basement, along with a couple of black lights and other glowing props. It sets a nice dim tone for the room, but it's a bit two-dimensional. I really want to add more depth and texture to the lumination, so I'm interested in hearing what your favorite lighting effects are? Are there any tride-and-true methods I should use, or principals I should keep in mind when setting up my lighting? What's worked well for you?
 

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Ditto on the halloween/x-mas lights. we string orange & purple ones too. We also use a LOT of candles and you can go wrong with lots of store bought jack'o'lanterns. We also take out the regular bulbs in our basement and use red bulbs. It gives the room more light without taking away the scary effect. We use a few strobe lights as well around certain props. Kind of "highlights" our work. You can see some of the effects of our lighting in our Halloween Party Album '08 off of my profile page. Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Witch Hazel! Your pics look awesome. I've thought about using lots of candles in past years, but since it's an adult party I'm wary of mixing open fire and alcohol. I've thought about using some of those "flicker" lightbulbs to imitate the look, but I'm not sure if it would look cheesey.

My theme this year is "The Haunted Forest", so we're building a couple of great looking trees. Maybe I should stick to black lights for the ceiling, and green glow sticks around the floor? Kind of a glowing purple and green atmosphere?
 

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Flicker bulbs definitely don't look cheesy! If you have a chandelier or some type of wall-mounted hallway lighting, they work perfectly and look completely awesome.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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You can still do real candles - putting them in JoLs will keep them protected. The hurricane lamps or lanterns - still protected.
 

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if you have props there you can also use lights put on this to help the basement
 

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Technological Terror
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I second that thought, V-gan! You can do a lot of different things with flicker bulbs and they don't have to look cheesy!

Here is a shot of some I made using flicker bulbs.


You can check out my detailed tutorial at the link to my website in my signature.
 

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I understand you being wary of mixing alcohol & candles. Luckily, my husband goes around and puts out the candles after the music really gets going and the disco balls come on! Flicker lights do work well. Black lights are always good if you get the real ones. Good luck with everything! Looking forward to seeing pics of the finished product!!
 

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Blaberus craniifer
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I replace all 28 bulbs in the ceiling with black lights in the basement. The I have flicker bulbs, lighted props. I've also used outside malibu lights with colored bulbs to give difference lighting effects. You can find some nice hanging style ones like this:
with a yellow bulb looks really nice attached to the wall. You can also use the malibu spot lights on the ground lighting upward to create shadows on the walls. And its nice because its all low voltage.
 

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We've had some pretty crazy parties over the years and I've never had a problem with candles. I just make sure they are in votives and in places that cannot get knocked over. For instance the center of tables.

Since our new house our parties have been in the unfinished basement which has presented huge lighting problems. (very few outlets and overhead bulbs) I have better luck with the red lights rather than black lights. I also use those wall mounted picture lights. They work really well to light a hallway and highlight some creepy wall art.

Let's see...what else. I picked up some glass wall sconces cheep and put candles in them. Over the food table I have a hanging skull chandelier that holds candles. And I've made some hanging wall lanterns. Remember those ghosts made from cheesecloth and glue? I made some of them, spray painted them black for shades. If you want more info I can take some pictures.

We also tuck "spotlights" up in the rafters to highlight certain things. Which are just those cheapy clamp lights.
 

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I don't do a lot of building or prop making stuff, but for my home party here's my experience:

I tried the cheap black light bulbs in chain stores and they never worked for me - they get SUPER hot, shatter too easily, and don't put out enough light to actually see by, so unless you have a lot of glow stuff, they're not that practical. One year I got a whole bunch on clearance at Joann's for like $0.50, and they weren't even worth that - half didn't work, a bunch broke on the way home, I was just not pleased.

But then I came across these halogen bulbs at Walgreens of all places,
Search Results | Walgreens or
Party Bulb | Walgreens Official Web Site

and I LOVE them! I use the orange and red to replace most of the lightbulbs in our house, and especially the bathrooms. They're about $5 (cheaper on sale) and I've used them 2 years and they store better than the classic bulbs do (a little stronger). They still put out light so you can see and party and function, but it's a cool effect and very festive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You guys, these are such great ideas. Thanks so much!

I tried the cheapo screw-in black lightbulbs myself and had the same issue with low light and easy breakage. I'm going to check out the halogen bulbs and malibu lights for sure... I like the idea of casting up some light from the floor and using some objects to create shadows on the walls.

I've used the clamp on lights in the rafters in the past, so that will probably make a comeback this year, too.
 

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After "back to campus" season is over the chain stores will clearance out their cheap lamps from the dorm catalogs - I got two or three of the multi-head octopus floor lamps at Office Max last year for under $10 each - they are great for halloween, easy to haul around the house, fully poseable "arms" and you can put in a lot of bulbs - here's the similar project at target right now:

in white for $40
5-Arm Floor Lamp - White : Target

or colored for $20
5-Head Floor Lamp - Blue : Target
 

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Try blacklights, but use the real fluorescent ones, not purple incandescent bulbs. Teeth, eyes and whites glow like crazy! I also invested in a Chauvet blacklight. 400w of fluorescent madness!

I also use colored bulbs in those aluminum work lights. They have clamps on the end, so you can attach them to your rafters and direct the light.

I also used flicker bulbs in Christmas candoliers (those candle sets you put in your window at Christmas). For outside, look in the Christmas section of home stores for floodlight sets and colored floodlights. Many stores put Christmas stuff out in Sept, early Oct, and the floodlights are cheaper in that section than in the regular lighting section.
 

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Try blacklights, but use the real fluorescent ones, not purple incandescent bulbs. Teeth, eyes and whites glow like crazy! I also invested in a Chauvet blacklight. 400w of fluorescent madness!

I also use colored bulbs in those aluminum work lights. They have clamps on the end, so you can attach them to your rafters and direct the light.

I also used flicker bulbs in Christmas candoliers (those candle sets you put in your window at Christmas). For outside, look in the Christmas section of home stores for floodlight sets and colored floodlights. Many stores put Christmas stuff out in Sept, early Oct, and the floodlights are cheaper in that section than in the regular lighting section.
Ditto -- that's what I use for lighting too but also use 'real' candles. I have alot of the clamp lights, up lights and pin lights that I place inside and out. I also have the battery operated black lights that use where I can't run electricity - but I do need to replace the batteries every year and some times during the halloween season. But the 400 watt black light is the best - but mine gives off a little heat.
 
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