Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Black Friday kind of reminds me of how I went out shopping on Halloween morning for all the good sales on Halloween stuff, only I was the only person who was shopping that morning. It was very nice.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Drop Gallow

Wanted to post some of the props from Drop Gallow's 2008 display. I had been looking forward to seeing these for some time, but was delayed from posting them (along with anything else) for the last couple of weeks. Some terrific and truly inspiring props can be found on the Drop Gallow Website.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dave the Dead's Haunt

Johnny, over at Through the Patch posted some pics from "Dave the Dead" a while back and I couldn't resist re-posting this haunt. This is some excellent work and I would love to see more pictures of this very creepy looking display.

Check out more great pictures here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Pictures Added to Grim Hollow Website

Haven't posted much lately since I've been busy catching up on everything that was neglected before Halloween... fixing cars, doing homework, fixing little things around the house, cleaning, etc. Andi put 65 new photos on the Grim Hollow website so check them out and hopefully I'll find some cool stuff to post soon! (The green and blue lights in some of the pictures at the top were from where I was playing around with the color of the lights when I first set everything up. I finally settled on an amber color, and it wasn't as bright as it appears in the pictures.)

2008 Grim Hollow Pics

I hope to also have a short video made before too long.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cloaked Ghost's Hand

I have gotten a few questions about the hands on my cloaked ghosts. Here is a picture of them close-up, with another use that I found for them while they were hanging out in the garage. Made an excellent MP3 player holder. This picture shows more detail of the hand and the look that the construction adhesive gives it. I probably could have made it look even better if I had taken my time, I kind of rushed these. I think this one was also painted with some flat tan spray paint.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cloaked Ghost Step By Step

When I first saw Pumpkinrot's Cloaked Ghost, I knew that I had to build one. Or two... or three. Since then, I have gotten a great response from the two I built and lots of questions about how I did it. So... here are a few pictures I took along the way, and a brief description of how I made them. I don't know how Rot made his, but I really owe him credit for the idea for this prop that I put my own spin on.

I started with a piece of 1 and 1/4" pvc pipe that was probably close to 5 feet long. The little device it is standing on is a thing I made to put my tombstones on while I was painting them, that I have found comes in handy for several other uses. I went ahead and painted this pole black since I didn't want it visible and I figured this would be the easiest time to paint it.

Next I made a piece for the shoulders out of a 1X2 and arms out of 1X2's as well. The one arm has a piece of pvc pipe for the forearm... I'm not sure why I did that. I might have run out of 1X2's. I also made a hood out of chicken wire and used a wire coat hanger along the front edge to give it more support. My plan was to use monster mud covered burlap over this so I needed all the support I could get, as that stuff can be rather heavy.

I made the hands out of two different sizes of glue sticks that were cut and glued back together. I could have done this a lot simpler, but I had just learned this method and wanted to try it out. These turned out to be really strong, especially after I covered them in construction adhesive and dipped them in liquid latex for extra support.

Here is what the ghost was looking like after the monster mud covered burlap was added to the hood. I had to use another piece of wood to hold up the front of the hood while this was drying, as it kept wanting to fall and droop down too much in the front. I ran the wire to power the lantern (that this ghost would later hold) up the main pole and down the raised arm. At this point I had also dyed some cheesecloth a tan color, and wrapped the main pole with it to make it less visible in the finished product.

Here is the ghost, nearly completed with all the rest of the cheesecloth draped on it. I used some spray on glue as I layered the cheesecloth on to keep it from blowing away in the wind... this seemed to work really well. I shredded the ends of the cheesecloth and made some long stringy pieces to hang down and blow in the breeze. I tried to get rid of any "straight lines" such as the ends of the cloth or anywhere it may have folded over. I felt that any of these that were visible would take away from the creepiness factor. I painted everything inside the hood black at this point also, so that nothing would be visible inside the hood. This was what I liked most about this prop, the mystery of what was inside that darkened hood, which was nothing. I also added a Skull and Bone style flickering lantern to one hand.

Here was the finished product. Even though this picture was photoshopped a tad, the center pole becomes pretty much invisible at night and blends in with the other pieces that hang down. I painted the bottom of this black, up about a foot or so and blended it back into the tan color, which makes it even less visible. This is what gives it that "hovering" look. To stand the ghost up, I drove a five foot piece of conduit into the ground about two feet, which left three feet out of the ground for all of you mathematicians, and then slid the whole assembly onto that.

Some things I might have done differently if I were to build these again.... I might have used a paper mache material for the hood instead of monster mud, as this would have been much lighter, although the monster mud will hold up better in all types of weather (such as rain). I probably would use the thicker walled (schedule 40 I think it is called) pvc pipe, which would be stronger than the thin walled stuff I used. I didn't have any problems with it, I just like to be on the safe side. I think that about covers it, but if I left anything out feel free to ask... I'm sure there was something.

