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Discussion Starter #1
I know I am new at the whole Halloween thing, and not trying to sound like a cheap skate!!! But the prices on most of the stuff out there is out of this world. Example: a upside down hanging vampire (which I thought was cool) made of foam ranged on websites from 1,400.00 to 2,250.00. Can they have more 100.00 invested in this product including shipping????

I don't normally complain but there was more than this one item I reviewed. So is it just me or do others feel this way?
 

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Why this forum exists.

I like you find the cost of props extreme.

This forum is full of individuals who are making a concerted effort to create very good props for reasonable costs.

Obviously not everyone is capable of making props from scratch.

Hopefully efforts made by various individuals will allow some kit processes to reduce costs.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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For that much $$, you must be looking at a professional level haunt prop.

Check around on this board to get some ideas of more reasonable priced props for home haunters - like Fright Props, Spirit and Halloween Express. They'll all have the pricey professional stuff, but there is a fair bit of less expensive stuff too.

However, there are plenty of tutorials also that explain how to build pneumatic and electronic props that would be just as good as the professional level, you just have to either know that sort of thing, or be able to teach yourself how to build them (or settle for less dynamic if you're mechanically all-thumbs like me :D )

As cool as the fancy professional props are, however, it is much cooler to build something yourself - since no one else will make the prop like you will, and it will be a unique creation. It is addictive... just look around at the amazing things the forum posters have made!
 

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Hauntless
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So true Frankie's Girl. This year I made my first pneumatic prop and the people walking through the haunt really loved it. But when they learned I made and designed it, their jaw dropped and I earned their respect. Double the impact, I'd say.

(Now, I've come to the conclusion that their jaw dropped because of how fabulous my design was and not that they were surprised that I was smart enough to come up with it, :p)
 

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Welcom Vendetta,
So do I think props to by are... expensive. But the basis products are too! So come here to find some ideas and why don't you by your own like most of people here? It's very rewarding even if it take time.
 

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I am proud to say that I am a cheap bastard. But I think thats half the fun. Compiling lists of things you can use to build props. Be it free or just a few dollars. Clay, duct tape, plaster of paris, cans of expanding foam, chicken wire, and paint make up the majority of my supplies and has kept me very busy over the last couple months.

I recently found this section over on one of the other forums and think its just great: The MacGuyver of Haunting Challenge - HauntForum.com . We should do a contest like that here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I do enjoy building my own stuff just for the fact of self accomplishment, and I have been going through the forums and different sites getting a compiled list of thing I want to create. It's when you are so anal about your own work and you know you lack in a certain area that the prices do make you mad.

Now i did receive a reply from Dapper Cadaver on a separate issue that did give some hope for us DIY sounds cool and can't wait!!!!!

"Finally, as a DIYer you might be interested in a new line we'll be launching in 2009- unpainted, untrimmed castings from our molds at heavily discounted prices and factory seconds. Keep your eye on Dapper Cadaver for product updates"
 

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High Prices?

For many years now there has been the yearly trade show where if you own a haunted house or can fake it(not too hard to do) Or if you have a sponser,or know somebody that knows somebody, or can convince them you will be having your own house , you can see the newest and trickiest props.
Why would $100.oo worth of materials cost $1,200.00?
The trade show floor space might be $14,500.oo for four days plus electrical if you need it plus other fees like moving your stuff with a fork lift , ex cetra.
The motels and hotels within walking distance are not bargain rooms, add to this the travel expense, possibly bringing some hired help for your booth plus the cost of your brochures and meals , not bargain priced either and this is alot of the reason there has to be a noticable profit mark-up.
By the way, the $1,450.oo floor space only measures about 8foot by 10foot, "How many of these did you need?"
So after a successful showing you arrive back at your workshop with orders to fill. If you don't have sufficient profit in your selling price you won't be able to hire anyone to help you make the product, then your phone and e-mail goes crazy with people wondering where their product is?
Time spent answering the phone is not time you might spend building the prop, so you quit answering and responding, then people get nervous and your real trouble begins.
By the way , most haunters really do not appreciate getting the prop they paid for in March delivered in the middle of October.
If you had taken a very clever, fairly new idea of a prop to the trade show last year, then you can bet on at least three other guys duplicating it the next year and undercutting your price. (But not a whole lot)
There it is, more than you ever really wanted to know about the Haloween prop business.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gym. I did not intend to offend anyone in the prop building business and if I did I apologize!!!! I can understand fully the overhead involved with business. A reasonable profit is acceptable, and would be expected from any vendor. I was just pointing out when one vendor is selling an item and the next vendor is selling the same product for 850.000 more leaves the customer feeling that they are being taken advantage of and thats not good business!!!

