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The Horror of The South
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Here is a list of common terms spoken is Halloween Forum....


3-Axis Skull = An animated skull that is based on using a 3-axis tilt mechanism moved by servos.


Animated Prop = A prop that moves via a motor, pneumatics, servos or some other type of mechanism.

Axworthy = An amazing effect of chasing ghosts created by Scott Axworthy. It consists of a taut line running along 2 or more pulleys, generally in a horizontal configuration, with one or more "ghosts" attached to the taut line. One pulley will be the drive wheel (with a motor turning it) that provides power to the rig.


Blue Foam = Same as pink foam. A highly dense, smooth-surface insulating foam sheet that you can purchase from large hardware stores. Comes in thicknesses from half an inch up to 2 inches (but the thicker stuff is hard to find in the warmer climates). Used for tombstones, facades and multitudes of set pieces. Blue foam is generally available from Lowes, and manufactured by Dow Chemical but in recent years Lowes has added another version made by Kingspan. Buyers are encouraged to compare the two, as the only one this editor is familiar with is the Dow brand. ;)

Bucky = an anatomically correct analog of the human skeleton, cast from resin. The "bones" are solid all the way through, making the "Bucky" relatively heavy and solid. These are usually made for medical/labs and need to be quite accurate, but sometimes are just not good enough, so then they are sold as non-medical use skeletons for props, also can be called 4th quality. The name BUCKY supposedly comes from some of the early castings using a skull with pronounced buck teeth, thus the nickname.

Blucky = an anatomically incorrect analog of the human skeleton, made from blow-mold plastic. The bones are hollow, making it relatively light. The name "Blucky" is a conjunction of the name "bucky" and the term blow-mold.


C7/C9 (sockets/lights) = a size of light socket in a string of lights. The flicker C7 light (and socket) is used in the Outdoor Flicker candles and many other lighting fixtures in a haunt.

Casket = The North American style of a box used for the purpose of containing the dead.

Coffin = See Toe-Pincher.

Corpse = (verb) The act of converting a skeleton (primarily) into a cadaver, usually in an advanced state of decomposition. Usually using some form of latex, paint, or other wet medium, and paper towels, toilet paper and/or cheese cloth to simulate dried ancient flesh/hair. Can also include painting objects to age/stain to look old and decomposed.

Crank Arm (crank) = An arm that is at a right angle to a shaft and motion is imparted to or received from the shaft. It can also change circular to reciprocating motion or vice versa. It is the basis of movement for the Flying Crank Ghost (FCG). Used in many other animated props.


DMX = A communications protocol to control props and lighting.

DMXorcist: = The DMX version of Exorcist.

Dot Room = A black light room that uses repetitive designs (usually dots, but variations can include masks, eyes, faces and other objects) painted in fluorescent paint that disorientates the ToT. Another feature is using a scare actor staying close to the walls, wearing a full body morph suit that blends with the background and/or a mask, and can scare patrons that pass through the room by moving quickly towards them.

Drop Panel = An opening in an otherwise continuous surface, in which a sliding panel has been mounted - usually opened at high speed, to reveal something nefarious.


Exorcist = A device used in conjunction with VSA to allow multiple inputs and VSA routines.


FCG = Flying Crank Ghost = Created by Doug Ferguson of Phantasmechanics. Lovely invention that usually uses a single motor mounted on a T shaped frame, with attachment hooks for a center and two sides usually to run line from a very light ghost's two hands and head to an pole/arm - the "crank" part of flying crank ghost - attached to the motor that spins in very slow motion. Thin invisible line (usually non-reactive fishing line) is run from the motor arm to each hand and the head, but run through their own seperate hook so they move independently from each other. The ghost is usually constructed from cheesecloth and foam wig head or other very light material and often treated with florscent paints/spray (and use a non-attached florscent light) to make it glow. The motor's slow spin creates a ghostly hovering effect as the hands and head raise and lower slightly out of sequence.

Fog Chiller = A device used to cool and condense the fog produced by any variety of theatrical fog machines. The design of fog chillers may very well be one of the greatest debates among haunters.

Fog Machine = A mechanism in which a thick, non-toxic mist is produced, for theatrical purposes.

Fogger = See Fog Machine.


GB = Ground Breaker = An object that appears to be breaking through the ground, normally to fill in spaces.

GG = Grave Grabber = A motorized prop that creates the effect of the person grabbing out of a grave.

Gemmy = The manufacturer of many large and cheap Halloween props, animatronics, and inflatables. Those props are referred to as Gemmys.


