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Horror-Jump Scare-Eerie
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Halloween is only 280 days away, you know what that means! Procrastinate your builds until it's only 30 days away 馃槀

In all seriousness, I never finished that cauldron I talked about making last year, I dropped the ball (and bought a large plastic one). The good news, I'm at the paper mache portion of that build and I'll be working to finish it this year.

Most importantly, want to build a mausoleum for the back of my Dark Angel/grave yard display and figure out a way to wind proof everything. This past year was the first year that we experienced gale force winds almost all of October. I lost a few tombstones, my Dark Angel's sword snapped at the base and it's wings bent (must fix). The reality? I had to take down most of my outdoor decorations before Halloween even hit and I do not want to repeat that this year.

I know that plywood is a good foundation but does anyone have any other suggestions? Has anyone had to deal with the same issue? We did our best to tie down the Dark Angel but animatronic frames are not that sturdy and another round of high winds could snap it in half.

This was my front yard set up for 2021, the only reason my cauldron piece was safe was due to the long metal stakes we drilled into the wood and hammered into the ground

Sky Plant Blue Nature Leaf
Plant Sky Window Grass Building
 

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The weather this year WAS severe in many parts of the world. I have 2 strategies and one idea (totally untested).

For tombstones I use concrete rebar pins. They are solid metal, like a dowel made from steel (with a pointed tip and small holes thru the dowel every 4-6"). One downside is that if you use a sledge to pound them in, the top will mushroom a bit and eventually doesn't fit into a PVC pipe. A bench grinder let's you clean them up.

When bad wind is called for, I take a lot down and lay it flat. Tombstones, any prop that can lay down, etc. Sounds like your display would have been down more than up in 2021, tho. It's quick to drop and replace the props, but if I was doing it more than 3 times I would get pissy about it.

Idea (untested, might be insane) - I used to ride roller coasters and the common wisdom was that wooden coasters shook so they wouldn't break apart (if it ain't shaking, it's breaking). I don't know if allowing for SOME movement with spring loaded mounts would be smart. Almost the prop equivalent of crumple zones - super stiff springs that allow some tilt/sway but return to normal.

Interested to see what solutions people have, wind sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The weather this year WAS severe in many parts of the world. I have 2 strategies and one idea (totally untested).

For tombstones I use concrete rebar pins. They are solid metal, like a dowel made from steel (with a pointed tip and small holes thru the dowel every 4-6"). One downside is that if you use a sledge to pound them in, the top will mushroom a bit and eventually doesn't fit into a PVC pipe. A bench grinder let's you clean them up.

When bad wind is called for, I take a lot down and lay it flat. Tombstones, any prop that can lay down, etc. Sounds like your display would have been down more than up in 2021, tho. It's quick to drop and replace the props, but if I was doing it more than 3 times I would get pissy about it.

Idea (untested, might be insane) - I used to ride roller coasters and the common wisdom was that wooden coasters shook so they wouldn't break apart (if it ain't shaking, it's breaking). I don't know if allowing for SOME movement with spring loaded mounts would be smart. Almost the prop equivalent of crumple zones - super stiff springs that allow some tilt/sway but return to normal.

Interested to see what solutions people have, wind sucks.
Thank you for this advice, I really struggled this past October so anything is worth trying.
 

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I don't have a full mausoleum, just a facade (working on building the rest this year) and sturdied it by using jack stands that I weighted down with sandbags. Stood up to some 50 MPH winds this year. Here's a video from Hollywood Haunters that inspired me -

I also use sand bags in the bottoms of my pillars for my cemetery opening, and just about everything else gets the rebar and pvc pipe treatment. My inflatables get deflated and a piece of cardboard with a cinder block placed on them if it's going to be really bad.
 
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I'm fairly certain I posted on here last year that Dark Angel looked like it could not stand even a gentle breeze. Its wings would just become sails. I saw it in store. I am an outdoor decorator. Some props can only be put out on a virtually windless day. I don't really feel like doing that so I try not to buy them.
 

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I will also caution you that props swaying significantly in the wind causes cumulative stress to the (generally) weak welds at the base. I'm not an engineer, though.

The HD Giant Skelly and Pumpkin guy appear to have solved this problem with both substantially strengthened base connections, but perhaps more importantly a tensioned guywire that almost eliminates sway. Plus they are skeletons, so not sails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't have a full mausoleum, just a facade (working on building the rest this year) and sturdied it by using jack stands that I weighted down with sandbags. Stood up to some 50 MPH winds this year. Here's a video from Hollywood Haunters that inspired me -

I also use sand bags in the bottoms of my pillars for my cemetery opening, and just about everything else gets the rebar and pvc pipe treatment. My inflatables get deflated and a piece of cardboard with a cinder block placed on them if it's going to be really bad.
When I get a chance I'll watch that video. I like the sandbag idea and will probably end up going that same route for my mausoleum. Thank you for the good advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm fairly certain I posted on here last year that Dark Angel looked like it could not stand even a gentle breeze. Its wings would just become sails. I saw it in store. I am an outdoor decorator. Some props can only be put out on a virtually windless day. I don't really feel like doing that so I try not to buy them.
I honestly didn't have much trouble with it's wings on days where there was a steady breeze, but on days where the wind speed was over 15 MPH I had to pull them down, they didn't even go back up for the 31st. I didn't take into account that we would experience such strange weather.

Thank you for your input, I know took a risk putting it outside but I think I have some ideas to reinforce the frame work and I'll just keep the wings off... or just keep it as an indoor prop.
 

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For my gravestones, both bought and self-made I used green plant posts (2 each gravestone), the fiberglass ones, and glued them up into the foam with about 10 inches sticking out of the bottom. Then I drove the yellow PVC pipe into the ground with about an inch sticking up. I could put the gravestones in and out, which let me mow and blow leaves. We had some rain just after Halloween which let me use channel lock pliers to grab on and pull off.

For mausoleum, I would buy a resin shed and screw thin painted panels on the visible sides to make it look good. They are made to withstand winds and let you maybe put angel in door way to block wind, out inside in storms, and then you have storage afterwards (they come apart easy to rebuild elsewhere).

For my 12' guys, I have bought stronger guy wires (wrapped the wire around the eyelet of the skeleton once instead of just passing through it) and put eyelets for one under my porch eaves and the other skeleton was supported in landscape timbers that themselves are rebared into the ground. Nary a movement through all of September and October. I highly recommend the large rebar hooks, I found Feed Garden 16 inch, 16 pack on Amazon and they made a huge difference.
 
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