Now me personally I would rather make a smaller profit, sell more items, and establish a great customer base.
 

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You really need to shop around to make sure you are getting the best price out there. There is a particular prop out there right now that has a wholesale cost of $149.00...as a re-seller I have sold this prop for 199.00 making a fair profit. There are still commercial prop companies out there that are selling, or trying to sell this prop for $750.00! A reasonable profit is one thing, but some of the commercial sellers out there (Spirit, Halloween Express, FrightProps) really have some of there stuff way overpriced.
 

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And Yet...

Sometimes when a haunted house sells everything out at an auction I have read many props sometimes will sell for almost new price!?
Of course some others who did not get the bid wonder how this can be justified when the item has already seen numerous years and seasons and looks like it is almost junked out?
The full-price I am referring to is the big price not the smaller one.
I have never been a vender or manufacturer of props except for my own house and use.
I construct almost all of the things here, I like it that way, if someone likes it, I did it, if they don't like it...I still did it!
 

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i'm glad i found halloween forum.this site and its members are such a well of knowledge for anyone that has a question regarding practiclly anything..from electronisc to pneumatics to recipes or costumes..there are people that can tell you where to get find items that may be hard to find in your area but not in theirs...or they can point you in an online direction..if you what to know odds are someone on here knows which way to point you...and i know that there are many that will look for things on your behalf without anyone asking them to..NOW THAT is what i call a great resource...as i said "A GREAT WELL OF KNOWLEDGE AND RESOURCE".....ALL AT ONES FINGER TIPS....
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I think the key is to learn how to re-purpose things. Afterreading a few threads here, I had to kick myself for throwing a lot of really good crap in the past. I can't tell ya how many pairs of combat boots I threw away when I was in the military that would be great for props now. Also the broken fans that could have been placed inside a body being hung, or a turntable that I could have made a head spin on. In many cases, it's not the size of your wallet, but the size of your imagination. Or the size of the imagination of fellow posters here at HF whose great ideas you can tinker with
 

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While I am in a different genre, I can attest to the unbelievable costs of trying to vend and market your wares...I went full time in 2007, and added a lot more renaissance festivals to my schedule in '08, and the booth fees can be out of sight compared to the smaller venues I was used to. But thats nothing compared to the conventions. Right now I'm in my slowest season, where theres really nothing much to do except sci-fi cons....they want anywhere from $100-300 for an 8 foot table, and thats the smaller cons. The larger go up...my booth at a renfaire is 20'x30', so I can barely fit any stock in 2 tables worth of space. I did a few last year but am not returning to them this year, the sales to cost ratio was too small to bother. Especially with the hotel fees Gym mentioned.
I can feel the pain of the prop vendors..I never really thought about it...but also too, bear in mind that many of those vendors are not Gemmy, or Walmart, with overseas factorys in China or elsewhere paying people 50 cents an hour labor and buying materials in bulk. A lot of them are probably small operations trying to pay for everything, plus house payments and other living expenses. Think of all the time you spend per prop, and thats probably what they have to spend....and that has to be in the price too.
 

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I personally like the home-built stuff more than the store-bought stuff. I also like seeing inexpensive things, like a mask, incorporated into a home-build thing, like a dummy and so on. Those reeeeeally expensive props I think of as the sort of thing a commercial haunt uses...they make money with their haunt (often a lot of money) and spending money is more justified in that situation.

For purposes of pure enjoyment, too: Going back to my childhood Halloween memories, my favorite recollections of things involved home-made items stitched together by hand, made at home with cloth, spray paint, food coloring and ingenuity. Things bought at the store have that mass-produced look that does not startle as much; whereas things made at home have an unfamiliar, clever, charmingly creepy quality because the home haunter has invested time and thought into the prop/decoration.

