Friday, August 18, 2006

Halloween Links

Zombie Letters from
Zombies by Len Peralta. Code by Dan Coulter. Alphabet by the Romans.

I love Halloween! It's one of my favorite holidays. I am going to start a list and keep updating it throughout the year as I come across some of the best Halloween websites out there.

Haunted House Ideas, Scary Decorations & Icky Food

Scare Factory (Incredibly awesome site!)

Learn how to scare, build your own haunted Halloween projects

The Bottomless Pit (This is wicked cool!)

Flametoad » 2005 Sidewalk of Horror

Building a Haunted House

Monster Page of Halloween Project Links

Vile Things

Horrorfind Halloween/Home-Haunting

Ghost Droppings

Scary Terry's Halloween Pages

Halloween Kitchen

Halloween Party

MAKE: Blog: Halloween Archives

MAKE: Blog: Holiday projects Archives

Ljc's Projects: Cooking: Halloween Food

MAKE: Blog: HOW TO - Build a better bat costume (from an umbrella!)

Huge List of Ideas

Miscellaneous Halloween Sites (mainly costumes & house decorations) Wolf Pigs

Pumpkin Carvings

Halloween Ideas
Oh one of my favorite things to do is to take black thread (like sewing thread) and string it up across a hallway, with strands hanging down (knot them to the one going across) so that people don't see them, but when they walk through, it feels like spiderwebs touching their face.

The trick with this is to make sure you've got a few instances of it, and make use of lots of thread. All too often people feel them and then freak out, waving their arms, and inevitably tear a few down. (I've also used lathing strips, stapled to the ceiling with the strands hanging
down, so that they don't wind up ripping the whole thing down.

Jonathan's idea with the chainsaw is amazing too - we did this at the city hall one year, where we needed people to turn around but wanted to make use of the rooms along a long hallway. We'd start down, and the "leader" would stomp their foot twice, and say, "Omigah... what's
that?!?" and the chainsaw kid would come a'runnin'... people were knocking each other over to get out of the way, it was great!

Another one - get a high-backed chair, as old as you can get, and put three mirrors around it (one on the left, one behind, and one to the right). Dress someone up as royalty, with hidden vampire fangs beneath a closed mouth. Have them sit in the chair, and stare straight ahead,
motionless. When people come up, they'll no doubt try to touch the person, wondering if they're real. That's when they jump and show the fangs. People HAVE peed their pants in front of me with that one! (And no, they weren't children!)
- On the gross level, we got a side of beef (literally the ribs of a cow) from a butcher, and drenched the sheet in fake blood. Another actor hacked away at the beef with a cleaver while the actor who's head appeared to belong to the "body" screamed.
At the entrance we had set up a tv lying on it's back with a dvd of floating head moaning and saying creepy phrases. We hung a sheet of Plexiglass at an angle above it to reflect the image and make the floating heads on the tv truly 'float' in mid air, it really was an impressive effect. They people then walked down little hallway lined with black plastic with blacklights and glow paint blood and an operating table with two people, one as the being cut open alive patient
and another as the crazy bloody doctor. At the end of the hall we had dressed a dummy up in all black save for a white Michael Myers style mask and hid him in a dark corner. One person's job was to hide behind some of the plastic and when people approached to shine a flashlight on
the face of the dummy. (I had that job for a while and that gag alone made three kids cry and one of my good friends jump and fall flat on her ass!). Then there was a room lined with translucent plastic (not clear) and a bright light shining from behind the plastic. Another person was there with a mask flinging fake blood onto the plastic with a dummy knife as people walked past. We also suspended someone in a climbing harness and put a noose around his neck, a coffin that had a vampire jump out and stretches of pitch black hallway with shredded plastic hanging from the ceiling (also black plastic, home depot LOVED us the week it took to set it up).
One of the scariest things I can remember was my friend's brothers performing an "execution" with electricity. One of them was strapped into the chair and the other was the executioner. They placed something under a piece of thin plywood that we didn't notice we were standing on. When he "flipped the switch" it actually turned something that vibrated the plywood below us, nobody saw it coming!
When I was in, say, fifth grade, I found a book in the local library about how to make a haunted house (sadly I cannot remember the title), and absolutely had to get two of my friends to do it with me, for the benefit of my little sister and her friends. The book relied heavily on the creepy/spooky/magic element, to the extent that one of the suggestions was entirely prop less: sit everyone down in a room and tell them an elaborate horrific murder story that happened in this very room, leading up to pointing to a blood stain that isn't really there, but which the imagination will supply if you were creepy enough in the telling. Most of the bigger ideas were too advanced for us kids (I remember an elaborate setup for a headless man in a chair, complete with bubbling tubes "feeding" the neck), but we did all right with a few smaller tricks, and luckily one of the friends had a dramatic flair and proved a sufficiently creepy guide despite her platinum blond hair. The last room was our show stopper (though I think in a larger setup it might do nicely for a quick walk-by on the way to something else) - the haunted dining room.
We had the perfect room for it, large table, chandelier, picture on the wall. We attached mono filament, aka Dad's unused fishing line, to everything in sight, and covered the table with a cloth all the way to the floor so I could hide under it. The kids filed in, and I started pulling the strings: chandelier shakes, picture goes crooked, glass on the table tips over... In the semi-dark, none of the little kids figured it out. You could update with a platform under the table so the cloth could be a bit shorter, a pulley to make a chair move away, etc. It's not going to scare anyone, but it evokes those classier mansion-ghosts who enjoy the finer points of haunting.
--Have a freak out/disorientation room that has lots of mirrors, a checkered black and white pattern on everything, and weird zombie guys "dancing" around in it. Light the entire room with only one light source: a strobe light going very fast. (Warn groups ahead of time that there's a strobe used inside the house, and turn it off for those who suffer seizures). The dancing zombies will look very creepy and funky!
-Most effective room in a haunted house ever: the last room is a funeral parlor showroom, with a single coffin on display on a caisson (it can be a simple plywood one). A creepy, undertaker explains that to leave the haunted house, everyone must--one by one--climb into the magic coffin and be closed inside. When one person goes in, the lights go out, lightning flashes, the undertaker laughs, and you hear the scream of your friend! The lights come up: the undertaker opens the coffin, and your friend has disappeared!

The coffin has a hinged floor. Once the undertaker gives a signal, two helpers below open the hinged floor of the coffin and the kid slides down a short slide with the help of two smiling strangers and out of the house. Of course, as soon as the floor of the coffin drops out and the
kid slides down a small slide, they let out a yelp that sounds like terror to their friends above!

Therefore, to exit the haunted house, every single person must climb into the coffin and have the lid closed. Terrified, they get a surprise little drop onto a short slide and into the arms of two smiling helpers, and they're out of the house. Everyone cheers with relief!

This was a fantastic effect, and a great way to end the house.

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