Sunday, December 27, 2009

DIY Halloween Prop - Long Fingered Ghoul

Laying inside this makeshift wooden coffin lies a gnarly, sunken faced ghoul! Who's long, boney fingers once scraped down it's victims back. Now, laying helplessly with its arms folded over it's chest.

RIP! you poor soul...or are you just napping?!

Anything in a coffin spells terror for Halloween home haunts and with the threat of something evil coming to life it adds even more intesity. In the dark shadows of Halloween night Trick or Treaters won't know if he's dead or alive. Hide a Scare-Actor beneath the Ghoul and give it moments of movement that will have em' screaming!

The Coffin Ghoul Halloween prop was very easy to make just a little time consuming because the fingers on the ghoul are done with paper mache.
Supplies required...

- 6 large plastic bags
-  a small plastic bag for the head
-  newspaper (both whole and torn into narrow strips)
- chicken wire
- thin gauge wire
- scary mask
- tape
- paint; green, black and white 
- metal snips
- coat hanger
- one coffin

 This particular coffin was slapped together by hacking up a sheet of particle board and some scrap pieces of wood for the backing, then sprayed with leftover black and grey spray paint. Granted in the light of day it doesn't look the best, at night you'd never know it was so cheesy ;)

- paper mache; flour, water and white glue

How to make Paper Mache paste...

Add equal parts flour and water and a dollop of white glue, stir. Add more water, glue or flour as required. Prepare the paper mache paste in a large container just before you are ready to apply the strips of paper.

Visit my Squidoo page for Paper Mache Halloween Props such as a lifesize Haunted Tree, a bloody Torso, torn off leg and 3 Eyed Creature! 

Steps to Complete the Long Fingered Ghoul


 - Grab snips and chicken wire. Snip 10 equally long strips of wire about 3-4" wide. These will be the ghouls creepy fingers. Wrap into a tube and secure with wire, poking sharp ends into tube.
- Next, snip out two long rectangles, fold each in half to form the palm. Secure with wire then attach the fingers by securing with wire. Use snips to trim the ends and lengths of fingers. Now is the time to shape the final form of the ghoul's hands.
- Create the paste in your container.
- Protect the surface you are working on.
- Get your paper strips and begin to dip them into the paste. Make sure the strips are saturated but not glopped with paste. Running them between your fingers gets off excess, then place each strip over your wire frame one at a time. Attach a long piece of wire to the wrist of each hand, used later to attach to either ends of the hanger.
- Continue building up layers until you have reached the desired thickness and appearance. Keep edges pushed down and smooth on each layer. Leave to dry. The drying process can take a long time so to speed up it up by placing in sunshine, near air flow, or heat source (safe distance, it is paper!) or a dehumidifier.
- Once completely dry, it's time to paint! Give it a few coats, allowing each to dry before doing the next one. Put your details on in the final coat. Depending on the type of paint you've used, it may need to be sealed or protected from the elements.
- Once you've created the body (see below), attach the hands to the hanger by poking through the plastic wrap and securing.
- Use a garbage bag to swaddling the ghoul, being sure to hide any parts, wire etc.


- Poke the hanger thru the bottom center of one bag then tip over and fill with scrunched up wads of newspaper, tie knot in end to close.
- Slice open the bags into a full sheet of plastic then secure it to the shoulder area with a knot around the hook and wrap it around the body to form a swaddled mummy shape. Use the tape to shape your body, wider at shoulders or not, it's your ghoul!
- Form a head and secure mask of choice and attach to the hanger.

Keep the snips and pokey ended chicken wire away from children.

Variations - originally my Ghoul had wings and was a Nasty Bat like creature! It hung upside down in one of our trees by a cord attached to the hanger that came out through the bottom of the bag. The wings were large but sadly made of cardboard and only lasted two seasons and then the rope broke...hence him now laying in the coffin. Change up the body wrap by using weed barrier it's black and cheap, switch up the masks, add viens, englarge the knuckles, make a third eye or enlarged pointed ears all while you're already all gooed up!     

Halloween Propmaker's HandbookMaking Stage Props: A Practical GuidePapier-Mache Monsters: Turn Trinkets and Trash into Magnificent Monstrosities

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Halloween Pranks & Gags

Fall victim to a harmless Halloween prank or 
commit the harmless Halloween prank, which do you prefer?

For myself, praying on the gullible and easily scared is a delightful way to have a little chuckle.
Human nature's inward traits suggest fear and curiousity lay in us all so why have fun with it.
For example I'd love to prank my friends on this one, too funny!