Hot Wire = A tool either home made or store bought that is used to shape either pink or blue foam, usually used by haunters who make their own tombstones.



JOL = Jack O Lantern = The term given to a pumpkin which has an image carved into it.


Kicking Legs = An animated prop that simulates the kicking legs of a human.



Massager = A shiatsu massager that has been re-purposed to drive props. Usually used for GraveGrabbers.

MHC = Midwest Haunters Convention. Takes place in Columbus, Ohio annually.

MIB = Monster in a Box = A box or crate that shakes, makes noises or has some kind of prop pop out of it.

MM = Monster Mud = A mix of 5 gallons of drywall compound with 1 gallon latex paint. Used to add stiffness to fabrics and help to make the prop look like stone.

Morph Suit = a full body spandex/Lycra body suit that covers the person's body completely - head, hands feet in addition to the body itself. Vision/breathing is possible as the fabric is usually thin enough to be able to see, hear and breathe without trouble, but the effect of seeing someone in a morph suit without any other accessories is that they are completely featureless. Used as a base for many faceless characters (Slender Man for example) or when full body coverage is wanted (can leave off the face covering and use it for costumes that may need all over color like Smurfette) Come in solid colors or patterns. Also called a zentai suit.




Pink Foam = Same as blue foam. A highly dense, smooth-surface insulating foam sheet that you can purchase from large hardware stores. Comes in thicknesses from half an inch up to 2 inches (but the thicker stuff is hard to find in the warmer climates). Used for tombstones, facades and multitudes of set pieces. Pink foam is manufactured by Owens Corning and mainly available from Home Depot. The brand name is called Foamular. The pink color is due to the association with the Pink Panther (sales/marketing).

PIR = "Passive Infrared Sensor". A type of sensor used by a lot of haunters to trigger motion in props.

PLC = Programmable Logic Controller = A type of programmable controller that can be used to run animation routines and trigger props.

Pneumatics = Prop controlled with actuators powered by compressed air, relays, and various triggering devices.

PumpkinRot = This is an artist that goes by PumpkinRot in the haunt world (he likes his privacy). He uses a style of paper mache that reflects a very organic and nature-inspired theme with a heavy influence of creepy and usually is some type of either pumpkin or a scarecrow or other nightmare/nature inspired image. His most famous creations are his Pumpkin Sentinels and Scarecrows, and he works with characters that range from handheld to giants. www.pumpkinrot.com

PVC (pipe) = Polyvinyl Chloride is made of a blend of plastic and vinyl that is extruded into pipes that you can get from large hardware stores. One of the most used materials in prop-making. Primarily used in prop forms but now also being used for candles.

PVC Flicker Candles = Candles made out of PVC pipe and flickering tea LED lights. There is also a version that uses C7 flickering bulbs on a timer.




Servo = A Servo (servo motor) is a small device that has an output shaft. This shaft can be positioned to specific angular positions by sending the servo a coded signal. Used in multiple props especially the 3-axis skull.

Silk Flame = Silk fabric that is used to simulate fire. Used for torches, candles and even campfires. A fan and light is positioned under the silk cut out in the shape of a flame.

Spitter = A pneumatic prop that 'spits' a fine spray of water at a ToT. Good for spiders, snakes and acid zombies.

Static Prop = The term given to a prop that has does not move.

Stolloween = An artist, Scott A. Stoll. Works in paper mache, supports are built-out into a 3-D paper mache design, usually using found objects and even recycled bottles, bags and other things to build his base structure. His creations are usually a mix of creepy, gothic, and/or cartoony - dragons, demons, devils, and all manner of spiders and skeletons - with a real artistic flair. He teaches classes and offers all manner of information on the use of paper mache on his site: STOLLOWEEN – Imagination + Papier Mache.


TCT (Trash Can Trauma) = A animated pop-up head that is in a trash can.

Tea-light candle = Faux candle made with short lengths of PVC, topped with battery-powered flickering tea lights.

Toe-Pincher = A traditional European-style coffin which is narrower at the foot and head areas and wider in the middle. Not to be confused with a Casket!

ToT = Trick or Treat = Usually followed by a -ing ( Trick Or Treating ) or -ers ( Trick Or Treaters ).

Transworld = A convention held each year that showcases professional props made for the haunted attraction industry.



VSA = Visual Show Animation = A program that allows you to choreograph a prop's actions.





Updated May 2020 ~FG
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