Monday, December 05, 2005

Snow comes early to Virginia this year

Richmond has roughly a 2 percent chance of seeing a snow of 4 inches or greater during the first 10 days of December. The 50-1 shot occurred yesterday.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Successful '05

The weather this Halloween was fantastic. We had nearly 100 kids ring the doorbell for candy and at least 50 or 60 adults visit our yard haunt. It was a beautiful night for Trick-or-Treating.

Fellow HalloweenForum and BlogCrypt member Vikeman, his wife Brenda, and new baby Blake stopped by for a visit. It was really nice to meet them.

I took some long exposure photos. Here's one of the shots at the end of the night. The lighting was not as bright as it appears.

More pictures can be viewed in this gallery:

Friday, October 21, 2005

Night of the Living Dead On Web

On2 is showing Night of the Living Dead on their web site.

"Watch the full-length movie in Flash 8. In celebration of Halloween, On2 Technologies is proud to present George Romero's classic zombie horror flick, Night of the Living Dead."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Head In A Jar

I think this prop looks great. Easy to make too. Take a look at the original here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bandwidth Blues

I got a warning from my web hosting company that my bandwidth for the month is almost gone. I do not want to upgrade my package for the entire year just to meet the demand for this single month. I have removed all the images and video clips from the site to keep it from being locked. Sorry if you see broken image links over the couple of weeks. They will be back soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Flaming Extreme Pumpkin

That wacky guy Tom over at has a video of a flaming demon pumpkin. He used kerosene soaked toilet paper to keep it burning for 45 minutes. Great stuff!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Our FCG Is Flying

I put another prop on display early this year.

I rigged up "Vicky" to fly in our guest room dormer above the Pumpkinrot Scarecrow.

The picture was shot at f/4.5 for 25 seconds. She's not as bright as the image.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Night-shot of Scarecrow

In the years past, I've really never put any props out before Halloween. I love the "magic" that comes with a display "appearing" on the big day and "disappearing" late that night. But I decided to put selected items out early this year. Last night I put up our Pumpkinrot Scarecrow. Tonight I took a pic.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I know. I said I was not going to buy any more props this season. But I'm a sucker for a good deal.

I bought a Grossferatu prop from Fright Catalog for $39.99. It had been priced at $99. He arrived today. I had read that some folks thought the paint job was too dull. But I like it. I wish the lips and eyes were a little less pink but overall I think he's a pretty creepy dude.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Paying homage to the Master

Our Pumpkinrot Scarecrow

My son and I got our scarecrow built this afternoon. We could not let another year pass by without having one in our little yard haunt. The inspiration is here:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Modified a Gemmy Remote

Walmart is selling the Gemmy Fog Machine for under $20 this year. I picked up one to use with my new pop-up. I want to control the release of fog with the same timer that is controling the popup. A regular fogger timer will likely not be in sync with the scare.

Hauntmaster Products does have a solution, however they cannot make the modification during this busy time of the season. I decided to make the modification myself. Basically I installed a low voltage relay connected to a mini-jack in the remote. Then I plugged a wall wart into the remote's jack. The wall wart then plugs into my controller so the timer is able to "push the fog button".

Here's what the inside of the remote looked like prior to adding the relay.

I used 9 volt DC Mini Relay that I got from Radio Shack. The contacts were rated 12A @ 120VAC/24VDC. I used a panel-mount Size M Coaxial Power Jack and a Size M Coaxial Power Plug.

I dry-fitted the relay into the remote to determine the best place to place the jack. I drilled a 1/4 inch hole on one side and checked the fit.

I then followed the diagram on the back of the relay box and wired and soldered the coil pins to the coaxial jack.

I then wired and soldered the common pin to the white wire in the remote. Next wired and soldered the the nomally open pin to the green wire in the remote. I fit the relay into the remote, mounted the jack into place and screwed the case shut.

Here's what the modified remote looks like. I tested it out and it works perfectly.

Boxed an Interface

Jim over at Hauntmaster Products sells a nice little 120 Volt A.C. interface for $6.

It's basically lets a high voltage circuit control a low voltage circuit. I bought a couple to control my new sound recorder/players from Cowlascious Designs.

I like things a little more tidy so I mounted them each in a project box today. Each fits nicely into a 3x2x1 box.

Two Pair

I made the rounds at the discount stores today. I got some of the fake barbed wire from Walmart. It was only $1.94 for 20 feet. That's way cheaper than any other place I've seen it.

I also got the two skulls below from Big Lots. I saw them last year but did not get back before they sold out.

The two gargolyes below came from Target. They are made of resin and were $8 each. That had a larger version too but they wanted $20 each for those.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bucky Got Aged

Today was a BEAUTIFUL day here in Midlothian. I took advantage of the weather and aged a bucky that I'm going to use in my "Talking Skeleton in a Cage" prop. It's really kinda amazing what a little Aged Oak Minwax Gel Stain will do to enhance the look of those bones.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pneumatic Cobweb Gun

Lotus, over on HauntForum, built a simple pneumatic cobweb gun. I used his design to make one myself. I bought an 80-watt glue gun for $8.50 from Michaels using a 50% off coupon. I bought 1/4 inch copper tubing, a control valve and a connector to hook it up to my compressor. Total cost of those materials was about $11. So I've got less than $20 in the gun.

Like Lotus, I zip-tied the setup to the glue gun. That makes it easy to adjust the position of the air tube.

I'm going to have to play around with a bit more to learn the proper technique but the design works well. It does eat up glue sticks so I'll be searching for some cheap ones.

Thanks Lotus!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hellhound from Spirit

Picked this guy up yesterday. He's a nice size at two feet in height. Probably the last prop purchase of the season.

