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Discussion Starter #1
So far I've purchased some dollar tree solar spots ( weak) , Walmart's solar spots, and 3 hard wired color changing spots.
I haven't tried creating my own less or anything like that.
If you have suggestions, please share or links to good directions for a newbie to lighting.
 

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black light queen
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yeah, lighting is kind of difficult and can get expensive ... my advice for a new member to this forum & i'm thinking a newish haunter is to start small and slowly build your lighting collection ... remember to stock up on the after halloween sales where you should be able to get 75% off or more ... which reminds me, some stores have 1/2 off before halloween, so keep your eyes peeled, although i'm generally too busy to get more props/lights/etc just before halloween, but do like saving some hard earned cash after the big night ... remember though, selection may be limited, so if you see something that you really like, you might want to consider getting it at full price ... the 12' home depot skeletons are all sold out, at least on line & near me ...

amk
 

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If you are comfortable with soldering and electronics, there are plenty of tutorial on using LEDs for spotlights, and LED strips for all sorts of lighting
 

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The two lights I love best are not cheap, unfortunately. But I use 2 tricks. I put them in my cart so if the price drops I know about it. And I use camelcamelcamel to see how prices vary (helps me id a good price).
 

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For solar lights, you want to get the mid price range ones. Not dollar store, those die real quick. Not the $5 ones from the big box (walmart/target/etc), but the ~$10 ones. 10-15 lumen is the sweet spot for a spotlight, and they make some pretty bright and large (120 lumen) color changing solar stakes for flood lights. Downside is, they often don't come on until full dark, which is a little bit later than I'd like.

For plug-in outdoor flood lights, walmart has some in the xmas section this time of year. I know, I know... but they're like 8 bucks and they work really well. And they come with nice green and red filter lenses. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Holiday-Time-Christmas-Decor-LED-Floodlight-White/45394798

To change colors, I buy lighting gels (transparent plastic sheets) online, then cut out circles and put them onto the solar lights with electrical tape.

I'm also still a big fan of string lights. They've got classic holiday feel, come in a ton of colors and styles, are easily available, and very effective at keeping people on the pathway and not behind fences where they ought not to be.

Early on, I used strobe lights. Today those are a no go, because 1) many people are sensitive to them, can cause problems, distracting for drivers, and 2) they're kind of obnoxious, tbh. Hard to see anything if you need to get in there to fix or adjust.

I also used to use some outdoor stake lights, where you add your own bulb. I still use them sometimes, for supplemental flood lights, as a color wash, but I rely on the spotlights more. A big ol' flood bulb is super hot, hard to hide so you don't accidentally look at it, and tends to wash out everything.

I'm not the kind of person who wants to mess with building lighting or LED strips, though there's a lot of options out there now that didn't used to be available.

One more, cheap and effective. I'm a big fan of, if your house is part of the display, using the interior lighting with some plastic party table cloths taped over the windows. Use 2-3 layers of plastic, then turn on the overhead light. Purple's the only really difficult color here.

Mix up your sources, though, don't try to rely only on floods or only on spotlights. A variety is best, and leave some shadows and darkness too. I'm a big fan of color, using white light only as a supplement, because IMO colored lighting is more "magical" feeling. Color theory, color temperature, theming... there's a lot to this! Don't stress, you'll learn with experience what you like and what works for you.

While you're at it, I'd also invest in making sure you have enough outlets outdoors, enough extension cords (outdoor cords!), some outdoor timers (makes life easier) or outdoor multi-outlet stakes, and maybe even some of those cord protector things that clip over your power connections (cord ends coming together) to keep water out. It's a good time to pick that stuff up, again in the xmas supplies where it's cheaper than in the off season.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
For solar lights, you want to get the mid price range ones. Not dollar store, those die real quick. Not the $5 ones from the big box (walmart/target/etc), but the ~$10 ones. 10-15 lumen is the sweet spot for a spotlight, and they make some pretty bright and large (120 lumen) color changing solar stakes for flood lights. Downside is, they often don't come on until full dark, which is a little bit later than I'd like.

For plug-in outdoor flood lights, walmart has some in the xmas section this time of year. I know, I know... but they're like 8 bucks and they work really well. And they come with nice green and red filter lenses. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Holiday-Time-Christmas-Decor-LED-Floodlight-White/45394798

To change colors, I buy lighting gels (transparent plastic sheets) online, then cut out circles and put them onto the solar lights with electrical tape.

I'm also still a big fan of string lights. They've got classic holiday feel, come in a ton of colors and styles, are easily available, and very effective at keeping people on the pathway and not behind fences where they ought not to be.

Early on, I used strobe lights. Today those are a no go, because 1) many people are sensitive to them, can cause problems, distracting for drivers, and 2) they're kind of obnoxious, tbh. Hard to see anything if you need to get in there to fix or adjust.

I also used to use some outdoor stake lights, where you add your own bulb. I still use them sometimes, for supplemental flood lights, as a color wash, but I rely on the spotlights more. A big ol' flood bulb is super hot, hard to hide so you don't accidentally look at it, and tends to wash out everything.

I'm not the kind of person who wants to mess with building lighting or LED strips, though there's a lot of options out there now that didn't used to be available.

One more, cheap and effective. I'm a big fan of, if your house is part of the display, using the interior lighting with some plastic party table cloths taped over the windows. Use 2-3 layers of plastic, then turn on the overhead light. Purple's the only really difficult color here.

