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How to Haunt an Apartment Tennis Court

1450 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Phil1979
Hope this is the right spot for this if not let me know. So here goes :

So I have done a local haunt in whatever neighborhood i have lived in for years the last 3 with my wife. This year my company moved me to Gainesville florida for a promotion and we asked the apartment complex that we had to live in if they would mind us doing it. Not only do they not mind but they have 4 other communities near here and want us to put on a larger haunt at one of the communities as a communitiy function on halloween weekend. Now this is like a dream come true but they have given me a very very small budget all be it I have alot of props and costumes myself some nice ones too. I picked up a reacher costume for 50 bucks off of craigslist last Tuesday had to drive 3 hours to pick it up but gotta love the deal. Anyways the area that they have given me is a fenced in tennis slash basket ball court. Plus a little area of trees at the end. Now I have the end of trees at the end covered with a cemetary theme there and all the stuff to do it. But I don't really know how to cordon of the courts into rooms easily without alot of cost. Also its outdoors and I am worried about my props. Any Ideas on this would be greatly appreciated.
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An easy and affordable way to make a maze on a paved surface would be to use 5 gal. buckets filled with concrete, holding up 8' tall posts (2x4's). You can then tie the 2x4 posts together with furring strips for stability and stapling surfaces. For the walls, you can staple heavy black plastic to the uprights and cross members. As long as you have cross members sufficiently spaced across the tops of the halls and between the uprights, the whole structure should be quite stable, even in light to moderate winds. Since the top is open, you should not have any fire marshal concerns. It is a bit of work to get the buckets and uprights put together, but they will be reusable year after year. The furring strips used to stabilize the walls can also provide mounting surfaces for lighting and sound.

Just be sure that the major scares are not in confined halls, as the plastic will not hold back a stampede. ;) We have successfully used this system with the haunted barn portion of our hayride for 16 years.

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Not sure how much money you have to spend. But, my favorite method of maze building is conduit corridor. Using Electrical conduit and junction boxes you build sections. Once it's cut, it goes up quickly and tear down is a snap. Then you cover each section with tarp of somekind. Me...I use fire resistant rated black tarp. t's a little more than regular black plastic. But, it fire resistant. Since you've got a nice fence, you should be golden. You can tie the sections down and they shouldn't move an inch. But, as stated above, the scares should be diected down hallways so they have somewhere to retreat (which they will).

You can see what I'm talking about on my you tube page YouTube - shadowopal's Channel
Two very good ideas. I'm going with conduit for my garage haunted house this year. As Shadowopal posted, it's cheap and easy. Rather than use junction boxes I'm going to use standard pipe canopy fittings which are very sturdy and easy to connect and disconnect. I'm also going with 3/4" conduit for stability.

Shadowopal, your videos are great! I think you've inspired me to put at least one video camera in my haunt. The reactions are priceless.

Did you use tarps or plastic sheeting for you walls? I'm trying to decide how to go. The sheeting is cheap but attaching it could be a problem so I'm looking for ideas.
Well, I went with fire resistant plastic rolls. I'm very paranoid about fire. Especially on black plastic that could turn into napalm and stick to the tots skin and burns very quickly.

But, I also considered fabric. Fabric is nice because you can sex loops that span the width of the top and bottom into the panel. Then you just need to slide the sections on. However, if you want a continuous wall (as I did, It mean adding flaps on the side with buttons or velcro which was just too much effort. But, I still think it's the most efficient and easily reusable method.
Video is a must. You can just pick up vcr's off of freecycle and get some cheap night vision cameras. I got mine for $20 buck on sale from Harbor Freight ($30 regularly). The editing is a little slow. But, it's cheap. I had 6 cameras all together. But, the two that I posted are the only ones I secured well enough to see the footage. The other four ended up pointed at the ground after the first couple groups banged into the walls a few times.
I have a bunch of small black and white low light cameras that I can use. I think I even have a four channel surveillance video capture board with software sitting around. Looking at your video, it's worth the extra work! I'm also thinking of triggering a still camera off the prop controller that runs my air cannon. I think the pictures would be awesome!

