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Discussion Starter #1
I saw a thread titled "Spirit Halloween, Expensive" or some such.

So. What would we guess to be an average price of our handmade
props? Figuring only the cost of material, not labor or time.

I'll start with my "life-size" buddies....I would probably guess between
40, 50 dollars each. Some even a little cheaper, depending on the
framework. (PVC, Plastic body, free standing, which mask, and so forth.)

My lesser, smaller, props....probably nothing over 20 dollars each for
material. Right down to the headstones...one sheet of material can make
several stones. Leftover pieces go into smaller things. So we try not to
waste.

The actual costumes and masks are my biggest expense. They can run
into the 100 dollar range. And I can sew. But still buying nice material and
a decent mask.

Fog machines, lights and such...we've built up a stock over the years. But
we continue to add to it at probably a few hundred a year.

Now....air tanks, moveable parts...the more expensive props, my gang isn't
into yet. As a group of 25-30 actors...we don't really NEED those yet. We do
have a few store-boughts that move. But nothing fancy. And I have no ideal
of the expense of those.

And I'll bet that most of us are somewhere in that range....not a boatload of
money in any one single prop.

But still, I bet a lot of us a respectable amount of money tied up in our entire
collection. When I look at my stuff, I don't think about the cost.

"Store-boughts" look just like what they are...Store Bought. Open the box,
this is what you have. Your neighbors can have one just like it. Everybody
in town can have exactly what you have.

But with our own personal hand-made one of a kind creations -fancy,plain,
big or little- we've got the only one. Something the neighbor won't have,
something the next haunt won't have. And that's a part of what makes each
one of our displays so special.

For myself, I know that I'll take time to walk around town and admire the other
peoples yards. I'm looking at their displays. I like that master's touch on the
props. To the point that I've knocked on the door of a stranger just to say "I
like that."

So to me...Yep. store bought may cost more.

But homemades are nicer.
 

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Most range between 10-50. There's a few props that I made for free or almost, and the most expensive I've made was my cauldron creep at around $120 for everything including the fogger. Like you, the most expensive item is the mask/head for most of the props. I'm not doing pneumatic props yet either.
 

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Yes I think that homemade props are the way to go. They cost less (most of the time) and they look as good or even better than store-bought props. Best of all, they make your haunt unique. It kind of bugged me when kids would say " I saw that at Walmart" or "I saw that at the Halloween store."
 

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lol....a few sticks, a $1 roll of jute, a sale priced pumpkin from Michael's.....a can of black spray paint, detail acryllics from my stockpiled accumulation....so my scarecrows are about $10 in materials.
 

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I spent about $80 give or take on my Headless Horseman figure. I agree with you Sppokwriter...even though I was inspired by the Grandin Road HH, I like that my Horseman is still the only one exactly like it.
Most of the time, even when I buy something store-bought, I usually end up modifying it to make it my own. I utilize thrift stores and scraps from other projects too, so it keeps the cost down.

View attachment 169226 View attachment 169226
 

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Average? Wow, I vary too wildly.

The Chimera typically cost $50-100 depending on what I put into/onto them.




Trevor last year was insanely expensive in both time and $. If you count the fog machine and all the mistakes we had to redo, he cost $250, and took 8 months.



Then, we can cast skulls <$1


And the pumpkins, corn, boardwalk, etc are all but free.



Less about money, more about enjoying the props.
 

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I can't see how you can ask how much it cost without taking time and labor into consideration especially if you look into projects like UnOrthoDox's skull casting or pulling pallets apart or paper mache.

This one cost a few pennies:


This one, not as much


Nowadays, most of the stuff I build has movement, so that costs more, especially pneumatics. I'm just glad I don't know how to solder or program or I'd go broke
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Why don't I figure time and labor?...cause it's something I love to do.

I play in my shop to relax...and when I get done they're mine, all mine.
(I don't play well with others)

Honestly...as a hobby, it's unfair to count my time as part of the cost.
Beats watching tv. Now if I was building props to sell...time is very much
a factor then.

And I like the wagon. I meant to build one this year. Didn't get that far.
Sidetracked by real life. But I will.
 

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I prefer homemade, I want to be original and not be like the houses down the street that spend tons of money on props from spirit that break w/in a season or two...
Being a scavenger also helps reduce the costs in prop making.
 

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Why don't I figure time and labor?...cause it's something I love to do.

