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226 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all!

Word on the street is it's October.

Pics of JD's Halloween 2013.

In 2014, we had an abbreviated display, but were back at it last year. To mix it up a bit, I took pics on Halloween night iself: JD's Halloween 2015.

The adds last year were basically twofold:

* We scrimmed the living room window and added a projector, which I acquired off Craigslist by bartering other electronics I no longer use. My son edited a bunch of the Atmosfear FX clips into one extended video that incorporated our favourite segments, extending some to go on much longer than they do on the DVDs.

* On Halloween night, we had two freakish clowns - two of my brothers in amazing getups, which you can see in the 2015 pics - mingling in the crowd. The impact was amazing and we'll be doing it again, this year. Clowns are messed up. Just look at the news cycle.

Other than that, it was a bunch of little tweaks, like introducing natural logic into the placement of the oversized spiders.

This year, we're adding a couple of subtle upgrades to the cemetery, most notably by repurposing one of the motion-detector skellies, and adding two new ones. This way, there will be four restless undead / gravegrabbers triggered in the cemetery when someone walks or drives by the haunt.

The new guys are simple low-RPM, high-torque gear motor constructs. I picked these up for $3 at surplus and just added the metal bracket, screwed in at two points of contact. Shades of neurosurgery.

The new guys, who are buried in earth:

They go along with these two gentlemen, the first of which is situated inside a gravestone that conceals and protects the mechanism:

If anyone's interested, all my creature hands are made with my go-to hand technique. It is easy, cheap, and HyperFast™ (fast, but in a hyper way). I'm sure, given the creativity of people around here, that others have independently figured this one out.

I take one of these cheap dollar store hands...

...clip to the size I want - there's an extra finger joint - apply a heat gun and pliers, spray paint flat black, dry brush with white or coloured latex paint, and finish with an exterior stain.

Looking forward to the next few weeks. Hope things go well for all as you prepare and set-up, and wishing our friends currently in the path of the storm safe harbour.



226 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Finished the set up on Monday, the last step always being the lighting.

Interesting Halloween Factoid: Home haunters own way tons lots more extension cords than required by households populated by normal humans.

Unlike previous years, took a number of pics during the set up, if only to one day remind me what I used to do in October, you know, before my joints ached and internal organs began failing.

The guys lined up, waiting for their hands and heads.


Animatronic skellies, the scarecrow's unwitting victims, and hands waiting to be installed.


An almost fully assembled friend of mine patiently waiting by the garage door.


Fence prelim.


Boys from the patch. The first things to be put out and immediately hooked up with lights. It's a beacon of sorts, alerting the neighbours that things are getting rollin'.

Think that guy next to the door was selling frozen meat from the trunk of his car. Clearly ignored my "No Soliciting" signage.



Another buddy relaxing ahead of his two-week shift.



226 Posts
Discussion Starter #3

Couple of assembled reaper sentinels apparently discussing strategy before being set up on the lawn with rebar. This pic actually makes me laugh.


For those curious, the reapers - by far my favourite props - are made with a PVC body frame...


...to which hands are affixed...


...and a head module inserted. The head is formed around black plastic landscaping edging, attached to a wooden dowel, and inserted into the body frame.



Three reaper sentinels at their posts.


Two of them impossible to avoid on your way to the front door.


The cemetery fully assembled. Pretend you can see the tombstones and sundry Halloween whatnot behind the trees.


Spiders working their way to the doorbell. I think it's important to position things like spiders in a purposeful manner, rather than just strewn about.


Same goes for the rats.


Cornfield on the other side of the driveway. The "corn" - I use sorghum - isn't on yet. I use a combination of thin rebar, plastic tubing, and wood dowels. If conditions get too windy, I can slip the tubing/dowel off, to which the sorghum is ziptied, leaving the rebar in position. Easy on, easy off.


And, lastly, I fear she may one day turn around.


Cheers all!

226 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
LOVE the pumpkins! Any tutorial on the pumpkins? I am new on here.

Welcome to HalloweenForum.

Thanks. I get a lot of comments/questions about the pumpkins from passers-by.

The pumpkins are an easy way to avoid having to carve pumpkins every year, unless, of course, you and your loved ones are really into carving pumpkins every year.

I start with one of these plastic witch's cauldrons. They are ubiquitous.


Dremel off the lip and the side rings, covering the hole created by the latter with packing tape.

With the cauldron upside down, so the large hole is on the bottom, draw your pumpkin face and then dremel it out.

Coat the entire thing with strips of paper-towel-white-glue-and-water mache. You're essentially placing the strips from top to bottom, so they sort of have a pumpkinny look to them. Let the mache fold into all the facial features and up into the bottom hole. You'll get increasingly adept at this as time goes on.

Once the mache has dried, give it a coat of flat black spray paint. Once dried, dry-brush some orange hobby paint. Once that's dried, give it a coat of urethane. This not only gives it a hard glossy finish, it also weatherproofs the pumpkins.

Weatherproofing is the key to any and all Halloween decorations.

I screw in a real pumpkin thingy on the top. You can find them orphaned in the bins where pumpkins are being sold. I then screw in an eye hook on the inside top, so I can string bunched up orange Halloween lights from pumpkin to pumpkin; i.e., I have 4-5 pumpkins on one string.

Good luck.


4 Posts
WOW. Thank you for a tutorial! :)

I did try to find plastic cauldron in my town back in March for St Patrick's day, but I had no luck for reasonable price. Most went for at least $20 a piece or so. Did you get it for cheap? If so, where?

226 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I typically just pick them up when I see them on clearance, generally at the large discount retailers. You sometimes find the smaller ones at dollar stores. You'll have to be opportunistic.

The last bunch was purchased at a deep discount at Target (Canada), a couple of years ago. For the record, Target's Canadian expansion - which ultimately failed and triggered a staggering US$5.4B writedown for the parent company - was a horror show all of its own.
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