One idea would be to use the temple from the opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. This is the temple with the golden idol and giant stone ball. Get the DVD and take reference shots using print screens on your computer. You can carve it with the pink or blue foam. A fellow haunter did something like this. See pics on his blog http://hauntedmansion-northside.blogspot.com/p/my-haunt.html. He did an amazing job. You will have to scroll to almost the bottom of the page to see the pics of the temple he built.
Well, while a tight budget makes everything more difficult, I can also see where a lot of inexpensive detail could be achieved in an 'overgrown' setting by using local foliage. I'm not sure what creepers and vines are readily available for you, but if there is easy access, that's certainly one route. If not, inexpensive 'vines' can be made from wire, masking tape, paint, and elbow grease.
Beyond the 'overgrown' details, I would think that the foundation of aged, crumbling stone infrastructure would probably be best achieved by acquiring free, discarded, foam. Stores like Lowe's and Tractor supply throw away dozens of foam blocks that are used to support trailers (member Fravak used them to create foam barrels):
Wow is that facade a haunters dream. Looks fantastic. I'll be settling for something less for sure.
Josh, is your temple going to be something the kids walk into? If so, maybe some of what I've been working on pulling together for a similar haunt idea would work for you too. We have a dining pergola I'm hoping to use as my outdoor jungle temple area. The pillars and beams of it will serve as the structural framework that I can hang or anchor things to. If you don't have a structure like this, a garage space could work as well, or some kind of tent possibly.
Not sure what I will use for walls yet, some sort of fabric along with foamboard panels most likely. I did buy some 10x14 foot vinyl-like tarps from Costco two years ago with this use in mind that are brown on one side, silver on the other and the brown would work well on the outside of the temple. Sometimes Harbor Freight has good pricing on their tarps. Tarps are nice because they also have grommets for hanging and they are thick enough to act as a bit of a wind break and also shield unwanted light.
Our dining pergola columns/pillars will probably get foamboard carved facade panels on them (this being the entrance to the temple which will have the most visibilty). I've been adding leaf and tropical floral garlands to my temple supply inventory when I can. Dollar Tree--come Spring/Summer--has had some decent hibiscus garland in the past. A bit more pricier would be garland from Michaels, in which case keep watch for sales come summer/fall on it and look for their 40-50% off coupons and time it right for a savings. Hobby Lobby also has nice garland and always has a weekly 40% off coupon and every so often, the floral goes on sale at 50% off. Jungle vines can be made from rope doubled or tripled up for example and wrapped. If you insert metal wiring in the rope bundle before wrapping it, using wiring that is bendable, you can give the vines some shape. Leaves can be added to the vines in various places along it.
I'm planning on a snake pit somewhere so will have a few snakes hanging down from the temple too.
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