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I'm working on my first REAL Halloween illusion this year, but I'm not sure if it will work. I thought I'd bounce the idea off of everyone here.

The illusion is fairly simple . . .



Guest have to move through a small, dark room (left to right in illustration) mostly lit with a black light and flickering candles. If they stop to look at the portraits, they notice something odd with the back wall: there are a pair of glowing red eyes (me, in costume) staring back at them . . . 7-10 feet BEYOND the wall.



The eyes come closer, and a ghoulish creature clad in black emerges, trying to claw at its victims.

The illusion is that the far wall is not a wall at all, just a large void. The picture frames are anchored into position with strong wire/fishing line (painted flat black). The rest of the walls and ceiling are covered in black fabric. Even the entrances will have a black fabric panels to minimize light leaks from outside.

The empty chamber beyond the "wall" will have to be constructed from black plastic for budget reasons, unless someone can suggest a cheaper alternative. My main concern here is that the plastic may reflect some ambient light. But with the glare from the black light, it may not be noticeable.

I'm also toying with the idea of having a window on the "wall" that I can flash lightning from. A quick flash, and guests' night vision will be ruined if they've already adjusted to the darkness.
 

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Let me say Wow great idea and the welcome Sam.
the art work is so cool and the links are too.
I think maybe styro foam sheets as a frame for the back space and light block and maybe ground cloth from the Home Deport or Big lots would be as cheep as cloth from a discount store. and the ground cloth could also work as a scrim effect.
 

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Black plastic does reflect a TON of black light. I'd use black sheets from wal-mart instead. I think the black light would be enough to see that there's no wall there... consider using some sort of scrim or even black spandex, both of which you can see through when it's lit from behind. You could even do a living wall with the spandex!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I already know that I'm going to have to dim the black light. It's pretty powerful . . . more powerful for the space it'll be used in. I have some fabric that will dim it. I'm also going to have to create light some panels to direct the light where I need/want it to minimize reflection. Here's a rough layout:



I may have to line the large chamber with fabric, and since it has to be on the lawn, I don't know how the grass will affect everything. I also don't know how I'm going to get the plastic walls up in the middle of the lawn. I'll think of something.

I hadn't thought about using sheets. I need a lot of fabric, so the larger, the better. But a queen-size sheet is $15 at Walmart, and I need MUCH more than that. I haven't checked my nearest Joann store yet, so I don't know how much raw fabric will cost. I'll check Walmart's fabric department, too, but I don't think they'll have the quantity that I need. I also have a brand-new Home Depot nearby, so I'm planning a trip there. I'm a pretty good bargain hunter, and I do have some time.

I'll start two days before Halloween so that I can troubleshoot and get the effect just right. I love problem solving on the fly. :D
 

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Very cool Ideas.
How about one of those 10' x 10' fair / picnic tents (or bigger some car fit a car at Pep Boys)
and now they may be going on sale as summer is ending.
Next is the a Rail Road Salvage near you? or other name maybe. There is one near me and I can get 1", 2", 3", and 8" stryo foam sheets 4' x 8' (Not the pink or blue; the stuff made of little balls) and even blocks for floating boat dock on. and then you could paint them with off colored paint from the Deport Etc.
There is nothing wrong with being CHEEP ummm I mean frugal. ;-'))
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think I may be able to get away with not lining the plastic with fabric. One of the key designs is that the lighting really does have to be controlled. I can't just stick lights wherever I want, and I do have to direct it away from the faux wall. I'll try it my way first, testing it out on the first night of construction. Then, I can do any additional fixes and shopping the following two days to get it just right.

In the meantime, I'm still bargain hunting on all of the materials that everyone has suggested. I just bought a lightning fx box from Spilsbury.com which will really help. Last year, I made a shutter to fit over the front of my strobe light. To make lightning, I had to pull a string to open the shutter, flashing lightning, and I had to play the audio track from my cheap mp3 player, which has an annoying power-save mode that I kept forgetting about, ruining the timing. All I should have to do now is hit the Play button and the lightning will take care of itself (I'll use a regular light, not a strobe).
 

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As for cheap black fabric, I would try the clearance racks in Wal-mart. Most years I have found black fabric for $1 a yard. Also I would hit the yard sales and thrift stores, you may store fabric, or more likely, sheets, at a pretty cheap price. I can't wait to see what you do with this. Great concept.
 