I play in my shop to relax...and when I get done they're mine, all mine.
(I don't play well with others)

Honestly...as a hobby, it's unfair to count my time as part of the cost.
Beats watching tv. Now if I was building props to sell...time is very much
a factor then.

And I like the wagon. I meant to build one this year. Didn't get that far.
Sidetracked by real life. But I will.
I love to build stuff too, but the stuff I don't build isn't because of money, it's because of time
 

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My prop building can get scary!
I have the idea, I sit and think, begin scrounging nuts, bolts, other items, make a few drives to my storage garage, root around, drag back more pieces, parts, work for a few days, it finally comes together. I'm happy with it.....then I happen to open an old sketchbook.. and there are the plans I had drawn up a few years before... and completely forgotten I had ever even had this certain idea before! WOW!?
Maybe I just have too much always going on?
I wake up, put on work clothes begin doing stuff here in the haunt. It gets to be 5 O'Clock, I shower, eat, put on my haunting clothes and wait for anyone to arrive here for a tour of Ravens Grin Inn.. they either show up, or they don't. I might pass out on the couch inside the front door waiting, wake up later and go to bed , or wake up the next morning still on the couch?
My routine begins again, same as the previous day...
I have been doing this routine almost every day and night now for 26YEARS! (No wonder I have trouble remembering what day of the week it is!)
26 X 365= 9,490 days and nights! (Subtract maybe 50 for sickness, a small vacation or two , getting Married, getting divorced....9,440 nights open for haunting!
Anyone ever brag about a "Season", most Halloween seasons only cover a week or two 26X52= 1,352 WEEKS!
I am just a glutton for .. FUN!
(And yes, FUN can be very addictive! ) Even habit forming! Having so much FUN eliminates the need to actually know what day it is!
Sweet Oblivion!
 

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I'm a scavenger too - at work and when driving around (a yellow skip is like a magnet to me). Plus if I actually added up what I spend myself rather than getting back in petty cash from work then I would go and hide in a corner somewhere and moan quietly. Don't tell Hubby!
 

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It varies. Sometimes in the end I think, wow I could have bought that and it would have been cheaper than the adventure I just went on.
If I just think, mine is way better...then sometimes it helps. I've been doing this for years and after all this time my friends still wouldn't know the difference between home made and store bought. And don't care.
Here's an example that comes to mind. About 5 years ago I was FIXATED on a 12' 3 panel spooky house pottery barn wall mural. It was sold out everywhere.
For whatever reason, I opened up some old weird NJ magazines and mapped out where to go to try and capture a great looking picture that I can turn into a wall mural. After all was said and done, I ended up going with a few panoramic shots of tarrytown's sleepy hollow cemetery. I ended up spending close to $900 printing 4 wall murals of my pictures 10'x 20'
Surrounding the room with autumn cemetery views.

After all that, I was pleased. The guests thought I just bought scene setters.

Sigh
 

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Most of my homemade props are in the $20 range. I have spent more on a few, less on others. Buying used materials and looking for bargains really helps keep the cost down. I usually spend more on candy than I do the props! LOL I try to make things that will last for several years. Homemade props are so much more durable AND repairable!
 

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It varies. Sometimes in the end I think, wow I could have bought that and it would have been cheaper than the adventure I just went on.
If I just think, mine is way better...then sometimes it helps. I've been doing this for years and after all this time my friends still wouldn't know the difference between home made and store bought. And don't care.
Here's an example that comes to mind. About 5 years ago I was FIXATED on a 12' 3 panel spooky house pottery barn wall mural. It was sold out everywhere.
For whatever reason, I opened up some old weird NJ magazines and mapped out where to go to try and capture a great looking picture that I can turn into a wall mural. After all was said and done, I ended up going with a few panoramic shots of tarrytown's sleepy hollow cemetery. I ended up spending close to $900 printing 4 wall murals of my pictures 10'x 20'
Surrounding the room with autumn cemetery views.

After all that, I was pleased. The guests thought I just bought scene setters.

Sigh
Celipops...that wall mural sounds AWESOME! I would love that...especially Sleepy Hollow cemetery..it is so beautiful. Any pics?

I think that most people (who are not creative/artistically inclined) don't have the ability to really accept that something so great could have been hand made. It's not so much that they don't care, they just can't "see" it the way we do.
 
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