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Discussion Starter #1
This being my first year back in the game I am starting from scratch. Most of my resources are going into building props and my cemetery but I need to do something for lighting. I mean, whats the point of doing all this work if no one can see it in the dark right?

What would you do if you were started with nothing and had a cap of lets say $150 set aside for lighting?

Below is a picture of my house/front yard. I will have a 16' x 16' cemetery in the front yard and the garage will have more fence across the front with my FCG inside and I will use black drop cloth to cover all the stuff inside. The one thing I DO have is a 4' black light for the FCG. So really my concern is the cemetery and front of the house. I thought about using Xmas style lights around the perimeter of the fence but thats kinda cheesy but may have to be an option for this year.

I'd much appreciate any input. No go spend my money! :D

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Without knowing the specifics of your props here's a general guide:

You need 3 lights of your choice for your porch light and 2 garage lights. Either CFLs or those faux fire bulbs. I suggest the latter for your situation ~$15 right there.

You're doing a graveyard in the front, I take it. First thing's first, we need to wash the area with a cool light (blue, green). That's 2 floodlights + 2 floodlight stakes + Extension cords. Might even need a third light, but just guessing 2 will do the work for that space. That's another $20 in lights, and probably $50 or more in extension cords depending on how far you need to run it. You can get away with the blue CFL's and a clamp light as well, in fact, I would seriously consider going that route instead of the stakes/floods. You'll want to position these at the corners for best coverage and shadowplay. I'd suggest placing the lights and staging your props in the dark to make the most use out of the lighting.

We're already at $90+ in lighting. Anything you have left over, you're going to want to spend on some warm accent lights (orange, red). These will be smaller bulbs to highlight your props. Given your situation and budget, I would recommend using candles this year if kiddos won't be near. Stake them securely around the stones to get a good accent. Obviously these will only be lit the night of or a couple nights at most. Next year you can look more into building fake candles and whatnot for more permanent options. Another cheap option would be some C5 sockets (candlebre sockets available at your hobby stores) and bulbs hidden around to highlight props. You can make hoods for them out of a soda can painted black easy enough. ~$5 each if you go that route.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Orthodox!

Extension cords wont be an issue as I have plenty of those and can always borrow from friends if need be. Candles are a good idea, never thought of that. There will be tons of kids around (in the hundreds according to my neighbors.) but my cemetery will be completely enclosed so no one would have access into it. Being outside I'd just need to find some candles that would just stay lit so im not running in there to relight them all the time. Actually, thats a good job for my wife LOL.

Without laughing...what do you think of these from Walmart which are $1 to put at each tombstone? I know they're cheap and I'd probably only get one season out of them. Thought about putting some colored translucent projector plastic stuff inside to change the color. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Westinghouse-Turbo-Rocket-Solar-Path-Light-Black/24230342

This would be in add to some CFLs
 

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I would consider scattering a handful of battery operated LED units to stick around the graveyard. They can be found at spirit or many local party stores for ~10-15 bucks and the newer styles throw off a good amount of light coverage.

You may also want to look up your local party rental store. I own one and we carry par lights, uplights, flame lights, and strobe lights, which book out completely for halloween every year.
 

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Thanks Orthodox!

Extension cords wont be an issue as I have plenty of those and can always borrow from friends if need be. Candles are a good idea, never thought of that. There will be tons of kids around (in the hundreds according to my neighbors.) but my cemetery will be completely enclosed so no one would have access into it. Being outside I'd just need to find some candles that would just stay lit so im not running in there to relight them all the time. Actually, thats a good job for my wife LOL.

Without laughing...what do you think of these from Walmart which are $1 to put at each tombstone? I know they're cheap and I'd probably only get one season out of them. Thought about putting some colored translucent projector plastic stuff inside to change the color. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Westinghouse-Turbo-Rocket-Solar-Path-Light-Black/24230342

This would be in add to some CFLs
I don't trust the solar lights, myself. You'd need a sunny day in order to charge them for use at night, and that's a crapshoot here.

For the candles, I use these things: http://www.dollartree.com/Glass-Jar-Candles-8-/p265635/index.pro

My local walmart sometimes carries them as well. The jars keep it protected from the wind.

If you've got the extension cords covered already, that's great. A couple things you could look into:

http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/68856-pvc-flicker-candles.html
http://www.halloweenforum.com/tutorials-step-step/89179-plug-play-led-spot-lighting.html
 

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the cheap solar lights from walmart don't light up anything, trust me LOL

you can get clip on book lights from dollar tree that work decently, especially for smaller props near the ground and tombstones. not all dollar trees have them, so you may have to look around at a couple of locations. they are *usually* with the night lights (but not always lol)
 

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I agree, stick with CFL bulbs. They're cheap and last a long time, plus come in many colors (red, yellow, orange, green, blue and blacklight)
And I also agree about using those reflector-type clamp lights - they will help 'spread out' the light more evenly.
 

