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I am shamelessly coming out of lurkdom to ask for help. I have really enjoyed and learned a lot for everyone’s posts. We love Halloween and try to make a showing for the neighborhood (and us) each year.

This year I am out of work, have a new baby and well funds are very tight. Just call me a statistic. I was thinking about doing something different like a swampish type theme but, I thought you folks would have some good ideas or suggestions. I know many of you have been tight on spending money too and have been very creative.

I have a photo of the front of our house. We do have a great fogger and have worked out ground fog. We have some tombstones, bats, crows, creepy cloth (not a lot) some cool busts, strobes, black lights… Things like that.

So, I humbly turn to the experts for some ideas. Thank you so much, in advance for your help!!

Oh, and if I go swamp… I’ll want to do lightening bugs. :)



 

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Build dummies! Use wood or PVC.. what ever you can get your hands on cheap. Then you just need clothes, a stryofoam head, and a mask. A couple life size dummies really add to the display. Garage sales and Good Will work great for finding the missing parts on a budget.
 

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Thank you, I was originally thinking about trying to conceil the house, but now thinking I should make it more "New Orleans" like for the swamp.

Does anyone have an idea on how to paint or cover the rock to make it look like water? Something easy to remove or wash off?
 

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I once wanted to make "water on the rocks" for a pirate dock scene.I just happened to have a dark blue tarp. I laid that down first, then laid a clear painters cloth over it nailing it into the ground as I went. I had a rowboat and cattails and a pallet Dock that covered most of it ,anyway.With just ambient light it kinda looked like water. Real hard water ,but water just the same.Maybe, this could work for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have a tarp and clear painters cloth. I think I'll dig it out and see how it looks. Good idea. I know I need to get some more lighting for this.

Wyatt Furr, do you have a photo of your pallet dock?
 

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Black plastic, lots of it! Buy the 6mil kind - it's thicker. I've been using it for years for many uses, mainly for walls and wall covering. You can lay it over your rocks to give it a dark water look. Use green flood lights to illuminate the plastic, trees, and bushes. Drape strips of black plastic from the trees to blow in the wind. Buy some moss from Michaels (~$4 for a large bag) to drape over things.

Get a CD of sound fx for swamp critters and sounds. I think there's a few good sources in the Music column here.

Put a sign out in front, something like, "Beware of the Swamp Monster"

Make PVC archways that the ToT's must walk through. Decorate the arch's with tattered black plastic, camo net, cheese cloth, vines, nylons, fishing line, and other things that will drag across their faces.

You can enclose your porch with plastic, cheesecloth, etc and make it the Swamp Witch Lair. A few static props inside with lighting, sound fx, and a lucky person to play the Witch. Use the black light inside and have neon-colored things and props.

Turn your tombstones into a Creole Cemetary.

Got pictures yet? :)
 

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Hi,

Use the plastic and you can use clear also. If you have spray paint that is even better to make waves or darker patches for deep water. You can cut the plastic to go over the rocks or cut it so it looks like waves beating up against the rocks as the far shoreline.
Get some cheap plastic snakes for the dollar store, spiders, bugs for sure. Check out construction sites and ask for any left over wood or pvc. They are usually only to happy to ditch some of the stuff. You can also use black plastic as a swamp thing in the distance with moss and left over vines draped over it and lit from below. Just use old wood or pvc to make a frame outline and then padd it with paper and twine or tape, whichever you have plenty of, and then put the plastic over that.
You have a great looking house and it has a blank slate look to it to do just about anything. Try the boarded up windows if you can scrape up the money for the styrafoam. It will lend a lot to the house and bring it into the theme instead of a current house plopped down in the middle of a swamp.
Good luck and post plenty of pics.
 

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if you can find any of those construction cylinders they use for cement forms (don't know what they're called), you could make columns leading up to your porch to help draw the eye away from the stucco etc. kind of like plantation mansion columns, complete with spanish moss swinging down ... and if you boarded the windows it would help that also I would think.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Awesome ideas!

