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Discussion Starter #1
I went with an alien invasion theme this year, albeit friendly aliens who just wanted candy.

Back in August, I posted on my local NextDoor group asking for broken patio umbrellas. I received two, so I made two flying saucers - one crashed on the lawn and one with an alien occupant. I also made a small crashed one for the roof from a large wooden plate.

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Alien

The alien was built with cardboard, spray foam, PVC pipe and a couple of Christmas ornaments for eyes. He's loosely based on the standard Far Side alien.
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His ship is fairly basic, this was the less-trashed umbrella with a nylon cover so I spray-painted it silver (should have used gray primer first), and replaced the missing spoke with some PVC pipe. I sawed off most of the center pole with a hacksaw, and dropped it into an umbrella base. It hovers about 30" off the ground, with a fog machine underneath.

The lights on the spokes are flickering/dripping icicle lights, and the ones around the edges are color-changing LED strips (these/). The cockpit is two saucer-style winter sleds wrapped in silver mylar insulation and multi-function LED Christmas lights, and there are pool noodles because I always use pool noodles. The photo doesn't really capture the movement of the lights, but there was a lot of action.

I think the alien is going to make an appearance in my Christmas display, I have a sleigh that's about the right size for him, and a suitable scarf.


Crashed Saucer

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The crashed ship started as a really trashed umbrella, with three of its eight spokes snapped in half. I replaced one with PVC pipe, and used the other short sides on the ground side. There is more PVC scaffolding in the back, to fight gravity a bit. I wish I'd done more, like adding pipes to the edges of all the segments, but it is what it is. There are so many zip ties involved. I had a small table in back also, to keep the light control box and fog machine off the ground and at least partially protected from rain. This is not feature-complete but I think you get the idea:


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The dome is a 20" round basin, a clear plastic serving bowl, and a faux-crystal plastic salad bowl:

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I painted the basin silver, and on the serving bowl I masked out a row around the lip of the bowl (the bottom on the dome), the bottom of the bowl, and some circles before I painted it. The disco light (this) is mounted to the top of the upside-down basin, and the serving bowl is over that so the unpainted parts show the lights flashing through. The crystal bowl glued to the top of the dome refracts the light. I cracked the basin when I was assembling it all on Saturday, so I duct-taped it and then wrapped it in silver tinsel garland to hide the damage.

The main thrusters are five-gallon Home Depot buckets, 2 litre soda bottles, a wastebasket, a Christmas ornament, and some PVC pipe.

I had a fog machine set up behind the umbrella, and I connected the spotlight to a Christmas sounds and lights box which blinks the lights in time to blurpy electronic renditions of Christmas songs. It's very effective at Halloween with the speaker turned off, because the flashes look random without the song context.

The ship's damage looked better than I expected, and I kinda wished I'd done more of it. It's shards of pieces from dis-assembled electronic toys, glued to a base and sprayed silver. Then I crammed it between the umbrella spokes and the cover, cut holes in the cover to expose it, and pulled in some string lights around the edges. I also had some little battery-powered strobe lights that are supposed to go inside pumpkins, and I half-buried them in the soil so it looked like there were electrical flashes where the ship broke. It was surprisingly effective.

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Roof Crash

The roof crash was a 24" wooden plate I found at a garage sale. I mounted it to a board using a shelf bracket, drilled some holes for LED lights, added a bowl for a dome, and ran rope lights around the edge. The broken roof tiles are cut from 50-cent carpet squares I found at Habitat ReStore. The illusion was pretty good! I know the black light clips look pretty bad up close, but they blended once it was on the roof.

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It was a really great Halloween!
 

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I was linked to this thread by another member as I had asked about ufo's this is brilliant and such a simple idea to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The alien got to wear a tinsel scarf and ride in a sleigh in my Christmas display.

 
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