How did you end up securing the plastic to the conduit?
hey shadowopal nice idea with the conduit system i just don't understand how to secure them so if someone bumps into one they don't just fall over , doing it inside on the tennis court how would i secure them i am trying to make a pretty large area into alot of small hallways and rooms and i don't want on scared person toppling the whole thing over but i have priced it and it seems very reasonable
and btw nice sound effects where did you get them
How did you end up securing the plastic to the conduit?
We just ducttapped it. We used gorilla glue tape (cause it's black)to tape the loops I taled about to the top and bottom of the roll and then just rolled out the length we needed for each stretch of corridor. Anywhere there was a corner join, we tried to roll it around the corner if possible. If not, we carefully taped them together and then cut the tape we we took it down to prevent tearing the tarp. But, we spent money on the fireproof stuff and wanted to get as many years out of it as possible. You may not need to.

We also didn't bother covering all the upright pipes. Some we painted so we didn't have to do two side worth of tarp. Some, we just left bare. Most didn't notice.

hey shadowopal nice idea with the conduit system i just don't understand how to secure them so if someone bumps into one they don't just fall over , doing it inside on the tennis court how would i secure them i am trying to make a pretty large area into alot of small hallways and rooms and i don't want on scared person toppling the whole thing over but i have priced it and it seems very reasonable
Thanks. I wish I could take crdit for it. But, I stole it from someone else Will Shock is the name I think. But, he spent more money than I did and probably has a quicker to assemble system than mine even. He used the tent joiners spoken of above. I founde the junction boxes to be cheaper and I could make any kind of join I needed for $1-$2

Making the walls stable is easy really. You'll notice in the instruction video that I have 3' pieces spanning the corridor at the top and bottom. This helps a lot after you tighten the screws on the pipes. Plus just having corridor pieces back to back helps. And if you tie the perimiter sections to the fence, I doubt it will move much at all. The key is to not have any free-floating walls. I'll try to explain this as best I can.

When you have a corridor heading west that turns 90 degrees and then immediately turns 90 degrees to make them head back east, you will have a wall that is on their left side that will be a free-floating wall. This is unavoidable as the person has to walk through the wall at some point in order to continue the corridor. Basically, you need to have the junction box at the top connect to the three walls around it. So, the junction box at the top will look like a cross when you look down on it and you plug 3' spanner pieces into each socket and then have a junctino box on the wall where it meets. I hope that helps. I'll draw it up later to show you when I get some time.

But, the free-floater walls are the weak points. So, if you use the above method (assuming I explained it to where you can figure it out), all your walls will use each other for strength. There will be a little bit of give if someone pushes on it. But, the main threat will be to your covering anyway.

and btw nice sound effects where did you get them
Thanks again. I made them. Some I recorded myself. Others I took bits of soundeffects I found on the web and remixed them together. I have a big collection of sound effects that I really need to organize. Once I do that, I'll be offer services for sound effects. Right now, I'm too scattered to do it for a bunch of people. But, if you need something specific, let me know and I'll see what I can dig up.
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thas cool i didn't know if you actually got them off a site online i am just being lazy i have a studio i actually produce electronic music ( i.e. techno) so I have everything i need to do some awesome effects I am just soo busy with my day job then planning this and trying to build props , heck i have to submit everything in writing as to what we are doing for this to the apartment manager today so that i can get my budget by next week lol. Man i am soooo busy right now. Thanks for the wall idea though
Not a problem. Hope it all works out for you. Let me know if you have questions about anything.
I have been searching for a number of days for a link to a tennis court haunted house that I had bookmarked. It was the amazing Hinton Haunted House and the website was vilethings.com. The website is no longer available which a monumental shame because those folks had some great behind the scenes photos of how they put it together, and a whole bunch more. Anyway, I did find an article in haunted house magazine about it with some pics and a write up-


There was so much more on the website. Shame it's no longer available. I may try to email them and see what's up. I hope this is of some help, and I hope your haunted tennis court is a blast!

Wow these guys are in florida just like me I would love to ask them some questions about how they handled certain things let me know if you get ahold of them please. I will try as well.
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