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black plastic will not reflect alot of light(use it every year) it does reflect some. but with a black light you only get a few spots and they are small.. just make shure you have it pretty well stretched out and not wrinkled

-eric
 

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Discussion Starter #11
black plastic will not reflect alot of light(use it every year) it does reflect some. but with a black light you only get a few spots and they are small.. just make shure you have it pretty well stretched out and not wrinkled

-eric
I used black plastic last year to block off the light, making a long corridor. Although I had some good lighting (from my perspective), everyone kept saying how dark it was. What I didn't take into consideration was that not everyone's eyes were adjusted to the dark like mine were (I could see everything). My mother stood outside the entrance, and because she was exposed to the same ambient neighborhood lighting (street lights and such) that the trick-or-treaters were, even she couldn't really see much. I even stood right in front of guests, and they couldn't see me. Boy, were they scared! I even had a teenage girl go into a crying fit, trying to get out. Everyone had to restrain her and calm her down. The great thing about that was that she only freaked because of the decorations, not seeing me.

So, I'm using the guests' poor night vision to help with this effect. To help out, I'm gonna add a window . . .



that will flash lightning into their eyes (not too bright) . . .



I though about moving the pictures to one side, and adding a tall window to the other side, but that would have decreased my stalking area.

Another thing that isn't illustrated are cobwebs.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I also thought about having a runner go through the "room" to give it more of a home-like quality (rather than a gussied-up walkway). But, guests could trip over the carpet, which would be a liability. Instead, I'll use black electrical tape to create an inlay pattern, similar to this photo or this photo.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
One thing I've been enjoying is making faux candles . . .



I bought two candle stands on sale at Walmart for $6-7 (originally $12). They were the last ones available. The candles are made of cardstock and hot glue, painted an off-white (more of a light cream color), and coated in a protective gloss varnish. A cardboard platform holds a battery-operated flicker tea light at the right height.
 

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Just a thought, can you just spray the black plastic with the cheap cans of flat black paint? Your going to buy some for the fishing lines anyways. That way it keeps the cost down. Never tried it but, just a thought.

Growler
 

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Just a thought.... my 2 cents..

For the walls, maybe use this stuff.. I use it on my screen door and you can see through it, its cheap and easy to alter. Also you can get bigger rolls if you need.

Easy Gardener 3 Ft. x 50 Ft. Weedblock® Landscape Fabric - 1042MJ at The Home Depot


This is what my front door looks like with a bit of neon spray paint and a black light. And I can still see people coming to the door.

 

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I hadn't thought of that! Funny how the simplest solutions are right under your nose. Of course, I'd have to do a thin layer, and it'd be uneven. It'll be a relatively large space, so doing an even, uniform coat would be costly. Plus, I don't really know how well the paint will stick to the plastic. Anybody have experience with spray paint on plastic sheeting?

Another idea I'm considering is creating a curtain divider that I could hide behind, something that I could see through. The reason the area is large is because I want to stand 7-10 feet away, reducing the chances of being seen. If I create a fabric curtain, the area will not have to be so big, and it will hide any reflections from the majority of the plastic. I can then try out flat spray paint to help disguise any remaining plastic.

Now you've really got the wheels in my head turning!

For the second room (the area next to the garden), I think I'll just turn that into a large spider den.

I think that weed block fabric just might do the trick. Gas is expensive, so I have to consolidate my store trips into large, single day excursions.
 

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LOL.

You guys kill me.

It is really great to see how many creative people there are out there.

Sam your idea is very original. Are you planning on the monster to touch them?

C.:D
 

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A bit off topic but...

Kammo, I absolutely love your gate and smallish fence wall-topper (didn't know what else to call it. I can't tell from the photo, but is that actually an iron gate and fence or was it made for your haunt???
 

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Thanks Shadow Man, yeah I got the gate at a garage sale and put it up for Halloween one year then liked it so much I left it. The arch was already there but didn't have a gate to start. The fence on the wall was bought from home depot for the same reason and again, just left it. they are iron and very sturdy. The gate opens when someone gets close to it then closes when they leave. People love it...
 
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