Or in other words, a mask bought at the store looks cool, but a styrofoam wig head, carved up with a little spray paint and several colors of mud dripped on it, is much cooler and more likely to get a response of "What IS that???????"
 

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Pro-Haunters

Pro-Haunters buy props because mostly of the time considerations when doing all that incredible work to get everything else done, I hope.
I hope they don't fall into what I believe is financial trap, a persoanl mindset of thinking spending mere money to have a few new items in your dark attraction will keep the customers sufficiently impressed to keep returning every year.
Showmanship and some originality of presentation will go much further to accomplish entertaining them and often won't cost nearly as much.
Of all the haunted house customers only a very few of them know or care what some display costs and if you are thinking waving dollar signs infront of them impresses or entertains them, you'd better think some more.
I have scared So Many people over these last 20 years with tiny, cheap, insignificant items(unexpected weirdness) that I am amazed myself at the effects generated by such mundane objects.)
Spending tons of money buying someone else's stuff just means the other haunters will be impressed at your bankruptcy auction by your largesse.
 

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Hauntingly Addicting
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I agree about the prices. I am not a professional haunter just a mom who puts on a haunted house for her kids and the neighborhood. I have to say this year I built my first big prop with much help from my husband it was our crypt...(OK OK My husband built it but I did the design and all the painting and detail work:)) Anyway, I really enjoyed it and it was im sure an 1/8th of the cost it would have cost me to have it built and it was made much sturdier than anything I have seen out there. I also decided to do a FCG, Now this I bought from two different people the rig was from Pugsly on here and it works great and the ghost I got on ebay for a very reasonable price. This year I plan on expanding the haunted house and that is where most of my money is going to go. I have plenty of decorations and I plan on adding a few more only this year I will be making all of them. (OK OK again my husband will probably be making but I know I will be assisting when it comes to the detail and paint work:)) I think if you are a professional haunter and can afford to do the big ticket items then go for it, but for us moms and dads we are better off making our own. It gets the whole family involved and the memories of making all these things with your own kids are just priceless:)
 

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lies dead but dreaming
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I also classify myself as a cheap bastard. Almost my entire haunt is made by my wife and I or modified from less expensive props. I spend $10 apiece on Blucky's (usually right before of after Halloween) then modify and corpsify them. I also make an excessive use of things like PVC for fences and crow cages as well as Insulation foam and Monster mud for Tomb Stones. Almost all of this I learned from folks here on this site and have been happy too try to give back a few Ideas of my own.

I don't like to spend money on props that would be better spent on stuff for the wife and kids (or beer for me). Over all, however, we still end up putting out a good chunk of change to produce and run our haunt. This last year we probably spent close to $1000 between July and the end of October. The time I spend building and/or modifying is also a large cost involved in this. In the end though this is a Hobby my and my family enjoy so it's worth the time and cash spent on it.

It doesn't _have_ to cost an arm and a leg to have a quality home haunt... but if you want a quality arm and leg for that ply wood coffin... there is going to be some kind of investment to be made, whether it be time money or a little of both.
 

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Insert Witty Comment Here
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I also classify myself as a cheap bastard. Almost my entire haunt is made by my wife and I or modified from less expensive props. I spend $10 apiece on Blucky's (usually right before of after Halloween) then modify and corpsify them. I also make an excessive use of things like PVC for fences and crow cages as well as Insulation foam and Monster mud for Tomb Stones. Almost all of this I learned from folks here on this site and have been happy too try to give back a few Ideas of my own.

I don't like to spend money on props that would be better spent on stuff for the wife and kids (or beer for me). Over all, however, we still end up putting out a good chunk of change to produce and run our haunt. This last year we probably spent close to $1000 between July and the end of October. The time I spend building and/or modifying is also a large cost involved in this. In the end though this is a Hobby my and my family enjoy so it's worth the time and cash spent on it.

It doesn't _have_ to cost an arm and a leg to have a quality home haunt... but if you want a quality arm and leg for that ply wood coffin... there is going to be some kind of investment to be made, whether it be time money or a little of both.

Where do you find Blucky's for $10 a piece
 
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