The Inspiration... Pumpkinrot's Cloaked Ghost

Photo From

Skull and Bone

I am still shocked at the news that one of the haunts that influenced me the most in making my own haunt will not be doing another display. I received a lot of help from Rob, of Skull and Bone, on several different questions I had in the past. He was always more than willing to help, and was actually one of the first experiences I had in learning how willing fellow haunters can be to help those who are just starting out. If you are familiar with his haunt, you will see some similar things in my haunt that I borrowed (stole) from his haunt. I learned to make a Bucky corpse from the great tutorial on the Skull and Bone website, and learned to make my flickering lanterns with help from Rob. I will truly miss this great haunt, and can only hope that it will make a return someday.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Grim: Step by step

I have had a lot of questions about my "Grim" prop that I built for 2008. I plan to put a full blown tutorial on my website sometime, but for now here is a brief step-by-step tutorial with some never before seen pictures.

I stated with a basic wooden frame, made from 1X2's and 1X3's. I actually stood in the position I wanted "Grim" to be standing in so that I could get the angles of the arms and legs right. I wanted the legs and arms really long and the torso a little smaller.

I came up with this idea from seeing the three skulls on a rope decoration, and thought that Grim needed to be holding these as sort of his "captives". I wanted them to have rather happy faces, as they do not realize the terror they are about to experience. I lit these using three small candelabra sockets that I got from Lowe's, and 4 watt nightlight bulbs.

Next, I covered parts of the body in chicken wire to break up the blocky look, and made a few "thorn-like" projections. I made the hands and feet out of wire coat hangers, paper towels and duct tape. I also ran the wire at this point for the light that would be in the head, and the string of pumpkins that he would be holding.

I used paper mache for the skin, (paper towels, and an Elmer's glue and water mixture: mixed to about a 50/50 ratio). I used both brown and white paper towels... no particular reason, I just had both and was experimenting. The brown paper towels were probably stronger, but wouldn't stick as good as the white paper towels. I used about three layers of these all over the body. While it was still drying I dipped sections of different kinds of rope and cord in the Elmer's glue and water mixture, and wrapped them around the legs, body and arms randomly. I wanted these to have a vine-like appearance, and look kind of like they were just growing wildly. I also tore paper towels into long stringy looking pieces and randomly placed these around in different places.

Last, I painted him flat black as a base coat, then went back over that with a couple of shades of brown. I also added some cheesecloth that was dyed brown and shredded up. I put this around the torso area. The head was a foam "Funkin" that I carved and airbrushed. I lit it the same way that I lit the smaller pumpkins, with a candelabra socket and 4 watt bulb.

That's pretty much it, the total cost to build this was probably about $40.00, with the head being about half of that cost. (I had a lot of the materials on-hand though, if I had to buy everything to make just this prop, it might have been about $60.00.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Hollowmen: Year of the Scarecrows

I'm sure anyone who looks at this blog probably already keeps up with Pumpkinrot's blog. If not, you should. These are some of the pictures he has posted from his 2008 haunt. This is my favorite yard haunter of all, and he never lets me down with his amazing work.
The What's Brewing Blog
This is simply the best Halloween blog you will ever find.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Paper Mache Skulls

Out of all the new things I learned over the past year, making paper mache skulls was probably one of the best. I have to credit Spooky Blue for teaching me this through a tutorial on his website. Now that I have learned this I can make an unlimited amount of heads for zombies or anything else I need one for. Here are a few pictures of how I make mine.

I start with this basic skull, which came with a handy stand which makes things a lot easier. This one used to have some stuff inside that made it "talk", but I took all that stuff out.
Then I cover it with strips of newspaper, about three layers. I have found if you alternate the colors, it helps you keep track of what you have done. For instance, use black and white for one layer, then something like the comics for the next layer, then black and white again.
After this dries, usually overnight, I cut from below where one ear should be up and across the top of the skull and down the other side. Then start working on peeling off the pieces. Once you get them off, tape up the inside really good and fill it with expandable foam (I used Great Stuff). Be careful not to put to much in at a time as it will make the head kind of shaped wrong, which could be a good thing if you're going for that look. I usually put in a few layers at a time to prevent this, or have poked holes into the foam when it is about half setup to let the gases escape from inside, which will stop it from expanding.
I think this ended up being the head for this guy...
One of the cool things is that every one of these will end up looking different. I also do not add teeth, I think they look kind of cool without them and I was probably too lazy to make them. I also followed Spooky's groundbreaker corpse tutorial to make these guys.

Spooky Blue's Tutorial

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Haunted Trail: 2008

This is a yard haunt that is about a mile away from where I live. I had heard about it last year but didn't get a chance to go see it, so I was looking forward to it this year. It has many more props than I have shown here and a trail that goes through the front and back yards, as well as a short stretch through the woods. It also has a long tunnel at one point, complete with a Michael Myers prop who is waiting for you at the exit. I wish I had been able to see this at night, but I had my own haunt to tend to then.

Looking forward to seeing this one again next year... Good Job Pam!