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The weather doesn't always cooperate here in the midwest in October. I used to just set up for the day of but that became too much work. So now, I would like to have a display for about two weeks ahead of time. My question is how do people deal with keeping the rain from soaking your props...let alone frying your electronics.
 

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I usually put my stuff out mid September and I am in TN which has everything from freezing temps at night sometimes to upper 90's some days, rain, wind, . I only use lights rated for being outside that are rain proof, I also use boxes for the ends of the cords to keep them out of water. I don't have any moving props currently, but all the props I do have I build (with varying degrees of success) to be weather resistant. Death and the bell ringers robes are made from poly lining fabric that doesn't hold much water and dries quickly because wet fabric is VERY HEAVY and can pull a character apart. My ghost is made from a clear mannequin and her dress is made from a fancy shower curtain, her lights are well protected from rain even though they are outdoor rated anyway.

As for bought props, characters, and animatronics In am afraid I can't help you as I build my own.
 

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So true about some fabrics becoming weighty in the rain. I had just purchased an articulating werewolf skeleton last year and threw a costume vampire's cloak over his shoulders. He looked pretty cool, but I didn't consider how much rain water that cloak would retain. Snapped the poor thing apart at the hip the day of Halloween. 🦇
 

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So true about some fabrics becoming weighty in the rain. I had just purchased an articulating werewolf skeleton last year and threw a costume vampire's cloak over his shoulders. He looked pretty cool, but I didn't consider how much rain water that cloak would retain. Snapped the poor thing apart at the hip the day of Halloween. 🦇
Yup that's why I sew the costumes myself. Death has a robe and a 3/4 circle cloak and the fabric I use gets heavy but not enough to damage him. Hi issue is the scythe snapping in half at one of the PVC joints but I can cement it together to fix that.

Here's the fabric I use. It's light but fairly opaque, especially with 2 layers. It's 58" wide which makes it good for large characters.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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I have an unofficial setup date of October 1st every year. The majority of my props are designed and built to withstand the weather, some stay outside behind the garage year round as I don't have sufficient indoor storage space. So a lot of foam, treated wood, multiple coats of Drylock or other exterior paint. I've recently changed from wooden frames and supports to PVC where I can, it doesn't hold moisture or rot. I spent most of my budget last year investing in landscaping lights as my Hodge-podge of fixtures were shorting or burning out. Now everything is 100% weather and waterproof. The few Electronic items I have are reserved for the final day and do not stay out overnight. 2019 was extremely rough as we had a mini-blizzard hit the day before Halloween, So I unintentionally ended up with a 'Nightmare be Before Christmas' look. I was not able to give it the final detail and dressing as it was snow covered, and too cold to put most of the Electronics out.
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If you want a temporary solution (until you find a permanent one) for days when you suspect or know it'll rain, you could put garbage bags or tarps over the props and use rubber bands, ties, or something secure on the bottom to keep the wind from blowing them off?
 

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My big haunt is at the campground and put anything that needs protecting in a modified enclosed 10 x 20 car shelter. I actually now put black plastic over the whole thing I also use the shelter cover used to do the sides also but quit this year since wasn't sure if I was just making more work for myself. Have had to many things ruined until I started doing this and this has been the best. Have down the pop-up shelters and even party shelters from ebay but they are all flimsy and party shelter collapsed during the second week. Some pop-ups do better than others but the heavier poles have held up for years and now even add PVC to it.
 

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I put my display out the first weekend of October for the entire month. All my clowns are mostly pvc pipe, latex masks and fabric costumes purchased from stores. Never had any problems with rain tearing them up. I do use weather proof led flood lights but I set them up and bring them back inside everynite. This is due to the risk of them being stolen. Same with the fog machines...set up and bring back inside that nite. If there is even a chance of rain, I do not put the lights or fog machines out. Wind is my greatest enemy. Nothing alot of rebar and paracord cant fix :ROFLMAO::LOL: Animatronics are put under a tent and never go out if it rains.
 