There are many levels to pranking, from harmless and innocent to down right mean so please keep it within the realm of sane, non-destructive and age appropriate. Sure little ones scare easily but they could also be traumatized and ruined for future Halloween's to come. Save the scares for the older kids who are looking for it and of course the adults. You could start by sending your first victim to The Scary Maze game!  

Hiding around a corner, skulking in a closet, jumping out of a box or hiding in the backseat of your friends car are classic pranks that still get genuine reactions and best of all can be practiced year round! Toss in a caramel coated onion, some Nicky Nicky Nine Door and the purse on a string trick and all will be laughing. Other seasonal pranks like tp'ing houses with toilet paper, soaping windows, smashing pumpkins, tossing rotten eggs, bags of beet juice and lighting bags of poo of fire are super funny but only to those doing the prank. You can get in alot of doo doo, so use your best judgement, be nice and have fun (karma works in funny ways)!

I'd love to hear about Halloween gags, pranks and tricks that you've pulled off or had done to you so please leave a comment.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not so Friendly Ghosts - Halloween Prop - How To

Moonlight fills the darkest corner of the towns oldest cemetary shining light upon the creeping fog. A light breeze stirs mist around the ankles of the lost sending deep chills up their spines. An eerie presence floats up from the fog...

Giving a good scare is about creating a feeling of terror, even before anything happens. Anticipation keeps the senses keen, try not to be predictable and get scarin'!!

How to Create a Ghost

To make the ghost pictured above you will need these supplies; a white queen size sheet, plastic skull, 2 coat hangers, 2/500ml yogurt containers, scissors, metal snips, duct tape, dark string, purple paper twist. Young children shouldn't handle the scissors or snips.

Instructions - Take your sheet, fold it in half and cut a small hole in the top, middle part of the fold (you will be slipping the curved part of the hanger tip through it later). Poke a small hole in both the base and top of the skull. Tape both coat hangers together. Fold a 6' piece of string in thirds and place a knot at both ends.

- Grab one of your containers and imagine it as the shoulder of the ghost. Manuever it over one end of the hanger and secure with tape. You may want to snip the plastic which will make for a better fit. Repeat the same process on the other 'shoulder'. Now take your hanger with shoulder pads and push the curved end thru the hole in the sheet.

- Poke the curved part of the hanger up thru the inside of your folded sheet. The hook part should be poking out the top and the form of a ghost ought to be taking shape.

- Take the knotted string and feed it thru the top hole and then out thru the bottom hole in the skull. At this point, string should be hanging out both ends of the skull. Loop the base end of the string, the skulls neck, over the curved loop of the hangers and secure very, very well. 

- Feed the hanger into the base of the skull (tuck away the mechanics).

At this point you should have the makings of a fine looking, potentially scary ghost. Now it's time to put on the finishing touches. Hang your ghost up by the string so it is hanging freely then take your scissors and begin to shred all the edges. You can style your ghost by cutting off more or less fabric. A scrap piece of fabric has been secured around the ghosts waist for definition. Piece by piece fill the top hole of the skull with the paper twist, until it is packed tight. Then take that creepy looking ghost outside, drag it around the dirt and voila!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Haunted Attraction - Scream Shack - Coldwater, Ontario Canada

Halloween is the perfect time to scare and get scared!! How better to do that than attend one of the many live haunted attractions scattered across North America. A night out with friends to experience thrills and chills could be just what the doctor ordered, hopefully not a psychotic one!!

Last year I had the privilege of visiting a live attraction in Coldwater, Ontario Canada known as The Scream Shack. Grab a map before you go, then take a moonlit tour down secluded country roads where you will soon find a terrifying haunt in the middle of the forest.

Once you arrive, the haunt itself is very well organized. The cost and the wait are both reasonable (25 mins. for us at that time) and oh, so worth it. With it being an unpredictable time of year, weather wise, I must suggest that you bring warm clothes, an umbrella and a flashlight. When I was there The Scream Shack had both an outdoor and an indoor haunt, so it's best to be prepared. I do believe there was hot chocolate on site too, but be sure to call ahead if you have any questions.

Here is a link to the  Scream Shack , check out their website if you'd like more information. 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Skeletons on a Rock Wall - Halloween Prop DIY

This prop was one of the first 'scary' Halloween decorations that I attempted. The idea came to me because we had received an 'assemble yourself' piece of furniture and suddenly had alot of scrap cardboard around. The creative genius came out and I came up with the Bonewall which can be used in one of two ways. Either as a static prop where it leans against support or a human-operated prop where someone stands behind the wall and moves the skeleton's arms.

