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Discussion Starter #1
I gave in to a whim (is it really a whim if it's something that you keep thinking about?) and purchased one of the lower-end commercial class cotton candy machines. I've been thinking it would be fun to do a spider scene and make spider egg sacs out of cotton candy (adorned with the classic spider ring, of course).

Anybody ever incorporated cotton candy into their haunt? Anything I should know (other than to pray for no rain)? I've already decided the machine is a little too hazardous (heat and high-speed spinning parts) to let the teens run it.
 

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Ghouls Rule
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Can't really help you much on how to run your own but I'm with you on the cotton candy with the spider theme. I've been planning spiders for this year as well and I'm going to use the people I used for cotton candy in my circus haunt before to do sealed bagged white cotton candy.
 

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We had pretty good luck using tomato cages for shaping webs last year. My yard doesn’t have any trees or shrubs. Maybe they would work with polyfill around them with spiders to look like cotton candy towers? Just a thought. Creepy Cotton Candy sounds like a lot of fun!
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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If you leave the cotton candy out unwrapped it will disintegrate eventually, it's just heated up sugar, so if you're just giving it away as you make it, great, but don't let it sit as a decoration for too long unwrapped.

If you want to make a long lasting "cotton candy" I wouldn't use REAL cotton candy, I'd go the polyfil route.

It can also make a giant mess, so make sure that whatever you wear can be washed because you may end up covered in that candy floss.

It's also a job for outside too or a pretty large area, not in a small kitchen. The stuff just flies everywhere so if you do it inside, be prepared to clean up sugary bits.

It's fun to make though. IIRC, you take the cone & go the opposite direction that the floss is flowing & spin the cone as you wrap it on to the cone. Set it up at some point before the big night & practice. It's not hard once you get the hang of it & you don't want to be just learning how to do it on the big night.

I wish I had a good reason to buy a cotton candy machine because it does draw a crowd & what kid (& a few grown ups) don't love that much sugar?
 

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Sounds like you're wanting to give out candy floss treats as well as having a "live" candy making booth?

I'd probably do a lot of testing before October. First, I'd try to find a safe food coloring to grey the spun sugar. Then, I'd cello package the amount you want to give out and see how long it will remain fresh. Depending on how many kids you get, making treats might be more time-consuming that you'd like with a full haunting schedule.

If you intend to run the machine on TOT night, test in RL conditions, knowing how many treats you can produce over time and factoring weather. Do those machines throw off too much heat to run under an EZ-up tent/canopy? Will humidity during rain ruin the candy? Will any nearby decorations be safe from the heat?

As for decorations, polyester batting from a fabric store - or available in large quantity online might do. You can make and hang spider pods all over with plenty of plastic spiders glued on. And don't forget to have some moving spider projectors!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I found out a few things from experimenting:

1) The finished product absorbs moisture from the air far too quickly to be used as decorating material. Oh well. Likewise have to limit the exposure time of the ones given out for eating or they get sticky and spoiled. I guess I will be using the polyester webbing for the spider sac decorations. I really don't like the poly spiderwebs on the plants, because it always leaves behind too much during cleanup. I was hoping to be able to pull off the bulk of it, and then spray away the rest with a hose, but that's not going to work out. Maybe if i lived in a desert.

2) The machine will make about one cone per 30 seconds. The lines might end up getting enormous. I can premake a few, but only a few minutes ahead, unless I bag it in plastic.

3) Heat is totally not a problem, but the machine does throw a small amount of overspray.

4) I can either buy cartons of premixed sugar floss, or I can buy flavor concentrate and mix my own, which is cheaper per serving and I can also control the flavor and color intensity. The premix is pretty weak.

All things considered this may turn out to be more of a private party thing than supplying the whole neighborhood with cotton candy. Live and learn...
 

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I gave in to a whim (is it really a whim if it's something that you keep thinking about?) and purchased one of the lower-end commercial class cotton candy machines. I've been thinking it would be fun to do a spider scene and make spider egg sacs out of cotton candy (adorned with the classic spider ring, of course).

Anybody ever incorporated cotton candy into their haunt? Anything I should know (other than to pray for no rain)? I've already decided the machine is a little too hazardous (heat and high-speed spinning parts) to let the teens run it.
I don't recommend using real cotton candy. It's almost as bad as silly string when time comes to remove it and if ever it rains on your spider, I'm afraid it will be an even bigger mess. Try it on a small scale and use a spray bottle to see if it holds up. You may need to go back to the drawing board.
 

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Nobody asked the most important question, which machine did you buy and how is it holding up? I have looked at them in the past and those really cheap home style kid machines got a lot of bad reviews, looked at a bunch of different commercial machines and found one I like just can't justify paying that much for a machine to make cotton candy just for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Nobody asked the most important question, which machine did you buy and how is it holding up? I have looked at them in the past and those really cheap home style kid machines got a lot of bad reviews, looked at a bunch of different commercial machines and found one I like just can't justify paying that much for a machine to make cotton candy just for me.
I got the Carnival King with the 21" bowl, for $159. It was on the cheap end of the commercial-class machines and the reviews seemed reasonable. I got it through webstaurantstore.com. Being a restaurant supply place, I dare to hope they don't want to be selling junk to businesses.

Looking at the user spec sheet, it seems to use the same internals as their larger machine (28" bowl, ridiculously big to store at home). I've only had it a week so far, and run maybe 30 servings through it. So far so good. It's the kind that expels from the top of the spinner instead of the sides, and those supposedly are less prone to clogging. It cleans up fairly easily, and I haven't burned a batch yet (fingers crossed). It preheats in 3 minutes and then can be run essentially continuously for an hour, after which it needs to cool. I doubt I will ever be running it for 60 minutes uninterrupted.

the output is reasonably quick, but very wispy (which makes the resemblance to spiderweb all the better, too bad...) It rolls up on the cone into a nice serving, but is less dense than the kind that collects on the sidewalls of the bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The top-ejection style is the kind that people use to make cotton candy art (flowers, bears etc.) That possibility also attracted me to this. I did manage a semi decent pumpkin by rolling up a sphere and pressing ribs into it with a chopstick, basically the same way they do with the cotton candy flowers you see on YouTube.

Maybe it will find its way into the Frankenstein Laboratory instead.
 

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I've been thinking it would be fun to do a spider scene and make spider egg sacs out of cotton candy (adorned with the classic spider ring, of course).
I guess I always look at things from a logistical side of worst case scenario. Those two sentences above sound like an accident waiting to happen. Surely kids are smart enough to know that they eat the candy and wear the ring, right? I wouldn't bet on it. All it takes is one kid who was never taught commonsense by parents who never learned it first, and you're dealing with a lawsuit instead of just messy cotton candy melting all over your yard. The ants and critters will help you clean up your yard mess, but even homeowners insurance doesn't cover kids choking on a ring while eating cotton candy. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I guess I always look at things from a logistical side of worst case scenario. Those two sentences above sound like an accident waiting to happen. Surely kids are smart enough to know that they eat the candy and wear the ring, right? I wouldn't bet on it. All it takes is one kid who was never taught commonsense by parents who never learned it first, and you're dealing with a lawsuit instead of just messy cotton candy melting all over your yard. The ants and critters will help you clean up your yard mess, but even homeowners insurance doesn't cover kids choking on a ring while eating cotton candy. :(
Fair point. Thanks for the advice.
 

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With all the animated clown props this year it might be better to go with a carnival or circus theme and put blood red food coloring in the cotten candy

There is a cotten candy cocoon prop from the movie Killer Klowns From Outer Space


Have you thought about using beef netting for your spider webs?
 
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