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Mine are out all October. If you use a little care and stick with weatherproof materials as much as you can in your builds the weather is not a big deal. I use almost all weatherproof 12v landscape lights for my spots now and any extension cord connections or split-offs get put an a plastic bag and it gets zip tied closed over them. Just think about how the weather could effect each and every prop as you are setting it up and how you can keep wind or rain from damaging anything. Leaving things out for weeks WILL cause damage, but I find that it comes far more from sun exposure than rain.
 

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When i first started my display it took 2 to 3 days to set up. Last year (2019) after 15 years of doing this, it took 39 days to set up. With that out of the way my haunt is a series of tents spread out across my haunt. Theres probly 40% of my haunt not covered. What i do is put those props that cant handle rain under a tent and those that can out in the open. As far as electrical connection i try to keep those under cover but for those i cant i wrap with plastic wrap. I should note i run all my wires along the top of my walls pannels untll they get to a display and then dro them to the ground
 

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We had a rough fall this year in Iowa as well. I second the comments on PVC and quick-dry fabrics. I usually put out everything that can withstand the weather (or I don't care about getting ruined) and only bring out the store-bought animatronics on the big day. I have a new werewolf that I am dying to keep out but I will have to build some shed (doghouse?) over his head or he will be ruined by rain.
 

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All the advice you're getting about lighting we totally agree with. We even secondarily wrap even our waterproof lights with extra protection just to be on the safe side. We have store bought jack-o-lanterns that have cords that are supposed to hold up to the elements, but we still wrap them all up inside baggies or saran wrap to help keep them just a bit more watertight than leaving the on off switches and plugs exposed to the elements.

The one thing we do that we haven't heard anyone mention is using something like Scotchguard or other waterproofing agent on anything fabric. We buy a large can of the stuff every other year and spray down our grim reaper and our zombie Pooh. And not just a light spraying. We give it at least two good wet downs with the stuff. We live in Oregon, so rain is a given, but with the waterproofing in place, our grim reaper's robes shed most of the water that falls on him. Our Pooh bear is the same. I'm actually surprised at the end of a rainy night he's dry save the water beaded up all over him.

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We had a rough fall this year in Iowa as well. I second the comments on PVC and quick-dry fabrics. I usually put out everything that can withstand the weather (or I don't care about getting ruined) and only bring out the store-bought animatronics on the big day. I have a new werewolf that I am dying to keep out but I will have to build some shed (doghouse?) over his head or he will be ruined by rain.
I know the snow on Halloween 2019 had to be a big disappointment for you (and other members), but I gotta tell you: There's something almost indescribably cool about the photos people like you have shown. Like strange Christmas nightmares or something. Granted, I'm down here in Florida. I'm sure the reality wasn't as pretty for y'all. 🦇
 

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My concern isn’t the weather, it’s the asshat neighbors who steal all my stuff!
That sucks. I'm actually surprised no one has ganked any decorations in the three years I've decorated here. Quite the opposite, actually. I've had people bring outlaying decorations that had fallen all the way to my porch. That's awesome neighbors right there. 🦇
 

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That sucks. I'm actually surprised no one has ganked any decorations in the three years I've decorated here. Quite the opposite, actually. I've had people bring outlaying decorations that had fallen all the way to my porch. That's awesome neighbors right there. 🦇
Yeah, not so lucky here... Our neighbors have stolen game cameras, tree stands and ground blinds, gas cans, broken into the RV twice, cased the joint numerous times, and even stolen the salt blocks for the deer... Basically anything that’s not locked up, booby trapped, or tied down is fair game in their minds, We have 160 acres of hardwood forest that butts up against a neighborhood way in the back of our property. Those drug dealers and convicted felons have murdered, had drug labs, and built bombs in that little ‘hood.

I lived in southeast DC for thirty years and was less afraid to walk around at night. Trash is trash, no matter what color or creed...
 

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We had a rough fall this year in Iowa as well. I second the comments on PVC and quick-dry fabrics. I usually put out everything that can withstand the weather (or I don't care about getting ruined) and only bring out the store-bought animatronics on the big day. I have a new werewolf that I am dying to keep out but I will have to build some shed (doghouse?) over his head or he will be ruined by rain.
I LOVE the doghouse idea! That’d be awesome!
 
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