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Hi! This is my first post here with links in it, so hopefully I won't mess anything up. I wanted to respond because we've done the C9 clear holiday light strand with the soda can trick that was mentioned already, and we LOVE the inexpensive effect it created for us! I found that tutorial on Pinterest last year, we happened to have some soda cans in our recycling bin, and my husband cut the cans quickly and we sprayed on some high-heat black spray paint that we already had on hand too. We found the C9 lights on sale at Target right around Halloween - they put out some Christmasy stuff out then too, so we lucked out. Works great! Here's the original post I followed:

http://celticmommy.blogspot.com/2010/10/97-cent-soda-can-lights.html

I also like the battery operated flicker tea-light candles from Dollar Tree. Our store sells a 3-pack for $1.00. I used some cardboard toilet paper & paper towel tubes as "candles", similar to what was posted on this thread:

http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/111073-candle-cluster.html

It adds a lot of ambiance up against the tombstones and not only was it cheap, the project didn't take too long. Something I saw recently that I liked was how a haunter had laid out rope lighting on the ground to outline the path that they wanted people to walk on through their yard. They used orange but I would choose purple to be more creepy. If you have a coupon, you could get rope lighting for an okay price.

Another option is to keep some of the glass jars from kitchen products - baby food, tomato sauce, etc. Clean then out & remove the labels. Wrap some inexpensive wire around the rim (tightly & safely), and then use more wire to create a hook or loop. Place a battery-operated tealight inside and hang from some tree branches. You could also just put some stakes in the ground and hang them from that to highlight a path or prop. You could get fancier by painting the jars with colored glass paint to create different effects, or you could wrap the inside of the jar with colored tissue paper or wax paper and even glue on a spider or two to make it creepy.

We are learning every year and getting more & more inspired. We started out very small and have been upgrading every year - better stuff, better lighting, better layouts, etc. I looked back at pictures from just a couple years ago and laughed at how tiny everything was, but it's always been fun!
 

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The solar lights are difficult to direct at an object of interest, and performance tends to drop off as they lose their charge.

As an alternative for spotlighting individual tombstones, you might consider these:

http://niftymart.com/clip-on_12pack.aspx

They'll give you any mix of colors you like and the cost is less than a dollar a piece. They're pretty bright too. You'll still need some kind of flood to wash the whole scene, but these things can be pretty useful for spotlighting individual items.
 

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re: fog machine. It can help a lot with ambience, but keep your eyes open, a lot of stores carry the 400 watt foggers and its highly likely you'll find one being clearanced prior to halloween. Last year I found one at Walgreens for $16 2 weeks prior to halloween. Also check craigslist. The 400 watt doesn't cover a lot of ground, so you'll need to think about where in the display will be the best place for fog.
 

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Thanks MonsterSquad! About how much time do you think you get out of those clip on lights? I like that idea!
It varies by weather and color. You're typically good for a 3-4 hours one night, but iffy the next night. Then, I've had some last seemingly forever. Typically Red goes out first for whatever reason.

Before going that route, I'd say make some throwies. http://www.evilmadscientist.com/2009/some-thoughts-on-throwies/
You don't need the magnets for our purposes...

Either way, I would suggest you put the money towards as much reuseable stuff as opposed to these consumables that will force you to buy batteries next year. If you can't afford a reuseable option, these make nice options to get you through a year.
 

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Thanks everyone, a lot of great ideas exactly what I am looking for!

Do you all think it would be worth using 30% of my budget on one of these 400 watt fog machines or would you stick with lighting effects?
My personal suggestions for fog machines:

  • GET ONE WITH A TIMER, no one likes to push that button over and over, and a timer gives better performance than just taping down the button.
  • In my experience, 400W machines are best for INDOOR use. Of course, it gets COLD here, so that hinders any machine's performance.
  • Given the first two points, IMO the best introductory fog machine is the 700W with timer from spencers for <$50 http://www.spencersonline.com/product/nn-700-watt-fog-machine/?utm_campaign=CSE:GOOG_PLA:MCNT&mr:referralID=932ca83b-2091-11e3-a88a-001b2166becc
  • Fog JUICE matters. Quality tends to run: Froggy's fog juice (or other premium type supposedly)>Spirit/halloween city/etc>Walmart/Target/etc.
  • A chiller and/or dispensing device is nearly mandatory.
  • Weather ruins fog.
  • Shooting the fog INTO a hollow prop defeats weather and improves lighting in the prop.
Given your situation, that ~$60 for the machine and juice would likely be better spent on lighting now, with an eye to fog for the future.
 

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Thanks everyone, a lot of great ideas exactly what I am looking for!

Do you all think it would be worth using 30% of my budget on one of these 400 watt fog machines or would you stick with lighting effects?
I would highly recommend getting a fog machine. It is the best effect I ever bought. I have a 1000W machine I bought 15 years ago and it still works awesome today.
 

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I am going to use solar spots from Westinghouse of which I took out the batteries and charged them on a charger for Nimh. They are bright enough now, but I will not put them out until Halloween.

Also, how did I miss the soda can spot lights? I love that idea and may do that too. There is still time and a twelve pack in the fridge....of soda...I like bottle beer. he, he.
 
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