I have a site with tons of photos from last year. http://photobucket.com/nhh2008

We did lay plastic down and spread potting soil over and wet it so our cemetary had that dirt smell. The photos don't do justice to our "ghost wall", you can see the plastic in the shots but, in real life it was not obvious. We got a strand of strob LED lights and took the bulbs off and replaced them with black light LEDs. When they flashed, the paint on the plastic sheet lit up.

We can be creative. I just seemed to be in a slump with all the other things going on. You are giving me great ideas!
 

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Your house and yard scream swampy graveyard with the front porch being a mausoleum for the focal point in the back. I think of the graveyard early in the film Interview with the Vampire for insperation.
 

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Ahh, swamp + cemetery = need for voodoo! Set up little voodoo altar on the porch or out among the gravestones. A thrift store will have what you'd need: mismatched wooden/glass/metal bowls, several candlesticks, tall glass jar candles (with or without saints' pics on them), some glass jars. Save some bones (bleach in the sun in the backyard first though--you don't want ants!!!) or buy a few cheap plastic ones, fill the jars and bowls with varying colored liquids or herbs/weeds/rocks/crystals, and lay everything out on a small table or even a big cardboard box covered with a cloth. Burn some incense for ambiance, draw some veves in sand or flour, and let 'er rip!

I agree with others that black sheet plastic would be great to cover the rocks. Shiny, slightly ripply, dark and creepy! Craft stores have bins of cheap $1 silk greenery bunches that would serve to anchor the plastic and suggest the "bank." Cheap plastic frogs and snakes for sure! If you could get your hands on a pallet , camoflage the bottom side to match the plastic "water." It would be easiest to just cut a piece of plastic to lay over the bottom wooden slats to make the "dock" appear to be above the "water." Painting the side pieces (to which the slats are all nailed) black would add to the illusion. Start keeping any tree trimmings to scatter around the yard "untidy" the place. Snag your neighbors' tree trimmings if need be :)

Doggone it. Now I'm getting all enthused about this swamp/dock/voodoo thing when I don't have time to add any new areas or themes to my yard for this year! Argh!

Oh, the fireflies. I've seen ppl use LED light strings for a firefly effect. Hang the strings from a tree, slip black posterboard circles (1-2" diameter) over the indiv lights, and set up a little fan somewhere inconspicuous if there's no breeze. The breeze turns the circles randomly, which makes the lights appear to blink on and off. The illusion depends on having a really dark background with black wires and being a goodly distance from the viewers. That sounds like a great project for my 6 yo DD, now that I think about it!

Also, creepy green uplights shining on the wall next to the "water." It would reflect onto the water and enhance the ripple effect.

Do take plenty of pics to share with us :)
 

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OK, here goes...

Love the New Orleans / Bayou swamp idea!

Definitely go with fireflies of some sort... here a couple of commercially available versions that mimic the effect in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride:

FIREFLY LIGHTS by FIREFLY MAGIC® Electronic FIREFLIES & LIGHTNING BUGS
Firefly Light Glow Bug Insect Decoration - 36 Fireflies

A foot-note to that, you've probably seen the initial scene at the POTC ride made to look like a Louisiana bayou (about 2/3 the way down the page):

Dead Men... TELL NO TALES!

Also, some thoughts and imagery to perhaps inspire you:

The scene's in the POTC movies where Sparrow and crew paddle through the swamp to Tia Dalma's er... abode.

OK, OK... your cemetery... think of an abandoned & partially submerged such as that in the movie "The Patriot". It's the scenes that take place at the rebels' hideout at the old church ruins in the swamp. This was the first thing I though of when I read your 1st msg!

View attachment 5903

View attachment 5904

Yep. I think a partially submerged cemetery would be earie unto itself!
 

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Yep. I think a partially submerged cemetery would be earie unto itself!
That would be a creepy effect. You never know when old friends might "pop up!"

You could put black plastic sheeting on a small frame with fans blowing under it to simulate water movement. That would be very effective in the dark with blue or green ambient lighting. Just cut slits for the tombstones to stick up through.

Eric
 

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You have a really nice archway before your door.....I see an FCG floating up and down there beautifully with a fabulous black light on it!
 
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