Halloween Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have an idea for easy-set stakes for Halloween props, but I'm looking for some input from those of you who also build your displays in windy areas. In October, 40+ mph gusts are not uncommon where we live. It appears to be a good idea to expect at least 50mph winds. We need our props to be quite securely staked because of this. Obviously if we realize ahead of time that the wind is going to be especially bad, we can pack things inside. However, we are not news watchers in the Howie house, so we often take weather as it comes.

There are a some challenges to overcome when it comes to staking in our front yard. We are on a corner lot, so there are lots of opportunities for stabbing through city utilities. We have to be careful about that. I'm not sure at our wind speed what the best depth is to securely hold foam tombstones, for instance. The less typical thing though, is that our entire front yard is covered with weed fabric. It is all rock with some bushes and trees. Any place where we get a gap or hole in the fabric, we tend to get tumbleweeds growing--which are absolutely not the bushes I want! Puncturing the weed cloth with rebar every year is not my favorite idea.

My thought is that I could use a hand weeder shovel to dig a hole for a permanent installation of PVC conduit in the ground to receive the stakes. When the season is over, I'd cap the tops so that sand doesn't blow across and fill them up. The blade on my weeder is 7" long and digs a hole with a minimum diameter of 1.5" at the top, narrowing to the bottom. The diameter is a bit large for placing 1/2" PVC, but dirt can pack back into the hole, of course.

Questions:
  • Is 7" deep enough for staking foam tombstones and other things in winds of, say, 35mph constant, 50mph gusts?
  • Should we expect any staying power problems from the fact that the stake is going into a PVC tube instead of soil?
  • Does anyone have a better idea than rebar for connecting the PVC in the ground to props? Perhaps a dual benefit to this plan would be to minimize the safety hazard of people tripping into rebar reinforced foam tombstones.
  • Any other problems with this idea that someone with more/different prop experience might notice?
Any input is appreciated!

- Mrs. Howie
 

·
Funeral Crasher
Joined
·
7,435 Posts
I try to use PVC pipe as the base for a lot of my props. And if I make a standing figure I use PVC for the legs and we get some heavy winds here in October, too.

I just hammer a length of rebar into the ground and place the PVC over it. You can even add a wood screw thru the PVC to keep the prop from turning in the wind.

Works for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Hey Howie - we actually have our utility lines being marked right now (as I type!) I just did the quick 811, filled out the information and they were here in 2 business days. We said we were doing landscaping. When guy came I was upfront that it was for Halloween - he said he'd be sure to mark everything. And told me that around the 8 inch mark is where I'll need to start to be careful if I go over the utility lines. We did it now so the neon paint won't be so present come October.

We used sandbags last year on one of our big props and when the high winds came he was fine - everything else was toast however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Windy here too... For tombstones, I use liquid nails to attach a piece of PVC to the back of the tombstone. I use wooden dowels from Home Depot, cut to appropriate length and then pound into the ground several inches. Just slip PVC over dowel and its good to go. Yes, they aren't as durable as rebar, but much easier to cut and cheap to replace.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,265 Posts
I am seriously no expert, but what if instead of putting PVC pipes in the ground, you placed rebar into the ground instead? Just like jcraigcx said he uses dowels for. No worries about dirt getting into the pipe then, so that's one issue resolved. You said that your whole yard is rock, so what if you buried the rebar into the ground, and had the tip of the rebar stick out of your beds/rock piles. Then, make some cement faux rocks that have a hollow underneath area to cover the tips of the rebar that stick out of the ground. Or drill a hole into a real rock or fake one and slide it over the rebar to cover the tip & let it blend in to your yard.

You'd have to attach PVC or other piping to your props so that they could slide down onto the rebar, but rebar would be relatively easy to pound down into the ground versus digging a hole to set a PVC pipe - at least, I'd think so. And, having pvc piping attached to your props would be safer if someone fell into them than attaching rebar to them, right?

Just some food for thought. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I am liking this fake rock idea! Of course, that's project building time that will take away from tombstone carving, so I'll have to mull it over a bit. I know some people would find it weird to give priority to seasonal decoration over the rest of the year landscape, but I'm pretty sure that you all understand. :D

Whatever support material we end up using (dowels, rebar, etc), I've seen mention of 18-24 inch pieces pounded into the ground 'several inches'. So I'm thinking that would end up being at least a foot of above ground support keeping props from working their way free. Does that seem about right and advisable?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
Ugh. Utility lines may ruin my lay out this year! How far down do you guys pound your rdbar? Guy said at 8inches we should start to he careful.
 

·
Funeral Crasher
Joined
·
7,435 Posts
I think the small rebar is about two feet long and I hammer it down about a foot. What you might do is call the number for your city that you use when you are going to do some digging in your yard. All the utility companies will come out and use spray paint to mark where any piping or utility lines are located. I did this when I moved into my house and then took pictures of all the markings for future reference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
I think the small rebar is about two feet long and I hammer it down about a foot. What you might do is call the number for your city that you use when you are going to do some digging in your yard. All the utility companies will come out and use spray paint to mark where any piping or utility lines are located. I did this when I moved into my house and then took pictures of all the markings for future reference.
Er, I already posted up thread that I had called the number and that they marked up my lawn Monday. Its how I know the utility lines may cause a lay out snafu, as when utility guy was here he told me to be careful at about 8 inches.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,208 Posts
I saw a new house where gas line, water line, electrical line plus a few more all came into the house at the SAME SPOT! they all crossed over one another doing this arriving at the same place! What a mess! We were supposed to be doing some in-ground work too!
The late Don Quinn of then Dodgeville , Wis. had his teenage Son driving a tractor doing some landscaping? The utility company had been out and marked the lines very thoroughly, he was 20 feet? from the marks when the tractor blade hit and severed a major electrical line running into Dodgeville! Many people there lost all electrical service at once!
A huge scar was made across the steel blade, nobody got shocked, killed or hurt!
It had been a Very Lucky day!
You never really "Know" for 100%, until the earth and broken and removed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
That is the caveat with the line markings. They only give you a general idea of the path, give or take a few feet on either side of the marks. A lot of people have large sections of their yard where there is nothing buried underground, and that's nice to know for doing quick digging. But then there's others like us where we know that we have some neighborhood lines running through our front and side yards. Miller, it sounds like you are in a similar situation.

We just have to install things slowly and/or cross our fingers. And, hey, it wouldn't be Halloween without a little electrocution, right? ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,208 Posts
Get things marked. Take a beautiful sunny day, dig ever so slowly. Dig a round hole , stick a pipe in it, pour concrete in the hole, making it finish off at ground level with the pipe level too with the surface. All ready for next year and many years to come='s No Problems!
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top