Mix up your sources, though, don't try to rely only on floods or only on spotlights. A variety is best, and leave some shadows and darkness too. I'm a big fan of color, using white light only as a supplement, because IMO colored lighting is more "magical" feeling. Color theory, color temperature, theming... there's a lot to this! Don't stress, you'll learn with experience what you like and what works for you.

While you're at it, I'd also invest in making sure you have enough outlets outdoors, enough extension cords (outdoor cords!), some outdoor timers (makes life easier) or outdoor multi-outlet stakes, and maybe even some of those cord protector things that clip over your power connections (cord ends coming together) to keep water out. It's a good time to pick that stuff up, again in the xmas supplies where it's cheaper than in the off season.
Thank you, all of this is very helpful.
I knew there was color films , I just didn't know what they were called.
 

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You can find some cheap 10 watt outdoor RGB floods and spots on Amazon for 10$-15$. Since the RGB's have come out, I have been using many of those. I recently bought some 50W RGB, and those are crazy bright. I rarely buy gels anymore unless it's a diffuser gel.
 

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RGB LED floods are the way to go.
stay away from cheap fluorescents. You will end up trashing these.......and stay away from anything less than 30W LED’s. They are simply not bright enough and you will end up using more, therefore costing more.

The 30w-35w LEDs are perfect and the brightness can be adjusted, therefore no waste.
Quick Pic for reference:
741129

741130
 

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I recently purchased a 4 pack of some RGB LED lights like the pics from above although they're the 25 watt ones and tested them out this weekend and they worked great for my home. This is my first time trying to decorate our home and will honestly only be a 12ft inflatable scary clown and some lighting on the house since I got started too late in the game. I have no idea what would be the best colors to use on the house to give the best look. Is it best to use the same color with all four lights or mix up the colors? Planning on replacing the bulbs on my porch with some colored bulbs as well.
 

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I have used the RGB LED floodlights from Amazon for the last three years with great success.
I actually left three of the floodlights outside the whole year through, and two of them are still working great. These are the two newest lights I added to the display, and the range of color options is quite amazing-
I agree that 25watt lights are not what you want if you're going for a 2-story wash of light, but they are great for uplighting trees and shrubs or props.
If you put a "neutral" light in front of the figure or prop, and then color wash the area behind it, you get a greater depth of atmosphere. Here is an example of using colors in the foreground against background; The first pic has the yellow/amber "neutral" light that accents the figure-
741222


Here is the same scene with a red spot instead of the yellow, with the same background color unchanged
741223


purple , red, and yellow are great spooky colors, with accents of green to add an air of mystery.
Here is a cyan/green uplit figure with a red wash across the back; notice how the shadow is the only area that shows the red!-
741224


I hope these examples are of help to you!
 

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Wow, looks really good. Thanks. Those are the same lights I purchased. What are some of the different types of extension cords used to connect multiple things?
 

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I have three of the staked 6-outlet photocell timers that I run 50 ft power cords from. There is one 3-outlet plug bank that I use to get more lights on in our "island" of lawn that's surrounded by our circle drive. Essentially, these guys right here-
I tend to stick with 50ft cords, although I do have a 75ft and 100ft, just in case I need some more length from the house.
We haven't tripped any breakers yet, and I have everything running on a 4 hour limit, upon the photocell's turning the lights on.
Interestingly, my newest addition to the lighting scheme are the toughest to get lit! They are the solar powered tiki-style flicker flame torches, and our street lamp keeps these form activating until well after 7pm; our Trick or Treat hours are 6-8pm. I'm going to cut some 4 1/2" circles of 5mm EVA foam and use them as light caps for the solar cell tops! I'll probably use painter's tape to hold keep them in place.
 

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I have used the RGB LED floodlights from Amazon for the last three years with great success.
I actually left three of the floodlights outside the whole year through, and two of them are still working great. These are the two newest lights I added to the display, and the range of color options is quite amazing-
I agree that 25watt lights are not what you want if you're going for a 2-story wash of light, but they are great for uplighting trees and shrubs or props.
If you put a "neutral" light in front of the figure or prop, and then color wash the area behind it, you get a greater depth of atmosphere. Here is an example of using colors in the foreground against background; The first pic has the yellow/amber "neutral" light that accents the figure-
View attachment 741222

Here is the same scene with a red spot instead of the yellow, with the same background color unchanged
View attachment 741223

purple , red, and yellow are great spooky colors, with accents of green to add an air of mystery.
Here is a cyan/green uplit figure with a red wash across the back; notice how the shadow is the only area that shows the red!-
View attachment 741224

I hope these examples are of help to you!
Love the modified Grave Digger. Well done and the lighting is fabulous!
 

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You guys have definitely motivated me to try and do some big things next year. No one on my street other than my neighbor has any Halloween decor outside. The 12ft inflatable that we ordered arrives today and wish I had more time to purchase or make some other items to create a good looking yard before Halloween. Other than some lighting and the inflatable I have nothing else at the moment. Here is the inflatable we purchased.

 

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Love the lighting examples. I have been using the led spotlights in various colors that spirit halloween use to sell. Quite a few have decided to die on me this oct. and spirit doesnt sell them anymore. I need some replacements. I use to do flood lights and love the all the color they throw but I kept tripping the breakers. I'll definitely look into these lights.
 
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