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The height and width of this carboard wall is approx. 9ft by 6ft, so it covers quite a bit of space. Here is how this Bonewall was made and what you're going to need to replicate: Cardboard, Paint (white & black), 2x2's (3), Pencil, Brushes, Wire (strong enough to bend, not weak enough to break), Scissors, Plastic Skeletons, Old Clothing and Wigs.

Lay out your cardboard on a flat surface and cover completely in black paint and allow to dry between coats(2 of them). Then put out a separate container of both the black and white paints. Begin in a corner and work your way across the entire surface painting on circles of various shapes and sizes using a mixture of both colours (one coat is good; use light to highlight, dark to create shadows). Let dry. Assemble the skeletons and dress them up in their costume rags (be sure to drag them around outside for awhile and get em' dirty looking). Then lay your skeletons out on top of the wall and place a mark on either side of their scrawny necks with a pencil. This will determine the height where they will hang (measure twice, cut once). Poke a hole with scissors then feed the wire through and back around, securing from behind. Do this with all of them and any limbs you don't want dangling.

Human Powered - Carefully cut holes in the back of the shirt and the cardboard directly behind that so you can slip your arms into the skeletons shirt sleeve. Now you can lift them up and scream as people walk by!

Tips: No kids playing with sharp scissors. 2x's are for support and strength, you will need them. You could also temporarily staple overhead onto a wooden brace. As always, improvise with what you have at home. Add cobwebs, spiders and bugs along with a red light and you've got an super eerie scene.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vlad the Impaler - Dracula - Bran Castle, Transylvania

Vlad Tepes the Impaler (Dracula), the sadistic Romanian Prince who became the model for Bram Stoker's Dracula.
halloweeen,dracula,vlad the impaler

Dracula is not exactly my idea of a Prince nor is he charming considering he loved to impale his victims and perform other hideous acts of torture on them. As a ruler Dracula did have his enemies! However, he was soon able to reclaim his throne and continued slaying the masses, especially those he felt deserved it. From 1456 to 1462 Dracula set his plans into action and committed his most heinous of acts against the human population.

halloween,bran castle,castle

Tales say, in order to kill a vampire one must impale them through the chest with a wooden stake. I'm guessing this derived from Dracula's chosen form of torturing and excuting his victims bt casing them unbelievable pain and suffering?! His need for performing gruesome acts extended to both sexes, of all ages, and was often left on display for all to see.

Check out Weird Encyclopedia for a more sickening version that has all the gory details!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Witches Gathering - Halloween Prop DIY

halloweeen,how to

This is one of my favourite scenes to set up for Halloween. Witches are scary and a classic for your Halloween home haunt. For the Witches Gathering, I've used three thin cedar fence posts and stood them like a tee pee securing with wire and rope. Then hung a plastic cauldron filled with faux bones, skulls and legs. There is a spotlight lightly covered with orange and red tissue paper placed under the wood pile to create a roaring fire. This literally could become a roaring fire if you're not careful so place out of reach and in a safe place!!

The two witches at the fire pit originally began as 2x2's with a (you cut) pointy bottom and a cross brace for arms. Padding underneath is built up with garbage bags full of crumpled/torn/shred paper and secured with duct tape. It's then shrouded in creepy, torn fabrics. Masks are great for different faces you just need to make a head out of another plastic bag and more paper. Place your scary mask of choice over top then secure to the wooden frame. I then drug mine around on the driveway to mess em' up a bit, don't want them to look too new and pristine. Use additional spotlights to enhance your Witches Gathering. Be sure to hide the cords or anything else 'unrealistic' to the scene. Try not to show the light either, this mistake is often made and is not only blinding but distracting. Use twigs, leaves and other items to disquise where the light is coming from.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Welcome to Crazy 4 Halloween!

Ever since I was kid Halloween fascinated me and not just because of the all the candy, that was only a part of it. One year, when I was about 8, my Dad took us out trick-or-treating around the neighbourhood. I ran almost spastically here and there collecting all the candies I could until we approached one particular house. Across the lawn I ran to be stopped dead in my tracks by some guy jumping out of the bushes. Well my heart skipped as I squealed and ran off in the direction of my Dad. He just laughed, gave me hug and reminded me that there is a side of Halloween that is and can be scary. This must have slipped my mind but once reminded I was hooked and hoped someone was hiding behind every bush, but no one was. Every year my excitement and passion for Halloween grew and now over 30 years later, I'm still hooked. So, welcome to my world of Halloween and Other Scary things!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

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