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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to make a pirate that would pop out of a rum barrel to put in our pirate ship display. Not knowing exactly how to do this I contacted the Halloween Forum resident pirate authority, CreepyCreations, for some excellent advice. While we were PMing back and forth on the intricacies of how to make a wiper motor work for this prop our grandkids decided they wanted me to build them some shelves for their school lockers (who knew kids decorate their school lockers now?). So this project was put on hold for a while. I finally got the shelves done and started my pirate project once again. As I was working on the pop up mechanism Wicked Grandma came into the Halloween Idea Factory (actually my barn that Wicked Grandma has affectionately named “The Death Trap”) and plopped down a new prop. It was this Pop Up Zombie from Spirit Halloween.

Photo A Pop Up Box.jpg

She said she bought it for me and she thought it would be great in the pirate ship. Well, realizing that she had spent her hard earned social security check for this prop, not to mention using her 20% off Spirit coupon, and the fact that through experience I know how wicked, Wicked Grandma can be when she doesn’t get her way, I graciously accepted her gift not really knowing how the thought entered her pretty little head that a grave yard zombie popper with a tombstone would fit in with a skeleton crewed pirate ship. Then it hit me. “Ok, I am making a pop up skeleton to pop up out of a rum barrel. This thing pops up behind a tombstone. I can just discard the tombstone and use the rest for the pop up zombie in my Pirate In A Rum Barrel prop”. (Note: Actually, I didn’t really discard the tombstone. I am using it in a different part of the Haunted Forest.) So, I immediately (and unceremoniously I might add) abandoned CreepyCreations (I am sure much to his great relief) and started modifying this prop for the pirate ship. Below is the result and following is a tutorial on how I muddled through it.

Tools and Materials:
1. Pop up prop
2. Two plastic half barrel planters
3. Piece of vinyl screen door top to hold the two planters together
4. Materials for making the planters into barrels (see the tutorial on how to make these below)
5. One 6’ piece of 2” x 6” wood
6. Box of 1-1/4” sheet rock screws (I like sheet rock screws because they are cheap, course thread, and hold in wood well).
7. Box of 2-1/2” sheet rock screws
8. Box of ¼” x ¾” long bolts, washers, and nuts.
9. Box of ¾” self-taping sheet metal screws
10. Two ¼” eye bolts with washers and nuts.
11. Two small diameter 10” bungee cords
12. One 4” strap hinge
13. One ½” x 1” PVC Tee
14. Two medium length plastic ties
15. Two angle brackets
16. A little scrap wood
17. One 4’ x 8’ piece of Masonite (or a smaller piece of you have some scrap)
18. Straight blade and Phillips blade Screw driver
19. 3/8” Wrench
20. Saber saw or similar cutting tool
21. Drill and ¼” bit and Phillips head bit
22. Wood clamps
23. Heat gun or hair dryer
24. PVC cutting tool, Hand saw, or similar cutting tool
25. Measuring tape
26. Pencil
27. Maybe some other stuff I forgot to add

Photo B Tools and materials.jpg
PHoto c Hardware for Lid.jpg

So here are the four components that you will be making:

1. You need the prop. The Spirit Halloween Zombie Pop Up or something similar

Pop up prop.jpg

2: You need a barrel. I made ours using two half barrel plastic planters from Lowes.

Step 1 Barrel and pop up box 2.jpg

3: You need a lid for the barrel

Step 11 Attach Hinge to Lid.jpg

4: You need a base for the barrel

Step 4B Barrel Base Frame.jpg

Step 1: Make the Barrel. You will be putting the two ½ barrel plastic planters together to make a barrel. Follow the tutorial at the link below to do this. Stop when you have joined the two half barrels together.

Photo D Barrel and pop up box.jpg

Step 2: Once you make the barrel you need to prepare it for your resident pirate. Since the pirate is too tall to fit in the barrel you will have to adjust the barrel to fit the pirate. To do this you will be making a base for the barrel to sit on. This will raise the barrel a total of about 6 1/2” and provide a little weight to hold the barrel in place when it activates. However, you will start by first cutting a hole in the top of the barrel leaving about ½” lip all the way around the barrel. This is for the barrel lid that you will be making later to rest on. Now, cut another similar hole at the bottom of the barrel leaving the same ½” lip. This lip will be used to secure the barrel to the wooden base top you will be making later as well.

Step 2 Cut Barrel Top.jpg

Step 2  A Barrel Top Cut Out.jpg

Step 3: The lid is next. You will be cutting a lid from the Masonite. Turn the barrel upside down and using a pencil, mark a circle around the barrel.

Step 3 Circle to cut for lid.jpg

Using a saber saw or similar cutting tool cut out the circular lid.

Step 3 A Cut Masonite for Lid.jpg

Step 4: Now make the barrel base. Using a saw cut four 14-1/2” lengths of 2” x 6” wood.

Step 4 Measure for Barrel Base frame.jpg

Using the sheet rock screws and a long wood clamp secure the wood pieces together making a base frame measuring 14-1/2” square.

Step 4A Clamp to hold base together.jpg

Step 4B Barrel Base Frame.jpg

You will need to cut a notch in one side of the base for access to the on/off switch, footpad plug, and power adapter plug of the prop. The notch in my prop only accommodates access to the “ON/OFF” switch. You will need to cut a deeper and wider notch if you want to also
accommodate the footpad plug and power adapter plug.

Step 4C cut notch in barrel base.jpg

Step 5: After you have completed step 4, cut 2 pieces of ½” plywood 14-1/2” square to make a bottom and a top for the wooden base frame. Set the base frame on a piece of ½” plywood and mark around the outside of the base frame to mark the cut line for the two pieces of plywood.

Step 5 Measure for Barrel Base bottom.jpg

Step 5 Barrel Base Bottom.jpg

Step 6: Using the 1 1/4" sheetrock screws secure one of the plywood pieces to the bottom of the wooden base frame.

Step 6 Screw barrel base bottom to barrel base frame.jpg

Step 7: To keep the prop from moving when it activates secure it to the barrel base. Place the prop in the wooden base and pull it all the way to the rear and right side of the wooden base. Make sure the “ON/OFF” switch is by the access notch.

Step 16 pop up n base 2.jpg

To secure the prop in the base cut spacers to fit between the round prop base and square wooden barrel base.

Step 16A pop up in barrel base.jpg

NOTE: This Tutorial is Continued in the Next post due to limit of attachment photos.

572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bobzilla, thank you for the nice comment. This prop really got all of our friends and family. It was something they were really not expecting. My oldest grandson said this years party was awesome. :D
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