He's going to be an eye-candy distraction :-)

I'm going to place it at the end of our sidewalk on a small, eye-level platform behind a low fence. There will be dim light focused on the Hellhound with a ominous soundtrack with a growling noise playing. As the TOT's approach a burst of fog and red light will be triggered. Just as they near the prop, I'll trigger a pop-up with a monster scream right in front of them.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Blucky Got Wrapped

I told that silly blow-molded skelly to stay away from the spiders in the garage.

Did he listen? No... Now he'll be in the spider scene this year. Poor blucky.

Big Year for Big Lights

When to Big Lots yesterday. I got this deal in the hardware section of the store. Spencers sells a single 48" blacklight for $30 and Lowes sells one 48" bulb for $10. I got the blacklight below for $13.88.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Spirit Halloween Superstore

Just found out there will be a Spirit Halloween Superstore at CHESTERFIELD CROSSING at Route 360 & 288.

That's about 10 minutes from my house!

Yikes. Better put the credit cards under lock and key.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Best Buy of the Year So Far

Got a tip on Methodz that Best Buy was running a sale on strobes last Wednesday. I picked up this one for $14.99 plus $4 for shipping. It arrived Monday. Under $20 for this huge strobe is a great deal. I was blown away by the size and power. Bad to Bone likes it too.

This was one of the "Hot Deals" Wednesday specials that Best Buy runs each week. However, you can still get one, but it's back to the regular price of $29.99 + $3.99 for shipping.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stand for the Dungeon Cage

Yesterday was blazing hot here in central Virginia. That did not stop me from going to Lowes and picking up some 4x4 lumber to build a stand for the new dungeon cage. It was a pretty simple construction project. I used cross lap joints and some lag screws to hold it together. I used pressure treated lumber so I could store it outside without fear of it rotting between uses. It can be easily disassembled if needed. I'll "age" both the wood and the cage next. I hate the "new" look of both right now.

Blucky wanted to try out the new cage so I let him. He will not be there for halloween.

Friday, August 19, 2005

New Popup Armature

Brent Ross makes some of the best pneumatic mechanisms around. Check out this animated pirate he built last year. He was having a sale so I bought one of his lightweight lifters. Since I haven't learned to weld yet, I wanted to a have a professional armature model to copy once I get to that stage in my prop building. It's quite nice. The light lifter is engineered to operate a 20" travel from a starting point of 10" up to 30". I hooked it up to my compressor yesterday. It worked great straight out of the box and should provide a nice startle.

New Sound Recorder/Players

Last year I used one of Radio Shack's 20-Second Recording Module kits to add sounds to one of my props. I used the instructions from EarthSands Halloween.

It worked fine but I spent about $20 for materials and it took quite a bit of time to put it together. One downside is there's only 20 seconds of recording time.

In a post last fall on, Zombie-F recommended using Scarey Terry's plans to build a digital sound recorder. Being pressed for time (and a little lazy right now too), I took the easy way out and ordered a couple of assembled units from Cowlacious Designs. For $24 each, I have units that can record 60 seconds at a 8kHz sample rate. I'll be using them with my air props this year.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blucky Gets a New Ride

The old family ride was on it's last leg. Blucky liked this one so that's what we got. He's always safety first too. But he's not in charge come Halloween.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

New Dungeon Cage

Last year I ran across a life-size talking caged skeleton at
They charge $895 for one. That’s too much so I’m building one myself. I already have a talking skull that I put together from Scary Terry’s plans and I’ve purchased a full bucky skeleton from Anatomical. I was planning on building a cage but I saw this image from Transworld 2005.

I headed over to Eccentric Gryphons to check out their Dungeon Cage Collapsible Gibbet. It’s a full scale replica of the medieval metal-cage torture device used in Europe. Having a bit more money than time right now I sent them a PayPal payment for $125 plus shipping. It arrived today.

I've got to tell you I'm thrilled. I’m sure I could not have built a better prop in the next 75 days.

It was very easy to assemble. I had it together in about 15 minutes. The plastic appears to be an ABS-type laminate. It’s a full quarter inch thick and very lightweight but it seems strong and flexible. It’s nearly six feet in height and a full-size bucky will fit easily.

The collapsible design really rocks. Storage space is at a premium here so it will great to slide it back into the box when the season is over.

Here are a few pics as I put it together.

Looks great in the

Monday, August 15, 2005

Got Latex?

Many thanks to Vlad (our favorite Prince of Darkness) for pointing us to a great source for corpsing latex.

You can get a gallon of this expired stuff for about $15.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Revisit the Haverghast Family

Now on my current playlist is Midnight Syndicate's lastest soundscape, The 13th Hour. I like it a lot (but I'm a fan of MS).

Check it out if you get a chance. You can listen to two downloadable files of the 25 track CD at this site.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Sufficiently Creepy?

These are on the list for this year. Cheap, easy, and can hang in the trees for a few days leading up to the big night.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Death Lord Delivers

Just arrived, A 6.5 RPM motor from Wil Schock at The use is still in the planning stage. Details will be posted later.

It's supposed to be much more powerful than a Dayton... we'll see soon enough. Now Online

I finally got some content published on my web site...Not much...but some.

I had several requests asking for more information about my witch stirring a cauldron prop. There's now a project description on in the projects section. If you check it out be gentle with your comments, I should have written down some more specifics during the build but I did not. What is there is more general in nature.

That's all for now.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

New from Death Studios

I got a couple of new friends this past week from Jeff at

I love them!

DeathStudios makes the highest quality masks available. Highly recommended!