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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Y'all!

This years theme is going to be a haunted treehouse. I have a small yard with a huge tree nearly in the center. THe tree is old with lots of large, low branches so i'm probably going to have to do 3/4 scale to get it to look right.

Hoping to get some additional ideas for scenes from y'all -- they need to be cheap and not too mechanical coz me and my partner in fright are artists NOT engineers...not even slightly=) a fan prop and shiatsu are about as far as we go.

Backstory is kids build their treehouse in the evil forest (think Tolkien's Old Man Willow kinda thing). Majority of action will take place below the treehouse because the tree branches are very thick after about 5' of trunk. So here are our scene ideas so far:

* child climbing up the rope ladder being attacked by tree limbs
* fan prop child hanging from a vine noose and trying to free himself

* ground breaker child that's been buried alive, perhaps with hula hoop half buried to give idea of how quickly he was swallowed up
* giant spider with webbed child

* animated tree limbs (powered by shiatsu hopefully)
* and of course the spooky nursery rhyme music

Any additional ideas you can think of would be greatly appreciated -- maybe incorporating a pet dog or something besides children??

Thanks for any ideas and Happy Haunting!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Perhaps it does! Then I have "evil" kids attacking other kids, maybe from a fort or some other structure on the ground. Or maybe the kids that have turned are now attacking adults. Hmmm...

Looking for a scare factor, not a gore factor. This display is going to make my Idaho neighbors uncomfortable enough with all the dead children...
 

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Maybe add some other classic elements to your tree, lit by spotlights/strobes from below. A strobe light pointing up into a thick bare tree can trick your mind a bit- are those branches moving? If this is a walk through for ToTers a couple of more "standard" elements might tie it together for the younger crowd. My daughter is 4 and would not understand a ground breaker and the concept of being eaten, but she would be terrified of Dracula floating from a tree branch lit up by a red spotlight and cape flapping in the wind. At my yard haunt i have gory, conceptual stuff to scare the older kids out of their wits, but plenty of skeletons, spider webs, and hanging dummies with masks to scare the crap out of the younger ones.

You said it about making parents uncomfortable- it's one thing to be known as "that guy on the street who really decorates for Halloween", it's another for neighbors to talk for the next 2 months about the weirdo who had all the dead kids in his yard. Especially if you are in a conservative religious type setting. Something to think about.
 

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I am not really sure on what to suggest adding, but I would consider some red spot lights inside. Just to attact attention upward.
 

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Definitely use lighting to illuminate the upper parts of the tree.

On an available space, you could add large face features to your tree, something like this, but much larger. Add a motion triggered light to light it up when the ToT's come by. Sort of like an evil tree with an evil treehouse.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
i would LOVE to add a "shadow" face to the tree that blinks on and off but alas, the trunk is only thick for about 2 feet and then it separates into 3-4 branches. I'm gonna give it a shot, but i don't think it's gonna work. If not, i'll have to try adding an actual face like you linked to Warrant. If I create it myself perhaps I can work it into the many branch separations.

And yes, since action can't really take place IN the treehouse, red lights and flickers, maybe a strobe are going to be necessary.

Also since i don't have kids, does anyone know if they still make those barking/moving dogs (not the pricey robot dogs, lol)? Thinking that might be a good source of movement and sound as it is being pulled into the tree by a vine.
 

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The tree eats children and lures them in with the treehouse. You could have fake vines coming down from it with (dummies) children dressed up in costumes hanging from them. Have fake roots entangled in skeletons on the ground.
 

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Sounds great, but be careful. I don't know if you've thought of this but you don't want anyone climbing up the ladder or in the tree house. If they were to fall it could possibly cause you some legal problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ah, verry good point about the ladder. Last year I roped off the area for just that reason, but this year i was trying not to do a fence. I can probably work something out, having the ladder start a bit higher off ground and maybe having the last wooden rung broken. Luckily I will have more room to go up than i originally thought -- now it looks like i could get treehouse about 9' up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Billman -- i like the backstory idea that the treehouse is provided by the tree! And roots over skeletons on ground is good too, as if this has been going on for decades. And that's one less child to buy -- skeletons i got, kids not so much.

PK -- Money is always in short supply and this year is no different. I need things i can build or pick-up real cheap. But, i do have many props from previous years, especially the hard stuff like 2 good fog machines, strobes, my fave fading adaptor, skellies, lights, etc. and PLENTY of time.
 
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